The Lost Vale

Chapter 5

The Lurker

Devon has trespassed in the Lurker's Domain! Devon stood, looking at the ceiling of the vast cavern, hoping to see the faces of his companions who were his only hope of escape. He did not see the silvery tentacles in the water glide gracefully over to him.

"Devon," said the feminine voice, echoing through the cavern. "We finally meet."

Devon froze. He knew the voice. He had heard it in his darkest nightmares, in his most horrifying dreams. It had haunted him for years, before he had become the Tempest. He had told no-one of these dreams.

"Are you Hydros?" asked Devon finally.

"Yes, mortal," said the voice. "I am Hydros. I am she whom thy fathers imprisoned."

Devon backed away from the water. Although the Lurker possessed no magical abilities anymore, not since the Avatar had defeated her with the Tear of Seas, she did command an effective physical presence.

"Well, Devon," said the Lurker, "I am no longer a threat to humanity. I have no powers anymore. I am a defeated god."

"Why are you here?" asked Devon, backing off into a corner despite Hydros's reassurances. "Your temple was on the other side of Pagan... by Carthax Lake."

"Let us say..." said the Titan, slowly, "that I have a second lair in these parts which I have not visited since my imprisonment."

"What do you want?"

A tentacle shot out the water and hung over Devon's head. The voice of the Lurker sang, "Beyond these caves lies a second door... this door leads to the valley you seek. You must go no further though for beyond lies the death of every Pagan."

"You are responsible for the deaths of many Pagans," said Devon, trying to take a stand. "I will not let you dictate what my people do any more."

"Fool!" hissed the Lurker. "Then I shall kill you!"

The tentacle lunged for Devon, who dived to his left, allowing the tentacle to fly into the wall of the cave. Then Hydros moaned in pain, as three more tentacles came at Devon. The fisherman dodged the first, but he had rolled out the way, in time to see the second descend upon him. He reached for the knife in his belt, and sliced the tentacle. Once again Hydros made her pain known. The third tentacle grabbed Devon by the waist, and lifted him off the ground.

"I have revenge on my jailer!" exclaimed Hydros as she held Devon over the pool of water.

Devon swallowed as he looked down at the dark depths of the pool. But he did not have time to reflect on his fate, as there was a loud explosion, and Devon realised that he was now hurtling down into the pool of water.

Devon hit the water with a loud splash. He mused that two weeks ago he had discovered the ability to walk on water. Now that he had lost it he was prey for the Lurker, his family's age long foe. Devon was now about to face death by drowning.

That was not to say he was not a good swimmer. In fact he had become quite accomplished in swimming since his youth. If it was not for the fact that a hostile, water-bound ex-god was about to plunge him into the depths of a watery grave he would be able to swim to the surface. He looked up, and could see the surface was a few meters away from his head. He started to swim up when he felt a tentacle wrap itself round his left leg. He had lost his dagger, so he started to kick with his right foot. A second tentacle scurried up, intending to wrap itself around his free foot. At that time there was a second explosion as a yellow bolt flew from the ceiling, and into the second tentacle. Even under the water Devon could hear the Lurker moan in pain yet again. A third bolt of fire hurtled down and struck the tentacle holding him. He was free!

Devon began to kick free, realising he was running out of air. He frantically swam upwards, all the while listening to the curses of the Lurker. He reached the surface and looked up the hole. There he saw it was Beren who had saved him, as the sorcerer crouched down the hole with a rod of flame bolt glowing in his hands.

Beren's welcome face moved out of sight as he allowed Mythran to peer down.

"Devon," said the old man, "I hope that fool Beren has not cooked you too much! Ascend the ladder, my friend, and we shall leave this place."

Mythran spoke words of magic and a glowing ladder lowered itself down the hole, allowing Devon to ascend. As he climbed through the hole, he heard the Lurker's voice:

"Take my advice, Tempest! Do not go any further!"

At the top, friendly hands were extended.

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