Story Telling - Unexpectedly Talk Animals (Conclusion)
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... Samuel and Devon crept in the trees, just beyond the circle in which a group of six young men stood around, laughing, yelling and sword fighting. At first, it appeared as though the men we're really fighting, but after a few minutes of watching, it was clear that they were training. Samuel and Devon recognized Marcus, from the tower, but not the young man who appeared to be the leader. The two listened to the conversations of some of the men standing around while others fought.
"What do you mean they had a Whisperer, Marcus? I thought you took care of the last of them?"
Marcus replied, "I thought I had, but clearly one got away."
The other shook his head in a rather disappointed manner and said, "How are we supposed to find a small group of people in these woods? If we don't find them and stop them, everything is ruined."
"They looked young." noted Marcus. "And not 'young' the way we look, but like they are actually young. They sounded young when I overheard them in the bushes and the few animals that we have under our power have suggested that the group is relatively ill-prepared for what they have stumbled across here. They don't seem to know what it is we are doing, but they do know enough to want to stop us."
"Oy, what's that!?" shouted another man from the group He was pointing at some smoke rising up into the air in the area of the cave where the group had set up camp.
The whole crowd turned to look. Marcus grinned, looked at his comrade and said, "I guess finding them will be even easier than I thought. To the horses men!"
Devon looked mortified and whispered to Samuel, "They must have started a fire to cook something. How could we have been so reckless?" The two ran as fast as possible, through the trees, heading back towards their camp.
Madi and Buster had returned to the cave shortly after their talk with the animals and saw some smoke growing above the cave when they arrived. They got there just in time to see Veronica running out of the cave coughing. This was far more smoke than one would expect from a normal fire.
"Veronica!" shouted Madi. "Are you OK?! What happened?"
Veronica coughed again, then replied, "I had a small, contained fire going but when I added some of the wood from the fallen trees, *cough* it exploded into a big fire, and something in the cave caught *cough* fire."
"I noticed some pools of a substance that looked a little like sap throughout the cave. It must be highly flammable," said Madi. "Would you recognize the explosive trees if you saw more of them?"
"Yeah, I think so," Veronica responded.
"Those men that rode by will have seen the smoke by now and it looks like the fire is growing," stated Madi. "We may be able to use the explosive trees to our advantage when they get here, if they are in fact the enemy."
The other two nodded and set out to gather what they could while Madi grabbed some of the non-exploding logs nearby and ran into the cave, hoping to light a few torches. In a short time, they had gathered what they needed and were set up, hiding in the trees near the cave entrance.
Shortly after, the six horsemen arrived at the clearing near the cave entrance. Marcus shouted to keep the horses back from the entrance, away from the fire and instructed all but one of the men to leave their horses to investigate.
"This is no normal fire," Marcus said. "There would be no source back in that cave to start such a fire. It's not out of control yet, and they could still be in there. Newton and Walt, you guys check it out while me and Lex look around out here. Bryce and Braun, stay with the horses." The guys all nodded and went about their jobs.
As soon as the two men entered the cave, from in the trees where Madi, Veronica and Buster were hiding, Madi threw a burning log onto a small pile of wood near the entrance of the cave and it exploded with great force. The explosion knocked both Newton and Walt unconscious and knocked Marcus and Lex back off their feet. Madi and Veronica came running out of the trees to attack the men on their backs, and had their hands tied with vines before the men knew what was happening.
Bryce and Braun, the two men that had been watching the horses came running over to stop the two women, and the horses immediately bolted, terrified from the explosions and the screams. The men each tackled the women and the fight began. Meanwhile Buster, unable to fight due to his broken arm and lack of fighting ability, ran over to the men on the ground, ensured they were tied up properly and unable to fight, then looked for some way to help the ladies with the two men still on their feet.
Buster ran to tackle one man who was about to hit Veronica, but the man saw him in time, turned and back handed Buster away. The man turned back to Veronica, on the ground beneath him and pulled back his hand for a finishing blow. Meanwhile the other man had Madi by the throat, up against a tree where she was visibly in pain and unable to breathe.
Just then, Devon and Samuel came crashing through the trees and each tackled one of the unsuspecting men, and subdued them quickly, before they could react. The women grabbed more vines, and tied up the last two men, then ran to Buster. He was conscious but in a lot of pain.
"Buster," shouted Veronica, "get up!"
Buster sat up, with a bit of help from the others, and shook his head, as if just now realizing where he was. "The horses!" he yelled. Then he jumped to his feet, shouted something incoherent to the others, and then collapsed back to the ground.
"What was that about?" questioned Devon. The others just shrugged. Just then, six horses came running back into the clearing.
After Veronica and Madi helped Buster and tended to the wounds of all the group, they discussed everything that they had just learned and what they needed to do next. Thanks to Buster calling back the horses, the group now had the means to travel to the west side of Mt. Echo quickly, to learn more about Buster's magic relative. They packed up more of the the explosive wood, and Madi made some fire transporters (tightly packed rolls of wood shavings, surrounded by more layers of tightly packed wood, designed to keep embers burning for long periods, over long distances). Of course they carried the embers separate from the explosive wood, so Madi and Devon each kept the embers with them, on their horses, while the others all loaded up with the explosive wood.
The group also discussed what they would do with the six men that they ambushed. They agreed that they did not want to be killers, so while the ladies tended the wounds of 5 of the men and left them tied up, away from the fire, they loaded up a tied up Marcus on the slowest of the horses and Buster gave the horse instructions to slowly make his way back to the tower. They didn't want to set the men free, but they also couldn't leave them alone in the woods to die.
