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Rated: E · Book · Other · #1811445
A boy finds a tunnel under his bed filled with all sorts of strange creatures
#839454 added January 27, 2015 at 1:50am
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Book 2 Chapter 4
Like dancing the evening seemed to pass in a whirl. The first half of the evening was spent accepting condragulations and answering basic questions, the second in dancing, even if we both had limited skills. If I wasn’t on the floor I was asked to dance by one of the ladies my only escape was to ask, Gemy or one of my sisters of cousin to step up with me but that only worked if they weren’t already engaged. My dad finally managed to pull me out of the fray and we went ouside to colaps on the lawn for a while together.

“And I thought the party for Gavin had been a pull on me.”

“When was that anyway?” I asked when I finally gained breath.

“Oh about a month ago. You know how Alexa sometimes spends the winter with us, well this was one of those winters, and after you were gone and we couldn’t tell where and most of us thought you were dead…well she was a great comfort to Gavin. Turns out he had his eye on her since the picnic a year or so ago.”

I stared up at the stars, bright and sparkling dimned only ever so slightly by our proximity to the well lit hall. I heard a chirp. I rolled quickly so I could support myself on my arms. The wyrm that came toward me was much to small to by Kyle.

“I’m sorry about your friend Ed.”

I tried not to look too disappointed as the small wyrm came up to me. I scratched it on the head between its eyes. “Me too.” My dad stared at me a moment and then got back up to go inside. I continued to stroke the wyrm. How much like Kyle it was, but then I could hardly tell them apart without their size and that could change so quickly. Gently I picked it up and clutched it to my chest. “If you want to stay with me, don’t take it upon yourself to defend me. If my own stupidity gets me into a bad situation, I’d rather pay for it myself then watch something happen to you.”

We sat in silence for a while, watching the stars ,listening to the echoes of the music. Then I heard a slight sound. I let the wyrm down about my feet and walked toward the direction I thought I had heard the noise from. No further sounds but that didn’t meant there wasn’t anything. Perhaps I should go back and get a lantern. I walked closer to the trees. Was in an animla, did one of the goats get out?
Then there was a hnad over my mouth and I was roughly pulled into the trees I saw a glint off a knife before being pulled further into the darkenss. My captor let out a harsh whisper.

“I told you we shouldn’t come so close to the villages, now what are we to do? I’ll have to kill this one but then we’ll have people running all over the place nad being wary and paranoid, this will make the journey that much worse.”

Something hard hit the man holding me, must have been a fist from how close the next voice spoke. “Idiot, we would have passed off as a rabbit or a deer if you hadn’t pulled him in here, or are you completely ignorant of the benefits of traveling at night.” The knife was removed from my neck but I didn’t make any quick attempts at escape. “My apologies.” I could only just make out a silouet of the person. “We are on a very important and rather secret mission and I’m afraid we weren’t to be witnessed. Do you by any chance have much contact with the people of Utridor?”

It took me a moment to remember that was the name of the south lands, “not much around this time of year, it is still early for trading.”

“That’s the only contact you have?”

I nodded, but reconsidered and voiced my affirmation since they were unlikely to see the gesture in the limited light.

There seemed to be more of a smile in the person’s voice now, but somehow that seemed to unnerve me more. “Well, then I don’t think there is much cause to continue with the threats. Young man, we were not supposed to be detected, if you’ll pretend you never saw us we’ll pertend you didn’t see either. No one gets hurt, everyone does their job. Sound reasonable?”


The voice chuckled, “you’re sharp, I’ll have to remember you.” Hands grabed my shoulders and tunred me in nearly a full circle. “Just keep walking that way and you’ll end up where you came from.”
I didn’t wait for a second invitation. Over the rustleing of the leaves I heard the first of the five in the band say. “But what if he figures out what we’re doing and warns the prince.”

