by Ey Stargazer
A boy finds a tunnel under his bed filled with all sorts of strange creatures
|After laying awake for several hours I finally started to give up on getting to sleep in good time to wake up early the next morning. Maybe my stomach wanted something in it. I had taken the initiative to bring one of the rolls from the party home with me and put it on the small table beside my bed. In my groggy state of half sleep I reached over for it. I felt my thumb against the hard surface of the crust, I moved my hand to pick it up. Air and the table were the only things I felt at the same moment that the soft thump and roll came to my ears. I groaned. Wonderful, now I would have to abandon the warm environment that I had managed to create underneath the covers. But then again if I was fast enough...
I slide out from the covers to avoid releasing all the heat by throwing them off and sank to my knees beside my bed. First I used a slow sweeping motion to check the floor at the side of my bed. No luck, just the feel of the fur of the wolf skin rug on the ground. I sighed. Under the bed. The roll would need a considerable amount of brushing off it had gone under there. Our house, like all the ones in the village, was built on a hard slab of loosely assembled cobblestone from one of the mining villages. The stones were mostly uniform in size and shape, but they still produced a cold uneven surface that was considerably more resistant to rain and snow than hard packed dirt. My room was at the back of the house so the rocks at the very edge of my room were part of the mountain itself and had just had the placed rocks put up close to them. I took a first sweep under the bed with my arm. Nothing. I got down a bit lower and tried again. Still nothing. I lay down on my shoulder. Still nothing. I was starting to get frustrated. Where could it have gone? I was sure it hadn't rolled far. I began to pat the floor. I caught a cold draft in one of the cracks between the rocks. I lowered my hand just inside the crack. There was easily enough space for the bread to have done down in. I sighed, there went my snack. Then something strange happened.
For a moment I could swear there was a light under my bed and for a brief moment my hand felt a waft of heat. I slowly drew my hand back. That was not what I was expecting to come across. I crawled back under my blanket, which still held most of its heat. Light and heat meant fire, but where could it have come from. Maybe one of the mining villages had somehow without realising it managed to dig all the way up under our house so there was only the thin floor of rock between us. But if that was the case the floor would have caved in on us a long time ago, and we would have been able to hear the sound of their picks on the stone. I stared up at the ceiling in the dark. I had never really paid much attention to the floor under my bed so I had no way to be sure that it hadn't been that way before. I don't know how long I spent staring up like that. Probably not as long as I thought I did. Curiosity got the best of me. I slide out of bed again and reached for the candle that I kept on the other side of my night table. I walked as quietly as I could out to the kitchen area of our house and was able to use a couple of the still slightly burning embers in the fireplace to light the wick. I cupped my hand around the side of the flame opposite me and walked back to my room.
I placed the candle on one of the bare stone slabs on the floor and piled the side of the blanket on top of the bed. I moved the candle closer, there was a definite crack between one of the moved stones and that of the real foundation. I griped the movable rock just inside the edge of the crack. I said a quick prayer that it wouldn't wake up Letti or my parents and gave the rock a pull. It didn't move very much and took several more times of me heaving as hard as I could before I made an opening sufficient to look through better. It wasn't that big of an opening. I would be able to slip through it be anyone much bigger than me would have definite problems it was also small enough that the entire opening was invisible from standing beside the bed. I crawled under the bed so I was laying on my stomach with my face hovering over the hole. I pulled the candle under and lowered it into the hole. It wasn't that large, but somewhat slopped at this part like an old exit tube that I have seen in some of the older mining villages when the areas that they were mining were much closer to their homes. I examined the slopped floor of the shoot. It wasn't too steep. I crawled out from under the bed to re-orientate myself then went down the hole feet first.
