Wesley shows how far he is willing to go for love.
Wesley hated sheep. It seemed to him that everything bad in his life could be traced back to the little woolly buggers, and under any normal situation he would steer as far away from them as it was humanly possible. Yet here he was, on a beautiful, late Spring day, on a hilltop with a flock of the bleating little creatures under his care. He sighed and shook his head, then turned his gaze to the crystal clear heavens. All because he couldn't say no to a pair of eyes that matched that same sky. Megan Genly. She had batted her eyes, smiled that bright smile and mentioned that she needed a little help tending her grandfather's flocks. Wesley had pledged himself before he had even realized what he was getting into. He had imagined sitting on this hilltop with the pretty Megan, all alone save for their grass eating charges. He hadn't taken into account the fact that Old Man Genly, Megan's grandfather, held a grudge against him, and wasn't too happy at the thought of his only granddaughter unchaperoned with what he deemed a foul mouthed troublemaker. The result; Wesley was in the east field and Megan had the other half of the flock in the west field, miles away. To further his anti Wesley plan, Old Man had made Megan take that demon dog Gibbs with her. If a creature had been birthed into this world that that disliked Wesley more than the old man it was the old man’s dog.
"Call someone a senile old goat and you never hear the end of it. What was I supposed to say? He asked ’Who do you think I am?’ so I told him."
A lamb looked up at Wesley and bleated questioningly.
"Oh shut up," Wesley snapped without sparing it a glance. "Eat your grass and leave me alone."
The lamb bleated again, its tone indignant and offended. Wesley turned and gave the sheep a look showing it exactly what he thought about its hurt feelings and stuck his tongue out. With as much dignity as a sheep can muster, the lamb turned away and went back to grazing.
"That'll show you," Wesley grumbled.
"Talking to sheep. My, my Wesley you have been out here far to long."
Wesley closed his eyes and winced at the sound of the feminine voice and the laughter that followed. He could feel his cheeks burn as the blood rushed to them.
"Errrrr, yes, well," Wesley stammered in embarrassment as he stood and turned to the blue eyed angel that was Megan Genly. He fidgeted a bit, then settled at last for a shrug and a grin he hoped wasn't as silly as it felt.
"I took my bunch home and came to check on you."
Megan walked over to one of the lambs and bent to pet it. Wesley’s eyes followed her as she moved. When she stopped he took a deep breath, clutched his courage tight, and took a step towards her. He stopped beside her and, feeling a tad bold, moved to place his hand on her shoulder. This course of action, however, was forestalled by a dangerous growl that he instantly recognized. Megan turned her head slightly, to regard the large black dog that had just trotted up, and shook her head.
Wesley eyed the dog warily. He never could understand how anyone thought that letting the monster guard sheep was a good idea. It looked more like something they should be protect the sheep from. Gibbs was big, her shoulder reached just above Wesley‘s waist, and Wesley wouldn’t have been surprised if she weighted as much as he did. Wesley was also of the opinion that the dog had a demonically unnecessary amount of long sharp teeth.
The dog obeyed her mistress’s command and obediently moved to sit next to Megan. Her spot secure, she then turned to stare at Wesley. The boy got the impression that the dog was begging him to give her a reason to tear him apart. Wesley responded by glaring right back.
I hate that dog Wesley thought to himself. It wasn’t that he was afraid of Gibbs per say, but had learned be wary. Wesley suspected that the Senile Old Goat had trained the dog for the soul purpose of ruining his life.
Megan meanwhile sat cooing over the lamb, not once noticing the hostile glances being exchanged by man and beast. She stood up, a smile still on her lips and looked out over the flock. It didn't take long for the frown to be replaced by a frown.
"Wesley?" she said and turned to the boy.
"Yes," he responded, but didn't look away from the dog. The two were involved in a brutal battle of wills, and Wesley refused to lose such a battle to a dog by looking away first.
"Wesley!" Megan repeated emphatically and stamped her foot lightly. Wesley blinked and looked at her, then jerked his gaze back to the dog. Gibbs regarded him with a smug, superior smirk or at least as close to one as a dog could manage. Wesley scowled and shot the dog a look saying things were far from over.
"What is it Megan?" Wesley asked looking at the girl.
"One of the sheep is missing." She said. Wesley looked at her, then out over the flock.
"You sure about that?" he asked cursing slightly to himself. If there were any missing the Old Man would force him to work for him till the sheep had been paid for. Megan nodded and Wesley cursed out loud.
"Well I guess I have to go find it," he said. "I mean, it couldn't have wandered too far off could it?"
"Well you go look for it, and I'll stay here and watch the flock," Megan replied. She didn't really want Wesley in trouble either. "And take Gibbs with you. She's good at finding them when they stray."
