Part 68 – What Lies in Orthrond Thurin
Orcs were everywhere. They were slashing and clawing and bighting at Theomin. He was utterly overwhelmed by them. He had terrible fear as he could do nothing but try and escape from them. Crackling and breaking sounds came from the orcs as if they were killing him and breaking off his bones. He shook awake and looked at his surroundings. Not an orc in sight. He relaxed and breathed in a sigh of relief.
The emotions of all Theomin had witnessed from Thanncen’s journal had pushed him to a fast sleep. The darkness of the cave allowed him to have the sleep, restless as it was. His friendly bioluminescent animal was not around him anymore. He lost track of where it was as he did not know the length of sleep that he had but when he awoke, it was not from any light that had come in through the canopy. It was the terrible dream and the sounds of cracking and breaking and a slurping sound that awoke Theomin.
He looked toward the sounds of the cracking and slurping and there, just barely lit, was a large beastly being. It was looking away from him and did not even notice Theomin, Theomin tried with all his might not to scream at the horrible sight.
It looked as though it was a two footed creature that was crouching down eating the bioluminescent animal. Its skin was of a green color, dotted with boils or warts or lumps. What exactly they were Theomin did not know. About its thick neck were extensions splayed out, three on each side as if they were plants or mushrooms that grew on its body. But they could not be mushrooms. They were thin and long with some kind of bulbous tip at the end. As the creature chewed, it gave off a deep snarling sound as it chewed. The chewing, Theomin was most afraid of as it was the sound of strong bone breaking like a twig.
With as much care as he could, he rose up slowly as to not disturb the beast. He approached it, stepping lightly as he slowly pulled his old rusted sword from his belt. After what felt like hours, he approached the frightening creature. He raised his hands up, sword pointing down so as to stab it in the head from above. He breathed in slowly but something happened as he breathed in. Something caught the creature’s attention and it whorled around faster than Theomin could think. It quickly pounced on Theomin pinning him down while all Theomin could do was to push it back.
Its slimy body made it difficult for Theomin to push it back. He felt his hands sliding off of its slimy body as its massive gaping mouth with long spear-like fangs inched closer to him as its drool from the mouth of the creature, slowly oozed out from its mouth and onto Theomin’s shirt. It long webbed hands were pushing on Theomin’s face and he could not see exactly what was happening. Finally, his right hand slipped off the creature and he grabbed onto one of its strange mushroom shaped extensions protruding from its neck. He pulled on it, which in turn seemed to hurt the creature. It started to withdraw but Theomin yanked so hard that the extension ripped off, further injuring the creature. It seemed as though it hurt the creature so much that its arms started to flail around as Theomin dodged them. He picked up his old, rusty sword and sliced off one of the flailing arms. He then plunged his sword into the head of the beast, killing it instantaneously. It fell with a loud thud onto the ground.
Theomin sat back, exhausted from the whole exchange but as he sat back, he could hear, far off in some other parts of the cave, almost like a crying moan from multiple other creatures. Their cries sounded as if they were in pain or angered. It was not a cry that sounded pleasant in any respect. He crawled back to where he was with his sword gripped in his hand as tightly as possible. Anticipation was killing him as he heard other noises coming from the water. Suddenly, out of the water another bobbed its head up, only for a second. From the still illuminated bioluminescence of the creature, he could see the head of the beast. It was the same type of beast that had attacked Theomin. Theomin just stayed as still as possible as the creature slowly sank back down into the water.
Theomin then, as carefully as he could, placed the sword in his belt and crawled slowly toward the water. The creature again bobbed its head up out of the water and Theomin stopped. His eyes were wide open and his breathing stopped. The creature was there for only a few moments when it went right back down into the water. Theomin breathed very carefully again. He exhaled quietly and breathed in quietly as he finally reached the water when the thing came back up. Theomin, again, froze. It could not see him, though Theomin was right close by. Out of little thinking or desperation, Theomin reached for his sword. The creature then looked right at him and Theomin froze. It looked long at Theomin as Theomin had to stop. He stopped breathing for a long long time. Too long in fact and he had to exhale. That was when the animal leapt out of the water but this time Theomin drew his sword and as it came down on Theomin, Theomin had his sword at the ready as it sank into the neck of the creature. It was dead but yet again he heard the same moaning and crying from other parts of the cave.
