Chapter 17: Poison

Chapters 1 – 16 can be found here.

I opened my eyes carefully and attempted to look around. But it was no use. I was engulfed in complete darkness. My eyes tried to get used to the strange surroundings, but even then, I had no clue where I was and what exactly was happening. My senses started to pick up that I was lying on a soft, cushioned bed. After enjoying the comfort of the bed for a second, the pain returned as quickly as it had at the beach. I tried to scream and shout, but my cries for help remained silent. The pain started with a throbbing headache, making every moment with my eyes open a challenge. It then moved down my spine, leaving my torso with the feeling of having been on the receiving end of a thousand tiny cuts. My legs, on the other hand, felt entirely numb, causing a totally different kind of panic in me. Soon after, I blacked out again.

I remember opening my eyes two or three times more in complete darkness. Each time, I tried to form a sound, failing every time. My eyes weren’t getting used to the darkness as they were supposed to, leaving me help- and clueless in the bed, which became a soft prison for me. But I never managed to stay awake for long periods, always dozing off or fainting again soon after opening my eyes. After all, it seemed I was completely alone and incapable of action. I wish I could remember the dreams from my unconsciousness. Often the heroes of my childhood had visions or dreams during occurrences like this. Even I had some kind of foreshadowing moment when I slept in the capital what already seemed like ages ago. But nothing of note comes to mind. Only darkness and discomfort remained all around.

The next time I awoke, it was different. First of all, it wasn’t dark anymore. A magical orb of light hung at the ceiling, showing me my humble environment. Secondly, the first thing I felt wasn’t pain, but thirst. My mouth was completely dried out, with my lips cracked. I figured this was the reason my screams and shouts hadn’t been heard before: they weren’t as loud as I had expected.

“Water.” I called, my voice not loud enough to attract any kind of attention. My room was empty bar for the bed and two stools. I could see my leather armor lying useless on the chair and noticed me almost being naked. My head was still aching as if someone was penetrating my forehead with a sledgehammer without stopping. But my upper body now felt as numb as my lower body. I had tried moving while lying in the darkness, but something had stopped me. Now I could see what. I was strapped firmly to the bed, solely able to wiggle. Panic set in once more. Where was I? The empty room was round. Was I back in the lighthouse? And where were Seraphina and Laurenar? My mind was racing. But every thought seemed to induce another round of pain.

“Water.” I whispered again before passing out again. I would get my wish.

A bucket of water splashed across my face to wake me up from my last bout of unconsciousness. Before reacting to the cool liquid with a sound, my dry lips tried to savor as much as possible. Then I opened my eyes, not knowing who or what to expect. I felt relief flowing through my whole body. Seraphina’s friendly, hazel eyes were staring at me with a warm look of concern. I tried to crack a smile for her and reached for the cup of water she was holding. After all, it would have been cruel to wake me with water while denying me a sip of the elixir of life. I emptied the cup quickly and noticed how my body had longed for hydration. Seraphina immediately handed me two more cups, which I downed just as eagerly.

The pain my body was feeling when I had woken up had vanished. Only a slight headache remained and I sincerely hoped that was one of the effects of dehydration. This meant I could feel my upper and lower body again. The straps on my bed had been taken off, which meant I was free to move. With great effort, I sat up in the bed.

Seraphina hadn’t said anything to me so far. She hadn’t taken her eyes off me, while I tried to get used to the movements of my bod. I could feel that something was wrong, but I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly. Her robes were clean and the staff she carried around to work her magic was leaning against the chair. The bags underneath her eyes indicated her crying or not getting enough sleep. Perhaps it was both.

“Where are we?” I asked slowly. My voice still was extremely quiet, but she was able to pick up my question.

“Safe for the moment.” She replied and quick, forced smile appeared on her face. Something had happened, but she didn’t want to tell me. Or maybe she couldn’t.

“What happened to me?” I drank another cup of water.

“You were poisoned.” Seraphina stood up and began to pace around the room nervously. I stared at her in disbelief.

“Poison? How?”

