Wednesday, February 15, 2012
A Rock, A Riddle, A Mystery by Isaac Taylor
This is a story that Isaac started a couple of years ago. I have been in suspense and dying for him to finish it ever since.
Long ago, before the Romans had settled on the Tiber, just after the beginning of time, a Salvore* (*A Salvore is a species of wingless dragons that do not blow fire.), a legendary animal that early tribes of elves had seen before they made a lair in Salvore Valley. Others followed and soon the valley was thriving with Salvores. Then they disappeared. Nobody knew what happened to them, though some say they didn't like this land and left for another one. Most elves were glad that they were gone because they thought they were ferocious meat-eaters. But one knew they were not. He wrote something on a rock that would change the lives of the tribe of elves forever. Then, decades later, in A.D. 2 a boy of eight years was found unconscious. What had happened or where he came from, the tribe didn't know. One thing was for sure. He was an elf. The boy did not know where hTe came from nor why he had left. He didn't know how he had gotten to the valley. He knew one thing for sure. That his name was Arcen.
Arcen teetered at the edge of the cliff. He looked around wildly for something to hold onto. There! He reached for a scrubby bush. Too late! With a yell, we fell. Crash! Arcen woke up with a start, then sighed with relief that the only thing he had fallen off of was his bed. Knock knock! "Coming," called Arcen. He walked over to the door and opened it "What is it?" he asked sleepily. Arán was standing there. "Are you okay?" he asked. "I'm fine," Arcen assured him, "but I don't want to go back to sleep. Want to go for a walk with me?" "Okay," said Arán. The two friends began walking towards the rope ladder that led to the ground. On the way they met up with Solcan. "What are you doing up?" asked Arcen. "I was excited about my apprenticeship tomorrow so I couldn't sleep," said Solcan. "I understand," said Arcen. "Want to come with us? We're going for a walk." "Okay," said Solcan. They walked to the ladder and climbed down. They began walking through the forest pushing through bushes and cursing when they tripped. They pushed through some bushes in a clearing and froze. For there in front of them was a centaur. It stood, looking up at the night sky. They stood there in silence for a few moments. Then, the centaur said, "welcome, I thought you might come." The three elves looked at each other. "The stars have foretold that the Romans will invade. I have come to ask you to help. Our young have frolicked in the same meadows. We have drank from the same streams. We have eaten in the same valley. So if your chief agrees, let it be that we fight the same battle." Arán (who was the tribe deputy) said, "I'll talk to Solmain. He'll probably agree." With that, the trio turned and ran to the nearest ladder and climbed up. Arán ran to Solmain's hut to tell him the news. Arcen led Solcan to his hut, then returned to his own hut to try to get some sleep.
When Arcen woke up, the first thing he thought of was the upcoming battle. He clenched his fists at the thought of those stinky, clumsy humans taking over the valley and driving everyone away. They were in for a surprise if they thought they could take the valley easily. Then, he remembered that Solcan was going to become an apprentice today. That brightened him a bit. They had always been good friends. He got out of his bed of moss and quickly put his belt on. Then, he took s sword off a hook in the wall and sheathed it. He stepped outside and was met by warm sunshine and a soft breeze. A leaf fluttered down and landed on the shoulder of his green tunic. He looked at the gap in the trees and saw a white-tailed hawk floating around lazily. A bee buzzed past. A sparrow fluttered down to grab a scrap of food that was lying there. Arcen smiled. Today would be a good one. He began walking towards the main platform. When he reached it, he found that about half the tribe had gathered. The rest were probably hunting or patrolling for Romans. Arcen found a place to stand and waited as did the rest of the tribe. Solcan waited up front. Solmain stepped out of his hut at the far side of the platform. He waited until everyone had quieted. Then, he said, "We have gathered here for a ceremony. The ceremony of a new apprentice, Solcan." Solcan stepped up. "Will you work hard to do what your mentor tells you?" "Yes." "Then kneel." Solcan did. "Your mentor, Solcan, will be Arcen." Elves began to cheer, "Solcan, Solcan, Solcan." The cheering died down and the crowd began to disperse. Solcan made his way to Arcen. Arcen put his hands on the fourteen-year-old's shoulders. "Can we start training today?" asked Solcan. "Tomorrow," said Arcen.
The next morning, Arcen walked towards the nearest rope ladder with a quiver of arrows and a bow. Solcan followed close behind. When they reached the clearing where the apprentices practiced, he gave Solcan the bow and arrow and told him to try to shoot a tree fifteen feet away and when he shot three times to step back five paces and so on. The first few times Solcan missed and Arcen had to retrieve the arrow. Then he began to do better and an hour later he was running past the tree and trying to shoot it. The whole time, Arcen was making a bow for Solcan with a large sturdy stick he had found a strip of springy animal skin. Then, he heard an "Ouch!" followed by a thump. Looking up, he saw Solcan getting up off the ground. An arrow was stuck in a hole in a tree. Arcen got up and walked over to Solcan. "What happened?" he asked. "I tripped on this rock," said Solcan, kicking a sort of large rock. "Well, come look what I made you," said Arcen. He walked over to where he had been sitting and picked up the new bow and gave it to Solcan. He looked at it and then said, "thanks!" "Go on,"said Arcen, "give it a try. I'll go remove the rock." Arcen walked over to the rock and picked it up. As he walked toward the edge of the the clearing he thought he felt grooves in the bottom of the rock. He was probably imagining it, he thought. But when he reached the edge of the clearing, he still felt them. He put it down and began feeling for the grooves. Finally, he found them. Brushing off the dirt, he peered closer. They looked like.....runes? "Solcan!" he called. "Come on! Training's over! We have to get to camp. Now." Solcan obeyed, though he wondered why Arcen has sounded so serious. As they made for the nearest ladder, Solcan said, "Um, Arcen?" "Yes?" "Where did you get that scar?" "Which one?" "The one on your cheek." "I got that about two years back in a battle with the Romans." He shuddered. "I barely survived." They walked on in silence. They were approaching a small game trail. Suddenly, a group of panicked elves ran by. "Run for your lives, it's meat-eating mist! Mayday! Mayday!" "I've got to see this one," said Arcen. He peered down the game trail. Sure enough, there was some mist with a mouth and sharp teeth. Unsheathing his sword, Arcen started toward the mist monster. When he was in range, he swung. The sword went right through it without doing any harm. "I should have thought so," Arcen muttered. The mist monster turned from gnawing on a tree. It lunged and was about to chomp down on his unprotected hand. Ker-boom!!! A fireball erupted from Arcen's hand and exploded in the mist monster, dispersing it into steam. Arcen did not see this because the force of the fireball had sent him flying into the stream that was beside the game trail. He scrambled out, spluttering and cursing. He began looking for the mist monster but all he saw was some teeth, burnt moss, and a trace of steam.
It was dark by the time Arcen had given the rock to Solmain. He told him he would decide what to do with it.
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And for those of you who speak a newer tongue. Here,
Dig into the mountains large, and ye will find a treasure worth more than gold or silver.
To be continued.........