Theomin slid back to his corner and waited and waited. He saw nothing coming out of the water. Soon, light poured in from above as dawn approached. As he waited just a little longer he started to wonder where the creatures were coming from. He approached the water from which the creatures came out. It was murky and dirty, almost like black pitch. Nearby the ooze from the bioluminescent creature was still lit. He grabbed his torch and dipped it in the ooze. He then submerged it into the water. It remained lit while still in the water. He then dipped more of it in the ooze, enough to cover the end of the torch to create a non-flamed bioluminescent torch.
Theomin stuck the torch into the murky water again only to find nothing but an empty pit of water. He started to dip into the water but remembered. The journal. He took it out and looked on it. He looked at it with memory of all that happened in Breeland and the truth. He paused and thought that in order to leave, he had to let it go. He placed it down on the floor of the cave in the driest place possible and gave it a final slow touch. “I shall not soon forget what you did for me, Thanncen.” He smiled with emotion, “Thank you.”
He dipped into the water. It was cold. Very cold as if it was directly from snowmelt. He trudged through the water as it was not too deep. The water was chest deep, far shallower than he had imagined. Soon, as he trudged through the water, he came to a hole in the wall. “Here it is,” he said to himself. He submerged himself into the water and, with the help of his torch, was able to see his way through submerged tunnel. It was not too far, maybe a few yards, but it branched out another direction. He had to make a choice and quickly as his muscles were burning too much oxygen and he was running out. He decided to turn right and just before he felt he could not hold his breath any longer, he came out on the other side to a very small tunnel and a hatch on the other end.
Theomin quickly walked to the other end and pushed on the hatch. With just a little force it gave way. Light poured in, blinding Theomin for a moment or two. He peeked out of the hatch to an empty corner of the city of Annuminus. He made it.
Theomin looked around before he climbed out of the hatch and closed it. He snuck to the edge of a wall very close to where the hatch was. Looking out from the wall, he could see the Ariant. Quickly he snuck around the corner only to see some wardens walking and just talking with each other about matters not important to Theomin. He paused, let them pass and then proceeded to the bridge. As he started to cross he looked down toward the bottom level of the city, just beneath the bridge. There was Eleswith, Amathwyn, Herion, and a few others being led out of the city. “Where are they going?” he whispered to himself.
He carefully snuck around to the Tirband and Clorhir and around toward Echad Garthadir. Eerily, the city was quiet. Empty it seemed on the top level. Where was everybody? As he approached Echad Garthadir, a familiar voice quietly called out from behind. “Enedion,” the voice whispered. Theomin turned. It was Sergee.
Theomin approached Sergee who was standing in the corner, trying to stay inconspicuous. “What is happening?” Theomin asked, concerned.
“All the city is abuzz about what is happening with your friends. I thought you would be caught for sure,” Sergee whispered.
“What is happening to them?”
“They are being transported to Bree. For what, I know not,” Sergee said.
It dawned on Theomin as to what was happening. “They are taking them there to draw me out.” He leaned back on the wall in awe of what was happening. “How did it come to this? How can Teryndir be so cruel? Taidir needed aid. I had not a choice. If he wanted Taidir to die, that is cruel. How did it come to this?” He thought for a few moments, shaking his head with confusion. He then looked at Sergee, “Whose side are you on?”
Sergee looked shocked at Theomin’s question. “I am on neither side. This quarrel has to stop. I cannot prevent him from feeling betrayed because he will not listen to reason. Above all else, he is looking to punish all who oppose his rules. I know not why they are being brought to Bree. I know not what good that will do. But if you need me to aid in your quest to free your friends then I will aid you.”
“Good,” Theomin said and immediately followed up with, “I need a ranger outfit. Can you get me one?”
“I can, but what will you do with it?” Sergee asked as he started toward his station.
“What else?” Theomin said, “try and save my friends.”