She didn’t answer immediately, but pulled out a little bolt out of a pocket in her flowing robes. It was made from the same material we had seen on my first evening at the capitol, when Laurenar had chased the hooded figure over the rooftop. It seemed that we didn’t need to find the enemy, but the enemy had found us. She pointed to me and then to the back of her shoulder. I had noticed the bandages wrapped around my left shoulder. The bolt had hit me, when we were talking to Drake and the surviving soldiers. The memories slowly crept back into consciousness.

“Where are the others?”

“Drake and one of the sailors are standing guard.”

“And Laurenar?” I asked, increasingly worried.

She paused for a moment. “He was taken.”

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Thank you very much for reading Chapter 17! Have a great weekend and please like, share and subscribe.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

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.

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

Sincerely yours,
Albert

 

Chapter 15: Questions and Answers

The first fourteen chapters of An Elusive Hero can be found here.

We stood there in amazement. The transformation of the wizard had been impressive and troubling at once. The round wizard paced the room steadily, with a smirk on his face signalling his amusement at the situation. Seraphina and Laurenar looked at me. I felt paralyzed and unsure of what to do. Our journey had taken us this far, but standing in front of the person capable of answering our questions, I was baffled. It seemed like minutes were passing and we remained silent. The owner of the Lighthouse remained remarkably patient, just making the same, monotone movement. His footsteps were the only sounds disturbing the silence of the rooftop room. I stepped towards to Seraphina and Laurenar.

My thoughts wandered back to the meeting with Queen Sophia, which seemed so far away. She had told us that some of our questions would be answered here. Sophia had said that they had brought me here to deal with the enemy who had arrived in Illusio from my world for a second time. So what exactly did we need to find out? She probably wanted him to stay out of this world altogether. But the queen also didn’t know what exactly would beat him.

I try to project an air of confidence, when I finally addressed the wizard. 
“Are you aware of the situation of the world?”

He stopped his steppes and turned his body fully towards us. His smirk turned into a toothy grin. “The situation of the world? That depends, my young friend. Do you mean the state of the rocks and continents? Or do you mean the well-being of the townsfolk? Or do you mean the politics of power? Which situation should I be aware of? But whatever it is, I can assure you I know more than enough about it.”

I felt my face turn red as if I had said something particularly stupid in class. Laurenar’s eyes narrowed as if the answer had given him a reason to be more suscipicious than normal. Seraphina seemed slightly taken aback by the arrogance of the mage or oracle.

 “Well, the kingdom is threatened by an enemy. We need to know how to stop him?”

“Ah, so it is the politics of power you are concerned with? Tell me, why do you intend to stop him?”

This question seemed to enrage Laurenar, but before he could answer, Seraphina’s soft voice took over: “Our queen has proven to be a wise and just ruler for the country, while our common enemy has brought nothing but war to our shores. We believe it to be in our best interest to stop him.”

“I see. Then why don’t you face him on the battlefield? Your mate here seems to be ready for battle anytime. Surely an army full of knights should be able to crush the rebellion.”

I took over from the sorceress again: “I was brought here from a far way world to prevent unnecessary bloodshed. Do you know another option besides open warfare? An option that would not endanger the lives of the townsfolk?

“Well yes, you could lead a high-risk operation into the opposition camp and capture just him to send him back. You could pay off his highest-ranking officers. Or his whole army. You could lay siege to his operation and starve them out. Or you could just give him what he wanted.”

“That is not an option.” Laurenar injected angrily. I could tell he was fuming at the disrespect shown towards the queen and Illusio.

“If we send him back, won’t he just reenter again?”

“Probably, yes.” The wizard was enjoying himself at our expense. Laurenar wasn’t ready to take more of this. The answers we had gotten so far were not helpful at all. I decided to tell him exactly that:

“We came here seeking answers, but yours have been unsatisfactory.”

“If the answers are not good, maybe the questions have been lacking.” He winked at to and began to pace the room from anew.

Stunned by this last answer, I stared at the floor, determined to find the right question for him to answer. What exactly did I expect to achieve on this journey? Queen Sophia said we had to save this world. Not just her kingdom, but the whole world, which was so far away from my little home and the college I aspired to enrol in.