Wesley regarded the dog, whose ears had perked up at the mention of its name. It was doing its best to look innocent and helpful, even going so far as to wag her stump of a tail and lick at his hand. Not that she fooled Wesley. He knew that the dog only wanted to get him a lone where it could turn against him with no witnesses. He looked back to Megan, ready to refuse, when he once again fell under the spell of those shinning blue eyes.
"I'll be glad to take her," he heard his voice say, while his brain shrieked every profanity it knew at him.
"Good she should be wonderful help," Megan said smiling. "I'm sure you'll find the sheep in no time."
A few hours later....
"Give up already you stupid mutt and go away," Wesley shouted down at the dog sitting at the base of the tree it had chased him up nearly half an hour earlier. The dog growled at him and made no move to end its siege.
"You're going to regret this when I get down," Wesley told the dog angrily. Gibbs responded with a bark, as if daring the boy to carry out his threat.
"That's it," Wesley said. He the began to break off small branches and throw them down at the dog.
"How do you like this, hmmm?"
One hit the dog's nose and she yelped in pain and rubbed it with her paw. She then turned angry eyes at the boy and went back to an earlier tactic. Jumping and snarling and trying in vain to get up the tree and at the boy.
"Ha, didn't like that did you," Wesley teased. "Did I hurt the poor widdle puppy? Stupid dog can't climb trees."
Wesley threw a few more sticks at the enraged dog, working it into a frenzy. He then laughed at it and stuck out his tongue. It was about at that time he heard a strange creaking, cracking sound. He stopped his taunting and looked about curiously trying to find the source of the noise. It was only after he felt the limb under him move that he realized that it may not have been such a good idea to bounce around so much on it.
With a loud snap, and a startled yelp, the limb gave way. Wesley's decent was slowed somewhat by the branches under him, but not halted. The most they did was add a few bruises and scratches before he finally landed with a thud on the ground. Wesley lay on his back for a moment gasping and trying to regain his breath. A sadistic growl caught his attention, and he tilted his head back to stare into a set of big, sharp drooling teeth. He opened his mouth and painfully filled his lungs before rolling onto his rear and back peddling away expecting to be mauled. Gibbs growled and barked angrily at him, and for the first time Wesley noticed the limb he had been sitting on, along with a few others that had broken off in his fall piled across the dog's back.
Gibbs was bucking and wriggling, obviously unhurt, but very angry, and Wesley could see the dog would eventually free itself. He grinned at the extremely enraged dog and once again stuck out his tongue before standing.
"See? I told you that you would regret it when I got down," Wesley said with a grin. Gibbs shot him a look promising holy vengeance. Wesley merely waved, turned and walked away.
Wesley wasn't exactly sure where he was. Gibbs had started chasing him soon after they had left Megan, and Wesley had been focusing more on survival then navigation.
"Stupid mutt getting me lost," he said to himself as he looked around the strange wood. The faint cent of smoke suddenly tickled his nose. He stopped and looked around. Just off to his right you could make out what looked like a campfire.
"Well at least I can get some directions," he said to himself and made his way towards the light. As he got closer he began to make out two voices. Both were male and they seemed to be in the middle of some discussion.
"I am most certainly better at it than you are Edmund, ol'boy," Said the first a deep, merry voice.
"Nonsense, my good Fitzbe," said the second a high pitch, but equally merry voice responded.
Wesley had made it to the edge of the clearing the fire was in and was about to announce himself when he caught sight of the speakers. One was a thin giant of a man with what appeared to be wooden antlers sprouting from his white haired head. The other man was much shorter, but made up for it in with. He was round, almost as wide as he was tall, and his face was a apple red color.
"I'll wager you I am a better transmuter than you my old friend," the tall, high voiced man said. "My staff for your pouch?"
The round man laughed cheerfully.
"I'll take that bet, dear friend," he said. "So what are you going to do, turn a frog into a prince?"
The tall man scoffed.
"That's hardly a challenge, Fitzbe ol'boy," the tall man replied.
Wesley had opened his mouth to ask the gentlemen if they could tell him where he was, but came to the conclusion that whatever it was they were doing, it would be best not to disturb them. He had just turned and was about to walk away when he heard a sound behind him that made him stop.
"I say, is that a sheep, Edmund?"
"Why I do believe it is, Fitzbe."
Wesley silently cursed and turned back around. Sure enough the two strange men were looking down at a sheep that had wandered into their clearing.
"How odd," Edmund to which Fitzbe nodded. Edmund then brightened.
"I say, this is a bit of luck," he said happily. "I will turn this sheep into a dragon."
Fitzbe looked at the little fluffy creature for a moment.
"Now that would be something to see," he said. “If you can manage that, I will bow before you as the master of transmutation.”
"Alright then, I shall do it," and so saying the tall man stretched out his long arms and began to chant over the sheep. The sheep meanwhile bleated in surprise and began to glow a sullen red.
