Book 9 - The Mist in the Darkness - Chapter 11: Clouded Reality

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

This story is getting more interesting the deeper I get into it.  The plot lines are getting thicker and the danger rises.  Who do you trust?  What do can you trust?

 

I hope you enjoy the chapter!

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Book 10 - The Shattered Axe

Chapter 17 - Back on Track

 

The Jarl Mollerson Mystery Series

All Chapter Links
 

 

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

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httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
I forgot to format the first post. Oh well.

Here is the music mix for the chapter:

Epic Music Mix - BETWEEN WORLDS | Most Epic Emotional Adventure Music by RS Soundtrack

 

The Mist in the Darkness

Chapter 11

 

Clouded Reality

 

Annabeth's Point of View

 

         The next morning, I could tell Jarl was doing all he could to not bring up last night.  Everyone but Sigvald, for he had already left for some early morning business, would speak up any time there was a pause.  While I am flattered, there is something I want to talk to Jarl about.  But it can wait until we are alone.

         After breakfast, Jarl needed to go report to Hiccup what happened.  He took with him the statue.  In the meantime, I helped pack the supplies on Vixxen’s Snow wraith.  She and Ragnarok came over as soon as they heard from Sigvald what happened.

         It still feels strange receiving comfort and encouragement from her, especially now since what happened.  Recalling how she hypnotized me to fight Jarl while I knew exactly what was going on but could not do anything about it felt exactly like last night.  I wonder if that is part of the reason Thorgunna came over.

         While I was checking my saddle on Anora, I heard the door creak to the stables.  It made me flinch a little.  Looking back, I see it is Svana.

         “Didn’t mean to frighten you,” Svana greeted.  “But after the night you had, I could not blame you.”

         “It’s alright,” I reply going back to checking the straps on the saddle.

         Svana remarks, “Is it though?”

         I stop what I am doing, sigh, and chuckle, “I see where he got the knack for seeing a mystery.”

         “That’s definitely his father, actually,” Svana adamantly replies.  Stepping in closer to me, she says, “Growing up most of his childhood without his father made him the caring viking he is.  To some, it could have done the exact opposite.  But not Jarl.  He wants what is best for his family.  He wants want is best for the both of you.”

         Turning around, I respond, “I know that.  But I am starting to wonder if he means to do that by keeping me away from what I have been doing; helping him in keeping us both safe.”

         Svana waves her hand at me from the side, “Come and sit.”  There is a bench to the side of the area to saddle dragons.

         “I thought the same of Sigvald once things calmed down from his return a few years back,” Svana began, though I am surprised to hear what she is saying.  “I don’t think anyway was as shocked as I was to find myself blaming Sigvald.  He was gone for so long.  I was willing to forgive him now that he was back.  I was just glad that he was.  But when he told the reason why he stayed away, my first thought was, ‘I can take care of myself.  We had done everything else together.  Why couldn’t we do this together?’  I did not agree with him on it and blamed him for nearly a week.  I felt slightly betrayed because I thought maybe he didn’t see the value in his own wife.”

         “It wasn’t until I saw Jarl talking to him one day soon after, that I knew I was wrong,” she goes on.  “Regardless of the reasons why Sigvald did it, Jarl welcomed him back for he was waiting for his return.  It may have been a foolish thing to do, but with his knack for mysteries, he had a feeling in his heart that his father was still alive.  Trying to figure out the mystery of why Jarl saw past everything to welcome him back, I realized something.  Sigvald knew I could take care of myself, that is the reason why he had the confidence to leave me behind.  From all that happened after the attack on our ships that one day, being separated and not knowing what happened to him, many things happened to Sigvald that day going forward.  A life always looking over your shoulder is a hard time and place to raise a family.”

         “However, soon after, there was not a day after that he did not wish we were all with him.  He would make it work.  He would find a way, for we are stronger together.  Being apart, made our family weaker and could have driven any of us to resentment among other things.  Upon his return, I resented it.  The very thing I never thought I would do.  Watching and listening to what Jarl talked with his father about, I felt ashamed for how I was acting.  Taking the moment to think, I remembered something Sigvald once told me soon after we were married, ‘Being able to put all my faith and strength in you is such a blessing.  Where I may fall short, you strengthen me.  When you think you are not worthy, I put all my faith in you.’  Having a husband like that is such a blessing.”

