The Ski Lodge Mystery: Part One
Deep within Terror Mountain, a young Kougra and Shoyru stood shivering, up against the dangerous slopes and ferocious winds of the uninviting Ice Caves. The Happy Valley lift was curiously broken, leaving the treacherous caverns as the only route to the top. Having passed the sleeping Snowager, the two travellers trudged through the blizzard, making their way to the top of the mountain, their despair and frustration increasing with each step.
“It’s just the Ice Caves, he said,” Jaellana mocked, “It’ll be fine, he said.”
Revan looked back and furrowed his brows trying to find her. Blowing snow and ice was all he could see, until an orange leaf came into view and the next thing he knew, a cold tail slapped him in the face.
Revan yelped, “I’m going to paint you disco when you’re sleeping. Just you wait.”
The snow Kougra grinned in response. Gazing ahead through frosted eyelashes, she managed to see an icy post guiding them to the top of the mountain. She leapt ahead and out of the tempest and collapsed under a tall fir tree.
Moments later, Jaellana’s weary vision saw a dark shadowy mass emerge from the mouth of the cave. Her heartbeat quickened and she opened her mouth to scre-
“Boo!” Revan cried, laughing as he took a seat in the snow beside her.
“Not funny, Rev,” she replied and glared at the shadow Shoyru’s baby blue eyes. She shivered and pulled her arms around her legs. The fear reminded her of the moment Revan received the fated letter in the mail…
“Maybe your father is still alive!” Jaellana exclaimed, “He could be the one who sent this invitation...”
“I would have recognized his writing, it’s not him,” he sighed. “This must be related to his disappearance. I remember the day he left he looked so worried. No one believed him - even I doubted him…” Revan cast his eyes to the ground. “Now I do. We have to go and investigate. I need your help. Jaellana, you can’t tell anyone, who knows what kind of power the person behind this has…”
Jaellana gazed up from her memories and watched Revan pour through a tattered book she had never seen before. When she saw the title, her eyes widened and she gasped.
“WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?”
Revan gave her his most innocent smile, “Oh, this old thing? I suppose I just forgot to mention it earlier…”
“Do you have any idea how valuable that book is? You know the bookshop Nimmo would sell his soul for a glimpse…” Jaellana reached over to grab it.
Revan pulled it away. “Not yet, Jae. First, let’s find somewhere to rest.”
Revan pulled an old map out of his backpack and spread it on the snow. The edges were torn and the parchment had aged to the color of burnt coffee. As Jaellana gazed around the town, most of the buildings looked the same, except for a few new shops.
“Here,” Revan said, pointing to one of the oldest buildings on the map.
“You want us to stay with her? The Snow Faerie! Have you gone mad? I’ve read all sorts of stories…” Jaellana rambled as Revan rolled his eyes.
“I need to talk to her – I think she knows something.”
He folded up the map and placed it deep into his backpack and the two friends continued on their way. ***
Dusk had set in amongst the mountaintop, lending the sky an aubergine glow as lavender snowflakes danced in the wind. With the lift broken, the town was deserted and eager shopkeepers tried to sell their wares to the weary travellers as they past. Jaellana managed to snag a Super Sour Shocker Chia Pop just before the shop closed. As she ate it, the snow around her puckered lips turned a bright magenta.
They soon came to a large, majestic igloo tucked behind the shops and the trees. Revan walked up to the front door and ran his fingers along the intricate carvings on the wood. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before and its beauty rendered him silent. Walking along the side, Jaellana could see her reflection in the icy shine of the ancient blocks, and giggled at the sight of her purple fur.
Suddenly, the front door swung open and a powerful voice ushered them inside. They rushed in like moths to a flame and a tall faerie stood with her back to them, fiddling with vials and rotting tomes.
“Let me guess, here for a healing potion? I’m surprised the Snowager even woke up at all, it’s been quiet around here lately. In any case, I’ll need…”
“I’m sorry, Taelia,” Revan interrupted, “but we aren’t here for a healing potion.”
The pale faerie angrily whipped around. Her obsidian hair shimmered with sapphire streaks and her eyes flashed with crimson in the light of the fire.
“Who dare interrupt…” Taelia started, but stopped as her eyes met Revan. Slight surprise registered on her face and Revan bowed his head.
“You must be Taryn’s boy. Your father spoke very highly of you,” she said in an empathetic tone. “What brings you here, Revan and…” Taelia motioned to the silent Kougra standing mesmerized in the doorway.
