Darkness Calling

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - 3

Submitted: January 22, 2018

Reads: 67

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Submitted: January 22, 2018

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Cole came to in increments, the first thing he noticed was the pounding in his head as if a great bass drum was being played by Giants. His bones ached as if he had been in a snowstorm for days. On his hand where the ring should have been was a deep burn in the shape of the crest perfectly formed around his finger. Dragging his aching body he slowly pulled himself into a sitting position.
Leaning his head back against the wall he took stock of his body. Everything hurt. He felt as if he had been left in freezing cold water for hours only to be pulled out and set on fire
His hand and arm were the worst where the ring branded him radiated with pain so intense he felt he may be sick.

He sat there for another few moments until his stomach calmed and his head stopped drumming quite as badly.
When he felt he could attempt to stand without collapsing he did, using the wall to help steady himself as he stood on shaking legs.
He didn't know exactly how long he had lain there on the floor so he attuned his senses to the outside world.
Life crawled around the old house, animals in abundance taking advantage of the high ground, but nothing that was cause for alarm.
Cole took a deep breath and relaxed, he was still safe, for now.

As he turned to make his way back out of the room the letter caught his attention from the floor where it must have fallen when he blacked out. Reaching down he scooped it up and placed it in his jacket pocket exiting the room.

He was famished and the flutter of all the life outside called to his empty stomach, he could survive off the energy he pulled from the earth, the air, yet it didn't satisfy the gnawing emptiness in his stomach.

  He crept out on a second story landing letting his senses tell him what direction to take. He wanted to make sure he didn't run into anyone while he hunted.  He lept from the balcony into the nearest tree. He had learned long ago that keeping his feet from the ground minimize his chances of discovery if there was no trail to follow.
He lept from tree to tree feeling like a supernatural Tarzan. He was almost tempted to give a Tarzan yell, almost, he suppressed the urge reminding himself he was still being hunted and wasn't out of the woods yet. Chuckling to himself at his own joke he felt his mood lift. It felt good to be out in the open without a pack of soups snapping at his heels. He had been on the run for so long now he had almost forgotten the feeling.  His discovered sanctuary was an unexpected blessing abet a most welcome one.
He had traveled quite a distance just enjoying the freedom and the fresh air when he sensed a large animal just off to his left, he leaped and landed without a sound. Taking off at a low crouch he bounded over rocks and logs stopping only when he could hear the beating of the creature's heart.
Creeping slowly through the underbrush Cole honed in on his meal, a medium size whitetail deer, he was surprised to see one this far out in swamplands, not unheard of but unusual.

Feeling thankful, he crept slowly toward it gathering his muscles much like a panther before it pounced.  Silently, he jumped on the back of the deer and twisted its head with a snap. A triumphant grin on his face, he hoisted the deer over his shoulders and started back toward the manor. It seemed as if his luck was finally turning around.

Back at the manor, he started field dressing the deer, he hung it upside down and slit its throat catching all the still warm blood in a large bowl he had scavenged from the kitchen.  He turned the bowl up after the deer had been emptied of the vicousious liquid and drank with relish!  It had been too long since he'd had a good meal, he looked forward to cooking the deer and having a medium rare deer stake later.
He took his time enjoying the freedom from being the hunted instead of the hunter as he butchered the deer.
He made each cut with quick precision, his movement fluid and graceful, making sure nothing useful was wasted.
As he finished he gathered up what remained and threw them in the swamp, by morning there would be little evidence of his kill.
He gathered his meat and retreated into the house. He made his way to the kitchen and started searching for something to cook in. Finally, he found an old rusty cast iron pot. He took it outside and scoured it with sand until most of the rust was washed away after he gathered water in it to boil, and set his meat inside the pot.
Once done he lit the sticks he had gathered outside and set the pot in the middle.
He was anticipating a good stew of deer broth and meat, although he did wish he had something else to go in it.

He settled back against the wall beside the fireplace and relaxed, content to wait, on his deer stew such as it was.
It wasn't long before he felt his eyelids drooping, his body relaxing with the warmth of the fire, slowly he slipped gently into sleep.

