Ah, a new week, which means, all sorts of adventures may happen in the coming days=) Welcome to Adventure Awaits You and a whole new story. Read on and choose at the end how you’d like to proceed but choose carefully, for the world’s never quite what it seems.
It’s been far too long since you’ve hit the trail. The sun’s shining through the trees in splotches and leaves crunch under your feet. They cover the ground in a golden yellow mat that shifts with the wind.
There’s nothing demanding attention other than a couple of birds chirping in the trees.
It’s a small slice of heaven uninterrupted by daily life. You’ve got the pack on your back and the day to yourself.
Just as your mind’s starting to relax and let go of all the things running through it, you hear voices. A couple of hikers, maybe.
You keep heading up the trail, enjoying the fresh air, until you hit a clearing. The trees open into a circular meadow with a small lake to your right. The trail leads straight across the grass and back into the aspens and pines on the other side.
You hesitate briefly when you spot the source of the voices.
Two men stand beside the lake. Most hikers just leave each other alone. They nod hello, comment on the weather, and keep going. You’re about to follow this general etiquette when the dark haired man pushes the other.
“You have no choice!” he shouts. “Take the stone and leave it by the alter.” He shoves an object into the other man’s hands. From where you stand it looks like it’s glowing.
“I can’t get that close,” the other man, who’s taller but willowy in stature, objects.
“Figure it out.” The dark haired man steps back, ending the conversation, and vanishes.
You make a startled noise and then duck behind a tree as the remaining man looks your way.
His face is narrow with the cheeks hollowed in under his cheekbones but this only holds your attention for a moment as the object in his hand catches your attention again.
It is, in fact, glowing. So much so that it’s shining through his fingers in broad daylight. It makes his fingers look thinner than they probably are.
He doesn’t seem to see you and finally turns to follow the trail up past the lake with his shoulders slumped and his head down.
After he disappears into the trees, you step out from where you’re hiding and head up to the lake.
The spot the men were standing doesn’t show any signs of them being there. Not that you’re a tracker or anything, but they didn’t even leave footprints. A chill goes through you even though you can’t put a finger on exactly why.
Your day of getting away and simply enjoying is now ruined. You can’t get the strange encounter out of your head.
If you head up the trail to go farther, you’ll end up following the man just to see where he goes and what he does with the glowing object.
If you head back down the trail you’ll be plagued with curiosity but then, you may also be safer. You’ve never seen a man simply disappear before and the whole encounter gives you the willies.
So do you…
A. Follow the Man?
B. Turn Around?
Chance Encounters Option A: Follow the Man
The curiosity is just too strong. You throw caution to the wind and head up the trail and into the trees to follow the man with the glowing object.
The aspens close around you as you hurry forward to catch up. After about five minutes, you still haven’t seen the man. Perhaps he took off into the trees but you have no way to track him.
You’re about to give up when you hear something up ahead, like someone throwing rocks at a wall.
You move forward with more caution and finally spot the man from the field standing next to a cairn. The piles of rocks marking the trial looks like every other cairn you’ve ever seen but the man stands staring at it.
His shoulders are slumped farther, if it’s possible, than they were when he left the meadow. He tosses a rock at the cairn, then another one. If you had to guess, you’d say he wants to destroy the marker but isn’t putting much effort into it because he knows it’ll cause bad things if he does. At least, that’s what your imagination comes up with to explain his strange actions.
Finally he gives a gusty sigh and places the glowing object on top of the cairn. The base of the pile of rocks shudders and a hole opens up in the ground. It continues to widen until it’s a large, dark entrance leading downward.
The man removes the glowing object and proceeds down into the ground. You hesitate only briefly before darting after him. You’ve come this far, so you figure you may as well see what happens.
The hole that looked dark from a distance proves to be a small tunnel with stairs. You take them two at a time until you reach the bottom but then you stop because there are three hallways leading off the stairs.
“You don’t look like an MPS.”
You spin to your right. It’s the man with the narrow face.
