This is the third chapter of the fantasy trilogy “The Lumin Prophecies” by Andrew Ryan Henke. Check back each Friday for the next chapter. If you would like to purchase the full book and not wait, it can be purchased here for $6.99: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AR1I724?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
Also check out the epic RPG video game made by Andrew Ryan Henke atwww.einlanzergame.com
Three destinies entwined
Noir woke up to a hand gently pushing on his shoulder. “Wake up kiddo. You overslept. It’ll just get hotter the farther into the day we go. Come on.” Stephen shook Noir one last time then left the room.
Noir sighed and reluctantly opened his eyes. “He seems awfully excited about this,” Noir thought. He sat up in bed, gave a huge stretch, and massaged his tender leg.
Noir threw off the blankets and swung his feet off the edge of the bed. As always, his leg felt stiff when he first woke up. He stepped down gently, limped over to his suitcase in the corner of the guest room, pulled out his toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and soap, and headed for the bathroom.
After Noir was all ready, he headed downstairs. All of the adults and little Casey were cleaning up a nice egg, sausage, and pancake breakfast. They all greeted him and called him “lazy head” and other playful names. Then Cindy handed him a plate of food. “It may be a little cold, but feel free to put it in the microwave if you want.” Noir didn’t really care that much, so he sat down, poured an abundance of syrup on his pancakes, and dug in. He had, of course, noticed the absence of Aimee.
“So I hear you and your uncle are going fishing after breakfast,” Noir’s mom said. “You be careful. Don’t go hiking near the mountains. We don’t want anything to happen like last time.”
Noir did not meet her gaze. “Yeah, sure mom.”
“Okay. I just worry about you. Have fun! Catch a big one!”
Noir turned to Uncle Steven who was washing dishes. He gave Noir a grin and a wink, then turned back to what he was doing. “He’s really acting weirdly excited about this,” Noir thought again. “Knowing Uncle Steven, he probably wants to study it and stuff for hours. But I guess I’m just as drawn to it as he is.”
Noir finished up his breakfast and put the plates into the sink. He then went and gave a hug and said goodbye to everyone. Aimee was still nowhere to be found. He opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch. It was a bright, clear day and Spring was returning warmth to the mornings. Uncle Steven came out of the door behind him and picked up two fishing poles that were propped on the wall beside the door. “These,” he motioned to the rods, “are just to keep our story believable.” He grinned. “You ready, kiddo?”
“Yeah.” They both stepped down off of the porch and headed for the back of the house where Steven’s jeep was parked. “I am excited to see what you think about the cave.”
“So you and Aimee are the only ones that know about what’s in it?”
“Yeah, as far as I know.”
Just as they were about to come around the back corner of the house, Uncle Steven stopped in his tracks. He was patting his pockets. “Ah shoot. I don’t know where my keys are. I’ll have to run back inside. Wait here.” He turned to go back but stopped as he heard the Jeep’s engine. It rolled alongside them kicking up dust and came to a stop. Aimee looked flatly at them both through the open windows.
Steven said, “I thought you weren’t coming, Aimee.”
She rolled her eyes and said, “You two losers will probably get lost trying to find it.” She paused and looked at her hands on the steering wheel. “Plus I thought about it all night. I… I have to see it again.”
As the jeep bounced on the rough dirt road, Uncle Steven was ranting on and on about the cave. He talked about what it could be, what it could mean, how much money they might make from finding it, etc. Aimee just stared forward lost in her own thoughts. Noir bounced in the back seat answering any questions that Steven had for him.
“Also, guys,” Steven said to both, “As you know I can get a bit claustrophobic. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go in the cave.”
Noir responded, “I thought your claustrophobia wasn’t that bad.”
“Some days are better than others. We’ll see how it is when we get there.”
Aimee slowed the jeep down and pulled off the road onto the shoulder which threw dust into the air behind them. “This is as close as we can get by road.” Noir looked up at the large hill that was Medicine Mountain. The sight was very familiar and it brought back strong memories.
Noir continued to sit in the Jeep daydreaming. “Come on, slowpoke!” said Steven. Noir snapped out of it and hopped out of the Jeep.
