An Unfortunate Adventure! #freewritemadness: Day Sixteen

And with one sleep, we have jumped the hurdle and headed into the second half of this month; the second half of #freewritemadness + #nanowrimo!

It’s Day 16 today, and I spent most of the day in serious tears. My mind wouldn’t leave the future of my story. I still have so much “middle” to work out! I almost want to write my Ending now, just to get it over and done with. But I like to write in chronological order for the most part and I don’t want to lose any ~flow~. And you know, I’m posting these by the day. So it needs to be as chronological as possible for readability. There’s also no point writing an ending when so much information can change.

Today, I spent a lot of time writing messages to @carolkean and crying over my fictional characters instead of actually writing said fictional characters… (thank you for putting up with my craziness!)… and today’s prompt was – debt… but I had nothing for it. After my prolonged cry-fest, it was enough just getting these words out.

My wordcount for today is – 1430 (another unfinished day)
Overall wordcount is – 30210
And my emotional status is – weak.

 


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DAY SIXTEEN

The forest was a mass of jagged and gnarled branches that were both bare and menacing. It was as though overnight the trees had decided they no longer cared for their leaves and had shunned the entirety of their foliage in one collective plunge. Nessie walked ahead, guiding her through this lifeless forest, the small woman’s blonde hair and olive robe the only colour that dared shine amidst the shroud of whites and greys. Even the sky was the bleakest of shades, the struggling sun casting harsh black shadows through the spindly twigs that contrasted the overwhelming white.

An icy wind whipped through her hair and cut across her face, but Katéa did not feel its bite. The necklace repelled all natural discomforts and instead provided its own; sweat rolled down her back in rivulets before being soaked up by her dress and Draven’s coat. It was unbearably warm, but that sensation was false. Though it did not feel cold, she would freeze if she weren’t wearing it.

Nessie gestured to the right and they continued on their path, walking in a solemn silence. Shrieks and screams called through the forest from beasts heard and yet unseen, and her fiery blood threatened to freeze in response, her pulse racing. The gargoyles were everywhere yet nowhere, they were watching her and yet they weren’t… a shadow moved at the edge of her sight —there was nothing there— how could such massive creatures remain hidden for so long?

Wings beat overhead and she shrunk further into Draven’s coat, hoping that it would mask her presence. An unlikely hope. The creature could sense that necklace. It knew she was out here somewhere and it knew what the imitation orb’s purpose was; it would not want to return to its cursed sleep. It had free reign for the first time in a century! Why would it willingly give up its freedom?

Nessie’s blonde hair swayed to and fro, almost mesmerising, and Katéa sighed. They had not spoken this entire time… this trek would be far less lonely if Draven were here by her side instead. Words were not required between them —only each other’s presence was necessary. But, he was required to stay in Glouweln and assist his father on the chance of another attack. Who knew what that bird would do… what it was capable of. It was getting stronger, that much was evident.

At least there had been no more visions, no more sudden hallucinations, and Nessie seemed certain that all would be fine; that this time wasn’t quite as perilous as when the elves had last done this. She furrowed her brow, her eyes fixed to Nessie’s back. The elves. Vague memories of their journey through the spider caves lingered in her mind from images she had seen in her dreams. Much of the memories had vanished by the time she had awoken, but there was something that refused to disappear… they had wanted Serenithyl’s energy for themselves, hoping that they could harness it and protect themselves from increasing threats. But, it had not helped. Somehow, the necklace —and the energy— had stayed in the caverns, lost and unused, and the elves had died anyway. How on earth had they planned to utilise it?

Did it really matter? That was in the past. Nessie was the only one left and she seemed dedicated to helping them send Serenithyl back to sleep. They simply needed to siphon the energy, and tire the creature out somehow. To eradicate the darkness before she… she was no longer capable of doing so. She placed a brief hand to her stomach. Draven would not let her leave if he did not fully trust this process —it would be fine. That fucking necklace, though. The elves had made it, why couldn’t the elf in front of her be the one to wear it? Why did the cursed thing choose to attune itself to her?

