Book 9 - The Mist in the Darkness - Chapter 16: Deeper Under the Surface

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httyyd
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Man, has it been way too long since I last posted.  After nearly getting the chapter done two weeks ago, writer's block hit hard as did college schedule.  Writing here and there to get some of it written took me these last two weeks.  Seems like I get the writer's block more when I finally get done with something I had been looking forward to write and then start thinking about where I want to go new.  I know where I want to go in a chapter or two, but how do I get there without instantly transporting the reader there?  Then writer's block hits.

 

Well, here we are though.

 

Hope you all enjoy the chapter, hopefully it will be worth the wait!

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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 

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httyyd
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Drums R Round. Pi R Squared.

Here is the music mix for this chapter: Fantasy Music - Daydream Mix

 

The Mist in the Darkness

 

Chapter 16

Deeper Under the Surface

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         As soon as I was able to move my arms, I crawl to Annabeth to see if she is alright.  Bringing her into my lap, I comfort her as Dagur and Dawn run out to see where Skygge went.  The rest come over us, still trying to comprehend what happened.  We have no words right now to describe the emotions we are going through.  Moments later, Dagur and Dawn come back.

         “Vanished,” Dawn replies.  “No trace of a ship or a dragon.”

         Dagur is berserk mad, “If I ever see that Skygge again, I’m…  I’m going to…  I’m,” he starts breathing fast before chanting his “calming” sayings which do not really help.

         After a few more minutes, Annabeth starts to move her legs while she lay, so I ask, “Are you alright?”

         She simply nods and we help each other stand.

         Cazi puts forth the question of the moment, “What is Skygge after?”

         To try and put everyone at ease, I say, “He must know the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ but not the ‘why’.  Skygge still needs something so we have an opportunity to get a jump on his progress to flip the script.”

         Annabeth suggests, “We should stay the night and see if we can find what he found and see if there is anything he missed?”

         “Are you sure?”

         She looks at me and nods.  Instead of me saying we should take a break, Annabeth went right to work by investigating the herbs.  The group took the cue and followed suit in searching the area.

         Something came to mind to ask Dawn, “You are a bit older than most of us, what do you remember about the people who lived here?  Did anything stand out or seem different?”

         Dawn thought, “They seemed…  Ordinary.  It has been a while since I fully thought back to my trips.  I’ll have to think on it, because right now…”

         Dawn trails off as she glances at Annabeth.  Dawn looks back at me with an expression of caring and worry.  Dawn almost always shows frustration and anger and lets everyone know it.  But when it comes to the emotions opposite those, she hardly ever shows them because it is like the saying, “I don’t care,” before her just moving on to the next thing.  Rarely does Dawn let her guard down to show how much she does care in her expressions.

         With night approaching, I confirm that we do spend the night on the island, mentioning none of us are in the right state of mind to think about pretty much anything.  The gas used felt different than the one I was exposed to on Wengo Island.  Annabeth wants to press on yet with everyone else saying we should take some time to process coming back here, Dagur jokes he is hungry too.  Annabeth complies.

         I know what Annabeth is doing.  She does not want to think about any of what just happened.  As she has always wanted to come back, part of her did not want to relive any of this.  Her wanting to look for clues is her trying to keep her mind occupied.  Sooner or later, we all have to confront our past, but some of us need time to prepare.  On the other hand, that is just it, time may not let you prepare.  It can force you to be honest with your past and make you choose how you will deal with today to make your future.

         We set up camp near where we first landed, towards the grassy area close to the forest and storehouse.  Supper is cooked by Heather.  Yak stew.  If Annabeth and Heather are any indication of the rest of the women vikings in the Osvald family, then they are all awesome cooks.

         Thinking we should be alone on this island, Dagur wants to set up a watch system through the night just to make sure.  He has had one too many surprises today.  I take the first watch while Dagur will spell me for the second.

