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The air was blistering hot. Somehow, even though under the canopy which seemed miles above him, the shade did nothing for the heat. The foilage was so thick, that seeing farther than 3 meters ahead was impossible. The enormous trees which might as well been mountains stamped their arms deep into the earth. Ferns and moss grew without end up the tree towards the heavens making the trees a lucious verdant color.
The tahies, a rather large version of the mosquito, seemed to trail him, as if out of spite for his fading stamina.
"Why did I have to take this route!" he thought to himself. The dwarf stretched no higher than a meter in height. He had all the workings of a well-kept dwarf, that is to say, all the necessities that a dwarf should have according to dwarven society. His boots were made from the finest Mafrin leather, sown tightly and bound with leather string around his leg. His suit was stuffed with wool and skinned with the finest tanned leather money could buy, making him well-suited for mild winter weather although dwarven clothing is typically only suited for rough and mild winters. His cap was a particularly cherished item, having won it in a card game of pallades. The helm was carved from a rather large Tayris bird from the cliffs near the sea. The feathers gleamed of red, orange, and white.
Although, his equipment in such weather was useless. Dwarves value protection from cold and robustness from clothing. If one were to ask a dwarf for light clothing, they'd laugh and show you to the nearest hotel so one could sober up. Had he known it would have been so sweltering, he probably would have taken the advice of his wife, taking the long route around the mountain.
The only equipment of any use to him was his sword, which he carried in case of danger. Remarkably, it served a very useful purpose ridding himself of the dense foilage, which only continued to get worse. By now, it had grown green from the remnants of slashing vines and rather large leaves.
An intolerably cruel thought entered his mind. Was he going the right direction? It had been hours since he had began his long trek through the forest, never considering if he had somehow changed directions in the course of his winding through trees and thick vegetation.
It was enough to plant a seed of panick with him that would grow the more and more he thought of it. He *had* tripped several times. Had he considered which direction he was going when he continued to walk? Was he going in circles now?
"Am I ever going to get out of this forest!?" he shouted with a deep concern shifting across his face.
In a desperate attempt, he began to ran wrecklessly through the foilage with leaves slapping his face as he went, as if he were only meters from finding some sign he was going in the right direction, when suddenly he tripped on a large root and fell face first into a puddle of mud and leaves.
He stood up and assured himself that this attitude would do nothing for him, and this composure was motivation enough to look around and think logically about things. He was at the base of a clearing. Oddly placed, the clearing had been in such a lively forest.
Wiping from the mud from his eyes, he took a closer look. The entire forest simply stopped at the edge of the clearing. Trees were replaced by large plants that were replaced by ferns and then just grass. The grass extended throughout the entire clearing. But, something was amiss. The clearing had a rather high hill in the center, which was unusual since the forest was mostly horizontal.
Looking closer still, he saw the grass stretch towards the pinnacle of this mound, and then stones...
Not understanding exactly what he was seeing, he began to walk curiously towards the center. The tall grass had changed color moving up towards the top. The vibrant green grass he had seen closer towards the woods looked yellow now as he continued his way up. The grass wasn't just yellow, it was dead.
Continuing up the hill, the grass gave way entirely to a mozaic of cracks in mud. With each step, the crackle of dried mud broke beneath his feet and dust flew up in his wake.
He could see now what couldn't see well before. Five gigantic stones taller than ten men stood ominously in a circle.
"These can't be natural," he thought perplexedly. Instinctively, he looked around to see if anyone had been nearby as if the stones were placed only recently. Only the distant sound of birds cackling and animals hooting in the jungle could be heard and without a person in sight.
He admired the stones, thinking to himself that this could only be the work of very strong powerful men (as dwarves tend to think strength is a sign of power). Intricate carvings in the stone could be seen upon closer inspection. He squinted his eyes and moved in closer. The intricasies, aside from being worn from weather after several decades, showed incredible talent. They extended the entire length of the stone!
"Remarkable!" he thought.
Not only this, but a cool sensation was being emitted from the stones. Although anything cold would have been a wonderful change from the blistering heat, this cold was different. It promised the same coldness from the touch of a corpse.
He reached out to touch the stones, when he felt an intense feeling. A rush of greed, power, and self-indulgeance entered his mind. He knew not what the stones were for, but he knew instantly what the creators had felt. The intense feeling grew, and he felt himself more confident than he had ever felt in his life. The power was magnificent. The feeling grew still, reaching its way into his very limbs and feet.
"What man could overthrow me?! Who would stop me?! I could be invisible!"
The feeling grew still, to the deep recesses of his mind and soul. He felt himself change. No longer was he simply feeling this sensation. He was this sensation. His heart spoke it, and his soul consumed it. He had never felt so clear-minded in his entire life. Everything began to seem so simple. All he had to do, was become a god. Nothing short of perfection.
"What god could overthrow me?!" By now, a maniacal grin spread wide across his face as he was challenging the very skies themselves.
Then the feeling had left him... His absence of power felt like a strong withdrawal from a drug. He wanted more. He had to have more. Nothing mattered. His wife was not even important. Everything was less important.
He looked down at his hand, which was no longer touching the stone. It was violently shaking and extremely pale. It seemed to display a villanous bonyness.
He forced himself to listen to reason. He would have rather wanted to die there and forget everything in his life he ever loved. But he knew that isn't what he would have wanted before. In the moment of contemplation, he almost considered staying. It was then, he decided that it was best he did not decide or the alien part of him might have ultimately won.
He took off down the hill and into the forest as fast as he could run, all the while thinking of his wife and his children, and how he almost forgot them entirely.
"If I die of a heart attack eating bacon, I'll be a happy man." -My father