|The Happenings I|
|Series||The Happenings by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||Journey to the Pilgrim|
|Next||The Life of a Hero|
|← Journey to the Pilgrim||Chapter Chronology||The Life of a Hero →|
CHAPTER FOUR: THE PILGRIMEdit
‘Ah, I knew my lovely singing voice would bring the crowd,’ the Pilgrim said, catching sight of me, before taking a swing of her drink and jumping down to meet us. ‘So, you’re my escort then? My father said you’d be coming by.’ She then turned her attention to Storm when he came up to greet her. ‘Hey there, boy! Oh, you’re a strong handsome fellow, aren’t you? I’ll feel better having you in that cave, yes I will!’ She then turned her attention back to me.
‘I’m Sparrow, by the way,’ I said. ‘And you just met my dog, Storm.’
‘It’s a pleasure to meet you,’ she replied. ‘I’m Sister Hannah. Some people call me Hammer when they think they’re being clever…they’re not. But I can’t do anything since monks make a solemn vow never to bash anyone’s face in. Did my father mention that?’
‘No, but I kind of figured it out for myself.’ I said.
‘Yeah. Whatever fighting’s to be done in there, it’s all yours.’ Sister Hannah said somewhat sadly, before picking up a huge jug.
‘We require a Hero, not a pacifist monk. We’ll need her to find a reason to fight.’ said Theresa, before Sister Hannah turned to me and said: ‘I don’t mind telling you, I’m a little envious.’ she said as we walked towards the cave entrance. ‘You get all the excitement while I have to carry this bloody thing like some common mule! I mean, look at it! It’s enormous! Golden or not, how much water does a bloody acorn need?’ Shaking her head, she added. ‘After you,’ before we entered the Wellspring Caves.
One thing I could say about the Wellspring Caves was that it seemed to be more welcoming than the Hobbe Cave, but that didn’t mean that I would let my guard down. After all…looks can be deceiving. Just look at me, for example. Most people think that I’m a helpless little girl (when I’m not carrying my weapons) just because I’m slim and fragile looking. Anyway, Sister Hannah didn’t seem to share my thoughts, she seemed quite fascinated by the cave.
‘It’s amazing when you think about it,’ Sister Hannah began. ‘No one else has been in here for maybe a hundred years. Well, no monks anyway. I guess an adventurer or two could have come in – but if they made it out alive, I didn’t hear about it. Hmm, anyway…hey, don’t you wonder off now, boy!’ she added as Storm went ahead of us. ‘Stay with us, where it’s safe!’
‘Don’t worry, Sister Hannah.’ I said soothingly. ‘Storm’s senses are quite keen, he’ll be all right.’
She didn’t look convinced.
We continued to walk through the cavern in silence, when we came to a large opening with a thin, ragged, zigzagged path that led to the opposite side of the room, above a dark fog pit. Most people would be looking down at the path, to make sure they didn’t fall into the pit, but not Sister Hannah…she was looking up at the ceiling.
‘Look up there,’ she said to me.
I did as she said and saw a number of bright blue balls of light.
‘They’re lovely,’ Sister Hannah continued. ‘I think they’re called wisps, souls of the dead that never left this world. It’s actually rather sad, isn’t it?’
I didn’t answer. For some reason, I had a funny feeling about them, as though they were there for a reason.
‘You are a quiet one.’ commented Sister Hannah. ‘Watch your step, doggie. Looks a bit step in here.’ She said as we headed down the path.
Once we were inside the other cavern, Sister Hannah spoke again as we walked down its dark hall.
‘Do you reckon we’ll run into anything nasty in here? I mean a dark cave is one hell of a place for a holy spring, especially for an order of pacifists.’ Sister Hannah said, then continued without waiting for an answer. ‘You know…I’ve heard of monks in the north that believe to transcend violence you have to understand it first. So instead of praying, they train to fight everyday. They think that’s the path to inner peace. Sometimes I wonder if the bloke who foundered the Temple of Light believed that. Or what if I had been adopted by the warrior monks, instead of my dad? My life would be completely different right now. Exactly the same person, just change where I was brought up and I’d get totally different beliefs, and it that’s true, our beliefs aren’t really worth a toss, are they?’ Yet again, I didn’t have a chance to answer. ‘Yet even though I know that…I still can’t imagine ever breaking my vows.’