It was dry in the tunnel. I knew of very few caves that fit the description of being cold and damp that the Northers seemed convinced that they were all like. I had to crouch for the first bit but the height of the tunnel increased right along with its width the further I went into it. The air was still and calm, the walls were quite smooth. The ground was stone with a fine layer of sand on it, rough in some placed but in general very level. I walked along for a while, making sure to sweep my candle on a regular basis across the tunnel so I would be aware of any branches that might try to interfere with my going back. After some time the tunnel, now quite wide and tall, began to get a bit boring. The walk reminded me of how tired I was and I turned around to go back. I then remembered why I had come down here in the first place'other than the rampant unbridled curiosity. I commenced scanning the floor in search of the roll that had escaped my captivity. I was so busy watching the floor that I didn't notice as the ceiling was getting lower. I hit the top of my head. That was enough to get me to pay a bit more attention to my surroundings. I was getting to be a bit cramped in the tunnel when I came across a singed patch of sand. I was by this point almost ready to emerge back into my room. Well I guess that was when remained of the roll. I crawled out and blew out my candle before getting under my now cold blanket. I was able to go to sleep now, but there was one thing that persisted at my mind. What had caused the bread to burn so completely?
'Big brother, big brother!'
When I pried my eyes open, Letti was sitting securely on my chest. She was holding a roll, not unlike the roll I had lost yesterday. She smiled. 'Daddy said it is time to get up now and move the goats.'
I rubbed my eyes and nodded, 'Alright Letti, I'll get right on that.' I yawned and stretched as well as I could with my sister perched on top of me. 'So did you bring me any breakfast?'
She reached into the pocket on the front of her dress and gave me a somewhat mangled roll, 'Just for you.'
My plan to talk to my grandfather didn't go as well as I wanted. I can understand where he was coming from I guess. My grandmother had asked him specifically not to tell me any stories that would be likely to scare me. I protested that I wasn't that little anymore and didn't scare easily. My grandfather just smiled and mussed my hair and explained that he knew how important it was to honor his wife's judgement and that someday I would understand.
'Well last time around nothing serious happened, so perhaps they are hoping for a repeat of that.' Linus continued to take knife to the smoked carcass.
'I guess, but I'd still rather know.'
'I'd tell you more but I've already told you all I know and most of the people old enough to remember when the attacks happened have already passed on. We've got a good design for our folds, so the only thing you should need to worry about is your goats when they're in pasture. So what are you going to do with all this meat?'
'My dad says I can keep it in a secure dry place in my room, he says that I'm getting old enough that I should be getting the skills I need to have my own house and family someday.'
Linus paused in what he was doing and looked at me, 'You're still awfully young aren't you?'
'I'm already twelve.'
'Taking after your mother?'
I opened my mouth to respond.
'No wait your dad didn't shoot up to being as tall as he is now until after he was thirteen so I guess you would be more on track for that.'
The fall and winter routine set in, every morning getting up early to take the goats out, staying with them all day and then returning them to the fold when evening approached. My mom always packed me a lunch. There were a couple of afternoons where I found some white rocks that would get their color rubbed off when drawn across another rock. I kept them and at night when everyone was in bed I would go down into the tunnel and mark the walls so I would know which way would take me back to my room. This came in handy very quickly as not much farther than where I had previously explored the tunnel began to yield branches in many directions. Some were quite short, some long the widths always varied and they always tapered when they were getting close to the ends. During one of my trips, somewhere in the middle of the winter, I found one particularly long tunnel. I followed it along, making my arrow marks on the walls to point me back the way I came. It was getting to be quite a relaxing thing to do before going to sleep and I looked forward to it I had even started to take along a bit of a lunch with me. The tunnel was curving up considerably and starting to get a bit cramped when I heard the distinctive sound of bleating goats. I hurried my pace and soon emerged amid the roots of a good sized tree a stone's throw from the goat folds. I moved back in to the tunnel, I wonder where else I might get lead? Perhaps this tunnel formed a network though the whole mountain. I slide down the slightly sandy floor back to where I could walk along the path inside the tunnel, it was after all rather dark and cold outside.
The next morning we had what could be argued as the last of first caravan of traders going up from the north side of the mountain. We were as far as they ever tended to go. They had a variety of nice looking items, very pretty but not always all that practical. This time there was a man with a bunch of colored glass. Glass was expensive enough without adding color to it. Still it was pretty and I was put in change for keeping Letti's hands out of it while my dad negotiated anything he thought the Southers might be willing to trade for.
