The Treasure Deep Within, by Mark Siet

She was running down the long trail that led from the top of the overlook well down into the sparkling meadow below. The way was not too steep so that it made for an easy pace she kept. The air moved smoothly in and out of her lungs filling her with a sense of exhilaration as the smells of the trees on the upper slopes began to mingle with those of the tall grasses below. Her name was Trella and her beauty was legendary. Taller than most men her dark hair trailed behind like a soft sail lifting her up and passing her along the mountain trail. If you could see her face during these moments you would be astonished at her eyes which changed colors from hazel to blue and then back again to something else in between. The flow and motion of her body showed her womanly form in slow motion grace as every curve moved together in synchronicity. A shepherd passing across the slopes fell instantly and forever in love at this vision that entranced him the rest of his days. She smiled as she passed, a warm and inviting smile which welcomed rather than invited. He called out to her as she responded with a breathless laugh and waved her hands in the air as she flew by him. He thought briefly of pursuing her in the same spirit as she was running in. Little did he know that if he did his destiny and hers would have been tied together forever? He would have caught up to her and she would have loved him the rest of his days. Instead he continued up the slope continuing his search for a lost part of the flock. In truth it was his way that was lost in this moment. In later years he was comforted by the smile as he remembered the moment vividly. He also found himself another day when he met a woman from a neighboring village who he did not hesitate to pursue and win over.

Trella was now entering the sea of grass and wildflowers almost through her flight down the mountainside. Suddenly there she was in the clearing where rocks had been set up to worship the goddess. She began walking over to a fountain as she caught her breath. When she reached the fountain she took a deep drink and dipped a cloth into the water to wipe away the heat from her brow. Trella stood there a moment at the fountain contemplating the goddess; her life and the recent run from the heights above. On the other side of the meadow a gentle man walked into the meadow. He did not see Trella at first. His name was Ligh-oan, which meant seeker in the language of this place. His gait was measured and sure. His face had a weathered look although not from age but from a lifetime spent living in the outdoors. When he smiled his dark eyes filled with light and he instantly won over anyone who was meeting him for the first time. Blond hair adorned his head that was now covered by a small green pointed hat with a feather on the side of it. Some would have thought the hat was silly but when they met the man they realized how wrong they were.

He had been building a canoe on the other side of the meadow to navigate the river which ran through into the town some twenty miles away. Once in town he would sell the boat buy some supplies and walk back to the meadow to begin another craft. He could have worked in town but he enjoyed the solitude. His canoes commanded a top price in town making Ligh-oan rich man. Whatever extra gold he earned was buried under the fountain in the meadow. A secret access was gained just outside the meadow in a place he had discovered years before when he fell asleep on the spot and found himself mysteriously awakened underneath the fountain. A rolling flatbed of grass and leaves had conveyed him under the fountain. The light within this place was from two lanterns on the wall, which never were extinguished. It was a place of palpable magic. He only went there to deposit his gold in the corner and then left without examining any of the ancient writings on the wall. The magic might ensnare him if he lingered too long. He was sensible and not afraid of what lay waiting there. Magical traps could be set off that he definitely did not want any part of. The meadow was a sanctuary for him. Its serenity often called him unexpectedly during the days while he was building his craft. Today he was thinking of traveling up river away from town. It was something he had been planning for many years once he had saved enough money. He was ready now to build the craft that would carry him away into a life of adventure and fulfillment.

Trella noticed him walking towards the fountain. For a moment she was indecisive. She didn’t know whether to sit down and wait or remain standing and call out to him. He stopped on the other side of the fountain looking down at grass still oblivious to her presence. On the side of the fountain near where he stood was a small figure of a slice of the moon. Reaching out with his left hand he pulled forward or towards him. The ground underneath opened and Ligh-oan walked down the steps leading under the fountain. As soon as he did the opening noiselessly closed after him. Trella watched in amazement. Ever since she was a child she had been coming to this fountain. She never dreamed there was a secret passageway that led underneath. Her footsteps carried her to the other side as she resisted an impulse to try and activate the passageway door. She waited a while half convincing herself that the strange man was dangerous or perhaps he needed her help.


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