|The Happenings I|
|Series||The Happenings by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||The Mage and The Crucible|
|Next||Life at the Spire and the Rescue|
|← The Mage and The Crucible||Chapter Chronology||Life at the Spire and the Rescue →|
CHAPTER SEVEN: GOODBYE ALBION, HELLO TATTERED SPIREEdit
I was planning on going back to Bowerstone to say goodbye to Alex, when heard someone yodelling awfully, but the voice sounded familiar. Curious as to who was yodelling, I followed the sound of the voice and found that it was Barnum making the awful racket.
'Barnum?' I laughed, scaring the crap out of him.
'By the illustrious gossoons!' Barnum yelled in shock, turning to face me. 'It’s you again!' he then exclaimed when he saw who I was. 'Our fates do seem to be interbindified, don’t they my good friend. As a matter of fact, I can think of no one better to become my new business partner.'
''Business partner?' I questioned. 'You've come up with another plan?'
'Oh, it’s my most sagacious plan yet. Inspired by my newfound faith in Toby.' he told me happily.
'That’s the Temple of Business and Yodelling, of course. It’s through Toby that the idea came to me.' Barnum explained. 'Take a land rotten to its very core and morph it into a friendly holiday park for the whole family.'
'Sounds like a lot of work.' I commented.
'True, but one day, Westcliffe will be a tourist entrapping amusement zone. I just need a small investment to get me started. I earnestly certificate it that you will get every crumb of it back, with a heap of interest, naturally. We’ll be richer than Toby himself, the founder of the Temple.' Barnum said.
'I'll be happy to help.' I said, rummaging my money bag. 'I won't be needing my money for a while so someone might as well use it. Will this be enough?' I asked, handing over five thousand gold pieces.
'Wondrous! I will notify you by letter when I have completed the project. You’ll see constipated changes, I swear by Toby. I shall begin my enterprise at once.'
'All right. Just send my letter to Bowerstone.' I said. 'But I warn you. I might be away for a few years, before I will be able to answer it.'
'What do you mean?' He asked, suddenly becoming worried.
'I'll be in the Spire working for Lucien is all.' I shrugged.
'Then I wish you luck, my friend.'
'I wish you luck too, Barnum. And hopefully our paths will intertwine again.' I said, before leaving him to his yodelling again, and heading back to Bowerstone.
The journey back to Bowerstone was easier than the journey to the Crucible, but that might have been because I was now an expert on fighting dangerous creatures.
In the end, I found Alex at the Blacksmiths. Turned out he had gotten a job there.
'Hey stranger.' I said, leaning against one of the wooden beams, watching him create a sword.
'Well, well, well. If it isn't the brave and mighty Lionheart.' Alex said, pausing in his work and grinning over at me.
'The mighty what, excuse me?' I asked.
'That's what everyone's calling you now. Nearly everyone in Albion knows about you, and how you are a Crucible Champion.' explained Alex as he continued to work on a sword. 'They all say you are a brave and mighty hunter...just like a lioness.'
'Hmm, I think I like it.' I said thoughtfully. 'Better than Dumpling, anyway.'
'So, you taking a break from the Hero business?' Alex asked. 'Is that why you are here?'
'I wish. I've actually come to say goodbye.' I said sadly.
Alex, who obviously hadn't been expecting that, looked quickly up at me, as he was about to hit the blade. This resulted in him missing the blade all together and hitting his hand with the hammer.
'Argh, sh...sugar.' he said as a little girl walked passed.
'Are you okay?' I asked quickly, hurrying over to him and looking at his hand.
'Never mind my hand. What do you mean you have come to say goodbye?' Alex demanded.
'My quest takes me to the Tattered Spire and I don't know when I will be coming back.' I told him, putting his hand in a cold bucket of water.
'The Tattered Spire?' replied a Shocked Alex. 'I heard that if you won the Crucible you would have the choice to join Lucien, but I never thought that you would agree to go.'
