The Symbol Chaser - The gallows of Changbai
The summer is upon us. Studying is done for now, so writing can commence once more. And what better way to start off the summer than with a little short story about Sasha the symbol chaser?
“Sasha.” The sound of Lisa’s voice interrupted a blissful sleep. “Sasha.” The warlock decided
to comfortably ignore the distant words. “Sasha!” This time the words were shouted too close
to his ear to ignore. He shot upright, banging his head against the top bunk. Lisa was
standing at the window of the compartment they had stayed in for the past few days.
“What?” he grumbled. “We’re there.” He got up, rubbing his head. He was sure it’d bruise.
Outside the landscape glided by slowly. The rhythm of the train was less rushed than it had
been when Sasha laid his head down, indicating they were approaching a station. It was
dusk. A pale strip of sunlight was visible over the horizon, providing a nice contrast between
the intense darkness of the Chinese countryside, where modern conveniences like street
lighting didn’t appear to have taken hold, and the last remnants of daylight obscuring the
stars in the night sky.
Sasha sensed it now that he was fully awake. He felt the presence of symbol magic. It was
faint and distant still, but he could sense it. And once the scent was with him, he knew it was
only a matter of time before he found what he was looking for. It had been an interesting
development, this trip. Usually he had to hunt symbols based on ancient information, or
simply because he arrived somewhere in the world and his senses told him there was a
symbol nearby. But this time they had been summoned. Summoned to a remote Chinese
province, to the side of a volcano, where apparently someone needed help of a magical
nature. What exactly the problem was, hadn’t been specified. But the provided first class
tickets for both the airplane and the train ride from Shanghai to Changbai made it easier to
go and take a look. Now that he was here, he was happy he had done so. The magic he
sensed was powerful. And more to the point; it felt young, alive even.