Chapter 2

Chapter 2

A Chapter by Johnzo
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Trede is woken up by a mysterious creature deep in the forest. Cassidy gets her first taste of small town living in the town of Smisom before starting her assignment.

"

A lone creature tracked through the woods.  It was approaching a small glade deep in the forest where a newcomer had trespassed in its land.  In the glade there was an opening where several enormous mushrooms stood.  They were several feet wide and most were a few feet tall as well.  The creature jumped up on one of the shorter fungi and up to a higher one to greet the stranger who apparently had fallen asleep here in the woods.  The creature now standing on its hind legs looked down at the sleeping visitor.  It reached down with a padded paw with long furry fingers and short claws tapping him on top of the head.  The sleeper stirred, but would not wake.  Not giving up, the creature put one paw on each side of the strangers face, and drew in his furry face and whiskers close looking straight into a pair of closed eyes.  “Hey!”  The creature shouted. 

 

Trede awoke in a mad panic “Wha- whoa!  What… where am I?!”  He backed away crawling and scrambling from the strange furry creature in front of him.  Trede quickly looked up and saw an odd site.  There was a cat-like creature, but also shaped partially like a man, standing less than four feet tall but dressed in a navy blue cloak and a light grey turtleneck collar sticking out the top. 

 

“You’re up!” said the creature. 

 

“You- you’re talking to me…” Trede was astounded and staring back at it wildly. 

 

“That was a great fall!  Can you do it again?  I didn’t have the best view.”  Trede was dumbfounded, he was still trying to grasp how he survived the fall and now faced with such a sight he began backing up further away from the creature.  “Careful, “ it continued.  “You’re almost at the edge of this mighty fungus!” Trede’s right hand slipped off the edge of the mushroom and he landed on his side looking down several feet to the ground. 

 

“What’s going on, how... how did I get here?”  Trede was racking his mind to remember what happened.  His last memory was falling off the carrier after being attacked by the man with green eyes. 

 

“You came from the sky.”  The creature plainly announced.  “Just a few minutes ago, it’s not often people come to visit here so I thought I’d come check you out…  In fact I think you’re the first visitor I’ve ever had!” 

 

Trede sat up and began rubbing his hands over his eyes, “could this be another one of my nightmares?” he thought.  But no… the lights… the lights aren’t here, no this must be”  he stopped as he looked up.  “Listen uh… where exactly am—“ 

 

“Hey you must be thirsty.  There’s a spring near by, come on it’ll be fun!”  The creature jumped off the mushroom and bounded away on all fours back into the nearby trees. 

 

Trede paused for a second.  He was speechless, and furthermore thoughtless about his current situation.  He was just fighting for his life, now he was in the middle of nowhere and seemingly befriended by the oddest of creatures.  Without any other choice, he climbed down to follow the creature.  As he reached the ground and looked at the massive stem holding up the giant mushroom he thought “Mighty fungus did he call it?”  He let on a small smile and shook his head.  He took a step towards the tree line but stopped for a moment and noticed his gunstaff was missing.  He worriedly began looking around the field of mushrooms but quickly found it resting on the ground under the exact mushroom he had just been sleeping on.  He picked it up to examine it, and saw it was undamaged.  Well I’m alive… and my staff made it too… I guess things could be a lot worse.”  Then he ran off into the forest. 

 

Trede continued through the forest following the path his host had left.  The forest was intensely thick.  He could see many towering and moss covered tree trunks reaching high and disappearing into the forest canopy, but it was the under growth that made it difficult to traverse.  There were great amounts of low hanging vines, bushes and smaller fallen trees everywhere making it very slow going.  Trede continued struggling through the brush and wood when he heard the sound of running water.  He could just barely make out the blue cloak and furry ears of the creature through the low hanging leaf covered branches of one particularly large tree.  The creature called out “you won’t go far walking like that!  Why are you only on your feet?” 