'I tell you sir, these must be a remarkably savage race if they cannot appreciate the beauty of my work.'
'They make a lot of their own glass from raw materials, yes it is very plain compared to what you can do but they consider it serviceable,' he picked up a bottle with a fitting glass stopper, 'there are some things here though that I do think they will like.'
'Just my luck, I'll have you know I expanded my business because I was counting on an increase in trades. And I'd just finished perfecting a new method to make the glass too. I melt the sands and I've worked out which mineral dusts make the best colors and what amounts to add.'
I spied a curious bowled cylinder, 'what do you use to make the glass sir?'
The man looked at me like he was assessing what possible danger I could pose if he told me the truth. He seemed to decide that I posed no threat and in a rather aloft tone informed me that, 'in its simplest form it is basically melted sand I then add color to it and cool it in a mold to form whatever I am interested in making.'
'What does this do?' I did my best to point to the cylinder while keeping firm hold of Letti's hands.
'That,' he picked it up and grabbed a candle, 'goes over one of these and the colors in the glass change the color of the light you get.'
'It would also protect it from the wind if you happen to be moving. That is something that I can see being traded for without too much incentive.' My dad reached for another that was on his cart, 'how many do you have?'
The man sighed, 'I'll make a note to bring more of them next time. I don't see why the only thing these people are interested in is the slightly fancied up versions of things they already have. Why not sculptures, pictures made from different colors of glass.'
My dad held the glass so Letti and I would be able to get a decent look at them without her being able to grab it.
The man sighed, 'Make what sells, I'm not an ignorant business man and I've been doing this long enough to know not to fight what people are demanding.' He climbed up into his wagon and pulled out a few crates that where mostly filled with straw to cushion the delicate glass items. 'Just try not to break anything.'
'We have an excellent record of handling objects carefully sir.'
'Well try to keep it that way.'
I pried Letti away and took her home to help mom make supper while my dad negotiated with the trader. Our meals were generally quite simple in the winter season. Goat meat, usually boiled with potatoes and some squashes would be cooked every day or so. Usually one large goat gave enough meat to feed the village for a day while the nannies gave enough milk to be all of milk and butter and cheeses that several in our village made their lively hood out of. Sour breads with cheese were a common lunch item. They did pack well and the skin that formed on the cheese made it easy to take it in a bag for quite a while without any fear of spoilage.
'Here you go, Ed,' my dad passed me one of the colored candle covers, 'I saw you eyeing this so I made sure we could cover off getting one for you.'
'What about me daddy?' ever an advocate for being part of whatever everyone was doing, Letti was at my arm in an instant.
'Well honey I had to get something special for you,' he produced from his bag a simple yellow glass cat, 'What do you think Letti, was this a good choice for you?'
I stepped out of the way so Letti would have better clearance for giving dad a hug while I examined the candle cover more closely. It was an interesting network of blues and yellows with only one patch of red. It was as tall as my hand. I would put it to use tonight.
The cave walls looked almost magical with the different colors reflecting off their surfaces. It was beautiful, I walked at a casual pace, the light wasn't quite as bright with the colored glass over the candle and I wanted to be sure I was used to it before I started exploring using it. The lights on the walls must have been doing something to my head because I could swear I was hearing slight scuffing noises around me but even if I swept the candle there was nothing there. As I was approaching the tunnel to the folds I wondered what the goats might think of my new toy. I smiled, I would have to make sure they didn't try to eat it but otherwise I'm sure they would be curious about it. I turned the corner into the branch I was looking for, I had drawn a picture of a goat by the entrance so I would know where I was going. I stopped.
