| He thought he was a seasoned traveller, from the land of Olive and Tyne, yet when he entered the Cavern of Repression, it took him a second to realise where he in fact was. It took him a further minute to understand that unless he battled with all his strength and wit, he could not have a hope of escape. This was the paradox of the cavern: you could try all you wanted to escape but unless your soul and heart revealed the truth, you could not be let out of its twisting depths.
Rutherford Oliver was a youth of 18, dark haired and with shining eyes that beheld a secret mischief. Now, crumpled on the ground, said eyes were squeezed shut. Echoes roared around him, shivers wracking his body as his hands clawed for purchase on the rough ground of rock and silt. Where the hell was he?
Next to him, something shifted. A hiss, long and painful, drilled through his skull and with an irritable jerk, his hand shot out. It collided with cloth; a furious yelp followed.
"Look - I know we said we wouldn't leave each other on our travels and all that but this is a BIT too far. It's just a friend thing, you know, not a companion for life thing. Wait - Rutherford, are you okay?"
|Rutherford's heart leapt painfully into his throat. Standing on a landscape of shifting rocks, he glanced warily around himself. He had run here, after that cursed voice accosted him out of the darkness. Was he safe? A clattering of footsteps gave him his answer. The caverns - for there were multiple - stretched in twisting, snake-like patterns, deep within the ground. They were neither straight nor even, cracks appearing at regular intervals in the walls, emitting little trails of water that trickled along the ground. He could barely catch his breath, fear lancing through him. She was here. Already bruised from the seemingly inexplicable fall, his bones ached. The impending argument would test his strength and willpower. Not that he had much willpower left. "What, Rutherford!" Her voice shrieked, growing ever louder as she stomped around the corner. The cave that had preceded this was strangely blue in colour, walls threaded with opal and resonating with a steady hiss of something unidentifiable. The blue clung to her clothes, her hair and skin flashing with it. In a panic, Rutherford beat at his jacket in an attempt to get rid of it. "What what? If you're about to ask where we are, I don't know - I mean it's probably that legend cavern place but how should I know? Do I look like a fortune teller? Do I look like I know how to get us out-" "Stop!" Her yell halted his words effectively. "Firstly, I don't really care and secondly, whoever said it was you who'd get us out of here? I trust you, but not that much.. He glared, lost for words. This cavern, with the cracks in the wall looking more and more like bolts of lightning every second, seemed to widen and narrow with every breath. It was unsettling. This wasn't real. It couldn't be. A hundred metres away, the rocky landscape was broken by a sharp leftwards turn. Staring at it, he blinked, the world coming back into focus. "Okay, I'm sorry... Can we at least try and figure out what happened?" The girl, grimy from rock dust and with the odd blue tinge to her, sighed. All animosity bled from her face as she stepped up next to him, stones crunching beneath her feet. "I'm sorry too," she mumbled, looking quickly away. "I just thought you hated me, is all." "Dorothy, I don't hate you. I find you a little irritating but there's no way I hate you." Clearing his throat awkwardly, he carried on. "Can you remember what happened before we... Fell?" Jerkily, she nodded. "I got separated from the rest, I think, when we scaled Thor mountain. You must have been in the Milelow Valleys, right?" He mirrored her nod. Uncomfortable now, he took a little step forward. "I don't know. We must have both got distracted and-" "Then how did we suddenly, with no explanation, end up here when we were 1000 feet apart an hour ago?" When he didn't answer, she let out a puff of air furiously. "Fine, whatever, just ignore it then!" They trudged on. The pace was slow, both of them too weary from their adventures previously. With no clear purpose or direction, it was difficult to figure out where to go. They stumbled down a flight of steps, hazed in blue smoke that billowed from somewhere to their left. Both of their tempers were singed, bursting to breaking point. That point came when Rutherford stopped, suddenly, rounding on Dorothy. "So you have a plan, then?" His eyes were glazed. "Because to me, it seems like we're just walking aimlessly!" "Rutherford, calm down - Rutherford, what - no!" "Dorothy, you are a fool and I hope you rot in here!" he snapped. Rutherford turned and strode on, a purposeful spring to his step. With a yelp, he stopped short, a cascade of stones heralding a drop. Teetering on the edge, he glanced helplessly back at Dorothy as a gradual rumble became apparent. Cautiously, she joined him, a little step back to rescue herself lest he fall. From the depths of the pit in front of her, where the smoke was thickest, something growled. In horror, they watched as a scaled tail flicked up. Short, sharp bursts of animalistic fury floated up from below, a tangible heat scalding the backs of their throats. The dragon rose, glorious and frightful, from the deepest cavern of repression there seemed to be. It shrieked.|
Spears of Destiny
| "Oh my god, oh my Thor oh god!" Dorothy gripped her companion's arm, wrenching him back. Rutherford's mouth was open slightly in shock and was in such a state that he didn't even stiffen. Before he could react, she had pulled him sideways.