         I find some a driftwood log and sit on it, staring out into the foggy sea.  My thoughts are abnormally calm right now, considering what happened.  Sure, I am angry but I keep thinking of Annabeth and what this mystery is doing to her.  I have a bad feeling about her coming to grips that the family she lost had something else going on.  Whether or not they were directly or indirectly involved, it could make her view the events that led her to Berk in a different light.

         Why else would Skygge go to such a length to make sure we all knew about the so-called mistake he mentioned?  I want to say he is lying, but even I must admit Skygge was being truthful.  The way in which I saw raw emotion coming from his eyes, this is truly personal.  Is he trying to use the truth against us?

         Though deep in thought, I hear slow footsteps behind me.  Looking back, it is Annabeth.  She comes over to me.  I stand to greet her as she joins me on the log.

         I question, “Can’t sleep?”

         She shakes her head, staring out as we watch the fog roll with the waves and the breeze.

         Minutes pass before Annabeth finally speaks in a soft tone, “I’m sorry…  For everything.”

         “What do you have to be sorry for?”

         “The way I have been acting.”

         “Annabeth.  We came back to a place in your life that changed you forever.  If it is anyone who should be sorry, it is me.  Making you go through all of this just for the sake of some mystery.”

         “No,” she quietly sighs.  “I wanted to come back for a while now, but…  I didn’t want you to see me like this because I knew you wouldn’t have wanted me to come.  Regardless of me, Skygge is up to something sinister and we need to stop it.  I thought it would be worth it to see where this lead went.”

         Pausing for a few breaths, she adds, “What do you think of him saying I used you?”

         Responding, I tell her, “Skygge is twisting the truth.  You had just come to this island and relieved with grave details and realism what was taken out of your life.  This could have broken some or could have let themselves slip back too far into the past to have no way of returning to the present, but not you.  You kept fighting.  You would not give up.  And here you sit overcoming your fear of returning here.  I thought it was going to be a one-day thing and go back home.  You choosing to stay is very courageous of you.  Even now, this cannot be easy for you.”

         She comments, “I get cold shivers thinking of Skygge saying there is something illegitimate between us.  I wouldn’t believe him any other time, yet it felt like the truth.  You did help me, which is what I was seeking.  Yet I can feel something is still missing.  I did try and bury the feeling of missing something all these years.  Something has pulled me back here and I feel I must find it regardless of anything else.”

         I answer, “I don’t know how Skygge has found all this information on us, but he is seeing what he wants to see, not what you and I know.  After saving my life, sure I wanted to repay you.  Who wouldn’t?  but me wanting to help you was something I wanted to do the moment you came to Berk.  I’m just sorry it had to take me ‘falling with style’ to make it known to you how I wanted to help you.”

         Annabeth did not reply right away, her head down, shoulders drooped.  Her voice nearly cracks as she whispers, “What did he mean by me only loving you because I needed to use you?”

         I turn, go to a knee in front of her, and take her hands to hold them secure in mine.  Some tears are rushing down her cheeks.  I address her.

         “Annabeth.  What he does not know is that we grew to love each other.  Our knowing each other from the moment you joined my crew blossomed into a friendship.  One that no matter what we were dealing with, we would drop everything to save the other.  Such friends are few and far between in this world.  I don’t often think -though I should count it more- of this being counted as a blessing to be surrounded by a family who cares for me, friends who would do anything for me, and an island which would do more of the same; double for what I have in my extended family for the Berserker Tribe.  Through the adventures you and I have gone on, we grew closer.  The love I have for you grew natural through having you by my side at every turn.  Being able to have someone to be the compliment to all my strengths and be the one to pick me up in my weaknesses…  I have never had that with any other.  Our lives may not be the typical viking life, one that someone else may not be able to thrive in.  We chart our own paths and make our own choices.  We don’t let others define who we are.  The time I whispered in your ear we, ‘To figure out this mystery of yours:  We will do it together,’ the time I said, ‘I do, and I will,’ the time right now I kneel before you, looking back…  I have the same feeling for you I have always had.  You are my Heart.  You keep me pumping and beating for a better today.  People can try and drive a wedge between us for their own gain.  Know this, whatever we face, whatever we have, to figure out, we will do this together.  I love you Annabeth Everdeen.  No thing and no one will ever change that.”

