Book 9 - The Mist in the Darkness - Chapter 20: A Critical Choice

1 reply [Last post]
httyyd's picture
httyyd
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013

These last few weeks have been kind of a blur.  So much going on and then what happened that is on everyone's minds right now.

 

But it's spring break and time to break away from everything else.  I hope to have a few chapters up this week as the story is getting intense and exciting.

 

I hope you all enjoy the new chapter!

__________________

Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

Member/Group Leader of S.O.D.A.H.T

 

Click SoD Hack Watch or SoDAHT to report a hacking:

Also use this form to help better keep track of the hackers:  (click here for form)

 

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

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

I did not type this up with a specific music mix in mind, so you can read this without one.  However, here is this one:

2-Hours Epic Music | THE POWER OF EPIC MUSIC - Best Of Collection - Vol.5 - 2019

 

>>>Note the Point of View<<<

 

The Mist in the Darkness

 

Chapter 20

A Critical Choice

 

Asvord's Point of View

 

         Not more than a few minutes after Jarl gets home do the rest of us start hammering with things we found out while he was gone these two and a half days.  Even though they traveled all night to get back, we could not wait.  They did not look like they were in the best of spirits, not because of lack of sleep but because of what they found out from their trip.  So, both me and Elsa wanted to catch him up to speed, maybe help cheer them up.  Elsa and I both know what we will say, so I let Elsa go first because what I have to say is quite the clue to find.

         “Well, big brother,” Elsa started.  “After you guys had left, Hiccup and some of the students at The School started researching why the Triple Stryke attacked The School.  How could we get an infected dragon with Grimora to be uninfected?  Turns out that saltwater is the best solution to getting rid of the Grimora regardless of how the Grimora was administered to the dragon.  The only thing is, how to give the saltwater to berserk dragon?  Hiccup thought of Flightmare algae and then looked at me.  Showing him my Flightmare Bomb, he was satisfied with how we could combat another berserk Triple Stryke situation.”

         “But then,” Elsa continued.  “Astrid suggested that Stormheart must keep a cache of Grimora somewhere off her ship, especially since she uses dragon power to control her ship.  Whether it could be a secondary stash or her main source, we needed to destroy it.  Without knowing where to look, we only had one person to ask who was somewhat on speaking terms with us.”

         Jarl guess, “Harald.”

         “Exactly,” I state.  “Being the big sister, I am I wanted to go instead of Elsa.  Not that she couldn’t punch as hard as I could, it was for the fact that our best leads to find out where he could be at was on Auction Island.  Big mistake.”

         Jarl chuckles, “For Auction Island or Harald.”

         “For me,” I counter.  “After asking around the island some, I found Harald in the forest.  Then when I found him, out from behind the trees come five goons.  If only we could bring our dragons to Auction Island, Spiker could have told me it was an ambush had I not been so focused on having to deal with the pirate scum.  He tries to sound so pleasant, ‘What a nice surprise to see you here, milady Asvord.  I hope my friends don’t make you nervous; they’re just here to make sure that I have a pleasant time here on Auction Island.’  Then I snap back, ‘Oh, well look at this, I’m unarmed.  You wouldn’t what to put that on your spotless track record of attacking a poor, innocent young viking.’  ‘While you might be young and not carrying any visible weapon, no viking is without a way to fight back, especially you.’  Then I retort, ‘Flattery will get you nowhere.’ He then asks, ‘What did you want to ask me, my friend?’  His gull to think that we are friends just irks me so much, the next thing I said probably did not help matters much, ‘How much would it take to buy your help, Harald?’  But the way he said the next thing did not help my feelings toward him.”

