High above the Guardia Fairgounds, this naturally made cliff overlooks not only the fairgrounds but most of the Kingdom as well. Local legends tell of a spirit or a pair of spirits that are rumored to have been seen standing up here silently watching over life in the area for as long as anyone can remember. Typically regarded as a local ghost story, the tale does have one thing right... the best view of the Kingdom is right here...
Munin sits at the cliffs edge, a light cool breeze blowing past her like time passing the world itself. Her eyes are eerily distant, as if looking for miles, yet seeing nothing, while thoughts, although unreadable, are written along their surface. Things of the past, the prophet, Zeal herself, those she know and worked with, her home. Things of the present, which consisted of none of the previous, all of which seemed to have no place for her. Things of the possible futures, of which she might or might not be powerless to change, no matter how hard she were to try. Somewhere, everything seemed to lose it's meaning....
Munin's eyes close as all this information is exchanged among neurons. Slowly, like a zombie raising from it's grave, she stands, and holds her arms out as the wind picks up a slight notch. She drops forwards, off the cliff, and all is numb as the plummets into the frigid water. Moments pass, as she sinks deeper and deeper, everything beginning to go black as water fills her lungs...
Munin then suddenly wakes up, to find herself still on the cliff edge, where she had fallen asleep. Her eyes sting a bit, much to her annoyance, as she stands, wiping the tears she had shed in her sleep out of her eyes and cheeks, as she looks out over the ocean (Stupid dreams... )
Abruptly the wind picks up blowing the branches of the trees rather violently. As wind blows through the branches, the color in the leaves begin to change... not from green to red, but from green to grey. Next the branches and trunks, then the ground itself seems to fade. Everything in the world viewed by the cliff begins to loose it's color like an old photo. The shadows seem to move on their own and suddenly the world shifts. All points of light seem to be drawing the darkness to a point behind the girl. Then, the world is again right once more. Standing approximatly in the center of the former darkness is a tall scraggly man leaning on the edge of the mountain grinning. "What brings you here?"
Munin blinks at all this going on, then narrows her eyes, spinning around and giving the guy a 'look' "I would ask you the same, with an entrance like that". Not hostile, but not friendly in tone
Johnny raises an eyebrow, "Entrance like what?" Glances around back and forth ignorantly, "I live here, thank you. This is my cliff. The name's Johnny. What's yours?"
Munin relaxes... but only a little. "Your cliff... ? You should 'advertise' a bit more, then. Otherwise, people with more malicious intent than me might come here. Johnny... never heard that name... " (was that advanced shadow magic, i wonder... ? nnaahh... too few are left with magic, and far fewer that are that powerful).
Johnny grins, "Nah... no point. Nothing scares me these days... Well, the big guy scares me. But he's asleep." Grinning manicly the man steps away from the wall and walks over to kneal beside his new aquaintence. "My name ain't exactly from around here. So it doesn't surprise me if you've never heard of it. Not many come up here to take a nap, so come on, spit it out. What brings you up here? Make it good and I might try to help you out..."
Munin turns to look back over the water "Nothing you could understand....." (considering how few are alive that know of the mammon incident... and even they don't understand... ) "I just... wanted to get a good look at the ocean..."
Johnny shakes his head and sits down, "Bah.... there's better places to look at the water in this world than up on a damn cliff. I mean, look down there... you see that place? They hold a stupid fair there once every ten years. They could use it for so much more but it just sits there. I think it's ugly. Now the ocean, that's something to see, but not from here. The best view is up in the Mystics over by Medina. You ever been out that way? Beautiful view..."
Munin snerks, the image of the very view coming to mind, making her pause a moment "They, like so many others, don't know what it's worth. One day i imagine they won't have the space, time, or safety for such a fair... and yes, the Mystic Mountains have a wonderful view..."
Johnny grins, "Nothing lasts forever... 'cept me. But even that's questionable. The big guy is gonna wake up and that's gonna be that. Well, hopefully not. Things should be worked out by now. Not that it matters. You ever read up on history any?"
Munin ponders "Big guy... ? And i have read some history..."
Johnny nodnods, "You know, Lav-umm... that thing... um... nevermind. Anyways, ever hear of the last kingdom? Used to be... somewhere in the sea out by Medina." Lowering his voice he quietly whispers, "...I think that's why I like the view there so much..." Sitting back up he resumes his story, "Well anyways, the whole thing fell because people ignored what was going on around them. The queen at the time was too worked up over making everything last to realise what was going on around her. I hate when people do that. There's so much going around around you... none of it lasts. You gotta take it in and make the most of it..."