'I don't have a choice. I must get in there to save someone.' I told him. 'Come over to my place for dinner tonight.' I told him, before walking off.
I went straight home and began to sort out my house and putting away all of my belongings except for Storm's dog treats, elixir, and rubber ball, and my weapons. The rest of my belonging I wouldn't need in the Spire.
That night, Alex came over looking grim.
'Please smile, Alex. You're acting as though you'll never see me again.' I told him as I dished out our dinner.
'Who says I will?' he asked. 'It's not like Lucien will just allow you to leave whenever you want.'
'Trust me, I will be back. I do not plan to spend the rest of my life serving someone like Lucien.' I said. 'But, while I'm gone, I have a favour to ask of you.'
'Anything,' Alex said quickly.
'Actually, it's a few favours.' I admitted. 'Would you be able to look after my money while I'm away, paying any debts or receiving revenue, and anything else?'
'Would you also be able to find a maid for me, please? I really don't feel like coming back to a house full of dust bunnies.'
'I can do that too.' Alex said sadly.
'Thanks Alex. But there's one more favour: please don't worry about me.'
'That favour, I don't think I'll be able to do. You're my friend, Sparrow. I worry about you all the time when you go out fighting monstrous beasts and bandits, regardless of the fact that I know that you are able to protect yourself.' Alex admitted.
'Relax Alex. If anything, you should be worried about the poor beasts that fight me.' I said, trying to lighten the mood.
'Oh very funny.' Alex said with a chuckle. 'Are you leaving straight away?'
'No. I'll help those that need help at the moment, before I leave.'
'In that case, you might want to try and help famer Giles. His being having such a terrible time with bandits lately.' Alex suggested. 'They have gotten that bad that he had to send his son away. The bandits also killed his wife.'
'Why are the bandits attacking him?' I asked.
'No idea. I doubt Giles even knows, but it might have something to do with him being an a guard years ago.'
'Hmm, I think that I will see if I can find out more about these bandits, to find out what they are after, before I make my move towards Giles.' I said thoughtfully, before talking about a more enjoyable subject.
* * *
The bandit issue didn't take long for me to resolve. It turned out that the bandit leader Ripper was behind the attacks all because he was after something in Giles' basement. In the end, Ripper was arrested and was sure to be hanged for all this crimes. Giles said he would make sure of that.
Anyway, it was as I was leaving Brightwood, that the Shadow Pendant - that I got when joining the Temple of Shadows - began to glow...I was being summoned to the Temple. Curious as to what the Shadow Worshippers wanted, I answered their calling by heading to the Temple. I soon found them around the Sacrificial Circle. Grim was standing right in front of the excited group and motion me other to join him, when he saw me enter.
'Out of all of my Shadow-worshippers, you are the only one that hasn't sacrificed anyone yet,' Grim said coldly as I walked towards him.
This won't be good, I thought coming to a halt. Has he realised that I'm not evil? Better think of something quick.
'My apologises, but I have been so busy lately that I haven't had the chance,' I lied, hoping he would buy it. He did.
'Not to worry, my dear Lionheart. For you have been chosen to complete a very important quest.' Grim said, smiling nastily.
'If I may be so bold as to ask why I have been chosen?' I asked, trying to remain calm.
'It is time for you to prove your allegiance to the forces of darkness, once and for all.' Grim said bluntly.
'Very well, what is this quest?' I asked. Maybe it was to find someone and kill them. I could do that. Just find the person and convince them to go into hiding or move them to the Guild to live.
'I want you to wipe out every living soul in Oakfield.'
I was sure that I paled, for I could feel the colour draining from my face. I looked closely at Grim to see if this was some sort of sick joke. It wasn't. He was dead serious.
'Sure, I can do that,' I answered, I couldn't keep my voice still, but the Shadow-worshipper just thought that I was excited like them. I wasn't. I would have to warn Oakfield about the Temple of Shadows' plan, then find a way to get rid of them once and for all.