“An MPS?” you ask. You quickly try to figure out what MPS could mean—Military Personnel Sergeant, Multiple Personality Syndrome, Married Playing Single—but none of the possibilities fit so you give the man a clueless look.
“Definitely not an MPS,” the man decides. “So what are you?”
“Innocent but curious bystander.” You give a slight smile, hoping he finds the truth amusing.
He grunts. “Knew meeting at the lake was a bad idea.”
“Didn’t look like you had much choice,” you comment.
He grunts again. “Saw that? Well, you’re right, I didn’t have a choice.”
You decide to be bold. “Why not?”
His hand spasms around the glowing object but it takes him a moment to finally say anything.
“They took my son. I’ll never see him again if I don’t do what they ask.”
He refuses to look at you and you’re not sure if he’s creating a story for you or telling the truth. He definitely looks like he’s struggling and in pain.
“Why would they take your son? What do they want?” You want to see what he says. If he’s creating a story, maybe he’ll slip. Or, if he’s telling the truth, he shouldn’t have a problem explaining.
“The Queen cut all ties with the wolves awhile back,” his voice was soft. “It hurt the wolves a lot and now they want revenge. They took my son because I can get close to the alter where the Queen prays.”
You stand there shocked. Queen? Wolves? It all sounds rather fantastic and crazy.
Aa. Believe him?
Ab. Not Believe him?
Chance Encounters Option Aa: Believe Him
The man could be lying but something about him makes you want to believe him.
“What if I help you get your son back?” you ask.
The man stares at you, shocked. “You’d do that?”
“Wouldn’t feel right to walk away,” you admit.
He considers this and then nods.
“Name’s Liam.” He introduces himself and then he holds out the glowing object. “This stone will open a portal by the lake in the meadow. I’m supposed to place it by the alter where the queen prays so the wolves can surprise attack her. They’ll have my son, Ryan, there, but I can’t go because they’re watching me. If I go anywhere near that spot, I’ll never see him again. But maybe you can get to that spot before I place the stone.”
You nod as he explains but then shake your head. “How will you know your son’s safe? I can’t just save him and then you place the stone anyway. That kind of defeats the purpose.”
For a moment he’d looked hopeful but at your question he deflates. “What if I place the portal somewhere else. I could open it on the trail before the lake and then you could bring my son through without the wolves getting at the queen.”
“That’s assuming I can get him from the wolves. Again, how can I communicate with you?” You pull out your cell phone to highlight your point. Liam doesn’t seem to be the most acute in the planning department.
Liam frowns at the phone. “We don’t use human technology. Oh, but I do have this.” He pulls out a dagger from a sheath in his boot.
“How’s that helpful?”
“It’s the mate to this one,” he pulls up his other pant leg to show an identical dagger. “If I task the one I give you to stab a pine tree, mine will glow when the task is done. So as soon as you have Ryan, stab the closest tree and I’ll know to open a different portal.”
“That could work,” you admit.
Liam holds the dagger close to his mouth and whispers to it. When he hands it to you, it shimmers along the handle. You have your misgivings about this whole idea but you turn to head back up to the lake without voicing them.
Behind you Liam mutters something.
“What?” you ask.
“It might be dark up top,” he shrugs. “Time moves differently down here than up there. Oh, maybe take this.” He pulls from his pocket several round objects like marbles.
“What are these?”
“We fairies like parties,” Liam says. “These are noise makers from a party I went to last night. They took my son while I was out.” He pauses, clearly disturbed, then,”if you throw them into the lake, they’ll make a lot of noise and possibly some light because they react with water.”
You hesitate, wanting to ask him about being a fairy because he doesn’t look anything like your what you would imagine, but then the distress on his face stops you. Now isn’t the time. You nod your thanks and head up the stairs.
Sure enough, up top it’s dark out now. The moon glimmers through the trees with silvery light. You head back down the trail and it
doesn’t take long to get to the lake.