         I quietly ask, “What did you do after that?”

         “Well,” Svana answers.  “We sat down and talked, just like Jarl did…  Just like he did with you.  I am so glad you were able to talk thins out before the night was over.  My mistake was that I let the resentment build up in me over several days.  We should never do that.  If we have a problem with someone, we should go to them right now, just as long as it is called today.”

         I nudge Svana, “We have you to thank for the subtle reminder to get us alone to eventually talk it over.”

         “Was it that obvious?” she half smiles.  “I knew you two just needed time.  But I also saw you two needed some encouragement.  Yet I am sorry for listening in.  I couldn’t sleep until I knew you two were fine.  Although after what happened, are you sure you are fine?”

         I look down at my hands, slowly rubbing them together, “I’m not sure.  It thoroughly scared me what I saw…”  Pausing I look at her.  It looks like she wants to know but will not ask if I do not want to tell.  Svana stretches out her hand to rub my back.

         A tear runs down my cheek, but my voice is still strong, “I saw Jarl’s dead body and how I found out was trying to check for his heart.  Blood came onto my hands.  It is a picture I cannot get out of my head.”  I take a deep breath, “But what you are saying does comfort and encourage me.  I need to lean on Jarl now more than ever.  I’ll talk to him once we are alone.”

         Svana gives me a hug, “I am so proud of you, Annabeth.  I’m sure…”  She hesitates as she starts to cry.  “I’m sure your mother would be very proud.”

         Now I start to cry, “Thank you so much, Svana.  You don’t know how much that means coming from you.  You should know, you are just as good a mother to me as I remember mine to have been.”

         “Oh, my goodness,” she fans herself.  “I wasn’t expecting that but thank you.  Oh, my goodness, I didn’t intend to cry so much when I decided to come in here.”

         I laugh thinking of Jarl, “Jarl’s going to be like, ‘I leave for two minutes and you already start crying over something.’”

         Svana chuckles as she wipes the tears from her eyes, “Well, it was for good reason.”

         Svana and I walk out with my Anora and then see jarl coming back with Sigvald, Dagmar, and Thorgunna.

         Jarl, in fact, said nearly word for word what I thought he would say.  His mother and I tease him for it.  He rolls his eyes.

         “Changing the subject,” Jarl states.  “There is also a change in plans.”

         Sigvald informs, “Last night, when Jarl told us about what went on during his trip, something he mentioned sounded very familiar.  The Tempest and the name Nikora Stormheart.”

         Dagmar steps forward, “Nikora Stormheart was a part of a seafaring people who once owned Auction Island.  Stormheart is a natural leader, who would do anything to gain power.  She is ruthless and is even willing to use her Grimora poison on innocent dragons.  Armed with the might of a loyal crew and a powerful ship, Stormheart is an intimidating rival for any viking.  From what Sigvald and I heard in our travels from any viking at the mention of her name, they would say, ‘Odin help any Viking foolish enough to challenge Nikora Stormheart alone.”

         I question, “But why would you and Sigvald know who Nikora Stormheart is?”

         “I asked the same question,” Jarl declared and then answered me.  “Turns out that after Truvor made it his mission to get even with Dagmar and my father, Truvor once worked with Nikora Stormheart.”

         Sigvald continues, “At first, it was just Truvor and Nikora, but when Nikora had her own plans, both Truvor, Dagmar, and I were at the mercy of Nikora.  Captain Seaweed Nelson one time ran across Nikora’s path.  Captain Seaweed Nelson is an old friend of Svana and me when we were young sailors aboard his ship.  At that time, he had been a sailing the seas nearly his whole life and had many a tale to tell two young love birds eager to sail the seas too.”

         Svana jumps in, “I remember that old coot.  And come to think of it, I thought the name sounded familiar too, but was,” she clears her throat and glances at me and Jarl.  “Too focus on something else.  Anyway.  I remember what Seaweed said one time, ‘Foolish are those who dare question the might of The Tempest, for there is no ship in the sea that could stand a chance against it.  What is more frightening than the ship itself is its captain, Nikora Stormheart.  Alone, the two of them are formidable opponents.  Together, they are a force powerful enough to make even the strongest viking tremble in fear.  I urge those of you daring enough to seek out The Tempest to abandon this foolish endeavor.  However, if you must face this ship, I advise you pray to the gods for strength.’  At the time, Sigvald and I were foolish enough to want to question the might of The Tempest but had no idea of where they could be.  Any time I brought up The Tempest, he would always go into his rant I just shared.  But he never understood my comeback, ‘We would only need one God.’”

