Exercise Your Imagination! Do you like stories with mystery and suspense? Well, if you do, keep reading and enjoy Eggcentricsagas. If you are just joining Eggcentricsagas, start from the beginning: A La Mano: Part 1-The Treasure
“I guess Fall is officially here,” Herman remarked as he and Mason stepped inside.
“Yes, you are right,” Ravenna replied. “Let me take your coats.” They removed them, and she hung them up in the hall coat closet. “The girls are in the family room,” she told Mason, and he headed there immediately.
“Thanks for inviting us to lunch,” Herman said.
“I’m glad you could come. I’ve made soup to warm us up on this chilly day.”
Herman sniffed the aroma of her cooking. “Smells good.”
“When is Janelle due back?”
“She’ll be back for dinner.”
“Shall we join the children for some soup and then story-time?” Ravenna proposed and then showed the way.
After lunch, Herman built a roaring fire, and Ravenna served everyone their mugs of hot cocoa. Noticing that Magic had taken up residence in Herman’s lap, Ravenna began.
“Frightened but knowing that there was no other way, Cora continued to descend the inky stairwell. She ran her fingers along the mossy, cracked, and crumbling stone wall to steady herself as she went. When will I arrive at the Hidden Chamber of Utter Darkness, and what will I find there? The Sun Princess dreaded each downward step as she imagined many creepy things would await her. Cora cared not for the creatures of the night, and she didn’t want to meet any of them unexpectedly in the darkness. Doubting that the Moon King was even there, she went deeper into the cave until the air was frigid. It was pitch black, and the lamp barely lit a foot of space in front of her. Finally, she stepped off the last stair and onto a shiny floor made of onyx in a small, empty room. Cora shined her light around to see if there was an entrance or an exit. Finding no doors, only slick walls, the princess had come to a dead end.
‘This is no good,’ Cora mused out loud. Her voice muted, she felt the silent oppressiveness of the chamber. ‘I can’t go up and I can’t go down. I’m stuck. How did I get myself into this predicament? Whatever shall I do?’
Suddenly, an eye appeared in front of her. Startled, she stepped back. But as it was only an eye and not attached to anything like a bat or a rat, she watched it. Another eye? Really? Cora thought as she watched the eerie orb floating on a gentle updraft. It looked her over, its glance examining, categorizing, and processing. The princess felt like she was soon to be filed away. On a shelf, like a book in a library or a jar of jam in a pantry.
Even though it was an eye and not a mouth, the princess ventured to communicate with it.
‘Can you speak?’ Cora tried again.
The eye blinked and continued to hover.
‘Does that mean yes or no?’ the princess inquired and then felt foolish. I must give it a choice, she thought. ‘How about one blink for yes and two blinks for no?’ she asked it.
The eye blinked again, and so Cora assumed it agreed. Remembering her quest, she stated, ‘I am here to see the Moon King. Do you know where he is?’
‘Can you take me to him?’
This is quite inconvenient having an eyeball as a footman. If I find the King, I shall inform him of this unacceptable and troublesome situation, she thought. Cora sighed and then spoke again, but this time with a proper royal tone, haughty and arrogant. “I am the Sun Princess, and I am here on an important mission. The Moon Kingdom is in trouble, and we need his help to save it. I insist you announce my arrival to the King at once.’
At this, the eyeball disappeared, and a doorway materialized in front of her.
Satisfied with her strategy, Cora boldly walked forward through a low passage. She entered the keep of a castle. It was a vast, medieval, Great Hall with pointed arches and ribbed vaults. Burning torches of silver flames sat high on the walls and illuminated it with lustrous, gray light. At the very distant end of the gigantic chamber sat a man with a long white beard on a translucent throne of crystal. Cora strode towards him with authority.”
Ravenna paused and drank her hot cocoa, that had become tepid. However, the room was cozy, and all eyes were upon her. She thought about how much she enjoyed being the storyteller and acting out the part. Waiting for her to continue, the children had expectant faces. Ravenna glanced at Herman. His face had a different but familiar look, and feeling self-conscious, Ravenna averted her eyes to Magic. “It seems that Magic has taken a fancy to you, Herman.”
