A Riddle

The mist flooded the wood purposefully.  It was time to offer the forest a gift: to feed—to soak through the rot and decay that lay on the forest floor.
            The forest would thank the mist in time.
But the floor gave way.  Down the mist spiraled in mad descent until it found itself before a swirl of stone.
            A labyrinth.
            ‘Come find the words of patterned three,’ came a voice, as if it floated fast upon the wind, whispering in the ear of the mist in taunting tones.
            In desperate fear, the mist sought something warm, a bit of heat upon which it might rise.  But none could be found.
            ‘Come find the words of patterned three,’ came the voice again upon the wind.
            The mist turned round and round, seeking a means of escape.  But all it found was stone.
            ‘Come find the words of patterned three,’ the voice said a third time.
            And so the mist entered the maze of stone.
            The labyrinth went deep.  Time stilled among the twists and turns.  Until the mist reached the maze’s centre.
            There stood a table and atop it a ship, a shoe, and a stubbled stone.
            A riddle, the mist thought.  A pattern within three things.
            As the mist swayed in thought, it felt the air grow warm.  Too warm.  Soon, the mist would disappear—as it had longed to do before.  But now, the riddle pressed and curiosity needed satisfaction.
            And then, as the heat began to soften the mist’s bonds, it dawned.
            One to sink, one to float, and the last that does some of both, depending on the wearer.
            A thunder sounded at the mist’s thought.
            The air cracked.
            And sudden light dawned a bright and golden hue.
            That was when the mist rose upon the air, having received that day unexpected satisfaction.

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