"Hey stop," Wesley shouted coming into the clearing from his hiding place. Both men blinked and turned to Wesley, the tall man stammered his spell in surprise. The red glow suddenly became a blue glow and with a flash of light and puff of smoke the sheep vanish.
"Oh bugger," the tall man said. "I hate it when that happens."
He then looked at Wesley, and which a movement too swift for the boy to avoid grabbed him and hosted him up by the leg. Wesley found himself hanging about three feet from the ground upside down.
“What do we have here?” Edmund said curiously. "You cost me a bet, m'boy."
"Let me go," Wesley said twisting and trying to retch free of the man's strong grasp. "And give me back my sheep."
"Ah, so that was your sheep," said Fitzbe. "Terribly sorry bout that."
"Quite, sorry, m'boy," Edmund added.
"Ummm, its...okay..." Wesley said. His struggles added with all the blood rushing to his head was starting to make him a little woozy. "Can you let me go?"
"Oh sorry," the tall man said and set him down. Wesley sat on the ground, his head spinning slightly.
"Dreadfully sorry bout your sheep," the tall man said again, then accepted a cup of tea from Fitzbe.
"If I had known you were here I would have gotten your permission before casting on it."
"Ummmm, yeah, sure," Wesley said. "Look all I want is the sheep back, what happened to it?"
"Oh it was teleported somewhere else in the forest I suppose," the tall man said and sipped his tea. "I say Fitzbe but this tea is good. You've out done yourself."
"Why thank you Edmund," the round man replied. "It’s my special aged blend. You see the secret is to..."
"Errrr, I hate to interrupt, but can I get my sheep back please?" Wesley asked. He wasn't sure what teleported meant, but he was sure it wasn't good for sheep.
"Oh, yes, yes," Edmund said. "Quite easily done."
Wesley sighed in relief and watched as Edmund began to chant a spell.
"Would you like a cake for your tea, Edmund?" Came Fiztbe's voice.
"Why yes I would, Fitzbe ol'boy," Edmund said, stopping his chant.
"Hey pay at..." Wesley began before he was covered in a warm glow.
The two strange men turned at the flash of light to stare at the empty spot Wesley had once occupied.
"Oh dear," Edmund said thoughtfully.
"What happened?" Fitzbe asked.
"It appears I sent him to the sheep instead of bringing it to him."
"Ahhhh, oh well no harm done then. More tea?"
For a split second the forest was lit in blinding light accompanied by the unearthly sound of pure, crackling energy. Just as suddenly as it had flared to life, the energy vanished, leaving behind the faint sent of cinders and one very upset young man. Wesley blinked and squinted his eyes in an attempt to see into the gloom around him. The trees were gigantic, larger than any he had ever seen, and cast deep shadows that only darkened the approaching night. The air was thick and silent, without the sound of even an insect to be heard. He stood slowly and turned, searching the night for any sign of something that might help him get home. Seeing nothing in the gloom of the forest, he decided his best course of action given the situation at hand. Bending he picked up a forked stick and tossed it into the air. It twirled for a moment in mid air, then landed with a bounce on the leaf strewn ground. He looked in the direction the fork pointed and sighed.
“That way then I guess,” he said to himself. He had gone no more than three steps, however, before he stopped. He thought he had detected a faint noise born upon the wind and paused straining to listen. At first there was silence and he almost convinced himself he had imagined the entire thing, when he again heard the sound. It was the distinct sound of a bleating sheep. For a moment Wesley considered ignoring it, but the haunting image pretty blue eyes played across his mind. With a deep, heart felt sigh, he turned and started in the direction of the sound. The last shades of day retreated causing him to stumbled navigated the gloom in search of the sounds origin.
“Stupid sheep,” he muttered to himself as he groped around in the darkness.
As if it had heard the bleat was repeated off to his left and he turned. As he did, his fingers brushed against cold, smooth stone. He squinted into the darkness attempting to identify exactly what it was he had found. He ran his hands along the stones, coming to the conclusion that whatever it was he had found was man made. His eyes began to adjust to the darkness and he found himself staring at an old, crumbling well. The stones around it were moss covered and the wall they had once formed collapsing. Wesley frowned for a moment, then cursed whatever power had brought him out on this errand.
“Please tell me it didn’t,” Wesley said to himself, and was answered by a bleat from the dark pit of the well. Wesley cursed again and kicked the standing wall, causing it to move slightly and causing a the dislodging of a few small stone. These fell into the darkness and were followed a few seconds later by the quiet splash of water.
“Stupid, stupid sheep,” Wesley said angrily looking down into the well. “How could you be stupid enough to fall down there. I should leave you to rot.”
A rather pleading bleat came up to him. He scowled.
