This is my take on Sadje’s What do you See? writing prompt. Thanks, Sadje for finding such a gift, I hope I haven’t squandered it with this highly experimental effort. It’s a little bit different. (~460 words)
Empires rise and empires fall, every schoolchild knows that. Be it the Egyptians, the Aztecs or even the mighty Romans. Every civilisation has grown, had its day in the sun and crumbled to dust, all except one. You won’t find its name in any book or locate it on any map. There are no boats or planes that will carry you to its shores. Legend tells of the mythical island of Atlantis, well, it’s not that. No, this timeless civilisation was a legend even to the Atlantean’s.
The name of this civilisation? Well, if you expect an answer to that then you’re not paying attention. Maybe I was wrong, maybe this is not the tale for you? This gem hasn’t survived the test of time by letting just anyone in. You’ll need your wits about you if you’d venture to this far-flung realm.
Shall we try again? Tell me, how does a civilisation stand the test of time? The clues are there if you but look.
Come now, time is … oh but I give the game away.
Good, there’s hope for you yet. How many civilisations have wished they could freeze their empire at its peak, at the high tide mark. The art, the knowledge, can you imagine? So much wealth. It must surely be better than watching all glory ebb away. Time alone, of course, is not the whole answer. To capture such a perfect moment would be pointless if the ravages of time flowed all around. Something so precious needs to be hidden, and hidden well. Hid for all time.
I know what you’re thinking and don’t you dare bring magic into this. This no parlour trick. You will not find it tucked behind your ear. Such a thing could not be left to the whims of nature, with its temperamental mountains, fickle glaciers and wavering seas. Nothing stays hidden amongst that chaos, not forever.
No, to hide an empire requires special engineering. To draw a circle and find within it those unseen degrees, that, that’s the only true magic. The magic of numbers, where two plus two does not equal four, that is what we seek. Such unusual architecture leaves footprints, odd angles, there for all to see IF you know what you’re looking for. That is our key!
I do hope you’re following because time is not on our side. Far from it. A key is only any use while there is a lock and a door to be opened and the door we need won’t wait. So, how about this. Before I change my mind, before you awake, why don’t you sharpen that blade, fill your quiver and kiss goodbye to any you might love.
There’s an empire to plunder, and this one, well it’s a real jewel.
Cover image courtesy of kellepics @ pixabay