Chapter 16: The Fall

Chapters 1 to 15 can be found here.

No trace of the wizard was to be found. The three of us were alone in the room. We looked around one more time, hoping to maybe find a last sign of the oracle, but to no avail. Reluctantly, Seraphina, Laurenar and I decided to follow the received advice. We moved down the stairs effortlessly without suspense or anticipation slowing us down. Gradually, the color in Laurenar’s face returned as well, the closer we got to the ground floor. The platforms we had passed on the way down were unchanged and empty. Again, the only sounds heard were our frantic footsteps.

My two companions and I finally reached the stairs leading to the entrance. Seraphina had taken the lead, with Laurenar walking in second position. When the sorceress stepped of the stair on to the ground floor, suddenly and inexplicably a trap door opened, swallowing her. Strong winds took hold of us immediately and pulled us down. I could hear Seraphina scream turn from surprise to horror to glee, while it seemed as if Laurenar was facing one of his greatest nightmares. Having no solid ground beneath me was a new feeling, but not an unwelcome one. Like many young adults from the real world, bungee jumping or skydiving were unique experiences I hoped to make one day. The only difference was I was falling without any kind of safety net.

The winds had not stopped pulling us and it seemed as if an invisible hand controlled the gusts. We were not moving, as rapidly as such a free fall would suggest. Unfortunately, our surroundings were completely dark, so none of us had an idea where we would land. Seraphina and Laurenar were out of sight, but she tried to communicate something to us. We had no chance of hearing what she had said.

Then our speed started to decline steadily, with the winds blowing from different directions to cushion our fall. The slower our fall got, the more light flooded the tube-like vertical tunnel we were travelling in. Looking down, I could now see Seraphina standing up after landing in a stack of hay. I had looked just in time to see how the same stack of hay caught Laurenar. His fall had been slowed to the extent that it now seemed as if he had just ended a beautiful levitation trick. And just like that, it was my turn to land. The gusts turned around mid-air, so I was bound to land on my feet. It was exactly how I would imagine landing a jetpack. With a simple thud, I fell into the hay.

“What was that?” Laurenar looked extremely displeased. With his heavy armor and unpractical two-handed sword, the ride down had probably been extremely uncomfortable. Seraphina on the other hand was smiling excitedly.

“A very complicated series of spells from the school of air. It’s a very impressive feat to get all three of us down here so quickly and safely.”

Laurenar nodded and looked around. We were standing in a tiny cave, the floor covered with hay. As we looked outside, we could see the sea in front of us, but also the beginning of the vast continent of Illusio. A path lead towards a beach on the other side of the island. Our rescue boat and the statue were nowhere to be seen.

Seraphina remained impressed with the enchantments made to the tunnel. But looking up, the winds had vanished and darkness prevented her from discovering more of the countless secrets on this island. But one thing was clear, the wizard or oracle was a very powerful being and I would probably be wise to follow his advice.

Laurenar took the lead this time, walking along the sea. We could then see a strip of sand a few hundred meters straight ahead. Also visible was a rescue boat, which looked eerily similar to the one we had taken. Had we come back to where we had started? We moved nearer carefully. Seraphina immediately put me under one of her protective spells while the knight never took his eyes off the beach. But this definitely wasn’t the same cove we had anchored on what seemed an eternity ago.

“There’s smoke. There are people there, so be alert.”

The rising smoke came from a campfire. As we got closer, we could see two men and one woman sitting around it. We stopped behind one of the last bushes.

“Stay alert. Maybe they can help us.”

Laurenar took the lead and approached the group on the island. His expression turned to genuine surprise, when he saw who was sitting around the fire. As the oracle said, it was someone we had met before and who was extremely grateful to see the three of us again.

Looking exhausted, with his beard partly singed away and covered in dirt, we were looking at Captain Drake from the Crimson Crocodile.

“So you made it to the island.” The tone of his voice showed genuine happiness. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

“More or less.” Laurenar answered.

“What happened to the ship?” Seraphina asked after examining the two sailors sitting around the fire with Drake. Their clothes were covered with blood and dirt, remnants from the attack of the pirates. They looked at us expectantly, hoping that what they had to go through had made our journey worthwhile. I wanted to give them a positive and reaffirming answer. I wanted to say something inspiring, like the heroes in the movies and books of my childhood. But instead, a sudden feeling of nausea and sickness rose up in my body. I wanted to say something to the group accompanying me, but no words came out. I staggered backwards to steps and could see Seraphina mouthing words towards me.

But a second later, I fell backwards and everything went black.

___________________________________

I hope you enjoy chapter 16 and wish you a great weekend! Please like, share and subscribe!

Sincerely yours,
Albert

 

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