plorator et piscis speluncae

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

After the death of his mother, Rupert journeys to a magical place.

plorator et  piscis speluncae
by garrett das
The cold remains of Rubert’s mother were vanishing underneath the earth. Tears dripped from his swollen eyes. His quick hands snatched an indigo cloth that her hands clutched to. The boy held up the fabric to his nose and smelt its sweet floral aroma. Prayers were said and the tombstone layed.  The moon crowned the twilight landscape as the sun retreated. Rupert started to go back to his lonely house when the winds whipped up. They howled fiercely with malice in their breath. The winds took the cloth from rupert’s hands. Rupert desperately tried to recover the article but the wind carried it several miles away.  rupert saw the indigo cloth snagging on a rocky outcrop. He was elated and started to run toward the rocks. he came to the outcrop as the sun regained its high throne. The boy was amazed to see a titanic tree inhabiting the center of the outcrop. Its roots were so large, they crushed the boulders of the outcrop under their weight. the branches stretched far and covered the earth in a dense shade. birds had built their nests high in the canopy. Rupert couldn’t remember a large tree growing here before. He walked around the trunk of the tree, when tucked under one of the immense roots, he saw the indigo cloth. he bent down to the ground and reached for it. Rupert  started to pull at the cloth when he felt something tugging at it from underneath the root. rupert desperately struggled but the force only pulled harder below. The cloth slipped from rupert’s grasp. It slid down a dark hole under the tree root. rupert peered down into the small hole. under the tree, there was a large cavern with several small rivers flowing through it. Rupert sank his fingers into the soil and ripped at it. The hole swiftly widened and he slid through. Rupert descended to the cavern floor. The cave was full of living tree branches and crystal pillars.  He walked along the banks of one of the rivers till he came to a wall of ice. Rupert  saw an array of dazzling colored lights inside the ice. He heard water dripping on the ice and found a small pool. large moss covered tree roots meandered in the pool. Rupert’s eyes lit up when he saw a small fish swimming in the pool. It’s scales were yellow and white colored. He noticed a few of the scales sink to the bottom of the pool. Rupert reached for a yellow colored scale. the scale seemed strange to Rupert. the scale was heavy and hard. the boy  held it up to his eye. Rupert saw a faint impression of a face and some writing on the scale. “this looks like a coin,” Rupert thought. He felt the scale in his hand. rupert was confident it was indeed a coin. He saw the fish dart under a tree root. Rupert then heard loud shouts coming from deep in the cave. The sounds of metal tools and men working echoed. Rupert was so startled by the sounds that he hid behind a tree root. As he hid so, Rupert heard the soft sound of weeping behind him. he turned to see a strange looking man bending down by the pool. the man had a long beard and black eyes. “that fish is my greatest friend. he saves me from the voice that torments my mind every hour,” said the man.  he looked up at rupert. “those dwarfs are looking for the fish,” he said. “They want it for the coins, but it is a wise fish. Edgar the chief of the dwarfs knows this. My friend has cleverly evaded them for years, never granting them a coin. He can’t be contained to any body of water for he can move through earth.” The distant sounds of the dwarfs grew louder and Rupert saw several dwarfs carrying pickaxes, marching towards the pool. A few of them shouted in excitement, “look over there, it's ludwig.” They raised their tools to the air and charged at Rupert and the man in a fury. The strange man grabbed Rupert and ran up a slope. The dwarfs struggled to pursue and then retired in frustration. Rupert and ludwig passed through a dark hallway. the sounds of the dwarfs drifted off. They came to a lonely chamber when a loud cry broke the silence. rupert and ludwig hesitantly moved toward the source of the sound. As they moved toward the source of the noise, rupert saw claw and bite marks on the tree roots that lined the walls. they came to a small grotto whose walls were ornamented with crystals and jewels. Rupert saw an old dwarf lying against the wall.  He and Ludwig went to him. “he is edgar,” whispered ludwig. Edgar looked up at them and frowned. he struggled to breath and was losing blood. “Ludwig, now you show your treacherous face,” said edgar. at his feet, edgar's blood pooled into a small marsh. Rupert saw a bolt protruding from the soil. Edgar then said, “the scales of the fish are impervious to my weapons. The beast can move through walls, and i could not surprise it. at last he did me in.” they then all felt a rush of cold air. black figures that looked like smoke surrounded Edgar. Ludwig, in a panic, grabbed rupert and hid behind a boulder. The crystal walls quickly melted and revealed misshapen rock men. Edgar pulled out a dager to fend off the figures. Tree roots started to tangle around edgar. He grew calm as the roots formed a cage. The figures attacked the cage to no avail. they wailed in frustration as edgar’s body vanished. A few continued to attack the roots but the others turned to Rupert and ludwig. the figures rushed at them. the two of them ran in different directions. rupert started to cross a stream to escape when the swift current dragged at him. he fell into the water. In the stream he saw the fish swimming toward him.  To his horror, Rupert saw the fish transform into a monster. The creature possessed human limbs and face except for large serrated teeth and claws. Its eyes coldly looked at him. The monster slammed its claws into rupert's side. he suddenly felt very warm as the blood flowed out into the stream. His body submerged and was pulled down stream. later rupert floated to the shore. his body was weak and cold. He noticed that the tree was losing its leaves in the cave. a dead branch from the cavern roof fell to the ground.  Rupert then used the debris to start a small fire. The flames brought some relief to rupert but his blood still departed him.  Then the walls of the cave shivered as a deep growling sound jolted rupert. “Is that the voice that ludwig had been hearing?” he thought.  The voice was low and deep. Rupert then saw the monster appear. the beast charged at him. rupert ran but the beast moved like lightning. the monster aimed for his heart. Rupert saw the fire near him. He grabbed a stick from it. The monster came down on him. rupert swung the stick at the beast’s eye. The flame consumed the eye and seared the flesh. rupert ran to the stream and picked up a log. he got into the water to flee. the beast tried to follow. The monster, being confused and bewildered, struggled to seek him. the monster turned back into a fish and jumped into a wall. rupert grabbed a rock to bash the  monster’s head in, but the fish slithered into obscurity. rupert collapsed into the stream and floated away. the light of the sun awoke him. Rupert was clutching a log as he floated down a pleasant stream. he felt no pain. the boy lifted up his shirt and found no wounds. Rupert smelt the aromatic aroma of his mother’s cloth. the sweet smell intoxicated his soul and drew him further into bliss. He looked behind him and saw the grand tree in full bloom. at the top of a large branch stood ludwig. he waved to rupert and smiled.  Rupert swam to the shore. He looked again but the tree had vanished. The warmth he felt from smelling his mother’s cloth comforted him.

Submitted: May 25, 2020

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