Storygames Home City of IF
Free online storygaming
 

Chapter 10: Sacrifice
Click here to go to the original topic

 
       Storygames Home -> Elvendor
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
JezSharp



Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 592
Location: The middle of anywhere...

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:01 am    Post subject:  

Chapter 10: Sacrifice

"Uncloak," whispered Elvendor.

"What?" muttered Simeon grumpily, "but I just put it u...oh very well." The shield dropped from them causing the Krantle to stiffen. It's pitch black, glossy, shield shaped eyes fixated on them - unblinking and cold. Silence permeated the soft rock walls and hung about the passage, reluctant to leave the tense standoff. Elvendor took a step forward, whispering to the others,

"Drop your weapons, we are here to broker a deal for peace not start a war - we can use them in an emergency." Then he crouched down level with the creature waiting for it to speak,

The Krantle looked confused, a clacking noise tapped out across the silent tunnel, varying slightly in pitch and tempo. Elvendor found to some surprise that he couldn't understand what it was trying to say. He could, however, gain a reasonable idea of what it meant from its tone and stance - a skill that elves have possessed and treasured over the centuries. As the clacking abruptly ceased, Elvendor started to talk in a soft tone. What he said wasn't important, only the tone and motions he made.

Progress was slow but the insect seemed quite intelligent, it wasn't long before Elvendor was able to give the reason for their being there. It was now though that the insect espied Mike and a small hiss seemed to escape its mouth before its abdomen began to shake viciously from side to side. The noise was similar to that of a wave breaking upon the shore again and again, roaring and crashing throughout the tunnels. Elvendor shrugged and slowly returned to the others.

"Well?" whispered Alex, "what was said?"

"Not much," Elvendor replied, "I don't think the sight of a leprechaun made it exactly happy though. I suggest we all sit down with our hands on our heads to show we mean no harm." Simeon whispered what Elvendor had said to Mike, then slowly all four did this, grouping themselves in a semi circle facing down the main tunnel. From it came much rustling, shadowed heads emerging from side corridors, more bodies coming into view in the distance.

Only Elvendor could see them in the pitch black darkness though, the others sat waiting anxiously as hundreds of legs scrabbled against the rocky walls. More and more came, scuttling along the sides of the walls and hanging upside down from the roof, surrounding the group.

Elvendor watched with eagle eyes the bustling events that were being played out before him, glad that he wasn't completely in the dark, as the others were. Occasionally Alex would ask what was happening in a hushed whisper and Elvendor, sitting on the left side of the four, filled him in. Alex in turn passed on the message to Simeon who passed it on again to Mike.

The crowds ahead parted reluctantly as a larger Krantle moved through, this one coming to within a foot of the group, close enough for the others to see. Out of the gloom a large claw extended and lightly grasped Elvendor's right shoulder, gently pulling the elf to his feet. Then with the rigid bony pincers guiding his movement, Elvendor was propelled round the Krantle and shepherded away from the others down the main tunnel, brushing past the smooth shell like bodies. Elvendor's view of the others was obscured by the claws and face of the Krantle moving behind him, one claw still lightly grasping his shoulder, propelling him forward. Soon the hordes fell away as they ploughed deeper into the tunnels. Occasionally a group of Krantles' scurried by carrying grubs and fruits deeper in, working hard to build up their supplies before the cold Winter months drew in.

As they walked Elvendor wondered that such a place could exist beneath the elven lands. The places and people he knew were probably right overhead...so near and yet so far, seperated by hundreds of feet of rock. Elvendor felt loneliness grip him within, far more profoundly than the temporary stabs of fear had managed before, causing him to almost stumble. Wave after wave washed upon him, bringing pictures of his father working at home alone, the sights and sounds of his home glade and the sunlight streaming out amongst the trees to form pools of golden light beneath. The thoughts numbed him, bringing tears to his eyes that he angrily blinked away. Then like the tides upon a shore, the feelings of lonliness slowly ebbed away. Elvendor managed to regain control over his emotions, suppressing them deep down, allowing him to think more constructively about the journey he was on.

It irritates me, this Jade...what can it be, a stone containing great power...or a person...if it's a person why should the threat be within...an evil heart...? Is The Jade linked to the destroyer the leprechauns talk of or is that all myth or something separate altogether? Did my parents find it...what happened, is that how my mother died?... Elvendor struggled to fight back another wave of loss from stealing over his slim frame. As he struggled against it his thoughts were brought back to the present, they had rounded a bend looking out over a huge spherical cavern. The floor dropped away below and rose up high above - the far side was hard to make out, even for Elvendor's eyesight, in the gloomy darkness. Black holes showed the openings that lay dotted haphazardly across the sphere. Krantle continuously scuttled across the dusty red walls under the cover of the ever present darkness.