After they had eaten enough, loaded up their horses and then sent Marcus on his way, the group climbed up and made their way to west Mt. Echo. Luckily the horses knew the area well and were quite friendly with Buster.
The group arrived at west Mt. Echo just in time to see flashes of light up the mountain, about 2 km from their location.
"That must be the sorcerer," said Madi. "Should we all go up there together, or is this something Buster needs to do on his own?"
"We stick together," said Devon with complete certainty in his voice. "The last time we split up, things almost went horribly wrong. Whatever happens from here on out, we stay together at all costs."
The group all nodded, all relieved to hear Devon say what they all wanted him to say.
"To the sorcerer..." shouted Buster. His voice was an odd mix of fear, excitement, curiosity and uneasiness. He was finally going to find out who or what he really was and where he actually came from.
The horses leapt into motion and the group made their way up the mountain.
Sam and Buster rode a horse together, Devon led the way with his own horse plus all their supplies and goods, and Madi and Veronica were in the back spotting every once in a while to see if they were being followed. Altogether, they were a tight and well-kept group. Veronica was still trying to wrap her head around the fact that it was less than two weeks ago when they were "randomly" picked for the important journey to attend the meeting in Newmeadow. She also couldn't believe all the things that had happened along the way, including all the surprising changes of events and twists which intervened with their initial designation for the traverse. And now the five of them were climbing up the most feared mountain the history of their very lives.
The temperature declined from the normal 60 degrees F to a whopping -20 degrees F. Nobody could really figure out where the base of the mountain actually started, but they could tell due to the weather that they were getting somewhere. At first, the clan travelled horseback on steep, seemingly untouched grounds.
"The horses are thirsty," said Samuel, petting the rough hair of his horse rapidly (probably as an exercise for getting warm).
"Yes. How did you know?" asked Buster who was sitting right behind the youngest boy.
"I can sense it," shrugged Sam.
"Oh man, do we have another mysteriously unknown gifted part of our group?" Madi groaned laughingly. But her laugh was carried away by an eerie howling sound and wind which forced the horses of the group to halt.
"Woah, what was that?!" Devon tried to yell over the wind. The others understood him but did not--could not--answer.
BB immediately dismounted his horse, motioning for Sam and the others to stay and try to calm their beasts. It appeared that Bagshot was trying to talk to his horse and, indeed, he was.
Suddenly they all saw a bright flash of light burst into the sky from the direction of the tower. Buster's horse whinnied. Then, just as soon has BB climbed it again, it took off in a sprint with the others following it! The boys were having trouble and the girls were naturals at riding but it did not matter because the horses led them to shelter quickly. The animals were leading not only in the correct direction but they also knew exactly what path to take. The five humans were surprised to find themselves on the outskirts of a strong cottage after five minutes of the horses' moving. Everyone got down and huddled together while inquiring Bagshot about his actions once again.
"That noise we heard was most likely a Whisperer," said BB.
"But what exactly IS a Whisperer?" asked Sam in a loud voice.
"From my understanding they are sparse and quite abstract," butted in Madi. Buster was still thinking about how to explain.
"True. I think I know," said Devon. "They were created by some sorcerer in Darkpass and contained to a certain level, but they soon multiplied and now they are intelligent creatures: hard to catch and dangerously influential."
"Yeah. As far as I know they are the ones behind the destroying of crops and livestock," said Buster, but he didn't have to say more because the door of the cottage opened abruptly and a man screamed at them to "hurry inside!". They all were pleased to feel warmth once again.
"Ahem...welcome...er, who might you be," asked the man. He had a beard which looked to be uncut for at least a decade, a tunic wrapped tightly around so there was barely any skin showing, and a pair of heavy boots with laces up to his knees.
"We are stranded travelers. and we need your help," said Devon, half lying so the man would take pity and half quickly revealing the truth.
"And we want to know who YOU are," Veronica put in.
"Well, I usually keep my identity a secret, but I think most everyone knows who I am by now. My name is Edward Copperton the First."
The group gasped in unison, recognizing his last name.
"I am...I am told that I am your ancestor...they say I'm not actually Bagshot but Copperton..." stuttered Buster.
"Interesting." For a moment all you could hear was that eerie howling again. "In fact, you are quite right. I have been watching you all this time."
"What? How?!" breathed BB.
"It is my magic mixed with the fact I am your great grandfather," explained Mr. Copperton.
"Why is all this happening?" asked Devon.
"Long story short, you are all here for a reason that the Elders of your civilization created." started the Magician. "They know nothing about the so called mysterious happenings yet their decisions are influenced to the greater good, by my sorcery. My Whisperers who are dispersed among this entire country, are the ones controlling this mess. You see, I am the owner of Darkpass itself. The Whisperers are made of the young animals of Darkpass and I ration my powers to them so they can work for my purposes."
The group was amazed.
"Why are you letting all these evil things happen right now? ...Sir?" asked Sam, confused still yet perfectly annoyed. Copperton turned abruptly to stare at the little boy.
"This is what you do not know. Your government is corrupt and there are so many secrets beyond the Elders' comprehension. They are fooling you to think I am the evil, but in essence, they are the evil ones.
"Truthfully, I have been waiting for you, Bagshot, to come for a long, long time. You all have a lot to learn and your futures are yet to be determined. But for now you can make yourselves at home here, where you can be sheltered from the forces of wrong doings in the real world."
THE END ~or~ To be continued ?!
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