Ewqueto, the captured king, sat in a dark, dank prison sell. Wondering if he would ever get out of there. Wishing he could see his beautiful wife-- Elletello-- one more time. He heard footsteps and the jingle of keys. With only a small hole to the outside world for light-- about the size of a large mans fist --in the far upright corner, not much light got in his cell. The foot steps got closer, and suddenly a large Un’op appeared. The Un’op was a tall, muscular, gangly creature, that the Evil King had created. After opening the prison cell door, the Un’op dragged Ewqueto out, for his daily labor.
* * *
Zydion sat upon his cold, marble throne, holding a grape in his fingers. He popped it into his mouth, and a loud squish echoed through the large, quiet room. His throne room was always quiet, and that’s what he liked best about it. It was quiet because anyone who had dared to disturb him had been reduced to ashes in a matter of minutes.
He grinned, thinking of those who hadn’t survived his wrath. Yes, he was very powerful. And he loved it. He swallowed another grape. Zydion’s mind strayed towards his prisoner… that man. He hated Ewqueto with a passion. So, that’s partially why he was glad that day (horribly glad) because he had that king, Ewqueto, in his prisons below him. Yes, wasn’t he a master planner?
“My plan is flawless. After the king’s capture causes further disruption in the kingdom, then I shall attack, take advantage of their confusion, and make myself king over all. This kingdom is only the first.” With a sort of gruesome laugh, the king settled back in his chair to mull over things once more.
* * *
Ewqueto lugged a pile of rocks up a small hill, were they would be taken into the castle to make bricks.
“Everyday, the same routine. My back aches, and my fingers are far past blistered. I’m hot and sweaty. To make things worse I have at least one Un’op behind me, looking for the slightest mistake, so he has a chance to whip me.” He got to the top of the hill and put the rocks in a wheel barrow, which he would have to take down the other side of the hill, into the castle. On his way down, he noticed a crowd forming. One of the Un’op creatures, were in the middle. A loud shriek broke out from the middle of the crowd. To get a better look, Ewqueto dropped his wheelbarrow and ran over, not worrying about what punishment he would get.
Looking over peoples’ shoulders he saw an old man crouching on his knees on the ground. Blood surrounded him. The Un’op flicked his wrist--which was holding a whip--it came down upon the man. Giving another shriek, he fell completely flat, not moving.
A roar like yell erupted from the Un’op, which turned to laughter. Turning to the crowd the Un’op started to talk.
“Now, if any of you ever talk back to an Un’op, you will have the same fate as this worthless old man!” A woman in the crowed gasped. A silence fell over the crowed that sent chills up Ewqueto’s spine.
* * *
Zydion moved to his window and watched the Un’ops deal with the slaves. Or prisoners, like His Highness. How he loved the creations he had made. Un’ops were quite useful. Snorting, he moved away from the window and called for a messenger.
“Take a message to the scouts. Tell them to tell my officers--all of them--to reinforce our defense. Get our weapons ready. No doubt, someone will come for the king. And when they do, we’ll be ready for them.” His eyes glimmered, and his fists clenched, anticipating annihilating whatever force came after the king.
And with that, the messenger left, message and all.
* * *
Jaavere sat down on a rock. The arguing had finished, but no decision had been made. They were scheduled to leave in two days to finish the quest. The afternoon past quickly, and before he knew it, it was time for supper. In the morning they started to pack up, because they would leave early the next day. The next day they were going to stop at the closest town to gather provisions, and, possibly drop Vrenith off.
At least that was what seemed to be the plan currently. When suppertime came, Zimm made an interesting comment,
“How ‘bout I paint a clown in a boat for ya’ll?” Zimm offered. “Just to cheer you up.”
“Zimm, what’s a clown?” Jaavere asked.
“It’s from the future!” Zimm answered, nodding while grinning his famous toothy grin.
“Zimm!” They all laughed. The rest of supper time, on to a time around the fire was filled with much mirth and happiness. Zimm had succeeded in cheering everyone up.
The next morning the first thing Vrenith said when she awoke was,
“You could use an extra sword, and I’m not weak. I know how to use a sword, and you guys can’t stop me from coming--short of killing me-- if you don’t let me come I’ll just follow you!”
“Whoa! Wait a second. We can’t take you with us. I thought I made that clear a few days ago. No lady should accompany a bunch of men on a quest. Just remember what happened with the dragon. There will be lots of dragons on this quest!” Khinlr replied.
* * *
Vrenith was frustrated with these people. Why did Khinlr protest to her plan--though the others had not spoken? “Well, sir, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but one thing I remember is that when I decide something, I decide it. That means I’m coming, no matter what you say. I’ll trail you if I have to.”
“Now, no need to be rude--”
“But why can’t I come, sir?” Vrenith’s tone became pleading. “I must come. What am I to do in a town that I have no knowledge of? How am I to survive? I don’t even remember my whole life! You must let me come!”
Apparently, her plight tugged at his heart, and he knew that she wouldn’t be able to survive if they dropped her off. “All right--but only if you promise--”
“Thank you!!” She hugged him fast, and then he finished his sentence.
“If you promise to leave us once you either recover your memory, or the quest has ended.”
