Metanoia

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Chapter Fifteen

We had arrived at an odd mountain side, with a large opening. Our surroundings were very peculiar, and out of place. The landscape seemed to be deprived of life and the ground was dark and seemed to engulf the trees which bordered this perplexing field. I halted as the forn waited for me at the entrance. Distracted by the landscape, I was attempting to make sense of my surroundings, swiftly giving up and at last, asking the forn.

“What is this?”

“Come inside and you will see.” The forn replied with a hint of mirth in his voice.

I commenced forward into the baffling entrance of this colossal cave. There were many peculiarities and confusing natural abnormalities, for example; the rocks seemed to resemble waves and rivers flowing and crashing into one another. There were odd looking trees resembling the abnormalities of the rocks, growing out of the stone with no soil to provide it life. It was as if this cave had forgotten the laws of nature and done something of its own.

“Hurry up your pace Augustine, time is but precious to me.” The forn gently uttered as I ventured deeper into this unearthly cavern. ---

--- “Wakey, wakey nitwit!“

The professor poked me with his staff as I, still dazed from my abrupt awakening, rose from the makeshift bed and sat up. “Why do you even sleep?” The professor inquired as he stuffed a satchel with essentials.

“I like dreaming.” I answered.

“Seems to me like an utter waste of time.” The professor chucked the satchel at me. “In there you have many useful essentials, don’t lose it.“

I put the satchel on my shoulder and waited for further instructions.

“Ok, now, what I am going to do is create a diversion. I’m going to call upon a dozen of bookcases, to begin to fly around, so be careful not to get hit by any of them. Look for a bookcase which has a red ribbon attached to it. That one will be heading for the sector in which the dagger lays.” I was carefully listening to the professor, but my mind flooded with thousands of possibilities.

What if I failed?

What if I couldn’t find the red ribbon?

“Augustine!” The professor snapped his fingers, bringing me out of my reverie “Is everything crystal clear?“ The professor asked.

“Crystal clear, professor.” I nervously replied.

“Good, after that, head toward the house. You will notice a bookcase which will be going in the direction of the house every ten seconds or so.”

“What will happen to you?” I asked the professor.

“Don’t worry about me, young Augustine. You have an important task at hand. Have your priorities straight.”

Eyes wide and heart pumping, I entered a state of great nervousness.

As I approached the door of the study, my feet had a tingling sensation, as if I would collapse at any moment. I halted at the exit and turned to the professor in a desperate attempt to encourage him come along.

“Why can’t you go with me?” I asked, my voice quivering.

The professor sighed and looked down in a sense of reckoning. After a few seconds had passed, he quickly, and pride fully raised his head to face me.

“I’m old. I’m tired, and most of all, a bit lazy. Also got a batch of cookies and whisky to down.“

The professor sat on his thrown of crumbs and books, stretching his legs out and continuing.

“Besides, I believe I have taught you well enough.“ The professor gently smiled. His smile gave me a measure of confidence, and to an extent, cured me of my nervousness.

“Now, go on. Get the hell out of my study!” The professor said good naturedly, as I turned my gaze back onto the door.

Putting my hand on the doorknob and taking a deep breath, I carefully stepped out onto the mezzanine and stared at the island of bookshelves, where the dagger resided. Quickly I proceeded in its’ direction.

Without warning, a giant bookcase flew above me, nearly decapitating me.

Hundreds of bookshelves began to hover in between the two walls. I was cautiously waiting and looking for the red ribbon, already worrying that I might have missed it. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed a scarlet hue. It was the red ribbon.

Running parallel to the soaring bookshelf on which resided the red ribbon, I waited for the perfect moment to climb aboard. Many bookcases rapidly hovered in between me and the marked bookcase. I was afraid that if I jumped at the wrong time, I might get crushed and thrown into the bottomless mist. I had to take the risk, however, since I was quickly running out of floor.

Looking behind me I spied a bookcase heading directly for the space in between me and the marked bookshelf. I was quickly coming to the end of the mezzanine. I had no choice, and on the count of three I decided to jump.

One,

Two,

Three!

I leaped onto the wooden railing and just as quickly leaped off; barely latching onto the marked bookcase, as a soaring shelf and I nearly collided. Holding tight to the bookcase I waited for it to pass over the hovering island.

As it hovered over my destination, I released my hold only to collide with a passing bookcase. Slamming hard onto the cold rock of the hovering island I rolled over to the edge. Clinging onto the stone with my left hand, in pain, I pushed myself up onto the surface and rolled onto my back, before finally standing to my feet, and proceeding into the room in where the dagger now resided.

