the pressure's on, it's time to go
| Gorkan's Brother: A Prophecy Rises Time Te Go!
Time Te Go!
The dark figure slowly approached the table; it was surreal in Cleary's eyes. He had come over as slowly as he could, in his arrogance he had wanted to make a dramatic entrance; Branthony was a drama queen if there ever was one. When he finally came into view Cleary stood in defiance immediately.
"What are yeh about?" Cleary yelled as he realized who it was.
Branthony stopped and looked at the ragtag group of kids all a year younger than he, assessing the intelligence they might be using to plan this escapade. Deciding he really didn't have too much of a choice in who he associated with on this quest, he spoke.
"I's about keepin' yer friend safe an accompanied on this fool's errand." He told them. Mortog shot him a look as if he had been betrayed, but accepted his answer as he realized that the group would take better to him if he endorsed their opinion of this quest.
"Aye, an he's fer helpin' me's against anythin' we be findin' out dare dat one dwarf can'no handle by hisself." Mortog said playing along with Branthony; even Dolokran seemed to look upon him with disappointment, if that were possible. Katek shook his head in disapproval.
"Oh great," Jackel said as he walked up next to Mortog. "When we be invitin' this troll into our group?" Jackel took up a seat next to Cleary. "Well, dare be two chairs left. Might as well sit yer arse down an start listenin'." Mortog knew that Jackel still held importance to the group and so he allowed him to join in. "Did we get any further in decipherin' dat map yet?"
"Aye, but yeh's not gonna like what I's found." Cleary said as Mortog and Branthony sit in the remaining two chairs.
"Looks like it's gonna be a lot longer o' a trip than yeh all be thinkin' it be. Not only has yeh a number o' creatures te avoid, yeh's gonna have te go around Gulliver's Gulch, unless da two o' yeh's knows how te climb-."
"Neigh, da three o' us!" Jackel yelled out. Mortog slammed his fist on the table and stood fiercely.
"I's only be takin' Branthony an dat's final!" Mortog yelled.
"Aye, but dares nothin' stoppin' me from followin' yeh now, is dare?" Jackel said calmly. Veins sticking out of Mortog's red face, he stood there fists clenched in anger, but could do or say nothing to discourage Jackel. He sat back down knowing that he would have to take him with. He started to rationalize why he should take Jackel as Cleary continued to argue with him about it. He was an accomplished rogue and he had at least sixty years on Mortog and Branthony combined, so he had the experience. "An from I's be seein' from yeh at da library, yeh be needin' a good rogue te disarm them traps fer yeh."
"So what yeh know about da outside world, yeh know, outside these walls?" Mortog asked. Branthony thought, for sure, that he would find a way to stop him from going him with them.
"We can'no take him wit us!" Branthony objected.
"Well?" Mortog ignored Branthony's cry.
"I was out dare about twenty years ago fer about a year, maybe two." He told him. "We done some huntin' an believe it or not some fishin' too. I's know how te hunt, skin an cook almost any animal out dare, an I'm good wit a bow."
Mortog sat silently as Branthony looked at him in disbelief. "Do yeh know da area we's be goin' te?"
"Now yeh wait jest a durn minute!" Cleary stood yelling. Other patrons turned to look once more as Cleary quieted and sat back down. "He's me brother! I's not be allowin' it." Jackel sat there shaking his head then put a hand on Cleary's shoulder to quiet him.
"Neigh, we went south, yeh's goin' north, me's seein' on da map dare."
"Aye, an from what me's been readin' in da book, I's be needin' yeh. Da place be trapped te da hells an back. I's be needin' a good rogue. I take it yer forte' is them daggers yeh keep at yer side?"
"Neigh, I's be favorin' da bow. But I am good wit these, no doubt me be gettin' better through this quest. I's can'no wait te git goin' on this crazy quest!"
"Well, yeh better git packed, da both o' yeh, we be leavin' in da mornin'." Mortog looked at them sternly.
"Neigh, we leave after yeh all go te bed. This way no one knows yer gone until after school tomorrow." Jackel suggested. "It'll give us more time te git outta here before anyone notices."