It took all my strength not to snort at Theresa’s next comment; ‘She’s quite insightful…for a monk. But this pledge of peace will not do. It is not the time for peace!’
Due to my silence, due to listening to Theresa, Sister Hannah interpreted my silence the wrong way.
‘It must seem a bit stupid to you,’ she muttered. ‘I mean, it seems a bit stupid to me.’
I did not answer her as we walked into a central chamber. True, I found worshipping things stupid, but that was me, and I was not about to admit to it.
‘Alright, this should be the central chamber,’ Sister Hannah said, looking around. ‘Wow…I’ve never seen anything like this…ever! Now,’ she said, snapping back to the reason why we were there, ‘according to my father, we need to go through these three doors in order to collect the water. Putting weight on the pressure plates will open the doors. This ones first,’ Sister Hannah added, walking over and standing on a pressure plate.
The moment she stood on the pressure plate, the gate began to open.
‘There you go,’ said Sister Hannah. ‘The plates require more and more weight as we go on. Luckily, I’ve got something unbelievably heavy right here. All we have to do is add a bit of water from the fountain in the room up ahead; at least it should be in the room up ahead.’ she added, following me through the now opened doorway.
We, no sorry, Sister Hannah didn’t speak again until we reached another large opening with a thin, ragged, zigzagged path that lead to the opposite side of the room, above a dark fog pit.
‘Steep in here as well! This cave really is quite dangerous!’ Sister Hannah said. Luckily, she didn’t see me roll my eyes. I bet she hadn’t even been in that many caves. ‘Not that I’ve been in many caves,’ she said, proving my theory. ‘I bet you have, haven’t you? Probably found all sorts of interesting things, treasure and that.’ She continued, but I wasn’t listening anymore. Instead, I was looking up. Just like in the other cavern opening, this one too had wisps. Something about them made me nervous. Why? I do not know.
‘What do you reckons down there, in the dark, down the bottom?’ said Sister Hannah, referring to the dark fog pit. She hadn’t noticed that I hadn’t heard a word that she had been saying. ‘Bodies, maybe? Bones? All the poor buggers who have taken a bad step?’
‘Or have been knocked off the edge by something.’ I muttered, my mind still on the wisps.
‘What was that?’ asked Sister Hannah.
‘Nothing,’ I lied, not wanting to worry her.
We eventually came to the first room the spring was in.
‘Now, there are two plates in this room,’ explained Sister Hannah, wading through the water, that filled the room, and over to the fountain with me following her and Storm swimming behind me. ‘It will take both of us to get the water flowing,’ continued Sister Hannah, who was now standing next to the fountain. ‘I stand here so I can catch it, and you need to stand on that one,’ she added, pointing to a plate next to her.
I waited until she was bending down on her plate with the jug at the ready, before I stood on the one next to her, praying that I would be heavy enough to work it. The moment I stood on the pressure plate, water came out of the fountain and fell neatly into the jug.
‘Oh yeah, I can feel this thing getting even heavier,’ groaned Sister Hannah as the water began to fill up the jug. ‘I really hope they find someone else to do this next time. Mind you, I’ll be an old lady by then, so I’m probably off the hook. You know, this is probably going to be the highlight of my life.’ She continued to whine. ‘“The day I carried a jug through a cave”. Hardly epic poem stuff, is it?’
‘No, it isn’t.’ I agreed absentmindedly, thinking that she was likely to make it in to poems as the Hero of Strength, even though she didn’t know that she was special...yet.
‘Did you hear something?’ Sister Hannah asked all of a sudden.
‘No,’ I said slowly, looking around before looking down at Storm, who was currently laying down at my feet, unconcerned with everything going on around him.
‘Probably just my imagination,’ said Sister Hannah, before looking me up and down. ‘Don’t talk much, do you?’
I tried hard not to laugh. How was it even possible to get a word in when she never shuts up? And I say that in a nice way, mind you.
‘Right,’ began Sister Hannah, breaking me from my thoughts on what she had said previously. ‘I reckon that’s all the water we will get from that one.’
I hadn’t even noticed that the water had stopped running.
Together the three of us made out way back to the central chamber, but when we arrived at the opening with the wisps…our troubles began.
