Tales of Dark Mountain: Moonlight - Part Five
Part Five: Into Dark Mountain
Alex stared in wide-eyed amazement at the dark shape on the horizon. “We’re almost there,” he whispered.
Soria nodded excitedly, completely forgetting all rivalry with Alex. “We will have to climb out of the woods and head into the mountains to reach it, though.”
Alex’s excitement was tempered by the thought of scaling the mountains. He also fumed that if Soria wasn’t there, he and Tamack could have just flown to the mountain without her there. However, there was less hostility in his voice as there had once been when he said, “Why couldn’t we have just gone into the mountains in there first place? It would have saved us the trouble now.”
Soria snorted. “It would have been too dangerous, blockhead!” she snapped. “The mountains are perilous, and Scorgan or one of his minions could be hiding behind every rock and boulder. Along with this, there isn’t as much chance to get food or water in the Altadorian Mountain Range. Don’t you think that that’s reason enough to go through the forest first?”
Frustration flared in Alex. What frustrated him most was that Soria seemed to be right. “Fine,” he grumbled, then looked away.
Tamack sighed. “Don’t start, please! If you’re going to fight, at least let me get away first!”
A small giggle escaped Soria, and Alex couldn’t suppress a chuckle. They looked at each other, and then looked away, their laughter immediately ceasing. “You two are worse than if you were siblings!” Tamack cried in frustration, stalking off in the direction of Dark Mountain.
Soria and Alex followed silently. Alex kept his gaze firmly fixed on the dark bulk of their destination. Mingled feelings of excitement and fear pulsed through him. They were nearing their destination, but what events would occur after they reached it?
The trio made it to the foot of the mountains early the next day. It was cloudy and damp, as the day before had been. The forest was now far behind them, to be replaced with sparse moorland grass. A brook ran down from the mountains and through the plains to the forest. They had stocked up on fruit before leaving the forest behind. Before they set foot on the gray stone of the of the mountains, Tamack said, “We’d better fill up our water bottles before we enter the mountains. I don’t know how many more chances we’ll have to before we get to Dark Mountain.”
Soria and Alex murmured agreement, and obediently began filling up their water bottles some distance from each other. They had been avoiding each other since their fight the previous morning. Neither felt like causing more trouble when they were so close to reaching Dark Mountain.
Tamack took the lead as they began to head up the rocky slopes. Excitement and fear glimmered in his eyes. Alex could tell he wasn’t sure about what would happen when they reached his home.
It was midday before Tamack signaled them to stop. “This is where we enter,” he said.
Before the trio was a narrow passage way. It was only big enough for one to go through at a time. It was dark, and just barely made it above all of their heads. Soria gave it a quizzical look. “We’re going in there?”
Alex snorted. “What, you’re scared?” he taunted.
“Of course not!” Soria shot back. “But you are! I can see it in your eyes!”
Alex hesitated in his answer. In all truth, he was scared; scared of an ambush or of what this Scorgan might do after they got out of the tunnel. In the end, all he managed was, “I’m not.”
“Would you two just stop fighting?” Tamack cried, his voice echoing around the mountains. “We’re going in because this is the safest and quickest way to get to Dark Mountain! I don’t want to hear a peep out of either of you until we get through, you understand?” Soria and Alex nodded. Alex was fuming with the way that Tamack was treating them. You deserve it, some remote part of his mind said. However, he ignored the thought.
Tamack nodded in response. “Good. Now, let’s-” he broke off as a savage war cry came from the tunnel. All three peered into the darkness. The sound of approaching footsteps echoed off the tunnel’s narrow walls.
Then they came out of the tunnel. Shoyrus the colors of starry, shadow, silver, and blue poured into the open and surrounded the small group. They pointed swords and spears at the party. As Alex looked around at the Shoyrus, he noticed each had a light blue crescent moon on one of their arms. Alex’s eyes widened when he realized that they were all Lirse.
One of the Lirse stepped out of the group and stared quizzically at Alex, Tamack, and Soria. “Why are you here?” he growled, his eyes cold.
“Ral, it’s me, Tamack,” Tamack said.
The silver Shoyru snorted in disbelief. “Tamack abandoned us and fled Dark Mountain.”
Tamack took the bandage he had wrapped around his left arm. There were gasps of surprise from the watching Lirse, and confused murmuring broke out between the Lirse. One from amongst the crowd called, “Why did you come back?”
“To help,” Tamack replied.
