In the year 1476, Hyrgon Firehold went to see Temporus.

Hyrgon didn’t want to see Temporus. No one ever truly does, whatever they may say. But Hyrgon was a king, and every year the king of Varn Boram was expected to go and ask of the Living Sundial what awaited the kingdom.

So Hyrgon, accompanied by his battleragers, followed the thin, dirt road from Varn Boram to the forest several miles distant.

It was tradition among the dwarves of Varn Boram for only the king to see Temporus, so a mile from the forest’s edge Hyrgon dismounted from his horse, gave a battlerager his sword, and began his walk.

This was Hyrgon’s first year as king. Truly? Only the first year? It felt like longer since…

Well, that was no line of thought. Not now. Later, when he was back in Varn Boram and finally alone, he could indulge those thoughts. But not now.

Finally, Hyrgon arrived at his destination. A meadow in the forest with an altar in the center. Before him sat Temporus, with his large, clock face and reptilian body with a dozen clocks arranged around him. “Hail, Temporus. I am Hyrgon, king of Varn Boram.”

“You have one question, Hyrgon of Varn Boram.” Temporus’ voice was much more sonorous than Hyrgon had expected – not that he had really had any expectations. Nobody talks about Temporus.

Questions raced through Hyrgon’s mind. Maybe ask about the crops? The mountain itself? The ore veins the dwarves mined? But one question came to the forefront: “My parents…my whole family died in the plague while I wasn’t here. But you knew that. Just…did they suffer? Was it long?”

“Hmm…they did not suffer. But your people…for them, the future will be long.”

“What do you mean, my people’s future will be long?” Hyrgon blurted in a panic. He fumbled his words in an attempt to get Temporus’s attention once more, but he was already turning away from the king, slowly waddling on widespread legs back into the forest. In only a few, grief-stricken moments, the Living Sundial was gone. Hyrgon was left in the circular shrine to Temporus. Defeated, he turned and started back down the road to where the battleragers waited, guilt washing over him as he pondered of what to say he really asked.


Joshua Bratton was born in Lakewood, Colorado and first fell in love with fantasy stories when his father read The Chronicles Of Narnia to him. From that point on, he read as many stories as he could get his hands on, which eventually inspired him to start writing such tales.

When he isn't writing, Joshua enjoys tabletop roleplaying games, movies, and reading. He can be found on Twitter @jbratton1124 and on Tumblr at @kaleladin.

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