I was right to think that the wisps would be trouble, for as we walked out onto the path, many wisps fell down into the path and hollow men took there place.
‘I didn’t know they did that!’ said Sister Hannah, taking a step back. ‘They must be trying to protect the water…’
I ran at the advancing enemies. All my blows were quick and precise; shattering hollow men bones and dust everywhere. Thinking that I had destroyed them all, I headed back to Sister Hannah, but that wasn’t a good idea. Before I had even taken a step, a hollow man appeared behind me and knocked me off the edge of the path, before running at Sister Hannah and Storm. Sister Hannah cried out as I went over the edge. Fortunately, I was able to grab onto the edge of the path to stop me falling into the dark pit. I quickly pulled myself back onto the path and turned to see Storm trying to fight off the hollow man and protect Sister Hannah. I unsung my rifle and took aim, then pulled the trigger and destroyed the final hollow man.
I walked more carefully back to Sister Hannah and Storm, but no hollow men attacked.
‘Thank goodness you are all right!’ exclaimed Sister Hannah, when I stopped in front of her as I fought off an overjoyed Storm.
‘It will take more than hollow men to get rid of me,’ I said, smiling at her, before motioning to her to flow me.
‘Anyway, you were fantastic!’ said Sister Hannah. ‘Those things didn’t stand a chance! Have you ever fought them before?’
‘No, that was my first time,’ I said over my shoulder.
‘Really? It sure looked like you had fought them before!’ Sister Hannah said sounding very impressed. ‘You must be a very fast learner!’
I only shrugged as we walked into the central chamber; before I turned and looked back down the path we just came from, plus looking around for wisps and hollow men.
‘I don’t see any wisps now, and no hollow men followed us,’ said Sister Hannah, doing the same thing as me. ‘Guess we’re safe in here. All right…second door, second plate.’ She continued walking over to the second plate and opening the gate.
‘I’m glad I have you with me,’ Sister Hannah said, as we walked to the second chamber. ‘What if you weren’t here? How in the world would two defenceless monks get through this place alive? It doesn’t make any sense!’ She said, before adding bitterly, ‘I’d give anything to be rid of this stupid vow!’
‘Promising,’ said Theresa, but I didn’t agree!
Okay, I agreed that we had a chance to get Sister Hannah to fight, but I didn’t like the way Sister Hannah said that she would “give anything.” For when that is said, Fate will take something you would miss dearly away from you. Not convinced? Look at what happened to Rose and I. We use to say that too!
‘Well, it's a good thing you’re here anyway.’ Sister Hannah said, bringing me back to reality. ‘Let’s just get on with it. The room ought to be up ahead, ought to be the same as before.’
She was correct. We arrived at the next chamber in no time and, to my dismay, saw that more wisps covered the ceiling.
‘Right here’s the next one,’ said Sister Hannah, being oblivious to the wisps. ‘I’ll stand by the fountain same as before, and the other pressure plate is up those stairs.’
Not liking the idea of Sister Hannah being that far away from me with wisps around, I told Storm to stay with her. I moved quickly up the stairs, just to get it over and done with, and went and stood on the pressure plate, keeping my eye on both Sister Hannah and the wisps.
‘Ah, brilliant. Just have to wait till this thing stops running.’ said Sister Hannah. ‘You’d think that they would make this thing with a flat bottom in case you wanted to have a rest! But as it is, it would just tip over and then where would we be?’
‘Then please, don’t let it fall over.’ I begged.
‘I won’t…Oh bugger! Here they come!’ exclaimed Sister Hannah as the wisps came back down to earth.
Groaning, I jumped off the podium I was standing on and bashed all three of the hollow men heads together, before I went back up the stairs to take my place once more, while Sister Hannah was asking, ‘Can you kill something that’s already dead?’
‘In the case of hollow men, I’d say yes.’ I answered, before groaning once more, jumping down and destroying three more hollow men that had appeared, before walking back up the podium.
I don’t know how many times I did that process over and over again, until I remembered Will. I was practically kicking myself as I sent blades flying at the new hollow men that had appeared.
‘Wow, I’ve never seen someone do that before!’ exclaimed Sister Hannah. ‘Keep using Will like that and we’ll be through here in no time!’
