The depths of darkness

Ever since he began, Zane faced many challenges throughout his life. A life of pain, tragedy and blood but even through these trials he kept his head high and never backed down. Years of intense studying and training developed Zane into a proud, strong man of great power. But rumours whispered through the air tell of an ancient terror, raging deep below the mountains. Can Zane defeat this great mystery or will he perish trying?

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4. The mountain pass

 

I looked down precariously at the steep cliffs below me; one wrong step could mean life or death. Slowly but surely I edged my way along the cliff face, small pebbles and chunks dropped off the edge and clattered to the ground. There was 0% chance that I could survive a fall like that. I swallowed and carried on shimmying until I found a point that I could climb down. I swiftly manoeuvred my way down the cliff face swinging from rock to rock, deftly avoiding drops and unstable bits of stone. I landed softly like a cat; I guess all that training at the stronghold really did help my reflexes and agility. I checked my belt and took a small compass off it, I needed to go north and I was facing south, So placing my compass back and studying the map I set off north in search of history.

                A while down the track I started to hear soft grunts and whispers. I was walking down a narrow track with steep walls either side of me, as I progressed, it seemed like there were bones scattered across the ground and various items, broken armour and bloody weaponry, what could have happened here? Suddenly it become obvious, narrow path, steep walls, it was an ambush! I heard a loud roar above me;

‘Crush the puny human’ the huge trolls cried. The first large boulder came tumbling off the top; I dived out of the way narrowly missing the rock. Now more boulders in quick succession filled the air above me, I started to sprint forward as I heard the boulders slam against the floor behind me creating huge shock waves that coursed through the very earth itself. I panted and wheezed but pushed my body further, clearly aggravated they started flinging the smaller rocks at me. Many trolls lined the tops of the walls, more than I could count running like this, a sharp pain stabbed my side as the speeding rocks started to bury themselves into me. I was almost there, the exit of the chasm in my sights. I felt blood trickle down my legs as I started to slow. Another projectile struck me in the back as I dived for safety in a narrow alcove, I couldn't stay here for long for they would come to find me. I inspected my wounds, nothing too bad. I rummaged inside my bag and pulled out some cloth and plasters, I wrapped the soft cloth around the worst of my injuries to stop the blood flow and took a sip of a bright yellow potion. I felt energy course back into my veins and my strength returning to me. I made a quick dash out the alcove and sprinted to the exit.

 As the loud screams and wails of the trolls faded into the distance behind me I found myself standing in a large clearing. I gazed around warily. Nothing. This seemed like the end of the road, but why were the trolls protecting this pathway, I wonder. Perhaps there was something hidden here, perhaps a way forward? I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary, just walls and dirt. Until something caught my eye, at the opposite end of the clearing I noticed a narrow crack in the rock. I looked like someone has chipped away at the stone here, I lay down flat and peered inquisitively into the hole, and it went straight through! The path was behind the wall. I dug my hands into the hole and heaved upwards, some of the rocks came loose and crumbled to the floor, this rock wasn’t natural, and someone had placed it here to prevent people from getting to the other side. This had to be hiding a secret. I heaved and pulled at the rocks, and with a lot of effort the stone started to slide upwards. Exerting myself, I pushed the rock and slipped through the narrow gap.

                The path continued as normal until I noticed the hair on my arm standing on end, the temperature was dropping rapidly. I felt a drop on my head as a tiny flake of snow melted on my skin and trickled down my face. Soon the snow was thick and heavy and the ground was covered with snow, the further I walked, the higher up the mountain I got. I trudged through the snow and ice; it was surprising how the setting could change so quickly. I found myself in another clearing, the wind howled through the air and pushed at my back someone how beckoning me toward the centre. Thick blankets of snow blew into my face and an icy chill ran down my spine. I feeling of dread overcame me, something wasn't right here, the harsh weather made it hard to tell where I was. All of a sudden I felt my foot give way beneath me; yanking it back I noticed a pitch black hole in the middle of the ground. Beyond it stood an ancient temple, many years old and falling apart. I would say it originated from the second era perhaps? I tracked back and followed the edges of the walls all the way round until I arrived back at the path. This was it; only one path was open now.

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