Herman briefly rubbed behind the cat’s ears. “Yes, it appears so.”
“I wish he liked me,” Myrtle said plaintively.
Throwing Myrtle a look of disapproval, Mason asked, “Mrs. Mariposa, can we get on with the story? What’s happening with the Prince?”
“Ah, yes the Prince…”
Well, he and Goban had also descended deep into the heart of the mountain. Thankfully, the passages were empty. Keeping wary and on the lookout for trolls, they stealthily made their way through the Chamber of Desire and down a long, rickety, wooden ladder to the Starfire Room. When they got to the bottom, the gnome and prince surveyed the room. It was empty except for the center. On a pedestal with a white satin pillow sat the Dagaz Diamond. The gem gave off a brilliant blue aura that filled the chamber. It was the largest jewel Thaddeus had ever seen, and being a prince, he had seen a lot. The diamond seemed to have hundreds of facets, and it sparkled with a light from within. Thaddeus sucked in his breath at its magnificence and approached it.
Staying him with his hand, Goban warned, ‘Wait m’Lord.’ The gnome took his ax from his tool belt. ‘Now is the time to employ Elvin magic. Give me your knife.’ The prince complied before watching and listening as Goban spoke the ancient language and made magical symbols in the air over the weapons. The blue light from the diamond narrowed and focused a ray directly on the blades, and they glowed. When the metal hue matched the diamond in color, Goban ordered, ‘Now put the diamond in your satchel and let’s get out of here!’
While the prince obeyed his instructions, the gnome had started up the ladder. When Thaddeus stepped off the ladder into the Chamber of Desire, loud, otherworldly music emanated from the jewel in his backpack.
Goban gave the prince back his knife and gripped his trusty ax tighter. ‘It is as I feared, m’Lord, the stone has a lyrical enchantment on it. When removed from its resting place, it sings and alerts the trolls. Run! If we can make it to the outside, they will not follow us into the sunshine!’
Retracing their steps, they ran up through the tunnel. Returning the way they came, soon, they were close to the exit. All they had to do was cross the great chamber, and they were free! But from one hole leading off of the room, black shadows oozed inside.
Ravenna paused and said dramatically, “And a horrible smell engulfed them. A terrible stink,” she said, pinching her nose, “one that almost made the prince gag. It was the worst odor he had ever encountered. Worse than rotting fish carcasses, smelly garbage or bad breath. More dreadful than cat poop!”
Everybody laughed, and startling Magic awake.
Zerlinda looked at Magic and agreed, “Your poop does stink, Magic!”
As if understanding that he was being made fun of, Magic got up, jumped down, and strutted into the kitchen with his tail flicking energetically. Ravenna continued her tale.
“The black shadows took shape, and Thaddeus saw they were hideous trolls with misshapen heads, hairy bodies, and crooked limbs. From their slackened mouths, drool dripped as they thought of making a meal out of their uninvited guests. Thaddeus and Goban faced their enemies and backed away. Holding their weapons in front of them, they scuttled across the chamber. The trolls advanced upon the prince and the gnome. Trolls may be vicious, but they aren’t very smart or very agile. Two of the bolder ones leapt forward and, without weapons, quickly taken down with slashing, blue blades. The other trolls paused momentarily.
Gobin and Thaddeus had nearly made it to the doorway when the meanest troll became emboldened. Sensing that the intruders were escaping and taking the diamond, he lunged at the gnome. Goban swung with his ax, but the troll evaded the blade. Knocking it out of Goban’s hand, he tackled the gnome. Then he tried to pin him to the ground. Goban, still limber for his age, rolled free, but the troll scrambled after him. Gobin picked up his ax before planting the butt of the blade squarely on the troll’s forehead. With a groan, the troll fell sideways and passed out.
Meanwhile, two trolls attacked Thaddeus together. He slashed with his dagger and kept them at bay. Goban got to the door and opened it. Rays of bright sunlight burst inside. Thaddeus turned and ran toward the light. As he made his escape, a hand gripped his leg. The prince stumbled outside but not before he felt sharp, vile, troll teeth pierce his ankle.”
Next: The Myth of Madame Mariposa No. 2: Part 8-Flying Free