Wow, for the first time in a very long time, I had the Story a Week done long before the weekend. Since I was out of town this week, I had a little extra time in the evenings to spend on writing and that's what I've done. Of course, last time I was out of town I didn't write, I just sat in my hotel room playing computer games. I've kind of decided to give those games a rest as I wasn't satisfied with my lack of writing.
Also, this is the first time I've used the scheduling feature of Blogger. If you're reading this, obviously it works! :)
Rixi edged along the wall towards the opening that the hydra had charged through. She pulled a small mirror out of her belt pouch and took a moment to wonder how it had survived intact through all that she had been through today. She angled the mirror to give herself a good view around the corner. Satisfied that there was no immediate threat, she signaled for the others to wait there as she carefully and quietly crept around the corner and into the darkness.
She stayed on the edge of the walkway that led into the darkness. Even though elves could see very well in the dark, there just wasn't anything to see, yet. A few minutes of creeping along in the darkness she stopped short. She stared at the wall on the other side for a moment. She nodded to herself. There was a faint light shining through a crack at the base of the wall opposite of her. The crack was very minute, but as she approached she was sure that there was a door there.
Rixi touched the wall above where the crack was, but nothing happened. She tried to push on the wall, with the same result. She ran her fingers along the wall and felt, rather than saw, where the outline of the door was. She glanced further down the passage, then back towards her friends. She thought about calling out, but she couldn't be sure that no one on the other side of the wall would hear.
Shrugging to herself, Rixi quickly and quietly sprinted back to where her friends were waiting. She laughed a little when she sprang out of the darkness and startled the three of them.
"Ach, don't do that, lass. I would've split ye in two if I hadn't recognized ye so quickly," Cuddlington blustered.
Rixi, Meentha and Melbrid laughed at the dwarf's bluster. "There's a hidden door a couple of hundred yards down the passage. The passage keeps going, but I haven't seen anything other than dust in it," Rixi announced.
Melbrid said, "Well, lead the way then."
Rixi nodded and turned back into the dark passage. She led her friends down it as she kept her eye on the place where the wall met the floor. It seemed to her that the light was a little brighter this time as her and her friends approached the place.
"I see the light under the doorway," Melbrid said as Rixi stopped.
Rixi replied, "Yes, I felt the edges of the door, but I couldn't get it to budge by pushing or pulling on the crack. She reached out and pushed on the wall again, just to be sure.
She saw Melbrid reach out and feel along the wall. "I don't feel anything," he remarked.
"O' course ye don't, yer half human," Cuddlington said. "Human's aren't attuned ta nature like elves and they don't have the affinity for rocks like us dwarves do." The dwarf reached out and felt the wall. "Ah, I feel the edge. Mighty fine craftsmanship. If that light weren't showing beneath the door, I doubt ye would have noticed the door, even with a torch, Rixi."
Rixi nodded and saw Meentha reach out and touch the wall. The moment her hand connected with the wall, a sharp crack emitted from the wall in front of them and echoed down the passage. The four of them jumped back in surprise. Rixi looked and saw that light was now coming from a seam that ran all the way around the door. She reached out and tried to push on the door, but it wouldn't budge. She stepped back and said, "Well, if there is danger waiting down this passage, it knows that we're here."
"Indeed," Melbrid replied.
Cuddlington tried to push on the door, but gave up after a moment. He stepped back and said, "Meentha, you try. The damn thing cracked when you touched it."
Meentha stepped forward and pushed at the door with all her might. She also gave up after a moment and stepped back. "It won't budge," she said.
Suddenly, the answer dawned on Rixi. "The door cracked when all four of us touched it!" she exclaimed. She put her hand back on the door and said, "Come on, put your hands on the door."
The others did so and there was another loud crack as the seam around the door grew. A moment later the door began to slide into the room behind the passage. Rixi had to shield her eyes as the light from many torches flooded into the previously dark passage. After her eyes adjusted to the light, she gazed into the room beyond.
"It's amazing," Melbrid remarked as he stepped into the room.
The others made similar remarks as they too stepped in. Rixi glanced down the passage before she followed them and stopped short. She wasn't sure, but she thought she saw something metallic reflecting light her way. All of a sudden, she saw several metallic objects reflecting light and heard the growls of unseen creatures waiting in the darkness down the hall.
Panic rose within Rixi, but she fought it down and tried to move into the room as nonchalantly as possible. She moved over to Cuddlington, who was still staring into the center of the room. She was about to tell him about what she saw when she caught sight of what the others were staring at.
On the wall on the far side of the small chamber was another door leading into a larger room. The door had a wooden frame, but had some sort of clear material, clearer than any glass Rixi had ever seen, that allowed the group to see what lay on the other side. In the chamber beyond were several obviously magical weapons and piles of other useful equipment.
Rixi heard some noise coming from the hall again that broke her awe inspired reverie. "Cuddlington, there are a lot of creatures outside that I think want to do us harm. What should we do?"
