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| Category: || Fantasy Fiction |
Posted:|| December 5, 2019 Views: 74|
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Chapter 24 of the book Quest for the Neckulet
They must navigate the swamp and all its dangers.
"The Ventrof Swamp"
Trying for follow the neckulet, the quest have found themselves in a nasty place.
Vidad shoved the others aside as he sprinted down the mud.
“Stop him, Jahm,” Jewelletta shouted. “Anarra, help him.”
The duo sped off.
Jewelletta spread a bandage across Radolf’s arm and put away her supplies. “Is that better?”
“Yes, he answered.
“We’d better catch up to the others.”
They ran a short distance and found Anarra in front of Vidad, growling and baring her teeth.
“Let’s examine the map.” Jewelletta retrieved it from her robe and opened it.
They gathered around her as best they could on the foot-wide path.
First, Jahm slapped at a bug, then Vidad and Radolf.
“Do you have anything for these biting insects?” Jahm scratched at a bite.
“Yes,” Jewelletta said. “And we should have put it on before entering this place.” She took off her backpack, opened it, and fished out two jars, handing one to Radolf and the other to Jahm. They unscrewed the lid and started spreading it on themselves, and then each handing one to Vidad and Jewelletta who had put the map back into her robe.
Sufficiently covered, she removed it and unfolded it.
Birds squawked, and something plopped in water. Radolf jumped.
“There’s a stream we have to cross in a few miles,” Jewelletta said. “And a river a short distance from that. The first route leading in the direction the bird flew is several miles from that. I’m sorry Vidad, but we won’t find her today.”
He snarled and turned his back.
Jewelletta stuck the drawing back in a pocket, signaled for Vidad to watch their back, and motioned to Jahm to start their trek again.
Some seven miles later, they forded the stream. As they stepped into the river, several huge fish swam up to them, their mouths open, long teeth as sharp as daggers. While Jahm, Radolf, and Vidad stabbed them with special spears, blue bolts shot out from all ten of Jewelletta’s fingers as three reptiles, their jaws with jagged teeth tried to grab her robes floating in the water.
Radolf took deep breaths as he slashed at the fish. Fortunately, Jahm and Vidad had managed to clear a path, and the youngster stuck his lance into a reptile’s mouth long enough for Jewelletta to toss several red slashes at it. He yanked it out, and they all jumped to safety.
Water dripped from the bottom of their clothes, turning what little of the hard ground into a muddy mess.
Shoulders slumping and weary feet dragging, they stopped for the night as the sun had starting to set. Anarra slipped off to hunt. They ate venison and cheese and sipped some water before laying out sleeping bags. When the dailam returned, Jewelletta set wards so nothing would bother them.
After a cold breakfast, they marched on. Radolf snapped and swatted at the bugs who didn’t bite them, but buzzed around, making an annoying sound.
A track going northwest stopped on the main trail. They followed that.
“Wait,” Jewelletta called. She plucked three thorns from her right arm and grimaced.
“I’ll get your ointment,” Radolf said. He flipped up the flap her pack and found it right on top. After opening it, he dipped out two fingers full and rubbed it over the affected area.
“Thanks,” she said as he put everything away.
Maybe two dozen steps away, a vine swung down and snatched Jahm up. It swung him around like he was a rag doll.
“Jewelletta,” he shrieked his voice fading as he dangled from it as it veered toward the northwest part of the swamp.
Radolf shook. Who was going to be next?
Stay calm. We won’t be able to rescue them if we panic.
Radolf hugged Anarra and then Jewelletta. Vidad kept his distance.
“All right,” Jewelletta said. “Do we continued on in the direction of Chrys or go after Jahm?”
“I vote, that is if this is up for a vote, we continue in the direction we were headed.” Vidad crossed his arms over his chest.
“But we need Jahm,” Radolf countered. “Especially his tracking and fighting talents.”
“I agree with Radolf,” Jewelletta said.
Do I get a vote? If so, I agree with you and Jewelletta.
“What’s so funny?” Vidad snarled, glowing at the young man.
“Anarra asked if she had a vote,” Radolf answered. “If she does, she agrees with Jewelletta.”
“Of course she has a vote,” the sorceress told him.
Vidad said nothing, only raced down the path.