I had never seen anything like it. I had seen snakes before in some of the lower villages, but this was certainly not a snake and any doubts I had on that count were quickly banished. It was about the length of my arm but it was nearly all the same thickness from its extremely blunt head to its tail. It was a pale gray in color very similar to the floor of the cave. It looked to be covered in fine scales that were barely discernable, one could almost believe that it was covered in leather. Then it opened its rather gapping mouth and sent a jet of flame at the floor in front of me. I was needless to say even more startled than I already was. In my effort to move back quickly my feet slipped in the light layer of sand. The creature made a noise at the candle as it landed in front of it. I watched motionless as it raised a portion of its body off the ground to examine the strange object that it had found in front of itself. I didn't want to lose the present my dad had taken the time to get for me. I slowly brought myself up on my knees. The creature continued to stare at the light. I moved my hand as slow as I consciously could till I had my hand on the candle holder. In as few movements as I could manage I stood and pulled it away. The creature made a kind of crying noise and lunging itself forward sent a blast of flame at my feet again.
I jumped, bashed my head against the ceiling that was a bit low here and dropped the candle.
I was now alone with the creature in the dark. I took a few deep breathes to try to calm myself. I hadn't heard any shattering sounds so I think I was pretty safe from the candle glass being broken, I assumed that the candle had just been put out as a result of the sudden fall. Then I heard the distinctive sound of glass being tapped. This was followed almost immediately by the crying noise of the creature before the tunnel was briefly lite. One side of the tunnel was alighted with the mottled colors of the glass the other with simple light. I looked toward where the source had come from. It was dark again, but only for a moment. The creature was sitting there beside the glass trying to blow fire at it. Did glass melt? Apparently sand could and I wasn't convinced that just because it had been turned to glass meant that it wouldn't melt anymore. I picked up that candle again. The creature was so occupied looking at the walls while it had its head thrown back letting fire out of its mouth that it didn't seem to notice. I could take advantage of this. I took the glass off and held the wick side of the candle close to the creatures flame. It lite before the wick entered the flame. I replaced the glass. The amount of light in the tunnel faded as the creature stopped blowing fire to look up at the glass. It made the crying noise again.
I lowered the candle hoping to distract it from scorching my boots. It chirped. I stared at it as it stared up at the light tilting its head from one side to the other. I could see its eyes now. They were quite small and black on either side of the head I could see wrinkles in its skin that I assumed must also cover its eyes at times. Its mouth now seemed to be very flat but I knew from what I had seen when it was blowing fire that it must open very wide. The creature turned the direction of its head to point up the tunnel and hissed. Then I noticed the growling.
I looked up the tunnel to see the reflecting of the light in the eyes of another scrawny wolf. This one looked rather desperate and all I had was a hunting knife in my boot. Not that I would have the space to do anything effective against a wolf in this small a space anyway. Should I run? That wouldn't be very effective. Then again there was this funny snake like creature to distract it. I glanced down at it, it had its mouth open and was staring directly at the wolf. Somehow I didn't want to see it get hurt. The only thing it seemed to want to do was look at the colored light. The wolf pounced. My body must have been operating off of my last thought because without knowing what I was doing I was suddenly seizing the snake-thing and trying to lift it from the floor it was heavier than it looked. But I had lifted it just high enough to get it out of the way of the wolf's pounce. The creature took full advantage of this fact. It opened its gapping mouth and let out a stream of fire onto the wolf's head. The fire was extremely hot, I had to put up my hand with the candle in it to protect my face from the heat. When the feeling of heat on the back of my hand abated I slowly lowered it to fine the wolf laying at my feet smouldering and smoking and the creature calmly perched on my arm again looking with great interest at the candle, but every now and then he would look down at our would be attacker. I crouched and slowly lowered the creature back to the ground. He continued to stare at the candle. I put the candle down. He looked at the candle then grabbed a hunk of the fur of the wolf. I watched as he rotated his body slowly at first and then in a rapid circle until he had torn off a significant chuck of the canine's fur. This he sat out and grabbed at the meat that was underneath. He went through the same procedure this time ending it with swallowing. It took a painfully long time for him to break off a chunk. I pulled out my knife and cut him out a piece. He looked at it a bit suspiciously but then took it and ate it. I set to work cutting him a few other pieces and setting them down next to him. He paused mid spin to look at my growing pile. He finished his spin, threw his head back and gave a puff of fire. This freshly smoking and superheated piece of meat he then dropped into my lap.
