To Solidify the Mist: Cp6

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Six

We could only assume Mochsha had expended her energy on the demand, as we did not hear her any more. A number of voices however said such was for the best, as we really did not need to have a conversation. She had been found, or at least located. We needed to set ourselves to putting our energy to work on freeing her.

The structure was determined to be round like the pond. The soldiers did not really bother looking for a door, but beat on the invisible barrier hoping for something to break and provide an entrance. A number of us turned hearing a very different sound, and all reacted when the soldier that had caused the thump blared out that he had found the door. I came around to see that the portal he opened showed a different place than the middle of the pond.

There was light, as it seemed there was no roof to the structure. However, the radiance quickly disappeared into a depth that I could not determine. I probably could have asserted my place and gained a better view, but was glad to have only looked from a distance as a voice boomed out of the structure.

“Oh, foolish mortals! Think you have found treasure? It is not worth it. That I will assure you.”

Suddenly I felt a great wind. I first felt that the accumulated filth of years had been stirred up by whatever spoke. As a black substance, almost a gas, rushed up into the sky, I felt almost a sense of joy seeing it leave.

Someone did ask, “Where’s it going?”

Heratin answered, “Let’s not worry about it. We need to find Mochsha.”

The reason the light from above was being absorbed happened because the drop down seemed bottomless. I chanced moving up as others began uncoiling rope and readying spikes to see a grand chasm going down into the earth. Thinking what flew off might be a dragon, I sought the glimmer of gold, but saw only the light from above descend into darkness.

Orintious went around barking orders as Heratin worked with the men preparing to descend into the depths. I simply tried to stay out of peoples’ way while I also sought to see what was going on. No one commanded me to move back, or issued orders for me to do anything, so I just did what I could to be a part of the events without being a distraction.

I heard a soldier ask, “Are you good, Heratin?”

The middle brother replied, “There is no way you are going to stop me, so you better think I’m good.”

Orintious said, “I want men with you, Heratin.”

“Listen, you look and tell them how. Get me down, and I might send you directions for them.”

The soldier heading the ropes, named Begaxy, said, “It’s just blackness, Sir. We’re hoping it is just more illusion, and once past Heratin can provide instructions.”

Orintious did move up to look through the doorway, then commented, “It looks scary.”

Heratin replied, “No, it doesn’t. I would jump. Probably foolish, but I’m not scared.”

“I believe you. Okay, Heratin, Mochsha is waiting.”

“Vernallor!”

I was surprised to hear my name from Heratin, but moved up while simply asking, “Yes?”

“Stay here at the door. These men will be needing to focus on the ropes. If I need to talk to someone, you can do that.”

Seeing nods, I moved on up while saying, “Yeah, sure.”

He dropped past the doorway, then immediately began talking. “You know, Vernallor, that you are going to have to explain how you found this.”

“I thought about going into the pond and seeing if my sword would really enable me to breathe underwater.”

“Ha! That’s rich. Well, you take your credit, Vernallor. I most certainly would. Now, Vernallor, help me determine where I am. I believe that we were over there when we heard Mochsha’s voice.”

I moved my head inside and outside the doorway, then gave Heratin a slight correction to the way he was pointing. He then spoke to those manning the rope to have him swing in that direction. He was far enough down that his movement seemed fun, and my smile at watching went wider upon hearing a correction to what he was doing.

“DOWN AND STRONG! I SEE STEPS!”

Those at the ropes seemed more worried about themselves than Heratin as they shifted to assure the great wide swing of the one below. Suddenly a loud clang could be heard, then the soldiers braced themselves feeling a strong pull. They almost fell down as the rope then went slack, and I heard instructions from Heratin.

“There are no steps up. Something clawed them out. You can send down men if you want. MOCHSHA!”

One soldier was preparing himself to join Heratin when cries went up of the blackness returning. The soldiers did not chance having anyone hanging as bait, but all simply took up weapons. I held my position hoping that I would not need to use my sword against the blackness.

I expected to feel the structure shake, but the blackness simply stopped as if floating. “None of you will return as heroes. Lertoburg is now a waste.”

Orintious said, “Really? Both people? Or did you lay waste another city last time?”

A soldier asked, “Don’t we usually trade with Prekovan?”

“Uh, yes, I believe so. Whatever you are, you should have laid waste to Prekovan.”

“What? Who are you?”

Suddenly, I heard a sound. It was strange how the clanging of metal so far away could have been so easily heard. Hearing a female voice yell out Heratin’s name made more sense than the simple sound of a lock being released and a door opened.

“NO!” Roared the blackness. “YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU DID!”

Orintious declared, “I believe we do. ATTACK!”

