Bellum Potestas

In a small galaxy far, far away, two young heroes fight gallantly their way through the darkest dangers and highest threats to beat the clock and save all before a disasterous bomb goes off. Will they make it there in time, or does their story come to an ominous end?


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5. The Woods - Grazyna

~ Chapter Four ~

 

"C'mon Ad, it's just a question. What, are you afraid of those now? You better hope that the Gem ain't guarded by sredips or you'll have to go on a whole 'nother quest for a new pair of pants!". I laughed jokily and patted Adwr on the back, as if to say "No Offense". I looked up at his hair that was poking out of his hoodie and noticed it had gone ever so slightly orange.

"Oh, uh Adwr I'm real sorry. I didn't mean it"

"Whatever. Let's just find out why we were teleported HERE, of all places. I can't even see the gem anywhere" Adwr said grumpily. We had been teleported into an endless woodland. Squirrels and birds chirped and squeaked all around us, making an interesting ambience. I stepped carefully through the forest of trees and indicated for Adwr to follow. He did so and we started to walk cautiously around. I saw a big cave nearby. 

"Cool! a cave! C'mon let's go check it out!" I said excitedly.

"No way. That's the epitome of stupid"

"Oh don't be such a wimp! We'll be careful won't we? I just wanna look at it!"

"No. You go, I'm going to find the gem, like we were told to do"

"You can't find the gem without ME stupid! That's like the whole reason you brought me along with you. You've got no courage or adventure in you. Come on, At least just, I dunno, examine the rocks or something While I check if the cave has any stalagmites!". I looked over at Adwr and noticed his hair turning orange again.

"C'mon you guppy. I'll keep ya safe" I said smiling assuringly and patting him on the back. Adwr agreed to take a quick look at the cave but on the condition we set out to find the gem immediately after, no more distractions. 

"Yay!" I said. I ran over to the cave and without hesitation and sped inside. It was dark as highstarfall, but I was too busy feeling around for stalagmites. I'm normally a pretty fearless gal, but if I am caught in a situation where I could be killed, I'm just as much a wimp as Adwr. Okay, maybe not THAT cowardly...

So when a bear growled viciously behind me, I screamed. I didn't know what to do, so I grabbed the nearest thing to me, a long, sharp, broken stalagmite.

I held it up and lunged at the monstrous thing. I pierced it's front leg. not very effective. I pulled it out quickly and lunged again, this time irritating it further by piercing it's paw. I closed my eyes and struck once more, repeating the words Third time lucky in my head. Success. Amazing success. Unimaginable, incredible success. I pierced all the way through the bear's heart. Killing it almost instantly. It reared ferociously and then crumpled over me. I struggled my way out from under the body and, due to the low ceiling, I crouched before it. It twitched a little, but otherwise stayed motionless. I held onto the stalagmite and walked out of the cave. when the highstarlight hit me again I looked down and my hands and realised that they were covered in blood. I turned my head around and saw the back of my dress was drenched with the stuff too. Great.

*

"What the heck has happened to you, Grazyna!?" Adwr cried out, rushing over to me. I laughed and said

"Ah, nothing. Just killed a bear, no biggie". I just remembered something and quickly grabbed a lock of hair and stared at it. It was my natural white blonde. Phew.

"Is that b-blood?" Adwr said, shaking.

"No. It's fruit punch. What do you think, smart guy?" I said sarcastically.

"Grazyna, what happened!?"

"I told you, stupid. I killed a bear. Now come on let's get going and find that gem. Whew! Bear blood sure does stink!". Adwr looked at me with an eyebrow raised then followed as I started trekking through the fallen twigs and leaves. 

*

We had walked miles and miles. Adwr started to complain

"Please *inhale* can *inhale* We *inhale* Take *inhale* a *inhale*...Break?". I smirked and said

"Hey, bossy pants! You're the one who said No distractions!

"But *inhale* it's *inhale* getting really *inhale* dark!"

"Hey, calm down. There's a cabin over there, see? Let's knock on the door and ask if we can go in and have something to eat". Adwr gave a disapproving look but followed me to the door. I realised at that time how much I and Adwr communicated through eye contact. Is that a good thing?

I knocked briskly on the door and plastered on a smile. An elderly old woman opened the wooden block on hinges and smiled as she looked at us.