         I see in her eyes letting go of something.  She bursts into tears and reaches down to grab me for a hug, nearly knocking us both over.  I have a pretty good idea what she is letting go of.  All that she has kept buried inside of her:  A time in her life she let for too long dictate to her what she had to be.  Instead, use that time in the midst of tragedy as an opportunity to show the world she cannot be broken so easily.  What happened before will not happen so easily a second time.  The world now must go through two together as one.

         I hold her in my arms.  I meant every word I said, but even I surprise myself with the words I use.  I often find myself needing to listen to my own advice.  That can wait for later.  Helping someone else is good enough for now.

         I start, “I would say I never want to move from this position…  But my leg is falling asleep.”

         Between the sniffs and sobs, I make her laugh.  Annabeth shifts to sitting next to me on the sand.

         She wipes her eyes and quips, “When the silence was extended beyond what I thought it might, I knew something was coming.  I couldn’t wait to hear what you said.

         I tease, “I couldn’t wait for you to get off my leg.”

         Her eyes close and she lets out a groaning sigh yet smiles.  She lifts her arms to my shoulders, though I flinch thinking she is going to punch me, which makes her chuckle.

         “Jarl Mollerson,” she grins.  “I hat you…  But I’ll still love you anyway.”

         I grin too, “I know.”

         She rolls her eyes, “Just kiss me now before -I- change my mind.”

         I lift her chin to mine, her light blue eyes glistening in the night.  Before losing ourselves to the moment, we close our eyes, both hoping this moment can last forever.

 

         The time pass that the group had agreed upon to watch.  Annabeth and I go back to camp.  I am careful in waking up Dagur, for it can be a dangerous thing to wake up a Berserker from sleep.  He is still miffed about what we witnessed firsthand.  It is like he fell asleep mid-sentence talking to himself and then finished the sentence when I woke him up.

         The rest of the night is incident free.  In fact, Dagur never work Cazi to take over the third watch.  Dagur took the rest of the watches.  While this was nice of him to do, now he is even more cranky.

         Heather prepares breakfast while the rest of us investigate the place of the herbs.  Annabeth is noticeably uneasy coming back here the next day.

         Picking up where we left off, Dawn points out there is writing inscribed on the walls.  She and Cazi go about tracing the letters in their notebooks.  The writing is still unlike anything I have seen, yet I get the feeling it is fairly recent writing because this whole place does not look weathered and worn from ancient times.  Dagur is off trying to track if Skygge went anywhere else on the island.  Annabeth is collecting the herbs by putting them in some of our empty water flasks.  I help her work.

         My mind returns to Annabeth’s flashback.  A clue which stands out.  Something she said makes me think.

         “Not sure if you remember what you said during your flashback, but you said something about how you were ‘dreading’ the day of the attack coming, as if your people were expecting it.  When the attackers came, you said they were searching for something.  You overheard something your adopted father said, ‘We can’t let him down.’  But then they also said that Berk could help.  I am thinking there is more underneath the layers of your past that you realize.  Whatever it might relate to, this must be what Skygge is looking for.”

         Annabeth settles back for a moment, seemingly not wanting to think about, but says anyway, “There is a lot I don’t remember, but it may be more because I don’t want to remember.  But if yesterday was any indication, I do remember, I just have to let myself go back there.”  She turns to lay her hand on mine, “But I won’t go too far as to not come back to you.”

         Dagur comes back and announces, “Well, if the little pipsqueak went anywhere else on the island, there are no obvious tracks anywhere.  I wouldn’t put it past him to have erased him ever being here had it not been for him mocking us with a visit.”