Of course, she was correct. Me using Will instead of melee was much quicker and in no time Sister Hannah was saying, ‘Full, back to the central chamber then! There should be only one room left to go, so we’re nearly finished!’
‘That’s often the point where the ground falls out from underneath your feet. Be cautious!’ warned Theresa, but I had never needed her advice less. It was clear that the hollow men didn’t want us to leave alive which meant there had to be other creatures lurking somewhere if they failed.
Sister Hannah and I didn’t speak to each other on the way back to the central chamber for we were both lost in our own thoughts. Even Storm seemed to be lost in thought for he to was abnormally quiet. However, when we re-entered the central chamber once more our thoughts were interrupted by a loud, but muffled noise. Naturally, I automatically drew my sword and looked around.
‘What in the world was that?’ asked Sister Hannah, pausing on her way to the third pressure plate. ‘Are you ready for…whatever that was?’
‘A better question would be, “is it ready for me?”.’ I said, sword still drawn.
Sister Hannah glanced over at me before standing on the pressure plate, and for some reason, the gate only opened a little bit. It was big enough for me to roll underneath, if I wanted to, but Sister Hannah wouldn’t fit with the jug.
Before Sister Hannah or I could do anything, Storm ran under the gate and disappeared down the cavern.
‘Where on earth…Hey! Come back! Who knows what’s on the other side!’ Sister Hannah yelled after him. ‘You think his all right?’ she added to me when Storm didn’t come back.
‘Of course, Storm can take anything on!’ I said in a confident, but convincing voice. However, it wasn’t Sister Hannah that I was trying to convince, it was myself. I could not lose Storm; I would sacrifice anything to save him, if I had to.
A few more minutes passed before either of us spoke again.
‘Okay, I’m getting worried now,’ said Sister Hannah.
‘I’m getting worried…’ I stopped. I had seen something in the distance on the other side of the door.
Wondering why I had stopped talking, Sister Hannah looked in the same direction to see what I was looking at and she soon saw that I had seen Storm running towards us.
‘What you got there?’ Sister Hannah asked Storm as he ran back under the gate and dropped something in front of him. ‘Oh, that is disgusting!’ she said when she saw that the object was a hollow man’s head.
Storm’s head dropped a bit and when Sister Hannah saw this she quickly said, ‘Oh no. But you a good dog for attacking him. Who’s a good boy? Who tears the heads off hollow men? Is it you? Is it you, boy?’
Storm barked and waged his tail at her.
Smiling, Sister Hannah turned to me and said, ‘Quite a companion you’ve got. Remind me never to let him lick me again.’ She added, turning back to the pressure plate to try it again, and…succuss, it finally opened.
While she was doing that, I quietly praised Storm myself and gave him a dog treat and elixir (for any unseen injuries…and to help with his breath!), before I went through the open doorway.
‘Right, we’ve got one more room to go through, then we should be finished,’ Sister Hannah said, following me. ‘Just don’t get to far ahead though. I don’t know what made that noise and I’m not keen to find out.’
I only nodded and re-drew my sword so I would be ready for anything.
We entered yet another room but as we did, the gates at both the entrance and exit shut and locked themselves before all these hollow men appeared. Sighing I started to fight all of the hollow men off once more.
‘That will teach them to come back to life!’ Sister Hannah said happily, as I defeated the last of them, but her happiness soon disappeared as a big, headless hollow man appeared in the middle of the room. ‘Oh my…you can get us out of here, can’t you?’
I only nodded and drew my rifle. I would not fight this hollow man with a melee weapon for I had just seen it use electric shock and it would be unlikely for it to shoot lighting bolts at me if I wasn’t at close range.
Anyway, I quickly, but silently went behind it and started shooting. It paused briefly before heading in the direction of where the bullets came from. Over and over again, I snuck behind it and shot it before I had finally destroyed the bloody thing.
Moments after I had destroyed the headless hollow man, Sister Hannah spoke to me. ‘Wow, that was amazing! You killed the lot of them! Whew! I was really worried for a moment there! Well, for several moments. I…thankyou. You were brilliant!’
‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘On we go, then!’ I added, leading the way through the doorway that had opened once more.
Upon arriving in the final room, and after a quick check for wisps, Sister Hannah and I quickly went to the relevant pressure plates.