He now found himself being lifted up by the Krantle, who's rigid claws dug in even harder, causing him to wince in pain. Then they set off, the Krantle rising slowly up towards the top point of the sphere, its legs deftly moving and somehow seeming to defy gravity itself. He found himself jerked about on the insects back, trying not too look anywhere in particular, trying not to throw up.

Just as he thought that he could no longer endure the sickly feeling of being suspended by a claw, above such a vast drop into the dark depths beneath, the Krantle crawled up within a large circular hole that ringed the top of the sphere. It emerged into another spaciously comfortable room, shaped as a great hall. It was rectangular with a flat roof, well above Elvendor's head. As they stepped from the hole, Elvendor was put down onto the ground and after a couple of seconds spent recovering from the ordeal of getting there he looked about him in more detail.

Stretching down the hall stood two rows of fifty large Krantle, their claws waving slightly in anticipation of menace posed. At the end of them, three times their size, lay the queen of the colony. Slowly she rose to her six feet as Elvendor was led down the line towards her, despite her size he wasn't too afraid, he knew what he had to do. When he had been led to within about ten feet of the queen he was stopped. A loud clicking noise from the queen sent Elvendor's guide scuttling away to join the massed ranks of guards behind. Then she let out another set of clicks in what Elvendor perceived to be a questioning tone. Boldly Elvendor began the painfully long task of explaining their mission to her through tone and mime.

* * *

Time always passes slower when there is little to do, it seemed that it was many days if not weeks later when footsteps broke the sporadic clicking around Alex, Simeon and Mike. Most of the Krantle had wandered off by now and only a handful of smaller workers and several gaurds remained grouped around the three, watching and waiting. Conversation between the three was sparse, chiefly because Alex and Mike didn't understand each other and Simeon, who could have acted as a go between wasn't overly talkative, preferring instead to spend his time between sulking, sleeping or meditating.

"Can you hear footsteps?" Hissed Mike as he revived himself from dreaming about life back home, particularly one person back home. Simeon slowly came out of his thoughtful wonderings and listened carefully.

"Yes I do believe you're right."

"What is he right about?" Alex asked, a hint of annoyance hovering in the background. Simeon remained with his head on his side, not answering. "What is it?" Alex demanded impatiently, causing Simeon to snap out of his intense listening and turn and glare at Alex. Mentally Alex chastised himself for becoming so annoyed, as Simeon gave a curt reply,

"He's returning." Then he turned his head to listen again. Suddenly out of the darkness Elvendor emerged to face the expectant semicircle group. A large claw lifted from his shoulder and retreated into the background as the elf slowly sat down. It sometimes takes but a look to know that something is really wrong. Elvendor's face whilst a mask of stone, could not hide his troubled eyes that broadcast pain, ebbing out as a beacon of worry to those seated before him.

"What's the matter" said Alex and Mike at the same time in English and Leprechaunese. Elvendor turned to Mike first, and began speaking in Leprechaunese, much to Alex's further irritation. As he spoke Alex saw Mike's and Simeon's faces pale, as soon as he had finished Alex jumped in with,

"What’s the matter?" Elvendor turned towards Alex and replyed in a sombre, almost detached tone,

"It appears that we are faced with an unpleasant dilemma altogether. The queen wishes for an alliance to be formed but demands that for it to be fulfilled a leprechaun must be sacrificed to make good the death of her ancestors." Alex tried to get his head round the demand...

"But that's preposterous! They can't..."

"But they can," Elvendor cut back sharply, venting his frustration with the situation, "they have no sophisticated democracy, they are an ancient race that abide by rules seemingly less advanced from our own, in their society it is an eye for an eye. I did my best, initially she demanded four to cover each of the deaths. I managed to make her settle for one on grounds of mercy, she would go no lower though, she demands at least one death for symbolism of an agreement."

Mike's thoughts spun in turmoil as he thought of home, of Sarah, his fellow officer who he'd never had the courage to ask out, of his family living and working hard - oblivious to what was going on so far away below the ground. Tears sprung readily to his eyes but he blinked them away, knowing what was required of him...slowly he rose saying,

"Then I'm prepared to be that sacrifice." Elvendor's face twitched, he looked many years older, having had the whole way back to think about the outcomes of what could follow and yet still having not found a solution that satisfied him. Alex's voice sounded distant in protest as his thoughts conflicted and fought.