“Will the enemy ruin this world given the chance?” I asked, hoping clearer questions would give me the insight I needed.

“Yes.”

“In your opinion, should we stop him?”

“Yes.”

“Then why aren’t you helping?”

“You have proven to be a person to make sound decision by choosing the Path of the Wise. Had you chosen the right one, you would have found your answer to be war. Had you chosen the left one, you would have found your answer to be peace at the expense of the world. But you chose the third path, the path almost never taken. But the road didn’t just end when you reached the Lighthouse. You have to continue to take wise decisions if you want to save this world without endangering thousands of lives. I can only answer your questions. I am bound to this room and only get to play with the statue when I get visitors. So, ask the questions you really want to know and then move on with your task.”

“Why was I chosen to come to this world?”

“Because you showed the most potential.”

“And how I can stop the enemy from reaching his goal?”

“By showing him the error of his ways. And by proving yourself to him and the world.”

“Those are vague answers once more.”

“That is because not even I can tell you the exact nature of the challenges you face.”

“So, what is next?”

“Before I answer that question. What have you learned from me today?”

I stared at the wizard, who was smiling at me like a teacher in grade school and so hopeful I would give him the right answer.

“There are no simple answers to this conflict. War and Peace are not the solutions. I need to confront him directly. But what exactly challenges lie ahead are unclear, but it is clear I will need to prove myself.”

“Very good. As long as you follow the Path of the Wise, you will succeed. Your next journey will be down to the beach. There you will find somebody you have met already and who will be happy to see you again. From there, the hunt begins.”

And just like that, the oracle vanished.

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Chapter 15 is finally completed! I hope you enjoy it. I’m grateful for any kind of feedback! Please like, share and subscribe, if you like my writing.

Have a great weekend.

Sincerely yours,

Albert

Chapter 14: The Silver Lighthouse

You can find chapters 1 to 13 here.

We looked back over the prism and couldn’t quite believe what just had happened.

“Well done.” Laurenar said dryly, while Seraphina just smiled at me quietly. I sighed in relief; glad the magical bridge had prevented us from tumbling down to sure death. The Silver Lighthouse was only a few steps away and we were unsure what would await us now. The whole journey had been far more adventurous than expected. My eyes wandered towards the sea, eager to find out if I could see the Crimson Crocodile and the pirates that had attacked us earlier. However, no ship was to be seen around. Seraphina placed her hand on my shoulder. “We should probably get going.”

I nodded absentmindedly, thinking of Captain Drake and his crew, who had fought for Queen Sophia and us. Thinking of the queen, I wondered how she had handled the fire, which had engulfed the capital just as we were leaving. In the mean time, Laurenar had surveyed our surroundings. He had seen a few different paths that all lead to the plateau the lighthouse and we were standing on. The other options the statues had told us about.

“I didn’t see anyone else on the way up here, but the Island is probably much bigger than we thought.”

We continued on the short road leading to entrance, finally getting a good look at the lighthouse. Its silver coating reflected the sunlight and made it appear larger than life. The door of the building however was crafted out of hard stone. I never was an expert at geology, but it looked to be similar to granite. A huge bronze ring invited us to politely knock and seek entry. Seraphina took the responsibility and knocked three times, while I observed anxiously and Laurenar stood there stoically. After the third knock, the door opened by an invisible hand.

We stepped into a spacious, circular room. But strangely, it was empty. A spiral wooden staircase would lead us to the top. Looking up, we saw a maze of wooden stairs intertwined with floors. Tentatively, Laurenar climbed up the first steps, unsure if they were enchanted as well. When nothing happened, Seraphina and I followed suit. On the first floor, we only found a wooden table and four chairs set up for dinner. We continued on without giving it much more thought. Looking to the ceiling, it seemed as if we would have to climb four more floors until the top. I hoped we would find some answers to our questions. This journey started to feel very tiring. As we ascended further, Laurenar became more and more uncomfortable, clutching the rails of the stairs tighter and tighter.

