March of the Fire: Part Five
Art by blizard131
The plan was simple: tomorrow morning we would go to the island to rescue Roxton. We would start on the west side and travel east as the boat went around the side of the island to meet us. The vote was almost unanimous. Almost.
“What!?” shouted Rourke. “I will not be steering the ship around the island and risk getting caught up in that storm!”
“Please, Captain,” pleaded Clara. “We need to find Roxton!”
“Why should I care about that Colchester? He’s only ever caused me trouble!”
“What if you simply turned tail and left if you started seeing the storm?” asked Lillian, really desperately trying to compromise.
“Humph,” muttered the captain, but it seemed as if we had come to a conclusion.
Jessalia expected at least some recognition. But from the yellow Lutari that sat there in the dungeon, she received none.
“Don’t you recognize me?” she asked him over and over again. He always just shook his head and told her no. She became certain at this point that he had lost his memory. Yes. That must be it.
“Do you even remember Moltara?” she asked him.
“Well, I discovered it, so I suspect that I would remember it.”
“Then you must remember me,” she said, and began to pace back and forth. The Lutari watched her, utterly confused, and it seemed to Jessalia that he would not recognize her ever.
“One of the first things he told me when I decided to join him on his adventures was that everyone has their last adventure. And this must be his.”
“Oh, come on, this is Roxton A. Colchester III we’re talking about. He’s gotten himself out of plenty of tough scrapes,” I told Clara. Her eyes were bubbling over with tears as she paced back and forth across the bedroom floor. “If he can’t escape, we’re gonna bust him out!”
“I just have this feeling,” she said quietly, looking at the floor, “that this island is not all that it seems.”
We turned as we heard a groan from the other side of the room. “Go to sleep, Clara. May, you just stop talking, since I doubt that it’s helping at all,” said Lillian from her cot.
I sighed, and lifted myself up onto my bunk, which creaked under my weight. Clara thrust herself with a big leap onto hers, but as she did, I noticed a slight glimmer of light on her left hand. Lying down, I realised exactly why we needed to save Roxton. Though, I’ll say, at the time I was rather confused.
That morning, I popped back into the girls’ cabin for my hat. And that’s when I saw it: perched on the desk was a large book. Curious, I peered over it. It was opened to one specific page, and everything in it was written in odd symbol-like letters.
I stared at it for a moment before I actually realized what I was looking at. This was the real Atlas of the Ancients! And it was right in front of me!
I guess that finally seeing it for the first time really put some things in perspective for me. The first was that though, for me, Moltara had been discovered a whole whopper fifteen years previously, which was two years before I was born, for Clara and Roxton it had only been three years. It was hard to picture them coming out of that time warp and onto the streets of Moltara, only to have twelve years gone by. I realized how scary and strange that must have been, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much had changed in their lives.
I’m still not sure why, but when I stroked the edge of the page, I had a flashback. But I was almost certain that I had never seen the Atlas before.
It was a familiar scene to him; papers strewn about the kitchen table, some new, large random book opened to a page filled with runes. And leaning over it, yet another familiar sight.
She looked up at him, but instead of the normal excitement she always had when a new adventure was about to begin, she seemed concerned.
“It’s a new page in the Atlas,” she said, her voice shaking, “I was documenting our adventure when I came across it.”
“Well, let’s see it then,” he said, and sat down next to her. The page itself was like all the rest, but it was the translation that worried him.
“I’ve seen this before!” he gasped, and read it over again, “It was on the wall of the temple on the Lost Isle.”
“The Huntress,” Clara whispered, glancing up the stairs. “Who will she kill?”
As we stepped off the boat again, I got an immediate feeling of adrenaline. And thank Fyora for that, ‘cause right then and there, this humongous enormous Lady Blurg just popped out of the jungle.
“Run!” shouted Jordie, and that we did. We hurried right out of there; all of us. Sadly, yes, all of us. Because Gaviella was just as content to run for her life as the rest of us were. Of course, nobody noticed this until it was too late.
“Gaviella!” Moht exclaimed as she followed us. “We need you to get the rowboat back to the ship!”
“But-” she protested, and glanced over her shoulder at it as we continued running.
Clara sighed. “It’s too late now,” she told us. “We need as much help as we can get right now.”
Jordie shook his head. “But we need someone to go back to the ship with the rowboat. Otherwise, we might get stranded.”
