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Chapter Sixteen

I felt a bit astray in the damp and moist rainforest, but did not mind much, for the positive side of wandering was that you are never lost. It began to rain, appearing as though a storm had was approaching. It was cold and warm at the same time. The drops felt jagged but soft. I felt as if I were cleansed of my dirt which I had acquired during the journey. My head was down the entire time, weary from the dread which occasionally engulfed me. At last, I lifted my head and noticed a forn, a mystical being which had a body of a tiger, antlers of deer and wings of angels, with an enchanted ring of rocks circling its majestic antlers. I had never encountered one before but had only seen drawings of such beauty. Its eyes where luminescent white, piercing into a man’s’ soul, and seeing their deepest intentions. The creature simply stood there, in front of me, blocking my path. Breaking down in tears I fell to my knees in despair and misery, for I knew that forns never appear without reason. ---

---The Athenaeum was overrun by the damned ones, with the professor desperately fending them off. I watched in close proximity, holding onto the side until I had no feeling left

I was not far from the house, and at the speed which I was soaring, would cause me soon to arrive. I felt a sense of relief, until I felt a thump on the bookcase. Slowly, I turned my gaze upwards, only to be met with an abominable decaying head of a wild hog. Its drool dripped onto my face as it stared down at me. The pain of my clenching arm returned once more, and I could feel that I was losing my grip.

The damned one screeched and attempted to latch onto me with its wooden claws. I slipped to the edge of the shelf, hanging on for dear life. I noticed the professor barely fending off the hoard of damned ones. I could not let him down, not this time

Hastily I pulled myself up to the corner of the bookcase and leaned towards one side, causing the bookcase soar to the left. The damned one decided at that moment to descend downwards in my direction. Looking up I noticed the creature reach out to grasp hold of me, as the bookcase was about to impact the edge.

I quickly jumped to a nearby mezzanine. Roughly landing onto it as the bookcase collided with the side of the grand wall, crushing the damned one in process.

The professor witnessing this hastily called out for another bookcase nearby. Nodding to me just before being attacked by two creatures.

Battling with myself not too look back; I had to go forward. So, I leaped onto the summoned bookcase, as I continued forward.

Attempting to suppress my urge to look back, I slowly turned my head, and was quick to move my gaze forward, knowing the sight would do nothing but pull me back.

I could faintly make out the outline of the house from a distance. So, I turned my gaze to the left, just as a giant gorilla, blended with roots of trees ran parallel to me on the grand wall. I knew I would need to act quickly, knowing that any delay of action would surely end in utter disaster

Moving my balance towards it, I caused the bookshelf to drift closer to the abhorring gorilla. It noticed my move and lunged at me. I quickly shifted my balance upwards, causing the gorilla to grasp the bottom of the bookshelf.

Just as he grasped hold of it the bottom broke, plummeting into the unknown.

My victory, however, was short lived for all of a sudden, I felt a piercing (feeling) in my back. Checking to ascertain its cause, I was surprised to see that a wooden shard had hit my shoulder. Gazing up in pain, looking for what was causing these shards to pummel toward me, I saw, a creature fall from the sky directly in front of me.

Dodging its swinging, rusty sword I tripped backward. Avoiding the thrust, I moved to the side and removed the dagger which I had stuffed in my coat.

The creature stared at the dagger with birdlike eyes, and slowly approached me. I was quite surprised by its passivity, and quickly stabbed it in the head, throwing it from the soaring bookcase.

This proved only to be a distraction for as I looked to my left; a swarm of creatures were heading straight for me, or better said, for the dagger.

Clumsily, I leaned my balance forward to move the bookcase faster, but without success. The creatures were too close. I could sense that death was imminent as the creatures begin to close in on me.

I could not keep from looking back. The damned ones were closing in on me and I could smell their foul stench, and hear their slimy joints move as they protruded forward.

