swampyyy's cauldron
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On the shimmering coast of an unimportant beach in a rather unimportant small-town in one of those regions in the more northern thrown areas of the world, a girl of around middle school age- the most unimportant time of someone’s life- tossed a skipping stone across some rather unimportant waters. At a rather unimportant time of day- roughly an hour after the sun rises and everyone's already too busy to notice what time it is- the girl was enjoying being able to step away from her boring classes and enjoy a past-time she very much held dear. Without oversight from her over-reaching family, she sat in the shade of a dead swamp-oak, old tote bag under her arm.

Setting her watch for an alarm in two-minutes, she laid back and put on her headphones, the brand is not important, and kicked on her MP3 player.

The unimportant beach was the guest of a similarly unimportant lake. This lake was so unimportant, no one had bothered to chart it on any map or build any hiking trail to it. Despite all that, however, an old dock had been built some time ago, but was now victim to age and threatened to topple over with every lapping wave. It was a pleasant spot in the wood; the spring leaves were rising out and giving the beach a pleasant swinging earlynoon light and a soft glow over the middle of water. Down the coast, where the soft, loamy dirt and grass hardened and gave way before the thick woods and ferns, the source creek flowed into the lake, dragging a collection of debris and fauna from deeper venues to this singular body of water. The base of the creek spilled out into a pool of lily pads and the waiting beaks of a flock of herons; flightier song birds cooed in the morning air, giving spirited gestures of love to each other as the sunlight danced over the surface of the water and off their colored wings. The breeze gently nudged the branches up high and rustled the newly emerged buds of flowers and soft leaves. The only break in the raw, unfiltered nature was the occasional sound of a car on the highway miles away if you perked your ears up and listened close enough.

Breaking the sounds of nature, the watch buzzed and the girl stirred. Down the shore, the surface of the water rippled; the lip of the shore split and rose, hovering half a meter above the moist substrate beneath.

Quickly, the girl jogged to the low archway, stooped down, and slipped underneath the water along the muddy bed of the lake. Water parting like gelatin as she moved, she slipped towards the center of the lake.

Trudging through the humid space between herself and the lake's depths, the girl hiked.

On this particular spring morning, the radiant sunlight filtered through the thin layer of algae and debris on the surface of the lake to illuminate the marine life in strips of pale green. A swarm of tadpoles from farther upstream poked around their newly found nesting grounds within a small alcove, zipping around the large, awkwardly swaying fish that had long called this lake home. A giant catfish dove through, prideful in having survived her third winter and spending her morning hunting along the mud bed; in her pursuit, she darted to and fro, chasing a rogue trout that had caught her eye. A ways away, the murky bed of the lake hosted a feast- a large salmon lay dead on the floor, it’s venerable life claimed by a discarded cigarette lodged deep in its throat. Somberly but dutifully, the wildlife reclaimed it’s fallen; swarming around the fish was a cloud of miniscule organisms, picking at the tiniest bits along the salmon, scratching every inch of nutrient off of the bone. Where the swarm couldn’t reach, a crawdad- fresh from the winter months- clambered out of the muck and claimed for itself.

In the center of the lake stood a bastion- a large stone held aloft by what was once four, though now only three, pillars of steadfast granite covering an even heavier stone dais set within the mud, the whole structure highlighted by several rings of scattered and worn stones. Underneath the umbrella of rock perched a squat statue- a rather impish looking creature with beady eyes set deep underneath a stone brow, and a grimace that ate up the light around it- stared into the dark abyss that surrounded it. The light edged along the roof of the structure, grazing the details of the inner platform, outling etched runes that couldn’t precisely be traced back to any language. On the crumbled remains of the fourth pillar, the form of a twisted-helix pattern, once white but now aged green with time, sang of old glory. Soft plant matter coated the ruin and the surrounding brickwork in a carpet of swaying mush, hiding the spawn of countless amphibians and insects.

Through the muck and mud, the girl probed the alien world and grew more comfortable in the murk with each passing stride. Following her path from previous visits, she worked around the pillar stones and swarms of small fish, passing soundlessly and unnoticed like a spectre to her usual spot. Finally making her way to the peatbed at the base of the imp-statue, she slumped down; for a minute, she sat in that spot, staring into the abyss around her.

And the next, she reached into her bag- pushing aside a mess of art supplies and her dad’s old hand-me-down Gameboy- and pulled out the lunch she had prepared for that day: PB&J and a bag of chips she managed to sneak out of the kitchen.

And she sat there, enjoying her lunch peacefully at the bottom of the lake, wholly unaware that she was sitting on the only remaining remnant of the Lost City of Sorcerers, nestled deeply in an unimportant lakebed of some unimportant woods.

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