Mortog thought about that for a moment and shook his head. "Dat's da plan then. We all meet at da banks after bedtime. I's fer gittin' me a double bladed Mythril axe tonight an I's be assumin' yeh has yer swords, or do I's be needin' te pick them up too?" He looks at Branthony with a look that told him that he better not have to pick up a sword for him also.
"Aye I's do, but I's still not happy about takin' Jackel wit us."
"I knows yeh don'na like each other but we's all gonna have te work together out dare, unless yer fer stayin' home now-"
"Not a chance!" Branthony actually looked excited about going with them, just so as Jackel was.
It was later that day that Mortog went to the dispensary to browse the Mythril weapon area directly after school and just before battle training. There were dwarves all around him making axes and other weapons in the forge next to the dispensary. Some were swords and some were axes of various shapes and sizes. There were woodworkers working alongside the ore smiths fusing the wood into the ores, sometimes magically. He found the whole experience fascinating. He had been here only one time before; when he was about ten; the teacher took them all down there to see the experts hard at work. Though, there were a lot more dwarves working hard. Now he just needed to go in the back and choose a weapon. He hoped that he would be able to pick out a magical axe for himself. As he walked through the forge he noticed the backroom section where all the finished weapons were stored. He casually walked through a long stone-carved tunnel into the room with the finished weapons; there was no one watching and no guards; that took him by surprise. He took his time knowing that this was going to be his only chance to pick a weapon with which he will probably be using for the rest of his life, as short as that may be. There was a center section that held all manner of swords and even a scythe or two. He walked over to that section and picked up a couple of swords and played with them in his hands, he found one with an exceptional weight and something else he couldn't put his finger on and put it on his pack, like he owned it himself. There were axes and war hammers all around the edge of the circular room. For the most part they all looked like decorative pieces until he ran his finger down one of the blades and sliced his finger without even feeling any pain. He picked up one of the double bladed axes and found that it didn't have the same weight or balance that the dummy one he had the day before at the rink. He would have to practice with this one before he would be able to use it in battle. He picked up another one and it felt almost identical to the first.
Then he saw a double bladed battle axe with a long handle that almost glowed, across the room near one of the three tunnels that led out of the room. There were intricate details in the handle and all across the blades. It looked like a dragon in the middle and its wings spread wide across the blades; fire was being breathed down the length of the shaft. The wooden and Mythril shaft gave way to some runes, the likes of which he had never seen before. The etchings were in an almost invisible gold color, but he could see it clearly. It was throbbing with a soft illumination. His eyes flew wide and he went straight for it before another dwarf seemed to just appear in front of him, startling him slightly as he reached for it. He almost got into his defensive stance. He was a tall dwarf; he stood about five foot two. He wore some ancient service armor and had an axe strapped to his back similar to the one Mortog was looking at. He saw very similar etchings on his blades but he couldn't quite make out what they were. It was weird because he was the only dwarf in the whole forge actually wearing armor and a weapon. He looked at Mortog and smiled.
"Aye boy, yeh like dat one do yeh?" He asked. "Aint yeh a little young te have one o' these? Let me see if'n yeh can even lift it, I's be bettin' yeh can'no." He said with a sly grin.
First of all, Mortog knew he could, he just lifted a couple of them just a minute ago and how much heavier could this one be; because it had a longer shaft? Secondly, this one seemed to call out to him, almost as if it is supposed to be his. He hesitated for a moment and looked at the old dwarf as he leaned up against the wall and crossed his arms with a smile on his face. He seemed warm and affectionate; he wasn't trying to mock him at all, he was genuinely curious to see what he could do with one. That's why Mortog hesitated to pick it up, it almost looked like a setup, a trap, but then he remembered, he had his plan.
He looked at the older dwarf watching him, then at the axe in question. He reached out to grab it. He went to lift it, but it seemed heavier than the others but he was still able to grasp it and pick it up with one hand. When he put his other hand on it to stabilize the axe it seemed to become lighter; he felt it adjust to his strength level. Feeling a slight strain on his arms he was able to lift it in his hand and bring it above his head, then feeling its weight he twirled it above his head with one hand, then down in an arc letting it go as he brought the handle back around catching it in his other hand. The dwarf stood there and just smiled wide.