The place where they had found the cave was on the western side of the hill and they were coming from the East. The three of them started up the side of the hill so they could reach the other side. They marched on for about a half hour. Noir kept up well even with his damaged leg. As they got farther, Aimee started slowing down. Noir encouraged her on even though she didn’t seem tired. At one point, they had to stop and wait for her to catch up. “Come on Aimee. We’re almost there.” Steven was further on ahead, yelling back asking where the cave was.
Aimee stopped when she got close to Noir and said, “I’m not so sure about this now that I’m actually here.”
“I don’t know. I just… This place has bad memories, you know? I don’t know how I’ll feel when I see….” She trailed off.
“Aimee. It’s alright. You can stay here if you want. I’m glad you came this far. Just wait here and we’ll come back soon. I’ll make sure your dad doesn’t take too long.” Noir continued on toward Steven. “Just make sure you yell if you see a snake or anything.”
Aimee sat down on a rock. “Yeah… okay.”
Noir limped as quickly as he could until he had caught up with Steven. “We should be close now,” he said, out of breath.
“You said there’s an old dead tree by it?”
“Yeah. With white bark.”
Steven rubbed his chin, as if to think and said, “Well that was a year ago. I hope it’s still there.” They continued on and Noir finally saw the old, white, dying tree. He stopped when he saw it. He understood how Aimee felt now. The idea of going back to the place was fine, but once he got there….
“You alright, kiddo?” Steven had stopped and turned around to look at his nephew.
“I’m not sure. It’s kind of hard now that I’m here.”
“I understand. You went through a really hard thing here. I would understand if you want to go back and stay with Aimee. But I would like for you to go in if I can’t.” He added as an afterthought, “If it looks safe, of course.”
Noir stood up straighter. “I came all this way. I’ve been waiting for a year. I’m going to go see that cave.”
Steven smiled. “All right then. That’s the spirit. Let’s go.” The two of them climbed the rest of the way to the dead tree. The cave that Noir had seen before was still there, opened more from when the rocks had moved a year earlier. At that moment, the cave was just a dark shadow among the large loose rocks. They were on the western side of the mountain and it was morning. Back when Noir was trapped beneath the rock, the sun was setting, so it lit up the cave.
They took their time and tested every one of the rocks that they stepped on. None shifted under their feet this time. They came upon the cave’s opening and memories flooded back to Noir. He saw the large rock that had mangled his leg and the place that his body had laid, pinned for an hour. Once they reached the opening, he realized he didn’t want to look directly at the spot where he had laid. The reality of how close he had come to death in that exact spot was unnerving. Instead Noir focused on the opening of the cave.
“Well, you can’t really see inside at all. Luckily your smart old uncle planned for this.” He pulled out a large flashlight and displayed it for Noir.
Steven crouched down and shined the flashlight in. He looked for a moment and said, “You’re right! There they are, just like you said! I see the stone stairs going down, and there are the drawings on the wall.” Suddenly, he stood up quickly. He looked a bit pale. “Yeah, I don’t think I can do this.” He looked away quickly toward the sky and grimaced.
“So it’s up to me,” Noir stated. The opening was small, but he thought he could probably fit. “That figures,” he thought to himself. “I should have known it would be like this. This cave was meant for me to be in it. It’s been calling me for a year. Of course it’s me who should go.” He sighed and motioned for his uncle to hand him the flashlight.
Steven hesitated. “I hope I’m not sending you into danger. If you see or hear anything strange, I’ll be right here.” He handed Noir the light and also the camera. “Take some for the newspapers, kiddo.”
Noir sat down and put his legs into the opening of the cave. He then scooted forward feeling for the floor. He scooted all the way to where only his chest and arms were remaining outside of the cave before he felt solid ground beneath him. Then he turned on the flashlight, and said, “Wish me luck,” and ducked into the cave.
Noir shined the flashlight around the cave chamber. It was about eight feet high and maybe five wide. He saw the worn stone stairs leading down as before. Memories sprang up at the sight and he felt a dull ache in his leg reminding him of what had happened.
He shined the light at the carvings on the walls. There were pictures etched and painted into the wall. Noir had memorized the one spot on the wall that he had been pinned looking at a year ago, but now he could fill out the rest of the picture. The drawings showed many figures like men in what looked like a battle. A winged angelic figure rose above them. On the next line down, two creatures that looked like dragons seemed locked in combat. Another showed tall towers of a castle or fortress of some kind. The drawings went on and on. Also, he could make out a few English words here and there. Most of it was lost to weathering and time, though. Again Noir wondered how English words could be that old in America. English speakin people had only been on this continent for a few hundred years.
