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Old 02-16-2023, 06:19 PM   #21
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 2 part 6

They slept. It was a peaceful sleep, a dreamless sleep of tired folk feeling secure within the walls of the tower.

Alan stayed awake for hours and then, when he thought Fairlyn had rested well, he woke the elf gently. They talked briefly about the quiet, and the need to keep the fire going, and then Alan lay down near Lisa, but not too close, and fell asleep.

When Alan’s breathing became steady and deep, Fairlyn woke Tewelden.

Fairlyn whispered into the gymnaga’s ear, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“I am,” Tewelden answered.

“You trust them, and you think this is the right place to hide the book?”

“I think we can trust the sorceress,” Tewelden said. “I’ve heard she has taken vows of protection. I understand her people expect her to be their champion.”

“Then why don’t we just tell them?”

“I would, but it isn’t because I don’t trust her, or the man, or the folk from the village. The fewer people who know, the better it will be. In time I know my mother will sort out the mysteries. We have copied the parts that we think are most important to the Gates and how they came to be. The prophecy isn’t the problem. What the Beauvingians are looking for probably doesn’t exist, but if they are willing to kill to find it, this book must not be found.”

Tewelden kissed Fairlyn, and then she went to the stairs. She lowered her upper body until it was nearly parallel to the floor as she approached the stairs, moving on her hips and her hands and with a practiced motion ascended the stairs quickly and quietly. She reached the second floor and then found the next flight of stairs going up again to the top floor of the tower.

On the top floor there were two closed doors. Without hesitating she went to the door on her right, as her mother had told her, and after speaking a simple spell the latch of the door clicked. Unlocked now she raised up on to her one knee, the joint of her lower body were her reduced lower legs came together in a single hard bony structure and opened the door.

The small room was a library. There were only three shelves, but the selves were crowded with books, hundreds of books of various sizes filled the shelves and were also stacked on the floors around the bookshelves. Across the room, under a small window was a simple bed and next to that a chair. She went straight away to the shelf in the middle and looked for the best place to conceal the small book she had tucked into her belt.

"Why are you here?” The Tower asked.

Tewelden was startled and dropped the small book.

“Can the others hear you?” The gymnaga princess asked as she recovered the book.

“No,” the Tower said. “I can make my voice heard in any part of the tower or all of it. I can be quiet when I want to be. I do not want to alarm the others, but I am curious as to what you are doing in here.”

“Can you keep a secret?” She asked.

“It is one of my favorite things to do,” the Tower said. “I have kept many secrets for many long years. If you mean no harm to me, or to the sorceress, I can keep your secret.”

“I am hiding a book here in this library. It is the book of the poet Halaga Mo’Tergrunn. It must be kept from discovery until my mother has learned what it is the Beauvingians are looking for.”

“I will tell no one,” the tower said.

“Thank you,” she said. “Why are you willing to help me?”

“A long time ago a man lived in this tower and he had a companion who was a gymnaga woman, much like you I imagine. She was kind, caring, passionate, and joyful. She planted flowers in boxes hung below my windows. She sang and played the mandolin. I miss her.”

“I think that was my grandmother,” Tewelden said. “I must get back to the first floor. When I can return I would like to hear more about her and this man she lived with. My family tells a story that he was a terrible man and that he kept my grandmother against her will.”

“She was a prisoner to his temperament, and to his love, that was true. She could have left him at any time, and often wanted to, but he was a proud man, and a weak man. He used her love for him against her. He never used me to keep her here, but she could not leave.”

“Thank you,” she said and then slipped out through the door casting a spell once more to lock the door again.

She made her way back to the first floor. Fairlyn embraced her, and then the gymnaga princess went back to the place where she had been sleeping and tried to close her eyes and relax.

She fell asleep to the sounds of the wind and the rain and the crackle of the fire.
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Old 02-17-2023, 03:08 PM   #22
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 2 part 7

In the morning the rain had stopped. The clouds had gone, and the sun was warm as it rose in the east.

After changing back into their traveling cloths, Lydia was first to say, “We should go south to the coast and then west to Ilzonze,” as she packed her belongings.

“That would be the quickest way,” Lisa agreed, “but, I must go northwest. I want to see the village of Reen, and talk to the farmers there. With what you have experienced lately I want to know what they might have seen.”

“How far is that?” Tewelden asked.

“Not far. If we leave soon, we can reach Reen before sunset. I don’t expect anything will give us any trouble on the way, unless we come across one of your rabbits,” Lisa said.