The sound of a fist connecting with something and then a fall. Some low mutterings now they were moving off. But the foolish hot tempered one had just given me cause for why they should be concerned, and provided what I needed to get truly up in arms about it. Cornelius must be in some danger. I broke from the trees, the wyrm at my heels, I bent to pick him up. If I was going to get down the mountain I would have to prepare quickly. I barely looked at the hall I went straight home. Mom and dad could look after Gemy while I was away but I couldn’t waste another moment, I would need supplies. Would I need a beast to ride? No, it would take time to take care of it and we didn’t have any donkeys in the village to begin with, and no goat is going to tolerate being awoken in the middle of the night to take a trip in the dark over how long a distance I wasn’t sure. I entered the house. How would I know where the castle was? Oh well anyone down there would know the way to the capital, if no thing else the raods should lead their sooner or latter, I mihght even come across some of our trading partners and be able to get a lift that would be quick back. I found a good sized carrying bag. Dried meats and dry breads, that would work, there would be plenty of spring berries and other early eadible plants to be had along the way. I started sorting though a chest of clothes, I would need something sturdy that could hold up to a lot of travel but still look presentable. That eliminated some of my wardrobe, not that I had that much that would be considered fancy clothes anyway. I changed quickly. I put a blanket into the satchel, then took it out and grabbed a cloack, best not to put something in a bag when I could carry it on my back, that was one thing I had definitely learned in the my goat herding days. Cheese, I should take some hard cheese. I found my small purse, it only had maybe five coins in it. It would have to do, wouldn’t take any out of my parents stash.

“Ed are you in here?” it was my father’s voice but more than one pair of feet. I came round the corner, a large chuck of cheese in one hand, my satchel over my shoulder and traveling clothes on. Gemy lost her color.

“Did I do something wrong?I would have danced with you more but there were so many people asking me I just didn’t know how to politely refuse them.”

My heart constricted slightly at the sight of her worry, I crossed quickly to her and laid a kiss on her forehead. “It’s nothing you’ve done.” I took her into an embrace to calm her and turned very serious to my father’s puzzled look. “I just overheard something I wasn’t supposed too.” I told my story quickly all the while rubbing Gemy’s back when I had done. My father nodded his approval.

“I agree something has to be done. That’s all you know are you sure?”

“They didn’t say anything else, but some slight warning is better than nothing,” Moved Gemy so I could look into her eyes, “you remember me telling you about Cornelius right,” I waited for her nod, “I have to help him, he’s my friend if he’s in danger…”

She nodded, “yes, I agree and I’m going with you.”

I stared at her in stunned silence, Alera immediately started on another sathel, two people ate more than one after all, my mother started rifling thought baskets again. I broke my gaze to my father, surely he didn’t approve of this plan?

He was looking thoughtful and then he shocked me further. “I agree with Gemy, two peoples testimony will be better believed than one, even if you do know Cornelius personally. You’ll want to take a knife, I have a good one, and I’ll grab another wyrm for Gemy to have as a companion.” He moved off to get what he was suggesting before I had a moment to talk him out of it.

Mother brought a plain servisable dress and a more sturdy pair of shoes to Gemy, “You’ll want to wear these my dear.” She nodded nad took them to Letti’s room to change.

I finally found my voice, “mom, you can’t be serious about letting Gemy come with me.”

“Gemy is old enough to make her own decisions,” Alera chimmed from the kitchen where she had moved to continue filling the bag, “Besides, you’ll want some company for a journey that might be long. I can take care of your parents while you’re away, you won’t be too missed so stop worrying.”
“That isn’t what I’m worried about. If I run into those people before I get to Cornelius they might figure out who I am and then I’d be in a lot of danger. I can handle it if it’s just me, but if there’s some one else…” I let my voice trail off, still fighting for some composure. My dad reenterd the room. He passed the knife and scabbard to me and put another wyrm just a bit smaller than the one that had found me not long ago on the ground. He had a couple of pieces of parchment with him. Quickly he prepared a quill and rolled them both out, on the first was a map of Utridor that he quickly started to copy down he then made some marks along the path leading to the capital that he circled.

“These marks indicate where traders that we know call home. I’d write their names but I don’t know how and I doubt you could read them if I did.”

My mom fished a small bag of coins from another basket. “Well that was generous of some one, best make use of it.” She put it into Gemy’s bag that Alera had just exited the kitchen with. Gemy herself soon followed from her bedroom, her light colored dress replaced by one that was such a shade that it could likely get mud sprayed all over it and it would show no sign other then likely getting heavier. My mom snatched her and braided her hair, a more practical style for being out and about for an unknown period of time. Gemy asked Alera to put some soap into her bag as well.

“We may need to freshen up before we arrive.”

I smiled at her, “you’re making it a bit hard to believe that you’re been up on the top of a mountain all your life.”

