Uncover of blindfold, Keira discovers the reality of an unknown underground city... the Sanctum of the wielders.
Slowly they continued their approach towards the entrance of the Sanctum, treading lightly as Maedoc and Rozlend lead them slowly towards the Guard’s station. The path continued to twist and turn, narrowing at various points as Keira ran her hands along the rough grains of the tunnel walls until finally nearing its end where the wall dropped off into a large, steep, overhanging cliff. Beneath them, the ground nearly disappearing with only a thin sliver of walkway left, leaving nothing more than one way in and one way out. The earth around them exploding off into a large, oversized, hollow stone-vault, that left Keira disoriented. The loss feel of the disappearing tunnel walls causing her to lose her footing, as she fell, clasping to her knees. The sound of loose pebbles slipping out from beneath her feet, crashing down into the deep unknown abyss, bouncing off each of the individual jagged rocks that stuck out from the cliffs edge, as the sound echoed off the cavern walls, with no apparent end until finally dissipating.
“Careful of your footing.” Rozlend whispered, as he pulled his sister to her feet. “There’s not much ground left to walk on down here.”
“So I can tell.” she replied sarcastically, continuing to pick herself up, as she dusted herself off. “How much longer do we have to go anyways?”
“Not much longer, there’s a bridge we still have to cross first up ahead, but other than that we’re just moments away from the guard’s station. From there it’s just a matter to reaching the council’s chamber. I have to warn you though, it’s a bit of a walk, so in the mean time just remember to stay close, and stay quiet, the guards don’t take so well to newcomers, especially babbling ones.”
“Remember... not a word.” he stressed again.
“Ok, I got it! Now give me your hand so we can hurry this up and I take this stupid blindfold off.”
He gripped her hand firmly, carefully positioning it in his palm as they continued walking back down the narrow path towards the guard’s station. Thomas and Maedoc not were not far off ahead. Carefully, Keira paced herself as she concentrated on each individual step she took. Placing one foot directly in front of the other carefully, as she attempted to keep her balance.
“Be careful.” Rozlend whispered under his breath. “We’re about to go over a narrow bridge, whatever you do... don’t fall this time.” Keira could imagine his expression, a mixture of smirk and concern.
“Oh great! Couldn’t we have waited to do the whole blindfold balancing act after the bridge?”
“Shhh...” Rozlend hushed her, a slight sliver of amusement still lingering on his face. “No. The guard’s station is just beyond the bridge, they would have seen us put the blindfolds on you if we hadn’t done so earlier. Just be happy they weren’t traveling with us, or you wouldn’t have seen anything at all on your way down here.”
“So how much longer do we have to endure wearing these things around here anyways?”
“Just until we can convince the council of who you are. Once that happens they won’t mind removing your blindfolds. Now hush up.”
“Your getting a real kick out of this aren’t you?”
“Oh... you have no idea.” Rozlend smirked once more, his voice a slight chuckle. “Ok we’re almost there, remember, -don’t -say -a word.” Keira opened her mouth to respond, but closed it quickly as she heard the sound of indistinct chatter, and footsteps just off in the distance.
“Halt!” came an unfamiliar voice. “Who goes the... Maedoc? Is that you?” the voice questioned.
“I have some important people I think Elder Narias will want to meet. It’s urgent, and we don’t have much time to waste.”
“And of whom shall I tell Elder Narias we are sending him?”
“They’re names are of no importance right now, it is the roles they will play that are, and that... is what Narias will be most concerned with.”
“I understand... then let’s not keep you waiting any longer. You will be escorted to the Council’s Chamber, but remember... your visitors must keep their blindfolds on at all times until otherwise addressed by Elder Narias.”
“I understand, and what of the two injured men I sent down here earlier?”
“They’ve been taken down to the infirmary as you requested. You are welcome to join them once Narias has addressed you and your guests... I’m sorry old friend, but order are orders. Still, it is good to see you again, for a moment there after you sent those two men... I had thought the worse.” The man spoke cordially as he patted Maedoc’s shoulder. “Ok! We’re clear! Open the gate! Let them through!” he turned and yelled to the men above the gate entrance, signaling them with a single wave of his hand.
“Let them through!” confirmed another.
“Let them through!” echoed the voice of a third man. And one by one several other voices echoed off in the distance, following the loud noise of the large, metallic gate, that rumbled throughout the confiding hollows of the cavern. The thick piercing sound of metal scraping against metal, locking into a place with a loud “ca-clunk” sound as the gate finally opened.
“Ok let’s go.” called Maedoc, as he lead on following behind the solid strides of several escorting guards. Six men, clothed in garnet-red suits, and black boots. Four leading the march up ahead, while two tailed in from behind them.
Still blindfolded, Keira concentrated on the sound of the men’s strides as she paced her footsteps with theirs. The ground beneath her suddenly transforming between the feel of solid dirt and rock, to a cobblestone like walkway as they crossed over the threshold of the gate’s entrance. The feel almost nearing the exact texture of the grounds of Durnshire’s marketplace. She was only glad that as they continued in their march, no one could see the tears that began to form in her eyes, or the thoughts and images that flashed in her head. It had only been days earilier that she was transporting produce to Ms. Evenly and Mr. Garrison. The few friends she had managed to make in the busy town of Durnshire.