"It looks like dat be yer axe." He said to Mortog in his deep rumbling voice. He was smiling just as wide as Mortog was. "I wouldn't have believed it if'n I's hadn't seen it wit me own eyes. I's gonna turn me back now, when I's turn around I don'na expect te see yeh again." He turned and Mortog took off down one of the tunnels leaving the weapons room, down the stone hall into another room where other dwarves were to sign out their weapons.
He didn't know how to handle this room, he hadn't even thought about a sign out room. There were two dwarves in front of him, he had that long to figure something out. One of the dwarves in front of him was also named Mortog. 'How weird.' he thought to himself, how could that even be. He knew of no one who had the same name that he had, he had thought that his parents made up that name just for him. All his brothers were named Gorkan. In any case, he signed out a large war hammer and the other dwarf had a simple, yet very artistic, almost elvish, sword that he signed out. He decided that he would sign it out himself, after all by the time they figured out that he signed a weapon out; he would be long gone anyway. Besides he had his plan, time to implement it.
"Yeh be lookin' a little young te be signin' out weapons aint yeh?" The rather large dwarf behind the stone counter asked him. "An dat looks a little big fer yeh don'na yeh think?"
"Aye, but it's not fer me, this bein' fer me battle commander, Dargus. He asked me te pick this up fer him fer a demonstration tomorrow at school." Mortog said with as much confidence as he could muster, he was just allowed out of the weapons room with it after all. This was going to be his lucky day. And why would they even question a reason like that. By the time they figure out it was a lie, he'll be out of Camfor completely.
"Well then, jest sign here an we be gittin' yeh on yer way, don'na wanna make Dargus mad yeh know." It looked like he was going to get away with it so he just signed it out, that was all there was to it. His plan worked. "An what about dat sword yeh be holdin' onto, we donna git a lot o' visitors with backpacks or weapons when they come in here."
"Oh dat be jest a sword I's kind of like an want te train wit. Is dat okay?"
"As long as yeh sign it out I's see no reason yeh can'no have it." The large dwarf behind the counter definitely didn't want to anger Dargus that was for sure. It seemed that he was as witty today as he needed to be. Mortog was able to walk away with both weapons without incident.
Meanwhile in the weapons room, the dwarf turned back around leaned back against the wall, saw that he wasn't there and smiled, then he slowly faded into the air.
" I's don'na want him thrown in irons!" Telis pleaded with the council.
"we's can'no make dat guarantee, he stole a valuable book from our sacred book section, an he didn't take it by accident. He knew what he was doin'."
"But he be jest tryin' te help yeh wit da war."
"Me thinks dares more te it than dat. We not be sure what, but somethin' else is goin' through his mind as well. Now me thinks yeh should go an see if he's at his house while we check da school. I's fer thinkin' he won't be at either place but he may not have enacted this 'plan' o' his yet. Don'na yeh worry, we aint gonna kill him or nothin'. He'll be alright." He said while waving her off. "Take a group te his house an te da school. Meet Telis at da house." He told one of the guards who was already in the chambers awaiting his orders.
Telis raced to Mortog's house hoping to beat the guards there. 'They won't be hurtin' him if'n he jest gives up da book, all's I's got te do is convince him te give up da book. I's knows me can do dat, he loves me right? He be doin' it cause he loves me.' She reasoned on her way to his house.
Arriving she only finds his mother, whom she knows doesn't like her.
"Is Mortog here? Please say he be here."
"What are yeh on about Telis?" Darcey asked.
"Mortog. He's done somethin' real bad. He stole a sacred book from da library an he is bein' tracked by da guards an me's be thinkin' a mage too." She told Darcey in a fit of worry.
Now Darcey see's the look of total panic in Telis's eyes and begins to realize that maybe she's not so bad. Her hands keep fidgeting and her nose is crinkling every so often. Those lines in her forehead tell Darcey that she might actually love her son, or at least care about him a great deal.
