IX: Prayers and the Unknown

Dave waited… And waited… And waited some more. Adz had still not shown up, it’d been four days now since he’d left on his foray into the wilderness surrounding their little encampment and there had still been no sign of him. Dave was way past worrying now, in fact- you could say he was completely freaking out.

‘If Adz doesn’t show in one more day, I’m going after him, cracked collar bone or not…‘ He vowed silently to himself.

*****

Adz awoke for the first time in what seemed like days without a throbbing pain in his head, no- now it was a stinging, aching pain in the small of his back where he’d been hit with a pike-butt.

‘Well, better than my poor old noggin. Boy has he taken enough beatings lately to last me a arthritic lifetime.‘ He thought somewhat less than jovially to himself as he scanned his surroundings.

What he had thought was a village was in fact yet another Muka outpost filled with tents and hidden warriors just waiting to overtake passing travelers. ‘Who would wanna travel in this dreadful land anyway?‘ He thought.

Glancing around once more and realizing he wasn’t bound, Adz checked the front of the tent- “No luck here, scouts everywhere out here and stationed out front…”, the rear- “Seeing no visible exit this way, I guess I’ll cut my way out slowly with whatever tools I can rustle up…- Oh!”

Talking to himself, he’d failed to notice the menacing spear-tip coming slowly through the archway of the domed tent until it was too late. Now an angered guard was chanting in some foreign tongue, drawing his counterparts and allies to the suspicious scene before him.

‘Oh bother.’ Thought Adz to himself as they led him outside into the blazing morning sun in a slow processional, flanked by more guards.

*****

“That’s it! I’m going after him!” Dave shouted out loud, then- realizing he had spoken out loud, looked around while turning amber, and- when it was clear nobody else was within earshot, sighed and went back to his cobbling at a piece of wood.

‘Well, here goes nothing…’ Hobbling up slowly on his makeshift crutch to support his collar bone, Dave headed off in the direction that Adz had gone and hoped for the best…
*****
‘Four hours, and still no sign of him! Man, I wonder what that weird sign saying ‘N Ki L ff’ meant… Wait- I’ve got it!’

Rushing back as fast as he could with a bum shoulder and stiff legs, Dave returned to the strange hash marks and crossings on the obviously vandalized signpost. Muttering mainly to himself and barely audible, he said “Okay… I’ll turn this upside down… And-“ So saying, he turned the sign clockwise on it’s axis and looked on with satisfaction. ‘Aha! Now I can decipher these scratches… It’s Morse code- in writing!’

Spending the next twenty minutes decoding the messages, Dave finally glanced over his notes and mulled things over. “Hmm, it says here…- ‘Beware the Bluff. Noki pays no heed to sacrifice, nor do the-‘ “The final word was illegible, so it was safe to assume they meant the Muka.

“Well, I guess this solves the mystery of the sign.” He said as he turned the signhead right side up again. ‘N Ki L ff eh? Must be ‘Noki Bluff’… Now where have I heard that name before? Aha! This must be-‘ Just as he was about to finish his bewildered thought, Dave accidentally- in a leap of joy, overbalanced and slid painfully down the hillside for roughly twenty meters or so.

‘Ouch! Well, Munchy sure did a great job on this LOTD… No deadly hazards- only pitfalls and dangerous ledges to kill me. Wonderful… But that must mean that the boa- Is down there…’ So realizing, Dave foresaw an escape route once he had found, or rescued (Be it whatever given scenario) Adz from his predicament he must certainly be in.

“The boat!” He joyfully exclaimed.

‘I can only hope it hasn’t washed away by now after all of these years…’

*****

Somewhere in a dark cavern, a cry of pain so horrifying that the being it emitted from must truly be close to death, swept out across the deep blackness of the night. Adz froze. Could his so-recently called captors have caught Dave?

“For Linden’s sake I hope not…” He muttered and carried on in his run from the careless attendee that had held last watch over him until he, or it- had fallen into a deep doze with the help of some knockout polish that Adz had found handy.

‘We shall prevail Dave, we shall prevail…’ He thought as he hustled on about his way in the dread night of the forest bluff…

‘Wait- who or what is Linden? And why am I-“

Revised Edition 7/2/13

Further Revisions as of 5/1/17

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