When he woke the fire was burned down to embers that cast a soft orange glow on the flagstone floor. The room had lost most of it's  comforting warmth and he could feel the cool night air caressing his bare arms. His senses on high alert he sat still as stone. He gently and slowly broadened his range of perception, feeling with his mind looking for what had woken him from his peaceful sleep.He sent out feelers, like small whips of smoke, slow and gentle, using as little magic as was possible. He didn't want to alert anything of his presence if he was not yet discovered. He had become a pro over the years of lightly brushing someone's  magical aura without being detected.
It had saved his hide more than once. He started with the room he was in slowly sending wisp-like tendrils outward. He encountered nothing in the room with him and he breathed a slow sigh of relief. Slowly he broadened his search to outside of the castle and once again detected nothing. As he started to search inside he found nothing on the floors above him or on the one he was currently occupying, but as he started downward he felt a gentle caressing, much like a spider plucking its web.
  He wasn't precisely alarmed by the touch, it didn't feel threatening.  It felt oddly welcoming and comforting. Intrigued he followed the tendril of consciousness deeper into the storeroom until he reached the door he had discovered earlier. 
  There it paused and reaching out to him delicately. It gently twirled around his own consciousness, weaving in and out of him, sharing emotional flashes of its life force.
She was delicate and soft with a loving and warm core but not without an iron hard strength.  He felt such comfort wrapped up in her delicate mists and such longing within her. Cole felt as if she had been waiting for him, waiting for just this moment. Slowly she disengaged and danced away from him disappearing through the door.
  He tried to follow her but was thrown back. It was sudden and violent much like being hit by an eighteen wheeler traveling at the speed of light. He was thrown so forcefully, his consciousness returning with such violence and force, it flung his astral body apart like a shattered crystal vase. It took Cole many long moments to gather all the scattered parts of his astral body before he was able to fully regain consciousness.  Had it not been for his near-constant astral travel to check for lurking dangers he wasn't sure he would have been able to collect himself. As it was he wasn't too sure he had able to find all the pieces of his shattered soul.
Cole gained his bodily functions one at a time. He went over himself meticulously checking for anything out of place, but it seemed he was miraculously whole. 
  He stood on shaky legs and made his way to the fire throwing a few more branches on it, not for the light or warmth but more for the comfort it would bring. He was more shaken than he cared to admit even to himself.
He had never encountered such force or raw power in all the long years of his life and he loathed ever having to experience it again, but try as he might he was not able to shake the feeling that he was needed. He didn't want to admit the feelings that he shared with the female whisp.
It had felt almost like a homecoming but how could that be possible?
Here there were more questions than answers and Cole liked puzzles about as much as he liked being hunted.
Frustrated and frazzled, his nerves standing on edge he stalked to the Windows to drink in the light of the moon, his constant companion. After a while he felt himself slowly relax, his muscles unwinding one at a time, he was finally able to breathe deeply without the jittery feeling of panic clawing up his throat to strangle him.
  Once again he was able to think with a clear head. Cole knew he was untrained in his gifts but wise enough to recognize an ancient magick more powerful than any he had ever known. He knew he was not powerful enough to unlock the secrets of this place but also knew that to find the pieces of his past he must.

Frustrated beyond belief he stomps his way to the root cellar determined to get the door open this time. His patience had run out and he was tired of tiptoeing around this musty old place. He wanted answers and answers are what he was going to get one way or another.

As he approached the back of the cellar where the door was hidden under a layer of dirt and grime he noticed a faint glow emanating from the door. It was in the shape of a handprint right in the center of it. He approached it a little more cautiously although no less determined to find out what was going on. As he stepped nearer to the door the glow grew brighter until it was giving off enough light for his eyes to clearly make out the room in which he stood. The door, he noticed, was pockmarked with small symbols all glowing the same luminescent blue as the handprint. As his eyes grew more accustomed he started to see more details. Strange writing crossed the top of the door, although he had no idea the language or what possible meaning the writing could have. A scene of discomfort settled over him as he lay his hand on the door over the handprint and pushed. Nothing happened, the door didn't stop glowing nor did to door budge an inch.

Feeling his frustration rise within him he slammed both hands against the door and shoved with all his might. As the hand with the ring burned into it touched the door, it shuttered and groaned, shaking the very foundation of the house. Dirt and dust burst out of the cracks in the walls and from the ceiling above creating a cloud of orange swirling through the air. The Door slowing swung inward releasing a blast of icy cold air. The darkness beyond the door was complete, an open maw of black waiting to devour anyone who dared to step through.

Cole stood staring into the blackness for what seemed hours, but was only moments, just long enough for the dust to settle enough and the air to become breathable again. Nothing moved on the other side and there was no light bright enough on this side to penetrate the darkness. Cole stood indecisively just outside the doorway. Should he risk getting light from upstairs taking a chance of releasing something truly evil, Or should he step through the doorway and risk whatever was on the other side?

He stood there a few moments longer and started back up the stairs to retrieve some light. He didn't want to risk falling into hole or crevasse that he couldn't get out of. There was no movement that he could discern nor was there any life he could sense. Grabbing an old rag covering some furniture he wrapped it around the longest piece of wood he could find and thrust it into the fire. It wasn't a great torch but it would have to do until he could find something else. He once again traveled down the rickety stairs to the root cellar.

Once there he realized the door no longer glowed the soft blue glow. It was cold, dirty, grey stone once again. Stepping up to the open doorway he took a deep breath and stepped through.

As soon as he did a soft blue glow emanated from the center of the room, glowing brighter as he grew close to it. The glow flared and a soft blue flamed leaped in a golden bowl sat on a rough stone pedestal. Its light wasn't very bright but it was enough to illuminate the moderately sized circular room he stood in. The walls were rough-hewn rock, and the floor was paved with rough large paving stones.

The room was practically bare with the exception of some stone benches pushed back against the walls and a few tattered tapestries that had long ago faded and lost their color. They were little more than threadbare rags, but he could barely make out the crossed swords on the least damaged one.

Laying the makeshift torch aside he stepped up closer to the fire. When it didn't grow any larger or brighter he stepped up onto the dais and approached the golden bowl of blue fire. It was strange that he felt no heat emanating from the fire instead the fire was cold, so cold in fact he felt frost form on his damp skin. The bowl was decorated with the same strange symbols and letterings that cover the door. Completely at a loss, Cole studied the strange markings trying to see if there were any he recognized. If he could just figure out what language it was in he could surely figure out what it said.

The longer he looked that the bowl the more he noticed and the symbols and letters seemed to swim in his vision forming new shapes only to break apart and reform. Catching his breath Cole finally stepped down and started back across the room. There was nothing more to be gained tonight he sensed. There was no way he would know what the room or the Golden bowl of blue flame was used for unless he could decipher the writing on the outside of it.

He needed help, he wasn't knowledgeable in the ways of magic and until he could find some materials to study or someone willing to help him there was nothing more he could do right now.

Turning on his heels he stalked away. Once again upset by the endless dead ends of this cursed place. He now thought he understood why it sat abandoned in the middle of this godforsaken swamp.

 

 


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