         Sigvald goes on, “Truvor, Dagmar, and I actually had to work together just to make it out of Stormheart’s grasp.  The Tempest is as powerful as it is beautiful.  Had it not been used by an enemy, I could have had time to admire such a ship.  Skull-shaped decorations adorn the ship, allowing those nearby to know that it belongs to Stormheart.  And with your colorful observation of Stormheart liking spikes, the ships itself has two claws with sharp spikes covering the entirety of the vessel.  I knew I had heard it before.  I just did not think it could be the same viking.  As far as any of us knew, Stormheart returned to her home to the far south.  With her return to the archipelago, it cannot bode well for anyone in it.”

         “So,” I state punching my fist into my hand.  “We need to stop her.”

         Jarl agrees, “My sentiments exactly, but we have a problem.  Sapphire and Navaro are in trouble.”

         “What are we standing around here for?” I demand.

         “We didn’t know they were until Tory just made it back to Berk,” Jarl informs.  “Tory said they missed a rendezvous with her and Tory went out looking for them, back tracking where they were.  Turns out, their ship was stolen by a group of ruffians with Sapp and Nav still on board.  Tory knows that if they were in any trouble, they would be able to hide themselves in their ship to stay safe until help arrived.  We assured Tory we would take it from here because she looked exhausted from traveling the past two days straight to find out where they went.  She would have asked for help, but the time needed to come to Berserker Island or Berk would have been too valuable not to use in her search.”

         I question, “Do we know where the ruffians took the ship?”

         “I would say you’d never guess where,” Jarl folded his arms and smiles.  “But I’m sure you knew as soon as we told you.”

         I declare, “Wengo Island.  Ondott has some explaining to do.”

         Knowing we would need some more to come with us, Sigvald, Svana, Dagmar, and Thorgunna instantly volunteered.  But then Asvord and Elsa came out of the stables with their dragons saddled and their weapons at the ready.

         Asvord lays her sword on her shoulder and quips, “We hear you need some recruits.  Look no further.”

         Jarl’s comeback, “We can’t.  We don’t have the time.  So, we’ll have to make do with you two.”

         Their parents then go into the stables to prepare as well.

         Asvord comes back at Jarl, “You had time enough to stand around and talk.  You would have time enough to ask for more help.”

         Jarl serves it back, “We had to tell them where they were going and what they are up against.  Or do you want to fly in blind and wing it?”

         Asvord sends another volley, “What is it with men and asking questions about us asking them about asking for directions?  By the way, good pun.”

         Without missing a beat, he thanks her and continues, “Didn’t think you could fit us into your schedule.  I’m sure you have a million things to do, especially Elsa.”

         Elsa holds her hands up and walks out to mount Meatballs, “Leave me out of your war.”

         As she says that, Jarl’s parents return and are ready to go, “Are you two down fighting?” asks Sigvald.

         “Fighting?” Asvord echoes and Jarl adds.  “Who?  Us?”

         Asvord explains, “We knew you two had to get ready, so we stalled for time.  Besides, if we were actually fighting, blood would have been spilt by now, particularly Ja-.”

         Jarl interrupts, “Particularly you.  You’d have broken a nail.”

         Asvord retorts, “Yeah, when I hit you so hard.  A girl could have their hand in a cast just by trying to tap you on the shoulder.”

         The two of them keep going at it while the rest of us ignore them.  We mount our dragons.

         As we do, Sigvald and Svana start going at it too.

         Sigvald whispers, “Look at your kids.”

         Svana repeats, “My kids?  They’re yours too you know.”

         Sigvald mentions, “I think we all know where they got their sense of humor.”

         Svana answers, “Yeah we do…  From me.”  Sigvald looks to try and say something to that but Svana adds.  “I married you, didn’t I?”

         My eyes widen at the remark but Sigvald quips, “You could have said no.”

         Svana winks and has Fintan, her Monstrous Nightmare nudge his Nightmare, Marigold, “I could have gotten out of this by just saying, ‘No.’?”

