The Thevian Mountains steadily grew larger as The Five Heroes approached them. Gabonland’s thieves and robbers lived in the mountains stealing from all who entered their domain. The Five Heroes had left Corpolongo after a long and peaceful sleep. They were traveling east continuing their journey to The Sensibles’ castle. When they had reached the mountain range all five of them entered the realm of King Thevian with high hopes. Everything grew dark as the sun was blocked by the tall towers of stone.
Sarnam was being as cautious as he could. He had fallen into a trap the last time he passed through the mountains. He had met King Thevian. Sarnam might have even been responsible for the king’s death. As it got later in the day, the mountains grew darker.
“Time for a rest,” Asher said. “We need to recharge our batteries.” He took kindling out of his bag and set it on the ground.
“No,” Sarnam said. “It is not safe here. We should not stop moving or we will be surrounded.” He gestured to the other four heroes to follow him. Nobody did.
“Don’t worry, Sarnam,” Asher said. “The thieves will probably be asleep right now, and we all need rest.”
“Can you hear yourself!” Sarnam said flying into a temper. “Thieves do not sleep! I was attacked once at night. The time of day does not matter to the people in these mountains.”
“I am tired. Let’s just sleep. We have been walking all day,” Cornelious complained. “I vote we stop travel for the day.”
“I agree,” Flitican said.
“Me too,” Elderain said.
“The vote is 4 to 1, Sarnam,” Asher said. “We are staying right here until morning.”
Sarnam stopped trying to get everyone to go with him. “I can’t believe I am being sent on a dangerous mission with untrained and arrogant foreigners,” Sarnam said under his breath. He made sure to loosen his sword from his sheath.
Dinner was prepared over the camp fire that Asher had made. If loitering here wasn’t dangerous enough already, Sarnam thought. After dinner was eaten they all lay down to sleep. Sarnam remained awake looking into the dark ahead of him waiting for King Thevian to find them.
Asher was feeling very guilty. He awoke to the sound of an unsheathing sword and a shout from Sarnam. He saw Sarnam’s sword, Glothhoth, glowing in the dark out of its sheath pointing at dark figures wearing black clothes that only showed part of their faces. Thieves were here just like Sarnam had predicted. Asher got up and felt a sudden sting in his arm like the bite of a poisonous spider. It was an arrow from one of the thieves. When Asher saw the arrow and remembered they were usually poisoned, he fell to the ground.
Everybody was up now and had their weapons drawn. Except Cornelious who remained under the covers hiding. Elderain had immediately taken an arrow out of his quiver and set it on the string. He shot one of the archers. This was the first time he had ever used his bow to kill. He felt shaky and sick.
Sarnam could be seen charging into a group of robbers with Glothhoth shining. Flitican was going in and out of the mass of archers wielding his grimapolian axe, moving faster than the arrows were. After a few horrifying minutes all of the thieves had either died or fled.
When the fighting was over Flitican, Elderain, and Sarnam bent over Asher. Flitican checked his pulse.
“He is dead,” Flitican said. “The poison used in the arrows is very quick acting. There is nothing more we can do now.” The Five Heroes, or Four Heroes now, were horrified.
“We have had a loss already.” Sarnam said.
“Because,” Cornelious said, getting out from under his blankets, “all of us have been sent on an impossible mission! We need to change courses now and tell King Condronson that we just can’t do the task we have been given.”
“You aren’t in the place to tell us what all of us should do, Cornelious.” Flitican said. “You spent the entire fight with the thieves hiding under a blanket. You could have fought and maybe saved Asher.”
“I was not feeling like battle at the moment,” Cornelious said irritatingly.
“Since when does it matter how you are feeling!?” Sarnam replied angrily, “Do you ever feel like work!? Do you ever feel like traveling!? Did you even feel like going on this mission to save Gabonland!?”
“You are a coward, Cornelious,” Flitican said, “And I will-”
“Stop it,” Elderain said. “We don’t have time for this arguing. We need to get out of here immediately. We will be met by a greater group of thieves than before if we stay here.”
“What will we do with Asher’s body?” Cornelious asked.
“We shall bring him with us,” Elderain replied. “Asher can be wrapped up in blankets and carried. We can arrange a funeral when we reach The Sensibles castle.”
They all hurried to pack up the camp, and then set off at a run to get out of the mountains as quickly as possible. As they went Cornelious talked to himself.
“They say I am a coward,” Cornelious said.
“You shall show them. You can show them that you are braver than them all,” Cornelious replied,
“But how?” Cornelious asked.
“You do not know now but you will figure out soon enough,” Cornelious replied, “Yes, soon enough.”