I could see his relief when we reached the second floor, which seemed to be a recreational room. Four cushioned armchairs surrounded a coffee table with a full set of tea ready. Again, we moved by effortlessly, continuing up the stairs. Still, nobody was in sight. The only sounds around were the rustling of Laurenar’s heavy armor and the occasional creaking of the staircase. We quickly moved on to the third floor.

There, the only items we found were a suspiciously empty bookcase and a carpet with an elegant red and black pattern. Seraphina stared at the pattern for a moment and seemed to know it from somewhere.

“Do you know where it’s from?”

“It’s an ancient magical pattern. Academy records have shown it’s meaning to be unrecoverable from older scrolls and books.”

“So, we don’t what it is?”

She shook her head and we made our way to the fourth floor. Laurenar was now moving slower than ever, but I began to walk behind him. A brief nod acknowledged his gratitude. On the next platform, we could look on the way we had taken up, but there was still no one to be seen or heard. In the middle of the little plateau, we found a desk with a heavy guestbook and ink on it.

Seraphina wasted no time and opened the book. It immediately jumped to a specific page and didn’t budge when she tried to move it back or forward. She then took the quill and signed the books with “Servants of Queen Sophia.”

The rooftop room seemed closer than ever and Laurenar was also happy that we would finally have stone beneath us again. We raced up the last steps to enter a large circular chamber. On the side, a little ladder led up to the roof and bonfire, which provided the light for the ships on the sea. When the three of us stepped into the room, we found a tall, slim man with round spectacles standing in the middle. He was wearing flowing white robes matching his shoulder-long white hair and held a staff quietly in his hands. I thought he looked exactly how I would imagine a wizard to look like. An instant later, the figure vanished into thin air. Instead a short and round human appeared. His robes had transformed into a crisp white shirt and surprisingly well-tailored pants. The spectacles and the shoulder-long hair had remained, but the coiffure now was pitch black.

“Good day to you, Servants of Queen Sophia. Ask your questions and they will be answered.”

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Thank you very much for reading and please like, share and subscribe!

Have a great weekend.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

Chapter 13: The Path of the Wise

Chapters 1-12 can be found here.

The statue started to move, placing his heavy legs in front in him slowly, but surely. It seemed like the first steps were the hardest for him, causing him to expend a lot of energy. But as soon as he had started moving, he became more comfortable with every step he took. Laurenar, Seraphina and I followed his deliberate movements with our eyes, eager to see where he would lead us. The two caves behind him didn’t interest him in the slightest, proving that this path of the wise was a completely different way.

“Do not believe that this path will be an easy one. As a matter of fact, it is probably the most dangerous and perilous path to take. But if you stay close, no harm will come to you.”

Continue reading

Chapter 12: The Test of Sincerity

The first chapters of An elusive hero can be found here.

We stared at each other for a moment. Laurenar had a confused look on his face, as if he did not anticipate getting to the Lighthouse to be a path filled with talking statues. Seraphina was more curious than confused, inspecting the statue carefully. I could do nothing but look into the statues golden eyes, which were firmly planted on me, leaving me feeling queasy and uncomfortable. After around 30 seconds, the statue repeated its startling question: “Who seeks entrance?”

Laurenar and Seraphina now looked to me, as this time it was clear the question was directed at me. I fidgeted with the hem of my new leather armor and my eyes darted around the cave entrance nervously. Then I noticed the beautiful sorceress smiling at me reassuringly. Somehow, this calmed down my breathing. I cleared my throat and answered, hoping to project an air of confidence: “Humble servants of Queen Sophia seek entrance to the Silver Lighthouse.”

The statue nodded heavily, but did not move or show us which direction to take. “And what exactly do you seek, servants of Sophia?”

This time I looked towards Laurenar, who didn’t smile, but nodded lightly in my direction. I relied so much on the skills of my two companions, but this was the first time the two of them were letting me take responsibility for something since I’d arrived in Illusio. I could feel my heart skipping a beat. Again, I calmed down my breathing before I answered: “We seek answers to our questions.”

The statue didn’t hesitate with asking the follow-up question: “And what kind of answers do you seek?”

