Book 9 - The Mist in the Darkness - Chapter 15: Buried Deep

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

While this should have been one of the more easy chapters to write with what it is referencing, it turned out to be the most difficult in a while.

 

Hope you enjoy it!

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Book 8 - Conquest for the Truth is finished!!

 

Book 9 - The Mist in the Darkness

Coming Soon!

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

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Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

 

The Wedding

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3 

httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
Drums R Round. Pi R Squared.

There is no music mix for this chapter.  I really tried to work on bringing out the sounds, smells, and sights in this chapter, trying to paint a very vivid image with some of the scenes.

 

The Mist in the Darkness

 

Chapter 15

Buried Deep

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         When Annabeth showed the buckle to everyone else, Vixxen pointed out that the symbol is Griselda’s.  It is clear there is a connection from Griselda’s plans to Annabeth’s past.  The question further to be asked would be, what does this all play into the mystery of Skygge’s plans?

         It is decided we should go home to prepare a trip to Annabeth’s old home, for a few reasons.  Annabeth had never truly thought about going back to her old home because it is a place holding bad memories of a tragic event.

         She would often tell me, “I found a home I never knew I wanted with a person I never thought I would meet.”

         Now, she requests that we ask Dagur and Heather to join us as well as Cazi and Dawn.  Beside them being family, I did think that it would not hurt Annabeth and me going alone, such a trip should not warrant backup.  But Vixxen pleaded we do not make the same mistake she did, especially with the unknown of how deep this place in Annabeth’s past has in connection with the mystery.

         Making it home well into the night, we soon after turn in.  The next day, I find Annabeth already up studying maps to figure out how to find her old home.  Joining her, I quickly realize as she did earlier that hardly any is known about the lands to the west of Berk.  This is one direction Hiccup has not gone besides the far east.

         Since Annabeth and Star Scream came from the west, those years ago, we know her old home is west of Berk.  “How far did she travel?” and “Was there any deviation on her trip?” are the two questions we do not know the answer to.  Annabeth believes she pointed Star Scream in the right direction yet does not remember the flight.  She vaguely remembers arriving on Berk but that is about it.  Star Scream probably did not know where to go either, so he must have trusted what direction Annabeth started them out on to stick to it.  To help Annabeth, today, remember how to return, we go to Berk to the spot where she first landed.  Before leaving Berserker Island, we pick up Dagur, Heather, Cazi, and Dawn while also taking Anora with us while Annabeth rides Star Scream.

         Those who were still in crew at the time that had gone with us after Vixxen, saw us off as we left on our westward heading. 

         The trip is very quiet.  With Annabeth taking the lead, the rest of us follow.  I do not know if I should say anything.  What should I say?  What would I say?  Heather and Dagur would be the two to say something seeing how they collectively lost their father, yet they are just as quiet.  I did lose my father, but I got him back.  While I know how what it is like losing a parent, how do you comfort someone who lost their entire island?

         The hours roll by as we continue to make our way to the west.  Any time there is an island or sea stack, Annabeth stops to check our direction, only making conversation to corrections or suggestions to our heading.  She seems in good spirits and feels determined, yet also hesitant.

         When it comes the middle of the afternoon, I can feel Dagur becoming a little skeptical but does not want to voice it.  Dagur would usually voice his opinions whenever he wants, but when it comes to his family, he wants to encourage.  If that means not talking, then Dagur will do so.  This would probably go double for Dawn.  She is still one of the most impatient vikings I know, however, she has learned how to look at others more than herself.

         Annabeth’s voice strikes the stillness, “We’re close.”

         No islands can be seen.

         “I know we don’t see anything,” Annabeth adds, “I know it is weird, but I can feel it.”

         We urge our dragons on and in thirty minutes, we come upon an island in the horizon.  Soon, we fly up to it and see a ravaged land still in disarray.  By the look of things…

         No one has lived here since.