 

Crimus, who is this thing…person…whatever.”  Trede thought as he rolled his eyes.  Trede ignored the question and continued working his way to the river.  He came upon a larger fallen tree that blocked his path, so he started climbing carefully on all fours up at a sharp angle.  There were only another few feet of brush between him and a sandy patch on the bank of the river, so he decided to jump for it.  Trede easily cleared the brush below but as he landed his right foot jutted straight into the sand, which was a lot softer than he had guessed.  He tried to hold up but had too much momentum and quickly face planted into the ground. 

 

“Not bad!”  Exclaimed the creature from several feet up the riverbank, “As far as falls go anyway, but I liked the first one better.  It had a lot more pizzazz.” 

 

Trede just lay there a minute in the sand, too embarrassed and irritated to move.  While lying there motionless, He noticed the sand was very fine, similar he thought to the sand found on the ocean shore of the east coast.  Strange though, since this was just a small land locked river, but he had enough of closely examining the ground, so he sat up and dusted himself off.  Looking to change the subject, Trede asked a question.  “So… you live out here?  I didn’t think anybody could live this far out.”  Trede looked down river.  It really was quite a site.  The tall, dark and thick forest stretching up hundreds of feet abruptly breaking into a clearing of a winding crystal blue river with sandy banks. 

 

“Where else would I live?  This is where I keep all my stuff!”  Replied the creature.  He seemed puzzled, but continued.  “We Selahns have lived out in all the close and far reaching places for centuries.  This place here I’ve found is particularly nice.”

 

“You’re a Selahn?!”  Trede had heard of these people but had never met one himself, nor even heard of someone meeting one face to face. 

 

“I am Traz, of the northern Selahns my good sir.”  He bowed low raising one hand back behind him.  “And this is my forest, though I don’t mind sharing here and there.  You may stay here with me for a while if you wish.  I do find outsiders intriguing.”  He said as he straightened back up. 

 

“Are there any more of you around here?”  Trede asked. 

 

“Oh no, I’m here on my own…  I need my personal space.  We do run into each other once in a while for family gatherings and what not.”

 

“Well thank you.. um Traz.  But I actually need to get back to Smisom.”

 

“What is that?”  Traz tilted his head to one side and scratched his chin with his index finger and short claw looking up into the trees. 

 

“uh… Smisom- it’s a town. Northeast of here, I was on my way there before…  before I fell from…”  In all the commotion, Trede had forgotten briefly how he got here, but the thought still disturbed him.

 

“Ah, you were riding the great Telaliam!  Yes that would be the only way one like you could get so high up.”

 

“Telaliam?  You mean the mean the air whale?”

 

“… They are called Telaliam… but yes.”  Traz furrowed his fury brow to what Trede could make out as a sort of scowl.  “Poor things, you people ride them all the time.  Burdening their backs with such heavy loads…  But I guess it’s ok, they don’t seem to mind too much.  If they did you can be sure they wouldn’t let you!” 

 

“Uh right… I don’t suppose you know how to get there?  I’ve never had to travel this far by land, and definitely not from this deep into the forest.”  Trede turned to look back into the forest; trying to gauge which direction he should take to find his way home. 

 

“Well I suppose I could use a nice brisk walk, I can show you the way to your Smisom.  But…”  Traz hesitated.

 

“But what?”  Trede asked.  He started to wonder if he had asked too much of his new companion. 

 

“I’m STARVING!  I’ll go pack some grub for the road and be right back.”  Without another word he bounded off into the woods again on all fours, running, climbing and jumping though, under and over the overgrown woods and disappeared out of site. 

 

What a bizzare…” Trede didn’t even finish his thought.  Wait, I hope he didn’t mean actual grubs.”

 

 

Cassidy stood on a dirt street looking at a small well-worn crumpled map of the town of Smisom.  Master Gragus, her mentor in the Cytech guild, had given it to her out of an old archive he kept of historical documents.  So according to the map,” she thought, “the inn should be right around here…” She turned a corner and sure enough she had found it.  The front door was made of glass, which alone set it apart from most of the other buildings.  It had a small front deck in front, raised up over the dirt road and small staircase lead up to it.  The railings and awning appeared to have a fairly recent coat of white paint, while the rest of the building was a shade of light beige.  The building itself stood three stories and there were plenty of clean shining windows with proper drapery visible in each.  The overall structure was rather rustic in design and as such it was a modest establishment.   But it was better maintained than many of the other buildings around it.  This offered a glimmer of hope “I really hope they have a nice shower.”  She thought. 

