An Unfortunate Adventure! #freewritemadness: Day Twenty-Six

#freewritemadness! Day 25 and 26!

Only a few days left. I didn’t manage to do much yesterday… My son transformed into a maniacal loony, my teeth started aching horribly to the point where I was fearful of how much a Dentist would set me back, and I just couldn’t focus through the pain. Today is better.

My mind also keeps returning to Vengeance instead of sitting on this story. It really doesn’t help. These two stories are worlds apart. Lyria is a whinging little woe-is-me (but I love her so much regardless); Katea, for the most part, is a classic sarcastic Australian. I’m definitely feeling more ‘woe-is-me’ though.

So, combining yesterday’s 200 words and what I’ve done today into one post. 🙂 Tried to get a good 4000 overall, but didn’t get there. Today’s is a bit ‘skeleton’-like. Flesh out later! (Would be so many more words if I fleshed out now, but I just can’t be arsed.)

Today’s wordcount was – 2135
And the overall wordcount is – 43487


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“Naturally.” Glora tossed aside her white curls and glared up into the sky. “The blasted creature is watching us, waiting for the slightest hint of weakness. That elf of yours needs to be found, and your idea utilised.”

Katéa smirked. Right… that elf of hers. Because it was her fault; her elf; her problem. “So, want me to just call her name out into the blackness and summon her? Think that’ll work?”

Glora sniffed delicately and shrugged, keeping watch on the black skies above. “I doubt Draven has lost his abilities.”

What abilities? She peered over her shoulder and watched as Draven murmured inaudibly to his father, furrowing her brow as he winced and appeared withdrawn beneath the dim glow of the little orb-lights. “Abilities?” she questioned, doubting that the woman was referring to the abilities she had become quite familiar with over the past weeks. Her cheeks warmed and she quickly looked away as Glora glanced at her, rolled her eyes upward, and then narrowed them again as a beast descended upon the barrier and rebounded off with a grunt.

“Goodness, young lady! Not those abilities. His inherent strengths! Those of the blood are capable of a great number of things; these barriers and the deep-sight are only the fringe. Any one of us could guide you, but you’d likely be more comfortable around your heart than one of us.” She offered that small smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “You did say that you wanted to be present. While we’re occupied, you get to be the hero of the hour! Have fun, dear, and take care of him.”

“Fun, right.” She snorted, and then paused. “Him?”

Glora winked and returned her focus to the barrier she was helping to hold, her curls flying around her head in shimmery white ribbons as she whipped around, and Katéa involuntarily touched a hand to her stomach. It was unlikely she was referring to Draven. A boy then, she smiled.

Draven appeared by her side, his face as gloomy as the beasts beyond the barrier, his eyes still lit as bright as a polished tiger’s eye gem.

“Nessie is still in Serenithyl’s cavern.”

The black sphere thrummed and whorled within her mind and she shuddered. She was sick and tired of going into that place with its annoying drip, drip, drip and tendency to unleash mayhem upon her every damned time. It had only been twice, but, every damned time! It was pretty cavernous though, and that drip echoed like nobody’s business…

“I hate that place. But, if the horrible sound works it’ll echo like mad in there —the elf’s ears will be toast!”

Draven gave her a side-long smile and muttered, “The phrases you use sometimes…” and shook his head. “And, what if the horrible sound doesn’t work?”

Katéa pointed to his crossbow and shrugged. “It’s only an elf,” she said, grinning as she threw his own words back at him. Another beast flew at the barrier, its claws scraping like fingernails across a blackboard as it made contact with the magical energy. Good grief. She winced, watching as the dark silhouette flew back up into the air in a whoosh that visibly moved the trees beyond the barrier, and her small moment of humour vanished. They had to go back out there.

Draven’s hand tightened around hers and drew her in close to him in a warm embrace. She wrapped her arms around him and lay her head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat; a sound that was far more desirable than the grunts, shrieks, wails, and screams that existed out there. His lips brushed up against her forehead and she sighed, choosing to ignore the pandemonium for just one brief moment. This moment was theirs. Lowering his head close to her ear, he whispered, “We can do this… and when the elf has fallen, and after Glouweln has been repaired, I have a surprise for you.”

A surprise? She stepped back and grinned, “Is that a euphemism?”

“No,” he smirked. “But it could be. Come, we have an elf to deafen.”

Katéa followed Draven through the dark trees, their jagged, leafless branches swaying overhead as bursts of wind tried to wrench the limbs from trunks. The edge of the wavering magical barrier met the wall of the cliff-face, and she took a deep breath before stepping out. As though welcoming her back into the chaos, a shard of ice landed on her shoulder and shattered into a thousand fragments.

“How are we going to get in there?” she whispered. “Azothinne’s spider tunnels are not my favourite place… and I think the entrance is way over… there… somewhere…” Draven motioned towards the crack in the cliff and she grunted, “Eh. When in doubt magic up your own entrance.”

He grabbed her arm with one hand and opened the crack with the other, and pulled her inside before more ice smacked into them, and before any of the creatures could see. The humidity that once resided within the crevice had vanished, it felt cold and empty. There was no magic in here anymore, in this small cave that had once served as the entirety of the village. She understood now, or so she thought. The magical humid blob that had lived in here was like a portal to various voids like what Quint’s room had turned into. All existing in their own little realities. A reality within a reality, within another reality if she counted her own. Maybe they were all connected somehow. It didn’t matter. How were they going to get to the elf from here?

Draven strode towards the far wall and pushed on it, revealing a tunnel. “This was once part of the spider caves,” he quietly said. “And if my estimates are correct, Serenithyl’s cavern is towards the upper left. Considering your plunge from the waterfall, it would have to be up there somewhere.”