Fairlyn had dressed in her armor. She unwrapped the bow she had covered the day before and set to stringing it rightly. She had not strapped the sword across her back, and it was still lying on the floor.

“That is a fine sword you have,” Alan said, admiring it.

“It isn’t my choice. I prefer a smaller sword but it was the only one available to me on such short notice. I haven’t needed it. Do you have weapons?”

“No,” Alan said. “I also haven’t needed a weapon, for a long while. I work hard to avoid trouble and I haven’t come upon anything in the wild.”

“Not even a troll?” Fairlyn asked. “There are a lot of trolls in the moors. Small ones, big ones, they seem everywhere these days. We spotted one three days ago, but it was a small bull and it avoided us and moved away in a hurry. There is strength in numbers after all. I’m surprised you haven’t had more trouble than you describe, traveling alone.”

“Well,” Alan said pointing toward Lisa, “she’s been traveling alone and she doesn’t seem scared at all.”

“If she is the Sorceress of the Aben Moor, she doesn’t have a reason to be afraid of anything in the moor. She protects it and it protects her, or so they say.”

“It’s true,” Lisa said. “I have a hunch that we will not encounter anything to slow us down unless it is a person or animal in need. I feel the moor, and it knows me. I think we will be safe until we leave the highlands. Eventually, either south of the tower or west of Reen, we will leave the moor proper. We will have to follow the river Ree west southwest of Reen to make our way to Ilzonze through the swamps and peat bogs for two days if we go that way or return to the tower and go south from here. I think that is the safer way, but it will add two or maybe three days to the journey.”

“The bogs will be high with run off this time of year. I think doubling back this way is the best thing to do, if we must go to Reen,” Lydia said.

Fairlyn took up the sword from the floor of the tower and held it out toward Alan. “Here, take it,” they said. “Do you know how to fight with a two-handed sword?”

Alan took the sword from Fairlyn and drew it from the scabbard. He held it in one hand. “It feels like I could use it as a normal sword, but yes I know how to use this. Thank you,” he said putting it back in the scabbard and handing it back to Fairlyn, “but it would be best if you keep it. I won’t need it. I’m sure.”

Lydia helped the eshians pack their things and roll the rabbit skin rug up. Then she tied it to the top of Fairlyn’s bag. She picked up her own pack and put her arms through the straps, snugging the buckles tight and then using both hands she lifted the large carpet bag.

“I can take that,” Alan said, “if you don’t mind.”

Lydia let him take the bag, again he used only one hand.

“You are even stronger than you look,” Lydia said. “Where is your traveling bag?”

“I don’t have one,” Alan said.

“No change of cloths or a bed roll? Don’t you have any food or even a water bag?”

“I make do as I go. I find, I find things to eat. Growing things,” Alan said, “and there has been no shortage of streams and rivers along my way. I guess I never thought about needing any baggage. I’ve, I’ve been looking for something for a long time and it’s all I’ve been thinking about, really.”

Everyone in the room turned to look at Lisa.

“Yeppers,” she said shrugging her shoulders, “he found me. Now, let’s get going. We have a long way to go. The weather is on our side for a change, and it should be a beautiful day.”

They left the tower. Alan was the last to leave, and as he was closing the door behind him the Tower said, “Wait, let the snake out before you go.”

“What?” Alan asked.

“Oh, I forgot,” Lisa said pushing past him to come back in.

She scanned the room and saw the small snake near the fireplace. “Time for you to go,” Lisa said as she hurried over to the snake and gently lifted it from the floor. She moved to stand beside Alan, smiled up at him, and said, “I can’t believe she thought she could eat you.” Then she skipped down the stone stairs toward the grass below and released the snake. It slithered away quickly. Lisa looked back at the tower door.

“Goodbye for now,” the Tower said. “Return when you can. I am always here.”

Alan shut the door behind him, and the group set off toward the village of Reen.

End of Chapter 2
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Old 03-12-2023, 01:37 PM   #23
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 3, part 1

The walk to the village of Reem was quiet. A heavy sense of purpose hung over them. Lisa tried to engage them in conversation, asking the others questions about their lives at home, but avoided Alan.

For much of the way Alan walked behind, at a distance, from the others. Lisa walked in the lead with Lydia. After a few hours they stopped where there were several stones suitable for a short rest of the legs and ate some dried fruit and bread.

Alan approached where Lisa and Lydia were sitting and said, “Lisa, can I speak with you, in private?”

Lisa rose and followed him to stand apart from the group.

“Is something wrong?” She asked.

“I don’t belong here, with these people. I wanted time to talk with you,” Alan said, “about, my past, about certain things. I don’t understand what we are doing now.”