“You were smart enough to fall in, you can get yourself out,” Wesley responded. A more urgent bleat came up from the darkness.
“I have no sympathy for you,” Wesley responded. “I just hope there aren’t any snakes down there.”
A few apprehensive bleats followed, to which Wesley shook his head.
“You’re lucky I need you or I’d leave you here,” Wesley said in a long suffering voice. “If you’re witless enough to fall in, god knows you deserve what you get. Now how the blazes do I get you out.”
Wesley looked around his immediate surroundings then crossed his arms before his chest and frowned.
“What I need is a rope, or vine or something,” he mused. The sheep bleated from the well, and Wesley turned to scowl at the down the pit.
“Quiet, beast,” he said. “If the bucket rope was up here, don’t you think I would try it. Now don’t bother me unless you have something of value to add.”
No further distraction came from the well, and Wesley nodded in satisfaction. He turned his gaze upward and was able to just make out a few stars through a hole in the leafy canopy. Lost in thought, he did not notice when he began to lean back on the stone wall of the well. The wall however noticed, and did not appreciate the young man’s weight. Before Wesley could react, the wall collapsed back. With a yelp, Wesley flailed vainly for a hand hold, then found himself tumbling back into nothingness. A lone echoing curse was heard, followed a few seconds later by a large splash as stones and a body found the water at the bottom of the well.
Wesley came up sputtering cold water and found himself in absolute darkness. He also found the water to be somewhat deeper than he was tall and thrashed and flailed around till he managed to make it to one of the sides. He clutched to the wall crouching and shivering. He heard a curious bleat and turned his head trying to find the source.
“Wwwherrre a-arre yyyyyou,” He stammered through chattering teeth. The bleat repeated, and Wesley had the disturbing impression that the sound was coming from slightly above him. It was then he realized that the well was almost silent, with the only disturbance of the water to be heard coming from his own movements.
“Wwwhat thhhe devvvvil? Yyyyyou’re nananot in th-the wa-water?”
Wesley almost welcomed the warming anger he felt at the negative bleat that answered him. Slowly Wesley began to climb his way up the wall. He wasn’t too sure of how far he had fallen but was fairly certain that he could not be too deep. Finding hand holds on the slippery rocks was difficult. The task was made more demanding by the pitch blackness and cold induced tightness of his fingers. More than once in only a few foots climb Wesley almost lost his grip. Only the thought of a second plunge into the icy water below and the promise of a large mutton dinner when he got home kept him climbing.
Wesley had almost reached the height he guessed the bleating was coming from when the unexpected once again happened. As he groped blindly for a hand hold in the inky blackness, the rough stony texture of the wall was replaced by wood. Frowning he felt around till his hand came across what felt to be a large metal ring with a short length of some rotting material attached to it. He tugged on the ring testing to see if it would support his weight. The movement, however, caused his footing to slip. The only thing that saved him from a second dunking in the cold, dark water below was his grip on the ring. He let out a shaky breath as he grabbed the ring with his other, he placed his feet against the wall and attempted to pull himself up with the ring, only to have it give way from the wall with a reluctant, metallic groan. Wesley yelp and for one heartstoping moment thought he was going to fall again. Instead he hang there, both hands gripping the ring as the chain that ran from the ring to a small hole in the wall went tight. There was a sharp click and a grinding sound, followed by a gurgling sound below him and very frightened bleat from above him. Wesley did not respond to the bleat. He too busy trying to calm his own racing heart. When the sounds died down, save for a pitiful bleat, and nothing had happened, Wesley sighed deeply in relief. It was at that moment the chain holding the ring snapped.
For the second time that night, Wesley found himself falling into the darkness of the well. He did not find the second time anymore enjoyable than the first. He did have the strange felling he was falling farther than he had climbed this time, however. He landed with a loud splash and this time his feet made contact with the bottom. He came up sputtering and found that he could keep his head barely above water if he stood on his tiptoes. He also found that he could see. The walls around him glowed with an dim and eerie blue light. As he looked around, he saw what appeared to be a ledge with a doorway. He swam over to it as best he could and pulled himself up on the ledge and collapsed. He lay there for a moment panting and trying to calm his racing heart. He was not a good swimmer, and did not particularly like water. The only reason he had learned to swim as well as he did was because of an attempt to impress a girl, and after she had been less than trilled by his skill he had never swam again.
He rolled his head over to look at the door way. It was about three feet wide and about 6 tall. He stood slowly, and shambled through it. He found himself at the bottom of a stairway leading up. He clutched at himself and his teeth chattered as he looked up the stairs. The walls also had the same blue glow. Wesley looked closely and found the glow was coming from some sort of mold growing on the wall. He scratched some off then grimaced and wiped it on his tunic leaving a glowing blue streak.
