The challenge today was to write a story in 40 minutes, no more, no less. I did not get to finish or did I. Good exercise to drive some creativity. Note I did one of these last year - Here
Exhausted they fell to the floor. Bobmadik had extinguished the torch, smothered it with his cloak. The three of them enveloped in darkness, so dark they could not see their hands in front of their faces.
Each of them had lent their sword, seax or axe against their knee, so they knew where it was in the dark. Then, with the knowledge of their packs they had withdrawn their trail mix and sat quietly eating.
‘How long have we been in here?’
‘I’d say close on a day and a half.’
‘Can we sleep soon?’
‘Yes Son; Soon’
They sat in silence, each in their own thoughts. Their fatigue addled minds struggling to not mistake the darkness for sleep.
Click. Click. Click. Sparks flew, ricocheting off the floor, then the flame took, Bobmadik stood lifting the relit torch above his head. ‘Come on.’ Taesha slid her hand into his, not making a noise, they clasped each other and Bobmadik helped her stand.
Aelen stood silently, although still only a boy of 14 he stood a natural foot taller than his parents. Watching them rise quietly helping each other, their hands remaining clasped a little longer than was required was comforting to him as it gave him a sense of stability and permanence; of their love for each other and for him.
He, of course, knew that they were his adoptive parents. This was particularly clear in that he was an Elven boy and they were Dwarves. He knew no other parents. They had told him he had been with them since he was a one-year-old, abandoned by some stranger.
‘We’ll go for another hour or so, let’s see if we can find somewhere safe to bed down for a bit.’
The passage they were proceeding along was slowly descending, as it had been for hours. Bobmadik had observed well-cut; evidence of the deep dwarves who had mined this mountain in the past. It was this reason they were in the mountain. Taesha and Bobmadik had decided that this was the best way to cross the mountainous divide.
Both Taesha and Bobmadik had passed through these mountains with their parents. From what they had told Aelen things had not changed a lot, with the exception that the number of creatures they now had to deal with as they made their way through to the west was more than either of them could recall.
Last time the two of them had passed through the mountain, they had been travelling with their families returning from the great dirge for the Dwarven King Duothorn, the last king of the three Dwarven races; hill, mountain and deep. Having united them all to battle the grey dwarves; the Duerger.
Aelen felt a draft pass over his head and cool his neck. ‘Dad wait.’
The air had been still for hours, a breeze, so deep down in the mountain did not feel natural. Looking around Aelen realised there was a tunnel mouth about a foot and a half above his left shoulder. Taking the torch from his father, he held it up to the tunnel.
‘Give me a boost Taesha.’ Bobmadik stood on his wife’s shoulders and looked into the tunnel. ‘I think we could climb up here and get some sleep. If anything comes along this passage, we should be safe.’
After a few minutes of effort all three of them had climbed up into the tunnel, now that they were all up they were able to see that the space they had found was roughly cut, around 10” foot in diameter and 25” deep, with an upward vertical shaft at the end that receded into darkness beyond the glow of the torch.
‘This is unusual; it’s not Dwarven, nor is it natural. Aelen, look.’
Aelen stepped into to see what his father was looking at, watching as he ran his hands over the wall. A familiar habit the two of them had gotten into over the years, the father wanting to impart as much knowledge onto his son; needing to make sure he could learn and survive in the world if something was ever to happen to him.
Thud! in unison the two; father and son turned from the wall they were inspected to see Taesha laying on the ground at the edge of the torch-lite. Aelen being closer and without unburdened by the torch dove towards his mother.
Bobmadik took two steps toward his family drawing his long dagger, scanning the darkness……
That's 40 minutes, maybe I will swing back to this sometime later.
Note Bobmadik, Taesha and Aelen are long running characters you can read more of their story here.