         I try to mimic is smooth, stuck up voice.  “‘We both know that I am an honest and loyal man, so your insinuation that I’d switch allegiance is insulting.  I am faithful to Stormheart as any viking could be!’  Thinking I just blew the chance of getting any information out of him, he continued, ‘I understand she needs a way to neutralize the strengths of her enemies, but I keep telling her there must be a better way than Grimora venom.  I worry that my dear Leopold will cross her sights one day.  He doesn’t deserve that; he should be called an Adorable Terror, in my book.’  I must have had the weirdest grin on my face because him having any feelings for dragons the same way I do I could hardly stand to hear it.  He paused probably after noticing my fidgeting stance, ‘Speaking of Leopold:  I worry that he’s too small and defenseless.  In these trying times, he needs to be protected against the dangers of this would.  Wouldn’t you agree?’  I was using every bit of strength I had not to punch the guy, I almost didn’t hear his next statement, ‘Please, see if you can convince Berk to make Leopold some armor.  I’d be so thankful…  And then we can talk.’  Glad that I could finally leave, I make my way back to Berk to report.”

         Elsa picks up, “Seeing what all that did to her, I knew she could not go alone again seeing how there could have been more than an ambush.  Gobber made the Terror armor even though most everyone did not like the idea of bending to Harald’s word just for intel.  Gobber did have a zinger though, ‘Aye, I got just the thing for wee Leopold!’  Gobber than reveals under a tarp to show off, ‘…the latest “Terror Mail”!  Get it?’  You do get it?”

         Jarl nods and tells her to go on, “He still had some things to finish up on the armor before we could take it back to Harald, had to get some schematics from Hiccup.  But soon, me, Hattori, Ashley, Ali, Valkarik, and Michia returned to Harald with the armor.  His friends that Asvord said were there, were no longer there.  Harald took notice I brought friends with me this time, ‘While I’m not surprised you brought friends with you, I wanted to see Asvord again.’  I comment, ‘The next time you see Asvord, a punch may greet you first.’  He laughed once before taking and looking at the armor, ‘Well!  You delivered and how.  I’m very impressed.  Give Gobber my regards.’  He put the armor on his little dragon and thought it made him look quite dashing.  ‘I’m glad I chose your brother when Stormheart asked for an intermediary to Berk; having a family of Mollersons on your side can help in any situation.  I was right all along.’  ‘Cut the chatter so we can leave your -glorious- presence,’ I tell him.’

         Elsa looks at me, probably taking note I am chomping at the bit to tell my story, “Long story short, Harald pointed us to an island near where you, Jarl, had been to when you first met Stormheart.  According to him, the venom was in a cave on the ocean floor below the island.  Though the cave was in a pocket of air, we needed to figure out a way to get there.  As he left, he off-handedly mentioned when asked where Stormheart was, ‘She’s off… “negotiating” with another village right now.  Oh, and there was another weapons cache Stormheart was talking about.  It is on an island to the east of Wengo Island.’  He started talking about how we could not have done this without his help, the rest of us just left.  Instead of using the Diving Bell as Skulder had suggested, who also happened to be on Auction Island at the time, we would use our old friend the Underwater Saddle.  Garth’s inventions still helping us.”

         Jarl poked fun, “I thought you said, ‘Long story short.’?”

         “I’m getting there.  You’d think you are as impatient as Asvord is to tell her story,” Elsa finishes up.  “After we get back to Berk and tell the others what had happen, Asvord takes a group to go after the weapons cache while my group takes the Underwater Saddle to go find the venom cache.  Using your calculations and the maps, we find the island Harald and you described.  Turns out Stormheart was indeed not there as the horizon was clear.  Must have actually been talking to another village.  Using Undyne as the Underwater dragon to ride using the Saddle, we found the venom cache right where it was supposed to be and used the saltwater to neutralize the whole supply.  Having no other trouble, we return to Berk to report to Hiccup.”

         “Finally, for my part,” I state, rubbing my hands together.

         Jarl interjects, “Don’t I get to react to this information?”

         I shrug, “So, they got rid of the venom, good job.  Wait until you hear what my group found.”

