The Natural World: Prophets of Stone – Chapter 9: Traveler
Sara nudged Sye with her elbow. Sye awakened with a loud scream. His heart raced as he calmed his breathing. His head swayed from side to side.
“It was about mom.” Sye turned to Sara with painful eyes. “What if we are meant to fail.”
“Don’t ever say that Sye, we have to win.”
“How can I live up to this expectation of being some hero?” of being some hero?” Sye stared at the wall, paralyzed in movement. “I can’t do anything.”
Sara dropped her head into Sye’s lap.
“Don’t say that Sye, please.”
Valquire, awake, walked over to them.
“You refuse to accept the way things are Sye, that is a very, dangerous, flaw. Your mother is dead, and you must move on.”
“Move on?” Sye yelled. “You speak of it so coldly. What about the people in Gaia that lost their relatives to you. Are they just moving on?”
Valquire walked away from Sye, choosing not to answer. He went into the forest as Chavis opened his eyes.
“Sye,” he said. “You both have been tossed into something that is hard to comprehend, and you both are finding it hard to deal with. I expect as much, but Valquire has lost his patience over the years, please forgive him.”
Chavis rolled over and retuned to sleep. His sleep was short lived, and he found Valquire shaking him as if he were already asleep.
“Wake up. Something is watching us.”
From the tree above a large man dropped onto Valquire and crushed him body beneath his feet. Valquire could be heard moaning in pain. As the man stood up, it was apparent that this was not a man at all. All the features; ear, eye, eyebrows, fingernails, were there, but they were molded and carved into a granite stone. This body was covered in chips, dents, and the decay of the weather, where rain had eroded small areas of his body over the years.
Despite this, Sye jumped for the stone man’s feet and shoved him to the ground. Chavis rose only to feel stone hands grab him from behind, while a 3rd stone being, carved to look exactly like the others, punched Sye into the ground, allowing all three creatures to rise above their captured party.
“Run, Sara. Get out of here.” Sara was almost too scared to run, but she saw Valquire on the ground, Chavis choking, and Sye lifted into the air by an unnatural hand.
Hearing her brother a second time, she ran.
One of the statues spoke. It’s mouth moved in unison with the words as if it were a living creature. The voice was monotone, as was every stone creature that spoke.
“She is of no consequence. Only the object matters.”
One of the statues left. Shortly, Sye and Chavis heard wood breaking, but they knew the wood was not from a tree.
Sye slid out of the statues hands and shoved the creature out of the way. He ran toward the boat, but it was in pieces, and all the items were gone. Sye stared at the boat, but this left him open for a stone creature to approach. His forehead collided with stone, then dirt.
Sara ran faster than she ever had before, trying to escape the creatures, but after awhile, she lost her breath. She panted and dropped her hands onto her knees. She looked back. The forest was quiet. No stone creatures. No Sye. Sara quickly turned away and ran out of the forest. Once she arrived into the plains, she fell down and cried.
“I couldn’t do…anything.”
Hours passed. Sarah shuffled along the road until she saw a carriage. Yet, the carriage was five miles away. With no mountains in this region, up to 30 miles were available from a distance. Sara sat in the middle of the road, and waited. The wagon’s driver slowed down and stopped just barely in front of her. The carriage rider was surprised to see her.
“What are you doing?”
“I need your help, my brother, he’s…he’s been captured, by some things.”
“Calm down girl. Who could be around here?”
The driver yelled into the tube that flowed into the stagecoach.
“Master, we have a situation.”
Inside the tinted windows, Sara could see nothing, but she could hear the voice.
“Who is it?”
“Please, I need your help. These stone men, they have my brother. Help me please.”
The man inside the stagecoach did not respond.
“How can you not help? They could be dead any moment.”
“I’m sorry, I cannot help you. I cannot interfere.”
“What? I don’t understand.”
“You cannot understand. I cannot be seen yet.”
“Are you disfigured? I don’t care. Give me a sword, explosions, anything.” Sara pulled on the stagecoach door. “I will not leave my brother to die.” She pulled and pulled until the door snapped off.
Inside, the man stood from his booth and yelled out. “You have no idea the damage you could cause.” Hidden behind a drape, the carriage owner calmed his voice and glanced at Sara. “Do not enter, and I will help you.”
Sara looked within the stagecoach, waiting.
A hand emerged from the cloth, holding a sword.
“This sword is very dangerous, Sara. It can cut through anything. Very capable with creatures made of stone, which you say you saw.”
“But, I know this sword.”