“Noir.” His uncle’s voice called from above. “What do you see?”
“Well, pretty much like I told you. There are lots of wall carvings. And some words, but I can only make a few of them out.”
“Take a few pics then go down the stairs. Just be careful.” Noir pulled the camera out of his pocket and squeezed off four pictures of the carved walls. He tried to capture all of the writing and pictures. Then he turned toward the stone stairs. They curved down beneath the wall of the chamber. He would have to go down them to see where they led.
“Alright. Going down,” Noir called back to his uncle. He walked to the top step and started down the stairs. The walls of the staircase were blank, weathered rock. He slowly continued downwards and they turned 180 degrees. As he went, the ceiling closed over him and the small amount of light from the cave’s opening faded. He only had the light of the flashlight to see with.
Noir pointed the light on each stair for proper footing. Finally, the last step dropped to a flat stony floor. He pointed the light up in front of him and gasped. A large, grey door stood before him covered with carvings much more clear than the ones above. Ornate wing designs with sharp feathers wrapped around the design of the door. A spherical rock that looked like polished marble was at the center. The designs danced round it. He pointed the flashlight up to the stone above the door and gasped. He fell backward onto the stairs with shock.
There was his name above the door, written perfectly. It looked just as old as all of the other carvings in the upper room. He stared at it in disbelief for a long time. This was impossible!
Steven’s voice echoed from above, “You alright?”
His voice startled Noir out of his shock. As he called back, he lowered the flashlight away from the door. “Fine! You’ll have to come in here later, uncle! It’s amazing!”
With the beam from his flashlight now above the door, he noticed an odd light emanating from somewhere on the door. He turned off the light and darkness filled the room except for a very pale, bluish glow. The light was coming from that spherical marble stone in the middle of the door. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, the blue glow became more apparent.
Noir was just about to call out again to his uncle and tell him what he had found when he felt an indescribable feeling. It was like a throb within him. He could not tell if it came from him or something else, but it happened again a moment later. The pulses felt strangely warm in the core of his being. For a moment, if felt like there was something within him that he had never been aware of before. He looked up at the blue orb again.
“What is this feeling,” Noir said to himself. “That stone in the door…. What in the world?” Another throb passed through his body and it made him shudder. “What is happening to me?”
As he said those words, another throb, bigger than the others, went through him. It felt as though the energy went from him into the door. The marble in the door suddenly glowed brightly, filling the cave with blue light. Then the door parted; the top half went up, and the bottom half went down. They moved slowly with a loud grating noise. Noir stood in awe as the door revealed the chamber beyond.
It was a sharp contrast to the rocky, aged walls of the cave. The chamber was a circular room with spiral patterns carved in the smooth floor and ceiling. He could not tell what the room was made of; it looked to be a reflective marble or metal. From somewhere inside, gently falling water could be heard. The walls were in shadows so the actual size of the room was hard to tell. In the center was a chest-high pillar with beautifully intertwined pieces of metal that held a slightly glowing white orb. It filled the center of the room with purple light. The orb had a gray cloudy texture to it that swirled and danced around the outside. It cast shadows around the room that danced in slow, random patterns.
Noir could not help but step forward into the chamber. The floor felt slick under his sneakers. He slowly approached the pedestal in the center of the chamber. Another throb went through his body, and in response, the purple light in the room increased for a moment. “This throbbing feeling and the object must be connected somehow,” Noir thought. His own braveness surprised him as he walked up to the orb and tentatively brought his hands toward it. His hands cast dark shadows about the room.
Noir felt another throb start inside of him. This time, he grasped at it internally. He could not describe how he was doing it, but he had the surge of internal power harnessed. It felt warm inside his gut and grew rapidly more intense. It felt like it would burst if he did not do something with it. Without knowing what he was doing, Noir looked deeply into the orb, grabbed it with both of his hands, and forced the power into it.
The orb suddenly blazed with blinding light. He turned his eyes downwards and withdrew his hands. At that same moment, a ring of purple energy rushed down the pedestal from the orb. It hit the ground with a low, earth shattering thud. Noir took a frantic step back when he saw the ring of energy skidding across the ground away from the place where it hit. In an instant it rushed out under his feet, throwing him into the air and away from the center of the room. Everything went black as he landed and skid across the floor.