 

         As you can tell, we had already been quite busy.  Dealing with Skygge and Stormheart was bad enough but thinking that Harald is on our side and a good guy, it just cannot be as simple as suddenly he is a good guy.  Trying to figure out how all this is connected to each other is tough enough we do not need to start choosing where we get our clues.  We need every clue we can get regardless of where it comes from.

         When I heard Elsa tell about Harald’s other location, I really did not want to trust a word herald says, but it is too good of an opportunity to pass up.  Now I understand better why you have worked with Harald to this point.  However, I will say, I still agree with Annabeth:  No goodwill will come of working with the likes of him.

         On the trip down to the southern region, I take with me Hyrith, Angie, Samantha, Explod, and Aiyana.

         Nearing the described place, Explod stated, “So we have no clue of what to expect, how we are to destroy the cache, and who or what we will be up against…  Sign me up.  I like those odds.”

         Angie retorts, “You’d go against the Red Death with a sling and five stones.”

         “That’s the only way I know censored to do anything,” Explod chuckled.  “It’s gotta be epic.”

         Samantha added, “Like when you kept scoring sheep for someone else in Dragon Racing practice.”

         “When I fail, I epically fail,” Explod sat in his saddle proud.

         Hyrith interrupted, “We’re here.”

         Flying to a sea stack, we landed and started to survey with our spy glasses.  We are a couple of miles from an island with another one on the horizon.  By the calculations of travel time by what you wrote down that island was probably Wengo Island.

         On first glance, Explod shrugged, “It looks quiet.”

         A moment more, Aiyana challenges, “Look closer.”

         It was hard to spot at first, but there were vikings walking along the tree line, with no doubt more in the forest.  The island is not very big.  I would say no more than a hundred yards and two hundred long.

         From her Dramillion, Aiyana realized something, “Guys.  This is the same island that Vixxen and a few of us raided.”

         I could hear Samantha gulp, “Yeah.  And saw what was left of that attack.”  She shivered just thinking about it.  “Looks very different in the day.”

         Knowing what this island was put a different spin on what we might be facing.  It could have been a weapons cache, but what else they were doing could have gone deeper than something Stormheart used for storage.  Yet I could not help but think like you and wondered if there was a connection to something more.  Valhalla forbid I think like you too much.

         Observing for about twenty minutes, we decided on what plan of attack.  Seeing their defenses were not for dragons, we knew we could easily overwhelm them.  Flying in dragons blazing, we do just that with little to no fight from some.

         IN all, there were ten vikings which everyone except Aiyana and me watched.  She and I went further into the forest to see what they were guarding.  We found a small, run down shack.  Spiker and Apollo stay on guard outside why Aiyana and I go in.

         The shack has three rooms, one rectangle shaped and the other two were squares.  Harald was mistaken that this was a weapons cache.  This place had a lot of documents, maps, and tools for digging.  However, it also had a supply of some natural food with the crates stamped with Stormheart’s seal.

         Ayiana and I searched the place.

 

         While I talked to Jarl, I did not mention Aiyana’s conversation with me.

         “May I ask you something?”

         “Sure, Aiyana.”

         “how do you view how Jarl is doing?”

         Kind of surprised at the randomness of the question, I wonder what we are looking at made her think of this, “What exactly do you mean?”

         “Ever since we came back from Izar, he has not been acting the same.”

         “While I think we were all changed by what happened; some of us are thinking about it more.  Since Jarl is the leader of our crew, he is affected by what happened the most.”

 

         Aiyana and I talked for a little bit before we heard something outside, rustling in the forest as if someone is walking towards us.  Hand on our weapons as we look out the doorway, our dragons are also ready to see what will emerge…

         Skygge!

         As if he was a turkey walking into a Harvest Vest Celebration, he stopped in his tracks.  All of us were not expecting to see each other, so all froze for a brief moment.

         He ran into the forest as we both started to chase, but I told Aiyana, “Stay here in case he doubles back!”

