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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Chapter 4: When Remera and Seryna are exploring the ancient ruin, things begin to stir (predictably). They a found in a situation where they have to run for safety. A new character is introduced...and new magic is discovered as they search for concealed doors that will let them escape.

Submitted: June 20, 2016

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Submitted: June 20, 2016





Chapter 4





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Short Story inspired by the DA franchise

Written by Booksie member Haku





Secrets and Lure

Seryna grabbed Remera’s wrist without thinking, tightening her grip ferociously until she heard her gasp in pain. 
“You betrayed your kin!”
As she said this, the magical energy in her palms erupted, and they were sparking and spitting with flames. Remera was trying to escape from her grasp, and it looked as if she was taking all her strength to suppress a scream. She could not prevent the tears streaming from her eyes and the skin of her face turning pink from the agony. Seryna felt another stab in her stomach, this time of guilt and horror. She let go of her arm abruptly, silently pleading to herself that her injury was not life threatening. Remera could not prevent it now, as she bent down, clutching her wrist. She was shaking violently, and Seryna could see her forehead shining with sweat. Seryna felt a rush of confusion, trying to decide whether she deserved this, but as she watched her crying in pain, she couldn’t convince herself to believe it. Remera had always arrayed a strong sense of superiority, and she had broken her shield to shards of bleeding glass. 
 “You don’t know what they could have done to them! You saw what they were about to do to that hunter!” She looked down at her burnt wrist which was now revealing a sickening colour of pink flesh and blood. Then she cried again. Seryna had never expected Remera to produce a sound like that. 
But Seryna was already feeling sickened with shame. “I-I’m sorry. It was beyond my control.” That was the truth. The flame energy that emerged was a force that she couldn’t suppress, just like Remera couldn’t hide her cries of pain. 

Then Remera’s sounds were muffled as Vaeril had seemed to appear from thin air as he stood behind Remera with his hand clasped over her mouth. They both realized why he did this in the same exact moment as they fell silent. The echoing sounds in the tunnel behind them made her stomach churn and her heart beat frantically. Heavy, even footsteps were approaching them in the sound of a march. Seryna knew she had lit the torches, that they must have acknowledged the presence of others somewhere within these walls. But she didn’t have time to think when they had to escape their invasion. She feared that it was the horned race finally edging closer into the brinks of the forest. Her accompanying elves must have figured this unnerving possibility as well. Vaeril quietly manoeuvred towards the painted window with Remera, who made a move to struggle without causing him pain. She had no reason to want to blow their cover, Seryna thought hopefully. She stepping through the window pane before them, and held Remera steadily as she followed. In response to her gesture, she gave Seryna a vengeful shove. After recovering herself Seryna looked over her shoulder in search of Vaeril, who didn’t make an appearance in the new hallway they stood in. She peered through the window shape. 
Vaeril was scurrying about the room, collecting potions and rummaging in the piles of scattered parchments. Does he think we have time? Seryna thought with bitter impatience. There was only one thing she could do. She stepped back inside the potions room and snatched the potions from his arms. Beckoning to the doorway of the window painting, she mouthed “Come on!”

To her relief, he followed at last. The volumes of the footsteps were increasing. When they had both escaped from the room, Seryna closed the window quickly but as softly as she could. 
“Follow me” Vaeril whispered, walking up the corridor with haste. 
The castle halls become higher as they followed him deeper into the building. Abandoned parchments and books lay scattered on the floor, and Seryna wished deeply that she could read them and explore every room and item that lay still in the deserted castle. Stone lay piled in the corners they passed and blocked the doors, which had fallen from the ceiling. This area of the castle appeared to be deteriorating. Vines and weeds spread through the broken ceilings. Occasionally birds took abrupt flight and exited from the ceilings and gaps in the walls, which startled one of them each time. Vaeril narrowly missed a falling stone as they made their way. He took them in twists and turns, leading them through corridors to rooms which led to staircases going up and down. Finally they met their last staircase, which went deep down into darkness. Vaeril had taken them to a basement, which appeared to be storage for food and drink. There were barrels piled at the walls, fireplaces, and straw on the stony floor. A strong smell of sourness hung in the damp air. The barrels must have contained different kinds of wine. Seryna inspected the ornaments on the fireplace, and the patterns engraved in the cement. The most intriguing object was a massive beast with scales and wings, enamelled in deep red and forest greens. 
“Can I take it?” She looked at Vaeril, whilst touching the ornament, trailing her fingers along it’s scales. 