         A thought occurs to me as we begin our trip, I say, “Is that what I have to look forward to when Jarl and I are that old?”  I then hear a gasp, it was Sigvald.  “Didn’t think I said it that loud.”

         Thorgunna has Ragnarok breathe a snowy breath on Sigvald’s head.

         “What’s that for?” he brushes out the snow.

         Thorgunna grins, “For Svana’s burn and Annabeth’s too.”

         Sigvald is about to say something else but Jarl stops him, “If there’s anything I’ve learned in marriage it’s this.  It’s okay for a few quips and retorts, but don’t burry yourself.  Take the burn and just leave.  Siblings on the other hand…” Asvord flies next to him, even though he does not look, he knows she is there because I slightly nod my head to point behind him.  “…Are so wonderful…  that they wouldn’t let you hear the end of it no matter how hard you try.”

         Now that the burns of the flames had died down, we focus in.  Thorgunna briefs us as to where they would likely bring a ship in to confiscate and sell the goods, even start taking apart the ship.  That last part is obviously bad considering we have no idea where Sapphire and Navaro are.

         By the description Thorgunna gives about the island, there is s a port on the opposite side of the island from the main port.  No one “owns” the secondary port for very long because no one will stay around long enough to be caught using it.

         “If this is the third day, they are using it,” Thorgunna concludes.  “This is our last chance to stop them before they disappear.”

         Dagmar asks, “If they don’t want to get caught what makes you think they are still there?”

         “Because I don’t want to think about this being a one-day thing.  I hope that the reason they took Sapphire’s and Navaro’s ship was something extra they could make some gold on.  They would leave it for last knowing no one was on their tail so they could take their time.  If they thought someone was on their tail, they would simply leave it and not bother with it.”

         The trip took the whole afternoon to travel down here.  It is a lot further south than I thought.  We did stop about halfway for lunch and then when we were close, we stopped for supper.  Once we saw Wengo Island on the horizon, it was already past sundown with the moon rising to illuminate the land.  But what is also rising is a layer of fog.  Remembering that Berserker Island is relatively close and had a layer of fog, it must be this whole southern section of the archipelago has fog.  Makes me a bit uneasy to fly into the fog.

 

>>> Stop the mix and imagine the sounds of the night. <<<

 

         On the other hand, the fog and the night sky are quite helpful to us where we can fly under the shadow of darkness without fear of being seen.  Using the forest as further cover, we come up right to the edge of the secondary port.  We keep our dragons in the trees for a short period while the rest of us move onto a ridge overlooking the port.  The next ten minutes are spent studying and observing.  The sounds of the night pour through.  The wind on the sea, crackling of campfires, random sounds of conversations, crickets, and a soft cool breeze blowing through the trees.

         The fog seems to be a bit higher right now, so we can view the area without a problem.  But the fog will continue to lower as the night goes on.  There are multiple small buildings, which remind me of the layout of the one base Thorgunna had on Shadow Mountain.  This base is just on a much smaller scale.

         “Well,” Jarl, in a whisper, declares as he puts his spyglass down.  “They are still here and as for where the ship is, they haven’t done anything to it.”  The ship is in what looks to be a dock built around the small harbor.  “Furthermore, they look to be using the ship as if they own it, loading crates on to it.”

         Thorgunna adds while still looking with her own spyglass, “There is a typical compliment of guards to sailors for the operation.  There is no wall, so that makes our job easier to get in.  There are three main entrances to the camp, one to the north, east, and south.”  She pauses before spotting something else which piques her interest, “Wait, look at the crates they just sat down near the east entrance campfire.”

         We all pick back up our own glasses and find what Thorgunna is pointing out.

         “It’s her symbol,” Jarl says under his breath.  “Guys the symbol on those crates are the same as the one Nikora Stormheart uses.”

         “Not only that,” Thorgunna sighs.  “Look who finally stepped out into the light, figuratively speaking.”

         Jarl responds, “Ondott Wengo.  I knew something was shady about himfrom the start.”

         Thorgunna cautions, “As I have made clear before, Ondott may be the business man of all business men, but he knows who is on the right side.  He has always been against the Dragon Hunters and any who would oppose free trade.”