         He came here for a reason.  If it was important enough, he would double back to pick it up.

         Chasing after Skygge, I had waved to Spiker to follow me.  Needing to keep my arms ups to protect my face, I use my bracers to break or cut any of the small branches of the trees, bushes, and thick grass flying at me.  I could hear Skygge running in front of me.  But we had only been going for a minute before my awareness of where we were on the island made me instinctively stop.  Glad I did stop.  The branches in front of me were not broken and there were no foot marks in the dirt.  A moment later…  I heard a Changewing blast!

         “Spiker, DOWN!”

         I hit the deck too as I hear the burning sound of Changewing acid tear through the brush above me.  The acid clump zips overhead becoming scattered with everything in its path.  I had to roll out of the way of a larger branch as it crashed down.  Hearing from in front of me wing flaps, I know Skygge is trying to escape now.

         “Come on, Spiker!”

         I ran towards the edge forest.  My gut was right and there was a shorter cliff drop off to the sea below.  I jumped off with my arm extended as Spiker barrel rolled over me.  Grabbed onto the front of the saddle and pulled myself to its seat as Spiker spins back to level.  The blue Changewing fleeing, Spiker needed no command to know what to do.  He dove after the dragon.

         Spiker closed the gap on Glint and Skygge to the point the Changewing could not camouflage completely.  Kind of hard to do that when your rider cannot do the same.  Even if he could, Spiker had the scent so no matter what they did, Spiker would follow.  When Skygge realized this, he turned the dragon around to fight.  Immediately, an aerial battle ensued.

         Almost caught me of guard how direct he was with the fight; however, he was letting the dragon do most of the fighting.  Skygge may be able to ride a dragon and point in which direction to go, but beyond that, he is merely just holding on.  I used this to my advantage.

         To use Glint’s aggression against him, I make him want to chase Spiker.  Instead of fighting the rest of the aerial battle on Skygge’s terms, I outsmart him with my dragon knowledge.  Changewings are scary but startle easy if you do it right.

         I stayed ahead just enough to make Glint think he could catch me.  Dodged a few shots he fired while I flew Spiker towards the cliff, Vixxen and the girls scaled the first time they came here.  I had flown up a bit to gain some speed on a dive down before cruising back up the cliff face.

         When we neared the top edge, I had Spiker arm his spines, roll into a ball, and fling the spines back into the cliff as we spun in a ball.  Chunks of rock and small debris rained down to disorient Glint and Skygge.  Immediately following, we dove straight down between Glint and the cliff face.  There was not much room with me next to the cliff, but we made it work.  I had to lay as flat as I could to not hit the cliff.

         After we passed them, I had Spiker dive down again -which in this case would be the direction up- I had Spiker follow in behind to fire a shot at the cliff edge right as those two went by.  The shot both glanced off and took chunks out of the cliff to hit Glint.  Skygge was thrown off Glint and sprawled out on the ground.  Glint did not have any concern for how Skygge was doing for the Changewing was too busy taking care of himself yet waited close by.  Spiker landed and I dismounted, walking towards Skygge.

         I smiled, “Well, well, well.  What do we have here?” I motioned Spiker to place a paw on Skygge just enough to where Skygge could breathe but not move.  “You thought you could beat an experienced dragon rider, let alone a Dragon Racer?”  I laugh.  “What were you doing back on that island?”

         “I could ask you the same thing.”

         “You’re not in a place to be making any demands.”

         He did not try to struggle out of Spikers grasp, he just laid there, “Oh, but I am.  Being the nice guy that I am, I’ll answer your question before you let me go.  I came to this island to finally meet someone I have only been in correspondent with.  Someone who could finally turn the tide in the powershift happening in the archipelago.  Then we can send fear into any and all who stand in our way.”

         I rolled my eyes, “Believe me, I’ve heard that before and it didn’t stop us then.”

