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Aaron’s Notes: I wrote this short story on my trip to Glacier National Park last year.  It was intended to be 7 Episodes, with 1 Episode released via web and mobile every few months. I’m going to release Episode 1 on the blog a section at a time. I’d love to get your feedback as it goes along! So without further adieu, here’s Shattered
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Shattered

By Aaron Brander

Heavyshield - Glacier National Park

Prologue

It was another gorgeous day.  Soothing music composed of harps and flutes drifted through the massive hall.  Marble columns swept along the edges of the hall, perfectly cylindrical, blazingly white, and hundreds of feet in height.  The ceiling was glass and nearly imperceptible from the floor, serving only to keep rain off of the food and guests, while allowing the splendor of the blue sky or the majesty of the stars at night into the hall.  The floor of the hall was also white. Yet wherever a foot tread, a different color swirled and eddied in the wake of the passerby, as if someone ran their hand through the reflection of a rainbow in a basin of water.

A host of beautiful beings found their places at the large tables set along the center of the hall as a bountiful banquet appeared on their plates.  The smell of fresh bread and roasted meat enhanced the merriment that the guests enjoyed.  At the head of the hall, seated upon a golden throne, the host feasted upon the laughter and happiness of his guests.

And then the music stopped.  The light of the day gave way to an unnatural darkness.  A shrieking wind tore through the hall, upsetting plates and knocking some of the smaller beings off of their benches.  A chill descended upon them, and their drinks froze in their crystal goblets.  A fog gathered in a corner of the hall, near the golden throne.  The fog gained substance and turned as black as midnight.  It materialized into a tall, thin humanoid. In one hand it held a gnarled cane that was made of bone.  Its face was hidden in a shadowed hood as it approached the throne and the golden being seated upon it.

“Is a life without strife worth living?” The cowled speaker turned toward the brilliant light of the man on the throne.  His voice masked the wailing of a thousand tortured souls.

“Brother, how could it not be?  There is no anger. There is no disease.  There is no violence.  Everyone is happy.”

“I am not happy, and I contend that neither is the world.” The smell of decay billowed out from him.  “Peace cannot be appreciated without war and violence.”

“You have never been happy. It is in your nature.  Besides, it was ordained by our Father that the world would know peace. It was time for you to leave.”  Justice and love radiated from his being.

“Father is dead. And I do not believe his dream will last.”

The hooded creature turned and stalked from the hall.  Those gathered looked away as he passed, shivering involuntarily from the icy aura that surrounded him.  His lustrous brother watched him leave, a troubled look upon his golden face.

As the hooded man left, the sun returned, the wind died down, and the temperature returned to normal.  The guests laughed nervously and returned to their meal.  It was once again a gorgeous day.

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