Chapter 10: Ambushed At Night
The sun was setting and the shadows grew larger as the sky darkened. Jack stared through the trees, imagining hunting eyes watching them.
Evooku raised his arm and pointed. Up ahead they saw a small shack made from battered wood, half-collapsed against a rock face. Large wooden beams held open the entrance.
“An old mine,” said Jasyra.
The three companions strode towards the mine, looking up to see the first stars twinkling in the evening light. The moon hung low and heavy in the sky, glowing blood red. Jack noticed that it was full, a perfect circle.
Evooku took position thirty feet away from the entrance, bow at the ready. Jasyra stepped cautiously into the shack.
“There’s nothing here. Maybe this is a good spot to rest for the night.”
A thundering crash made Jack turn to the trees. Heavy footsteps shook the ground as a shadowy shape emerged, stepping towards them. Glowing red eyes glared and an animal mouth opened to reveal long rows of jagged, yellow teeth. The creature stood up on its two legs, an unnatural mix of wolf and man.
With a terrifying howl, it raised its head to the sky. A chorus of howls echoed from the woods.
Evooku wasted no time in firing an arrow right at the beast, but Lycanthor batted the puny missile away with one hand.
“Foolish creatures!” it roared. “You dare enter my domain!”
Jack raised the staff before him, imagining the swirling energy within the emerald. His heart raced and power drifted through his arms… But Lycanthor was large and powerful and coming their way!
Jasyra let loose an arrow, striking Lycanthor in the stomach. At first it ignored the arrow, thinking it a mere annoyance, but then the werewolf paused and leapt up, yelping in pain. Smoke hissed from where the arrow had pierced its thick hide. The wolfsbane was working!
Lycanthor tore out the arrow, snapping it in half like a twig, but the wound in its stomach spat dark blood. It rubbed it carefully, then looked as Evooku and Jasyra aimed fresh arrows.
Thinking better of it, Lycanthor ran away into the forest.
“That was close!” said Jack.
“He’ll be back,” replied Jasyra. “We should try to camp out here.”
Jack stepped into the mine, wishing they had a torch or his phone. The emerald at the end of his staff began to glow, filling the cave with a soft light.
“This thing sure is handy!” he said, managing a small laugh.
Jasyra smiled briefly then looked inside.
“This is a silver mine. My father told me the hills in these woods are renowned for their silver. It must have been abandoned when the Demon Emperor took power.”
They walked further in, finding abandoned mine carts and pick axes. Whoever was here before had left in a hurry. Jack peered into a mine cart. He felt around the edges and moved the staff closer. He recoiled in shock as he saw a spider the size of his fist scuttling within, angry at the light.
“Jack, come here!” cried Jasyra.
Evooku ran his long-fingered hands over the walls of the mine. A stream of shining patterns ran down the wall.
“What is it?” he asked, watching as the stream flickered in the light.
“Its silver, Jack!” said Jasyra with a smile on her face. “And you know who hates silver!”
“Werewolves,” he grinned.
Evooku grabbed one of the dusty pick axes lying on the ground. He chipped away at the silver, causing a few pieces to splinter off and tumble to the floor. After gathering up a solid chunk, he hammered at it with the blunt edge of the pick axe, fashioning it into a rough arrow head. Jasyra grabbed the pick axe and tried to dig out more silver, but there didn’t seem to be any other chunks that would easily fall out.
“Let me try my staff,” said Jack.
“Are you sure?” asked Jasyra.
“Yes, I’ve done it once already. Stand back and watch the magic!”
Jack raised the staff and pointed it at the stream of silver in the walls. He thought about the beam he’d made before, with the lady in the lake, how it started as a ball of energy in the emerald. Slowly, he felt the sense of energy and, before he could blink, a blast burst out from the gem. It exploded into the wall, and dark smoke filled the air around them.
Jasyra coughed, then gasped. The walls shook and the floor rumbled. Not a good sign.
Evooku pushed Jasyra and Jack with one hand each, and the trio stumbled as quickly as they could to the mine’s entrance. They ran out into the night just as rocks from the ceiling crashed behind them, collapsing the mineshaft.
“I think you need some more practice with that thing!” coughed Jasyra.
Evooku waved his hands at her in a complicated pattern.
“You’re right,” nodded Jasyra. “We need to draw Lycanthor out into the open. In the woods he is too safe.”
As the full moon shone above, the companions ran down to the stream and into the night.