Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Cave of Sorrow

A sequel.

David sat at the entrance to the cave, cradling his head in his hands.

"Maybe it's not so bad," he said to himself.

"No, it pretty much is that bad," Tiffany told him. "Every nation on the Five Isles is after our heads, not to mention a legion of independents. We're fracked."

"I'm the Marquis of Atrithau, right?" David said. "I've got resources. I can fight this."

"Except that the Duke of Gotha stripped you of your title when you refused to give him the Artifact, and now your seneschal is assisting him in the hunt against you in exchange for being named the new Marquis," Tiffany reminded.

"I should really have hired more loyal servants," David said regretfully.

Tiffany nodded.

They sat for a little while, lit from behind by the blue-green glow of the Artifact.

"Maybe we can pledge our loyalty to one of the Great Lords hunting us - give this thing over to them?" David suggested.

"Then we'd just be sitting in one place while the rest of the Great Lords, and all the Lessers, came after us," Tiffany rebutted. "Plus, we wouldn't have the Artifact."

"And even if we left the Artifact somewhere in the middle of a village or something, they'd still be after us, just to tell them where we found it, so they could try to see if it was some kind of vast treasure trove..."

"And they wouldn't be contented with a note," Tiffany said, agreeing. "For something as important as this, the only certainty a Lord would accept is torture."

David threw up his hands. "Frack it, then. We've got this relic that can find other relics. Why don't we use it? Find enough other relics, powerful enough, that we can stop anyone who comes after us?"

"Trying to do that - an occupation that necessarily involves some travel, some exposure - while escaping pursuit from every freebound in the Five Isles?" Tiffany asked. "Our life expectancy is nil."

"It already is!" David shouted, frustrated.

"I agree," Tiffany told him. "And that's why I think we should do it."

"You do," David said.

"Just didn't want either of us getting overconfident," she told him.

"All right," David said, pulling out the Lexicon as he walked toward the Artifact. "Let's get started. What's the first thing we can find?..."


It was a relic that produced mice when prodded sharply.

"Don't be so sad!" Tiffany suggested. "It worked!"

"But it's useless!" David said, pointing to the small, glowing fragment in his other hand. Several mice were gnawing on his boot-laces.

"At least now we'll always have something to eat!" Tiffany said cheerily.

They did not eat the mice.

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