         I state, “We have a lot of unknowns right now, more questions than we found answers.  But I have a couple of ideas of where we can go from here.  Before that, let’s go have breakfast before getting ready to go home.”

         Once we go back and finish the leftovers from last night plus some berry snacks, Annabeth more cheerfully announces, “I need to show you guys something.”

         After packing, we follow Annabeth on our dragons to the north side of the island.  Towards the middle between the west and the east around the jagged, ragged cliffsides, Annabeth dismounts and stars stepping through and over the stacks of rock.  The waves of the sea crash against the sides of the cliffs every so often.  The water over here is extremely choppy.  The thought of possible shipwrecks off the coast come to mind.

         Annabeth goes about halfway out to the end and looks down.  She points out a small path leading down the side of the cliff face.  The way the steps look, they were cut by vikings to create stairs.  Following the wet steps down to nearly sea level, we come to an opening to our right inside the plateau like rocks we just walked across to get here.  Annabeth climbs just inside to encourage us to follow.  Our dragons also try to follow us, but not all of them can make the opening.

         The angle of the opening would be hard to fly directly into because the other cliff face next to us is only ten feet away.  There is a slight overhang on top of that, so the only way to get in would be to have a nimble and smaller dragon to climb in from the overhang.  Anora and Sleuther were the only two able to do so, though Sleuther was a tight squeeze.  The opening is big enough for a Triple Styke to stand in with wings folded, but that is it.

         Annabeth mentions, “Fredrick could swim underneath the coast and come up in the underground cove.”

         Nodding, I then get my dragon’s attention to signal him to do what Annabeth just said.  Using a whirling motion, I use my hand to go in a circle before having it “dive” under my left.  This tells him to backtrack and come around from behind, then go under or in this case, swim underwater to come back to our location.  As Fredrick flies off, Dawn signals Fire Song to follow, bending her elbow and extending the direction Fredrick went.  Though a hybrid, Fire Song is still half of a Tidal Class dragon, that being a Sand Wraith.  Seeing Star Scream follow them, as if he knows where to go already, between the two Tidal dragons, Star Scream should have no problem riding on their coat tails, pun intended.

         It is a tight fit for the dragons, yet we are all able to continue.  The tunnel winds its way lower to the point I can definitely tell we are near the center of the island.  When we enter the cove-like cavern, the rest of the dragons soon emerged from the water.  Fredrick stayed in the water, with his eyes barely peaking the surface.  He will always stay with me, but the first chance he gets that has to take him in water, he will do all he can to try and stay in.  He is the one Thunderdrum out of pretty much everyone that I have seen who does not need to spend a lot of their time in the water.  His scales are able to lock in the moisture more and keep it for longer, might be due to his scales being thicker which can hold more in.

         The cavern has a blueish tint from some Flightmare Algae growing on the edges of the water and across different parts of the rock walls.  The water reflects off the ceiling, some hundred feet up or so.  The cavern is over two hundred feet wide with a muffled echo with any little sound.  Quite cool and damp in here, yet the air smells fresh.  It looks like there could be a small catacomb of tunnels under the island.  The place kind of reminds me of the location on Defender of the Wing Island, though five times bigger.  Slick yet jagged boulders are scattered across the cavern floor.

         The floor is very smooth with some dips and dimples in it.  Seeing how there is so much water in here, these dips could have been slowly worked on by the water dripping from the ceiling over many years.  Given enough time or sometimes pure power, water can erode pretty much anything.  Just ask any Scauldron if you want a second opinion.