It was hot. Thankfully he had managed to drop it onto a patch of leather that just happened to be sewed into this particular pair of pants so I didn't think my leg would be singed. He stared at me until I look a bit out of it. It was mostly raw in the middle. But he seemed satisfied and quickly swallowed the bits I had given him before once again latching on to the meat. But I really should be getting back to bed. I moved to stand and pick up the candle. The creature gave another small crying sound. The creature gave another small crying sound. At least this time he didn't try to fry me in his outrage. But I couldn't leave him my candle. I scuffed my shoe as I tried to think of a solution, I didn't really want him to follow me home either. I looked down at the floor. Sand. The man had said that in its simplest form glass was melted sand. I didn't have a way to melt it. I looked at the creature. Could he'
There was a chance. But it wouldn't be very good glass. But maybe, just maybe it would pass with him. Now the issue was how on earth did I get him to blow fire on the ground long enough to melt the sand. Well when Letti was younger there were ways to get her to do stuff and I can't say there weren't some similarities between a toddler Letti and this little creature. I put the candle down scooped up some sand in my hands and blew on it. I did this a couple times before the flaw in my plan showed itself. The creature watched me for a bit then moved forward and opened its mouth over my hands. I was barely able to get them out of the way before the flame came out its mouth. I looked up at me. I felt for a depression in the floor and piled a bit of sand on it. I only had to blow at it twice before the creature moved beside it and blew fire on it. He seemed to be having fun blowing fire and when he stopped there was a molten pile of purple sludge. The creature looked at it then looked at me. He looked back at the sludge and again at me. Then he lifted his tail and held it above it.
'I don't think that's such a good idea''
He slammed his tail in it, the sludge splashed slightly and he began to swish it back and forth. The light of the candle seemed to play on the surface of the sludge which was rapidly hardening. It did not seem to be harming or sticking to the creature though. I watched the creature with fascination equal only to what the creature itself was demonstrating about the new substance it had found in front of it.
'What are you?' It wasn't a snake, but it wasn't really a dragon proper like what Linus had on the leather. Maybe dragons grew legs when they got bigger. That would be about as ridiculous and them growing wings when they got bigger as well. Wasn't there a monster with no legs on Linus' leather picture? I got up with my candle. The creature kept playing with the goo till I had gotten far enough away for the light from the candle to begin to not reflect. Then it cried again. I looked back at it. Then I got an idea. I picked up some of the wolf's hair and rather unceremoniously lit it on fire with the candle. The hair went up quickly. Not quite my intention but it served to distract the creature with started to happily pull off chunks of hair and incinerate them. I got up and recommenced walking back. No cries this time.
I got back to my room and blew out the candle.
'You'd like to see it again?'
Linus wiped his brow with the back of a gloved hand. 'Well you know where it is, just don't rustle things around too much and be sure to put it back where you got it when you're done.'
'Yes sir.' I walked quickly to the chest and lifted the heavy lid. It smelled of concentrated leather and oil. I had to look at a few before I found the one I wanted. There he was my little friend from the tunnel. It looked much bigger in the drawing than the one I had met; that probably meant it was going to grow quite a bit. The picture showed it as rising up out of the ground. I traced the lines of its face. I wondered how accurate the picture on the leather would be to real life when it was grown up. After watching it playing in the glass I didn't find it all that scary anymore. It also saved me from the wolf. And itself. It was like a dog, it had preserved me because it needed to preserve itself. But somehow that didn't feel right. Could a dog learn to make glass? But a dog couldn't breathe fire either. It also didn't become fascinated with colored glass. I looked at the name that had been painted along with the picture, wyrm.
There wasn't any other information on the picture about them so I rolled it up again and replaced it into the chest.
'Found what you needed?'
'Yes thank you sir.'
'You can call me Linus.'
'Thank you Linus,' I turned to walk out of his area.
'Ed, what exactly did you need?'
I turned. He was standing beside the trunk staring at me rather intently while taking off his gloves.
'I couldn't remember what one of the creatures was so I wanted to look it up.'
'I don't doubt that Ed. But why did you think of this particular monster?'
'Well I thought I saw something like it,' I looked at the chest, 'only a lot smaller.'