'Good. I have long dreamt of this day, when the Temple would count among its members a truly malevolent soul.' said a delighted Grim. What I would give to see his face when he found out that I was close to being pure goodness. 'You are a venomous Shadow among spineless half-wits.' he added, giving the other worshippers a deadly glare.
Maybe I wasn't the only one to be offered the quest. I thought as I watched the others move uneasily.
'You will find two such stuck-up simpletons awaiting you in Oakfield.' continued Grim. 'Go there now and make me proud.'
I nodded my head and headed to Oakfield with a plan forming in my head.
The moment I arrived in Oakfield, two carriages were moved behind me blocking the road, before two shadow-worshippers jumped out.
'You must be the one then,' one of the shadow-worshippers drawled out. Walking towards me. 'Grim's new favourite. I suppose being just moderately evil just isn't good enough anymore.'
'You mean "bad enough", surely?' said the other.
'Let us not waste time,' said the first, ignoring the second's comment. 'We could all be in bed by now. Anyway, as you can see we've blocked the exit for you. No one can escape. So take your time, and kill everyone you see.'
'Not us though,' the second said hurriedly as he noticed a certain gleam in my eyes.
'Yes, except for us,' chuckled the first. He hadn't noticed.
'No, I think I will kill you.' I told them coldly, and before they could do anything, they both had magical blades through their chests, and before they hit the ground, I was a good distance away, running towards the Sandgoose to find a guard and worn him, to protect the villagers, just in case I wasn't the only one Grim had sent.
It took a while, but the guard finally believed me and trusted me, and he began to ring that warning bell. While he was doing this, I hurried over to the Temple of Light, to warn the monks. I found the Abbott outside, looking worried.
'Ah, I was hoping that you would return!' The Abbott cried the moment I stopped in front of him. 'The Temple is in need protector once more!'
'I know. The Cultists of the Temple of Shadows has planned to have everyone in Oakfield killed.' I told him. 'They sent me to do it, but they might have sent some others to help out.'
'That doesn't surprise me.' he said. 'We have always suffered at the hands of the vile cultists of the Temple of Shadows. But it would seem that they had a feeling that you weren't entirely loyal to them.'
'What do you mean?' I asked, as I took of the Shadow Pendant, before stuffing it in my bag.
'I mean that they are planning on poisoning the holy water in the Wellspring Cave! If that happen, the Golden Oak will die! It would mean the end of our order! Perhaps even the end of the village and all its people! Either way, the Cultists knew that they would get us.' The Abbott explained. 'You helped us once before…will you do so again?'
'Of course I will, Father. I wouldn't be here if I had planned otherwise.' I told him firmly.
'The light blesses us with your help again. Thank you. The first thing you must do is check the statues, which the water pours forth, and check that they haven’t been contaminated with the taint of evil. The shadow worshippers are likely to target the main chamber next, but you mustn’t allow them to desecrate it!'
'I'll do my best, Father.' I told him before running off to the Wellspring Cave.
The moment I entered the cave, the echoes of a dark pray reached my ears, and I knew that I need to hurry. I ran to the central chamber and went through the first door Hammer and I went through, praying that I wouldn't have to fight any hollow men, like last time. If I had to fight any hollow men, I would lose precious time, and the Shadow Cultists would have had even more time to poison the water.
Thankfully, the Wisps stayed where they were, but it turns out that the Cultists had protection. Highwaymen. Not that it did them any good. With a quick electric shock could around the chamber, I left, knowing that there was no way any of them could have survived the voltage going through them.
I repeated the same process in the second chamber, but when I could to the third chamber, the challenge began. Standing in the same place Hammer had been when she was blessing the water, stood Grim, and he was not happy.
'YOU!' he yelled, when he saw me standing in the doorway, the Chopper in my hand. 'You would cast aside our unholy alliance for some feeble monks? Nobody turns their backs on the Temple of Shadows and lives.'
