Greetings all! Another week has come to an end. Two projects done and now to wait for more to come in. All in all, not a terrible week.
Remember that this is a continuation of Part 26 written by @zakludick earlier this week. I hope you enjoy the update!
Adiran was doing his best to ignore the hunters. They were a distraction at best and a nuisance at worst. He needed to concentrate. The nightmare rolled her eyes back to look at him in concern. She whinnied, and he petted her neck.
“I know girl, we are almost there. We just need to avoid the hunters till we can make it to the entrance.”
The nightmare shook her mane, and it blazed in the dark.
“I know the dreams are back. I have tried to hold them back with potions. It's Adrian’s fate, as it should be.”
The creature snorted.
“Oh, don’t you start! I got an earful from Mary before I left.”
The nightmare stopped and pawed the ground three times before continuing.
“And how do you propose I tell Magna the truth? Look at me!”
“Muttering is the first sign of madness.” Commented Mortis as he rode up next to the nightmare.
“I am not mad!” snapped the mage.
“Clearly you have been accused of it in the past.”
Adiran sighed and muttered an apology under his breath before saying, “The entrance is close. I should add some protective runes to the children.”
“Or to these.” Mortis held out the two teeth collected from the Dreadthing.
“How would that help?”
“A necklace under a shirt touches the skin, does it not? Instead of branding the children with magic making them blaze like the sun, a simple talisman will do. A cantrip to keep them from being removed by any means ensure they are protected spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.”
“That…that’s actually a good idea, but won’t Magna be upset that you are giving yours up?”
Mortis spun in his saddle and beaconed to the youths behind him. Once the children had caught up, he held his hand out to Magna and said, “The teeth, please.”
Magna immediately pulled a necklace out from her shirt and the spare tooth from a pouch at her side.
“Your uncle is going to enchant these so we may have relatively safe passage through the next step of our journey.”
“But I thought it was our bond.” Said Magna, the disappointment evident in her voice.
“Our bond is only as strong as the companions we share. We were two bonded, and now we will be four.”
This explanation seemed to satisfy the girl, who grinned and nodded her head vigorously, “Oh! That’s fine then, makes sense.”
“Good girl.” Mortis handed the teeth over to the mage, “There you go. Have fun.”
“It isn’t instantaneous. We’ll need to stop and…”
“We’re here.” Mortis pointed up.
“It’s the fog that makes it difficult to judge distances.” Said Magna as she looked up. “Those look like ruins.”
“Then we are indeed here.” Adiran slid from his nightmare before lightly slapping its rump, “Go hunting.”
The nightmare reared before galloping away. Derric viewed this with jealousy before he said, “Next time, I want to ride on that.”
“You will need to offer her your hand. If she doesn’t take a finger, she may deem you worthy.” Adiran muttered a spell under his breath.
The fog parted to reveal an ancient circle of ruins. It looked older than even the nightmare that had run from them. The mage then continued to move around the circle muttering and touching certain stones now and again. He stopped when two blue flames rose out of the middle.
“Damn it!” he hissed as he stopped his magic.
“What is going on?” asked Magna.
“Someone has already requested entrance.” Said Mortis.
“Is it just me, or did that not answer anything?” asked Derric sarcastically.
“It means we have to wait for the portal to be opened from the other side. We are stuck here till them.” Adiran signed and sat down heavily.
“You knew this was a possibility, Mage.” Said Mortis as he climbed from the horse. “You work on the talismans, and the children and I will prepare a quick camp. It seems we have guests in the vicinity.”
“Nothing else for it.” Derric climbed to his feet on the horse before launching himself into an overhanging branch. “I’ll keep watch.”
“Very well.” Mortis turned to Magna, “You will help me with camp. Keep your eyes, ears, and nose trained around you. This isn’t a safe place.”
Between the two of them, they started a small fire and hobbled the horses close by. Nothing was packed out, just in case something went wrong, and they needed to move fast. The fire wasn’t for warmth but was more of a welcome sign to any who were also waiting.
Derric lay down on the branch and fixed his eyes on the swirling fog. He was sure he had heard something in the distance, but not the swamp was eerily silent. He was hungry but knew the things that hunted the swamp would be attracted by anything they cooked. He turned his head to the left and saw nothing but fog. As he was turning his head to the right he paused, there was an odd sound of flapping wings. It sounded like feathers, but it was larger than a bird. A buzzard? No, not in the swamp. He continued to turn his head to the right and was met with a grinning skull.
“Boo.” Came a calm voice from the skull.
Forgetting he was in a tree; he backpedalled and fell. Or he would of if curled talons didn’t latch themselves around his shoulders. The thin laughter echoed through the trees, and Derric was sure he had just become something’s next meal and was about to call for help.
“Shh! It was only a joke, calm down.” Came the calm voice once more.
Derric found himself being lowered to the ground, much to the surprise of his campmates. He was released as soon as his feet touched the ground. He immediately jumped back to see what had caught him. It was a woman with lower legs like an eagle and large black wings. She was dressed in hunting garb and a helm that resembled a human skull. The creature was chuckling under its breath at the joke that it had played on the boy.
Mortis viewed the creature and grinned, “Well now, didn’t think huntress harpies still existed.”
The woman grinned, bent over backwards to look at him and raised her helm to grin at him, “We’re more like pixies now. Playing tricks on people who wander into our territories. Don’t get spotted much because people don’t come into our territories anymore.”
“Harpy?” Derric looked confused, “I thought harpies had…”
He placed two hands on his chest and went blood red, “You know.”
The harpy stood up straight and grinned at him, “Even as boys, men only have one thing on their minds.”
“No…I…uhm…” Derric went scarlet.
“To what do we owe the pleasure, Helga?” asked Adiran as he continued with his magic.
Poor Derric, a good laugh for us though. I hope you all enjoyed this update. Now it is up to Zak to continue the story.
Here is an explanation of Chain Stories and here is the current Chainstory Library
Mortis Custos Parts
|by @lex-zaiya||by @zakludick|
|Part 1||Part 2|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|Part 5||Part 6|
|Part 7||Part 8|
|Part 9||Part 10|
|Part 11||Part 12|
|Part 13||Part 14|
|Part 15||Part 16|
|Part 17||Part 18|
|Part 19||Part 20|
|Part 21||Part 22|
|Part 23||Part 24|
|Part 25||Part 26|
|Part 27 - You are Here||Part 28 - Coming Soon|
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