She entered the Inn and found a well-decorated lobby and front desk, though no one was at the counter.  “Helloooo!”  Cassidy called out, but there was no answer.  She noticed there was a nearby open door to a staircase leading to the basement.  She walked over to it and as she peered down she heard the loud familiar sound of turning gears and clanking machinery.  Just then a loud clang rang out from the basement followed by a louder bang that almost shook the whole house.  Curious, Cassidy started to take a step down the stairs but was startled by a voice behind her. 

 

“Hello!  May I help you?”  Said the voice.  Cassidy turned quickly to see what must be the innkeeper.  She was woman in her mid-age, well dressed with her hair tightly tied back and wearing a pair of glasses with small round lenses. 

 

“Oh!”  Cassidy was startled, but she quickly remembered her priorities.  “I need a nice hot shower… and a room too.  I’ll be in town for a couple nights.”  She said, then thinking “but hopefully not any longer than that.” 

 

“Well” said the innkeeper, “rooms we have plenty of, though our hot water machine is on the fritz.  I have someone downstairs looking at it right now though.”  No sooner had she finished speaking then another loud clang rang out from the basement.

 

“What!”  Cassidy’s eyes widened as she attempted to keep from losing control and taking out a weeks worth of pent up aggression and stress. 

 

The woman started walking back to the front desk and asked “would you like a room with a window facing the front or-“ but she was quickly cut off. 

 

“Excuse me a minute.”  Cassidy said abruptly as she began thumping down the stairs.  “I’m not going to let a run-down piece of junk keep me from getting a shower!”  She reached the bottom of the stairs and looked around.  She heard the sound of the innkeeper calling from behind her up the stairs, but she ignored it.  In the far corner of the basement she saw the hot water machine chugging away, steam billowing out from all sides and sounding like it was about burst.  There was a man standing in front of it wearing a leather apron and thick goggles. 

 

He turned and said, “You probably shouldn’t be down here.  The front desk is upstairs if you need somethin’.“ 

 

“What I need is right here.”  Cassidy stated with a great determination and walked over to the machine. 

 

“I don’t suppose you know anything about machinery like this?”  He was obviously out of his element, his clothing looked more like a blacksmiths than that of a machinist.  “Vanci is always asking me to help her out with things around the inn, I figure since we’re neighbors and all I should try to lend a hand, but this one is out of my league.”  He turned and looked back at the machine and slowly shook his head. 

 

“Just try not to get in my way.”  She set to work.  She took a few tools out of her belt and began examining.  “This sub gear isn’t affixed properly, it’s throwing the timing all off, and there’s a pressure leak at this seam over here,” she pointed.   

 

“Yeah that gear keeps slipping and working it’s way off the shaft, almost hit my foot a couple times.”  He commented, “By the way, my name is Bello.”  He put out his hand as a friendly gesture but was ignored. 

 

Cassidy continued frantically working over the machine.  She finished adjusted the position of the gears surrounding the faulty one and then shimmied the shaft of the loose sub gear back into place.  “There that should tighten things up.  Do you have any bits of scrap metal?”

 

“Sure do.”  He tapped a box of tools behind him with his foot.  They were, as she suspected, blacksmith’s tools.  He reached in and grabbed out a small square of metal.  “I tried heating up a patch back at the smithy so I could bring it over here to cover that seam, but the metal gets too cold by the time I run back here so-.“

 

“Let me see that.”  Cassidy snatched it out of his hand and held it up to the leaking seam, “yeah this should work.” 

 

Bello just rolled his eyes, he could see he wasn’t going to get anywhere with this outsider.  Boy, she has just got to be from one of the big cities.  He thought and took a few steps back and just looked on and put his hands on his hips. 

