Crossed Paths and Blades: Part Seven
Garin walked around two large stone pillars, searching for the one that they needed, all the while trying to keep his eye on Hannah, but there were so many pillars it was a bit hard to see her.
“Sheesh...” he muttered, glancing at one of the pillars that went up into the darkness. He turned around, and then almost immediately heard a loud crunch noise under his feet. He stopped and looked down, spying a bone underneath his foot, and another one close by. He grimaced and looked back up, and then nearly gasped in disgust.
He found a column, not mad of stone... but of bones and skulls. Garin gulped and bit his lip before turning away from the sight and looking over at Hannah and Scarblade.
“I think I found it!” he shouted, his voice echoing. Hannah looked up and ran over, with Scarblade right behind her, but she stopped and gasped once the pillar appeared out of the dark.
“By Fyora...” she gasped, and Garin shrugged.
“Well, it's not made by nature,” he said.
“So now what?” Scarblade asked impatiently. Hannah shook her head to snap herself out of it and looked back at the map.
“It's thirty-four paces East, right?” Garin asked.
“Yeah. We need a compass!” Hannah said, turning to look at the company of pirates. Benny reached into his pocket and produced one, holding it out to her, and she took it. Garin held his torch up higher so she could see the needle of the compass better.
“Alright, it's this way,” she said, pointing to her left and at a long tunnel just ahead of them. Garin nodded and turned his back to the pillar.
“Okay... One.” He took a step forward, listening as Hannah counted with him, keeping track of the counting. Garin looked back ahead.
“Two... Three... Four... Five...” he continued to count silently for a moment, but Hannah continued aloud.
“Six... Seven... Eight... Nine...” she said, then glanced back at the map for a moment.
“Ten... Eleven... Twelve...”
“Fifteen...” Garin counted.
“Sixteen...” Hannah counted after him.
“Seventeen... Eighteen... Nine- WHOA!!!” Garin jumped back as his foot nearly slipped over the edge of a cliff. Hannah grabbed his arm in shock and looked down.
There was a large, seemingly endless drop beneath them. Garin raised his torch higher to see across as Scarblade and his crew came up behind them. Scarblade looked at them, confused, and Hannah and Garin looked at each other.
“I don’t get it,” Hannah said. “Maybe you miscounted, or read the map wrong.”
“No, I read it right. And you were counting with me,” Garin said back.
“But that would mean the other fifteen paces are out THERE!” Hannah said, pointing out over the ravine.
“Or...” Garin said with thought. He looked at Hannah, and then looked down. “Or down THERE.”
Hannah blinked at Garin then looked down after him, finding the flat side of the cliff heading down into darkness. She looked at him, somewhat skeptical.
“You’re not serious?” she asked, but he only nodded and turned to Scarblade.
“We need some rope,” he said. Scarblade nodded and turned to some of his crew, who came forward with two long coils of rope. They tied them off to a sturdy looking stalagmite that stuck up from the ground, then threw the other ends down over the cliff. Garin traded his torch for one of the lanterns carried by Scarblade’s crew as he tested the knot they had tied.
“What’s the map say, Hannah?” he asked.
“Well, after the thing about the pillar and paces it says... ‘Take a chance towards the dubloons, the key to your fortunes, whether you win or lose’,” she read aloud. Garin cocked his head in confusion.
“A riddle?” he asked as he stretched the rope to start climbing down, helping Hannah get a grip as she did.
“I guess so...” she said, laying the map on the ground, and then Scarblade picked it up.
“We’ll wait up here,” Scarblade said. “At least until you find something.” Hannah glowered up at Scarblade.
“No tricks, Scarblade...” she hissed. Scarblade smirked and gave a slight salute and Garin sighed in irritation, then counted the next number in the sequence they needed as he lowered himself down. Hannah followed, counting with him.
Soon, as Garin reached number thirty-four, his foot hit rock bottom. He looked up at Hannah, then held out his lantern, to find that the cliff lead straight down into a hole-like chasm. He grinned and let go of his rope and looked around, with Hannah right beside him.
“I don’t see any treasure...” he said, a bit confused and worried. Hannah bit her lip in concern, then spotted a large chest made out of stone.
“There!” she said while pointing, and rushed over to it. Garin followed and knelt beside the chest, setting down his lantern.