Her thoughts wandering to their faces as she questioned their survival. Had they survived the attack after all? She didn’t want to think otherwise, as suddenly images of the market’s townspeople began to take form in her mind. Her visions shot-gunning between a dreamlike world and reality, as she listened to the voices that could be heard off in the distance of her current surroundings. Children playing, -yelling -screaming -laughing, just as they had in Durnshire. Merchants hollering the day’s newest sale, while townsfolk kindly greeted each other with warm and welcome hellos up and down the streets of this unfamiliar town. Reminded her so much of her lost home. Could they not see her, following the steps of several heavily, armed and armored guardsman? Could they not see her eyes, blindfolded by the cover of a bright red handkerchief? Or was this the norm for these people? The way they were accustomed to greeting their newcomers? This was definately not Durnishire, this was diffinately not home. But after all this, would there even be a home to go back to afterwall?
“Keep it together.” She reminded herself. “That’s all we need is me losing my calm, and pulling some wielder stunt on accident.” Her thoughts suddenly drifting off to the fight with the Sylph. The deadly nature of the creature’s cast of fiery, molten-hot orbs, and her inability to control her fear of it’s attack. “Flames.” she thought to herself. “Flames that caused Durnshire to be left in ruins.” She squeezed her eyes tightly together. Tears flowing out at a sudden faster pace than before. Her breathing quickening as she struggled to contain her emotions. She concentrated her focus on the sounds, and smells of her surroundings. Forced herself to ignore the images that began to flood her mind uncontrollably. Images of her loved ones... of friends, and family, of past memories, and hopeful futures, of laughter, and smiles, of courtships, and friendships, and then suddenly... of fire, of screaming, of crying, and disaster, of destruction, and hopelessness, of death, and lastly... of darkness... and a silent aftermath.”Could this be?” She asked herself. “The few leftover remains of what was once my home?”
She clenched her hands tightly. “Focus!” She screamed in her head. “Focus!” She tightened her grip once more, clenching her jaws together tightly as she dug her fingernails deep into the back of Rozlend’s palm. “Ow!” he muttered under his breath, as he turned his gaze to look upon her. His eyes studying her face carfeully, until suddenly noticing the slight hint of wetness that trailed down beneath the cover of her eyes. A single trail of tears that dripped onto the rosy flesh of her cheeks and chin. He sighed in response. “It’s ok... we’re almost there.” he whispered, gripping her hand tightly to comfort her.
She took a deep breath. In attempt to regain control of her emotions she listened further to the sounds of her surroundings. The noise of indistinct chatters, the chimes of a single tiny bell ringing in the distance. “Fresh pastries!” yelled a man’s voice. “Get them while they’re hot!” She heard him continue as the sweet smelling aroma of cinnamon, and fresh baked bread flooded her nostrils. “Fresh cut Flowers! Vibrantly colored, with beautiful fragrance!” yelled a woman’s voice in another direction. The smell of her market stand an overwhelming abundance of exotic scents as they passed by. And in the distance a different sound, the sound of a running water. The song of a falling stream that slowly began to block out all the rest of this unfamiliar town. Finally, like a daydream that had taken her by surprise, her reverie had come.
Several falling streams, several running waters. “Waterfalls.” she thought. The sound mixing with the chirping of birds in the distance. Their wings flapping over head as they took flight, Frogs croaking, and fish jumping in and out of various pools of water. The feel of an open air wraping in all around them, no longer the tightly packed, unknown town they’d walked through. No longer the feel, and painful reminder of cobblestone jabbing against the bottoms of her soles. Just the feel of the open air whooshing in from all around her. A larger scale of the cavern that had lead them to this Sancuntary. She could feel the cool mist brushing against her skin. Feel the moistness of its touch. Smell the freshness within the air, of the dirt and soil, of the growing plant life, of the nearby wildlife, and of the abundant clusters of exotic plants. “Where are we?” she thought to herself. “What is this place?” She knew they had continued their travels underground, but still, she was overcome by the strange sensation of walking into some unknown rainforest.
Slowly she paced her steps as she felt the final transition of cobblestones disappear into a solid rock-hard foundation. The ground beneath them rising at a steady incline as they creped slowly up an unknown path. The sound of running water approaching ever so closely, until it was nearly overhead and running down the side of her body, never touching her skin, as it crashed down into several pools of water beneath her. The air thickening into a heavy moisture as they continued their journey beneath the flow of a heavy waterfall. The ground dampening at its presence, as it continued to rise, twining around in circles the farther they climbed.
Keira clutched down onto her brother’s hand tighter. He squeezed back. “Another sign of comfort.” she thought. “We must be getting close.” she told herself. She couldn’t imagine the trail being any longer then it was, she couldn’t imagine the stretch of its length turning into anything more surprising along the way. “But where are we?” she repeated to herself.
Suddenly, the sound of the running waters faded off into a faint trickle. The feel of a heavy curtain of moisture enveloping them as the air grew cooler all around them and they came to a sudden halt. Keira nearly knocking into the back of her brother at the sudden stop.
Up ahead, she could hear as one of the guardsmen took a step towards whatever it was that had halted them. The sound of what seemed like a large wooden door being dragged opened on loud, cricking, metal-hinges. The guardsmen continuing to pull it open until finally locking it into place with a loud “thunk”, as the party continued their march forward. The ground beneath her feet transitioning once more from rock-hard dirt into a solid, flat-stoned foundation. The room echoing with the sound of their footsteps. And the air of their new surrounds filled her nostrils with the scent of fragrant candles and incense, and in the distance was a new sound. The sound of an unfamiliar voice... Elder Narias.
i stand by what i said about you being a talented writer and also of how you sometimes use the right sounding but wrong meaning words
i enjoyed the story and everything else a lot, i will be looking forward to further additions to the story
great job! this is once again a fabulous chapter. I loved how you made a really long walk feel short and long at the same time. and i lvoed your descriptions of everything. her memories and terrible feelings were amazing as well. Great job!