Monday, July 30, 2012

Chapter Twelve (Tim)

The dragon stared us down.  I noticed that it was missing one of its horns.  It didn’t look like the dragon was willing to let us get away a second (or maybe third?) time.  Without warning, it dived down at us.  Heather shouted “Fiba!”

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chapter Eleven (Heather)

Note: Heather and I have switched to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. To read the previous chapter, click here.

As I followed Tim into the passage, I sized up the situation.  We were looking for a gem and some metal to finish a contraption that might get us to Renolia before the Crusher of Worlds destroyed it.  Given that gemstones were expensive and the metal we needed might not even exist, our search seemed about as easy as the proverbial grass-filled hunt for sewing implements.

Tim and I exited the passage near a grassy knoll.  There were a couple of large trees at the foot of the knoll and, beyond them, the edge of a cliff.  The only sound was the wind.  Tim and I both stepped forward to get a peek at the cliff.  Upon realizing that the bottom was shrouded in mist, I quickly retreated to the safety of the grassy knoll.  I sat down and tried not to think about the heights.  Tim lingered a moment longer before returning to the knoll and looking around.  I looked up at him.  “Something tells me we’re not going to find any gemstones or metal here.  Shall we move on?”

Tim shook his head.  “This is the first place we’ve been since we left Earth that the environment or something in it wasn’t trying to kill us.  It’s the perfect place for magic lessons.”

I raised an eyebrow at him.  “Now?  I thought we were in a hurry to finish this contraption of yours.”  I suddenly realized what I said.  “Not that I’m arguing.  If you want to teach me magic, I’m all in.  I’m just surprised, is all.”

“If the worlds we’ve been to so far are any indication, we won’t survive long enough to complete it without using magic.  Gems are generally well guarded, and we may have to resort to some sort of alchemy to make the metal.”

I got up.  “Alright, where do we start?”  If Tim was serious about teaching me magic, I wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass by.

Tim knelt down and started writing numbers in a nearby dust patch. “You have thirty seconds to look at these.”

I glanced at the set, trying to commit them to memory.  All too soon, Tim erased them with his foot.  “What’s this for?” I asked.

“I’ll tell you in a bit.  First, it’s time for you to learn about the history of magic.”

Tim started talking.  I listened at first, but after the first half-hour the names and dates began to blur.  Stuff about the first discovery of magic, the development of different types of magic, the origins of the magic spell language, on and on.  It was plenty interesting, but there was so much of it.  My head felt like it was going to explode.  Tim must have noticed my eyes glaze over because he finally stopped.  “Alright, that’s long enough.  Repeat the numbers I wrote down.”

I blinked at him.  Numbers?  I tried to recall, but only managed to remember the first four.  The rest swam somewhere between the history lecture and my initial excitement for magic lessons.  “4, 7, 5, . . . um . . . 9?  I can’t remember any more.”

“Those are the first four, yes.  Not bad.  When Theo did that to me, I only got the first three.”

I sighed.  “My memory is out of practice.  If you’d have asked me the year I got my Timothy Award in Awana, I’d have remembered twice as many.  But what was that for, anyhow?”

“That was the thirty/thirty test.  You write down the first nine numbers in a random order and give the person thirty seconds to memorize them.  Then you distract them for thirty minutes with lots of dates or other numbers and then ask them to repeat it.  If they remember three or more, they’re good enough at memorizing to be a magic user.  If not, there’s not much point in teaching them.  You passed, so... ready for a real magic lesson?”

I grinned.  “You bet!”

Magic lessons commenced.  We practiced various defense spells until I was tired, then sat under a tree to rest while Tim quizzed me on lists of magic words and answered my endless questions.  Hours turned into days as we spent the better part of a week practicing and reviewing the fundamentals of magic usage.  As my repertoire of spells and defenses grew, I felt less and less confident.  Tim said I had potential, but what good was potential if we ever did find the Crusher of Worlds?  Obviously he was a powerful magician to have crushed entire civilizations.  At least I was with Tim.  Surely he’d come up with some brilliant plan when the time came.