 

Cassidy was rummaging through her belt again to find something to affix the patch of scrap metal.  “I really hate to use this but… it’s worth it!” 

 

“Whatcha got there?”  Said Bellow. 

 

Magnesium.  I’m going to weld the seam shut.” 

 

“Weld?  With what?  You don’t even have-.”  Bello was cutoff again. 

 

Cassidy placed the piece of scrap metal over the seam.  Hot steam was still occasionally spurting out.  She used a bit of resin from a small tube she had on her bandolier to keep it from flying off.  Using a utility knife, she cut the small rectangle of magnesium into strips and placed around the edges of the newly affixed patch.  She took out her sparker.  It was one of her earlier inventions.  It was y-shaped, with 2 stones on each tip and a sliding switch on the handle.  “You might want to cover your eyes,” Cassidy turned her back towards the machine and reached out with her right hand holding the sparker at arms length over the patch.  “Here we go!”  She flicked the sparker switch a couple times; the two stones came banging together at a hinged joint at the base of the two points.  A bright fiery spark lit up and in a blast of light the magnesium erupted into a sparking flame.  Bello jumped back a bit surprised to see such a hot flame from a small source.  The sparking white light quickly burned itself out.  The smoke cleared, and Cassidy picked up a hammer from Bello’s box of tools.  She clanged it on the patch to make sure it was firmly applied.  “There!  That won’t be going anywhere,” she said with a smile.   Bello walked up to see, and Cassidy handed him the hammer.  “Check that out.”  She said proudly. 

 

“Certainly is running a lot quieter already.  Say…” he wondered, “You wouldn’t happen to be one of those Cytech inventors?  I’ve never seen someone traveling through Smisom with so much fancy gear.” 

 

“Cassidy Thairbrooke, Cytech Junior Inventor First Class at your service.”  Her demeanor had greatly improved now that she knew a hot shower was in her immediate future.  “Nice to meet you Bello.” 

 

“Well that’s a handy thing having a Cytech come along just at the right time.  Vanci will be quite happy, this thing has been acting up for days.  Thanks for the help!” 

 

Her task completed, Cassidy went back upstairs to the lobby and found Vanci the innkeeper.  As a thank-you Vanci gave Cassidy a free voucher to one of the restaurants in town.  Better than nothing,” she thought.  She finished checking in for her room and went upstairs.  She picked a room on the third floor facing the road since it would give her a good view of the town, which should be handy to track down Trede later on.  She got to her room and threw her gear and pack on the bed and went straight for the shower.  As the water came spraying down on her it was as if the weeks worth of stress were washed away down the drain.  Not to mention a weeks worth of dirt obtained by traveling across country and walking dirt roads.  The water was just the way she liked it: HOT.  So hot that it turned her skin a fair red and filled the room with a thick foggy steam.  She stayed in until her fingers and toes wrinkled.  Then she stepped out of the shower and dried off.  As she ran a towel through her hair she said “Ok Smisom, now I’m ready for you.  And Trede, here I come.”



© 2009 Johnzo


Author's Note

Johnzo
I really had fun with this chapter. I think the character's personalities start to really come through, but you be the judge. What do people think?

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Featured Review

I feel more depth and action in thsi chapter here.
You make your characters stand out and that is wonderful.
I like the angle you have took your charcters in.
Very well written full of action write here
You are a wonderful writer, I hope to read more
of your story. It is a very gripping write.



Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I like this chapter, too. You are right, the character's personalities show a bit more. And I'm already loving Traz. I can tell he'll probably turn out to be my favorite character. :)

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I feel more depth and action in thsi chapter here.
You make your characters stand out and that is wonderful.
I like the angle you have took your charcters in.
Very well written full of action write here
You are a wonderful writer, I hope to read more
of your story. It is a very gripping write.



Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on October 7, 2009
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Author

Johnzo
Johnzo

Bridgton, ME



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For more info on my little world, visit: www.echowake.com -Latest post: 2nd Draft Preview My favorite stories are usually ones that have a bigger world behind them, a story behind the story that.. more..

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