Google+ Writing Circle Project
The Guardian stared, intent.
For aeons he had not counted, the Guardian had trained his gaze on the Others.
He could not see them from where he stood. From where he stood, he could only see the bridge stretching out under his feet. He stood at its peak, its narrowest point, ensuring that the Others could not pass. He could see countless leagues of the bridge before him. Out there in the eternal darkness, beyond the point where even his fabled vision failed, he knew they lived. They bred, they hated, they built their engines of war.
In the uncounted aeons, the Guardian had never turned his head to look back. If he had, he would have seen his defended bridge disappear into invisibility in the other direction. That way, beyond the exhaustion of his eagle's eye, lay Home. At Home, they also bred, and they feared, and they prepared for the Others who would someday invade across the bridge.
The Guardian's people, the people of Home, had never sent to confirm that he was still at his post. They didn't have to. If he left his post, they would know it by the invasion that would surely follow. And the Others had also never tested him; they would come but once, the Guardian knew, when their forces were fully prepared.
"Excuse me," piped a voice.
It took the Guardian a moment to realize that the voice came from near his feet. He looked down and saw a tiny person, no taller than his ankle.
"None shall pass," the Guardian warned the little person.
"Why would I want to pass?" the small fellow asked. He sat on a flying carpet that could have served the guardian as a handkerchief.
"To invade my Home," the Guardian told him. He tilted his head back slightly, so that he could indicate the direction of Home without taking his eyes off the little person.
The little person flew higher in the air on his carpet, to draw up eye level with the Guardian. He carried swords and rope and grappling hooks and the other tools of thieves since time immemorial.
"I've been there already," the thief said. "There's nothing back there. Just ruins."
Involuntarily, the Guardian's eyes jumped ahead, in the direction of the hated Others and their endless preparations for war.
"There's nothing over there, either," the little man said. "Ruins, both places. Giant skeletons everywhere."
It took time for this to sink in. Eventually, the Guardian shed a single tear. "What did they die of?" he finally asked.
The little thief on his flying carpet shrugged before he flew away. "Nothing I could see," he called over his shoulder. "Boredom, I guess!"