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The Last Bastion, A Short Story Draft

Below is a draft of a short story I started about two years ago. I suppose I post it now as a means to kickstart myself into finishing the idea. I hope you enjoy it. Its probably the first time anyone but those closest to me have had the opportunity to read it. Its more of a narrative style story that takes place in a world of mine own creation and mentions places and geography in that world. Whenever possible I try to follow JRR Tolkien’s method for names and have meaning to them based on some other language or phrase from another language. The basis for my names and place comes from Ancient Hebrew and Greek, though this is not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes I just come up with a name. Enjoy, and if you don’t be kind in your critique.

Upon the far coast where the eastern sea beats the shores of Orin stands an old watchtower. The men of that region know not when it was built; its construction is far beyond their memory or tales of their elders. It stands alone at the end of a broad plain. Its stone walls once proud and daunting have faded and waned in their glory. Now it is a relic. The doorways bear no inscription save the ancient words in an ancient tongue long forgotten; they read “until you return to me I will remain.”
The man in watchtower stands every night upon the utmost parapet staring into the ocean watching for any sign, any symbol of a returning ship. He stands hunched by ages and ages of weariness and gloom. He speaks not a word, for though he was once a great man of power and renown, speech has long abandoned his tongue. He watches and he waits for a love long since sailed away. This is his tale, the tale of a mariner never to have sailed, never to have forgotten, and to have seen more of the world long passed than any even the undying kings in the west.
In the first days of men upon the shores there was a great city in the east. The men built tall ships and sailed the waters finding much bounty and knowledge upon the water, for their waters reached all the way to the lands that all other’s considered west to a shore where great and powerful kings would begin their sojourns about the lands far beyond their shores. The waters were blessed by a power greater than all that existed in the world and the men that lived upon this shore were greater than any others hence, save the Northmen for away and hidden from the world. It was in this but of the world that a man called Braeun came to renown.
Like the men around him he had been raised to sail the seas, yet for one reason or another ever were his feet on solid ground. He raised the town and led the people well. He was loved and respected by all who crossed his gaze. He was tall and fair, his hair was black as the night and his eyes as deep a blue as the deep seas just off his shores. He would be swayed by no man to evil, and none outside of his fair dwelling would enter or seek to raid his town. As was the way of his people his years were many, for the blessing of the undying kings still made it to the shores. He was many years into his reign and yet he found no one who he would call his bride. Many years he waited, and many eyes did he seek for the one who he would take hand in hand. Seeing his fair city had grown well, he desired to see the seas and the far off lands that his people spoke of, yet he could still not find his way to the sway of the ocean. He built a might tower. White were its walls that rose high above the city and looked out upon the water. For many leagues it could be seen by the mariners returning home. Upon its pinnacle he built a parapet from which he could gaze long into the night and sea even in the strongest storm the ships that were returning. Many lives were spared by his tower that gleamed in the night though no light was atop it. The glory of the structure reflected the man that stood upon its stones and shone far out through the inly blackness of the night seas.
It was in the fifth year of the tower that he noticed a strange night. There were no ships sailing home as all were in port for the annual festival. The sea was black and the moon hid her face from all that would see her. Yet through his power, which had grown great he saw into the waters and there upon the waves he perceived a frail figure floundering in the surf. Running from his tower he crossed the shore and waded into the water and caught her in his arms. She was as close to death as one could be before seeing the far shore of eternity. He wrapped her in his coat and carried her to the nearest house of healing. He sat with her until she recovered. As she lay in her bed he saw her beauty revealed to him. Her hair was as the sunset, her eyes as the green shores, and her skin soft and fair like none he had ever beheld in all of his long years. Her gaze upon him struck every core of his mind and spirit. This was the one he had searched far and wide for many years. She too held him in such esteem that they knew they were destined for one another.
“You are the one, the treasure I sought for so long, dwell here with me, and be mine for all of our days together” he asked her upon the great stone steps of the city.
“I will dwell here with you, and be yours forever, no matter what end the world may come, I will always remain yours.” She replied, and he took her and held her close and they both felt their hearts beat the same beat in the same rhythm.
“No matter what befalls the world, I shall remain forever yours in thought mind, body and strength. My heart will only ever beat for you, as it has always belonged to you.”