         Skygge grinned, “Indeed you have.  In fact, one of your friends are probably hearing it right now.  Too bad though.”

         “Too bad though?” I became worried.  “Why too bad?”

         “Well, it isn’t any day you meet a long-lost family member who turns out to be nothing like who you remember.”

         “What is that supposed to mean?”

         “That question you can answer yourself if you go back before it is too late.”

         “Too late?  Too late for what?”

         “If you try and take me in now, you will never make it back in time.”

         I knew he was stalling for time but I did not want to trust what he said.  Yet, I had the feeling he was telling the truth.  But in this moment of indecision, a dragon blast out of no where struck only a few feet in front of me.  The explosion threw me back and down the cliff which Spiker instantly left Skygge and come after me.  Once my dragon caught me, I look up to see Glint envelope Skygge and finally vanish.

         Spiker wanted to go after him, but I pulled my dragon back, “No Spiker.  We need to see if he was telling the truth.”

         So, I raced back to the shack thinking the person Skygge was going to meet was going to be at the shack.  The sight I arrived to, was an Apollo completely knocked out.  A dart is stuck in his neck.  I pulled it out before going to the open door of the shack.

         “Aiyana!” I declared as I saw her to the right on the floor somewhat propped up against the wall.  “Aiyana, what happened?”

         No response.  She is awake and looking at something yet will not even acknowledge I am here.  I tried to shake her to snap her out of it, but nothing worked.

         “Aiyana?  Come on.  What happened?  Who attacked you?”

         She had not blinked until I said that.  I had not noticed this right away, but her eyes are nearly solid blue.  Looked again and realized her eyes were dilated near the edge of her iris because the outline of her iris is a dark blue.

         Her mouth opened to try and speak; only a whisper came out, “A- Attacked?”

         “Yes, who attacked you?”

         “A…  A…  Attacked.  They attacked?”

         “They?  They who?  Aiyana, wake up!”

         Still no response but her eyes shift to look over my shoulder.  Her expression drastically changed.  I looked but no one was there.  She looked like she was seeing her worst fear come alive.  The horror looked real enough to make her want to scream, yet no sound came out.

         Then it dawned on me.  This had happened before with you and that one guy on Wengo Island.  I raced for my canteen to splash on her face, but it was not enough.  The only other thing I could think of was using a Flightmare Bomb on her.  I stepped back to throw one next to her for it to splash on her.  Her body tensed up as it froze stiff after the mist came in contact.  Waiting the thirty seconds before it would wear off, she collapsed and passed out just like the bomb is supposed to do to any caught in its radius.

         Going back to her, I checked her vitals and was relived to know she was still alive and breathing.  Within another minute, she started waking up.

         “Aiyana, Aiyana.  Are you okay?  What happened?”

         She started to shiver but that was because of the Flightmare Mist.  She then curled up and tried to get away from me when she noticed me next to her.

         “It’s okay.  It’s just me, Asvord.  What happened?”

         Aiyana finally answered, “Asvord?  Is that you?”

         “Yes, it’s me.  You are fine now.  Whoever attacked you is now gone.  If I may ask, who attacked you?”

         She looked to be feeling better as she propped herself up against the wall again before taking a deep breath.

         Aiyana shook her head as if in disbelief, “I saw someone who I wished I would have never known.  Pheonix Thorgard.”

         “Thor-,” I echoed before not believing what I just heard.  “That’s…  That’s…”

         I could not finish my thought, but Aiyana finished it for me, “Thorgard is my last name making Pheonix family.  He’s my uncle.  Well, half-uncle.  It is a really long story, one I wished to never tell again.  However, if Pheonix is here in the archipelago, then maybe we are doomed for a war after all.”

         “I know you are dealing with a lot right now, but did he say anything that you remember?”