I hesitated, 'the wyrm.' There was no point lying to him, I was terrible at that anyway.
'You saw a wyrm? Where?' He sounded a bit agitated which under the circumstances I suppose I can understand.
'Some distance from the goat folds. It was about the size of my arm.'
Linus grunted and looked thoughtful, 'At that size it will still be an easy prey target for some other predator. Have you told your father yet?'
'No,' I hesitated, 'I didn't know what it was.'
'Well make sure you tell him right away. Something that size wouldn't be a threat to the goats but if one of the children startled it there could be some real trouble.'
'I'll do that, thanks again Linus.'
I started my walk back up toward the village. I didn't really want to tell my dad about the tunnel. I was having a lot of fun exploring it and I didn't feel threatened by the wyrm at all. That said though, the dead wolf in the tunnel might attract more unwanted attention from more dangerous predators. There was a light layer of snow on the ground from the night before. We generally didn't get too much snow, not anywhere near as much as what they got closer to the summit. The grass was still slightly green and there were a number of leaves on the ground from some of the various trees and shrubs that did their best to provide cover for as long as they could.
I didn't dare not tell my father though, not if Linus was bound to ask him about it the next time they saw each other. I knew roughly where he would be so I took the path that would lead me to the goat folds and beyond to the winter feeding grounds. Dad took the nanny flock out a few times a week while I had the billies. He liked to observe them to see if any of the nannies might need to be kept back in the spring to give them more support with their kids. It was a kind of double check system since I was also learning how to tell when a nanny might need to be kept back. It didn't happen very often, my father was very proud of the strength of his goats; both the nannies and the billies. After I was done talking with him, which I was very much hoping wouldn't take too long, I would come back to the folds and take my group out. I looked in on them quickly on my way past. Most were sleeping calmly waiting for their turn to go out and spend yet another day eating and getting fat. I continued on through a small glen of trees, I looked to my left. The entrance to the tunnel was not far from here, but I doubted that something that would like to play with molten glass would want to be out in the cold at any time. When I walked out of the trees I was met with the familiar sight of my father standing watch over the now almost sprawling flock. I could see his dog Snaps crouched down on the opposite side of the flock from my father waiting for a command or for one of the goats to attempt to make a break for it. I could also see some of the women from our village taking their shift at milking some of the goats for the purpose of making into cheese and butter over the winter months. In the spring after the nannies had their kids there would be a lot more milking done before we went up the mountain with them. That was the one time when I got to take Snaps with me, having the whole flock out together was near impossible without the dog. He was a handsome animal. About the height of my dad's knees, with a thick glossy long black coat with a while collar of fur and a blaze on his forehead all of his feet were also white. My dad whistled, I watched as Snaps ran around the flock to bring in a few goats before they could wander into the trees. My dad's survey brought his eyes around to my direction. He smiled and waved.
'Good morning Ed, is there anything you needed before taking the others out?'
'I was just down talking to Linus and he advised me to tell you that I saw a wyrm.'
'There are a lot of worms around, though it would be funny to see one in this cold weather; maybe that means we'll get an early spring.'
Somehow I think we were thinking of different things. 'No dad, not an earth worm. I mean a wyrm. It is a dragon type creature that Linus told me show up on our mountain every thirty years or so.'
Dad regarded me seriously, 'Your grandpa did tell me about that once, he also told me that there were some sightings of them the year before I was born but that the monsters didn't do any damage that time.'
'Linus thinks if we leave them alone and are just careful about keeping ourselves safe that we won't have to worry about it.'
'Linus is a smart man, all be it a bit of a hermit. You'd best get those goats out before they start complaining.' I nodded and turned to go back, 'oh and Ed,' I turned my head back to look at him, 'thank you for letting me know, I'll discuss things with the elders and village leaders and we'll let all you youngsters know what plan we come up with.'
