Weekly Skylights: The Tripod Looks to the Clouds

4 min read

Joey Cifelli ’23


September 21, 2021, part 1 

The procession trailed along the carved winding path through the mountains. A hundred or so carts, cargo flats filled to the edges with boxes and barrels of various shape and size. All empty. One cart driver, bored, chewed on a piece of straw and glanced toward the top of the mountain beside them. He followed the rock higher and higher as it curved away until his head and neck aligned, and even so the very peak of the mountain lay out of reach, obscured by a swirling disk of clouds. A noise at the front of the caravan caught his ear. A barrage of “hold!”s and “woah, now!”s came by as drivers turned and shouted behind them. The procession ground to a halt. He was too far back to make out anything distinct at the front. But likely the crew leader was involved. And perhaps the Hunter. And maybe even the Killer. The young cart driver shuffled back in his hard wooden seat and sighed, wondering what in the world concerned people like that. 8.2/10 
September 21, 2021, part 2 

“Well, this is concerning.” Three people stood before a boulder in the path. A boulder, they called it, although if someone had identified the obstacle as a fledgling mountain, recently hatched, well, no one would come forward and say otherwise. The three of them stood in front of it: the Hunter, called Nital, the crew deputy, and the crew leader, who had just outlined the troubling nature of their circumstance. “This wasn’t on the map, Sir, any of them,” said the deputy, shuffling through papers as she did. Nital held his hands on his hips, above the many scabbards that rested there. The crew leader turned to him and said, “might be best if you got comfortable, we’ll be here awhile. 7.8/10
September 21, 2021, part 3 

A voice came from a carriage close by, clear and soft at the same time, saying “what’s the matter? We’ve stopped.” No one said anything, and then Nital walked over to the carriage door and leaned in. “Boulder on the path. Big one.” A figure poked his head out from the shadows deep in the plush interior. “Might I help? It shouldn’t be a problem, really,” said the Killer, named Errain. Nital scratched his head. He turned around and beckoned for Errain to come out of the carriage. Small leather boots followed larger ones down the steps and the pair stood together gazing at the boulder once more. “It is rather large,” said the Killer, “but a large rock is still a rock. Give me one second.” Errain walked forward and placed his hands on the rockface. The deputy and leader and other crew members stopped what they were doing and retreated behind carts or rocks as he passed by. They had a faint idea what was about to take place. The air was still. A bird floated by overhead, unaware. 7.4/10
September 21, 2021, part 4 

Errain took a deep breath, and then another, and then strained his entire body to the point where every vein, muscle, and bone was visible against his outstretched skin, but his movements remained calm. He raised an arm, slowly, and simply walked forward. As he moved the boulder seemed to melt away around him without any noise or heat, heaps of rock pulling away from the main body and oozing onto the ground like honey. After ten steps he reached the other side, and where he had walked remained a tunnel, of perfect size for a caravan. The Killer walked back through the tunnel, past the still-silent faces, nodded to Nital, and hopped into the carriage. “Onward, then,” came a soft voice from inside, “the harvest waits for no one!” 9.2/10 

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