         With Annabeth not turning back to check the other island, we assume this is the correct one.  The island is about the size of Berk yet is quite flat with a mountain on the south side, harbors on the west and east sides, a small area of a once thriving forest, and jagged cliff faces line the northern side going in and out of the coastline.  They remind me of the hexagonal columns seen on Gronckle Island.  There looks to be a main village encircling the mountain.  We approach from the east up to the shore.  When we land, except for Annabeth, we all dismount.  It is like Annabeth is frozen without a goal in mind.  A moment later, she slowly slides from Star Scream and lands on the shore.

         I can hear myself breathing it is so quiet.  The rustling of the waves lapping against the shore is the only thing heard beyond the footsteps against the sand.  The looks we share with the group is fully understanding of what is going on.

         I cannot imagine what Annabeth must be going through.  Not saying a word, she starts walking inland.  Following her, we make our way to the main village.  Nearly every building is still scared from a fire and almost destroyed completely.  Only shells of houses and huts remain.

         The first building we come to on the edge of the forest, she stops and hesitates before she continues her path.  There is Whispering Death hole near the building; this is where Annabeth got knocked back into the building and was knocked out for the remainder of the attack.  Star Scream also hid until the attack was over.

         The village uses the edge of the mountain to its advantage, using its verticality to space on land available in the village.  There are three levels with their own roads, ramps, and stairs between each one.  What a sight this village must have been in its prime.

         Annabeth then slows and turns to stand in front of a small house nestled in one of the natural crevices in the mountain.  The way she is holding her arms close to her as if a cold wind is blowing, this is…  This -was- her home.

         Before I follow her in, I tell Dagur, Dawn, Cazi and Heather, “Spread out and search for signs of anyone else being her recently.  Look for any clues as to why this island was attacked.  Anything out of the ordinary.”

         Heather nods and hops on Windshear to check the higher levels, Cazi and Skybolt join them.  I turn to look at the charred home.  Dagur puts his hand on my shoulder and looks at me.  He wants to say something but can only sigh.  He takes Sleuther to search the lower regions, Fire Song and Dawn join him.

         The moment I enter the house, I have to duck my head and go under a support beam which is knocked over from the boulder which crashed into the building.  It is still here, came through the roof and demolished the kitchen off to the right.  I am not sure what I expected, but it is like we are investigating the island the day after the attack.  There is a noticeable growth of vegetation over everything, yet nothing has been touched.

         The house is small, except for an open loft, everything else is on the first floor.  The loft is only accessible from a ladder which can fold u pout of the way.  Annabeth has gone up, no doubt, to her old room.  The air has an extreme stillness to it.  The way the sounds are magnified, it is like you can feel the sound in the stillness.  The dragons stirring outside as they too look around.  The slight breeze flowing through the building causing the wood to softly creak and bend to its will.  Old, burnt wood yet hardly a spot of mold in sight.  Everything stands out so boldly as if carefully preserved, frozen in time, all these years.  The quietness is such a contrast to what actually happened here.  Even with the setting then and now, there is an aura of peace creating a sense of calmness.  However, I feel like looking over my shoulder every few minutes as if something is about to happen.  It is almost too peaceful.

         I join Annabeth up in her loft.  The ladder reminds me of my flesh wound still healing.

         Annabeth is on the right side of the room, kneeling back on both her feet, looking down at something.  The room has a thick layer of dust and some ash over it, yet except for some things strewn about on the floor, this too seems like no one left.  I kneel on one knee next to her, gently putting my right hand down on her hand.  She is holding a simple stuffed Stormcutter toy, which vaguely resembles Star Scream.  She does not react to me squeezing her hand.  I rotate to sit against the broken books shelf.  Taking my hand again, I brush her hair back behind her hear and wait for Annabeth to speak.

         Annabeth’s backstory did not matter when she and I first met.  I was simply helping a fellow viking in need after a tragic event.  Annabeth did not need someone to ask her questions, she needed a friend to help her figure out the answers.  The first answer was to say, “Everything will be alright now.”

         Her backstory, bit by bit, was answered revealing many twists and turns along the way over the span of a couple of years. 
After Thoughts of Guilt and knowing that Truvor -a man out for revenge against my family- was first a traitor to his own people.  Some of what Truvor had said about Annabeth’s backstory may have been more of a ploy to get Annabeth to think back to that event.  I am still unsure of what was true or not with what he said, even Annabeth has said that what she thought was correct may have been a bit foggy with the shock of who Truvor was.  Thinking back, maybe he was not even from this island, but a mole sent to tear apart the island from the inside.  Truvor invited the attack and shared the islands escape routes and strategies they would take with the attacking force.  He had his own plan to gain from, but how did he fit into Griselda’s if she was the commander of the attacking force?