She pulled at it, and grunted as it tightened. It was as though it were saying, ‘I’m in charge now, bitch. You will do as I want.’ Nessie turned around and raised an eyebrow, but Katéa waved her onward. They could talk in the caves… couldn’t they? She was not used to being so silent for so long!

A large hole loomed ahead —the same one the elves had found in the memories. They were here.

Another shriek cried out overhead as they descended into Azothinne’s ancient lair, resounding as an eerie wail that taunted them as it followed them through the dark passageways. At least the spider was long gone; that had not been the case when the elves had ventured in. She shuddered —that was a memory she did not want to relive, even if it were not her own.

The ethereal torches still remained on the walls after all of these years, unlit until Nessie waved a hand over them, summoning their false flames into life. Strands of web hung down, illuminated by the magical light, and shadows crept along the passageway, as though hidden creatures dared scurry about where they should not trespass.

Was she really back down here again? Trapped in these horrid tunnels? And to think that this time it was of her own choosing… well, technically it was not. It was the damned necklace’s fault, and probably that elf’s too. If the restoration had gone as planned, then maybe the cursed thing wouldn’t be ‘attuned’ to her! No; she was being too harsh. Nessie was doing what she could.

“Miss Katéa,” Nessie whispered, chewing on her lip as she peered up at the hanging cobwebs. “Does any of this look familiar?”

“I’m not a fucking expert,” she snapped, immediately regretting her tone. “I’m sorry… I’m on edge. I don’t want to be down here.” Her ears pricked up. That cool wind whistled through the passage almost as shrill and ear-piercing as nails on a blackboard, and she winced, clenching her fists as her own nails vibrated at the sound. It was so typical. That whole time she had been down here, she had chased that cool wind, and it hadn’t even come from an entrance! It just led her further into the damned caves. “Last time, I followed that annoying wind. I hoped it would lead me out… it did not. Unless you count being spat out of a waterfall.”

Nessie lowered her head and walked into the wind, and Katéa sighed. If there were only a couple of things she had learned since being here, they were that she needed to curb her tongue and that ‘not all is ever what it seems’. Her heart clenched tight in her chest and she moistened her lips. She missed Draven. The faster they finished down in these hellish tunnels, the faster she could return… and the faster they could begin their life together without this lingering fear.

The shrill wind was coming from a nearby tunnel —obviously, they would go in that direction. Further into the beast’s twisted tunnels and into that horrible room. Hopefully there were no gargoyles in there… that was likely a false hope. As if the bird would leave its sphere unattended. She had not yet experienced a memory of what the elves had actually done down here. The memories were disorientating, but helpful. If she saw the elves doing what she was supposed to do, that would make this so much easier. Nessie wasn’t being very helpful.

“Ouch!”

She quickly bit her tongue, shrinking back as Nessie glared at her. What the bloody hell was that? She peered down and gasped —it was that skull that had originally harboured the necklace. It was so close to the entrance, too! But no, she had to follow the fucking lights. Story of her life. She took a deep breath. The Min Min Lights were a blessing; these magical elf-lights, they were not. A quick flash of a memory. Ceth’na. This skull belonged to Ceth’na. Why the hell did she have the necklace? What happened to whoever originally had the necklace? She winced. She was a part of this elf, experiencing this elf’s memories, and yet… she didn’t even know her name. That felt almost blasphemous.

“I think we’re close,” she whispered. “This is where I found the necklace… and this, was Ceth’na.”

Nessie peered down at the skull and nodded before continuing down the passage.

“Don’t you want to do some sort of… elf… thing… to the remains?”

“Like what, Miss Katéa?” Nessie sighed, “I remember. That is all I can do.”


(An Unfortunate Adventure header made by me! Courtesy of an image from Pixabay, and images from Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, Johny Goerend, Alan Labisch, Erol Ahmed on Unsplash!)