Munin turns to look back over the edge "Lavum.. ? Never heard of it"... at the description of the 'last kingdom', she adds "didn't... didn't the people in the kingdom rebel or something.. if she was ignoring them?". Her tone sounds natural, inquisitive, and normal. Her eyes, facing away from this mysterious individual, tell a completely different story.
Johnny shrugs his shoulders, "Some did... but really no one made much of a diffrence till it was too late. Everything fell apart. Literaly. Huge mess... took centuries to rebuild things to where they were when this kingdom started up. I mean, there where republics and all that, but none of it lasted. So much work, so much advancement... all gone. Seemingly without a trace." Sighs, "A shame really..."
Munin asks, "I've heard stories of old that involved some kind of 'elder kingdom', but accounts and facts are mostly scattered and vary from region to region... i'm guessing most if not all of them perished and are long dead... how long ago was it?"
Johnny blinks and looks at his wrist suddenly as if expecting something to be there to tell him. "Hmmmm... I dunno. I don't keep track of details like that. Been too long. I'd say maybe thirteen or fourteen thousand years or so...." Shrugs and puts his hands on the ground behind him, leaning back. "Time goes by too fast." Suddenly a sly smile crosses his face and he turns to look the girl in the face. "Wanna know a secret?"
Munin blinks, eyes showing the same old front she's always used of being an innocent young adult "That long? Where did you find this information?" then blinks again "A secret... ?"
Johnny nods and chuckles, "That Kingdom. It really could float. Most of the legends leave that bit out, they feel people would find it too far fetched to believe, but it was true. When it fell the chunks of it that didn't fall into the water became alot of the mountains accross the globe." Grinning he pats the ground they sit upon. "This was a part of it. Most of the mountains still hold alot of the power, just it's very faded.... Especialy this one. This cliff used to have a much better view a few hundred thousand years ago..."
Munin says, "What could be capable of destroying something like that... it seems more advanced than possible...". There's a flicker of something in her eyes, an emotion being held in check, but it's gone an instant later.
Johnny blinks and stares into Munin's eyes, "What do I look like? A historian?" Snickering he turns a little more towards her instead of out towards the edge of the cliff, "So, when you gonna tell me your name, stranger?"
Munin simply says "Munin", eyes afterwards turning to look out over the water again
Johnny nods slowly, "Munin, huh? So what's the deal? Don't give me the water crap. Why you so intrested in the old Kingdom? You looking for something?"
Munin hmph's in half-amusement "I'm looking for the same thing everyone else is.... a place to call my own. Knowledge long lost that no one remembers, to ensure SOMEone remembers, is just a hobby of mine."
Johnny nods, "Ahhh..... Well, if it makes you feel anybetter, I remember... I remember alot of things... and your welcome to camp out here if you like. Not like I do much of anything." Guesturing towards a crack in the side of the cliff he shrugs, "Follow that back and you can find my home. I'm always here somewhere...."
Munin nods "I'll keep that in mind...." and a little more hesitantly "... Thanks.."
Johnny chuckles and pulls out an old looking knife that he begins to twirl a bit absentmindedly. "Anyways, to answer your question it was the big guy, Lavos. The one that scares me? Been here for centuries sleeping. The queen tried to drain the thing and it woke up. The way the story goes is that the current king of this kingdom traveled through time and stopped the damn thing. But he's still sleeping. So, I don't put much faith in him.... but I will say that he was around back then, so maybe it's not all lies..."
Munin asks, "it was powerful enough to destroy an entire kingdom, but not one man... ?"
Johnny shrugs, "He had help of course... actualy I think it might have killed him. I don't know... when people screw with time it tends to confuse me. I just watch. That's what I do..."
Munin says, "trying to do otherwise just causes more damage, it would seem...."
Johnny nods slowly, "Yep. I agree... ever just sat and watched a plant grow? You can water it, and prune it.. but if you do anything more it just dies..."
Munin says, "Even then, it can be damaged... too much or too little of either water OR pruning can still kill it, to my recollection"
Johnny snickers, "Yeah... that's true too..."
Munin speaks in a half-whisper "However, if something is put above the plant to make it grow incorrectly, it dies anyway if it is allowed to grow incorrectly for too long...". She pulls a rolled up sleeping bag from her pack "Anyway, i need to sleep a bit. I'm... very tired...".
Johnny nods and stands, "Alright... well... if you'd like to continue the conversation later, just yell for me. Like I said I'm always around somewhere... oh, and Munin, call me NNY..."
Munin nods, and starts setting up a small camp to settle in for the night "Thanks..."
Johnny waves slightly as he resheaths his weapon and heads for the edge of the cliff wall. Suddenly the air grows still and he seems to fade before ever reaching the small cave there. As soon as he vanishes the breeze returns...
Munin watches him disappear, and shakes her head quickly, deciding not to think about it....