         After Truvor, the rest of the pieces to the puzzle of Annabeth’s backstory came on their own without us seeking them out.  Cazi Olson was the first piece from the time Annabeth and her can first remember; they grew up together.  Cazi had to have left within a couple of months, maybe weeks, before the attack because her family moved based on Mr. Olson’s work taking him elsewhere.

         Dawn is Annabeth’s adopted sister, but in the sense that Dawn’s family adopted Annabeth.  Alvin and Osvald were fairly good friends, in a sense, allies.  Alvin knew Annabeth would be safe on another island away from the threat Osvald faced in his own tribe.  Dawn would go on trips to see Annabeth, knowing that Annabeth needed to stay away from Berserker Island because of the threat against Osvald’s life and to secure another heir to the throne for a later time.  Dagur could take care of himself and Heather was elsewhere.  Lilah -Dawn’s mother and general in the Sentinels for Izar- would sometimes go with Dawn to visit Annabeth and see how things were doing.  Lilah helped arrange the family which would raise Annabeth.  Annabeth still was part of royalty when she was raised by the ruling chief and chieftess of the island.

         Dawn went to go see Annabeth the day of the attack but got caught up with the attack.  She too thought they were Berserkers, yet also mentioned they did not act like Berserkers, just as Annabeth remembers.  By the time Dawn had swam to shore she found no one on the island and the island still burning.  There were some ships around the island, some belonging to the attackers.  Taking a smaller ship, she eventually was able to return to Alvin and reported what happened.  Little did she know Annabeth survived and was on her way to the Isle of Berk, a place often talked about by the parents who raised her:  A place where any viking can turn to for help.

         My thoughts are interrupted as Annabeth speaks in a slow and soft tone, “I never thought I would see this again.  It was something I had forgotten but instantly remembered when I saw it peaking out of the boards.  It must have fallen off.”

         I comment, “But, it has been picked up.”

         Thinking she may react to me referencing her, no emotional response is given.  It is almost as if she is talking to herself and does not know I am right next to her.  Her eyes are glossy from tearing up, yet none have been shed.

         Annabeth continues, “I have forgotten so much.  Everything is coming back so clearly now.”

         Annabeth closes her eyes, “Laying in my bed.  Waiting for supper.  ‘Yes, I would like pudding.’  Special day.  Anora’s Birthday.”  Her face is very expressive with each statement she makes.  The tension also grows.  “Sun’s going down.  Need to feed the dragons.  Mother, ‘Looks like fog could roll in.’  Father, ‘I sent out the signal to call them in.’  Mother, ‘Supper should be ready soon.’  Dawn is also soon to be here.  Everything so still, until it wasn’t.  Flaming boulders flying.  Fell out of bed.  Out of the fog.  Ships upon ships.  Dreading this day would come.  Everyone started defense.  Artillery holding back.  Ships stuck in fog.  Father knows we cannot hold out.  Exhaustion and fatigued.  Outnumbered.  Fog overtook the island.  Families.  Escape out the back.  The rest buy time.  ‘Who would be attacking?’  Father dodges the questions.  Mother looks at me.  No words.  It is my fault.  ‘What did I do?’  Mother, ‘You will find the answer.’  Father, ‘Go.  Protect the families.’  Man comes to me.  Gives locket like Anora’s.  ‘Be careful.’  Confused and determined.  Main attack from east.  Escaping south through the mountain.  Too late.  Somehow knew we would.  Must retreat.  Whistling boulders.  Flaming arrows.  The attackers landed.  No way of escape.  Them or us.  Chaos.”

