In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.
The shoe didn’t fit him either.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.
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Landor’s hands shook a little as he reluctantly accepted the richly-decorated shoe from the leader of his captors, Wez, while doing his best not to allow his peripheral vision to register the blackened pile of still-smoldering ash that had been his last fellow captive, no longer recognizable as having been human and already half blending with the fingers-deep ancient dust on the stone floor. Landor was distantly glad of the chill breeze from the doorway, where Strebbin, the strangely tight-lipped tek-mage had used the second of his cache of precious relics to break the spell on the lock in a burst of blue-violet sparks; the air moved past Landor, keeping any lingering scent of burnt flesh and the chokingly soft dust away from his face.
When Wez gestured impatiently at Landor with one huge, gnarl-knuckled hand, he couldn’t help but flinch back a little. Wez sneered at him, obviously glad to have taught Landor how hard those hands could hit, and growled, “Go on. Do it.”
Nodding, swallowing thickly, Landor glanced up at the beautiful mosaic covering the wall behind four ornate pedestals, the nearest being where the glittering, ancient shoe had awaited them when they’d entered.
Much of the upper third of the huge mosaic was cracked and too damaged to provide any discernable images, but it seemed to tell a story of a tall being in strangely-configured jewel-tone garments inviting or ordering a number of light-haired beings to go up to a dais—identical to the one at the base of the mural—and make use of four things: a single glove, an ornate circlet, a sword, and a shoe. Three of the pedestals were bare, covered in dust, the fourth only bare because Wez had lifted the shoe from it, himself. Around each pedestal lay mounds of desiccated bodies, crumbling to ash and dust in a steady progression down the piles, obviously those who had sought to win whatever prize or power came with each artifact. The mosaic depicted the successful wearer of each item going down on one knee, the tall being making what seemed like welcoming gestures at them. Then a golden glow outlines each of the fair-haired beings, as well as boxes and incomprehensible things that have somehow appeared next to them.
Landor could only presume the right person had eventually tried each of the other three artifacts, gained their reward, and gone elsewhere; the only supposedly-confirmed rumors Strebbin knew of referenced a glove of unparalleled might, purported to be fashioned of gold mesh and encrusted with jewels. According to Strebbin, that prince had claimed the glove after twenty of his best men sacrificed themselves to test it, and then went on to rule an island kingdom far to the east.
On this journey, Landor had sometimes overheard Strebbin and Wez talking about those obscure tales deep in the night around their camp fires—seemingly the only time Strebbin spoke more than a handful of words at a time. In fact, Landor heard them speaking thusly on several occasions, scattered throughout the long trip to an underground fortress built by the Ancients in the heart of the Eastern Mountains. The journey took weeks and weeks, inland from the coastal villages Landor had known since birth, across plains and lesser mountains, even past the semi-mythical Weirding Wastes where ancient battles were purported to have been fought with magic and impossible weapons, their combined might having scoured the ground to stone; hard black stone, still warm in some places, still glowing faintly blue-green or violet-red at night in others. Knowing they thought him asleep, Landor had listened with weary curiosity to Strebbin relating the various interpretations of the experts to Wez; how the consensus was that the legendary mosaic’s pictorial story meant that he who fit the artifact would be given the powers of the ancients, and fabulous riches. Those who controlled this person would have that power by proxy, and, because Strebbin knew some of the ancient ways, as well as possessing powerful relics and lesser artifacts gathered over many years, he was confident the bonds he set upon their captives would hold. Landor’s wrists bore the markings, tingling and tickling into his skin beneath the manacles.