“It is too late now,” insisted Clara, her eyes narrowing. Jordie backed up a few feet; I’ll say that even though she was a good two inches shorter than him, she was quite intimidating.
“Well, we might as well keep going,” I said, and grabbed the machete that Roxton had been kind enough to drop when he was captured.
We hiked in silence for a while, but it was more interesting for me then it had been previously. Hacking away with a machete is really quite exhilarating, but you have to be careful what you whack. Like, cutting into a tree is absolutely pointless compared to going through the underbrush.
That was when Gaviella screamed. “What is that!?” she shouted, pointing to an object. Her eyes were wide open with fear.
“That,” said Moht, “is a leaf.”
“I know that,” she said, glaring at him. Actually, I was kind of surprised that she knew what a leaf was.
Kerlie looked at it, and his eyes grew wide. “Selerium Taniverens,” he said, his eyes the size of Fish Neggs. “Don’t touch them! Their sap can be very toxic!”
“So I’m guessing they make a bad salad,” I said with a slight laugh. If Moht was drinking milk, I think that it would have spurted out of his nose. Clara grinned, but I could still tell she was still worried. Jordie and Gaviella smiled, but Kerlie looked at me dead serious.
“Yes,” he said, staring me right in the eye, “don’t eat them.”
“It was a joke!” I said, grinning. Then everybody looked at me like I had just grown a third eye.
“What?” I asked, and my grin fell away from my face. I looked behind me, half expecting something to be there. But I saw nothing. “Guys, what is it?” I asked, now getting a little worried.
“Oh my gosh,” exclaimed Jordie, “you look so much like-” but he was cut off by a loud screech from above. A cloud Pteri dropped out of the sky and grabbed Jordie by the collar. And yes, we’re talking the same cloud Pteri that kidnapped Roxton.
“Ahh!” he shouted. “Help!”
“Wait, what’s happening!” shouted Clara as the ground beneath us began to move. It was almost like the earth had come to life and wanted lunch. It seemed like it was filled with boiling water. Then, it was still.
“Whoa,” I muttered, “What just happened?”
“It seemed like a seismic eruption,” both she and Kerlie said at the same time. They grinned at each other, and dropped to the ground.
“Uh,” I whispered to Moht, “what the heck are they doing?”
“Beats me,” he said with a shrug.
“Shh!” whispered Clara, “we’re trying to predict the next eruption.”
“That was no eruption,” said Gaviella, seeming a little far off. Moht and I exchanged glanced. Here we go again.
“Well, then what was it?” Kerlie asked her, standing up.
“The great one was angry,” she said, spacing out for a second, and then coming to with a shake of her head.
“Great one?” wondered Clara.
“A great power.”
Clara stared at her, her jaw ajar. “Oh no,” she wailed suddenly. “The Huntress!”
Gaviella turned to her, seemingly confused. “Why are you worried about the Huntress? She is standing here with us.”
I whirled around, but saw no one. I looked at everyone in the clearing, but the only people there were Moht and Kerlie, both of which were boys, and Clara and Gaviella, both of which seemed unlikely to be hunting anything. Then I realised why everyone was looking at me.
“Stay away!” shouted Clara, throwing out her arms in front of everyone else. I backed up a bit.
“Huh, what?” I asked, looking at all of them, so very confused.
Clara was breathing heavily, eyeing me, scared. I wondered why. “What did I do?” I asked her.
She took a deep breath, and looked straight at me. “According to the prophecy...” She paused, taking another deep breath. “You’re supposed to kill someone.”
I gulped. “I wasn’t exactly expecting that,” I said quietly, “but are you sure that Gaviella’s right about this?”
Gaviella sighed. “She won’t kill any of you,” she said, confronting them, her back to me, “and no, Mrs. Chatham, since you’re wondering, she won't kill me either.”
“But then...” Clara trailed off for a second. “Who will she kill?”
And woosh! The cloud Pteri was back. And this time, he or she picked up Kerlie and Gaviella, Kerlie by the tail. That looked really uncomfortable.
“Help!” screamed Kerlie, all high pitched like he was gonna die or something. “Do not worry,” stated Gaviella calmly as the Pteri soared high in the air. I watched it, as it went directly towards a volcano.
Clara groaned. “So I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere with a journalist and a murderer. Great.” She glanced at Moht and me, and continued hiking through the woods.
“Well, are you coming or not?” she asked and turned around to face us.
“Shh!” Moht said, “Listen!”
