I had traveled for years to find it. I learned of the barren wilderness and the scorching heat and desperate thirst. I knew hunger, pain, and weariness. I became friends with the prospect of death with every step I made across the rocky hills and laughing mountainsides. And yet I struggled on, living only to walk, surviving from dry riverbed to small puddle among the rocks and ash of this wasteland. A bow was my only companion and the crows overhead were my game. I had learned to survive, out here in the wasteland of nowhere, traveling towards a destination everyone said did not exist.
No one ventured too far from the cities and established trade routes. They said that this land was cursed, that in the days of might and power the gods in their arrogance had bound away the very soul of this land, turning it into a desolate wilderness. The bound essence had been hidden away, deep in the heart of this rocky desert, where no one would ever find it. And then the gods had left mortal men to their fate. Just legends. Yet I believed differently and had staked my very life on that, on that one chance that life could be restored to this home I so loved.
I had nothing to loose and everything to gain. So I had set out from my dusty and heat-washed city with barely anything in my hands aside from a bow, a water flask, and some provisions. It had taken years and I had polished my soul to the beauty of a sword blade in the process of traveling alone across the wilderness, but I had survived, endured, and triumphed. And in the process part of me had been forever bound to this wasteland of sand, stone, and bare sky. I wondered if I would have a place in this new world I was planning to make, if my spirit could be tamed once more by a land lush and rich, the harsh rock and earth covered with green softness. I gripped my bow tighter and strengthened my resolve. If I could trek across miles and miles of wasteland surviving only by a simple wooden bow that had become as much a part of me as this earth, then I could remake myself to fit in with this new land I was about to unleash.
Before me shone an unearthly light, a pale yellow-white glow hovering in the rich gray-blue sky of the night that was spread across this bleak land. I gripped the bow tighter in my hand, the wood worn from use, and broke into a jog. I was lean, fit, and strong. A dash across the dust and stone of this place was no great difficulty to me, especially since the sun had set. In a recess, bordered by the towering spires of sandstone, resided the source of all my days of hunting.
It was a strange structure of gleaming brass and steel, the arms at the top unfolding like the spokes of a wheel, curving down towards the ground. Light emanated from it, shooting up into the air in a single beam of pure power. I walked towards it, drawn and entranced by the might and mystical aura of this place. I stopped short of the small clear area it resided in, leaning one sun-tanned shoulder against the cold stone beside me. The waterstone. I had found it. The stone itself was not part of the structure, rather, it hovered aloft in the air and was the source of the glow that I had followed across the barren wasteland. There was one central stone, many times my size, a gray obelisk tinged with the purple of night. A blue rune was etched into its side, glowing with arcane power, a single figure with three lines falling vertically from its bottom. Three smaller shards hovered around the waterstone.
I slowly took out my arrow, the last arrow in my quiver, the one I had saved for all these years. My arrow, my prize, the salvation for this land and the doom of the waterstone. It was a glorious thing, a beautiful monument to a power unknown and a force that should not have been tamed. Part of me ached to do what had to be done. But I had not traveled for so long and so far to back out now. I put the arrow to my bow and drew the string back. I had never failed with this bow. I would not fail now.
"Forgive me, ancient gods," I whispered, and I let the arrow fly.
It struck the waterstone on the exact middle. For a moment I was terrified that this had not worked, that all my effort was in vain. Then a crack appeared in the stone and the light of the runes died. The yellow beam holding it up faltered, then faded. And the waterstone fell. I ran then, not knowing what was to come. I heard the sound of rushing water behind me, like a waterfall unleashed. I grabbed a hold of the nearest stone spire and began to climb, hauling myself up on the handholds and scurrying above the reach of the water which roared past where I had been standing. The bow was hampering me and slowly, reluctantly, I let it drop. It was rushed away in the churning water and I felt a part of me die with it, a part that was as harsh and deadly as the arrows themselves. The water had consumed it.
I climbed and climbed, my muscles easily responding to the strain, until I reached the top. From there I looked down upon where the waterstone had been bound. Nothing remained except for a river of obsidian in the night, a river that had been for so long pent up and bound away, starving this land of life and energy. And now it was released. And something beautiful had been destroyed in the process. I sat down and stared out across the spreading waters. They would bring life and hope to this tired old land, restoring the glory of the days of old. Vegetation would soften the fields and bring lush new life to the cities. Rain would fall once more and crops would grow. And amongst all this new life, would there be a place for me? Could someone such as I abandon the wilds that had been my bed for so long? Or would I be condemned to forever wander amongst the waters and the gentle wilds, searching for that which was lost? Only time would tell, for I could discern no answers in the waters I had unleashed, the waters which were even now carrying life across this land.