         Annabeth stops in front of a pool of water, which is few feet deep, “This is where I hatched Star Scream.  I found the egg on a trader’s ship one day.  Everyone else thought it was unique or special rock of some rare treasure, yet since I had been training Anora for about three years at that point, it was screaming ‘I am a dragon egg!’ at me.  Part of the reason why I named the big guy Star Scream, because it was screaming it was something else.  Don’t quite remember how my parents managed to trade for the egg, but who would pay attention to details like that at such a young age.  All I wanted was to have that egg.  If me wanting it wasn’t enough, it was also Anora approved.  She repeatedly tried to carry it off while the trader was in port.  She might be part of the reason the trader ended up trading the egg just to get Anora off his ship.  It was like Anora knew Star Scream was going to hatch soon.  Seeing dragons hatch in the wild, I knew how explosive of an event it can be.  So, I came down here to the underground pools and basically lived down here until he hatched.  My parents had to pry me away just to eat and go to sleep.  Got to the point where my parents would let me sleep down here as long as I would come back and eat.”

         Star Scream gives Annabeth a slight nudge, trying to knock her in the pool, “What are you trying to do?” she asks him.  He had also turned his head at the same time as if to play it off as if he did not mean to because his eyes would not look at Annabeth for a few seconds.  Though Annabeth tries to scold him for trying such a move, he starts purring when Annabeth could not help but give him rubs on the neck then hugging him.

         Annabeth quipped, “You’ve been hanging around Fredrick too much.  He’d definitely be the one to pull such a trick.”

         Annabeth went on to talk about some of the things they did together to get into trouble with the three of them were growing up.  Cazi chimed in too.  These stories I have heard before, which might be why I zoned out and start looking at something else.

         Long, thin gashes in the floor beyond the pool, slightly deeper into the cavern.  It is too dark to see anything else any further, but in this area in front of the pools, the gashes are everywhere, as if something was slowly dragged across the surface.

         My mind kept thinking of what it could be, I nearly did not hear Dawn yell out, “Knuckle brain, what are you doing way over there?”

         Looking back, I realize I had gone farther than I thought, fifty feet further.  Being waved back over, I turn to walk back the way I come.  My feet suddenly faulter for a moment, as I nearly trip over something.  Wondering what it could be to cause me to stumble, I almost walk away before I realize what it is.

         “A dragon scale,” I whisper.

         Now, returning to the group, I interrupt Annabeth speaking, “Do I remember correctly that you had found a baby Razorwhip you named Anora scared and injured while being surrounded by a young pack of Whispering Deaths?”

         Caught off guard as to why the specific question, the one I already know the answer to, she finally replies, “Yes.  I found her in the forest above here.  The pack was terrorizing her, pretty much mocking her.  By me coming out of nowhere and scaring them, I saved Anora that day.”

         I present to the group what made me trip, “Then why is there a Screaming Death scale in this cavern?”

         Just then, Star Scream’s head bolted up right, looking to the darkness further into the cavern.  We all freeze waiting for Star Scream.  His nose intensely twitching, his eyes intensely staring.

         As if waiting for something to jump out and scare us, Star Scream then wraps his wing around Annabeth, brining her into his claws.  Annabeth let out a quick, short scream because we all expected something to come out of the darkness.  Star Scream uses his other wings to fly behind a large boulder for cover on the left side.  The rest of the dragons followed suit, three on both sides of the cavern.  Their riders ran to their dragons.

         Dawn and I ran over to Annabeth’s side to check on her and our dragons, I ask Annabeth, “Are you alright?”

         “Yeah.  Star Scream scared me,” she states then tries to address her dragon, yet he is not paying attention.  “If he is acting like this, we are definitely not alone in this cove.”

         From the depths of the darkness, a near earth shattering scream is let out.  It comes with so much power, we all instantly grab for our ears and can feel a rush of air move over us.

         As soon as it stops, we hear dragon scales rubbing off in the distance, echoing off the cavern surfaces.  Between this, the scream, and raking of something sharp across the floor…

         I grab Dawn’s arm, “Whatever you do, don’t make any sudden moves.”

         “Why is it always me you pick on?”

         Dawn is about to say something back then her expression turns to terror.  I look back as I see a…

         A Screaming Death towering over all of us!

         It turns its head a few times before looking in our direction.

         I do not wait around for what comes next as I shove Dawn, “Sudden movements!  Do sudden movements to get out of here!”