Tim eventually called the lessons to a halt.  “I think we’ve spent enough time training.  There’s plenty more for you to learn, but we don’t have time for anything but the basics.”

I nodded.  “We probably should get back to building the Tunneler before anything happens.  What did we still need, a gemstone and some metal?  And we should probably take this hunk of dragon horn back to the secret lab place.  I’m tired of carrying it around in my pocket.”

“I guess we can.  But after that, back to searching.”

Tim pulled the pendant out of his pocket and located the passage back to the ruined world with the dragons.  As we stepped into the passage, I noticed a familiar yet eerie change in scenery.  The silent, between-world twilight appeared, with the dragon world nowhere in sight.  I glanced around, looking for the Gatekeeper.  

“It’s been a long time.”  The Gatekeeper materialized out of the dusk, seeming disapproving.  “The Crusher of Worlds is still at large.  Why do you not make haste?”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chapter Ten (Tim)

“What do you mean, ‘our ticket to Renolia’?  What’s this contraption got to do with Renolia?”  As she often did, Heather looked at me with a confused look on her face.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chapter Nine (Heather)

The temperature dropped suddenly.  I pulled my cloak closer around me as snow began to blow in my face.  For a moment, I almost looked back at the warm rainforest we had just come from, but memories of carnivorous dinosaurs kept me moving forward.  Snow was better than becoming a dino snack any day.  Or dragon snack, for that matter.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chapter Eight (Tim)

Heather and I surveyed our surroundings.  Just as the amulet showed, we were in some sort of rainforest.  We were in a particularly dense part of the forest, so we pushed through the flora until we reached a clearing.  There was a lake in front of us.  The planet’s star was directly overhead.  Heather said “Who turned the lights on?  Wasn’t it night time just a moment ago?”

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chapter Seven Part 2 (Still Heather)

I sat at the table in our cell, poking at the meal the guard had served us.  My appetite had left me after the hours of questioning.  I glanced irritably across the room at Tim, who was sitting on one of the beds.  He appeared lost in thought as he picked at the fuzz on the blanket.  Finally, I could stand it no longer.  “I told you to stay off the grass,” I muttered.  “There was a sign right there and everything.  You should have listened to me.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chapter Seven (Heather)

Our “hearts’ desires”, huh?  Tim sure was quick to jump on that.  

I mused on the situation as I made my way through the world-wood for the third time.  The word Renolia floated through my mind in search of something to connect to.  I pushed it away irritably, choosing instead to focus on the Gatekeeper and his promise.  Who was that guy?  And what did he know about what my heart desired?  Shoot, most days I wasn’t 100% sure.  The memory of that toy dog in the ash heap surfaced again and I began to tear up at the thought of it.  At the moment, I wanted nothing more than justice for that destroyed neighborhood.  And if that meant confronting some so-called “Crusher of Worlds”, so be it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chapter Six (Tim)

“Yeah, no thanks,” said Heather, clearly fed up with adventure.  She left the passage and I followed.  Later on I opened a restaurant themed after otherworldly meals.  Heather was the waitress.  We never left Earth again.  

Yeah right.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chapter Five (Heather)

I followed Tim into the passage.  “Just no more dragons, that’s all I ask,” I muttered as we stepped through.  “And no Shelob-sized spiders, either.  Anything else, I’m up for.”  I glanced down, careful not to tread on the hem of Tim’s cloak in front of me.  The ground was becoming rocky underfoot.  I pushed my own cloak back over my shoulder as the air grew suddenly stifling.  Like an oven.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chapter Four (Tim)

At the time, I was glad Heather fell for it.  I wasn’t planning on guiding her any time soon.  But what she said got me thinking.  What if we could find another way to Renolia?  I hadn’t been there since I was “born.”  Even though I never really knew them, I really missed Catherine and Theo.  Especially Catherine.  I could stand to not see Theo.