I had heard orders about preparing certain weapons. It thus did not surprise me to find a number of missiles and blasts directed at the entity. What however surprised me was to hear orders directed at me.

The soldiers at the ropes were preparing a strange weapon, but Begaxy gave directions to me. “Hold out your sword with the edge up, Master Vernallor. Use both hands.”

I had to ask, “What?”

“That’s its lair down there. Surely it will flee down. Might as well try to cut it as it descends.”

I did remember the rush as it went out. Could not say that the creature moved close enough to the walls, or the door, to actually make the plan a good one, but I felt no harm in making the attempt. It also gave me something to do. I thus took out Irvachin and with both hands securing the grip I held it out over the darkness.

As predicted, the blackness did seek to rush down. It then surprised me to feel a connection with my sword. I found myself swimming in a vast pool. Strangely, I could remember that I was holding a sword, and kept telling myself not to let go. I was suddenly enveloped in darkness, and felt as if I was drowning. I fought off that feeling by telling myself the sword glowed and would allow me to breathe. Strangely, that thought seemed to activate something. I felt a rush of power through me, then I opened my eyes to see the tower and a strange creature falling with a wing cut. It looked like a bat, except the wings were furry like a moth’s and I saw no ears. That is about all I saw before the soldiers released some energized bolt down upon it, and the force of its impact rushed the creature into the darkness far below.

Before any cheers could sound, I heard the voice of Heratin yell, “Hurry! Drop the rope.”

As the soldiers put down their weapons and set themselves to again secure the ropes, one asked, “Did we kill it?”

I sheathed my sword while answering, “I know it was wounded.”

“Hopefully, it will think twice before coming back up.”

Another soldier said, “It should have thought twice before rushing away. It only gave us time to prepare for it.”

“Don’t count your luck, but count your pay.”

The comments changed to a cadence as the men worked with the weight of my two siblings. As they used their combined strength to bring up Heratin and Mochsha, I looked to get a glimpse of my lost sister. Her hair was very long, but as wiry as mine. The color was also not dark as my own, but then I realized it was blue. She seemed rather light-skinned, but something about the blue glow surrounding her had me wonder about what I was seeing. Feeling that I would see her up close soon enough, I changed my focus to the men who worked in unison to lift those who had been below.

Even up close there was a haze around Mochsha. She was lovely, but I sensed something very odd about her. She hugged me, and the embrace was very warm. She then kissed me, and I felt it to be something much more passionate that any of those from the ladies in the celebration. Mochsha then rose, and I saw her change to become completely white with the haze around her seeming to make her brilliant as she rushed upon Orintious.

After some affection, she said, “We must flee, Orintious. Both of our lives are in peril.”

“Both of us? Mochsha, I am not the wandering sword for hire you remember. I am more than qualified to take on any threat.”

“Orintious, we are not just interesting. Father takes on children he considers interesting. He however is an inter-dimensional collector of knowledge. What is interesting to him is usually dangerous to others. We are in that category, Orintious. I found what I should not have. Let’s get to safety, then we can talk.”

Heratin said, “By safety, you do not mean one of Father’s houses.”

“If we must, but I would hope one of you would have your own places.”

“My home would be safe.”

Orintious looked around, barked an order for his soldiers to pack up, then said, “And probably the safest retreat. I would rather the protection of gods to science or magic.”

I found it strange to see Mochsha turn blue as she said, “Definitely not magic.”

“It however would be at least three days to Heracropolis.”

“And to think that we once moved about with such liberty.”

Heratin said, “Well, Father knows how to set up portals between his houses. We’re out in the wilderness, Mochsha.”

Orintious added, “And on our own. Unless you want us to contact Father, Mochsha?”

She replied, “No. We cannot answer his questions right now. What I can tell you will not be sufficient for Father. Let me get my brothers where I can speak to you privately, then we can decide just how far we can go with what knowledge I have gained.”

I heard a rumbling, but it was the soldiers that caused me to turn from looking at my sister. I thought she was very lovely, but the haze around her told me that she was something more than a regular human. Neither Orintious nor Heratin spoke of her appearing peculiar, although I remembered both telling me that Mochsha was something different. I saw her turn red as the soldiers announced the coming of trouble.

Where as earlier there had been a single mass of darkness to rise out of the depths, this was a great swarm of flying creatures. Mochsha came near me as I drew my sword. She told me that she would keep us safe, but that I needed to kill those that came upon us. I felt that was a silly thing to say, as the great number would constantly keep some creatures near us. I however suddenly saw one soldier basically swallowed as a great mass of the monsters descended upon him, and I felt glad that my sister sought to protect me.

Questions and problems will continue.