Those who have heard the mystical tales...

Monday, April 8, 2013

III: The Cave

Not long after the defeat of Kawan, Gizmo and Scheaun were sitting around, remembering past adventures, whose setting was no more than their imagination.
"Those were good times," said Scheaun thoughtfully.
"What if we had just one more?" replied Gizmo.
"Make it two."
"Two and a half."
"Deal." The two laughed.
"But really, check this out," said Gizmo. "I got a letter from a cousin of mine, who lives in the Chroi forests. She said she had heard about the Bards, and asked if we--the Bards, that is--could help with a local problem."
"Wait... Chroi? Isn't that where that witch is? Le'heigh, I think?" asked Scheaun.
"Yeah. Apparently, she's a bit of a bother. Bit of a bother... Bit of a... bother... That's fun to say."
"Bit of a bother."
"Say it quickly. Bitofabother."
"No! No hyphens! Just Bitofabother."
(This was the only thing the two said for the next five minutes, in different pitches and accents. It ended with the two rolling about on the floor, laughing.)
"Ok. So, to Chroi?" asked Scheaun.
"To Chroi!"

The two left Bamah (The Lady was away visiting her family) and reached Chroi in a short time. Gizmo knew several shortcuts, remembered a few more, and made some of his own. Needless to say, Scheaun made it in one piece. The jury is still out on Gizmo.
The two reached Chroi in a short time. As they approached, Gizmo's cousin ran to meet them. She was a lovely sight, and it had been a long time since the two had seen each other. Nonetheless, Gizmo's relatives were gracious hosts.
That evening at supper, Gizmo's cousin Karina Tirvina (She went by KT, "her parents did that on purpose," Gizmo told Scheaun) finished the story she presented in her note.
"Le'heigh, the infamous witch, has been viciously torturing our livestock and our people! She kidnaps innocent people and questions them. My own brother, your cousin, was taken himself! He was just hunting for our dinner, and out of nowhere she just... I'm sorry."
"Does she keep them?" asked Gizmo.
"Rarely does she set them free. It was Lex (said cousin/brother) who told us about it. She kept asking him, "Where is it?" but no one knows what it is, much less where. It's all he talks about, now."
"Where is she now? I mean, do we know?" asked Scheaun.
"No. All we know is that she is further up and further in, near the mountain."
"Hmm," thought Gizmo. "The game is afoot."
"Have you been waiting to say that?" asked Scheaun.
"Well...                  yeah." He looked out the window into the night, but found himself entranced by the pitter-patter of the rain. It would be the last thing he said that night. However, Scheaun and KT stayed up longer, talking about Gizmo and the Bards' adventures.
"That stone around your neck. It's massive. Like, I could kill a man with it," Scheaun mentioned.
"Oh, that," she laughed. "Lex gave it to me the day before he was kidnapped. He said he bought for cheap off a foreign vendor, or something. Twas the last thing he gave me before..." teary-eyed, she looked out the window into the night.
"Yeah... Twas. nice word."

The following morning, Gizmo, Scheaun, and KT rode into the forest. For a long time, their search yielded no results.
"What exactly are you looking for, Gizmo? I mean, I haven't exactly seen any dead bodies or trails of destruction," asked KT.
"That, fires, signs of life, a Waffle Hut... Mr. Tracker, what about you?" he replied.
"I see trails everywhere, but nothing human. Wait... there!" Scheaun leaped off his horse and fell to his hands and knees.
"A boot...!" he exclaimed.
"A bootPRINT?" asked Gizmo.
"No! An actual BOOT!" Scheaun answered, turning to them with his prize in hand. The thing was small and green, but it was absolutely soaked in mud, which had caked on a bit after the night's rain.
"It was stuck in the ground; I had to break it out of the mud," said Scheaun.
"What direction did the toe point?" asked Gizmo.
"That way!" Scheaun pointed to his left. As he did, understanding swept across his face. "That way!"
"Let's go!" yelled Gizmo, and he led them in that direction. The three flew though the trees, as a path became more and more evident. It led the into a grotto, and they stood on a hill overlooking it. Beneath them was a pile of rocks, but as they descended to the foot of the hill, they found it to be an opening to a cave.

"Interesting," said Gizmo, who got there first.
"Fascinating," said KT, who got there next.
Scheaun flew past them at a full gallop.
"WHOOO!" he cried. The two laughed and followed after him. The cave-tunnel led them to what seemed to be the end. One large rock in the middle seemed to stand out, and Scheaun approached it. It had a vertical crack in it, but the crack was polished so as not to cut someone should they insert their hand. Scheaun did just that, and he easily swung the rock open. Gizmo and KT arrived.
"Well then," laughed Gizmo. "Look who's being proactive."
"Ladies first," replied Scheaun, as Gizmo followed KT through the door. A narrow, dark hallway led them into what seemed to be a large foyer. It was a dimly-lit room with a nice carpet rug, and on the far side was a table with three chairs and a flower. To the left and right were wooden doors with golden plates that read "Men" and "Women." Scheaun went into the "Men" door and found it to be a normal bathroom, as KT did the same to the "Women" door. Gizmo took a seat at the table.
"May as well rest a bit," he said, as he looked over the flower, intently. A smile seemed to crack across his face. Scheaun and KT joined him at the table, not noticing Gizmo's giddiness. Scheaun looked up at KT, and the two met eyes. She smiled nervously and blushed; Scheaun looked over at Gizmo and noticed his wide grin.
"What?" Scheaun asked.
"Pick up the flower, vase and all," came the reply. Scheaun looked at KT, shrugged, and grabbed the vase. It did not budge. Scheaun stood, in shock, and tried to lift the vase. The table creaked, but it did not move. Gizmo, smiling, said, "Watch this."
He pulled the flower out of the vase. The wall groaned, and it spun. The entire wall rotated, pushing the table and chairs to the other side. Gizmo, Scheaun, and KT were on the other side of the wall, and it was dark.