Adventures Await

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In imagination he could be anything he wanted; a knight, a dragon, a explore. His childhood world never let him down.

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Uliginous #AtoZChallenge

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Uliginous: growing in wet or swampy ground.

 

Euric knew the Swamp of Maidswell wasn’t a place anyone should go, yet here he was trying to pull his knee length leather boots out of a boggy patch. Swearing, Euric give his right boot a hard tug and tried to move forward. There was a loud slurping sound and the mud returned his boots though they were covered in dark brown and green slimy mud.

Stepping onto a thick mossy bed, Euric caught his breath. The stench of the swamp filled his nose and mouth, it smelt like rot, dead animals and bad gases. It was something no one could ever get use to and the thick cloth Euric had wrapped around his face didn’t help much.

He took a few extra moments to look around. There seemed to be nothing but little islands of green or brown moss surrounded by green- grey waters. Sometimes there was a small tree, being dragged down by draping moss, reeds growing out of the murky pools and skeletons.

Euric had seen plenty of bodies and skeletons before, the life of an adventurer came with all that. He had even fought undead skeletons once but he was hoping on this quest they wouldn’t appear. He guessed the remains around him were from people who had gotten into difficulty out here which was easily done.

Turning, Euric looked and saw his two companions coming over to join him; the druid Alibus had tied his long white robes up and was wadding though a pool to the right of Euric in new knee length boots which had taken lots of persuading to convince the druid to buy.

‘You can’t go into the Maidswell Swamp with sandals on!’ Euric had cried at the market two weeks ago before they had set off on this quest.

Using his long staff for support, Alibus stepped up beside Euric and began getting his breath back too. The druid looked drained and the large bug bite on his neck was weeping pus again. Euric patted Alibus’ shoulder, hoping his friend was going to be okay.

A loud spitting sound and cursing in elfish, made Euric and Alibus look over their shoulders. A tall, golden haired elf female struggled to shake a giant grey slug off her thigh length red boots. With a high kick, she sent the slug flying and stomped over to join them on the mossy mound.

‘I think this is the most stupidest thing you’ve ever agreed to, Euric!’ the elf snapped.

‘You knew the risks, Nimue,’ Euric said in a controlled voice.

There was light flapping of feather wings and a small brown owl appeared out of the darkening grey sky. She drifted down to the group and landed on the druid’s shoulder.

‘What news, Kiko?’ Alibus asked then leaned in as the owl began twitting away.

Euric and Nimue waited then Alibus translated for them, ‘the skull is close by, we are heading in the right direction and there’s a storm coming.’

‘Good to know,’ Euric said and started walking again.

Drops of fat rain drops began to fall and a rumble of thunder echoed over the near flat land. The water of the swamp rippled and the all ready wet ground welcomed more water. Frogs and toads began croaking loudly.

The three adventurers pressed on for a few minutes as the rain around them grew thicker. Lightening forked the sky and the thunder rumbled closer. Then Euric pointed ahead and shouted, ‘there’s the giant Hangant’s skull!’

Just though all the green and rain, they could see a white-grey skull growing larger ahead of them. They hurried on and struggling through a deep pool, they made it to the giant’s skull. It stood as tall as a castle tower above them, the huge empty eye sockets seemed to be looking down on them and judging them. There was a large, jagged crack in the forehead which widened as it ran all the way down the back of the skull.

Through a missing tooth, Euric, Alibus, with Kiko hidden in his robe’s hood, and Nimue stepped inside. Darkness swallowed them for a few moments then the druid cast light on his staff and they could see they were not the first to use the inside of the skull as shelter. The reminds of a fire from months ago was in the centre and landed out against the back of the skull were two human skeletons.

‘What happened to them?’ Nimue asked.

Alibus inspected the skeletons then give a shrug, ‘don’t know. But their things are here,’ he added pointing to two leather bags and a few other things left in a pile.

‘Can we get a fire going?’ Euric asked, kicking the ashes of the last one.

Alibus nodded and using his staff, he created a real but magical fire.

Euric sat down, dug in his pack for a water bottle and some food. Nimue began looking through the abandoned things for anything useful. Alibis walked around, his light showing that there was nothing else inside the skull then he joined Euric by the fire and let Kiko dry off.

‘Sounds bad out there, I’m glad we made it inside,’ Alibis said.

‘We shouldn’t let our guard down though,’ Euric answered, ‘the stories might say that the Maids of the swamp hide during storms but we all know they aren’t the only danger around here.’

‘The bugs are!’ Nimue cut in.

A smile flickered on Euric’s face, ‘anything worth taking?’

‘No. If they had anything worth taking, it’s gone all ready,’ Nimue answered as she came to join them, ‘right. What do we do now?’

Euric looked up at the massive domed roof of the skull above them, ‘we look for the Trailing Fumewort,’ he spoke, ‘it should be around here somewhere. Remember not to touch it or breath it in.’

Alibus nodded, ‘it has small orange flowers that let off a poisonous scent, pin like purple spikes which are also poisonous, black leaves and a thick twisting vines. Death comes within minutes from it’s dual poisons.’

‘Lovely,’ Nimue muttered sarcastically.