“I promise we will talk, Alan, this is only a minor delay.”

“You don’t understand. They think I am a monster.”

“No one thinks you’re a monster, Alan. I just met you. I don’t know anything about you but I know you are not a monster. What makes you say this?”

“I died. At that battle, I was dead, or supposed to be dead. Something happened I don’t understand or even remember, and since then I have been running from people who say I am a monster.”

“I will help you understand, if it is within my power. For a couple of days we will just have to put it aside. I promise. I see how this bothers you, but you need to see that these people and I, none of us, think you are a monster.”

She smiled at Alan, and then said loudly, “We should get moving again if we want to reach Reen before nightfall.”

The countryside had a long, gently downhill grade as they left the highland moor and came to the Reen River. They followed the river west, toward the small village. The sun was getting low in the west and the sky was filled with colors thrown eastward by the clouds in the distance. They began to see the tall, peaked roofs of the village barns in the distance and just ahead of them there was a herd of small shaggy, highland cows. A girl, probably no more than ten years old, was standing among the cows with a long switch, a thin willow branch stripped of leaves. The cows moved about languidly, but the girl was motionless with her back to them.

Alan ran forward from the back of the group and took Lisa by the arm. His grip was hard.

“Something’s not right,” he said.

The others stopped. Fairlyn moved closer to the naga princess and the halflings moved behind them both.

Lisa was stunned by Alan’s intensity. She couldn’t find the right words. Lydia pulled Alan’s hand off of Lisa’s arm.

“What’s wrong with you?” Lydia said. “They’re just dairy cows.”

“No, the girl,” Alan said. “Something isn’t right, look.”

“Young lady,” Lydia called, “Are we near Reen?”

The girl did not respond. She didn’t move at all.

“Stay here,” Alan said, “Fairlyn, can you be ready? Cooper, come with me, but stay back.”

Alan walked slowly toward the girl. He pushed a cow to his right when it moved in his path. The animal let out a low mooing sound, and jumped a step causing the bell on its neck to clang loudly.

The girl kept still looking away from them.

Lisa did not stay where she was. She followed Alan.

Moving even slower now, Alan circled around the girl until he was in front of her, and Lisa came up behind him.

With a stifled scream, Lisa stumbled back covering her mouth.

The girl was dead. She was pale, her eyes vacant and covered in a milky film. Her mouth sat slack jawed. Her skin was pallid and pale. She stood somehow, like a statue. Her feet were overgrown with grass that seemed to bind her in place.

Alan turned and then saw that Lisa had followed him. He leapt to her and pulled her close to his side, and then his head spun from side to side searching in every direction for any threat.

“What, what is it?” Lydia called.

Cooper came around and saw what Lisa and Alan had seen. He stumbled back, tripping over his feet and falling on his back. Gwenna and Lydia ran toward him, while Fairlyn drew an arrow.

“This girl is dead,” Lisa called. “It’s impossible. She is dead on her feet. Something evil has happened here.”

Lydia ran toward the girl while Gwenna ran to Cooper's side.

“Stop!” Lisa cried. “Don’t go near her.”

Lydia froze in her tracks.

Alan pushed Lisa toward Lydia, saying, “Wait, let me get closer.”

He moved toward the girl, staying directly in front of her lifeless stare. He waved his hands, and looked all around. “Margerory, Eloise, are you here?” He asked.

“Who are you talking to?” Lydia asked.

“Alan, be careful,” Lisa said.

He came close to the girl. He knelt on the ground. He reached up and put his hand against the girl’s cheek. She was warm.

“She isn’t dead,” Alan said. “She’s still warm.”

Lisa ran to them. She put her hand next to Alan’s. The girl’s skin was warm, just like Alan had said. She felt the girl’s neck. Her pulse was faint. She gently pushed Alan to one side and then leaned over, putting her own face right in front of the girl’s lips.

“She’s breathing,” Lisa said. “We have to get her someplace out of the weather. Alan, help me —”

Lisa went to take the girls arm and then the girl moved.

She twisted, violently, away from Lisa and a sinister hiss passed her thin lips.

The girl’s head snapped to the side and fixed her lifeless eyes on Lisa. Slowly she raised the switch in her hand.

Last edited by Terquem; 05-01-2023 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 05-01-2023, 08:22 PM   #24
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 3 part 2

The girl swung the switch toward Lisa’s head.

Alan, thinking quickly, dove at Lisa, enfolding her in his large arms and rolling across the grass away from the rooted girl.