Sara studied the hilt and the blade. It was an exact copy of the sword Sye possessed.
“How did you get this?”
“You can stand here and ask me questions all day, or you can save your brother.”
Sara gripped the sword. She ran from the stagecoach and ran toward the forest without hesitation. But, she then remembered she had never told the man her name. Sara gazed toward the stagecoach, looked at the sword, then ran off toward the forest.
Sara quietly walked through the forest, barely touching the grass and mud beneath her feet. Birds chirped. Sara had wished they would stop so she could listen to any cries for help. She looked for footprints, but she had never tracked anything before. Then, in a small mud pile, she saw the shape of a foot without toes and traveled the direction it pointed.
Deeper in the forest, Sye, Chavis, and Valquire had their hands tied, and those tied hands hung from a tree. Valquire slowly woke up, and the stone men immediately interrogated all of them.
“Now that all our awake, you will answer us,” the monotone voice said.
“I saw your magic in Gaia. We know you have magic items.” The stone creature pointed to another tree where the items were stashed. “We need only one. A book. Have you any magic books in your possession?”
“No,” said Sye, “only what was in that boat.
“What magic book?” asked Valquire. “Why have you a need for it?”
Sara had arrived at the scene. She grabbed a large rock and threw it up in the air. The rock fell right down in front of her.
“Check it out,” one ordered.
One of the stone creatures left. Sara hid behind a tree, listening. The foot of the stone man ripped through briar patches and moved closer. Sara closed her eyes as the rustling of grass approached closer and closer. She gripped the sword, then heard the grass move next to her feet. She swung the sword out at the creature and split it in two from the stomach. The fingers still moved, as did the rest of the creature; somehow still functioning. She screamed and hacked uncontrollably at the pieces again and again. Off went the shoulder, the arm, the leg, the knee. She whacked away, over and over, until the stone creature lay in pieces. None of the pieces moved ever again.
Sara sweat. Her breathing was rapid and fast. All she could do was listen to the other creatures demand answers from her friends and wonder what the noise from the forest was. She ran at the other two creatures in rage, screaming. The first creature turned, and brought it’s arm to protect the blade, but the blade sliced the arm off.
The creature then lost it’s legs and fell to the ground. As Sara turned to the other creature, it had already fled. She ran after it, forgetting the reason she was here. Sye tried to call her back, but all she saw was another enemy to attack.
“Sara, help us.”
The other stone creature, though footless, was moving toward the tree where her friends were tied. Sara sliced the rest of it to pieces. Sara’s body moved up and down with her fast breathing. Her eyes were wide and focused as she held the sword other the stone creature, her body arched over the debris.
Sara’s face turned back into the one Sye remembered. She cut the branch everyone hung on, then untied their ropes.
“Sara, that was incredible.”
Sara looked at the pieces of the stone creatures and wrapped herself around Sye.
“Oh god, Sye. What is they were human? What is they had been human?”
Sara leaned on Sye’s chest, lowering her eyes.
“But you didn’t Sara, they weren’t human.” Sye tipped his sister’s head up. “You did the right thing.”
“I didn’t want them to hurt you.”
Valquire approached her and placed his arm of her shoulder.
“I’ll make sure you never harm anything human.”
Valquire interrupts them. “If you wish to not be able to harm them, you will need to learn power and control, how to fight and disarm.
“These creatures, I have seen them before,” said Chavis. Sara moved out from Sye’s body as they all guided their eyes to Chavis.
Magnard II removed the helmet from Sara and laughed at her. In the same room he had tortured Sye, he now held Sara.
“Your morality is quite touching dear. I never expected one so young to take on three of them, but you outdid yourself. Yet I wonder.”
Magnard II unchained Sara’s arms and placed a dagger on her lap.
“Go ahead girl. All you have to do is stab me and you will be free.”
Sara didn’t even look at the dagger. Her head screamed out in pain. There was no hesitation. As soon as it dropped in her lap, she grabbed the dagger and stabbed Magnard II. His body stopped; he was surprised by the attack. Magnard II, unfazed, could only laugh.
“I, had not expected. But then, I don’t know the girl you are now.”
Magnard II grabbed Sara’s hand and pulled the dagger from his chest. There was no evidence of blood, a hole, or even a scratch. Magnard II pushed Sara into the chair and chained her left arm, while her right shoved his face and attempted to rip it off. Magnard II grabbed the other arm and tied it down. He then pushed the button as the door behind the chair opened. The chair moved into the door, dragging Sara, who yelled in anger as she struggled to break the chain, chains which dug deep into her skin.