         “Afraid and frightened.  Village on fire.  Being destroyed.  Race home.  No one there.  Screams from those slain.  Attacker searching for something.  They go into the mountain.  Must find my family.  Now I am attacked.  Fight my way through.  One less attacker.  Again, again.  Still must find my parents.  Rush home.  Parents packing.  Father, ‘We can’t let him down.’  I ask them, ‘What’s going on?’  Mother, ‘Anna.  You must get to safety.  Take Star Scream.’  ‘Can’t leave you.’  Father, ‘Outmanned, outgunned, outmatched.  We’ll draw fire.  You must leave.’  ‘Come with me.’  Parents hesitating.  Mother, ‘Maybe we can?’  ‘I’ll take Star Scream.  Take Anora.’  Father, ‘Let’s try.’”

         Annabeth now sounds out of breath, reliving each moment, “Once out of the house, boulder through the roof.  Battle is worse.  Everything is being destroyed.  In the village, on the island.  Fires everywhere.  Smoke plumes.  Foul order.  Bodies from both sides.  Ran to stables.  Saddled dragons.  Came out, attacked.  Parents protect me.  Boulder flew in.  Barely dodged.  Anora trapped.  Pinned under collapsed roof.  Tried to help.  Someone drug me away. Star Scream shoves attacker.  Look back.  Parents gone.  Led someone away?  Stable destoryed.  Anora gone?  All up to me.  Flew to get supplies.  Food storage still intact.  ‘Must fly to Berk in case of attack.’  Remember what parents said.  ‘They can help.’”

         Her voice is racing, Annabeth is not stopping, “Grabbed enough food.  For how long?  Attackers taking Star Scream.  Yell out.  Distracted then knocked back.  Star Scream deals with them.  Got on Star Scream.  He roars.  Attackers scared off.  More because of earthquake.  No, ground shaking.  Crumbling.  Dragon emerges.  Star Scream jumps back.  Fell off.  Landed in burning building.”

         Knowing what is coming up, with my hands, I grab Annabeth to shake her, “Annabeth!  Annabeth, Annabeth!  Wake up.  It’s all past now.  It’s alright.”

         She falls limp into my arms.  I bring her close to me to calm her down, propping herself up against me.  Her eyes open again and look up at me.

         Finally, a small tear breaks through, streaking her check.  Annabeth lets out a sigh and now responds to me, by hugging me and lays her head against my chest.  It settles in what just happened, causing me let go of holding back.  I close my eyes, hoping…  Praying…  Annabeth will always come back to me.

         Suddenly, I feel a soft hand come up and wipe my tears away.  Opening my eyes, I see my Heart pumping again.

         She reaches her hand to my neck.  I lift her head to mine.  We embrace in a kiss.

         Now laying in my lap, she rests her head against my shoulder as I hold her in my arms.

         Annabeth takes a deep breath, finally addressing me directly, “I’m sorry you had to see that Jarl.  I don’t know what came over me.  All the emotions, the memories, the sights, the smells…  They overwhelmed me and made me go back.  Don’t know how long I have been keeping that buried inside of me.  I would nearly every day think of the family I once had, but something would always prevent me from going back there.  Come to think of it, every time I found myself thinking of the family I had, I would always be out somewhere looking in the direction of my old home.  Guess I never wanted to face my greatest fear.  Losing my family again.  I don’t want to lose you.”

         She looks up at me.  I rest my head on her forehead, saying, “I will always come back to you.”

         Merely sitting here for a few minutes, Annabeth decides to stand up.  She goes back over to her toy, bending down to grab it.  When I come back over to her to rest my hands on her shoulders, she reacts taking her right arm over to my hand, even turning her head.  Annabeth is back.

         She mentions we can come back here before we leave and collect what she wants to take back with her.  However, she takes with her the toy, keeping it close to her.  Exiting the house, she shows it off to Star Scream.  He first rubs his head on Annabeth before seeing the toy.  Sniffs it, then shakes his head and does not like the smell.

         “Of course, you would not like it,” Annabeth kids.  “No one can capture the handsome beauty you are.”

         Star Screams grunts.

         I jest, “I’m with you, Star Scream.  I thought I was the handsome guy in the family.”

         Preemptively, I duck just as the big guy’s tail zooms overhead.  Though he missed, I still give him some dragon nip.

         Just then, Dagur and Dawn return wanting us to come with us quick.