         Aiyana thought for a moment, almost glad she did not have to talk about her past for the time being, “One thing I did get him to say is something about The Golden Isles.  Knowing that Hyrith is from there and some details about the mystery that’s about all I know about them, I made Pheonix think I knew what he was talking about.  He mentioned that he is looking for The Shadow Dragon and asked if I could help him find it.  When I told him I would not take him to The Golden Isles, he did not want to go there, for he said, ‘The Shadow Dragon isn’t even on The Golden Isles.  It is buried deep inside a prison on another island.  Join me and we can find it together to restore the Thorgard’s power as it once was.’  When I gave him my answer of, ‘No,’ and threw my Razorwhip Discs at him…  That’s the last thing I remember.  He must have knocked me out somehow or incapacitated me to still be awake yet not remember a moment until you woke me up.”

         After that, she was extremely depressed, so I did not press the issue with asking her more.  Although, I think she knows if Skygge is working for Pheonix and she knows something we do not know about his past history making him a bad guy, then this whole mystery could be a lot bigger and more complex than we had ever thought it would be.

         We both returned to our friends.  While we secured the vikings in a nice bundle to transport to Wengo Island, I talked with Hyrith about the clue referring to The Golden Islands.  He too was shocked to find someone new to deal with but was at the same time amazed he knew that much about The Golden Island.

         Hyrith told me, “In the time since our mystery there, I’ve studied up on The Golden Isles while even made several trips back myself.  My own curiosity is starting to bug me about the unsolved mysteries my old home still has.  But I can confirm what this Pheonix guy is saying is true.  The Shadow Dragon is indeed not on The Golden Isles.  After that, the trail keeps running cold.  I’ve been wanting to talk to Jarl about it, but with the events over the last year, just never felt like the right moment.  Guess now’s a good a time as any.”

         We all then took the captured vikings to Wengo Island for holding.  Although, that may have not been the best idea because although they did admit to hiding stolen loot, the “authorities” -if you can call them that- on Wengo Island would not hold them because we attacked the vikings.  The corruption on that island is in very facet of life.  They had the gull to warn us not to go back to the island to attack the vikings or else they would hold us.  Just fed up with the whole thing, we were all just glad to go home.

 

         I conclude my thoughts to Jarl, “Yet with this stunning development, the trip was not a waste of time.  But I am a little worried for Aiyana.  She is usually one of the first ones to volunteer for a fight if not start one herself sometimes, but her intentions were always good hearted.  However, she has been the tightest lip about her past as any one in our crew.  That is a chapter she does not want to go back to.  So, the thought of opening that book back up closes her up to sharing her feelings.  I mean, just look how much we had to go through for her to trust us.  She went so far as to double cross us because of her past, what will she do now to ask her about her past even if she trusts us now?”

         Those who had returned from the trip with Jarl had already found a seat on the couch while I stood and narrated my account.  The only one that was not with the group was Annabeth.  She sat on the stairs.  Being this obvious with distancing herself from the rest of us, something clearly did not go right on their trip.

         Jarl went into a deep thought, not looking at anyone in particular, he voices his thoughts like he normally would, “Skygge, Throst, Harald, Nikora, Griselda, Pheonix, Alrik, and Annabeth’s parents…  What do they all have in common?”

         While I thought with him to wonder what they all have in common, the delay in reaction finally hit me, “Woah, woah, wait a tooth pickin’ minute.  Annabeth’s parents?!  You don’t just gloss over that little fact without telling us first what happened?  Start splaining.”

         “You might want to sit down for this one.”

         Getting comfortable in a chair across from him in the living room, Jarl went on to talk about their trip to Annabeth’s old home.  Right away, I notice Jarl is not saying as many details as he normally would.  Everyone’s demeanor is in quite a contrast Elsa’s and mine.  We are excited to hear from them yet everyone else is rather saddened by something.  Almost an hour later, Elsa and I understand why.  The entire time, Annabeth was extremely quiet.  For such a moment to find your long-lost parents you thought were dead, even if they are adopted parents, come on, show a little be more enthusiasm.  Regardless of what Grimwald is doing, we will figure it out together.