“Well my choices are these stairs or trying to climb the well again,” he said to himself. He weighted his options silently for a moment and then began to make his way up the stairs. They went up to where he guessed the wells original water level had been then ended at an old, wooden door. A locked wooden door. Wesley cursed as he put his shoulder to the door and tried to push the door open, but could not get it to budge.
“Stupid door,” Wesley said angrily. “Damn it Open!”
To emphasis his command he gave it one more hard shove. The door remained solid. Its rusted hinges, however, did not. When Wesley’s shoulder hit the door, the hinges gave. The door landed on the floor with a loud crash and a cloud of dust. Wesley landed on the door with a slightly less loud thump.
“That will show you,” Wesley said as he stood and rubbed his shoulder. He looked around found himself in a dimly lit room. The walls were covered by rotting tapestries, and what once had possibly been an expensive and beautiful rug lay on the floor. In the center of the room on two legs sat an old wooden table with equally decrepit looking chairs around it. The light in the room came from the glowing mold which covered the ceiling.
Wesley stepped forward into the room, his feet stirring small clouds of dust. The air in the room was stale and smelled slightly of decay. He looked to one corner and a shiver ran through Wesley’s body. A skeleton lay there, the glowing mold growing on it and causing the bones to glow. The skeleton was dressed in what may have once been a fine tunic and hose, but were now rags. Around it‘s waist was strapped a sword belt. Wesley considered examining the corpse, or at least taking the sword, but could not make himself go near it. Three of the walls had doors: the one he had come through, and the ones to the right and left of it. Stood beside the old table and looked back and forth between them.
“Well one’s as good as the other,” he sighed and walked to the right door. He pulled the handle and the door opened easily. He wasn’t sure what he had expected on the other side, but what greeted him certainly wasn’t it. He had to blink a few times and shake his head to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
Wesley found himself in an almost impossibly, gigantic room. It appeared to be larger than the meadow he had tended sheep in. Two rows of columns, some of them broken and fallen on there side lead from the door to the center of the room like silent sentinels. Where the columns ended, a beam of red light shot down from the ceiling. This light tinted everything in the room a sullen red. Wesley swallowed and started forward. He walked between the columns towards the light gazing from side to side at them. When he finally caught sight of what was at the end of the path he followed he stopped and stared openmouthed.
Directly under the light was a raised dais. On the dais sat two statues, two nude, horned and bat winged women kneeling with their hands joined and held aloft. Between them they held a sword, their hands circling its blade. The faces of both women were beautiful, and held looks of pure ecstasy. The red light made them both appear as if they had been painted with blood, and Wesley was at once horrified and fascinated. In the end his curiosity won out and he came forward. Cautiously he put his hand into the light, and when nothing happened stepped into it.
“Greetings, Mortal,” came a soft and sinister voice. “I am Wrathhorde the Destroyer.”
“Who said that,” Wesley said. He had the impression that the voice had come from the sword but dismissed that as nonsense.
“Release me Mortal,” the voice responded. Wesley frowned and stared at the sword. He touched the hilt with his finger and found it warm. He felt power in the weapon. “Draw me forth, Mortal, so that I may once again taste of battle and blood. We shall destroy all who stand against us. The ground shall run with their life’s blood.”
“Do you know the way out,” Wesley asked wrapping his hand around the hilt and as he did images of battle and conquest filled his mind. He saw himself riding before a great army, smashing his foes, increasing his power with each war.
“Take me up, Mortal and all that shall be yours,” the sword said. “Dominion over the entire world. Release my power, and there shall be nothing we can not do. I shall give you glory, power, and wealth beyond your wildest imaginations. I can grant you your heart‘s desire. With my power speak it and it shall be yours.”
Wesley blinked at this, and thought of his hearts desire.
“Can you help me find that stupid sheep?” he asked.
“Sheep?” Wrathhorde repeated incredulously. “Fool I offer you the world and you ask of sheep!?”
“You said anything,” Wesley responded, hotly. “And besides if you‘re as powerful as all that why don‘t you free yourself?”
“Wretch,” the sword boomed. “I am Wrathhorde, forged in the fires of Hell by a demon prince from the collected souls of one hundred warrior kings. I have turned rivers red with blood and laid waste to a thousand cities. My power is greater than any army. Now release me, fool, lest I crush you like the worthless insect you are.”
“You look like a puffed up skinning knife to me,” Wesley responded. “And I’ve seen sharper blades on wooden spoons.”
“YOU WILL DIE FOR THIS,” the sword thundered.
Wesley snorted and tried to walk away, but found he could not. His hand would not release the hilt of the sword. He attempted to pull his hand free. It did come free, but so did Wrathhorde.
“Freedom at last,” it shouted. “Now I shall pay you back for your insult.”
Wesley looked down at the sword, snorted and started to walk away.