"Is it nightmare eve already? Sorry kiddies, I don't have any sweets". She patted my head with her long sticky tentacle. I squirmed a little and said

"We aren't kids. Adwr here is almost twenty. Almost. And it's not nightmare eve. We are on a mission and we've been walking and walking for miles. If you could like, give us some food and shelter for the night We would be real grateful". The elderly woman's eyes darted towards my hands, then my dress.

"But child! you must! you are bleeding!"

"I'm not a child, and This is bear blood. I had to kill the bear because he was getting all up in my face. But we will come in. Do you have any spare clothes?"

"Yes, of course, of course! I will run you a hot bath. I will run both of you a hot bath. it's frightfully cold out here. Come here, boy, come into the warmth". Adwr, hugging himself and shivering, ran inside. I followed quickly after. The minute I closed the door behind me the old woman grabbed one of her old dresses from a chair and yanked off my blood-stained dress. I was grateful that Adwr noticed what she was about to do a split second before and looked away towards the fire. The woman threw the dress into my hands and said

"Hop into the bucket and wash all the blood off. Put this dress on when you've finished, dear. My name is Zarcra, by the way". I Stepped carefully into the bucket that was now filled with boiling hot water. I noticed that just when I had come in, She had clicked her fingers in the direction of the bucket. I wondered if she was a mage. I washed off all the blood that had dripped onto my back and then rubbed off the dried blood on my hands. I picked up the bar of soap next to me and rubbed it thoroughly everywhere. I rinsed off and stepped out of the bucket, careful to not drip lots of water. The woman handed me a blanket to dry with and once I was squeaky clean, I pulled on the dress. Adwr went next. As he washed I stared fixedly at the fire. I thought about the encounter with the bear. I remembered that I had taken the stalagmite all the way here and looked frantically around for it. I had dropped it when Zarcra ripped off my dress. It was still on the floor. I ran over to it and picked it up. Zarcra notice the movement and looked over at me. She noticed the stalagmite still covered with dry blood, now in my hands.

"Is that what you used?" She asked calmly.

"Huh?"

"To kill that bear" she said.

"Oh, uh, yeah" I said furtively "Why?"

"I just assumed you used it since it's stained with blood". 20 minutes later Adwr was shivering in front of the fire, back in his old clothes. Zarcra had finished dinner. She set a tray on mine and Adwr's lap. It had a mug with hot water in it, a plate with disgusting Lichsnoffian delicacies. I ate up gratefully however, and Zarcra turned to Adwr and asked

"So, what is this mission?"

"We have to...well you know the great gem war that's been going on? Well the Lichsnoffians sent us a bomb- I mean, their government did. I'm not saying you're a bad perso-"

"Oh no no no, I'm all against this stupid war. Anyway, what do you two kiddies have to do with it? They aren't recruiting you as soldiers are they? Surely not you, My dear!" She said worriedly, looking over to me. I rolled my eyes and said

"No, not as soldiers. We need to find the gem. It's the only thing that can deactivate the bomb. Do you have any idea where to find it?". Zarcras eyes widened greatly.

"There is an old legend that my father once told me, of a mysterious place that has an oracle that will grant a wish and a question. She has been known to give advice as well sometimes. Ask her where The Gem may be". I and Adwr stared at her. Adwr piped up

"Where is she?" 

"Many, many miles from here. A five day trip". Adwr sank down in his chair. I gawped. Five days?

"Begin the trip tomorrow when you are well rested. But be warned, children.The journey is dangerous. Many creatures guard it. If you survive that, there is a maze that is said to be protected by your own worst fears. There is a being that can get in your head and know your fears and become them. I am not sure it has a name".

"Few survive that torture. The creature is at the end of the maze, awaiting victims. But if you make it, a question is asked. The Oracle doesn't know the answer, but the question is how she obtains information about the world. If she believes an answer is incorrect, she will immediately kill you". Adwr sat up again and asked

"What is this place called?". Zarcra answered.

"Oraks. It means Life and Death in ancient Lichsnoffian". I was confused. Adwr wasn't. The colour drained from his face and his hair turned white. He shivered tremendously, even though we sat in warmth by the fire. He said shakingily

"Oraks?". 

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