‘The white roots, however are the opposite,’ Alibus continued having not heard her, ‘they bring life and cure all illness.’

‘That’s why the wizard Thuneas wants it then,’ Euric spoke.

A boom of thunder went off outside startling them all. Nimue drew her long bow, arrow notched in a blink and moved towards the closest gap in the teeth. An unsettled feeling rose the hairs on her skin.

The lightening flashed and in the few seconds of light, Nimue didn’t see anything through the cloud of heavy rainfall. It was hard to tell if there was anything about even with the elf’s sharp eyes. Perhaps, the feeling was because of the current nature of their shelter?

‘What is it?’ Euric whispered.

‘Not sure. Let’s look for the Fumewort and go. I really don’t like this place.’

Euric nodded and their search continued.

Proficient #AtoZChallenge

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Proficient; well advanced in an art, occupation or branch of knowledge. 

It had started in his childhood as a focus for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and his love for Dungeons And Dragons had been born. Now, in his mid-thirties he was a Dungeon Master and sometimes player at the local board games club but he also travelled to events, conventions and D&D weekends to Master there.

He knew all the rules by heart, could add up the dice rolls faster then anyone and was great at reading out the adventures and describing the battles. He was proficient at the hobby but to him D&D was more then that, it was the way of his life.

Hitchhiker #CCC

Marsh Road

Rose stopped at the crossroads and looked, her hands wrapped around the shoulder straps of her army rucksack. She wasn’t sure which way to go. Countryside green fields lay all around with no direction signs.

Warm sun touched her and Rose turned her face up to the sky. Shutting her eyes, she breathed clean air and heard birds singing nearby. Rose signed, glad that the chill of winter was almost over.

Shrugging, she picked one of the roads and started walked. It would led her somewhere and Rose would face whatever she found on arriving.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/crimsons-creative-challenge-14/ with thanks).

Glamping #FridayFictioneers

Glamorous camping was the latest fashion trend. I wasn’t impressed, for me camping was sleeping under the stars around a fire, getting away from all things and this ‘glamping’ was a hotel room inside a tipi. At least my girlfriend was impressed and there’s no way I’d ever convince her to spend a weekend without electricity; ‘I can’t survive without my hair drier!’

For me, the scenery and the escape from city life had made up for the luxury camping experience. Outside the Tipi of High Life there was a whole barren land to be explored.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/01/30/1-february-2019/ with thanks).

 

Summit #writephoto

It had been a long climb to the summit of the castle but the adventuring party had reached it at last. The breathtaking view unfolded before them and all other thoughts went away.

The small towns and countryside nested under a grey summer sky looked like the places of miniature people or the child of a giant’s toys. There was so much stretching before them it was hard to take it all in.

Then the weight of their task came back to them and they turned to look at the ruined castle. Somewhere here lived the monster and they had come to kill it.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/07/19/thursday-photo-prompt-summit-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Big Cave #Pegman

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Rusty knew the cave was here, the map told him so. Avoiding the red rocks that littered the landscape, he weaved his way on. Brown-red peaks rose to the blue jean washed sky and the sun beat down like a determined enemy.

He felt the sand shift under him. Rusty tried to go back but the sand movement dragged him down. He landed heavily, drifting in and out, luckily, he was only bruised and in shock when he came fully to.

He looked up and saw the entrance to the cave ahead of him. He had found it after all.

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/06/09/the-big-cave-palo-duro-state-park-texas/ with thanks).

 

Trip #100WW

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He wouldn’t have liked his strangers going through his things and putting them on display. He was a private, independent and adventurous young man with a quiet talent. Those strangers probably thought they were doing a good thing; does anyone recognise this bag and contents? Handed to police (in random country). It only made me more heartbroken though because it meant he had truly gone. He wouldn’t leave his things like that. I suppose I should be happy to get them back but I’d rather it had been him instead.         

(Inspired from; https://bikurgurl.com/2017/11/08/100-word-wednesday-week-44 with thanks.)

Watchers #writephoto

Pausing on the footpath before the tall jagged rock faces, I got an odd feeling that I was being watched. Looking around, I couldn’t see anyone. The normal sounds of birds singing, the warm breeze shifting leaves and the water from the stream lapping still surrounded me.

I raised my head, noticing the small trees growing straight out of the rock alongside the grass clumps and moss. It was hard to tell if anyone was up there. I thought about shouting out, but that seemed pointless. Finding a boulder to rest on, I took out my drink bottle and phone. I took a few photos of the fantasy setting likes scenery and sipped my tepid water.

I had originally planned to walk the path between the two rocks and head further into the woods but now I was here, doubts were setting in. There didn’t seem to be much of a path and a lot of fast growing plants made the gap look smaller. Still, though it would take too long to walk around.

Feeling a little like Red Riding Hood, I set off again and past between the rocks. My rucksack scrapped against the sticking out stones and my boots chomped down on the undergrowth. Pressing my hands, against the rough sides for balance, I eased my way through.

