The start of a beautiful thing is often something bleak.
Dominating the otherwise flat land of Colm Naiir was a tall hill called Nea Tor. It rose steeply from the plains like a breaching whale. It was so big some called it a mountain, but instead of snow it was capped by a massive slab of rock. In the sunshine this looked like a large limpet on the snout of the whale. Now at night, in the storm of the century, it was invisible. Everywhere was howling wind, pouring water, driving rain, black and cold. It had been like this for the last four hours. Every few seconds or so a lightening bolt would light up the sky revealing the long sheets of rain pelting the Tor. If you had sharp eyes and you were looking in just the right place on the rock when lightening struck, you might also have seen a silhouette, a small dark figure standing at the very peak. A smuggler.
Marlon’s jacket collar was folded up around his neck and face, so high that it was impossible to see his nose. A smuggler’s trench coat made of thick leather, the jacket was over five feet long hanging down his legs, with never ending pockets on the inside and tribal patterns punctured into the leather on the outside. In the dry it was incredibly warm but it was not waterproof without a spell, and Marlon had run out of spells before he started climbing the Tor. All he had left in his pockets was a small pack of cards, which were soaked. Marlon’s dark brown eyes were trying to scan the landscape below him. The rain and wind pressed into his bones and plastered his hair across his face. From the limpet he would have had a view for many miles on a clear day, but with the storm of the century throwing buckets of water in his face, the task of finding what he was looking for was hopeless. He sighed and bowed his head. So. Much. Rain. His neck and his spine and his legs had a torrent of water flowing over them from his head to his feet. Lightening cracked above his head making him dip down onto his knees. The wind was picking up strength and it now hurt his face to look up from his collar.
Hunched on his knees he made up his mind and reached into the deep smuggler’s pockets of his coat. He pulled a playing card out. Immediately, the card began to shine in his hands in the night. Marlon searched his memory for the correct words. He had learned them in the same place he had gotten his jacket. That was a while ago, but after some thought he found that he still remembered. “Stars, show your fire. Let light see my black and deep desires.” A single voice in a storm on top of a mountain.