'We will have to test that theory then.' I told he coldly 'Except I will be the only one to know if it is right, seeing as you will be long gone.' Then I quickly threw the Chopper straight at Grim, but he had been expecting an attack and he easily blocked it through the use of Will.
'You think you can stop me?' Grim laughed cruelly. 'I am channelling the natural energies of the Wellspring of Light and feeding my unholy powers I cannot be harmed. Slaughter her.' he added, to the three highwaymen that stood behind him.
Yawning dramatically, I shot lightning out of my hand at them, and turned to Grim.
'That was the best you could do?' I asked in a bored voice.
'Those were but mortal men.' laughed Grim. 'Hired with promises and gold. Now, witness the truth power of the shadows. Arise.' he commanded and an army of hollow men appeared, before running towards me.
'Why am I always outnumbered?' I asked Storm, before throwing fireball after fire ball at them.
After three rounds of fireball throwing, Grim was beginning to become annoyed. It was then that he changed. I stood back as dark shadows began to surround him and when they disappeared, Grim was nothing but a dark, angry shadow.
'I have become the shadow. I am your god. I am the bringer of Darkness!'
'I have no god, and I guess that I'm the bringer of Light!' I said back, meeting him in hand to hand combat, and in the end...I was of course victorious.
When I arrived back at the Temple, the Abbott was pacing back and forth anxiously.
'The Wellspring Water is safe, Father, and the leader of the Temple of Shadows is dead.' I told the Abbott, scaring him in the process. 'Sorry.' I added.
'That's all right, brave Lionheart.' The Abbott said. 'The Temple of Light thanks you. We are now safe! The Temple of Shadows will never recover from this. You are a holy champion sent to us by the light itself. Thank you again.' he said, handing me the Temple of Light Seal. 'Take this to show everyone what you have done for us!'
'Thank you Father. I hope to see you in the future.' I told him, before running off, after all, I had a boat to catch.
* * *
When I arrived back at the Westcliffe docks, I found Hammer waiting patiently for me.
'I guess you really do have the virtue of patience.' I said, as I walked over to Hammer.
'Oh, very funny.' Hammer laughed. 'You ready to start your glorious military career then?'
'Glorious isn't the word I would use.' I told her. 'Can you imagine me in a uniform. Obeying orders, without any cheeky comments or anything? I can't even go one day without being cheeky to Theresa as it is.'
'I've noticed. Theresa believes that you have corrupted me, seeing as I've been doing it to her lately too.' Hammer told me lightly, as we headed down the path to the docks. 'So, you pretty much got the main land sown up, have you?'
'You could say that. Defeated another bandit leader, and I saved the Temple of Light from the Temple of Shadows.'
'What? What happened to the Temple of Light?' Hammer asked quickly.
I explained to her all that happened and she sighed with relief.
'You have my thanks too. It was a good thing you knew about it. They would have been helpless otherwise.' Hammer said quietly. 'Anyway, here I am to say my goodbyes. You know the last thing I said to my father, before I went to the ritual caves?'
'I can’t remember. I can’t remember if I said goodbye or not. That’s the funny thing about goodbyes, you never know when you’ll get another one.' Hammer said, before gasping. 'I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…this isn’t like that. You’ll do great out there.'
'Don't worry, Hammer. I know you well enough to know what you mean.' I told her lightly as we stopped in front of Lucien's captain.
'Right. No personal effects allowed on board, and no weapons, and no dogs.' The captain added, when he saw Storm trying to hide behind me.
'Don't worry, I'll look after fur-face here, and you stuff as well.' Hammer said.
'Thanks Hammer.' I said, handing her my highwaymen coat and hat, Guild Seal, weapons and Storm's belongings, before I bent down to the upset Storm.
'I'll be back again, I promise.' I told him, and I watched as his sad eyes got even sadder and I realised that I had said the same thing, well almost the same thing, as Rose had told him. 'I will be back, Storm.' I told him firmly, before embracing Hammer, and heading onto the ship.