You stop just inside the trees to get your bearings. As you watch, you spot a group of men standing on the far side of the water with a smaller figure, probably the boy, huddling next to the water line.
One of the men stands beside him, clearly watching the child.
Liam’s plan sounded great in theory but now that you’re faced with getting the child, you’re not sure how to do it. Poor Ryan’s right next to the group, which means you’re pitted against five men. Not good odds.
Plus, they’re waiting for Liam to open the portal, so it’s not like you have a lot of time.
You could create a distraction and try to draw them away. It’d have to be a rather large distraction though to catch all five of the men’s attention. Plus then you’d have to figure out a way to get Ryan to Liam’s other portal without tipping the men off.
Or maybe you could walk in and act like a lost hiker who stumbled upon their group. That might get you close enough to grab the boy and run.
So do you…
Aa1 Attempt a Distraction?
Aa2. Walk In?
Chance Encounters Option Aa1: Attempt a Distraction
You’re not sure getting close to the group is a good idea. You’ll probably just end up as another prisoner. So you decide to attempt a distraction.
But what kind of distraction? It has to be something big enough to draw the men’s complete attention.
You pull the marble like noise makers from your pocket. There are six of them, brightly colored in light blues and reds. Liam said they’d react with the water. You can’t exactly test one without the men seeing, so you decide just to trust Liam’s word.
Staying low to the ground, you move down the trail to the other side of the meadow. You basically plan to pull the men in a circle around the lake with you staying ahead of them. That way, maybe you can grab Ryan and get to Liam’s portal before they catch you. Hopefully you’re fast enough.
When you’re on the south side of the lake, you brace yourself and throw a noise maker into the water. Nothing happens. You count to ten and still nothing. Perhaps the noise maker was a dud or perhaps Liam lied but either way, you’re idea isn’t going to work without the noise, so you turn to sneak back up the trail.
Just as you turn your back, a loud boom rocks the ground. Water and blue light showers over you. If you hadn’t been turned, it probably would have blinded you.
A commotion breaks out from the men.
You take off around the lake, count to twenty and throw another noise maker into the water. You don’t wait for it to go off but instead keep moving so you’re ahead of the noise.
A boom and a flash of red light fills the air. You glance over your shoulder while the light still colors the lake to see three of the men moving your way at a speed you never thought possible.
They also don’t exactly look human but you don’t pause to consider you’re about to be facing very large wolves.
You toss another noise maker as you round the lake to head toward Ryan’s location. This time you don’t look back as it goes off and fills the air with more red light. The explosion gives you enough light to see the last two men flanking the boy by the lake. They still, thankfully, look very human.
You aim for the nearest one. When you’re about to hit him, you lower your shoulder and ram into his torso, using your momentum to lift, you toss the man onto the ground. It isn’t a pretty throw by any means but he hits with a huff of air that tells you it worked.
“Ryan, run!” you shout just as the last man reaches for him. The boy stomps on his foot and takes off ahead of you.
You throw two noise makers into the water as a distraction. When they go off, you see you’re almost to the trail again where Liam said he’d make his other portal. You’ve got to stab a tree though before he knows. Unfortunately, you’re not into the trees yet.
A growling behind you warns that you’re not moving fast enough. Trying to stretch your legs for speed, you make it to the trees just as something hits you from behind. You hit the ground hard.
Ahead of you Ryan’s still free, you see him high tailing it down the trail. A wolf, far too large to be normal, steps on your back to pin you down. The weight forces the air from your lungs but you still manage to pull the dagger from your belt. With a last heave, you stab the point into the closest tree root.
It flashes bright silver, blinding you.
Blessedly, that’s the last thing you see.
I’m sorry to say you did not survive the wolves. However, you did save Ryan before they overcame you. Liam confesses to the fair folk Queen about the whole thing and you are hailed as a hero in fairy lore forever more.
Thank you for joining in the adventure. If you’re not happy with this ending, don’t worry, the adventure will run again at a future date and you’ll have another chance to find a happier ending.
In the mean time, have a wonderful weekend.