“As will mine,” she replied and kissed him deeply. Their love blessed the city by the shore. Many came and stood before them for council, for their minds were ever to each other’s thought and their knowledge and power doubled with each passing day. So every free person of the shore sought to be and the works of that place grew and their glory became known throughout the lands in the west.
And though their love made every light such a beacon, the wills of evil minds in the world grew ever jealous. Anrolf, the golden shore, as the city had come to be known, found the eyes of many jealous men west of its borders. Such men sent emissaries and sought to treat with the people for their knowledge and power. For though the people of the golden shore lived long years far beyond that of the mortals to the west and east, they knew not why. The men who waned quickly hated them and burned in jealousy for a taste of their perceived immortality. Though it is doomed for mortal man once to die, the people of Anrolf lived seven score longer and looked youthful even unto their final years. Little did the mariners know of the evil growing far to the north behind the mountains in lands they knew nothing of. Still evil extended its grasp towards them.
In the one hundredth year of the tower the western borders of Anrolf were threatened by men from the north. Many dignitaries had sought Braeun’s allegiance, and in his wisdom and the wisdom of his wife, Inari, they saw that the men of the north would but use them as a tools in the ways of war. Anrolf was not in any way prepared for any war, yet the power of the city held the evil at bay as they made weapons and fell blades to hold back their enemies. Yet no trenches or walls did they build for their time had come. In great council did the men whom Braeun named Generals and captains devise to send all those that could not wield a blade to sea until the city had been freed of any invasion. They loaded their treasures and books of lore and women and children aboard their finest and strongest vessels. The greatest captains of the mariners were named to steer the voyage. On the brightest morning of the summer did their blue sails leave the harbor and sail away from the shore. The same morning Braeun rode with all his host to meet the armies of the north in the western fields.
For days and nights they fought the enemy, and though they were backed to the very streets of Anrolf they were victorious. The armies of the north fell to utter ruin and at last, Aemund, king of the north fell on the steps of the great palace of the sea. The war was over and yet as the men of Anrolf celebrated they perceived a great tumult at sea. Braeun climbed to his tower and though weary from many days battle, stood without comfort looking far as his mind could see. Yet so black was the storm and gale upon the ocean that even he at the height of his strength could not see it. Mists of the next morning revealed the tattered sails of two the ships return to harbor. Their masts were shattered and yet all were alive. The men rejoiced again, save for Braeun. For though all had returned his love had not. She fell from the ships holding the Mariner’s heart, a pearl of clear crystal which contained much power of Anrolf, and with her fall so did the ship that held all of their treasures and lore. The power of Anrolf was lost forever beneath the sea of the east. Broken was the golden light that had once radiated from the city. For though the armies of the north had fallen beneath the swords of the might men of the eastern sea, the evil that had spurred them all had won its battle and claimed the glory which it sought. The men of the city left with their families and with their memories and went west, east, and to even farther shores; it is thus that the Balamri came past the Great Dividing Range and beheld the crescent bay which they called Eldion Inaris, Haven of the Mariner’s wife.
Though all had gone Braeun would not forsake his tower. He perceived his love in his heart and would not surrender his watch. He locked himself in his tower and still the light shone from it. He stood watch both day and night. He searched his mind for the lore and power that he had gained through all his long life. He stretched his mind across the seas and thus by his will touched the undying shore of Arius and gained his curse, for no mortal man had ever had such power, nor should he. Long he labored alone on his greatest work and his final work of power and will. Through ancient ways he reached into his own body and pulled from his chest his heart, deeming it never truly belonged to him, but to Inari. He closed it in facetted crystal and poured all of the love he had ever and would ever feel into it. He closed his mighty work with these words, “until you return, here I will remain”. He made a tall staff and place the globe shaped jewel upon the top and stood upon the parapet at night. By day he wandered the shore and waded the waves searching for she that he loved above all.
The years passed and Anrolf was forgotten. The fields of the west over took the once paved streets. The palace crumbled until all that remained was the tower of Rianor, the heart’s peak, and upon it stood Braeun, though unchanged by the years, ever wearied by his search. And the heart of Braeun called many ships from folly, yet none found harbor in the forgotten bay. Thus memory faded of the once great people of Anrolf, but ever stood Braeun seeking , Inari, daughter of the waves, upon the last bastion of the east.

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