Time: 15 minutes
Prompt: Our best is still young
Source: Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"Our best is still young -- far too young for the task that you propose."
"We can be patient," I replied. "The task does not require completion for some years still, and foreknowledge of the work in store may be beneficial to the final stages of training."
We were on the observation level, looking down through windows and expanded metal flooring grates at the training grounds below. Three humanoid demons were darting erratically around the perimeter of a trio of statues that were fashioned to look like trolls -- fourteen feet tall, large misshapen heads, sour expressions. The demons were practicing a flame hedge, and as they danced about, I could see that they were depositing seeds of their own devising into pockets in the air that only they could see. A few seconds after a seed was deposited, it would begin to spark and smoke, even as it remained suspended, weightless. Fiery tendrils emerged from the seeds and spread radially, like the spokes of a wheel. As the tendrils increased in length, they also assumed greater diameter, becoming wiry vines. Where a vine from one seed encountered that of another, new tendrils would sprout from each and intermingle to form glowing red knots. Within mere minutes there were so many of these mutually enmeshed lines of fire that a contiguous net enclosed the statures. The demons stood back to watch the remainder of their project unfold. Leaves began to sprout from the vines and tendrils, each leaf a white-hot flame, until all gaps in the network were filled and a solid wall of fire surrounded the mock enemy. This flaming cylinder now began to contract. The fire was so dense that the troll statues could not be seen, but as the cylinder grew narrower and narrower, encroaching on the statues' space, dark smoke suddenly billowed from its top and then settled to the ground almost immediately as a ring of gray sand. The flames contracted to a single narrow column and then extinguished themselves from the ground up, leaving nothing but a circle of charred earth behind.
(about my timed writing exercises)
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