There was a gasp of surprise from one of the Lirse. Alex saw a starry Shoyru pointing a shaky hand at him. “He’s... he’s a Lirse and a Sorsay!” she cried.
Gasps of surprise came from every Shoyru watching. Followed by that was a confused uproar. “Silence!” the Shoyru called Ral cried. He waited before the commotion calmed down before speaking again. “We will take them back to camp. One of you will take message of their arrival to Scorgan. Understand?” Murmurs of agreement rose from the Lirse. On signal, a few Lirse, Ral at their head, entered the tunnel. Alex and his companions were pushed roughly into the tunnel after them, followed by the remainder of the Lirse.
Darkness enveloped the group. They traveled silently through the tunnel. All the while questions rang through Alex’s head.
The darkness continued for what seemed like an eternity. It lasted for so long that Alex felt that they would be trapped in the dark, narrow tunnel until their deaths. Then, he saw a faint light filtering past the shapes of the Lirse. Eventually, that light got brighter and brighter, until the group emerged into the open. Alex squinted his eyes, the light hurting them after being in the darkness so long.
Before the group loomed the dark, imposing shape of Dark Mountain. It was black and very dark purple in color, and it seemed to absorb all light. Ral flicked his tail to summon one of the Lirse to the front. A blue Shoyru ran up to him. “Take the message,” he ordered. The other Shoyru nodded, and jumped into flight towards Dark Mountain. Then, Ral called to the rest of the Lirse, “Circle them! We don’t want them to escape!” The Lirse immediately obeyed.
“I seems like they’re following Scorgan pretty willingly,” Soria muttered. Alex couldn’t help but agree when he looked around at the faces of the Lirse surrounding them.
“That’s not true!” Tamack replied in defense of his friends.
“Then why didn’t they flee when they got through that tunnel?” Alex asked.
Tamack looked away. “I don’t know. None of us were allowed out of Dark Mountain before.” Then he turned back to look at Alex and Soria. “Scorgan has abilities that surpass any of ours. He might have found a way to keep them from leaving.”
Alex looked around once again at the scared faces of the Lirse. A shiver ran down his spine. Right now, he wasn’t sure what to believe, or what the future may hold in store.
The red Draik Scorgan stood in a cave deep within Dark Mountain. He stared up at the roof of the cave, eyes glinting with a cold light.
Just then, a quiet thump interrupted his thoughts. He turned around to see a blue Shoyru standing before him. She bowed slightly, her body shaking. He growled angrily. “What do you want, scum?” he asked.
The Shoyru’s body shook in fear as she said, “I... I have brought news to you from Ral. Tamack, the Shoyru that escaped from Dark Mountain, had returned.”
“What?” screeched Scorgan. Anger flared in his eyes. “That dirty little sneak who got past my forces is back? Why would he come back when he had his freedom?”
“He said he came back to help,” the Shoyru said quietly. “He also brought some others with him.”
“Who were these others?” Scorgan growled.
The Shoyru gulped. “One was a yellow Kougra,” she said. She shivered before adding, “The other was a blue Shoyru, who was both a Lirse... and a Sorsay.”
“Impossible!” Scorgan roared. However, not long after the word left his mouth, he knew he was wrong. There was a legend of a Shoyru who was once both Lirse and Sorsay. This Shoyru stopped a threat to both Lirse and Sorsay, causing peace to come to the Lirse and Sorsay until only one hundred years back. However, the legend had faded from most memory. Anger against the Lirse and Sorsay rose once again in the Draik’s heart. That legend was part of the reason he was here.
He turned back to the Shoyru, sparks of anger in his eyes. “Keep a watch on them, for the moment. I’ll take care of them when I decide their punishment.” There was a pause, before he added, “Keep a closer eye on the blue Shoyru more than anyone else. Put him someplace where he can't escape.”
“Take them to the prison,” Ral ordered the Lirse. The one he had sent with a message to Scorgan had just returned, telling him that Alex, Tamack, and Soria were to be watched carefully, and to be put where they couldn't escape.
“Ral, why are you doing this?” Tamack cried. His eyes glowed with the betrayal he was feeling. “We want to help you be free of Scorgan!”
Genuine regret glimmered in Ral’s eyes. “Scorgan has only gotten worse since you escaped. I have no choice.”
“Then why couldn’t you just escape when you go through the tunnel?” Soria asked, voicing the question that was on all of their minds.
Ral looked sadly at the trio being hauled off towards the dungeons. “That’s because we can’t.”
To be continued...