“Come back coward and face me,” the sword bellowed. “Your blood shall stain the ground. I shall feast upon your cowardly soul.”
Wesley kept walking, and as he did, he became aware the sound of metal on stone behind him. He turned and to find the sword laying on the ground just behind him. He frowned and took a few steps forward. He watched as the sword slid on the ground towards him.
“You can not run from me coward,” the sword sneered. “Now face me.”
Wesley bent, picked the sword up and with all the strength he could muster threw it.
“Leave me alone you annoying piece of junk,” he said. He turned to leave, but as he did he heard the scraping sound again. Gritting his teeth he broke into a run. He didn’t look back once as he headed for the door. When he burst through, he stood with his hands on his knees breathing heavily.
“You can’t escape me, boy.” Came the sinister voice. Wesley groaned and turned. Sure enough the sword was laying on the ground behind him.
“You drew me, so now you can not be rid of me till I find someone willing to take me up,” it said. Wesley scowled and looked around the room, his eyes at last focusing in on the skeleton in the corner.
“And when that day comes, you will die,” the sword continued. “I will split your stomach and spill your gut upon the ground, I will Mwhffff......”
Whatever it had been about to say was cut off when Wesley shoved the sword into the sheath he had retrieved from the skeleton.
“Well if your going to follow me around, at least I can keep you quiet,” Wesley grumbled. He strapped the belt around his waist. “When I get out of here, I’m taking you to the blacksmith in town and having you melted down for nails and horse shoes.”
Any response the sword might have made was blocked by the sheath. Wesley grinned. He then walked over to the last door he had yet to go through and opened it. It opened to a second stairway. Wesley hadn’t gone more than three steps when he heard the bleating. It appeared to be coming from the top of the stairway. Wesley sprinted up the rest of the stairs, grinning. He made the top of the stairs and found himself faced with a decision of doors to the left and right. The decision was made for him by the loud bleat from the right door. With a happy cry he throw open the right door and froze.
It was a small room, and in one wall was a small crack. The reason he froze sat in the middle of the room. It was a woman. A very beautiful woman. A very naked, beautiful woman. Wesley could only stare at her, his mind fogging over. He was on the verge of recovering enough to open his mouth to ask a question, when she beat him to it. The woman looked up at him, with wide eyes, opened her mouth, and bleated. Wesley blinked in shock. The woman crawled over to him on all fours and looked up at him.
“Baaaaaaaaaaah,” she said.
“The gods hate me,” Wesley responded.
Wesley rubbed the bridge of his nose and gazed down at the woman before him. She had long hair that if she stood erect he guessed would fall to her feet, though he couldn’t make out the color in the pale blue light of the room. She was completely naked, and he was uncomfortably aware of the fact that she was one of the most beautiful women he had seen in all his seventeen years. She for her part was starring up at him questioningly. She voiced her question in a bleat, and Wesley scowled.
“No nothings wrong,” he said with a humorless laugh. “Save that the first time I find myself alone with a beautiful woman she’s really a sheep. Everything is WONDERFUL.”
He flopped down on the floor beside her in disgust. She crawled up beside him and rubbed her cheek against his shoulder. Wesley winced and slides further away from her, only to have her follow and attempt to climb up in his lap. He pushed her to the side and stood back up. She looked up at him with hurt eyes and moved to rub against his leg then bleated up at him.
“I am not petting you,” he said. She bleated at him and he crossed his arms and stared down at her.
“You need comfort?” he said incredulously. She rubbed against him again and he could feel her warmth through his wet clothes.
“Stop that,” he snapped stepping away from her. She looked at him a moment, then bleated and started towards him again.
“So now you follow me,” Wesley said backing away from her. “Couldn’t do that when you were a sheep, NO you had to run off into the forest and get lost. And now that you’re a girl its ‘pet me’ ‘hold me’ ‘I need comfort‘. Feh. You may look like a girl, but you’re still just a stupid sheep and I’m not going to fall for your feminine wiles.”
Having said that he pulled off his tunic and threw it to her.
“Put that on,” he said. She looked from it to him.
“Put it on,” he repeated. She sniffed at the garment a moment, then proceeded to chew on it. Wesley snatched it up.
“That is not food,” he said. “It’s clothes now put it on.”
She looked at him uncertainly and bleated.
“What do you mean you don’t know how,” he yelled. She bleated at him again nervously, and Wesley took a deep breath to try to calm himself.
“I’m sorry I scared you,” he said forcing the best smile he could. “It’s simple. Just hold still and I’ll show you.”
She complied, and much to Wesley’s relief made not one sound as he slipped it over her head. He had a bit of a problem getting her arms through the sleeves, but managed. With a satisfied smirk he stepped back and looked down at her. She was looking down at the tunic with some displeasure. She voiced this too him.
“Baaaahhhhhh,” she said. Wesley growled to himself.