This can't happen, it's not right, yet he's willing to go through with it...will solve the problem, but will the leprechaun people accept the fact that we brokered the deal by allowing Mike to die?...We could all just escape down the small passage nearby...there aren't enough guards to stop us and the tunnel is too small for more than one Krantle at a time. Or we could just go back and report that we tried, but that won't be good enough to set us free, besides Mike probably wouldn't agree. What is the best way out of this situation...

"Wait," he said commanding all to stand still, "give me time to think." He had wondered at the time of the deal whether they would be allowed to go back and confer with Remera, but from his conversation with the Queen Krantle it seemed that that would terminate the offer, reducing it back to four. Her reasoning for this was unclear, presumably because she figures that a convict or reject might be put forward as a sacrifice instead and wants it to be meaningful...at least I can think of no other reason. Anyway there doesn't seem to be an easy answer... With a sigh he sat down upon the soft scarred rock floor, dug from the Krantles pincers, and made a final contemplation over what to do as the otheres stood watching.
Back to top  
LordoftheNight



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 5275
Location: Hell

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:31 am    Post subject:  

Interesting, very interesting. Mike seems willing though, so I'd let him go through with it.

He'd sacrificing himself for the good of his people. Now he's made his mind up, he's not going to be willing to choose another route. There is also the possiblilty the Krantle are just testing the group - seeing if the leprechans would be willing to make the sacrifice in order to have peace. If they're not willing, then peace could well be an impossibility.
Back to top  
Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8876
Location: https://www.NeilHartleyBooks.com

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:18 pm    Post subject:  

Good stuff J!

Well, perhaps it is because it is still early in the morning, but I can't think of another option, other to decline and retreat (should they let them).

I f5 Lordy. He seems to be willing to make the sacrifice. Though you could perhaps go back to the queen and consult with her first.

I'll be back if I can think of anything else.
Back to top  
solus.serpen



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 608
Location: UK

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:24 am    Post subject:  

Great chapter, Jez! :D.
I think he should definitely let Mike go, if he is willing.
After making the desicion to sacrifice himself, he could get very depressed if he doesn't get to be sacrificed! I know that sounds strange but I think it works, Most humans faced with that would blame themselves that they didn't die, even if everything works out alright in the end with no deaths. They would mentally begrudge themselves for being too much of a coward, even if it wasn't their fault, and they were willing to die.
For these reasons alone I think he should let Mike die.
Other reasons are if you back out of the phschological and look at it logically, he has the chance to make peace between two races, subsequently promoting himself in their eyes, and potential to make great friends with the leprechauns. If he can't get an agreement then he may well have to stay as a prisoner of the leprechauns for ever and a day.
But if he goes back and speaks to the gueen of the Leps, and she finds out that because he has done so, they may have to sacrifice four instead of one, he may well end up worse than a prisoner. I wouldn't take the risk. If the queen is angry when he gets back that he sacrificed Mike, he has Alex and Solomon to vouch for Mikes readiness, and he can present her with the logic stated above.
It has its risks, but then again, so do all the options.
Escapeing might work - but what if it doesn't?
Plus, I don't think Mike would be to well pleasedifthey tried to escape as he is still loyal to the Leprechauns - doubly so if he is ready to die for them.
Plus, escaping would leave them nowhere except to have two races as enemies - I think it is worth having them as allies, even if there is a risk that it will all go terribly wrong.

:D

Solus. ;)
Back to top  
Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8876
Location: https://www.NeilHartleyBooks.com

Posted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 4:12 am    Post subject:  

'ted for the second one, but only if the situation looks like it would be okay with it. If they ask, and it looks like the deal would fall through, then I opt for the first one.
Back to top  
JezSharp



Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 592
Location: The middle of anywhere...

Posted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:26 am    Post subject:  

What do you mean by the deal falling through...? At the end of the Chapter it says that if they go back and consult Remera the deal will be modified to the sacrifice of four unspecified leprechauns if that helps?
Back to top  
solus.serpen



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 608
Location: UK

Posted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject:  

KILL KILL KILL!!! :mad:
muahahahaha!!

:shock:
Oops. Don't uaually let that side come out...

anyway, voted for sacrificing Mike. ;)


Solus.
Back to top  
JezSharp



Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 592
Location: The middle of anywhere...

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:42 am    Post subject:  

Ok, last chance to vote and save Mike (or not), poll will close tomorrow with the new chapter out by the end of the week.
Back to top  
The White Blacksmith



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 2629

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject:  

Wow. Your writing is incredibly messy.
Back to top  
 
       Storygames Home -> Elvendor
Page 1 of 1


Powered by phpBB Search Engine Indexer
Powered by phpBB 2.0.16 © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group