The Lost Vale

Chapter 10:

The Assailant

"So they’re gone," said Darion, as he looked over the edge of the ledge into the darkness.

"Seems it’s just you and I," said Beren. "And if I hadn’t given away my recall device, we could have got back to the Plateau."

Darion scowled, "We can’t give up now it seems, even if we want to."

Beren nodded, "Come on, warrior, let’s get going before this place shakes again…"

With that, Beren began walking across the narrow ledge.

There was almost no sign of where the wounds had been previously. Pleased with himself, Devon helped Cyrrus to his feet. The theurgist said, "How did you…"

"The power of Hydros has returned somehow… but it is different this time. When I struck her, the power that belonged in my veins came back to me. But I feel it growing fainter as she grows further away."

Cyrrus nodded, "Where to now?"

"We should try to look for the others. Perhaps if Mythran is still alive he is around here somewhere."

Cyrrus looked up, and said, "Look Devon, there is a ledge in the wall over there we can climb up, and it seems to be the start of a passage-way."

"Seems to be the only exit from here," said Devon. "Okay, let’s take it."

Cyrrus pulled himself up the ledge, and then helped his friend up. Taking one last look at the cavern filled with charred green corpses of their friends and family, both comrades began down the narrow corridor.

Darion stood atop the ridge, feeling the cool air of the valley on his face. It felt good after an hour in that cave, fumbling about. They had found an exit, and now they stood atop. The entire valley was before them. They could see, in the distance, the stone walls of a city. They could see the mountains surrounding the valley, and the lakes below. They could see several caves dotted about, as well as the occasional hut on the road to the city.

"It looks like quite a trek to the city," said Darion. "And I can’t see any way down from here. Do you have a rope, sorcerer?"

Beren laughed, "A rope? I have no need of rope. Here!" he produced a wand and pointed it, "This will get us to the city immediately."

Darion’s vision turned brilliant white, and he and Beren both became fireballs, hurtling towards the city under the effect of the Flash spell.

Devon stopped, and Cyrrus nearly walked into him.

"The power is gone," said Devon. "I have lost my Tempest powers, again."

"Perhaps that is not so bad," said Cyrrus. "Maybe Hydros has lost her powers as well."

"I doubt that somehow," said Devon, a solemn look upon his face.

Soon the passage came to an end and the two friends found themselves standing at the mouth of a cave, staring down at a very high and very steep descent. At the bottom the rock gave way to grass and on that path there was a dirt trail. Devon's eyes followed the dirt trail northwards where there were the occasional huts and then his eyes fixed on a stone wall. It was a city.

"Well," said Devon, "we should get down from here and journey towards the city."

Cyrrus nodded, "I don't suppose you have any rope?"

Devon shook his head, "We will just have to try and find footholds down."

The fisherman promptly placed his foot on a reasonably flat piece of rock and turned around, found a handhold and began to lower himself down. Cyrrus soon followed. For about ten minutes they lowered themselves down the side of the mountain, until a groan was heard from Devon.

"What's the matter?" asked Cyrrus, and looking down he saw Devon sat on a ledge.

"Sorry Cyrrus. I just landed on my backside. I think we should rest here for a while. We're not making good progress."

Cyrrus nodded, and lowered himself onto the ledge also. Devon opened his pack and shared some rations that Rokko had packed them with Cyrrus. Most of Cyrrus's food had been damaged when he had hit the ground in Hydros's cavern. They were not half way through their meal when the earth began to shake.

"I thought we'd seen the last of these earthquakes when you beat Hydros!" yelled Cyrrus, his fist (which contained a half-eaten ham sandwich) raised to the sky in defiance of the Lurker.

"It's not her…" said Devon, almost as if he didn't care.

Cyrrus slowly began to rise, as the ledge shook beneath his feet. He was on his feet, and Devon was just about halfway towards being ready when the ledge slowly tipped downwards. Cyrrus, almost in slow-motion leapt in the air, and grabbed a handhold as the ledge fell to the ground, with Devon on it…

"My legs!" said Devon as Cyrrus stood over his prone body that had a large broken part of the ledge stuck in its equally broken left leg. "I can't feel my legs!"

Cyrrus nodded, "It's alright. I shall clean the wounds and we should find a place to rest. After a few days you will be able to walk. I regret that most of the components I could have used to brew a potion of healing have been lost when I fell."

Devon cursed his luck than an injury, an injury either one of them could have healed in the past, was going to prevent him and Cyrrus from exploring the Lost Vale. More time would be wasted in which the Pagans were in danger from the shrooms on the Plateau. Perhaps worst of all Darion and Beren, if they were still alive, would be getting further and further away…

Devon sat on a log. Cyrrus had been able to jimmy a splint for the foot, and had gathered up wood for the now lit fire. The finest healer on Pagan (as Devon now called him) was serving up some more of Devon's rations. It was then that Devon heard a whisper.

"Did you say something?" asked Devon to Cyrrus.

"No. Why?"

"I thought I heard you say my name, that is all."

Again Devon heard the whisper.

"I did hear a whisper!" said Devon.

"Calm down," said Cyrrus. "We are in a strange place, we know nothing about the flora and fauna of this place."

"Devon… Devon… Devon…" the voice rasped continually. In the distance a shadowy figure could be seen but even though there were no day or night on Pagan, this figure only appeared dark.

"Who's there?" asked Cyrrus.

"'Tis I young lad, Darion!" yelled a boisterous voice.

A ghost drains Devon's lifeforce Cyrrus smiled and walked towards the shadowy figure. It was at this time that Devon saw something pale-green in the corner of his eye.

It lunged at him, snarling, "Deeevvvvoonnnnnn!"

It lunged at his leg, and he yowled in pain as claws widened the scar on his leg, and yelled, "Deeeevvvvoooonnnnnn."

He stared into the form of his attacker. It was like a ghost, floating in mid-air without any feet. Yet it was pale green, not black and grey. And its talons were dripping some kind of green ooze… dripping into the scar on his feet.

Cyrrus noticed the figure disappear, and he turned to see the onslaught of the ghost. Its job complete, it turned to Cyrrus and snarled once. It was then gone, leaving a festering, infected wound where once there had been a broken leg healing nicely…

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