She smiled at me then winced a bit as mom pulled the braid tight. “I could dream up there you know.”
“Will they need candles?” Alera was looking for something more to do.

My dad shook his head as he looked out the window. “The light from a candle would attract attention. There is a bright moon tonight and it is likely to stay that way for a good week or so before waning. They’ll be safer the more they can be secret. It won’t matter much for the return trip you’ll be able to take that at your leisure, you might even find a way in with the traders.”

He put a hand on my shoulder and put the map into the satchel at my side. Setting the wyrm about my shoulders in the same movement. “You’ll be fine, you have some advantage in that you won’t care if the ordinary people of the south lands see you, while they will have to avoid it. You can travel the roads while they avoid them. That will make it a bit easier on you then traveling across unknown territory.”
“Should they take a pack animal?”

My father smiled and went over to kiss my mom and rub her shoulder. “They’ll be fine, I think what Ed plans is for the best.” He turned his attentinon to us. “What are you still standing around like statues for? You’d best get a move on. Remember they have a head start on you at the moment.” We gave out hugs, quickly but we made sure to get every person with an extra for mom and dad to pass on to Letti when she got back from the dance. I nodded to Gemy who pulled her cloack closed a bit more. It was a warm evening but there was no need to chance a chill just yet. We slipped out taking the walk to the main road a bit slow to give our eyes time to properly adjust. I looked back at our village, I didn’t seem to be spending that much time here any more. Was some force trying to tell me to move on? I shook my head and offered Gemy my arm. We walked along quietly we would discuss strategy tomorrow, and for now we would walk at a sustainable pace, there was no need to run ourselves ragged on the first leg. There were bugs and the occasional sound of a bats wings but other than that it was silence. The road would take us away from the path the band was taking straight over, but it was smoother going then trying to navigate the woods in the dark. Part of me hopped that they would stumble right over Linus’ little cliff.

It was a nice night for a walk, if you ignored the fact that if we were caught by the wrong people we were likely to be killed and if they tortured us then it might lead to the demise of not only my parent but also the prince of the south lands. Yeah, aside from that it was a very plesant evening.

“Your brow will get wrinkles in it before your time if you keep doing that.” Gemy spoke quietly but it still seemed loud in the still air of the night. I shook my head and forced a smile, lifting her hand to kiss the back of it. “When will we get down the mountain do you think?”

“It won’t be tonight I can tell you that. If we walk the whole day as well we’ll be close to the bottom by the time it is evening again but I assume we will want to take a bit of a rest somewhere in there.”
She nodded and we continued on. Gemy started to ask me questions about the south lands but the more she was curious the more I was forced to confront the fact that I actually knew very little about them other than what kinds of goods they traded and that there was a king. I didn’t know any of the cities, what kind of animals they mostly raised. Their crops…none of that typically made it up the mountain and if it didn’t come up the mountain as far as I was concerned it didn’t matter. Perhaps we should make some inqueried once we got to the village closest to the bottom of the mountain, they typically knew the most about the culture we were dealing with. It didn’t take Gemy…or me, long to start yawning, but to her credit we pressed on till we started seeing the lights of the dawn. “Would you like to rest now.”

Gemy gave a sleepy nod, a great deal had happened that day and being so caught up in the mission I guess neither of us had stopped to consider how tired we were.

“We should get off the road then, it wouldn’t do to have us out here in the open where some well meaning person could think that we were trying to go up and take us there of worse those people might see us.”

“Would they really know it was you? It was pretty dark when you saw them.” I considered this as I led her just inside the woods.

“They would recognise my voice. To be on the safe side, if we meet any groups of about five or more travelers I’ll not say anything till I’m sure they aren’t the ones. If they are just tell them that I am mute.”

“And that we heard of a possible cure discovered in the capital. That’s quite brilliant. But I’ll make sure not to make that pronouncement until we know that the people are suspect, perhaps you could squeeze my hand if you’re suspicious.”

I was pleasantly surprise and more than willing to play her pillow so she could get a proper rest for her intelligent mind. I had picked a good one. I slipped off to sleep faster than I supposed I would, Gemy’s gently breathing my guide into sleep. And it was she that woke me with a kiss some time about midday.

“I don’t know if you wanted to sleep more, but I thought that since it sounded like they weren’t going to travel during the day that this could be the perfect time to get ahead of them.”

I nodded and yawned then attempted to scrub the sleep out of my eyes with my fists, “yeah, I’m up I’m up.”