I didn’t immediately understand what the statue meant. And I didn’t actually know what kind of answers we were looking for. The attack on the ship had taken away our opportunity to discuss our procedure in depth. Rowing to the island had proven to be a tiring adventure, leaving us somewhat clueless. Our lack of preparation showed now and I could see a look of surprise and disappointment in my companion’s faces. This was as new to them as it was to me.

“We seek knowledge to help protect this world from evil.”

I wasn’t proud of this answer, but it seemed vague and true enough to be believed. Weirdly, the statue only chuckled, but it did not continue with another question.

“This Lighthouse possesses a lot of knowledge. But not everything is available for everyone. You must choose your path carefully. I will show you two paths at your disposal and depending on which you take you will receive the answers and knowledge you seek.”

Which one of the two entrances would bring us closer to our goal of learning more about the enemy of Illusio, the first human being from planet Earth to step into this world. The statues ended his pause:

“The right path is the path of the righteous: It is for those who believe their cause to be just and seek a complete victory over their enemies. The left path is the path of the lenient: It is for those who believe there is a place in this world for everyone and who seek a compromise with their enemy. The sword symbolizes the right path. The feather symbolizes the left path. The right path will lead you to honor and glory, but also to agony and pain. The left path will lead you to honesty and selflessness, but also to deceit and betrayal. Following one of these paths will prevent you from fulfilling the destiny of the other. Choose wisely.”

Seraphina, Laurenar and I looked at each other. I looked at them intently. Seraphina broke the silence: “We should choose the right path. We saw what our enemy is capable of and we need to stop him. Sophia is preparing for war.”

I fully expected Laurenar to share her feelings, since he was the greatest knight of the kingdom. “No, I believe we need to seek knowledge to prevent bloodshed and to make peace above all. I’ve seen what war has done to Illusio. Finding a way to crush our enemies will only lead to more innocent lives to be lost. However, finding a way to make peace will be more lives can be saved.”

“In the short run maybe, but we do not know what the so-called Chosen One will do, if we allow him to stay here and have his way. More people might suffer through that.”

Seraphina and Laurenar stared at each other. I examined their faces. Laurenar’s expression was heavy; like this wasn’t the first time he was forced to choose between a rightful fight and a wrong compromise. It seemed to me he chose the former his first time around. Seraphina on the other hand was disappointed in his answer and she was as surprised as I was to find him supporting the path of the lenient. I looked at the statue. It was still staring at me, as if it was clear that I would make the call.

“How long do we have to decide?” I asked, my hand starting to tremble nervously.

“As long as you need. This is a difficult decision.”

I nodded and looked at my two companions, who staring at each other, trying to read each other’s expressions. I was no fighter, but it was clear I did not want the Chosen One to be victorious and I didn’t want Queen Sophia to be forced to pursue a peace she didn’t want. On the other hand, going into battle knowing fully well that compromise was the only option would only lead to holding back on the battlefield. Giving in to demands wasn’t a realistic option for the empire of Illusio. Neither way was perfect.

This kind of black-or-white thinking had always given me problems. Of course, in my favorite books and movies it always seemed to be straightforward: the Jedi were good, the Sith were evil, Harry Potter was good, The One-Who-Must-Not-Named was evil, The Fellowship of the Ring was good, Sauron was evil. But my favorite characters were always the grey ones: Anakin Skywalker, Severus Snape and Boromir. I tried to listen to my guts, but it remained silent except for a slight grumbling reminding me I hadn’t eaten for a day. What was clear to my mind slowly became clear to my entire being. Neither way was perfect. Neither way was bad enough to forsake. Neither way was good enough to take.

Seraphina and Laurenar had let me think, unsure if they were to interrupt my constant circling or if they were supposed to help me with my decision. But I didn’t need their help, I only needed the confirmation by the statue. I cleared my throat and addressed the statue:

“You said you would show me two paths at my disposal.” I sighed and gathered my courage. “Unfortunately, neither of them will provide us with the answers we are seeking. We do not seek complete victory nor will we be forced into compromise with our enemy. What we are looking for is knowledge about our enemy and a way to send him back into his world while protecting as many lives as possible. That is path we have chosen to walk down.”

Seraphina, Laurenar and the statue were staring at me, while I caught my breath. The words had come out effortlessly, but I still wasn’t sure what would happen now.

