How are you liking The Quest so far? Feel free to comment! Here’s part four.
The opening to the cave was not far away, maybe a half a day’s travel. This dark and foreboding chasm was her ultimate destination. Even from her current vantage point, it looked menacing.
“I must continue,” she told herself “I have gone too far now to turn back.”
Already her stomach cramped from lack of food. She hoped that she would have the strength to carry out her mission. There was still much danger before her. The long trek to the cave opening had seemed like it would never end. As she grew near, she became ever aware of her aching body. Her legs and back burned with exhaustion. Her face had grown haggard and her demeanor forlorn. This was it, she told herself. She stood before the grand opening in the side of the mountain. The air that permeated from the dark cavern was stiflingly hot and smelled like a mixture of rotten meat and ash. The sickly sweetness that hung in the breeze emitting from the opening made her wince and her stomach turn. She reached back into her bag and pulled forth a small wooden torch wrapped with an oily, lard coated cloth. She produced a small flint from a pouch on her belt and struck it against the jagged rock wall to one side of the opening, catching the sparks on her torch. It caught slowly at first, but when fully alight, it emitted an eerie bluish yellow glow. Before taking a step into the cave, she loosened the short sword from its scabbard on her side. The metal of the blade glinted in the torch light, giving her a small burst of confidence.
As she stepped forward into the darkness, she carefully listened for any sounds of movement. Hearing nothing, she continued forward, slowly. She remembered that the pathway through the cave wound in several directions. Taking the wrong path could lead straight to the dreaded beast that called this place its domain. If it was home, there was actually little chance of not running into the monster, but she would be able to conceal herself for a time among the boulders and shallow passes on the sides of the cavern if she was careful. This was the only hope she had of not meeting the beast unexpectedly. The path stretched deep into the side of the mountain, leaving no light visible once a good way along. Suddenly, something stirred. She could hear a faint rattle of metal and the resulting echo throughout the cavern. The beast was here and awake. She imagined that it, too, was aware of a strange presence in its home. Still, she could not turn back. Her orders were clear. She must continue forward.
As she turned the final corner before entering the beasts den, she could see a golden glow emanating from the darkness. As she drew closer, she could hear the monster breathing. The heat coming from within the depths of the cave was almost unbearable. Sweat ran down her face and neck. She could feel it trailing down her spine, tickling the fine hairs along her skin, causing her to shiver slightly despite the overwhelming temperature. She paused again and took a deep breath. This would be her final test. In her next moments, she could succeed in her task or forfeit her life as so many before her had done.
What will happen next? You will have to come back tomorrow for part five!
Torch image retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lewes_Bonfire,_discarded_torch.jpg