She groaned and followed him through the tunnel. Thick, dusty strands of web coated the walls and dangled from the ceiling, and the stone beneath her feet felt as though it were comprised of thousands upon thousands of tiny yet sharp shards. At least it wasn’t spongey or gloopy like the first time she had entered the caves. She shuddered. That sensation had been entirely gross.

The walls briefly trembled, sending spiderweb strands down to the ground, onto her hair, around her face, and she tried not to sneeze as the dust prepared to infiltrate her nose. It tickled, but she held it back. Quint’s phone seemed to grow heavier in her pocket, as though the dead pixie souls had given it weight. It still disgusted her, knowing that she had to use the horrible thing that, if it worked, was only capable of working thanks to precious lost lives. May the little creatures shower their golden dust onward wherever they may have ended up.

Draven paused outside of another tunnel turn, waving a hand through the lingering web that served as a curtain barricading their passage, and a familiar cold breeze blew into the tunnel, carrying its haunting cry. She swallowed and hastened towards him, grabbing at his arm as she whispered, “That cold wind… it leads to the cavern. Well, it did the last couple of times anyway…”

“It’s the way we’re going.”

He stepped into the tunnel and her heart leapt. Not yet. She swiftly pulled him back. “Not yet,” she murmured. Holding him tight, she buried her face into his chest. Tears streamed down her cheeks though she didn’t know why. Everything was going to be okay. This would be the easiest resolution to a conflict, ever. Press a button, discombobulate the elf, and deliver a crossbow-bolt to her while she’s down. But a dread had surfaced; it tickled at her gut like a mass of doom-ridden butterflies, and she tried to be as silent as she could as she wept against Draven’s shirt.

Tilting her chin up, he smiled down at her and lightly kissed her. “This will be over soon,” he managed to murmur before she took his face in both hands and kissed him with all the love, hope, and dreams that she could summon in this dark, dank, spiderweb-encrusted hell-hole.

“I-I love you,” she whispered, her chest near bursting as her heart tried to escape alongside her outpouring affection.

His hands swept through her hair and settled upon her shoulders, and peering down at her through the shadows his umber eyes gleamed within the darkness. “Katéa,” he took her hand and slid something both lacy and leathery over her fingers and tightened it around her wrist. “I took this from father just before and was going to give it to you after this has ended, but now is as good a time as any. It’s a bond circlet.” He turned her hand over to reveal a red gemstone that matched the ones on his armband. “May we be one.”

The red gem shone with its own light before it dimmed down to nothing. “May we be one,” she murmured, her heart swelling, fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. She wiped them away and smiled. “Should’ve waited. Now that tunnel seems even darker.”

He lowered his head to hers and softly kissed her, then entered the dreaded passage. She tentatively followed at his heel, an odd combination of elation and fear swarming over her all at once. They were as one, and always would be. Even if this plan wasn’t successful… no. There would be no more doubts —it would work! Even if the phone didn’t turn on, surely they could still get Nessie. Assassinate her. Or something. She shuddered. All of these thoughts she never would have believed herself capable of thinking. Love, bonding —was that as marriage?— having a child, assassination, murder… well, there had been those times she had wished a couple of people dead, but she wouldn’t have actually done it! This was different, and it would all be okay.

The cold wind breezed about them, carrying its howl along its breath, and then the inevitable drips started. It was more rapid than before. No longer was it drip, drip, dripping but now it was dripdripdripping as incessant and painful as a drippy electric drill rapidly stabbing into her mind. Beneath the wind’s howl and the repetitive drip was a soft hum, almost as a woman’s voice singing beneath her breath, barely audible through the overwhelming noises.

They walked through the dusty, webby, brain-numbing passageways for what felt an age, until soft white light shone from an entrance up ahead, with long green vines spilling out onto the stone floor. Apparently Nessie had redecorated. The humming grew louder, fuller, sounding as though many voices were performing as one, or maybe it was just the cavernous room echoing. Regardless, it was unnerving. Draven took her hand and smiled, raising a finger to his lips. She would shush; there was no worries about that. He closed his eyes and concentrated, and when he opened them again he seemed… transparent. She raised her arm; her body was just as his. Well, that was a nifty trick. Would surely make hunting a lot easier. Maybe they wouldn’t have had to hide in the long grasses when that giant wombat tried to run her down, but then there wouldn’t have been an opportunity to spend a short moment safe in his arms.

Focus, she thought to herself, silently following Draven into the chamber, her eyes widening the moment she stepped inside. It was as the forest in the memories! Large boughed trees dressed with full white leaves filled the interior, dangling with pastel vines all colours of the rainbow, and leaving only a small circle free around the black sphere. Maybe there wouldn’t be much of an echo in here after all. Hopefully the phone held an adequate amount of charge… there would now be less time to react before that ear-piercing screech came to an end.

Nessie hovered above the sphere, sitting cross-legged with her eyes closed, the necklace around her neck as black as the nothingness yet radiating a bizarre fire that encased the orb in a bright aura. The humming voices came from the orb —the voices of the dead elves?

Draven weaved through the trees and found a spot behind the elf, Katéa stood by his side and retrieved the phone from her pocket, lightly running her thumb over the screen as she waited for his say-so. He prepared his crossbow.

He nodded. She raised her thumb to press the power button, cringing in advance at the sound that would come from the device, when Nessie spoke.

“Young Draven, by this age I would have expected your concealment capabilities to be a lot stronger.” She rotated in mid-air and faced them, her eyes remaining closed as she softly smiled. “How foolish. Did you really think it wise to bring them with you?”


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(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!)