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jtougas

The Adventures of Calan Stonebridge Part One

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by , 10-06-2012 at 09:58 AM (1144 Views)
Here is part one of the text-only version of The Adventures of Calan Stonebridge as written to this point. Enjoy

Calan Stonebridge was very aware of the type of tavern the "Stabbed Soldier" was. Although he was only 13 years old, he had lived in Riverhewn long enough to know that the tavern was the meeting place for many of the cities seedier citizens. He hated living in the city. Especially in the area known as the "Common Ward" it was the poorest area of the city home to most of the working class. He and his mother had been forced to move here after the death of his father. Almon Stonebridge had fancied himself an "adventurer" and would disappear for months at a time in search of glory and fortune. Ultimately he found neither. Calan could remember the knock on the door of his parents farmhouse. The messenger had returned his fathers body. He had been found stabbed to death in the Docks area of RIverhewn. Calan had cried for hours while his mother and uncles buried his father. They had moved to Riverhewn a few weeks later. His job at the Stabbed Solider was a menial one. He mucked the run down stables and cleaned the run-down common room. He hated the job but it did afford him a opportunity to listen. This is what caused him to be hidden in the rafters of the one private room in the tavern. Below him three men huddled over a map and talked of a great fortune......

Calan Stonebridge climbed down from the rafters quietly. He had heard a great deal and it would do him no good to be caught now. The men had discussed a great treasure hidden some where under the city of Riverhewn. He dodged away from the bustling kitchen where he knew his mother and their supervisor fat, old Menna would be looking for him. The men had headed in the direction of the stables and with the cover of falling night Calan once again found himself clinging to a wooden beam and looking down upon the dirty stables. Although there was very little light he could see a pack and some other gear half-buried in the hay. There was also a glint of metal it looked like a grate, also half-buried. Was this the way that the men planned to enter into the catacombs under the city? Calan Stonebridge knew he had to find out......

Calan Stonebridge heaved at the rusty grate with all his might. He had watched the men climb down into the murky darkness below and now he was determined to follow them. With a loud squeal the grate gave way and swung open. Calan could see a wooden ladder and not much else. There was a flickering light source somewhere below him but he could not tell how far away it was. He swallowed back his fear and placed his foot on the first rung of the ladder. He knew there was no turning back now even though he was completely unarmed and carried only a small piece of cheese and a warm shirt in a pack on his back. He had told no one of his plans and was sure that fat Menna and his mother would not even miss him. He climbed down the ladder gripping each rung tightly enough to cause himself pain until he reached the bottom. The smell of the flowing sewer assaulted his senses. Everyone in Riverhewn knew of the sewers but very few ever came down to the dark and fetid depths. Calan stood on the rocky ground with his arm in front of his nose in a vain attempt to block the smell. He was standing in a circular chamber that seemed to be carved from the earth itself. In front of him like a vile river flowed the sewer. He could see crates and stacks of equipment. He nearly jumped out of his skin as a voice echoed from an unseen passageway. Trembling with fear he hid behind a stack of crates and begged his heart to stop beating so loudly......

Calan Stonebridge walked cautiously down the dimly lit passageway. The foul odor was even more offensive here as there was less space for it to disperse. He could see things scurrying away out of the corner of his eye and was glad that they did scurry and not decide to investigate what a scared boy from the surface world was doing in their domain. The men that Calan followed had stuck torches in the occasional wall sconce and the pale light only made his surroundings more frightful. He came out of the narrow passageway into a large chamber that was also lit with the wall torches. More sounds of scurrying could be heard in the corners of this room. In one corner of the room there was a tall moss covered arched doorway in the other corner was a smaller doorway that led to a shaft inside which a ladder sat ready. Calan heard the sounds of footsteps and dashed behind the arch door. What he saw would haunt his dreams for the rest of his days. In the center of the small room sat a marble pool. This pool was filled with liquid of the purest black and on this liquid, seemingly suspended above it a arcane rune and leering skull glowed a sickly red. Calan Stonebridge felt the eyes of the skull boring into him as if it were reaching for his very soul....

Calan Stonebridge huddled against the cold damp rock wall of the sewer for a very long time. The image of the glowing red skull seemed burned into his mind. What had he been thinking? chasing off after these unknown men and their unknown purpose. There had been no "great treasure" only the sickening sewers and the terrifying apparition. After what seemed like hours, Calan mustered the courage to climb up the ladder he had seen the men use earlier. At the very least he thought to himself he would out of the sewers and away from the stink and the burning eyes of the evil thing in the pool. Clinging to each rung Calan climbed up and out of sewers. He found himself in another room this one with a dirt floor and walls made from rough timber. He found that he was exhausted and very hungry. He huddled in a dark corner of the room and nibbled on his hunk of cheese. Although he fought it mightily his body ached for sleep and eventually he succumbed to the inviting darkness.....

Calan Stonebridge awoke with a start He felt like he had only slept for minutes but had no idea how long he had actually been asleep. He stood stiffly and realized he was still in the room that he had entered upon exiting the sewer. There was no sign of the men he had followed since the Stabbed Soldier and he could hear no noise. He cautiously moved to the door of the room and found it barred from the inside. He found that curious but could not afford to spend any time thinking about it. He had to regain the trail of the men. He moved the bolt from the door and moved out into what seemed like a narrow hallway. Across the hall were two other doors these were barred from the outside. Curiosity got the best of him and he slipped the bolt and opened the door. What he saw made him wish he had not. This room was obviously used to hold people against their will. two small cots what seemed to be shackles and a pile of filthy hay were the only furnishings. There were no occupants in the room but Calan nearly vomited at the sight of what looked like fresh blood stains. Suddenly his great adventure didn't seem so fun anymore.....

Calan Stonebridge was terrified. He couldn't remember why he had rushed off on this adventure and all of a sudden it didn't feel like the kind of adventure he had read about in his books. This was a real place with real danger and it was very very scary. He moved as quietly as he could up the dark hall until he could see a glint of light coming from an open door. He stood in the open doorway and nearly fainted. Inside the large room were two braziers both glowing red with fire. He was surprised to find there was no smoke nor smell. Entering the room he saw a large heavily pitted marble altar. The altar was surrounded in a sickly green glow and the same red glowing skull that he had seen in the sewers floated above it. He retched and dropped to his knees as he saw more fresh blood stains on this evil thing. He gathered up what tiny amount of courage he still possessed and ran from the room curling himself into a ball behind a set of stairs. He could not shake the image of the skull burning into his brain.....

Calan Stonebridge forced himself to stand and leave the relative safety of the stairs. He had seen a glint of light coming from a doorway across the hall from him and for some reason he couldn't begin to understand he HAD to see what was in that room. He moved quietly across the hall and opened the door. Peeking inside he could see that it was dimly lit and smelled of dust. Moving a few steps inside he could make out the shapes of boxes and sacks. He took a few more steps and ended up on the ground with a grunt and a sharp intake of air. He wasn't certain what he had tripped over until he turned over. What he saw sent him running full speed to the top of the stairs where he hugged himself tightly to stop from shaking. His eyes hurt from him closing them so hard and he could not erase the image that seemed burned into them. He had found the occupant of the cell room. He lay dead on the storage room floor blood still leaking slowly from the horrible wound in his neck....

Updated 10-30-2012 at 03:45 PM by jtougas

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