         “If he is in league with Stormheart,” Jarl replies.  “It cannot be good after the stunt she pulled with the Triple Stryke.”

         Seeing what we are up against, Jarl is satisfied and crawls away from the ridge to discuss a plan.

         “Alright.  Since there are no dragon defenses we have an escape.  Dagmar, Asvord, and Elsa, you three stay behind and wait to send in our dragons when we need an escape.  I’m sure you will know what time that would be.  Vixxen, take my parents straight into camp, without dragons, and see what Ondott is up to.  If he has a good, verified reason for being here, then we can clear this whole thing up.  In the meantime, Annabeth and I will infiltrate to try and find Sapp and Nav.”

         Thorgunna questions, “What if he finds out what you two are doing, what do we say?  Better yet, what do you expect me to say when I just stroll into his camp?”

         “For starters, I hope to avoid getting caught.  But we will figure that out if it comes to that,” Jarl answers.  “He doesn’t have to know my parents’ names.  In a way, go in and tell him the truth.  You’ve been on the trail of a missing ship which fits the description of the one in the harbor.  The clues and leads led you here.  My parents are here to make sure the ship returns to the proper owners.”  Jarl then turns his attention to me, “Are you ready?”

         I nod my head.  With each of our orders, we set out for our objectives.  I lift my hood up over my head to better hide the sheen of my purple hair.  Jarl took off his gold helmet and left it with Fredrick’s saddle in exchange for a hood.  After seeing how a hood can cast more shadows over the face and limit any shine someone might notice, Jarl got a hood too.  To be able to travel swiftly, we leave our main weapons on our dragons.

         The fog is settling in now and becoming thicker by the minute.

         Following Jarl’s lead, we circle around to the left, sticking to the trees for as long as we could.  Seeing the guards watching over the south pathway, we wait until their attention is diverted when Thorgunna, Svana, and Sigvald enter the camp from the east.  The camp is small enough to pick up on what they are saying, but we are too focused to listen.  However, the guards turn to listen in.  Jarl and I take this opportunity to run across the pathway and duck behind some cages with tarps on them.  Waiting a moment to see if they heard us, none followed.

         Jarl and I work our way back around to the ship in the docks, using the buildings as cover to make sure we are not spotted.  All of the supplies we are seeing has Stormheart’s symbol as confirmed by Jarl.  Taking note of the supplies stacked on the dock next to the ship, they are putting Stormheart’s supplies on board.

         Jarl softly speaks, “They may have carried the supplies from on board the ship to the nearby buildings.  But they may not have found the girls yet.  I’ll check the ship.  You check the buildings.”

         Splitting up, I make my way to the buildings.  Once I am inside, I feel much better because I am out of the fog.  Though the way the fog is created, one cannot tell they are in the fog unless it is really thick.  But the thing with fog, the thicker it is, the more you can feel it passing around you.  This fog seemed like it was closing in on me.  With what I have seen other fog do, even seeing natural fog is making me feel very uneasy.

         The first building only had supplies in them, any various things you would find on a trader’s ship.  The second building had more of the same.  The buildings are only fifteen feet by fifty feet with two rooms, a hallway going the width of the building in the middle with one door.  By the time I got to the third building, I am beginning to think our friends may be on the ship still.  If not, then something else has happened, which I am afraid to think of the possibilities.

         Before leaving this building, something catches my eye in the other room I had glossed over earlier.  Stepping into the room, I see on a table what looks to be a scientist’s miniature lab.  I lower my hood to get a better look.  Tubes, vials, magnifying glasses, and leaves of some plant flattened on some glass.  There is a notebook open to a page with a written language I have never seen.  A language nowhere even close to viking runes.  Definitely from outside the Barbaric Archipelago, not even any of our allies’ ancient dialects come close to looking like these characters.  All of this is very curious.

         “You know,” a voice from behind me shatters the silence.  “It is a very rude thing to come into a room and look through someone else’s stuff without asking them.”

         It is Skygge!

         “Well,” I try calmly replying, nearly cracking my voice.  “I didn’t know this was your stuff.”

         I turn around to see Skygge leaning on the doorway thinking this is just a casual meeting.  His short and spiky red hair is still the same stark contrast to his black leather gear.  It is like he is built for the shadows.