“Very well then, servants of Queen Sophia. You have chosen your answer to the test of sincerity. You have chosen the path of the wise. Follow me.”

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Thank you very much for reading. If you enjoy my story, please be sure to share, like and subscribe! I’m very open to feedback, so please don’t hesitate to contact me by e-mail or on twitter. Have a great weekend!

Sincerely yours,

Albert

Chapter 11: The Statue

You can find the beginning of the story on this page.

We were inching closer to the island. The sound of fighting was slowly fading away. Not only had we brought quite the distance between the Crimson Crocodile and us, but it also seemed like the pirates had finally gained the upper hand and conquered the ship. Laurenar and Seraphina didn’t flinch. My eyes glanced nervously towards the vessel that had carried us so far, but the two of them were solely focused on getting us to the island.

The island before us was small, with the beautiful Silver Lighthouse sitting atop a hundred feet high cliff. Its structure was perfectly cylindrical and as its name said, the walls were shimmering in the midday sun, giving the building the impression of being silver. But the most spectacular feature was the huge bonfire on the flat roof, which seemed to be of magical nature. That way, the lighthouse resembled a giant candle.

“We will have to circle the Island. There’s no way up from the water right below the lighthouse.” Seraphina remarked after surveying the surroundings of the Lighthouse.

The waves were getting wilder and wilder and I was having problems keeping up with Laurenar’s rowing rhythm. He didn’t seem to notice and just made sure we kept moving at an acceptable speed. I began to wonder what would be waiting for us on the island, feeling more and more out of my depth. A few days ago I was a soon-to-be college kid, now I was running away from pirates to ensure the future of an unknown magical world.

We caught our first break of the day when the waves seemed to push us towards the island, but thankfully not towards the deadly cliffs, but past them, where a small beach came into view. The white sand stretched for a strip of around half a mile, giving us an ideal landing spot for our little boat. Laurenar started to row faster and I did my best to follow his lead, determined to make the best out of my situation. Seraphina’s eyes were scanning the beach and its perimeter for enemies, but it seemed to be empty. Behind the beach, the cliffs started to rise to the top, denying us a straightforward hike to the lighthouse.

“I can see two caves behind the beach, both entrances seem to be close to each other.” the sorceress said as we approached land. “Something seems to be guarding it.”

Laurenar and I turned our heads toward the beach and looked to see what she meant. Standing in front of two perfectly round cave entrances we were surprised to discover a statue. The statue was sculpted out of sandstone and depicted a knight in a full plate armor similar in build, but less ornamented than Laurenars. The visor of its helmet was shut firmly closed and the statue seemed to be slightly leaning on the massive, real two-handed greatsword. The tip of the sword was firmly planted into the granite ground.

We took the last strides before landing and Seraphina gracefully hopped out of the boat leaving it to Laurenar and me to push the boat on land. We pushed in as far inward as possible to avoid losing our path back to the mainland during high tide.

“Who do you think made the statue?” I asked him curiously.

“I have no idea.” He answered in his typical, no-nonsense manner while we caught up with Seraphina, who was peering into the two entrances. However, the caves were engulfed in complete darkness so they did not give away a hint of which entrance we needn’t to take

We now stood right in front of the statue, which was even more impressive up close. It was only slightly shorter than Laurenar and taller than me. And while the armor was ornamented, one could see the craftsmanship that had went into the sculpting with the meticulous details such as the grill of the visor and the bolts of the studded gloves. The sword was a work of beauty as well: I caught Laurenar admiring its long, perfectly weighted blade with the perfectly wrapped leather hilt. But it was neither of us who touched the statue first, but Seraphina, who a finger in the middle of the chest of the statue.

The statue suddenly sprang to life, hurling its sword out of the ground and holding it high above its head, ready to bring it down on the three of us. Then, a muffled voice was heard through the still firmly shut visor: “Who seeks entrance?”

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Thank you very much for reading this interlude chapter, as the story will continue with more progression and action next Friday. Until then, please like, share and subscribe and enjoy the weekend!

Sincerely yours,
Albert