She smiled at me her head dipping slightly to the side, I returned the expression and gave her a kiss. I rose and started walking toward where I figured the road was. I heard what must have been a warning chirp just before I fell through the grass with my wyrm around my neck. I landed about five feet down, a much gentler landing than the one I had had the last time this happened. But that time I didn’t land face to face with a dragon just a bit larger than the wyrm I had with me.

It seemed just as surprised as I was, it turned to another creature beside itself, similar in build and size but missing the forward limbs so it only had one set of back and one of wings. A wyvern I believe was its name.

“Hah, that great stupid oaf thought we should just leave them alone, well look how close it was getting, I told you it was a good idea to dig a trap for them.”

The wyrm started on a tyrade at the same time the wyvern seemed to yawn and offer what I thought was a monosyllable response.

The dragon did not seem impressed with my friend. “You’re a traitor to your kind no wonder you are the lowest of the fey, an irresponsible bought off…”

My wyrm flamed him, cutting of his words as he shrieked and tried to get out of the spray.

“How dare you!”

“Ed are you alright? There’s some awefully horrid noises coming from down there.”

“I’m alright Gemy, just find a stick or something to give me a hand out.” I looked at the dragon nad a crazy idea came over me. “There’s nothing the wyrm can’t handle.”

The dragon was now furious, “how dare you! You impertinent…”

I put up a hand to stay him, notieing the amused expression on the face of the wyvern as it reclined with its wings folded lazily about itself. “No need to get huffy, I you’re this impatient it’s no wonder the dragon up there eats you.”

The dragon actually seemed to lose color at that and swallowed, “you don’t know anything about that dragon.”

I sat back a bit, “oh yes I do, I’ve seen him myself and survived.”

I guessed based on the increase of the wing beats of the dragon as it tried to stay even with my eyes that he didn’t take this as good news.


“Right now I am on a mission to the south lands. It would be better if I could talk directly with my wyrm friend here, but we’d need a dragon to translate.”

“Unless the great dragon himself comes down here and orders me I’ll never do it! I’d rather be eaten or falmed…”

My wyrm obliged. The wyvern smiled a lazy smile.

The dragon ducked out of the flame on the ground, “I am a dragon.”

“huph, nad a pathetic one at that,” Gemy had found a stick for me, “well thank you anyway but I don’t think we’ll have you with that attitude.”

The wyvern made a noise, the dragon tunred sharply to it and said in a voice much too high pitched ot be taken seriously, “No, once no, twice no, a thousand times, no! and you’re not going either!”
I was already nearly out of the hole so didn’t see the wyvern calmly spread his wings to fly out behing me and alight on my shoulder. He offered a curious but quickly bored expression to Gemy before curling up in a loose circle over my shoulders, securing himself by grabbing his own tail and then let his wings hand loose almost to look like a very odd second cape. The dragon had switched to some growly angry sounding language now. The wyvern grunted and then seemed to fall asleep. The wyrm readjusted himself so he was more like a sling crossing my body the oppossit way that the strap for my satchel did. I smiled at Gemy while she stared at my new arrangement.

“Care for another companinon?”

She smiled at me, “I think we’d better hope not to meet anyone on the path.”

We continued out of the forest. Being a bit more wary then before when we went out onto the path.
“So is that a dragon?”

“No, this is a wyvern, it’s similar but there are some differences, most notably the lack of forlegs. To tell the truth, beyond that I’m not sure. From what the dragon said, wyrms have the hottest fire and the other creature I saw, I think its name was cuelebre, has no legs at all, but does have wings. It didn’t seem to breathe fire though so I’m not sure how they all fit together. They seem to be able to understand eah other, but it looks like only the proper dragons can talk to us.”

The wyvern let his tail out of his mouth and waved a barb at us before putting it back in like a soother and apparently falling asleep again. He was more dog like in appearance having a rather smooth looking snout and a sleak leathery body, with few deceranable scales.

“Maybe that is his weapon?” Gemy offered.

“Doesn’t look like that much next to the wyrms.”

The wyvern opened one eye and grunted.

“Sure likes to relax.”

“He might be tired.”

“It would be interesting to talk to that dragon again, find out what he knows about the different kinds of dragon creatures.”

