|The Happenings II|
|Series||The Happenings by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Next||It's a Beginning, Not an End|
|← The Darkness||Chapter Chronology||It's a Beginning, Not an End →|
CHAPTER THREE: AURORA'S HIDDEN ENEMYEdit
The next morning, everyone woke up at dawn, except for Amy. She remained asleep in River's arms, something that Garth and Hammer didn't like. Had Reaver tried to take advantage of her, regardless of their warning? River noticed the looks they were giving him and he glared straight back at them. He dared them to do something, and if they did, he would get his revenge by doing what he did to Garth before he left Samarkand.
River soon became aware of Amy stirring in his arms.
'Morning, beloved,' he said quietly.
'Morning,' yawned Amy, before looking around. 'We might as well start going. Garth! Hammer! Get the men up and lead the way to the cave!' she yelled as she hopped out of River's lap.
'Sure,' answered Hammer and minutes later, they were following Garth towards the home of the Creatures of Darkness.
After fifteen minutes, they arrived at the mouth of the cave.
'This is it,' whispered Garth. 'It would be wise if we remained quiet from here on in. That way, we will hopefully have the element of surprise.'
Amy nodded along with everyone else. She was finding it hard to remain calm. All she wanted to do was run through the cave screaming for Logan, but she knew that would be unwise and would result in death.
'Amy? Are you coming?' River asked, stopping just inside the cave seeing as Amy hadn't followed.
'Huh? Oh, yes.' she answered, running over to him and taking his hand in hers. 'I can't believe we are so close now.' Amy muttered.
'I know. Soon this will just be a terrible night -' River broke off when something hit the top of the cave mouth, which resulted in a huge bang and the earth to shake. This ended up causing the cavern exit to cave in. They were trapped.
'What was that?' demanded Garth, walking over to River and Amy.
'No idea,' answered Amy. 'Let's try and move these rocks to let some more light in. I don't like being this venerable.'
'You heard the Queen, let's start moving these rocks and clear the exit!' said one of the soldiers. There were no arguments. All the men in the cavern would die for their queen at a moment's notice.
'Maybe there's another exit in the cave.' said Norman, two hours later after trying to clear the rock fall away. 'It will take us years to clear all of this away.'
'He's right,' panted Hammer, wiping sweat from her brow.
'I was afraid that you were going to say that,' sighed Amy. 'All right then, let's explore the rest of the cavern, but keep your eyes open and try to make no more noise than necessary. We're in the darkness' lair and it probably knows that we're here after all the racket that has been made already.' she added to her men and River's men. She knew that the others could handle themselves.
Quietly, the party moved on through the barely lit cavern passage and in no time, they had come to a large room with some sort of purple barrier that was protecting a hole in the ground with a flight of stairs leading downwards.
'That must be the way out,' muttered Amy as she approached the barrier.
'Don't touch it,' warned River.
'I hate to say this, but I agree with Reaver,' admitted Garth. 'For all we know it could be dangerous.'
'Did you honestly think I was going to touch it?' asked a slightly hurt Amy.
'Yes, and if we hadn't of said something you would have gone and touched it.' said River, before adding as Amy opened her mouth to argue, 'And don't even bother to deny it, young lady.'
'I wasn't going to, old man.'
'I'm not an old man!' huffed River.
'You're right of course,' sighed Amy, before adding with a cheeky smile, ' you're ancient!'
'All right, cut it out you two,' interrupted Hammer. 'We need to decide what we are going to do.'
'Find a way to get through the barrier.' Amy said simply.
'Look, we can't just sit here and we can't go back. That leaves the only option for us is to go forward.' Amy reasoned. 'Garth, any ideas?'
'Yeah. If I can decipher this writing around the edge, then maybe we can find a way to keep moving forward through the barrier.' answered Garth.
'Sounds like a plan to me!' Hammer said happily. 'While your reading, the rest of us will regain our strength.'