The abrupt cries of two crows startled me. Stopping, I looked up and saw one of them -an old scrawny bird, on an rocky outcrop far above me. My breath caught in my throat as I realised the crows was rising an alarm. A gust of wind whipped up around me, pressing cold fingers against my legs. I felt a shiver run up my spine and my fingers began to claw into the passageway as if the rocks were moving into suffocate me.

I started to feel on the edge of a panic attack. I dropped my head and took in deep breaths, willing away the urge to get out and be far away from here. I tried to convince myself this was nothing but my feelings were telling me different. I needed to sit down but I couldn’t. Letting my hands slide, I felt then becoming grazed but I didn’t care.

The crows was screaming above me and I couldn’t hear anything but their shrill cries. I thought some wild tribesmen are going to appear and cart me off or a witch pop up and casting a curse on me. I tried to laugh it away, telling myself how silly I was being. Nothing was going to happen!

I focused on the ground, counting all the stones until they merged into one. There came the sound of something heavy shifting and groaning. I looked up, picturing a giant emerging from the rock face. Instead though, I saw a few small rocks tumbling down. Frowning, I turned my attention to that and saw a chuck of crag cracking away.

Rumbling vibrations came through the ground, shaking through me. Movement re-entered my body like water bursting through a dam. I spun and fled, pain shooting into my right ankle. Branches scrapped at me as if trying to hold me back, but I broke free and stumbled out of the pass. Landing heavily on sharp grass, I twisted and looked back.

A rock slide was happening! Close to where I had been bits of crag were falling and whacking the plants. The sounds were a mixture of rock on rock, crunching and snapping of greenery and groaning. Dust plumed, forming a creamy-yellowy cloud that puffed itself into the sky.

I lent back, breathing deeply and tasting grit in my mouth. When the echoing noises had faded, I eased up and inspected the now blocked passage. It was hard to tell and maybe I was being too dramatic, but that had been a close call.

A ruffing of wings drew me away and I saw two crows land on the boulder and stare at me.

‘Thank you,’ I said aloud, ‘you were trying to warn me, weren’t you?’

The crows eyed me, clicked their beaks and took off again, flying away over the treetops.

With a final glance at the pass which now seemed harmless once more, I turned away and took the longer route into the woods.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/03/thursday-photo-prompt-watchers-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Sails #writephoto

windmill at sunset, Brill, Buckinghamshire. Image: Sue Vincent

The world was nothing like it had been in the past. Not that I remember the Before but I’d heard all the hand-me-down stories. Growing, up I had dreamed of living in that ‘magical’ time where everything seemed so easy but having heard the truth now, I was happy enough staying in my own time.

As the sun fully rose over the war torn grasslands, I felt the heat brushing against my skin. I was draped over the edge of the truck bed, dozing and thinking only of my home. The wheels of the truck bounced over the rough ground and my position was uncomfy but I was to tried to move. Also, we were squashed in pretty tight.

A loud banging on the roof of the trunk cab brought me around and the others fully awake. I turned my head up and saw our look out guy pointing at something ahead.

‘Structure up! ‘Bout few miles!’ he yelled.

Everyone began peering out of the truck, wanting to see what he had seen. It had been a day and a night since our last structure. We had gotten luckily there too because it had been an untouched farm. The dream of every surface missioner! I hoped this structure was another good one.

Getting to my feet, I balanced in the rocking truck and looked over the cab. I could see a single building, tall and thin with something attached to the front. It looked strange. As we got closer, I couldn’t really see much else other then it was wooden and the attached seemed to be moving. A radar, maybe?

Right before we pulled alongside, I climbed out of the still moving, but slowing down truck. Landing with a bump on the grass, I broke into a run. My protective mask and bag which were strapped around my chest, bounced of my hip. I knew a few of the others would be sneering and shaking their heads at me, but I didn’t care. Despite the tiredness, I had to see everything as this could be my last trip to the surface.

I stood before the building and looked. I had been right, it was made out of wood and was cylinder in shape. The attachment was wooden panels that had lattice pattern in the centre. It looked like the building was made for flying but instead of sails there was a wood propeller. I wondered how it worked.

Seeing a short doorway, I went in and found a control room. There were lots of wooden beams and bits of metal and stone but they were dismantled and just laying about. I slipped my gloves on and searched around. Dust rose, clouding around me. I wasn’t expecting to find any more then what I could already see.

‘What ya got?’ the gruff voice belong to Pal asked from behind me.

‘Not much. We could take the better pieces. There’s some interesting metal bits. Look at these massive stones!’ I added.

My work had uncovered, two grey rocks that were rounded in shape and had a hole in the middle. My touched them with my glove covered fingers but of course couldn’t feel anything.

‘What are they used for for?’ I muttered.

‘Grinding, perhaps,’ Pal suggested, ‘too heavy for us to take.’

I nodded. It was clear he was right. Casting around, I didn’t see anything else. Which was a shame. I rubbed my face and turned back to Pal. He was standing in the doorway, having just replied back to the team. He stepped out and I followed him.

‘What is it?’ I asked, once again looking upwards.

‘A windmill,’ Pal replied, with a shrugged.

It seemed a shame to destroy a relic of the past but needs must.

 

(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2017/07/27/thursday-photo-prompt-sails-writephoto/ with thanks)