"the tower will not stand because there is a wyrm at it's heart"

They knew it was there, but built anyway.

they'd seen the clouds of greacy black smoke crest the horizon in mushroom waves, smelt the stink of sulphur, heard the drag of coil upon coil of scales and malice.

there were those who remembered the coming of the wyrm, flashes of bright agony across the skyline, mountains and forests consumed in flames of sooty red and corrupted gold.

towers had fallen then, marble shattered, bright jewels consumed to carbon and clinker as it flue where it would while they cowered in terror in the deepest holes they could find, breathing fumes and trembling.

But stil they built.

Amid the warnings of steam and dreams they built. Piling stone upon stone, digging from the grey ash, old wrecks of shattered gems and blackened stone hardened wood.

New things they calved, statues in heavy basalt and granite, gritty as dust but beautiful in their plane strenfth, rock warriors in calcified armour, the soft coils of treetrunk thick serpents shaped protectively about the walls in comforting spirals.

So a new tower they raised. a grey tower of stern watch and stoney warding, soaring high from a wide base into the wripped clouds of grey smoke.

yet the Wyrm moved, fires raged, coils shifted, and the tower fell like blasted sand.

But stil they built.

Next they built in glass. Taking the blasted shards of melted stone and blistered rock they hammered and filed, fused and furnished.

Wild domes of crystal light they made, each as fragile as a diamond, refracting the light of moon and sky in a thousand gleaming panels.

Guardens they made benieth the glass. Trees spreading wide grene branches to touch the glittering cieling, shaded bowers benieth them thick with blossoms and the soft cent of herbs.

Bright birds and quick creatures they brought to live in the guardens, duey gem eyes and brital fluttering wings.

So a new tower rose, gleaming and brital without, but soft and green within.

yet the Wyrm moved. One shake of the tale sent a thousand feet of glass tumbling to shatter in fragments and frailty, and a single breath smouldered the guardens to nothing but yet more ash.

But stil they built.

No ornaments, no statues. They delved in the earth, dug and sweated, forged and heated.

Blocks of Iron they smelted, solid and flat as a desert.

they did not calve, nor did they look for gems, simply rivited each piece together with a tthousand bolts and seals.

Brick upon hard thoughtless brick. Ugly, lifeless, cold. Gritty with rust or smooth with black polish, rising high into the ash haunted sky, a terrible dark thing meant for one purpose and one only, ---- to stand.

Many died in it's making, burned and melted, crushed and scolded in a way the great Wyrm itself would only approve of.

yet at last the metal tower rose.

The Wyrm moved. It took much longer now, a day when the great iron monster swung like a ship in the wind, the Wyrm lashing it's tale with rage and pouring breath after breath upon the metal dark immensity of the tower, heating it's Iron blocks to sullen red or painful white.

But at last the tower fell, and the Wyrm was free to fly again, breathing sooty flame and hatred from horizon to horizon.

They did not build again.

they sat, some digging holes in the ground, others peering at the darkened sky through splinters of old glass. Some grubbed in the sand and ash for dorment seeds, while others started to whittle rude forms out of the blasted earth.

Most though simply fought among themselves, spilling each others blood with splintered rocks and the sharp edges of old broken metal.

It was at this time that a councel was called, though barely any attended. But stil they sat, cross legged in a circle dug out of the parched ground while while above the grey cloud gave way to moonless, starless night, and below the Wyrm stil breathed it's bitter breath.

One said "we must kill the wyrm"

Another said "no, we must please the wyrm"

So people were sent down into the haunted darkness.

some held weapons, others were driven in chains.

Some went with cunning, or ice, or thought, others went screaming or pleading.

some went with plans, or faith, or magic.

others went sobbing or resigned.

Some with eyes open, others with eyes closed.

Some ran, some were pushed, some walked as though already dead.

None returned, all were llost in the fume and shade and void below, the places where only the Wyrm wated, greedy and hating, accepting sacrifice and challenge with the same mindless appetite.

But I came back.

I descended the thousand thousand steps, down each spiral turn, my eyes watering with the poisonous air, my breath rasping like a death rattle.

I looked upon the Wyrm, it's ragged, jagged wings of darkness, it's teeth like swords of splintered lightning, the stolen gold that glitters warm and full of sunlight about it's throne.

I looked into the Wyrms eyes, and there I saw naked shadow.

And that is why I say to you, as you take up your tools to build again.

You who carve marble, you who plant, you who weave magic or stil stone or forge the great blocks of Iron to stand at the base.

you who plan a majesty of gleaming strength, in diamond and adamant, marble and scented flowers.

I say to you that the Wyrm is not sleeping.

"the tower will not stand because there is a wyrm at it's heart"