Well… she wasn’t sure if she’d want to quit, but what was the odds of her recovering her whole memory before the quest was over? “Ok, I promise.
* * *
Jaavere sighed. He wasn’t sure how he would like having a girl on the questing team, it would be a little awkward, and he didn’t even know very much about her. Why she had been in the cave, why she was so far from home, how old she was, and what her history was! For all he new, she could be a bandit in disguise! That was very unlikely, but who knew? He felt bad for her though, so he didn’t speak up. They left a few minutes later. Jaavere felt tingles go up his spine. He loved questing! Every time he thought about it he wanted to dance! Of course he never would though…
* * *
Vrenith felt excitement rising up in her--she was going on a quest! Somehow, she knew that that had been her dream, when she could remember.
All they’d told her was that a king had been captured, and they were trying to get him back. Well, a worthy quest, it seemed. At least no one had spoken up against her. She’d run out of reasons why she needed to go on the quest.
Jaavere and Zimm walked on either side of her, and Khinlr, Gyrendail, and Ferdlien walked behind her. It was Jaavere’s turn to lead, so he was slightly in front of her, finding the best paths and beating back plants with his sword. Then, Vrenith offered to take a turn.
Jaavere sized her up. She didn’t look that muscular, but you never knew. She had walked all this way without stopping anymore than anyone else. He wondered, though.
“How about you just take a short turn.”
She glared at him, but accepted the stick and took the lead. She’d show them.
From the front, she had a clear view of the nature/ Sharurl had made it. There. She’d had another memory… maybe her memory would come back sooner than she thought. But it was her whole life, so maybe not.
The beautiful, blue sky stretched on for miles, far beyond the trees that obstructed her view. The sun was overhead now, marking it noon, and the heat was just beginning to close around them
And the trees! Trees of many different kinds, most she probably couldn’t name. Oh, well. They were beautiful. There were oak, birch, elm, rowan… bitternut. And pines, too. And every once and awhile, there was a fruit tree.
The forest floor was covered in growth--vines, plants, herbs. A few flowers. There was poison ivy, so they had to stay away from that. Vrenith easily maneuvered around that.
Then, when it was getting late, Khinlr came and took the staff from her hand. “You’ve been doing it for long enough--as long as anyone has, here. We waited to see if you would tire, but you seem to still be going strong. Still, I’ll take a turn now.”
Well, she’d had her turn, so, “Yes sir.” She stepped back to walk beside Zimm again.
* * *
Jaavere walked on, until the sun started to set. They were about out of the forest, but they decided to stop for camp. With the moon and stars, casting shadows in the forest, at first glance, it would not seem like a nice place to be. Everything had seemed to change. When the flowers and trees had seemed beautiful in daylight, the darkness made everything seem frightening and spooky. Oh, well. It didn’t matter. The moon was high in the sky, and Jaavere needed his rest. It was going to be another long day tomorrow. Jaavere tossed and turned on his mat, before falling into a gentle slumber. In the middle of the night Jaavere was awakened by something curling around his ankles, at first he thought it was a snake, so without thinking, nudged off. But this was no snake. It curled tighter and tighter around Jaavere’s ankles. Risking a look at the creature, at first it did to appear to be a snake. Until he saw the eyes.
Jaavere let out a billowing yell, waking everyone in the camp. Zimm was the first to wake up, coming immediately coming to his side. Hitting the snake like creature with a stick, it turned it’s head toward Zimm and blew a puff of fire. A snake dragon! Normally known as a Srakon. Zimm barley dodged the fire, and ran behind a tree. The Srakon followed Zimm over to the tree, this gave Jaavere a chance to kill the Srakon. Meanwhile, Gyrendail and ferdlien had started a fire and grabbed their swords. Jaavere grabbed his sword and ran over to the snake. He chopped its tail off, that ran behind a nearby rock. Slithering over behind the rock, the Srakon Hissed and blew another puff of smoke at Jaavere. Jaavere dogged the smoke and slammed his sword down on the Srakon head. Thankfully it had only been a little Srakon, or else they would all be dead by now. Everyone got back in bed and tried to fall back asleep, but that was not easy. After laying awake for what seemed like hours, he finally started to fall asleep until he thought of something,
“Where had Vrenith been? I would think she would have taken this chance to “prove” herself. She must be a hard sleeper…”
* * *
Vrenith had awakened when Jaavere had yelled, and she’d jumped up, sword ready. But then, they had the snake under control, and she felt a bit disappointed. Sighing, she went to go get a drink from a nearby stream.
When she arrived at the stream, she found the sound of water soothing. Kneeling down, she dipped her hands in the water and drank from them deeply. Peace filled her, and she sat back.
That is, until she heard a screech. Turning, she stared straight into the jaws of a Srakon, though she didn’t know what it was called--a full grown one. Huge, giant, and swift, she had no chance of defeating this creature. Then, a tidbit of information came to her mind.
“Srakons take prisoners--they bite first, but the venom only puts the victim to sleep for around 24 hours. They may eat that prisoner during that time.”
Horrified, Vrenith watched as the giant Srakon came towards her… and the last thing she felt was the lightning fast bite of the huge snake.
* * *