Chapter 21

Chapter 21

A Chapter by thuaners

Clarence lay there on the cold stone floor, his arms and legs outstretched.  He was in the Firgenduke library, which was an eight story tower made of stone and asphalt.  It was unique for two reasons.  One, it was built to enclose a giant seven and a half story stone obelisk, and two, because the top of the tower was a beautiful glass dome.  A great spiral staircase coiled up the walls of the tower like a giant spring.  Each of the seven floors above the ground level was shaped like a donut with a big hole in the middle to allow the tall stone to poke through.  It was indeed a unique and beautiful building.

But it was nighttime at the moment, and not much could be seen save for shadows and a few twinkles of starlight that could be seen through the glass roof.

But tonight Clarence, Firgenduke's most popular and renowned artist, was not observing the tranquil beauty of the library.  He had another more pressing concern on his mind.

"Oh inspiration," he spoke up to the night, "Why hath thou forsaken me?"

There was the sound of a page turning nearby.

Seated next to Clarence was a girl her late teens.  She was seated cross legged and had a little oil lantern next to her.  She had a book open on the ground in front of her and seemed to be deeply engrossed in it.  She had long blonde hair which she usually had up in a ponytail, but today she had let it down and it draped across her shoulders.  She wore a distinctive red cape.

"A little over dramatic don't you think?"

"Over dramatic?" said Clarence, "Hardly.  It has been nine months and I still haven't a clue what I'm supposed to do with this giant rock!  I was supposed to sculpt it into something good.  Something amazing.  Something that would make us Firgendyke's proud.  Something that people would travel from all over the map to visit.  And what have I done in the last nine months?"

"Nothing," said Skaife, eyes still glued on her book.

"Exactly," said Clarence, "Nada.  Zilch. Zero."  He sighed.  "I know what's wrong too.  It's too much pressure.  When I do my own paintings, drawings, sculptures, I'm just doing them for fun.  And if they are terrible, what does it matter?  It's only my name I would sully and I don't care about that.  But this... this is big, and I don't just mean in size.  This, everybody is watching.  If it sucks then it affects all of Firgenduke!  And it's not like a canvas where if I make a mistake I can just get another one.  There is only one Firgenduke Obelisk.  A stone that has been in Firgenduke for hundreds of years.  What if I make a mistake?"

Skaife dog-eared the page she was reading then closed the book.

"Remember that time you were teaching that class in the library, the one where people could come in and practice painting or sculpting, and you gave them tips?"

"Yes," said Clarence, "What about it?"

"Remember that boy that told you he always had trouble sculpting, because he felt too indecisive about what to sculpt?  That the pressure of chipping at the stone and not being able to take back mistakes was too much for him."

"What did i say?" said Clarence.

"You said a lot of things," said Skaife, "But the gist was, close your eyes, let the stone speak to you.  Somewhere in that stone , it already knows what it wants to be.  Its true, beautiful, flawed self.  You need to quieten your mind and see it.  And once you see it, all you need to do is chip away the bits of stone until all that's left is what it was meant to be."

Clarence was quiet.

"That sounds like something I would say."  He sighed again.  "Sometimes it's easier to give advice than to follow it yourself."

He flicked his eyes up to look at the mighty monolith that towered above him.  It felt like time stood still at that moment.  The whole world was paused and the only thing that existed or mattered was him and this rock.  And he knew it was his duty to make it what it was meant to be.

And then he got a glimpse!  It was like walking down the streets of your town and you catch the tiniest of tiny whiffs of a smell.  A pleasant smell that somehow reminds you of your childhood.  You don't know what it is, but you know that if you keep sniffing it, it will eventually come to you.

"Skaife!" said Clarence excitedly, still with  his eyes closed, "I think I'm getting it!  I see a woman.  She is beautiful.  Looks rather like you actually.  She has a serene, wise look about her.  She is standing tall with great posture.  She is looking down at something in her hands.  It is an open book.  She is reading this book.  She is wearing a dress and a tiara.  Oh, Skaife!  I can see it!  I must start sculpting now!  Before I lose this image.  Now is the time!  Hook me up to the contraption!"

Skaife was smiling gleefully.  She put down her book and ran over to the metal box that was near the wall.  It had levers and buttons and all manner of dials.  She grabbed a leather harness that was lying on the box and brought it back over to Clarence, who had run over and put his toolbelt on.  He had hammers and chisels and all sorts of arty-sculpty stuff on it.

Skaife helped him put the harness on.

"I wonder if this is safe?" said Skaife, tightening some straps.

"The best engineers in Firgenduke made this contraption so I could sculpt this giant rock," said Clarence," I have absolute faith in them."

Skaife smiled at Clarence.  "You know you really are cool."

Clarence chuckled and looked rather chuffed.

Just then the door to the library opened, which was a real surprise as it was about midnight.

"Sorry, we're closed," said Skaife.

Clarence looked concerned.  "I can't afford any distractions.  I must sculpt it now before the image leaves my brain."

They both looked over at the front door.  Out of the shadows emerged a beautiful woman.  Lena Straud.  Clarence's wife.

"Wifey!" said Clarence, "What are you doing here?"

"I come with urgent news," said Lena.

"Can't it wait?" said Clarence, "I've finally gotten an idea of what to sculpt.  I have to do it now.  I can't risk waiting and letting it fade from my brain.  Right now I can literally see it in my imagination."

"It's about Anton," said Lena.

Clarence's eyes bulged.  "What?  Anton?  What about Anton?""

"He has returned," said Lena, "He is waiting in Four-tooth's secret room at the tavern.  The King is looking for him.  he came to ask for our help.  We should go to him before they find him."

Clarence couldn't believe it.  His best friend, Anton DiManlen who he had not seen for twenty years had returned.  Was this a dream?  He looked up at the giant store, the one that an entire city had entrusted him to sculpt.  He could see the image of the woman with the book inside the stone.

"Wait for me," he whispered to the woman in the rock.  Then he turned back to Lena, "Let's go."

Skaife helped him take off his harness.

"You'd better go home, Skaife," said Clarence, "I need to help my friend with something.  If I have time, I'll come back to sculpt."

"I'll be at home," said Skaife, "Swing by and grab me and Ill come help you."

"Thanks," said Clarence.

And with that, Clarence and Lena Straud left the library and began running back to the Encumbered Adventurer tavern as fast as they could.

© 2013 thuaners

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Added on February 3, 2013
Last Updated on February 3, 2013

Passion of the Liger




Currently writing a fantasy adventure story online (called 'Passion of the Liger' :) ). hope you enjoy reading it ^^ more..

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A Chapter by thuaners