It was like the girl did not see him move Lisa out of the way and she continued to violently swing the switch from side to side. She snarled and hissed like an animal in a cage. Her reach was not far and due to her small size and young age her strike was not powerful. The switch made a soft swishing sound as it passed through the air around her.

“What is this?” Lydia asked. “Is she under some strange spell, or is this some natural disease the likes of which we’ve never seen?

Alan came to a stop some fifteen feet away from the girl. He held Lisa above him in a tight embrace. Her dark reddish-brown hair fell over his face. He held his eyes shut and said, “Are you alright, Lisa?”

She was panting hard. Lisa’s breaths came quick and fast. Her heart pounded in her chest. She could feel the cold unlife-like radiance from Alan’s skin. She brushed her hair aside, and placed her hot, flushed cheek against Alan’s.

The feeling of her warmth calmed Alan. He pulled her closer to him, and then she whispered into his ear.

“Thank you, Alan. You’re quick, for a man who doesn’t know if he is alive.”

“I’m sorry if I hurt you,” he said.

“You didn’t,” Lisa whispered. “Let me up, please.”

Alan pushed Lisa into the air. She seemed lighter than she looked, but maybe it was the adrenaline. His trainers had told him to be careful of the strength that came from fear or anger.

She was able to draw her legs up under her and stand easily from the position Alan had lifted he into. Lisa then stepped over him with one foot, took is right hand in both of hers and tried to pull him from the ground.

“Oof,” she huffed, “You’re heavier than you look. She heaved again and Alan let her help him get to his feet.

“You’re much lighter than you look,” He said.

“Thanks. I think,” Lisa said.

The others had moved in around the small farm girl still swinging the switch to-and-fro.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Fairlyn was shaking her head with her arms crossed. She had but her strung bow across her back and was slowly circling the girl, keeping out of reach of the switch. “I don’t think she could have hurt you with that branch, but I guess caution was called for. Lisa,” she called, and pointed to the ground by the girl’s feet, “look at this.”

Lisa brushed herself off and walked behind the girl to where Fairlyn was standing and looked in the direction the elf was pointing.

The plants tying her feet to the ground were beginning to snap. Small vines curled with a life all their own up trying to tie her down to the ground even as larger vines were torn apart. In only a few moments the girl would be free.

“She’s Breaking free, Alan,” Lisa said. “I don’t want her hurt, but do you think you can subdue her? Do you think you’re stronger than whatever it is that is animating her?”

“I can try,” Alan said.

He moved to the same place as Fairlyn and Lisa, then gently encouraged them to move back even more. He gestured to the others to also move back, saying, “Stay clear, everyone. I don’t know what will happen but I’m going to try and pick her up.”

He crouched low and held his arms out wide to his sides. Alan watched then girl’s swing, back and forth, back and forth, and then just as the switch was as far to the girl’s side as it could go he lunged toward her.

He came at her from a low angle and wrapped his arms around hers just below her shoulders and then with a loud grunt he pulled the girl off the ground. The plants binder her snapped loudly and as they tore they cut into her flesh. The wounds were not deep, but they began to bleed a dark thick green tinted blood.

The girl went limp immediately in his arms.

“Alan, get away from there!” Lisa shouted.

Alan tried to step away and felt the plants wrapping around his boots. With a more determined effort he lifted one foot after the other and took giant strides away from the place where the girl had been trapped.

He was about to break into a run when Lisa cam up beside him and said, “Let’s move a hundred feet away, back the way we came.” She placed her hand on Alan’s arm and guided him as the two moved quickly but not at a run back away from the place.

When she believed it was safe, Lisa said, “Stop, here. Put her down.”

Alan lowered the girl to the ground.

Lisa had pulled a cloth from her belt and was wiping the blood from the girl’s ankles. She pulled the last bits of green growing things from the girl’s low soft shoes. “Lydia, come here,” Lisa called. “Bring some water.”

In a moment everyone was gathered around the girl, on their knees and trying to help.

Lydia lifted the girl’s head and tried to wash away the film in her eyes. Gwenna and Cooper each held one of the girl’s hands, Fairlyn helped Lydia by moving the girls matted hair away from her face and Tewelden was gently rubbing the girl’s legs above the cuts and scrapes she received from being freed.

Little by little the girl’s breathing improved. She began to blink her eyes, but she did not speak. Lisa had gotten bandages from her pack and a small jar with a salve and was beginning to dress the girl’s wounds.

“She squeezed my hand,” Gwenna cried out.

With a start the girl suddenly bent upright and let out a curdling, long, agonized scream.
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