“Locked... But I bet I know the combination!” he said with a smirk and drew his dagger. Hannah smiled and Garin drove the blade into the seal, then cut straight across both ways in order to break it open. There was a loud cracking sound, but then a loud ‘pop’! Hannah sighed with excitement and helped Garin to lift off the lid with a loud creaking, then a thud. Garin lifted his lantern again and peered into the chest with her.
There was a pause, then he spoke again.
“That’s a big key...” he said, staring at the large, bronze key that was about as long as his tail. Hannah nodded in agreement, then gasped and snapped her fingers.
“Of course! Key to your fortunes! This must be the key to open up where Frigget’s treasure is!” she exclaimed.
“Well, then it must be one huge lock!” Garin cracked wisely, and Hannah laughed.
“What’s down there?” Scarblade called down. Hannah looked up.
“It’s a key!” she hollered up. “It must open up to where Frigget’s loot is!”
“Well, bring it up!” Scarblade hollered back. Garin reached in and tried to lift it.
“It's too heavy to carry up ourselves... you’ll have to haul it up and send the ropes back down for us!” he shouted. “Hannah, give me a hand!”
Hannah nodded and helped Garin lift the key out and over to the ropes. She tied one end to one rope, and Garin did the same with the other end of the key. He tested the knots, then tugged on the rope.
“Okay, bring it up!” he called up. Scarblade nodded and waved a hand to his men, who started hauling it up... and Garin caught a cruel sneer on Scarblade’s face as he looked down at them.
“Well done,” he said.
“Okay, now send the ropes back!” Hannah insisted. Scarblade laughed.
“What for? I have the map and the key now, what do I need the two of you for?” he asked mockingly. Hannah’s mouth flew open and she gaped. Garin felt his blood boil and his teeth grit together.
“You... You wretch! You’re just gonna leave us here?!” Hannah yelled, and Scarblade laughed again.
“It certainly saves me gettin’ my hands dirty, doesn’t it?” he asked, then turned to his crew. “Alright, you bilge rats, pick up that key and make for Frigget’s treasure!”
Within a few moments, the lights from above vanished and it started to go silent. Garin growled aloud and ran at the wall, attempting to jump up and climb it, drawing his dagger and driving it into the side with an angry shout.
“Come back here, you yellow livered coward! Come back here and fight!!” he shouted. “Are you listening to me?!”
Garin growled openly in aggravation and slashed his dagger at the wall, creating a deep gash, and then he sighed, calming himself as Hannah sat down on the ground heavily. Garin looked at her.
“Well, don’t just sit there. Let's try and find a way out!” he snapped.
“There IS no way out, Garin!” Hannah snapped back. “The walls are absolutely smooth, and it’s too high to jump! We’re TRAPPED!”
Garin growled in frustration and grabbed his hair, sitting against the wall with a sigh. He leaned his head back and sheathed his dagger, the only light illuminating the pit the small lantern he had brought down. He sighed again and blew some of his hair out of his face, then looked at Hannah. He felt a bit bad for snapping at her so rudely, knowing he had lost his temper because of Scarblade. He bit his lip, looked at the ground, then looked up at Hannah again.
“Well... It isn’t all bad,” he said, and she looked at him. “We’re still alive, aren’t we?” Hannah thought for a moment, and a small smile appeared on her face. She stood up and walked over to Garin and sat beside him.
“Yeah...” she said. “That is a fair point... So there’s still a chance, isn’t there?”
“Exactly,” Garin said with a nod. “As long as we’re still breathing, then there’s still a chance that we can get out of this. It’ll probably just take awhile...” Hannah nodded and rubbed her arms, letting out a shaky sigh. Garin looked at her and cocked his head to one side.
“Are you cold?” he asked.
“A little bit...” she replied. “Bit tired too...” Garin blinked and paused for a moment.
“You can lean on me if you’d like to get some rest,” he offered. Hannah looked at him, but smiled and shook her head.
“Thanks, but I’ll be okay,” she replied. Garin smiled.
WHOP! “Ouch!” Garin yelped and grabbed the top of his head. Hannah jumped from being started, and Garin grabbed hold of what had fallen on his head.
The end of a rope.
“Well, are you two gonna stay down there or would you like a lift?”
Garin and Hannah looked up...
To be continued...