Shrugging and rolling her eyes, Jewelletta motioned for the other two to follow.
Vidad’s baritone voice rang out in anguish.
Anarra ran ahead of Jewelletta and Radolf. She barked.
He’s stuck in quicksand and sinking fast.
Radolf passed on the news as they sprinted toward the noise.
The duo found Anarra standing in front of a circle of quicksand with Vidad about a foot in.
Radolf pulled his pack from his back, opened it, and yanked out a piece of rope about twenty- four inches long. He tossed it to Vidad who caught it.
The dailam sank her teeth into it. Jewelletta stood behind Anarra and Radolf behind her.
“On three,” Radolf said. “One, two, three.”
.Having been used to picking up sheep and quanyas all his life, Radolf had developed muscles. He used all his strength to pull on the rope. The sorceress began grunting, but Radolf tugged harder until Vidad climbed from the quagmire, flopped on the mud, and let go of the rope.
Both Anarra and Jewelletta dropped it. Radolf yanked it toward him, shook off any mud and quicksand, rolled it up, and shoved it into his backpack.
“You shouldn’t have taken off like that. I hoped you’ve learned your lesson about running off in unfamiliar territory.” Jewelletta waved her index finger at him.
Having been at the receiving end of her chastisements, Radolf figured she glared at the bodyguard also.
Vidad hung his head. “Yes, you’re right. I’m just so worried about Chrystella.”
“I understand that.” Her voice softened. “We all are. Now let’s drink a bit of water, walk until dusk, and then settle down for the night.”
All three had slumped shoulders and were dragging their feet as they set up camp near a lake.
The hairs on Radolf’s neck stood up, and his skin prickled as he stared at the water.
“Something is not right,” he said.
“You’re imaginings things,” Vidad said as he brushed the quicksand from his pack.
Radolf remained silent, but his gaze darted around.
I feel it too. Just be careful.
After a cold supper, they laid down to sleep.
Radolf awoke during the night. He sat up and climbed from his sleeping bag.
Come to us. We will take care of you. Something said in a sing-song soprano voice.
It was coming from the lake. He put on his boots and walked in that direction.
Despite wearing footwear, mud squished between his toes. Radolf glanced down, but
still he wore his boots.
We love you and will keep you safe.
Radolf smiled as he walked along the lake.
If you turn left, you will get to us faster.
The young man did as requested walking into the water.
Moments later, something with teeth tugged at his pants, trying to pull him backward.
Ignore any attempts to keep you from us.
Someone picked him up, dragged him from the water, and slapped him.
Radolf shook his head as if trying to clear the sing-song voice from it. He blinked several times before he kept his eyes open. Anarra licked his face, and he petted her.
“What happened?” Jewelletta asked.
“I heard a female voice inviting me to join them,” he explained and rubbed his head. “What or who was it?”
Jewelletta stared into the water and then said, “Water Fae. Many centuries ago, a nasty sorcerer created them to lure the vulnerable to them.”
She gazed out into the lake and raised both hands. Lances of blue and green burst forth. As they struck the water, it bubbled up. Steam rose as if it was boiling.
Female shrieks rent the air for several minutes before they stopped.
“While that didn’t kill them, it will take them decades, maybe even centuries, before they have the abilities to ensnare other people. Let’s try to get some sleep.” Jewelletta spun around and led them back to their camp.
You rescued me, didn’t you?
I woke and noticed you were gone.
Thank you. He hugged her and lay down though it was quite a while before he fell asleep.
After breaking their fast, they trudged their way through the mud, stopping when Vidad hollered and held out his hand.
Jewelletta plucked the thorns from it as Radolf fished out the salve from her backpack and opened it. She slathered it while Radolf closed it up and stuck it back where he found it.
A vine swung toward Vidad, trying to grab him. He managed to dodge it near the bottom of a tree. Chrys’ voice rang from the top. However, as the bodyguard sprinted toward it, a gray feline with dark blue spots snapped at him.
“What is that?” Radolf asked, his heart raced and his legs shook like leaves in a rainstorm.
Radolf wobbled as they backed away and huddled.
“A zetara,” Jewelletta answered.
“What do we do now?” Vidad fidgeted.
|The book continues with More Rescues. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
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