“No I’m sorry I don’t have another color you could try,” he said through clenched teeth. “That one will have to do. You’re a stupid sheep after all why the hell should you care about the color?”
She looked slightly insulted at that and turned her nose up at him. Wesley snorted.
“Well lets get going,” he said. “We have to find a way out of here.”
The girl bleated an affirmative. Wesley walked to the door, and turned to see her crawling on all fours. He frowned at this.
“Can’t you stand up and walk?” He asked. She just looked up at him and blinked. Wesley sighed and walked over to her. With a little work and a lot of instruction, he managed to get her to mount him piggy back. With a shack of his head he walked out of the door. He walked through the door opposite him and was not too surprised to find a stairway. He began walking up it, but had not gone too far before he started to regret carrying the girl. The wet tunic pressed hard against his back left none of her curves to his imagination. She also had her arms tight around his shoulders and was rubbing her cheek against him gently. Under any other situation Wesley would have enjoyed all of this immensely. At the moment, however, he found it all extremely disturbing. The woman on his back was really a sheep, and no matter how desirable she was he couldn’t get that fact out of his mind.
The had only gone a few feet up the stairs, when they leveled off and they found themselves in a corridor. Wesley stopped and peered through the darkness. Old suits of armor lined both walls. Dust and spiders’ webs covered them all and each suit held a pole arm threateningly before it. The girl gave a quiet and slightly frightened bleat, which Wesley ignored. He started forward, cautiously gazing from side to side as he walked between the silent watchers.
“Nothing here,” he said to himself. “Just empty armor.”
There was a sudden shrill creak that echoed through the hall as Wesley saw one of the suits turn its helmeted and visored head to watch him pass. The girl made a frightened noise and squeezed Wesley tightly. Wesley stopped and turned to the armor.
“If you’re planning on doing anything then do it now,” Wesley told it. “I have not had a good day and I am not in the mood, so lets get this over with.”
“Leave this place,” a raspy, ethereal voice responded.
“I would love too,” Wesley said. “Tell me how.”
“Leave this place now,” the voice said more insistently. “Leave or perish.”
Wesley frowned. He shifted the girl’s weight and moved to stand directly before the armor he guessed the voice was coming from.
“Is that a threat?” Wesley said.
“You were warned,” the voice said. “Now suffer the consequences.”
There was the sound like an old rusted hinge, and the suit slowly began to raise its weapon. With much protest, its left leg moved and it took a slow step forward. It attempted to do the same with the right leg, but the knee joint had apparently rusted solid and instead it slid lamely forward across the hard stone floor.
“Thy death comes, mortal,” the voice said and swung the weapon to strike Wesley down with one swift stroke. Or at least that is what it tried to do. Instead the weapon fell with all the speed of sap moving down tree bark, accompanied by the shriek of rusted metal being forced to move. For a moment, ground to a halt, but then with what appeared to be a great effort on the armors part continued its move to split Wesley down the middle. Wesley waited patiently, then turned and started to walk away just as the ax was about to make contact.
“You show great speed, mortal,” the voice said. “but that shall not save you. You shall not leave this place alive.”
Wesley stopped and turned. He walk to the armor and looked it up and down. As it prepared for another blow, Wesley shifted the girl’s weight again, and reached forward and placed his hand on the armor’s helmet. He gave it a good hard shove. The armor, which had managed to get its weapon up over its head, lost its balance and toppled backwards with a loud crash. It struggled around for a few moments like a turtle lying on its back trying to right itself.
“Are we finished?” Wesley asked. “Or do you want more.”
“You have bested me, Mortal,” the voice said. “I yield.”
There was a slight pause, then a polite cough from within the armor.
“I don’t suppose you would be willing to help me up?” the voice asked. Wesley’s response was to turn and start back down the hall.
Soon the suits of armor gave way to doors and branched corridors. Wesley ignored these and continued to follow the corridor. He was starting to get hungry, tired and frustrated, and wanted nothing more than to be home. He walked forward with a single-minded determination, as if stubbornly ignoring the taunting side doors. He was so focused on going forward that he didn’t notice when the glowing moss began to thin. It faded to two thin lines on the ceiling that cast a pale eerie blue glow. He was lost in his own little world, until the sheep on his back tightened her grip on his neck and gave a quiet frightened bleat, then buried its face against his back.
“What is it now,” Wesley asked coming to a halt. The sheep started trembling. Wesley frowned and looked around him noticing his surroundings for the first time. He found that he wasn’t in the corridor anymore. He could see non of the glowing moss, but could see he was in a large circular room with a domed ceiling, held up by stone pillars. Looking up, Wesley saw a large round hole in the in the center of the ceiling, and to his delight, he could see a patch of starry sky and a sliver of silver moon.