'Great! Someone I's hates now loves me son who is now on da lam fer stealin' from da great library. Could this git any worse?' She thinks to herself as the guards, and sure enough, one completely capable mage, shows up on her doorstep all of them riding Larthapeds. These giant grey lizards with horns are only brought out for dire emergencies like medical instances or catching a thief in this case.
"Where be yer son Darcey?" The lead guard asked.
"Yeh've got me. I thought he was at school, he might'n still be dare I don'na know." Darcey told them.
"Telis yeh need te come wit us until we find him." He grabs her arm and slings her up to the rear seat of his harness and they gallop away from Darcey's house.
'I sure hope he knows what he be doin'. At least I's taught him well.' She thought as they rode away. She heard one of the guards wailing an order. "Take him by any force necessary!" Now she got even more worried. 'Gods, I hope I be teachin' him well enough.'
She immediately went to check her husband's closet. Sure enough, his winter clothes were missing. She wondered if it was winter on the surface and hoped he would be okay. Now she needs to go to the council chambers to find out what's going on. She has a feeling he's trying to escape to the surface, 'but why?'
"Dargus, yeh better not be hidin' him here, if yeh are yeh can be charged too, an if we find out yeh be hiddin' him here we be takin' yeh in too." The guard said as he dismounted the Larthaped. He helped Telis down from the creature as well, as she didn't feel comfortable on it.
She knew this place, this is where she used to come to watch him spar with his classmates. He always won. She would watch each student try to take him down with one textbook move or another and they would always end up flat on their backs or eating a face full of gravel. This is where she watched all of his victories. Right now she worried that he has gotten himself into something he can't get himself out of. 'Why couldn't he have jest told me what he was doin'?' She thought to herself. 'Well probably cause yeh'd go an tells someone jest like yeh did, yeh dolt!' She rubbed her hands impatiently as she heard the men talking to Dargus and rummaging through his office and classrooms.
"We's knows yeh got him, now give him up." One of the guards said.
"Do yeh even know who I am? Even da king respects my boundries, yeh's all gone too far this time!" Dargus yelled.
"I's don'na see him anywhere!" One of the guards inside the classroom yelled. "He not be here."
"I's picked up a trail back at Darcey's house, we need te go back, It led here but turned off somewheres in between da house an here. He aint here." Said the mage.
Finding the trail, they headed off for the banks, they now had a destination. Meanwhile back in the council chambers, Darcey had arrived to speak with Lars.
"Lars, dat be me boy an I don'na want te see any harm come te him!"
"I's Can'no promise yeh anythin', yeh know dat, if'n he tries te fight back we have no choice but te disable him."
"What exactly does 'Disable' him mean, yeh be killin' me boy?!"
"Were goin' te try our best te make sure he comes in peaceably, but we can'no always rely on what da mother thinks o' her boy." Lars told her bluntly. "Since our new king we have had te put many mothers sons down fer tryin' te kill da king or even jest tryin' te kill our guards, we have te put them down. An every one o' them had mothers dat protested our use o' force. I's sorry Darcey, but we'll try an keep him alive an healthy any ways we can, we be needin' information from him anyway."
'What kind o' information could he possibly have dat would keep him alive?' She thought as she walked back to her home wrestling with the thought that they may have to kill her dear Mortog, feeling more helpless than any time she has ever had to walk away from those council chambers in defeat. She felt exhausted, and now she must tell Forge.
Mortog and Branthony waited rather impatiently for Jackel to show at the banks. They both checked each other's packs to make sure that they grabbed everything they could bring with them.
"I's be gittin' yeh this sword, me thinks it's magical somehow, but I's fer knowin' it be better an either o' yer swords, so try it out." He watched as Branthony played with the new sword.
"I's be feelin' somethin' but I's not fer knowin' what it is. I hope I's find out before we git's into combat an I have te find out on da fly. An what about yeh? Dat be one hell o' an axe Mortog, did it cost yeh anythin'?" Branthony asked him.
"Naw, but I's best be gittin' out o' here before anyone be findin' out dat I's checked out me new axe an yer new sword."
