Terra Incognita – Chapter 2

Marcus and Ayla were rustling through the house gathering all of their belongings and spell components into the cart. Ember and Sorley were setting up a long-term invisibility spell on the cart and themselves when they heard the sound of thunder. They looked up and saw dark stormclouds in the distance moving towards the house.

“Dad, a storm is coming!” Sorley pushed the cart in through the front door.

“Shast. Here, let me help you.” Marcus started pulling the cart too, then turned his head to yell into the house. “Ayla! We’re gonna need plan b!”

In the basement of the house Ayla barely heard Marcus yelling about plan b. Sighing she turned to a large woven tapestry covering the southern wall and pulled it down to reveal solid rock. Carved into the rock face no more than a quarter of an inch deep was an arch with runic inscriptions and a series of swirling lines surrounding it.

“I guess it’s time to start.” Ayla muttered to herself as she jogged back up to the ground floor and started grabbing things from the cart.

“What do you need mom?”

“I’ll help her Sorley. Here, study the bookmarked page in my grimoire while your mother and I work.”

– – –

Ember nudged Sorley. “Wake up, you didn’t even get halfway into the first paragraph before you started snoring.” She glanced at the open grimoire on his lap and read the first sentence aloud. “‘Portal travel and what you need to know to survive the trip.’ Well, that’s not ominous at all.”

A jolt sent the grimoire onto Ember’s back and Sorley sat bolt upright.

“What’s wrong?”

“I had a strange dream.”

“What about?”

“I…don’t remember much, and the rest is slipping away.” Sorley opened up the path in his mind to Ember and showed what he could remember before it left completely. “Did you catch any of that?”

Ember’s eyes glazed over slightly as she focused on what she could garner from the brief flashes. “I see a pale white girl in a muddy dress that used to be pure white, a tongue lying on the ground rotting, and a strange bulky muscled green-skinned man with tusks like a boar.” She blinked a few times, refocusing on her surroundings. “That’s probably not useful, and a little morbid.”

Sorley shuddered. “She’s a Sky Elf, and I saw the green man cut out her tongue. It was like she was looking at me, pleading for my help…I could almost feel the pain.”

“A psychosomatic dream? You don’t get those, this must be something else…” Ember drifted off into thought for a moment. “You could be connected to this girl somehow…”

Shrugging Sorley reached for the grimoire on Ember’s back. “Well maybe, but I don’t know how. Maybe it has something to do with the page dad wanted me to read.” He started thumbing to the bookmarked page. “Alright, let’s see what portal safety is ab-” he stopped mid sentence, staring at the page.

“Well, what’s it say?”

He turned the book for her to see. “Nothing.”

“What? Are you sure it’s the right page?” Ember glanced at the other page with an example of a portal. “Oh, it’s the right page.” She glanced at Sorley. “What did you do?”

“Nothing! I read the first paragraph and fell asleep!”

“Well, what did it say?”

“Umm…it said, ‘First and foremost remember that you are in control of the journey and it will be as long or as short as you make it. Secondly, do not lose yourself in the portal. This is only a concern if you are taking a long time to travel. The following paragraphs are anecdotes about trips and how to avoid what happened during them.’ That’s it. I guess I have the important information down, but I would like to have read the stories.” Sorley started to get up then froze in place. “Wait, are we going through a portal? Those things give off a very specific and very visible tell and stay open for hours after creation. If we open one we’ll definitely be found and followed.” Sorley bolted for the basement where his parents had disappeared earlier. “We have to stop them before it’s too la-”

A blinding light exploded from the basement and made a hole through the floor up through the ceiling and roof, and then into the sky.

“Too late.” Ember lemented. “Grab the grimoire and let’s find out what’s next.”

“Yeah.”

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