“Were almost out of here,” Wesley said over his shoulder with a grin. The sheep/girl gave another pitiful bleat and looked up at him with teary eyes. Wesley frowned and looked around into the gloom.
“What do you mean there’s something bad here?” Wesley asked. The girl shivered and clutched him tighter. Wesley frowned and tried to put the girl down. She clutched him tight at first, but he managed to get her off. She did however grab his leg, much to his chagrin.
“Okay, I’ve not had a very good day,” Wesley said scanning around him. “So who or whatever you are show yourself now so I can deal with you and be on my way.”
“You have trespassed where you should not have,” came a dry metallic voice.
“This again?!” He said. “Look I’ve already done the leave or perish thing. Just show me the way out and I promise not to hurt you.”
“You dare mock me?!” The voice rasped. Wesley sighed and leaned against a pillar and crossed his arms. In the gloom two fiery eyes appeared, followed by the clink of metal. As Wesley waited, a dark form took shape, another suit of armor.
“Just how many of you stupid things are there,” Wesley asked. The girl bleated and backed up against a pillar and tried to curl up into a ball.
“Well,” Wesley said stretching, “lets get this over w....”
That was as far as he got before the armor charged. Wesley barely made it out of the way as the blade of the armor’s pole ax embedded where his head had just been. It did not take long for Wesley to realize he was in trouble. This armor was not a hulking piece of rust like the last. It moved with the fluid grace of a trained fighter, and Wesley, who was not a trained fighter, but the veteran of many a brawl, was finding himself hard pressed to keep his head attached to his body.
“You stupid rusty cook pot,” Wesley shouted at it. “I’m losing my patients here.”
The blade of the ax whooshed a mere inch from taking his nose.
“Just show me the way out and I’ll let you live,” he said. He jumped back to avoid a blow and ended up tripping and falling on his back. He rolled as a second blow made sparks on the floor.
“Okay I warned you,” Wesley said, and drew the sword at his hip. The room was instantly filled with a angry red light. The armor stopped in its tracks, and Wesley got a better view of the room. The walls were all etched with runes, and lined with more suits of armor, with a large pentagram carved into the floor.
“FREEDOM!” Wrathhorde bellowed. “Foolish mortal, for your indignities against me you shall die. I shall destroy your soul.”
“That’s nice,” Wesley said. “Can you do it later we have a bit of a problem right now.”
“So,” the voice form the armor spoke. “You are a minion of the dark evil that was entombed here? For centuries we have guarded this place to prevent its release back into the world. We shall not fail today.”
“Never again will I allow myself to be held hostage in this place,” Wrathhorde responded.
“Can we just fight and get this over with?” Wesley asked annoyed. “He hates you, you hate him, you all hate me.”
“Yes,” the sword said. “First I will kill him then I will consume your soul, mortal.”
And so the battle was rejoined. Sparks flew as Wrathhorde struck the armors pole ax. As the fought, Wesley found himself involved in two separate battles. One with the haunted armor for his life, and one with the demon sword for control of his body. The sword guided his strikes and sharpened his reactions and reflexes keeping him out of the way of his adversary’s blows. He could feel a blood lust and thrill of battle emanating from the sword and flowing into his own mind. A deep seductive whisper telling him to give in and give up control. Of course Wesley was too stubborn to ever give in to anything like that. He gritted his teeth and ignored it, allowing the blade only enough control to keep him alive.
“Bah,” Wrathhorde said after the fight had gone on for a few minutes. “This bores me. I shall end it now.”
The armor’s response, if it had had any never came. It raised its weapon to parry the next blow, as it had before, but this time the weapon was not enough. The sword cut cleanly through the metal shaft of the pole ax, and continued to cut strait through, going through the enchanted metal as if it were made of wax. There was a loud clang as the two halves hit the hard stone floor.
“And so another foe that dares stand before me is slain,” Wrathhorde bellowed, and followed with sinister laughter that echoed off the walls. Wesley winced. Then gulped.
“This is going to be bad,” he said as he saw the fiery eyes light up in the helmets of the armors lining the walls. As one they began to move forward towards the boy and laughing blade. The battle that ensued was fierce. Wrathhorde cut the armors down with ease, but for each one that was cut down two more took its place. Wesley was not having a good time of it, and was sporting cuts from many near misses.
“This isn’t working,” he said between gritted teeth. “Stupid piles of rust. I’m going to make cook ware out of the lot of you.”
“I will not be taken again,” Wrathhorde shouted. “Strike there, mortal, that pillar.”
Wesley dodged a swiped of an ax and did as instructed. The blade cut clean through the stone. The pillar stood for a moment then collapsed. It was as the ceiling above them began to collapse that Wesley began to have second thoughts about trusting the evil weapon's plans. These, however, were his last thoughts before a large rock struck his head sending him to dark oblivion.