"Can I hold it?" Branthony begged of Mortog as he sheathed his sword and tied his other one to his pack.
Mortog looked him over for a moment and decided with a grunt to let him hold it. He grabbed it from his pack and handed it over to Branthony with one hand, who, immediately dropped the head on the ground, still holding its shaft.
"Aye, it weighs a ton! How yeh gonna fight wit this?!" Branthony squeaked. Mortog reached over and picked it up with one hand and tied it back onto his pack with a smile, knowing that its magic was made just for him.
"Bah, wish Jackel would hurry his arse up." Mortog irritatedly exclaimed.
"Do yeh think he decided te back out?" Branthony asked excitedly.
"Well, if'n he did then we go without him." Mortog grimly told him. "I knows yeh don'na like him but we's be needin' him badly an yeh be happy if'n yer lookin' straight down da bolt of an arrow cause yeh didn't see da trap." He could see Branthony visibly tense up at that, or it could've been that he saw Jackel coming straight towards them with a bow and a pack slung around his shoulder. Mortog immediately took notice of his bow and quiver; he noted the quality of both and the craftsmanship of the bow. Mortog knew then that, indeed, Jackel was an expert archer.
"Check yer packs after we git te da forbidden cavern, we's gots company comin' an fast." Jackel said with a hard look on his now rigid face as he walked right past them and headed towards the cavern.
"But dat not be da way we're te go." Mortog stubbornly objected as Branthony stood there waiting to take his cue from Mortog. Jackel stopped on one of the higher boulders that they would have to climb if they were to get to the forbidden cavern and pivoted on one foot to look at them.
"Da mages be already on dare way, we gots te go, an go now! This aint no joke. They also have those Larthapeds wit them, yeh know, them things dat rescue dwarves from here all da time, we got'sa go an go now! Me be thinkin dat we had more time if'n we left late at night, seems I's was right about when we should leave. They be after us already! So let's go." He turned and climbed farther into the terrain.
Mortog motioned to Branthony to follow Jackel and then followed him taking up the rear.
They climbed fast, Jackel leading the way. After some serious rock climbing they slowed their pace enough for Mortog to go up to the front with Branthony and Jackel.
"It appears dare mages has picked up on our scents an da guards be directly behind us. They have already been te yer house Mortog, we have no time te lose, we need te be gone tonight. On top o' dat I could swear I seen Telis talkin' te da guards.
"No!" Mortog wouldn't dare believe him, it was just speculation, 'a girl dat looked jest like her maybe.' he thought. But he knew in his heart of hearts that it was her, and it hurt, it hurt with the pain of a thousand swords running him through. Thinking then of the mages, 'Great this whole thing be over before we even git a chance te start. An me own girlfriend coulda' done us in.'
Cleary was following close behind them in his mother's cloak of concealment. He had grabbed it from her closet years ago when he was a boy. His mom probably knew he took it and let him have it. It came in handy now as he was following the group into the forbidden cavern. Those mages really knew how to track. Cleary assumed they were tracking the book. Since they also checked Mortog and Jackel's houses he had the feeling they already knew who was responsible for the theft of the book. Mortog had inquired about the book several times already so they probably had a feeling they knew who took it and what book he took.
He had a pack pre packed a couple of days ago knowing that if Mortog was really going to go on his fools quest than he better be there to heal and protect him. 'God's knows he be needin' it.' He was really good at his craft and it was no surprise to anyone, as magic ran in his family line, his mother had it, and her father and his mother and so on. So when he decided to go on this quest Cleary knew he had better prepare as best as he could, burning his spells onto his body, he even snagged one of his grandmothers spell books thinking he may need it. He hadn't really thought Mortog was going to go through with it, but now that the guards were catching up to him, they didn't have much of a choice in the matter. Mortog would be thrown in the local dungeon for who knows how long, and Cleary knew it. He was prepared to go with Mortog and now he had all of his supplies and even some extra food. He figured he wouldn't be able to stay hidden for long, maybe just long enough to get far enough away that they couldn't turn him away.