Glaring at the creatures, I noticed a blue hue in the distance and a streak of bright lightning slithered through the hoard of creatures, thrusting them to the edge, making way for the professor to hover forward.

The professor extended his hand as he soared towards me.

“Take my hand!” He called out as I jumped up in the air grasping his arm. With a groan he pulled me upward onto the soaring bookshelf.

Even after he rescued me, I could not let go of the professor’s arm. I clenched it, firmly, gasping whilst my eyes and my body shivered as if it were the dead of winter. Looking back, I stared at the army which followed behind us. Velkagon and the damned ones continued to follow us.

Velkagon was riding a decaying colossal raven and glared at me as he slowly followed behind his creations.

Crashing into the porch, the professor quickly ushered me into the house, halting in front of the peregrination crystal. Still shivering I slouched in the corner, with tears filling my eyes.

“Augustine!” The professor called out. “Augustine!” He turned to me seeing my distressed state. He quickly approached me pulling me from the corner. “Come on, we have no time for this!”

“I can’t, professor! I can’t go alone! Please!”

I cried out to him as he dragged me towards the crystal. The professor turned to face me and with a serious tone uttered, “You have no choice!“

The professor gazed into my tear-filled eyes. His face relaxed and I could see that at last the walls between us had fallen. I could at last, deduce his feelings of fear, regret, and loss. All these emotions had flooded him in that one moment and I knew I could not leave him behind.

“But you’ll die!“ I whimpered.

The professor looked down at the floor, and with hesitation he uttered. “I know. I know, Augustine.”

The professor desperately attempted to hold his walls up.

“You know, young Augustine. People are like bees…“

I looked up at the professor in confusion.

“Yes, you see, bees have one stinger, which they can only use once! Once used the bee perishes, so, they must be very careful to not use it in vain. Some people use their stinger many times, but we don’t talk about them. There are also some who don’t have a stinger and they-“

I quickly hugged the professor, interrupting him. I was trembling in dread, and tightly holding on to him.

“I don’t want you to go!” I sobbed. You always knew. You always understood!”

The professor was quite baffled and did not know how to respond. This was an entirely new experience for him. He looked down on me attempting to comfort my dismayed state, drawing me into a clumsy embrace.

“Now, now, you’ll be fine.” The professor stared blankly, resting his chin on my head.

His eyes misted over, only for him to quickly wipe them away with the back of his hand. It was somewhat an epiphany, a peace for the professor. The embrace was to him, greater than any artifact he possessed.

A loud shriek pierced our tender moment. Turning his gaze and the professor stared to the window; he could see the hoard approaching the house. So, hastily, he picked me up and attempted to shake me into reason.

“Listen, Augustine!”

The professor persisted to shake me. “Augustine!”

I finally turned my gaze to the professor.

“Rid yourself of emotion! You know where to go. I can buy you little time. So, hurry!”

The professor walked down the hall and mounted the soaring bookcase to confront the damned ones.

I quickly rose from the ground and dusted myself off. Turning to the peregrination crystal I closed my eyes and reached out to grasp it in my hands while attempting to rid myself of my discombobulated state.

Sounds of creatures screeching and the professor desperately fending them off, was a source of great distraction, so, putting my hands over my ears in a desperate attempt to block the sound, I whispered, “rivers, valleys, peace, green hills, warm winds.“

Calming my state and trying to empty my mind of all the chaos, I slowly moved my hands down to the crystal, as at last I touched it.

The house began to shake, while I fought with the crystal, attempting to control its vigorous state. The professor could hold the creatures at bay no longer and was hurled onto the porch. He stood on one knee and slammed the staff into the ground.

I moved my gaze at him, and he did the same. Silence took over as we stared at one another. Sorrow was in his eyes, and weariness accompanied it.

“Godspeed,” the professor uttered as he slammed the door shut.

The crystal began to crack as my tear struck it. The luminescence of its’ glow blinded me, and I fell to the ground, sinking into a deep slumber, while the house trembled under the fierce tremors.

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