         Jarl listed off the names he said before and adds his thoughts about what my sister and I found out, “With all these different threads of clues, we have to figure out how they are all knitted together.  Also, we need to figure out who is lying.”

         As if he poked a hornet’s nest by looking at Annabeth when he said it, Annabeth jumped up and demanded, “Oh no.  We are not going to go through this again.”

         As Annabeth came over, Heather got up and grabbed Annabeth’s arm.  Jarl got up to stand in front of Annabeth.

         “You heard what Asvord said about this Pheonix guy,” Jarl pleads his side, his tone gets louder, and becomes more irritated with each word he says.  “He knows that The Shadow Dragon is not on The Golden Isles and Hyrith confirmed it.  You know what Alrik said about how Grimwald wants to find this prison the dragon is in yet it seems like Grimwald wants something different in wanting to go back to The Golden Isles instead.”  He then basically yells in her face, “Annabeth, Grimwald is lying!”

         Annabeth got in Jarl’s face and jammed her finger in Jarl’s chest a couple of times, “You!  Don’t!  Know!  That!”

         “But I do know!” Jarl shouted.  “Annabeth don’t be blind.  Someone has to be lying here!”

         By now, both Jarl and Annabeth are fighting back tears, “Don’t you preach to me about being blind!  You’ve preached to me for years not to jump to conclusions or do our best not to assume.  You are assuming my father is lying just because you don’t want him to take me away from you!  Did you ever stop and think that maybe you could do it too?!”

         A tear finally streaked won her cheek.  Jarl’s hand flinched to try and raise it up from his side, but he did not use it.  Annabeth shook her head slowly and then ran upstairs, slamming the bathroom door.

         Everyone else but me and Jarl exited the house and went on their way.  Jarl soon followed suit going outside.  I just stood in the house for a moment totally devastated by what I just witnessed.  I went to the front door and saw Jarl standing a few feet from the porch.

         Clinching my fist with all determination, I march right up to my brother and spin him around, demanding, “What in the world was that?”

         Jarl would not answer me nor look me in the eyes.

         He only paced around in a circle, running his hands through his hair, before finally saying, “It’s all so messed up.  Everything I am trying to do to make things right is just making things worse.  Something I thought was true turns out to be false.  And something I write off as false turns out to be true.  Sometimes I wish things would be different.”

         “That’s all you have to say?!” I yell at him.  “Out of all that just happened, all you are concerned about is wanting a different past?!”  I cannot believe what is happening.  “You just yelled at your wife!  Don’t you see what Skygge is doing or are you too blinded yourself?!”

         I pause wanting Jarl to say something but all he can do is look at me this time.  I walk up to him, take a deep breath, and calm myself down trying to show him what he should have done.

         A bit calmer, I tell my brother, “Look, by what you told me about what Skygge did and add that to what Skygge has been doing, he is the thorn in your side.  He wants to be an irritation to you.  He wants to tear you down from the inside.  And he will use anything and anyone to stack them against you.  If you keep letting Skygge have his way by letting him get under your skin, he already wins.”

         I put my hands-on Jarl’s shoulders, “No one can make this choice for you.  You must figure it out for yourself.  As your sister, I say this with reproof and love:  Get your head out of your past mistakes before you make the mistake of losing your future.”

         A slight smile is his answer.

         Calmed down myself, I state, “Now, goodnight.”

         Giving him a hug, I stay for much longer than I normally would.  He takes a deep breath before letting out a sigh.

         “See you in the morning brother.”

         Taking a look at him, I am not convinced I did any good.  Yet, Jarl is always one to take everything at the same pace.  Slow.  Give him enough time, he will figure it out.  I just hope it is not too late by then.

         These next days are going to be critical for him.  I also get the feeling this mystery is not going to get any easier but make things extremely difficult.  I pray that Jarl’s future does not end before it even gets started.