The dragon had begun to roar. Shivering in fear yet pretending he was utterly calm, Rutherford scrambled along the floor with as much dignity as he could muster. The ceiling, quickly sloping down, trapped them as the dragon spewed fire from behind.
It was nothing like the mountains of Thor, where lightning arked from the sky and incinerated those who stood in its path. It wasn't like the Milelow valleys, where green grass shattered to speckles of dust. This was real danger. It truly hit home as they emerged from a darkened tunnel, a singular dragon's scale floating in behind them.
They ran. Terrified, furiously, their feet slipped on the frail ground. A racket kept up behind them, synchronising with their breaths to create a horrific harmony of noise and fear. The dragon was too big to fit through the narrow gap and yet it tried, its huge head battering at the walls.
As soon as they had entered a slightly warmer cave, Dorothy turned on Rutherford. Hatred shone in her eyes, flecked with dust from their run whilst ash curled in her hair.
"If I didn't need your help in getting out of here," she hissed, "I'd give you a massive smackdown right now. You are a useless piece of-"
"Right, but that sounds a bit weird. I'm sorry for, um, nearly getting us killed? But it's fine, really!"
Unconvinced, she stormed to the opposite side of the cavern. Although she knew it wouldn't solve anything, a little act of rebellion felt strengthening.
The wall next to her, as she leaned against it, was slightly too hot for comfort. She winced, her skin still raw from the ground's scrapes, spirit too charred from its recent encounter with a dragon. She glanced at it briefly. Then, she looked again, harder.
"Rutherford what the hell!" she shouted. Something scuttled behind her, yet she was too worked up to pay attention. "All this time we've been arguing-"
"It's only been about two hours." He tried not to laugh.
"Whatever! Anyway, we've been thinking about how to get out when the answer has been here all along!"
"What do you mean?" His voice boomed off the walls, panic lacing his words. "You're telling me that all my heroics were for nothing?"
"Oh, shut up. You're a fool and you know it! Just come over here and you'll see."
Warily, he walked over. "What, is it toxic? Why do you look so concerned?"
Dorothy pointed frantically at the left wall. Still with blue on her fingers, it created an eery glow which seemed to blind Rutherford. Confused, he leaned closer, nose almost skimming the rough stone.
Painted in scratches that dug into the wall, furrowed deep, were markings. The handles hinted at a decorative design,
"They're spears," Dorothy whispered, jabbing at them as stones tumbled around them.
"So?" Rutherford snarled. "Wall spears aren't exactly going to help us here. It's not like we can pick them up."
"We could," she countered. "They should be relatively light and it'd be much less effort than constantly leaning down and dragging them."
"Get to the point!"
Hiding a snicker at the pun, Dorothy became serious as the gravity of their situation affected her. "Can't you tell? They're the Spears of Destiny - some call them the Singing Spears. They can help get us out of here!"
Rutherford blinked. "Right..."
The Spears seemed to ripple, as if no longer anchored to this mortal plain. The wall trembled and the two stepped back.