With that said Garth borrowed one of the soldiers' journals and began to decipher the writing all around the portal. Hammer, the soldiers and River's men all began to set up camp and tried to get some sleep while Amy walked among them to see how they were all holding up. This wasn't as easy as it seemed for something was whispering to them. Something that was evil and they all knew that it was the unknown enemy of darkness. From hearing this, the men began to lose hope of ever seeing the light again. Meanwhile, River was standing with Storm, staring down at the bottom of the stairwell that was protected by the barrier.
'It's quite dark down there, isn't it?' Norman said, coming to a halt next to River and following his gaze.
'I'm hoping that it just seems darker down there due to how light it is up here due to the barrier,' muttered River.
The two men just stood there in silence. Minutes later, Garth yelled out saying that he knew how to open the barrier as he gave the soldier back this journal.
'Wow, that was quick.' said Hammer, opening her eyes. She had been quietly dozing for the past several minutes. 'So, what do we have to do?'
Garth grinned at her and said, 'Luminous spirits of the sand, inhale the restless gloaming.'
'Lovely, but what is that suppose to mean -' Hammer was cut off as the barrier lost its glow and disappeared. 'Garth, you're a bloody genius!' she exclaimed.
'Thanks, is everybody ready to go?'
There was a murmur of "yes" and everyone started to climb to their feet while the four Heroes, Storm and Norman started down the stairs along with a few soldiers and sailors. It was then that it happened. It was then that shadows of darkness attacked. They closed the barrier once more and attacked those trapped on the other side.
'Garth, open the barrier!' yelled Amy. 'We have to help them!'
'Luminous spirits of the sand, inhale the restless gloaming,' said Garth.
'Luminous spirits of the sand, inhale the restless gloaming.' Garth said again.
Again, nothing happened.
'I'm sorry, Hero. It just won't open.' Garth said sadly.
This meant that they all had to watch as their comrades were slaughtered like pigs and as they were literally ripped to shreds.
'Let's keep going,' River said quietly, taking Amy's hand and leading the way down the stairs.
The moment they reached the bottom of the stairwell, River groaned.
'It's darker in here than I thought.'
'It's a good thing with have Garth with us then.' Hammer said, trying to keep her voice calm.
'And what is that suppose to mean?' Garth demanded.
'For a scholar, you really do ask some stupid questions.' said River.
Garth glared at him.
'What I meant was, that you are a Will user so can't you make fireballs float around us and light the way?' Hammer said quickly, trying to stop a riot from happening. Garth had told her what Reaver had done to him before he had left for Albion once more. Hammer knew that Garth would love to electrocute Reaver and she would love to see it done, but now wasn't the time.
'Oh,' muttered Garth. He then closed his eyes and a number of fireballs began dancing around them.
'These flames will be like beacons,' Amy grumbled to River as they walked along.
'I know, but what choice do we have?' answered River. 'And who knows. These creatures are creatures of darkness. They probably fear the light and fire.'
The moment the words left River's mouth, they were attacked. And in the end, when they were about half way through the cavern only the four Heroes, Storm and Norman were still alive. Amy wasn't doing so well with this knowledge, and it took a long time for River and the others to convince her that it wasn't her fault.
Eventually they came to another barrier and the moment Garth opened it and they had gone through the doorway, it closed again.
'I really do not like this,' muttered Hammer.
'I agree with you,' said Amy, glancing down at the frightened Storm as he began to growl. 'More of those creatures are coming.'
Amy never knew how she would survive if she didn't have Storm's keen senses to protect her. They fought off another attack and continued on their way, it was when they were attacked again that River finally lost his temper.
'How many of these bloody things are there?' Hammer asked through clenched teeth as she sent four shadows flying with her hammer.
'Too many,' answered Garth as he shot fire at the final shadow.
They all stood still panting in silence for a minute. It was then that River noticed something.
'Where's Norman?' River asked quickly, looking around for the younger man.
'I'm here,' came a faint whisper.
With a cry, River hurried over to the dying man. Norman's shirt was soaked with blood.
'One of those bastards caught me by surprise,' Norman gasped in pain.