I guessed that Moht had heard the same thing as I had: large footsteps. Clara tilted her head, and immediately sighed.
“It’s a Moffit,” she told us, “I don’t think that they are carnivorous.”
I let out the breath that I had been holding in. “You’re sure, right?” asked Moht, and I could tell that he was still a bit worried. She nodded.
“Well, let’s keep going then,” and I quickly began walking into the woods.
I was a little startled by the fact that I was supposed to kill someone. I mean, what would your reaction be if someone told you that you’re gonna kill someone?
We walked in silence; only the sound of the jungle sang back to me as I chopped my way through the underbrush. Once, Moht commented on something, though. “You know,” he told me, and I glanced back at him walking through mud, making a squish noise with every step, “I’d rather write about tromping through mud than actually tromp through it myself.” I laughed at this, but Clara told us to be quiet. Why, I don’t know, but we stopped talking after that.
We continued hiking towards the volcano near the centre of the island. As we approached it, we began hearing water from a nearby stream. Then, we almost ran straight into a raging river.
The remaining three of us looked over it, trying to calculate a way to cross it. “Hmm,” muttered Moht, and began walking further to the left. I quickly followed him, and then realised what he was looking at: the river fell into a waterfall. It seemed to be quite the gorge around it, but there was also a log going across it.
“We can cross right here!” announced Moht back to the two of us.
“It’s too dangerous,” proclaimed Clara. “We need to cross more to the right, where there may actually be a place to cross.”
I glanced back in her direction, and did see something. But it wasn’t a way across. “Giant Veespa!” I shouted, and ran towards the log.
Clara quickly came up from behind me (since she wasn’t lugging around a rather large machete), and sprinted across the log. Moht hurried behind her, but he slipped. I dropped the machete, and yanked out my rope from my backpack.
I tied it as I ran, and, finally, tossed it up onto a tree branch. Wrapping it around my wrist, I jumped.
As I soared through the air, I felt the tension on the rope release. Glancing back over my shoulder, I realised that the Veespa had run into the rope, causing it to break. And causing me to fall.
“Ahh!” I shouted as I rapidly descended into the gorge. Moht was falling near by, and I quickly grabbed his arm. Then, without thinking very much, I reached out and grabbed a vine.
We swung around, and just as I was about to hit the side of the cliff, I felt a sharp tug at the vine. Alarmed, I looked up, and saw two people pulling us up. Using all of my strength, I pushed us from the walls of the cliff, and swung up and over the edge.
Clara had fallen backwards from the lossage of weight that she had to pull, but she wasn’t the only one there. Standing next to her was a young fire faerie.
“Oh, hello!” she said, waving her left hand. She wore an odd crimson uniform, and held a metal shield under her right arm. But the strangest part about her was that she was wearing aviator goggles. “I’m Evreness Wick! Evre for short!” She was very young for a faerie; since faeries mature slowly, I placed her around fifty. She happily stated each sentence, talking quickly. “I’m glad to help you all! I live here on the island with my sister! I’m on my time off, so I decided to do some exploring! And I found you! Maybe I’ll get bonus points!”
“Um, well, I’m May, this is Moht, and I think that you’ve already met Clara,” I said as Clara picked herself off of the ground, brushing away the leaves and dead grass that clung to her.
“Wait a second,” Moht said, “there are faeries on the island?”
“Oh yeah,” she said, “a whole bunch! We live in the volcano over there,” she pointed towards the volcano, “and there’s a bunch of others there too! Like, I have a friend who’s a green Korbat, and my sister’s another faerie! She’s the master of spies! It’s so cool! For now, I’m just a dungeon guard, but maybe I’ll be a spy like my sister one day!”
“Dungeons? Spies? Faeries? What’s going on?” I asked her, starting to get seriously concerned. Something bad was happening here.
“Oh, yeah!” she said, but then glanced at her wrist. On it was a sundial, and it said that it was about 10:45. “I have to go in fifteen minutes,” she told us, “Since that’s when my shift is. But if you want, I can help you get there!”
I glanced at Moht, really quite concerned, but before I could say anything, Clara said, “We’d be delighted!”
“Allrighty then!” Evre squealed. “Off we go!” She started skipping into the forest.
As we followed her, Clara dropped back next to us. “Look,” she said, “the way I see it is that maybe she can help us at least figure out where everyone is. We can tell her that we want to stop outside the entrance, and go in a few minutes later. It even sounds like she might be guarding the dungeon when we’re trying to break in. Sound like a good plan to you two?”
