by thefourpartland

Over on Splintered Lands today, we have the continuation of my comedy story Thieves Abroad. And here below, I’ve posted an excerpt from a short story set in The Four Part Land. To place yourself on the map, the action here takes place more or less under the text Yn Brydio Ad , which is the place of pilgrimage for those who worship the element of fire. Like many characters in The Four Part Land short stories, Bererin will appear in the novels as well.

In the night, one boot split and fell apart, and so Bererin removed the other, tossing it to the side with its broken companion. Barefoot, he would carry on, for his feet had grown hard and leathery from weeks of walking, and would serve him as good replacements.

All through the night he strode, snacking on what little food he had left and taking light sips of water. He staggered as the sky turned purple, then pink, then bright orange, and when the sun leapt from its hiding place beneath the ground he covered his eyes with one arm, for the distant dunes sparkled and glinted in the first rays of light.

Puzzled, he made his way towards them, and as the angle of the sun shifted overhead and gave him a clearer view of what it was that lay before him, his puzzlement grew, for it seemed nothing so much as giants trees, each with twisted trunks and writhing limbs. Each member of this forest glinted in the sun, and he wondered what calamity had struck this land such that all trees had taken on a metallic hue.

Further still were the trees than his first impressions had told, for they towered further and further overhead as he approached, yet never did he seem to quite reach them. Only when the first bent its boughs right to the ground and sought to touch him did Bererin raise his vision and examine what stood before him.

The trees were glass, a great forest made of glass. A thought struggled through his mind, rising from the fuzzy depths of memory, through the layers of confusion and lost thoughts, until it banged upon his conscious, demanding entry. Only then did Bererin recall the description of Asbri Ffaglu-Cyffyrddedig, for the lightning that struck the ground left great trees of glass, fusing the sand into an unknown forest.

Bererin had arrived, and he sunk down into the sand and cradled the nearest of the boughs in his arms, for a day had come that he thought had long since passed him by. As he wept, a bolt split the sky, and a nearby dune was struck full and hard. More lightning followed, a rain of bolts upon the hill, and with his eyes wide Bererin watched the formation of another tree in this great forest. For that was how they were formed, as dunes suffered the thunderous impact of bolt upon bolt. Then the passing of wind would sweep clear the sand, revealing the glass beauty that hid beneath.

Bererin climbed, his legs pumping with renewed vigour as he sought the summit of the forest, as he climbed through the trees until he could look out and see the great mass of them, the woods that were Asbri Ffaglu-Cyffyrddedig. His feet slid in the sand, and the curve of the hill set him to stumbling, but he would not be denied the summit and his perseverance paid off, for as he reached the peak, his eyes beheld a great forest, a towering land of glass giants that covered the sand for many miles around, glinting and glistening in the new-fallen sunlight.


  1. mazzz in leeds on 06.17.2011

    Cool imagery here, I like the concept of the glass forest

  2. The Four Part Land on 06.17.2011

    It’s one of the oldest parts of TFPL, in that I designed it the first summer I started work, but until this story, I’d never written about it. But I knew I couldn’t let that area stay hidden, so wrote this story partly to show it off, but also because it gave me an idea for another layer to the actions that exist in Bhreac Veryan.

  3. Sonia Lal on 06.17.2011

    the glass forest idea is good. like the images of how they were made.

  4. The Four Part Land on 06.19.2011

    I got it from watching a movie a long time ago, because one of the characters would make art by sticking long metal poles into the sand, and waiting for lightning to strike them, then pulling out the resulting glass. Thought it was really cool, so I stored it away for future usage.

  5. Vicky on 06.18.2011

    Ooops. I just gave my comment via facebook. But to reiterate. Your descriptions were magnificent. It flowed and the style gave a consistent and appropriate tone/mood with his struggle.

  6. The Four Part Land on 06.19.2011

    Yeah, I know the background/why he is here is missing (it’s earlier in the story), but I’m glad that what was here worked well and his emotions came through.

  7. VonMalcolm on 06.18.2011

    I echo mazzz in leeds’s thoughts. Also: What effect does the glass forest have on sound?

  8. The Four Part Land on 06.19.2011

    You know, I never actually thought about what it would do to sound, but there’d certainly be a breeze howling through there. Probably be a very eerie place, lots of clinking glass and odd noises.

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