'I should have been paying more attention to you,' River said in a panicked voice as he began rummaging his bag for a healing potion.
'You had your hands full already. Besides, I'm not that little boy you found anymore.' Norman said with a small smile. 'I never told you that I had always looked up to you, even when I was a little boy. Before you found me, I use to watch you and would think how I'd like to be rich and powerful one day, just like you. That way, I would have been able to look after my family.' Norman then stopped and coughed up blood.
'Don't speak,' River ordered gently, still looking for a healing potion. Why were these things always at the bottom?
Norman ignored him.
'I still remember the day you found me,' Norman continued. 'I was outside playing with my older brothers when that thug came knocking with his men. He demanded that my father paid double rent and when my father said that he couldn't, the thug and his men killed him, my mother and brothers before bashing me for fun and leaving me to die on the streets. No one helped me and then you came. Unlike everyone else, you stopped and looked at me. At first I was over joyed that the famous Reaver actually paid attention to me, but it soon began sadness and fear as you went on your way without helping me. That night, I knew that my time was running out and I had lost all hope when a hooded figure appeared, picked up my broken body and carried me away. A week later I awoke in the warmest and softest bed I had ever been in and when I opened my eyes, your relieved face was the first thing I saw and I knew it was you that had saved me. From that day on, you had been like a father to me,' he finished with a raspy gasp.
'And you have always been like a son to me,' admitted River. He had given up on the healing potion for he knew that Norman was beyond help now. With this knowledge, River tried to hold back his tears.
Norman coughed again and looked at Amy, who was in tears.
'Look after him for me, Lionheart.'
Amy only nodded as tears poured down her eyes. She too had been close to him.
Norman smiled at her and looked back at the man who had raised him and had always protected him. River and Norman stared at each other intensely for a few moments, memorising each other's faces, before Norman unhooked a charm from around his neck and put it in River's hand. It was an eagle.
'Remember me?' Norman pleaded in a whisper.
'Always, my son.' River answered, tears now flowing freely from his eyes.
Norman smiled before his eyes glazed over as life left his body.
River bowed his head and sobbed quietly. Amy bent down and held her devastated husband. She knew what Norman had meant to River. He was his son in every way except blood. Meanwhile, Hammer and Garth just hung awkwardly in the background. The last time they had seen River act this way was back in Wraithmarsh during their journey to the cullis gate.
Minutes later, River attached Norman's charm next to Annabelle's owl charm and stood up with anger written all over his face.
'Let's find Logan and get out of here before I start shooting everything in sight!' snarled River, leading the way down the path. The other three Heroes hurried after him encase he did something stupid.
It was unknown how long they walked in the darkness for, with Garth's little fireballs being the only source of light, but they soon began aware that they weren't alone, besides the shadows. A more intelligent being lived there too.
'Did you hear that?' River asked, coming to a halt.
'Yes,' breathed Amy as she looked around.
'The light you bring will die. The light inside you will die. All that you are will die.' said a cold voice.
'Charming, greeting,' mutter Hammer. 'Who are you?'
The voice chuckled.
'Come to me Heroes of Albion. Come and rescue your frightened prince. Come and meet your doom!'
As if to prove its point, the sound of a child's scream echoed around the dark cavern. A scream that sounded like...
'Logan!' gasped Amy, before running down the path with the others right on her heels.
They within minutes they arrived in a large room that was filled with black liquid oozing upwards and bird like statues.
'Logan?' yelled Amy, as she looked around.
'Mummy?' whispered a small, scared voice from a dark corner.
Logan moved cautiously out of the darkness.
'Logan!' Amy yelled with relief and began to rush towards her small son, but River stopper her. 'What are you doing?' she demanded.
'Logan, what do the people of Albion know your mother and me by when we're dressed like this?' River asked suspiciously.
'Lionheart and Reaver,' Logan replied. 'Mummy, I want to go home - argh!'