Thuecadem was flat. Cornelious, Flitican, Elderain, and Sarnam could see no landscape. The sky met the ground right in front of them. Well, Cornelious thought, we can’t be surprised by Tricrantry on this landscape. We would see him coming from miles away.
“The Castle of the Sensibles is just a little farther east,” Sarnam said. “That is what the man with the pointy cap said. In fact, I can see something like a tower in the distance. Over there.”
The Four Heroes who were still alive ran to the castle hoping to reach it before something got in their way. Cornelious glanced back every five seconds, hoping that he would not see The Thuecadem Monster following them. He dreaded, more than anything, to meet the monster that had three heads.
Eighteen hours after Asher’s death they were able to see The Castle of the Sensibles. Oddly it was surrounded by great plumes of black smoke. They ran up to the castle to see what the trouble was. Before they quite reached the gates that had smoke pouring out of them a strange figure approached them. The figure was like a man except the man’s head was as big as a watermelon.
“I am Caldortain. Are you some of The Five Heroes?” Caldortain asked, taking note in his enormous mind that there were only four of them. He sounded very concerned.
“Is there a fire?” Elderain asked.
“No, there is no fire,” Caldortain said gravely. “The calamity in the castle cannot be compared to a fire.”
Cornelious stared ahead in fear like he had seen a ghost and said, “The Calamity is Tricrantry isn’t it?”
Caldortain nodded and Cornelious shrank back from the city. “What is he doing here!?” Cornelious asked.
“The Thuecadem Monster comes here once a month to feed on the Sensibles.” Caldortain replied in fear. “But we never had the strength to stop it.”
“Well,” Flitican said, “we are The Five Heroes, and our duty to Gabonland is to deal with these kind of problems.” As he said this Flitican marched into the Sensibles castle and disappeared into the smoke. Cornelious shrank back farther from the city as Elderain went into the plumes of smoke.
“Cornelious,” Sarnam said, “being brave is not being without fear. Being brave is being able to face your fears.” After this was said Sarnam also disappeared in the great black plume that surrounded The Castle of the Sensibles.
Cornelious pondered what he had heard, and decided going in there was crazy.
Only two sounds could be heard by Elderain in the plume of smoke. One was the sound of Sarnam saying very faintly, as if he was far away, “We should stick together.” There was also the sound of moaning, Sensibles crying out, and occasionally a shout of pain.
Elderain had an arrow on the string and was looking around. He found that he could only see a foot in front of him. A despairing cry for help could be heard just a few yards in front of him. He squinted as hard as he could. There was nothing there. “Or there is nothing there now”, Elderain thought in terror.
Suddenly, an enormous green scaly hand grabbed Elderain from behind. It lifted Elderain up and then the being who the hand belonged to could be seen. It had three heads. Two were yellow and one was orange. The yellow heads were breathing out black plumes of smoke. The orange head was staring at Elderain and growling. Elderain took out an arrow from his quiver as the Thuecadem Monster tried to shove Elderain into its mouth whole. Before Elderain was eaten he jabbed Tricrantry’s hand with the Bacnaltican arrow. The monster howled and dropped Elderain on the ground. When Elderain got up he saw Tricrantry was gone.
The smoke plume disappeared with The Thuecadem Monster. After it was gone he saw the other heroes approaching him along with Caldortain.
“Where did you go?” Sarnam asked. “We thought you were following us but you suddenly disappeared.”
“I stayed here after I lost you guys,” Elderain replied. He did not mention The Thuecadem Monster because he did not want to call attention to himself.
“You should never stay in the same place during an attack from Tricrantry,” Caldortain said. “The monster always goes after the Sensibles who are holding still. You were lucky he didn’t find you.” His face then turned from a look of fear to a look of happiness. “I took your friend and sent him to the doctors. He should be okay soon.”
“You mean Asher?” Cornelious asked. “Asher is dead.”
“You are forgetting that we are The Sensibles.” Caldortain replied. “We have medicines that can revive somebody who has been dead for up to three months.”
“Magic?” Sarnam asked.
“No,” Caldortain said, “science.”
A few hours later they happily met Asher. “I’ve never been dead before,” Asher said. “It was the most interesting thing.”
“What happened?” The other four heroes asked.
“I stood in front of a city that was made of gold, and had twelve gates made of pearl.” Asher said. “I stood gazing at it in wonder. Then a man with holes in his hands invited me in. I walked into the beautiful city and then appeared here at The Castle of the Sensibles.”
“A city of gold,” Elderain said in wonder. “Were you a little sad to come back?”
“Yes,” Asher answered. “But I feel that I still have a role to play in this quest before I die.”
After a brief rest The Five Heroes met with Caldortain, ready to hear the plans for stopping Lord Vallan.
Coming April 5th