         Mounting, we ask, “What did you find?”

         Dawn answers, “It think it will be better to see for yourself.”

         The two of them take us to a tunnel a short distance up the side of the mountain.  Seeing the tunnel is rather small, we have to leave our dragons on the path.  Entering, I am intrigued what has Dawn so riled up.  Usually she is not this into the mystery part of the crew.

         Feeling like we have walked far enough to be in the center of the mountain, it opens up to a large dome like cavern.  There are sides reaching further down into an open cavity on the sides with paths coming from all four directions to the middle.  The platform, I guess you could call it, is about thirty yards in a circle.  In the middle of it are Cazi and Heather.  Cazi instantly points down when she sees us.

         My shoulders drop in realization as we come closer.

         In the middle, there is a small patch of dirt and green.  That green are plants, herbs to be specific.  But not just any herbs.

         Annabeth answers, “These are the same kind of herbs we found on that one island near Izar.”

         Heather adds, “But these are different.  These seem to be naturally growing in the earth here.  Yet, these plants did not naturally sprout here, so far underground.  They were planted.”

         As we look at the herbs, several objects are heard shattering close by.  Whirling around, a bitter smell and a layer of thick fog fills the area.  Before any of us could do anything, we are paralyzed and fall to the floor.

         From the opposite side the sound of slow clapping can be heard.  Coming into the light shining down from the top of the mountain, is a figure.

         “You guys are so predictable.”

         It is Skygge!

         He walks through the fog as though it was actual fog.  All I can do is stare at Annabeth as he walks closer to her.  Every muscle in my body is telling me to get and tackle Skygge, but I just cannot move.  Annabeth’s expression shear fear at what is happening.  This is the third time for her which is making the anger inside of me boil over.

         “You guys always look out for each other and care for one another,” Skygge bends down between Annabeth and me.  “Don’t depend on family and friends too much.  Even your shadow will leave in darkness.”

         Skygge sounds proud of himself as stands up and talks, “While you guys are so very annoying, I used the very thing you hold in such high esteem against you.  The truth.  I seem to recall something you said one time that, ‘The truth will set you free.’  Now that I have been searching for the truth, I do feel free.  I have felt the liberty in it and wish I had started using it sooner.”

         Skygge starts walking around us, then I hear from Annabeth, sounding very scared, “Jarl.  Jarl, it is happening again.  Don’t let him touch me.”

           Remember that this fog stuff is temporary, I too am able to speak yet not move, I try to say something but Skygge buts in, bending down to Annabeth, “Yes, go ahead.  Whimper.  See if Jarl cares enough to stop all of this.”

         “You lay a hand on her,” I manage to say but Skygge then talks over me.  “Or you will what?  Capture me?”

         Demanding, I question, “Why are you doing all of this?”

         “I thought you would never ask,” her resumes his stroll.  “Like you said, the truth will set you free.  I have been trying to solve my own mystery.  The mystery that I have been on nearly my whole life.  The mystery of what makes this island so special.  So special, that an entire army from a certain warlord would take the time to dress up like the Berserkers and attack this island.”  He pauses, “Yes.  I do know about the attack on Annabeth’s old home.  I know more than you think.  What I would like to ask you, what do you truly know about Annabeth?”

         “What does she have to do with anything?” I order him. 

         “She has everything to do with everything.  Because if it was not for her, I would still have my own family.”

         Shocked at such a statement, I have no idea how to respond to that.  I do feel my muscle strength coming back to me, but it still will not fully respond to my thoughts of getting up.

         “See, you can’t even say anything back to it.  You both know it, but you’ve buried it so deep inside that the feeling of going into such a dark place gives you pause to the point you will do anything to stay in the light.  You say you are all about truth and right, but you won’t even be honest with the simple truth,” Skygge chuckles before he returns to lean down next to me.  “You never thought of Annabeth as anything more than just another viking to join your crew.  You only saw someone in need of help, just as you see everyone else.  Then when anyone else could have saved your life, you bend to every word Annabeth’s says just because she happened to be the one.  What would Annabeth say if she knew you had feelings for someone else at the time?  Hmm?  She may not see you in the same light now.  But did you stop to think of why her family told her to go to Berk?”