'Reaver!' yelled Hammer furiously, when River shot the small boy through the heart. 'How could you do that? What's the matter with you? How could you kill Sparrow's son -'
'That wasn't Logan,' said a pale-face Amy. 'If it was, he would have come running to me and he shouldn't know about us being Lionheart and Reaver.'
Then, before their very eyes, Logan transformed into a shadow before disappearing.
'H-how did you know that wasn't Logan?' asked Garth. He was looking at the spot the small boy had been.
River was about to answer when the cold voice spoke again.
'You may have foiled that plan, but you shall never escape from here alive.'
Without warning, the statues around the room came alive and began to advance on the four Heroes.
'This is new,' commented a warily Hammer.
'Nothing we can't handle,' Garth said confidently.
And he was right, of course. Together they were able to defeat the advancing bird like statues. It was as though they had been killing boars or something, but they didn't know the worse was to come. They enemy finally showed his face, and words could not describe how the creature looked, with its sickly white skin, several eyes and haunted face.
'You shall not leave the darkness,' it said as it came towards them with two sentinels walking either side of it. 'So why not surrender. Bow down to death.'
'Where's Logan?' demand Amy.
'I have no idea,' it replied before attacking.
It was indeed one of the toughest enemies the Heroes had ever faced, and during the battle, Amy was injured.
'Argh!' Amy screamed as the creature's claws ripped the side of her waist.
That one little action resulted in Amy collapsing to the ground. Thankfully, River was able to catch her.
'Amy? Amy?' River called, but Amy didn't respond.
Her eyes were closed and her breathing was shallow. Her wound where the creature had attacked her was filled with black gunk, and as River tried to wipe it away, it just came back. It was as though the gunk was her blood.
'Amy's hurt!' River yelled over at Hammer and Garth, who were fighting off the creature. They had already destroyed the sentinels. 'We have to get out of here and find help immediately!'
'No one escapes the Darkness,' hissed the creature. 'You shall not survive. This place will be your tomb.'
'I don't think so,' growled Garth. 'Hammer, keep that thing away from me!'
While Hammer fought the creature, Garth focuses all his Will on burning the creature. Minutes later, he yelled out to Hammer to move as he shot a gigantic fireball at the creature, before hurrying out of the cave with the others. The creatures horrible screams of pain followed them until he was finally silenced. Moments later, the Heroes were standing outside the cave in the Auroran desert.
'Well, we've solved one problem, with one taking its place.' River said as he shifted Amy gently in his arms. 'Which way now?'
'Let's try walking to the top of this ruined temple we're on and have a look,' suggested Garth, before leading the way.
'Euck, and I thought it was hot in Samarkand,' grumbled River as sweat began to drip down the side of his face as he reached the top. Hammer wasn't doing any better. Even Garth seemed to be struggling with the heat.
'Well...I see nothing but desert.' Garth said in defeat. 'I suggest we wait till night and let the stars guide us.'
'We can't wait that long, Garth!' exclaimed Hammer. 'Sparrow is becoming weaker by the second!'
'I realise that, Hammer. But it will do her no good if we get lost in a blazing, hot desert -'
'I see a settlement building or something in the distance!' River said suddenly.
'I don't see anything,' muttered Hammer as she looked out across the shimmering hot sand pit.
'That might be because my eyesight is sharper than yours,' shrugged River as he headed in the direction of what he saw.
'I forgot, Hero of Skill,' muttered Hammer as she followed him. Of course his eye sight would be better seeing as he normally fought from a distance.
The Heroes walked for what felt like days through the scorching hot desert, though it was actually a few hours. The entire time, River carried Amy. She was the only thing stopping him from lying down right then and there, and dying. He believed Logan to be dead, which hurt even more. He could not bear it if he lost Amy in the same day, as his two sons. After all, she was the only thing that gave him strength.
By nightfall, the group arrived at the city of Aurora. The moment its citizens saw the tired group, they immediately hurried over to help them and the moment Amy was taken from River's arms, his world went black and he lost all consciousness.
Facebook page: link on profile
Written: 17 November 2011