Cleary didn't really have any offensive spells but he knew plenty of defensive ones and the new book held even more. He had to catch up to the group if he was going to enter the forbidden cavern with them. He would have to stay within earshot of the crew otherwise he could very easily get lost in it forever. He knew his light spells wouldn't work in the cavern, in fact, no magic would work. They can't even light a torch in the cavern because the darkness seemed to eat up light itself. A very particular phenomenon was going on inside that cave. He figured if he stayed near them he could follow their voices. He doubted that even the mages in pursuit would track them once they were inside the cavern.
He watched as they tied ropes around themselves to keep track of each other while they stood at the entrance to the cave, watching the lizards come closer and closer; and he wished he could tag along with them so he didn't get lost, but he would have to try and keep up with their voices. He also knew the risk if he couldn't follow them, that thought made him weak in the knees.
He entered the cavern to the point where he could still see out and he was able to hear the chatter from the group. He watched as the mages and guards stopped in front of the cavern and just stood there muttering to themselves. One of them tried a more in-depth illumination spell and Cleary chuckled when it failed. He could no longer stay and watch though, as the voices were getting farther away. He had to follow into the void.
"Thank da heavens. Light. I's be so happy te be able te see somethin' again." Exclaimed Branthony as they reached a point that held a natural skylight in the cavern. There were trees with green leaves on them and what looked like weeds all over the cave floor next to the large clear pool in the center of the chamber. Mortog walked over to the edge of the pool, pulled off his pack, and put his hands in the water. It was warm and stunk of rotten eggs.
"Now don'na yeh go drinkin' none o' dat water, It aint no drinkin' water." Jackel said. "Don'na yeh let dat pond fool yeh, it can be dangerous te drink. I say's we all take a break an check each other's gear now, we should be safe from them mages fer a while. I's fer knowin' they won't be comin' in here anytime soon."
They all sat down and started going through packs and taking inventory of their supplies and tools. They each had their own specialties when it came to survival, except for Mortog who originally thought that he could just wing it, but when he saw all the traps that Jackel brought with him, he realized right away that he was a fool. He's doubly glad he had brought people with him now.
"How long was we in dare yeh think?" Mortog asked.
"Oh me's be thinkin' about two hours or so." Came Jackels response. "Rest up now, we's gots a hard climb ahead o' us."
"Where are yeh takin' us?" Mortog said almost angrily. "Yeh had this planned all along didn't yeh?"
"Aye." Was all Jackel said about it.
"Why didn't yeh say anythin' sooner?" Mortog asked, now fully angry.
"Yeh would'no have gone along wit it, yeh had yer way out o' dare an dat was final. This way, aint nobody gonna follow us an they's don'na even know this place exists. Notta one o' them has ever been this far back but me. An I's fer knowin' dat if'n yeh took da other route, they be catchin' up te us in no time flat. So calm yerself an relax, cause we leave when it be almost light out." Jackel seemed to be taking over Mortog's plans and he didn't like that one bit; but they were now stuck with no other choice but to follow him. Jackel did have a point though; no one would dare follow them into the cave.
"Okay guys, time te pack up an make da climb." Jackel told them as the cavern began to light up slightly. "When we git up te da top we should have enough daylight left te hike several miles before we need te make camp. Dat puts us away from any darin' explorers dat try an follow us out here. We are close enough te da citadel dat I's knows our first campsite an it's secluded enough."
Mortog was getting frustrated at being given orders by Jackel. This was HIS quest, not Jackel's but still, he could find no fault in his logic, which just made him even more frustrated.
The climb wasn't as 'tough' as they were led to believe; it wasn't really a steep incline, but if they missed their footing they would only slide down until they could grab hold of something. They wouldn't go plummeting to their deaths up there.
The cavern had been warm enough but now that they were nearing the top of the climb they found it colder. The last few feet were the hardest. That was a steep incline, but even with their weighted down packs they still made it up with relative ease.
The air was crisp and cold, almost too cold. The ground was frozen below Mortog's feet. When he finally stood up, he froze, his face wrinkled in complete confusion. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing cold; but there before him laid a frozen sort of paradise. The kids had never seen snow.