         Skygge subtly mocks, “Why are you shaking so much?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

         My heart is starting to feel like it is beating out of my chest.

         “We just going to stand here, or shall we get on with this?” Skygge questions.

         “Excuse me for not feeling the most confidence with you being here,” I tell him.  “But Jarl is close by and if I let out a scream, he’ll come running.”

         “While I don’t doubt, he would,” Skygge chuckles, starting to take a few steps closer to me.  “You wouldn’t want to break your cover and get you two caught, needing to explain why you would trust an ally in one Ondott Wengo.  Besides, I am here for you.”

         I try lowering my right hand for a smoke bomb, but Skygge notices and in a blink flings a knife at me.  I dodge to the left, but he bull rushes me.  Only having enough time to bring my bracers together to block his attack on me.

         While he pins me to the table, he remarks, “I have come to finish what I have started.”

         “We’ll see about that,” I challenge.

         I press a design element on one of my bracers which releases a small cloud of Zippleback gas.  The gas makes Skygge ease up a bit, so I clash my bracers together, creating a spark, and…

         BOOM!  Right in his face!

         I throw a right cross, but even in his disoriented state, is able to duck and try an upper cut.  Deflecting it with my left, I counter with a strike towards him.  Yet, he still jumps back and throws a knife my way.  It clangs off my armored shoulder pad as I lean backwards to the right.  I then draw back on my loaded bowcaster and fire a crackling dart towards him.  Even though he blocks, it still blinds him for a second.  I rush him, thinking he cannot see, but he instead…  Grabs me by the throat!

         I slam my arms down on his elbow, forcing him to bend and therefore let me go.  Grabbing him by the scruff of his shirt, I shove my shoulder into him and throw him across the room and into the table.  Finally, staggered, he shakes his head, stands, but then throws the chair for the table at me.  Crossing my bracers to break splinter the chair on impact, I quickly look back to see Skygge trying to slide and tack out my legs.  I jump into a cartwheel somersault to land on my feet as Skygge and I switch places.  Instead of charging me again, Skygge relaxes.

         “I can admit a stalemate when I see one,” Skygge remarks.

         Suddenly, a bittersweet smelling odor fills the room and then…  And then…

         The fog from outside enters the room, passes Skygge, and comes after me!

         My strength starts to leave me, causing me to fall to the floor.  I scramble back as far as I can until my back hits the wall next to the table.  The fog fills the room, making visibility next to nothing.

         Skygge’s voice now seems to echo and bounces off the walls, “What’s the matter, Annabeth?  Afraid of the fog?”

         Now I cannot move and cannot say a word.  My breathing is fast, and my heart is racing.  All I can do is look with my eyes while I wait.  I am helpless!

         “Oh, does the yak got your tongue?” Skygge teases.  “Oh, that’s right.  You can’t move or talk.  My mistake.  So, if you can’t move and can’t talk…”

         Skygge trails off for a few moments.  Whatever agent he is using to paralyze me, must be temporary because I can feel my strength returning.

         I wish I were just seeing things because Skygge leans down out of the fog appearing directly in front of my face, holding his dagger.

         “Should I just do it now and get it over with,” he whispers, looking at his dagger.  “Or should I wait?”

         “You…,” I speak up.  “Stay…  Away!”

         “Don’t be afraid, Annabeth,” Skygge mocks.  “It’s just me.”

         I close my eyes, “I’m warning you!  Stay away from me.”

         “Oh, come on Annabeth, it’s just me.”

         “I said,” as I stretch my left hand up to let my hidden blade retract out of my bracer.  “Stay away!”

         I then run my hidden blade into the side of…  I open my eyes…

         I can barely say it, “Jarl.”

         Jarl looks down at what I did before collapsing backwards.  Taking the blade out I rush to his head as he slowly closes his eyes.

         “NO!” I scream.  “Stay with me, stay with me!”

         I must have also grabbed Jarl side as I then felt something with my left hand.  Bringing it up to see it, I see…  I see…

         The blood of my heart on my hand!

         Screaming again, as I lay next to Jarl, I keep thinking, “This can’t be happening.  This can’t be happening.  Please tell me this is a dream.”

         I keep closing and opening my eyes.  It is still there.  Jarl is still lying here.

         This is not a dream.  This is reality.  I just stabbed my heart and it feels like it too.