The Tower of the Sun by Ben Taylor

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SUMMARY: When the Tower of the Sun is extinguished, a single guardian stands between the land he loves and the tide of evil.



The Tower of the Sun

Here follows the account of Sephus, Chief of the League of Guardians.
I remember the sight, when I gazed up the rugged mountain path and beheld the Tower of the Sun, so near and so majestic. The Tower of the Sun was the crown of the Dividing Mountains and the guardian over all the lands of Sallia. The dwarves built it eons ago of pure Illenium, a metal even they can find no more in the earth, which shines with golden light. Since the ancient sun was felled from the sky by Shalkus, the Tower has matched its glory, giving a waypoint for travelers, a beacon for the lost, and a shield against the dark lands where Shalkus dwells. I had come to the base of the mountain to meditate in the light of the Tower, for those who can withstand the blinding light draw much strength from Illenium, and increase their magic.
I was very near the Tower, and its glorious light had already begun to warm my spirit, when I first sensed the presence of evil. Long had I warred against Shalkus, even venturing into the lands beyond the Dividing Mountains; and I knew the smell and taste of his wickedness. Shalkus was the lord of deception and fear, and his food was darkness, therefore he hated the light of the Tower of the Sun. The Tower defended Sallia from his armies, and from the shadow ghouls, his offspring by spells and concoctions.
There, on the mountain, I grew suddenly dizzy. Searing pain stabbed into my head and I collapsed in pain. Slowly I overcame the pain and struggled to my feet. I looked up to the Tower. Its light was hazy, wavering as if seen through smoke and fire. Strange, I thought then, My eyes must be unsteady.
But then I saw what I knew was no illusion. The Tower's light began to soften and dull. The metal lost its luster and faded, blazing gold to leaden yellow. Clouds surrounded the tower and enveloped it, blown by a wet and rotten wind from the north side of the Dividing Mountains that made me gag as I breathed it. But the most terrible was this: all the lands which the the Tower showered in light were now plunged into darkness as thick as water.
I despaired and was afraid. I turned and gazed behind me into the valley of Sallia I saw on the horizon that the Towers of the distant realms shone still—Malandir, Qendir, Pishnia. Each land's tower was like a star, covering it with light. But, at the border of Sallia, the light abruptly yielded to darkness. I felt as if I were deep in the north lands of Shalkus, looking back from afar on fair Sallia. But no—the darkness had descended here, now.
I touched the palm of my right hand with the finger of my left, feeling my handstone. The handstone, a small, round stone embedded in the center of my palm, signified my membership in the League of Guardians, and gave me unordinary magic. The coldness of my handstone told me that the a vile presence was very near. "I need light," I whispered to myself. I scoured the depths of my memory and produced an enchantment:
Knowledge come, fear take flight.
Truth eternal, bring thy light!
Inside my handstone, a light flickered and stirred.

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