‘Lords of light, bless this water,’ said Sister Hannah. ‘So we may give rise to new life once more. As new life rises, so shall we…’ At first I wondered why she stopped and looked at the gate at the end of the chamber, but then I saw it open and a monk came running out.
‘Sister Hannah…’ he panted.
‘Brother Robin! What is it?’ asked a bewildered Sister Hannah, and she wasn’t the only one that was confused.
‘It’s your father…one of Lucien’s men. He is holding him hostage at the Temple. He’s got a gun!’ said Brother Robin.
Sister Hannah dropped the jug, spilling water everywhere, and ran up the path to the exit, only stopping to break a huge hammer off the statue next to the exit while yelling out to me. ‘I have to save my father! Come on, we have to go to the Temple!’
During the yelling, Theresa spoke to me; ‘One of Lucien’s agents has gone to the Temple. Go after her!’
At first I wondered why she told me to go after her, but when I looked around I realised that Storm and I were alone in the final chamber. Cursing quietly, I ran out of the room after Sister Hannah, and arrived at the edge of the cliff that over looked the Temples paddock. In the distance, I could see Sister Hannah running up the path towards the Temple.
I quickly jumped down the cliff and ran out of the paddock, up to the Temple. As I got closer to the Temple, I heard voices. Two of them I recognised.
‘Father, are you okay?’ questioned Sister Hannah’s voice.
‘His one of Lucien’s men…’ Came the Abbott’s voice.
‘You’re coming with me, or he dies!’ Came a rough male's voice I didn’t recognise.
‘Like hell I am! You let him go, before I break you in half!’ Came Sister Hannah’s angry reply.
The moment I heard her say that, I quickened my pace, but I knew that it would be too late, and the gun shot that followed confirmed what I thought.
‘NO!’ Came the agonising scream of Sister Hannah.
‘Don’t make me kill you too!’ said Lucien’s Agent.
Just as I arrived at the entrance of the Temple, I watched as Sister Hannah swung her hammer and killed her enemy before she fell to her knees beside her father’s body.
‘Father!’ sobbed Sister Hannah angrily. ‘I could have stopped him! You idiot! You stupid fool! I could have stopped him before he…’ She was unable to finish her sentence for she burst out crying.
I just stood at the entrance helplessly, wishing that I was able to help her, but I knew that I couldn’t help her. Another thing that I knew was that she would now be free of her vow.
Turning around, thinking of going back to the Wellspring Caves to get the jug of Holy Water (or what was left of it), I came face to face with the now miserable monks of the Temple of Light. None of them stopped me as I walked away to get the jug of holy water…
* * *
The next morning, I attended the Abbott’s funeral and the Golden Acorn ritual. The Abbott was to be buried under the Golden Acorn.
‘I’m sorry Father,’ Sister Hannah said sadly, as she knelt next to her father’s grave. ‘Not that I broke my vow. I’m sorry I didn’t break it sooner. I never did fit in at this place…we both knew that. And now, I’m making a vow. Lucien will die for what he did to you! I won’t break this one!’
‘Sister Hannah, the blessing…’ Brother Robin said gently.
‘You do it,’ she replied bitterly.
Brother Robin obliged. ‘As new life rises, so shall we. As the seed returns to the earth, so do we all.’
The monks then all turned and left the clearing.
‘Is that it then?’ Sister Hannah yelled after them furiously. ‘My father is gone and the Golden Oak is flourishing again. So life now goes on like before, does it?’
At that moment Theresa appeared in blue light and walked over to Sister Hannah.
‘The other monks may believe that, but your eyes have been opened.’ Theresa said, coming to a halt in front of Sister Hannah.
‘Where did you come from? Who are you?’ asked a startled Sister Hannah, looking quickly over at me, but when she saw that I was undisturbed by Theresa’s sudden appearance, she relax a little bit.
‘Someone who can tell you much about Lucien. Where he is, what his plans are and how you can gain revenge…if you will listen.’ answered Theresa.
‘I want to know everything!’ Sister Hannah said hastily.
‘Then come with me, Sister Hannah.’ Theresa said, holding out her hand.
‘Call me Hammer!’ replied Sister Hannah, taking Theresa’s hand.
Next chapter link: http://fablefanon.wikia.com/wiki/The_Life_of_a_Hero
Written: 12 June 2011