I nodded and continued back. I felt a bit guilty though. Maybe I shouldn't have held back about the tunnel under my bed. The goats were quite happy to finally be able to go out and when it was time to go back in they were rather stubborn. It was already getting dark when I finally got the last one in. I shut the gate and then I heard it. A slightly familiar almost excited cry. I turned slowly. There he was, the wyrm. He was about halfway between me and where the entrance to the tunnel was and was continuing to approach as fast as he could with no legs. He came all the way to me, I just stared at him as he continued his hurried progress, he looped his body around the back of my foot and started pulling me in the direction of the tunnel. I really shouldn't follow him. He was a dangerous animal. But then again I had a very strong curiosity about what he was so excited about. Or did he just want to get me in out of the cold? Would my dad notice if I was a bit late? I could always go through the tunnel to my room. But that would prompt a question about where I was or how I got there. I was still feeling guilty about hiding the tunnel. It would have to come to light anyway. I looked back at the fold one more time to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. Better make this quick. I slowly bent down so I wouldn't startle him and put my hands on either side of his body. It was quite warm. Maybe that had something to do with the fire. He stopped moving when he felt my hands on his back and looked up at me as I slowly lifted him. I cradled him like I would a baby goat and continued at a brisker pace toward the entrance. The wyrm happily bobbed his head as we walked along and made a humming noise. I reached the entrance and let the wyrm down so he could proceed me into the tunnel. It was still a tight fit for my shoulders but the wyrm was happily waiting for me at the bottom. He crawled out of the dim light from the entrance. Here was a slight flaw. I did not have my candle with me. How on earth was I going to find my way along the tunnel? I heard a humming noise followed by a slight cry then the tunnel was suddenly a wash with light as the wyrm sat some distance from me with his head thrown back letting go a jet of flame straight up into the air. I smiled at him. Well that would take care of the light problem. I walked closer to him. He noticed despite having his head thrown back and blowing fire and continued moving off. I followed him some small distance before noticing that there wasn't much for sand on the floor anymore. Where would it all have'then I noticed that the walls were starting to reflect colors. And the wyrm had stopped. The floor was dotted with pools of strangely shaped violet glass and there were some bluish ones that were almost vertical in their arrangement.
'How long have you been up to this?'
The light stopped as the wyrm and moved behind one of the blue sculptures. Once there he puffed some more fire so the cave was covered in the dark blue hue. We continued to move along, with the wyrm darting between the glasses or stopping between pools of glass that were different colors to show off his workmanship. The tunnel looked rather nice with all the colored glass. It was still rather dark but with the company of the wyrm blowing fire it was rather pleasant. It took a bit longer to get to the house than what I had anticipated but It was still good time the tunnel must have been a straighter than the path home. Finally I made it to the tunnel to my room. I crawled up. The wyrm made a bit of a cry at me. I absentmindedly scratched the top of its head, the same reward I would give to Snaps after a day of work. I then made my way out to the kitchen. My mother wasn't there. Neither was my sister. I walked out into the sitting area, still no sign of anyone. I walked out the front of the house. The lights were on in the town hall. Was that where everyone was? Had my dad already arranged for everyone to meet about the wyrm?
I walked up to the window and looked in. It didn't look all that much like a town meeting it looked more like some kind of party. I strode to the door. At least this time no one would be expecting me until after I had put the goats in their fold. The room was full of lots of noise, there was another spread of food out. I wondered what was going on.
'There you are Ed. I was wondering when you would get back.'
'I didn't get them out as early as I usually do so they weren't as easy to put back in as they normally would be. I hope I didn't worry you too much.'
'That's all right I knew you were probably with the goats anyway.'
'So what's going on?'
'Oh there is a delegation here from the southlands. There are some people of some kind of importance here but they aren't telling who it is for some kind of security reasons. I'm not sure what they're talking about but they're going to continue over the mountain tomorrow morning and then they'll be here again when they are on their way back.'
I nodded and went to get something to eat from the tables. It didn't matter all that much to me. It was another evening to spend in the loft watching the proceedings. It was a rather boring evening all things considered and I took myself to bed earlier. I took the time to make a couple wicks out of twisted goat hair and got some scrap wax together. I would put it at the goat's entrance to the tunnel so that the next time the wyrm wanted to show me something I wouldn't have to rely on him quite so much now. I didn't go into the tunnel this time since I had been in there already.