         Skygge turns to Annabeth, speaking down to her, “Why won’t you tell him that simple truth?  Or have you buried that deep in your soul along with everything else you have buried.  That’s all you ever do.  I bet you thought you would never return to this place after what happened here.  But let me ask you this, have you always been drawn to come back ever since you left?  Was the reason you came to Berk to seek someone out to help you solve your mystery?  Well, I guess you found someone who happened to be good at solving mysteries.  I wonder what Jarl would think of you when the reason you saved his life is because you knew he was the only one that could help you.  The true reason you set Jarl up to like you, was only to use him to help you figure out what you were missing?  You didn’t love Jarl.  You just saw a means to end something you have been dealing with your entire life:  Why does no one love you?”

         I tell Annabeth, “Don’t listen to him.”

         “Don’t listen to me?” he echoes.  “That’s the first thing you think you should say.  Not to try and deny what I said.  Are you saying, what I saw is the truth and you are finally admitting what has been right in front of your face?”

         Dagur from the side is able to roll over and try to stand.  Skygge notices and drops another fog bomb upon which causes use to become paralyzed again, no longer able to talk.

         Wanting to ask how Skygge is not affected by the fog, Skygge anticipated it and answered the question, “If you must ask why I am not affected by the fog.  I’m sure that is one easy mystery you can figure out.  Anyway, I’m sure there is another question you want to know the answer to.  What do I have against you and your crew?  What did you ever do to me?  This is the best part about this whole thing.  Where we are today, was all because of a mistake.”

         Skygge comes next to me, turning me to lie on my back, making my face look at him by using his hand, “A mistake.  None of what you have today was supposed to happen.  And because of it, everything I lived for was taken away from me.  The attackers came to my island first, searching for the very thing they came to this island.  Turns out there was a miscommunication from someone on the inside as to what island they were to attack.  The attackers went to the wrong island…  My island…  And took my whole life away from me.”

         For the first time seeing Skygge, I saw raw emotion in his eyes as if seeing his true motivation for doing all of this.

         “When you find out the truth of a matter and figure out that the reason why your life was ruined was all because of a mistake, what would you do?  You see things happen to other people; you can put on a good front.  But when someone threatens someone close to you and you see the possible outcome of losing them forever, would you not make a different choice to prevent this loss from happening?”

         “The greatest part about this whole thing is two islands were laid in ruins because the attacking force went to the wrong island.  For such an extensive force that attacked this island, why would they start in latest part of the afternoon.  Because they had gone somewhere else before coming here.  Yeah, did not stop to think about something else being the cause of the attack.  Never thinking it would be something more than just a threat to the Berserker throne.  I’m sure the attackers could have cared less about the Berserkers.  Did you ever stop and think that maybe the reason they were dressed up like Berserker was to pin the blame of the attack on the Berserkers when this island was allied with them and the Outcasts?  Knowing what they did to my island, I have been on a mission ever since to find out why they attacked.  Along the way, I tried to have some fun along the way.  When I ran into you guys, I thought you were just another do-gooder trying to make the world a brighter place.  When all the time you guys were part of the answer, I was seeking the whole time.  I won’t spoil the end for you, I’ll let you figure that one out on your own, just like I had to.  Sure, if Annabeth has everything to do with it, why not take her now?”

         Annabeth looked horrified at the thought.  I try everything in my power to try and get up.  I feel like I am slowly making progress to moving my feet.

         “Where would the fun be if it ended now?  Where would the fun be and not letting you find out the truth for yourself?  Just know this,” Skygge leans down close to me, whispering in my ear.  “I can come for Annabeth at any time I want.  I will complete my mission.  And there is nothing you can do to stop me.”

         I am able to reach up and grab Skygge by the shirt to bring him back down to me as he tried to stand up, I whisper to him, “If you so much as touch a strand of hair on Annabeth, so help me I will end you.”

         He laughs in my face, “You don’t have the guts.”

         Batting my hand away, he starts to exit; as he goes, he calls back, “I’m only going to say this once more…”

         “Stay out of my way!”