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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Tower 7


I stepped back carefully swallowing the nauseous feeling from the height of the cliff.  I looked to the left and could see nothing but trees and the sheer drop into the mist below.  The path turned to the right following the edge of the chasm until it came to a bridge.
The bridge was a grand affair rising in graceful arches high above my head.  It was wide enough to fit a car but I supposed in this fantastic world I was experiencing it would be a coach and four.  It arched out into the chasm supported by a fantastic layout of what looked like iron or steel trusses.
I searched for the other side but could see nothing but the rising mist.  At this point I was well and ready to go back to the tower and wait for something else to happen.  I wasn’t about to waltz out onto a bridge that I didn’t know how old or structurally sound it was.  The astonishing height of the bridge and depth of the chasm was enough to keep me firmly on the ground.
The deep urge to continue struck me again, but this time I was going to be stubborn. 
“If you want me to cross it then you’d better show me how stable it is and provide someone who will cross with me,” I said stubbornly.
I fully expected to wake up at that point, but I stayed right where I was waiting.  At this point I could see the sun dipping toward the western horizon (I assumed it was west).  It was still warm and felt more like early afternoon than evening.  I waited for another half hour and watched as the sunlight illuminated the arches of the bridge near my side of the chasm. 
Slowly but surely the mist began to burn away in the afternoon warmth.  I still couldn’t see to the bottom, but now the entire bridge was visible from where I stood.  It had to be at least a mile wide and several hundred feet tall.  The trusses on both sides were anchored deeply into the rock walls of the chasm arching to the center.
The bridge was suspended between two solid towers grounded firmly on each side of the chasm.  The structures were made of a mixture of stone and the iron or steel that matched the trusses.  Long chains attached to the top of the towers and dipped down near the approach in the center.
I studied the structure for several minutes before deciding whether or not to cross.  It looked solid enough and new enough that I shouldn’t have any problems crossing.  The rails of the bridge were high enough to block my view of the chasm below giving a bit of added comfort to the situation.
With a deep breath I stepped onto the bridge.  I had gone about a hundred yards when I remembered the fairy tale of the troll bridge.  With a shudder I tried to push the thought away.  This didn’t seem like that kind of fairy tale situation.  I hadn’t encountered monsters of any sort so I felt relatively safe.
I continued.  It felt like an eternity before I reached the other side of the bridge.  When I turned to look back the mist had risen up obscuring the other side.  I closed my eyes, grateful for the sunshine and nervous for what might be ahead.

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