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03.06.2013 , 01:41 PM | #93
Lokin got up early the next morning and went out just before dawn for a solitary hike up one of the nearby hills he'd marked on the map supplied by the hotel. The pre-dawn light was cold and grey, and a damp, chilly morning mist in the valley made him glad of his warm outer jacket.

It was a steep path, requiring a bit of a scramble in places, but well marked and obviously popular with tourists. There were benches and waste recyclers at fairly frequent intervals, and even a droid-staffed restroom about half way up, discreetly concealed in a stand of trees.

He made it to the top in less than an hour. He was above the mist now, and it was visibly thinning as the glowing red ball of the sun moved slowly through it and above the hilltops.

The lake below gradually came into view as the mist dissipated. It was a long narrow lake, with a break in the hills at the eastern end though which a river was flowing into or possibly out of it - he wasn't particularly interested in hydrogeography or geomorphology, except insofar as it involved terrain that might need to be scouted or moved across. From this height, and still in shadow, the lake was a black pool of ink spilled on the wrinkled and folded land.

He roamed the flattish top of the hill for a few minutes, finding nothing more interesting than a few benches and another waste recycler, then went to look down at the lake once more before heading back.

Just as he reached the side of the hill again, the sun rose far enough that it shone through the gap at the east end, and the river suddenly became a stream of molten gold pouring into the valley. The remains of the mist glowed with the light reflected from the water, softly outlining everything in translucent luminosity. Birds, a hundred or more, flew up from the trees below and circled in a flock, twisting this way and that like a single organism, rising through the gleaming air and beyond, losing themselves above him in the clear blue immensity of the sky.

It was a moment of breathtaking beauty. For a moment he almost understood why some people impulsively turned their backs on cities and moved to remote places, unspoiled by civilisation. But he was made of practical stuff, not romantic, and he wanted his breakfast.

Control, passion, diligence: these three principles shape your world.

Lord Scourge: To repeat a mistake and expect a beneficial outcome is a sign of insanity.