“By that I hope you are talking about that little one. I have no interest in going up to that giant one, not after what happened.” Gemy took my arm and we continued on our walk in silence. The wyvern would grunt every now and then and we would take to the forest. It never failed that within a few minutes of us leaving the path a cart or a company would pass us by. For every group that passed going down the mountain I would strain to hear their voices as they chattered, not one matched the voices I had witnessed in the forest the other night. We couldn’t really hurry our pace after we were passed so continued at a leasiurely pace. There were the occasional carts that were in more of a hurry but after our first in excess of twenty stops to let someone pass I decided that that was enough. I loosened my shirt to let the wyrm neaslte inside of it, the wyvern took the opportunity to drap around Gemy’s hips with his wings hanging down. It did look somewhat convincing as a pattern on the skirt, especially when Gemy let her cloack down. This allowed for faster progress, though the wyvern still gave us a grunt warning when we were about to overtake or be overtaken by another person or group. Aside from a nod as we were going by or a ‘good afternoon’ no one took muc hnoticce of us. I started a game with Gemy of trying to identify where on the mountain the different people were from based on their clothes. It wasn’t that easy for Gemy to catch on. There were subdle differences. The lengths of aprons for the women for example, the puffy ness of sleaves, the kind of fasteners on the boots of the cut of vests. These could all be thrown off if the person had bought at a different village or been given a hand me down or gift but the general tone of the clothes was consistent.

“So how do you tell a souther or norther?”

“Well, as far as the southers go, mostly by footwear. On the mountain we always wear boots…for the men, most of the slippers that you see the women wearing when they are indoors were brought or traded for with merchants. In the southlands, the women wear slippers of varying construction and the men wear shoes, usually with a bit of a heel, my dad says that is so they can ride horses better. As for the northers, we don’t see as many of them as high up as our village but they usually have really long flowy clothes in a great range of colors and textures. If it is practical it is probably from the south, if it is beautiful and perhaps not much else then it is from the north.”

Gemy laughed, “what curious places.”

I smiled at her, “I guess they are but I’m sure they think we are plenty strange.”

“But we are so much like the practical southers.” It made me happy to hear her refer to herself as one of us.

“Maybe, but we also live on a mountain that is covered in snow for several cycles of the moon, they don’t think that is very practical and they see no point at all in the northers wardrob or customs. But we get to enjoy them both so that is worth something.”

We ate while walking, I gave the wyrm and the wyvern some of the dried goat meat. The wyrm accepted it readily the wyvern accepted the first bit but wasn’t impressed enough with it to take the next piece I offered him…that or he was asleep again. Was that a thing with wyverns or just this one? We stopped only once to refill our canteens at a mountain stream, taking a large drink at the same time to conserve what we had just picked up. The vegetation changed considerably as we made our way down, where there were mostly shrubs with some evergreen trees there suddenly gave way to whie trees with paper like bark that we would peel off and read as though we were reading scrolls. I taught Gemy what limited poetry I knew, and she engaged me in my making up a part of a story and her continueing it, I would then resume where she left off. If we weren’t walking we might have colapessed in the grass when she started on about a giant goat that would eat entire trees but when it would leave it’s droppings the plant would be already half grown out the other end of it. Not a tale that my mother would approve of to be certain but I put it into my head for remembrance when perhaps we had our own children and we needed a break from being serious in the fields.

According to my estimate we could see where the foot hills were beginning to take over about a stones throw from where we were walking as the sun was turning the clouds pink in its farewell for the day.

“I guess the sunset doesn’t change no matter where you are.”

“Are you tired Gemy? We can stop for a while if you want.”

“I think I’ll still be alright for a while, we’re been going mostly downhill and I’m used to working.”

We would have one more days jurney on foot before we reached the plains area much more than that I couldn’t remember, I think there was something about a river and being wary of the snakes on the plain but that was all. We walked along, the wyvern only slightly more aware than he had been before the wyrms chirping and cooing to each other with great abandon as though they were sharing some myths or legends about the plains. Or perhaps they were trying to scare one another. Either way I felt safer knowing we were packing a couple of fire breathing snakes and one barbed flying thing. Well the wyrms anyway. Gemy started yawning soon after the show of stars came out. We made our way off the path and set the wyvern to guard. He looked like he was asleep but even asleep he seemed better aware of sounds then we were. The wyrms gave off a lot of heat which made it unnecessary to light a fire. It was a good provision. The less attention we attracted the better.
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