“Jaellana,” Revan replied, nudging her out of her trance. Jaellana shook and bowed her head.
Revan continued, “Taelia. I need your help. I received a letter and I think it has something to do with my father’s disappearance. Here.” He pulled the letter out of his vest and handed it to her. Taelia picked it up with long, graceful fingers and closed her eyes as she smelled the ink. A cold shiver crept up her spine as she read the words on the thick parchment:
You are invited to a private dinner party on the 14st day of Sleeping, Y16 at The Terror Mountain Ski Lodge, 5:00pm NST.
Be sure to bring the book.
“Where did you get this?”
“It came in the mail, addressed to me specifically” Revan replied. “However, the writing is not my father’s.”
“I know, because it is Mira’s - the space faerie,” Taelia sighed. Revan and Jaellana gasped. Her gaze fell to the window as she fell deep in thought. “Fyora mentioned that Mira had been missing for a few months but we all just assumed that she’d gone on some adventure. I know this is her writing, though. This is serious.”
“But I thought the Ski Lodge disappeared?” Jaellana asked.
Taelia looked at Revan and motioned for the two to take a seat at the fire.
“After the mystery was resolved in Y3, the faeries and I decided that the lodge was too dangerous to leave open to the public. The Ski Lodge isn’t an ordinary building – there are many hidden rooms, traps, and passages within those walls. While we managed to find and disable some of them – we knew that, without further guidance, we would not be able to find them all. So instead, we shrouded it with a veil of invisible mist and made it only accessible to us. It is well hidden; at least, it’s managed to stay hidden for the past decade. No one came asking about it until your father showed up a few weeks ago.”
Revan turned angrily to the window and clenched his fists.
“You should have believed him! He knew something bad was happening inside it and no one did anything!” he yelled, while warm guilty tears fell from his cheeks.
Taelia nodded solemnly. “I know, Revan. I am sorry. I will do everything in my power to help now.”
Jaellana walked over and placed her hand on Revan’s shoulder. “Rev, maybe the book can help us?”
Taelia looked intrigued, “What book?”
Revan reached into his backpack and pulled out a weathered copy of The History of The Ski Lodge V1. Taelia gasped.
“WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?”
“I asked him the same thing!” Jaellana exclaimed.
“I found it in my father’s desk in a secret drawer. Father told me before he set off on his last trip that if anything were to happen to him, to use what was in there to find him. There are a few passages I don’t quite understand, but I think he was onto something. There are pages highlighted with information about the underground lab,” Revan said.
“I wonder where he got the book from. After we hid the Ski Lodge, Fyora tried to collect a copy of each of the books. We hoped that with the books gone, curiosity and interest towards the Ski Lodge would wane and that eventually people would forget it existed altogether,” Taelia explained. She clenched her teeth as her gaze fell to the forgotten book. “I suppose it could only stay hidden for so long,” Taelia sighed. “I must go to Fyora and explain the situation. Stay here until I come back.”
Taelia walked to the door and paused for a moment. When she turned, her ancient eyes narrowed and darkened to the colour of worn steel. “Don’t open the door for anyone,” she stated, and disappeared in to the icy abyss.
The hut felt colder without Taelia’s presence. Jaellana paced around the room while Revan sat with his eyes closed. She picked up the book and read it in under a minute.
Jaellana broke the silence. “Based on everything we know, I think someone is creating something deep within the underground lab in the Ski Lodge. There’s only one person I can think of who is powerful enough to capture the space faerie…”
“Dr. Sloth,” Revan scowled.
“Well, the dinner party is two days away. We should have enough time to gather a group together to investigate.”
Suddenly, Revan and Jaellana heard a loud crash coming from the Ice Caves. They peered out the window and saw townsfolk running with torches and screaming for help. They rushed outside and caught sight of Mika, the owner of the Igloo Garage, stumbling with a shovel twice her size. Jaellana calmed him down and Revan took the shovel and proceeded towards the path.
“I can’t believe this! We were planning to leave this forsaken mountain next week for Mystery Island, and now we’re trapped!” Mika exclaimed.
“What do you mean, trapped?” Revan questioned.
“The loud crash you heard was an avalanche,” Mika explained, “The entire corridor is blocked. There is no way to get in. Or out. There is no way to get off this mountain.”
Revan and Jaellana passed worrying glances to each other. In the corner of her eye, Jaellana glimpsed a hooded figure run toward Taelia’s igloo.
To be continued…