* * *
As the ship pulled away from the port, I stood on deck waving goodbye to Hammer and Storm, wondering when I would see them again. I stood on deck waving to them, until they were out of sight, before I went down below deck with the other Crucible Champions.
The moment I entered cabin below the deck, everyone stopped talking and looked at me. It was then that I realised that I was the only girl on this ship. Fabulous.
'Are you lost little girl?' asked a man that was nearly the same size as Hammer and had every inch of his body tattooed. 'This cabin is only for the Crucible Champions.'
'Then I guess I'm in the right place then.' I replied, before sitting down a little way away from them. They continued to stare at me. 'What? Haven't you ever seen a girl before?'
'You are a Crucible Champion? The only girl I heard of that won was Lionheart.'
'I am Lionheart.' I told him grumpily.
'Really? Sorry, but I expected to see someone...bigger.' The man apologised. 'I'm Adrian by the way.'
It wasn't long before we were all talking like old friends, which helped past the time for it felt like moments later that we had arrived at the Spire and were being shepherded like sheep off the ship.
There were spire guards everywhere, and they all surrounded us the moment we stepped foot off the deck. It was as though we were all criminals about to be executed. Knowing Lucien though, it wouldn't surprise me.
'Just look at this place,' Bob said to me. 'We did well casting in our lot with Lord Lucien. Whatever he’s planning. Lil and I will be set for life.'
'Get moving,' ordered one of the guards.
'I’ve been with my Lil for thirteen years and have been faithful the whole time. If you could see her, you’d understand why.' Bob continued as we walked down the path. 'What is that noise? I don’t just hear it…I can feel it. This place feels…wrong.'
'That's one word for it,' I muttered.
'What is this place?' Asked Dan in amazement.
'Six years I was a masons apprentice and I saw never saw any place like this.' admitted Bob, as he too looked around in amazement.
'How is this even possible?' asked a guy named Alex.
'Old Kingdom engineering I reckon, but how’s it come back now?' Adrian said, adding his two cents worth.
I was about to answer when the guard behind me, pushed me roughly and told us to shut up. It took all my strength and will not to turn around and whack him.
We all eventually came to a stop and standing on the podium in front of us, was none other than Lucien Fairfax. Up until now, I never realised how much I hated Lucien. How much I despised him! But seeing him standing so casually and importantly in front of us made my blood boil. How could he just stand there after all the grief he has caused? How could he should his face after murdering a child and then attempting to murder that girl's eight-year-old sister?
Somehow, I managed to control my anger and pretended to hang off Lucien's every word like the other men were.
'The world outside these marvellous walls is a corrupt, rotting husk.' Lucien was saying. 'Reason is absent. Instead of order there is chaos. Chaos does not punish evil, or reward righteousness. Chaos cuts innocent lives short and we accept this as faith.'
Chao isn't the only thing that cuts innocent lives short. I thought bitterly, as I tried not to let my anger show on my face. After all, Lucien mustn't know that I'm here. Then again, I doubt that he even knew that I was alive.
'I beg to differ.' he continued. 'You stand in the centre of a great instrument of change. With it, I shall remake the world. And my creation shall be unrecognisable, in its perfection. But my will alone is not efficient for such a momentous task. It is only through your toil, through your labours, through your conviction that Albion will be transformed. Don’t fear the sound you hear in here. The throbbing beneath your feet. These sensations will soon be as familiar as your own heart beat. And as long as your heart continues to beat, all I require from you is obedience. Now… sleep.' he said in a strange voice.
All of a sudden I began to feel drowsy and I automatically began to fight it, but as I saw the men around me begin to fall to the ground in a peaceful slumber, I grudgingly let the darkness take me, and hoped that I had made the right decision.
Next chapter link: http://fablefanon.wikia.com/wiki/Life_at_the_Spire_and_the_Rescue
A/N: I apologise if I have spelt any words Barnum said wrong. If you know the correct spelling, please let me know and I will fix them up.
Written: 23 August 2011