Rixi's words startled the dwarf out of his own reverie. He glanced around at the small antechamber and said. "The door to the passage is a good bottleneck, but we won't be able to hold out long if they have enough numbers." He glanced at the door that had slid to the side of the entryway. "I doubt that we can move that door back into place."
Rixi nodded and glanced back into the larger chamber. "Maybe we can get into there and shut the door?"
Melbrid was already trying to open the door. "It won't budge," he said. He pointed to some runes or drawings that were beside the door and shrugged, "I think that these are instructions or a puzzle of some sort," he said. "It's not a language, I don't think. At least, not one that I'm familiar with."
The low noises that were coming from the passage suddenly turned into a loud roar. The group could hear the sounds of pounding feet coming their way. Cuddlington said, "Meentha, get your sword. You and I are gonna defend the door. Melbrid, assist us with yer magic. Rixi, get that door open!"
Cuddlington and Meentha took up positions at the door just as the first creature appeared. It was an orc and Cuddlington quickly sliced its belly open with a swing of his axe. "Ah, orcs!" he yelled. "This should be fun!"
Melbrid gave Rixi a weak smile as they switched positions. Rixi heard the battle raging, but concentrated on the glyphs in front of her. The first symbol was a circle with eight dots spaced evenly around the edge, one of the dots was a little larger than the rest. There were two small lines across from each other intersecting the edge of the circle. The second symbol was three lines intersecting one another to look like a triangle whose sides just kept on going. The third symbol looked like the bars of a jail cell. The fourth symbol was a five point star. The final symbol looked like an asterisk, but with eight lines instead of six.
Rixi tried to figure out the similarities between the symbols. Each of the drawings, with the exception of the circle, were made of entirely straight lined aspects. Each of the drawings, with the exception of the asterisk, contained geometric shapes. None of this helped her. She heard a yelp and turned to see that Cuddlington had taken a slice to one of his arms. She rose to help out, but Melbrid saw her move and signaled that she needed to stay put. The sorcerer pulled a potion out of his pouch and aided the dwarf.
Rixi forced herself to look back at the symbols in front of her, but shook her head. She just didn't get it. She sighed and looked up at the ceiling and closed her eyes. Suddenly, she thought of something. She quickly glanced around the small room and nodded to herself. The room was a circle and there were eight torches scattered evenly around the edge of the room. She turned back and knew that the first symbol represented the room that they were in.
Excited now, Rixi crouched near the symbols again, but couldn't make any sense of the others. There weren't any triangle shapes, bars, stars or asterisks in the room. Only the torches and doors. "Wait a second..." she mumbled.
She counted the number of lines in each of the remaining symbols. The first symbol had three lines. The second had six lines, four bars and two for the top and bottom. But the third symbol had ten lines and there were only eight torches. She shook her head, but said to herself, "Well, it must represent five then. It's just a star's outline to confuse me."
She looked at the fourth symbol and counted eight lines. "Good," she said to herself. "So, three, six, five and eight."
She stood up and looked at the torches. "But, which one is considered the first and what do I do with them?"
Then she remembered the larger dot on the circle. She looked back at the circle and saw that it was to the right of the lower line. "If that one is the first..."
She pointed to it and counted them out. "You must be the third," she said pointing to the third torch to the right of the door. She walked over to it, shrugged and pulled a piece of cloth out of her pack. She doused the torch and stepped back. Nothing happened.
She shrugged again, "What do you expect, Rixi?" she said to herself. "You've only figured out the first part of the puzzle."
She continued to count out the torches until she found the sixth. She went over and doused that one as well. Then she went to the fifth and doused it. Finally she went to the eighth and doused it. When she stepped back, there was a sudden flash of light and she saw that all eight torches were lit again. She frowned as she walked over to the door and tried it. The door didn't budge.
Rixi heard Meentha cry out and turned to see her bleeding badly from a stab wound to the gut. She saw Melbrid pull her away from the melee and pour the rest of his healing potion onto the wound. Rixi wanted to run to help her friends, but she knew that they were depending on her to figure out the solution. She forced herself to turn back to the symbols.
She stared hard at the fourth symbol. "Oh," she said as the solution came to her. "You're not an eight, you're a four!"
She turned and saw that Meentha was back in the fight, though her wound wasn't fully healed. Rixi rushed to the torches and douse them. First the third, then the sixth, then the fifth and finally the fourth. This time there was a bright flash again, but all of the torches went out this time.
The battle noises paused as everyone adjusted to the sudden darkness. Rixi quickly ran over to where the door was and found that it easily pushed inward. She called out, "Quickly, into the large chamber!"
She moved inside and held the door as Melbrid, Meentha and Cuddlington moved into the room. She slammed the door shut as the first orc was reaching it. The torches on the other side flared up again. The orcs were momentarily stunned by this, but soon started pounding on the door.
Cuddlington moved closer to inspect the door. "Whatever this clear stuff be, it's sure holding against those blasted orcs!" he exclaimed.