Cautiously I entered the room and looked behind me, to make sure no one was there. As I was reassured that no one had followed me, I put on my gloves and ran to the podium.

To my surprise, the dagger wasn’t there. I nervously looked around, thinking that the professor might have misplaced it.

“Your greatest flaw was to mistake me as a fool.“ Rahil uttered from behind me.

I slowly turned around to see him leaning against the entrance to the room. I looked down to see him holding the luminescent dagger in his hand.

“You shouldn’t be holding the dagger with your bare hands.” I replied, my voice quivering.

He slowly approached me, as his ring began to glow. I slowly backed up.

“You pathetic entities are always thinking about yourselves. I was so eager for you to come here, and you did. You naïve child.”

Rahil then threw me against the wall with his inferno, burning my hand and torso in the process.

I screamed in pain as I desperately scrambled into the corner of the room. Rahil walked towards me, mocking me with every step, jolting me with quick burst of fire. Feeling as if I had failed, I huddled in the corner, covering my face. I could see no way out.

“How does it feel, to be dominated, diminished by a mortal?“

Rahil shouted his mocking question at me as I remained curled in the corner, hoping he would make it swift and painless.

“It’s funny, now that I can see you. You are so weak, and hopeless.” Rahil continued to taunt me. “I thought you’d be more formidable, perhaps some sharp teeth or-“

A white static energy interrupted Rahil and thrusted him into the bookshelves.

It was the professor. He hastily came to my aid and looked at my wounds. Sighing in anger, he removed a bottle and gave it to me.

“Drink it, quickly!”

“Is it a potion?” I asked as I drank.

“Whiskey,” answered the professor.

His staff began to glow as he pointed it at my burns.

I screamed in pain, and biting my shirt to deflect the pain, I watched as my wounds began to heal. When this was completed the professor assisted me to my feet and gazed down at Rahil and the glowing dagger which lay beside him. His eyes widened as he shouted angrily at Rahil.

“You fool, how long did you hold it?”

“Traitor!” Rahil slowly turned toward the professor and uttered in dismay. “You are a traitor!”

The professor took a small cloth out of his pocket and cautiously picked up the pulsating dagger, showing it to Rahil.

“How long did you have it in your hands?“ The professor repeated.

“What do you care!?”

A humming noise could be discerned as the room began to shake; causing books to fall. The professors’ dreaded face re-instated a sense of fear in me.

Quickly heading out to the terrace the professor looked up at the wall of bookcases as they began to be engulfed in an ominous dark shadow. This was a shadow with which the professor was very familiar.

“He’s here.”

The professor quickly turned around and called for a bookcase.

“What is?” I asked as I followed close behind

The professor’s hesitance to respond made me jittery. I clenched my sweating hands into a fist.

“Professor...”

He quickly grabbed me by the arm and set me on the hovering bookcase, grabbing me by the collar and pulling me close.

“You go, young Augustine. Do not look back. Whatever happens, do not halt until you get to the house.”

My stomach clenched, and my arms weakened as the professor put the dagger in my hands and sent me off.

Looking up, I could discern a black hole from which emerged an army of abominable creatures. They seemed to have bodies of decaying animals, blended with elements of nature. Some had heads of rotting bears, and bodies of wood, and moss, others, heads of wood and bodies of decaying wolfs.

They ravaged the walls of the Athenaeum, surrounding the professor.

I was chilled to the bone. For from the army emerged this thing. Its very presence gave off a dark aura which filled the Athenaeum. Its head was that of a deer’s skull, with massive horns protruding from it.

It wore a dark torn cloak with many ornaments and artifacts accompanying it. In one hand it held a rosary of bone and wood, and in the other it held a black stone, from which derived a black mist.

I quickly stuffed the dagger into my coat, and jolted back, clinging on the side of the soaring bookcase, wishing to remove myself from the sight of these abominable creatures.

The professor rapidly jumped onto a bookcase and with a blast of energy, decimated most of the creatures closest to him.

Rahil’s blood curdling screams could be heard, ending with a chilling screech as the creatures plunged the Athenaeum.

Soaring higher from the island, the professor gazed at the being which bore the skull of a deer. He had known its name, its dreaded name which struck fear into the hearts of all mortals and immortals. It was the name which the elders had feared for a millennium. At last, the professor had come face to face with the dreaded king himself. Velkagon.

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