He spun round to look at her. Seryna could tell he was struggling to think of an escape plan, for she believed they were safe for now in this dimly lit cellar. She saw Remera looking up at the staircase suspiciously from the corner of her eye. 
“Yes, yes I suppose” He answered distractedly, looking around the cellar nervously. 
Seryna placed both her hands on it. The fire that was burning on her palms had died, she noticed.  She pulled the statue of the beast, but it refused to move. Placing a foot on the side of the fireplace, she made a second attempt, pulling with all her force.  It still wouldn’t move, remaining glued to the surface. She looked at the other ornaments and tried to shift them. They lifted as she had expected the large statue to. She heard something move, and saw the platform underneath the statue eject a tray containing a small scroll. She picked it up gingerly, untied the ribbon and read;

All hail Nythal, God of Secrets and Lure  
The Promise of solace and health
But now we must endure
If we should escape our sorrows
In the darkness of the morrows 
Imprisoned from power and wealth.
We will at last find peace with our brethrens
And vanquish those who seek to destroy our heavens

 Seryna pocketed the scroll and pushed the tray back into the platform. She gazed woefully at the statue, thinking it was too beautiful to leave behind. It could have been the only souvenir she returned with when they found the fresh air of the outdoors again and returned to the clan. Hoping for a fluke, she yanked the statue. The next thing she knew, she was on the stone floor, meeting it with an ache that pained her back. A beast statue lay on the floor next to her, and she smiled in victory. Vaeril and Remera were looking down at her. Vaeril looking like had just discovered a pleasant surprise and Remera glaring down at her with an expression of loathing. Seryna wondered how many different ways the huntress knew how to kill her with her bare hands, but Vaeril saved her from the moment by taking her hand and lifting her back to her feet. 
They turned to see the fireplace transforming, lifting upwards into the ceiling and inside the floor. It left a tall narrow doorway, giving them consent to enter. They both gaped at her.
“What have you done!” Remera said in an exasperated tone.
“What have you done?” Vaeril echoed her, who seemed to be highly impressed. He was grinning broadly with enthusiasm, making his overly large ears looked bigger than usual.
“If the enemies came storming out from this entrance would it have been such a smart thing to do then?” said Remera with a frown.
Seryna stepped towards the hidden entrance with a torch in hand, believing it was only best that she took the risk to discover any possible dangers that could have awaited them inside. The area was too dark, but she thought she could see light trapped underneath curtains. Using magical force, she pulled them aside and uncovered arch shaped windows of a vast side. In fact, the entire room was the size of a hall. The decorations were stunning. Many painted statues surrounded her. At the edges of the hall stood magnificent pieces of ancient armour, with the most peculiar designs. Some armours had razor sharp forms, as black as night. She saw another gleaming in multiple colours when the light hit its surface, with the intricate details found on the wings of an insect. One had animal hides incorporated into the metallic plates; another appeared to be made of bones; a startling suit that had the head of a tiger on its helm; one made of the most precious metals, and Seryna’s personal favourate, which also had animal hides in the colour of white on golden armour, with great antlers on the helm and shoulders. Beautiful they were, but Seryna couldn’t help but imagine how she would feel if they came to life. She was reassured slightly when she saw they all appeared empty bodied. Ahead of her was a massive painting that occupied a large space of the wall at the other side of the fireplace opening. The elves who had once lived and breathed in this space were clearly wealthy, as the jewellery and bowls contained gems she had never seen or imagined possible. 

Encouraging Vaeril and Remera that it was safe to make an entrance, she scrutinized the objects of the room. It was only when they entered and gaped at the high ceiling when Seryna noticed a metallic skeleton hung from it above them; attaching it to the ceiling must have cost an immense effort. 
She picked up a particularly large gem and focused on the swirling shapes it contained within. A familiar shape emerged the black smoke that formed it. Horned figures emerged from the centre, becoming larger as they approached. Seryna suddenly felt a disquieting feeling that they were closing in on her. She wanted to put the gem back, to drop, to throw it, to destroy it, but she couldn’t take her eyes away. The shapes were transforming, and to her horror, a face appeared, with black eyes looking directly into her hers. She felt like it could see right through her, invading the depths of her mind and memory. A voice was whispering into her ears. She could feel its spitting breath inside her eyes as it spoke. Something touched her shoulder forcefully. She shrieked in fright.
“Stay away from me!” 
This scared her even more. The voice that had spoken didn’t belong to her. Was she turning insane? She felt liked she would never be herself again, that the only emotion she would ever know was sorrow. She couldn’t help but scream.
Her mouth was being covered and she could feel the vibrations of her screams trapped underneath it. It travelled to her eyes, making her blind. 

“No! I can’t see, I can’t see!” She was repeating. Listening closely to her voice, she kept saying it over and over. It was her! It sounded like herself, Seryna. Tears came from her eyes with joy. She could feel herself returning, which gave her an overwhelming sense of comfort she had never experienced before. The gem slipped from her hands, and the connection broke. It felt as if the nightmare had released its clenching claws from her flesh, and let go of her mind.

-end of chapter 4


Note: The Statue Seryna pulled to open the fireplace entrance was actually a dragon. Only the character in which the book perspective is written in doesn't realize what the creature is. I won't explain why it was placed there as that would reveal plot spoilers for the upcoming chapters.


© Copyright 2018 Haku. All rights reserved.

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