We both nodded our heads in agreement. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Jessalia sighed and rubbed her temples. Her elbows on the table, she looked at Imerdia. “So what you’re saying,” she told the magma Poogle, “is that I am not the huntress.”
The Fyr’s master of symbols and prophecies shook her head. “It was not as I had originally anticipated. If this one was to be the eighth one and the third one, that would make little sense. We suspected that he will take the eighth, but it said,” she picked up a small stone tablet with a copy of the prophecy on it. If you’ve lived underground with no trees your whole life, you’d write everything down on stone. She cleared her throat and read:
Intertwined by the thread of life
Rapidly changing direction in time and space
Straightforward and plain
Will survive to reign free
In incongruity with the first and shall fall
First to see the world, and will see the end
Wishes to see the world
Has seen this before
Will wish for revenge
Does not know itself
First taken and will give his life to another
Cursed by the second
The decision maker is angry at the third
The lonely child
Will help the child
The huntress kills the child’
Granted,” Imerdia said, “We know that there are thirteen listed even though it says that there are twelve. We had a feeling that two might overlap, we didn’t know which ones of course, but as I’ve said before three and eight contradict each other entirely. The problem is that our prisoner falls under both categories. Perhaps there is someone else who we have not taken into account?”
Evre lead us through the forest, prancing along happily, a smile on her face. I wondered how she could be so carefree. It was bizarre to look at her; the uniform and the happiness collided against each other harshly, in a battle to show her true personality.
Eventually, as we walked along, Evre chatting very quickly, we saw a strange sight. There, sitting in a clearing, sat a small hole. I guessed that I might have been able to slide down it, but just barely.
“Here we are!” she exclaimed, her happiness really starting to bother me. “This is where we enter!” and with that, she announced a spell: “Volo Acendere Igitur Pottero Descendere!” she chanted, and suddenly the hole began to glow.
The way that the hole glowed was less like a light coming out of the hole as opposed to the hole itself. I guess you could say that its edges glowed, but it was almost as if it was an object as opposed to a lack of an object that was glowing. It was rather strange to watch as it did, but suddenly it expanded into a door.
We had been standing near a cliff wall, which was actually the side of the volcano we later discovered, and the hole/door shifted up onto the wall. The door it became was a large, metal, and a little bit slanted, with big handles the size of my head.
“Oh my gosh,” whispered Clara, and I looked at her, agape, staring at the door, “This looks exactly like-”
“Welcome,” announced Evre, apparently not having heard Clara, “to the second entrance to Moltara!”
Jessalia had found the second entrance only a few days before she met Illisiy. She had said to the mysterious faerie whose face she could still not see, that she had finally found it. After that, they began rallying Moltarians, faeries and pets alike, and gained an army of supporters. They built a base inside of the volcano, slightly fearful of the giant petpetpets that roamed the island, but overall safe.
Then it was decided that Jessalia was chosen to go out and explore Neopia.
The mysterious faerie had sent her off to Faerieland, and Jessalia had been amazed. She told everyone that she was from Moltara, and they were amazed in return. But then word had spread of the secret organization plotting to overthrow Fyora, and Jessalia had to flee with Illisiy’s help.
Illisiy was an earth faerie who had apparently never fit in with other faerie and had decided to join the movement. Illisiy was brave and maybe a bit reckless, and hardly fit in with her vain friends. She and Jessalia discovered an old prophecy, written on the walls on a temple on the island.
They had been great friends, uncovering the prophecy and the same text that had been in the Atlas, and found that they were both sent to discover what it meant.
That’s when everything went wrong.
Before we could stop her, Evre slammed a giant knocker on the door. The gigantic door creaked open, and a raspy voice asked, “Password?”
“Oh don’t be silly, Melissa!” Evre exclaimed with a laugh. “You know that it’s just me!”
“But who is everyone else?” Melissa asked sceptically and she stuck her Korbat head out the door.
“Oh, these are just some travellers I picked up in the forest!” Evre said light-heartedly. I glanced around nervously.
“Guards, seize them!” Melissa shouted, and suddenly pets all wearing the same uniform as Evre came out and grabbed us. We all struggled, and I wished I still had a machete, but to no avail, and we were brought through endless corridors and Clara and I were thrown into a dungeon cell, Moht in another. And we weren’t alone.
To be continued...