“I have to say Sarah, that was a very good dinner. I can’t remember when I ate such a good meal.” said Ujor.
Sarah didn’t say much. She looked at Adam sitting there with his bruised neck. Seth had been right in many ways. But what he didn’t seem to understand is that if it were not for Adam, neither of them would be in this world anyway. It was better she thought, that they have the possibilities that this life brings than the darkness they had known in Adam’s mind.
“Are you okay Adam?” she said.
Adam said nothing. He just looked into the valley below. Night was falling, Seth had gathered wood and rekindled the fire. They would sit, warmed by the fire knowing they may have but few days left in their lives.
“Yes Sarah, I’m fine.” said Adam.
The night air was still, and the moon had risen high into the clear dark sky. Points of light stretched from horizon to horizon with a thick stream of gentle light, looking as it were blurred through the smoke of a fire high in the night sky, ran straight through the middle of the sky. Streaks of light flew through the night sky from the heavens above, dimly starting and then growing to great intensity just before the light disappeared, as if being blown out by the wings of some great bird’s wings.
But no sound could be heard from the forest. Eerily quiet, not a living thing moved, not even fireflies rose from the ground, nor did any crickets chirp. It was deathly quiet.
A wind began from deep in the forest, Adam was the first to notice. “The trees in the distance,” he said “they are shaking, rattling their branches and leaves in some strong wind, moving closer.”
Then a roar. The wind as a torrent of branches, leaves, dirt and rock ripped through the camp, taking bits of fire with it up the hill. Still, the wind grew stronger. Ujor’s horse stomped the ground, tearing at his reigns Ujor had tied to a small tree. The terror in the horses eyes was that of an animal about to die in the jaws of some terrible death. The horse would not still.
Ujor stood, fighting the wind, leaning to it, walking with his staff towards the horse hoping to sooth it. Before he cold get close the powerful animal tore away the ties that bound him to the tree. A massive, flexing bolt of black flew past Ujor, knocking him to the ground. The horse then ran into the forest.
Still the wind grew stronger. Seth and Sarah had huddled in the center of their small camp, Ujor struggled to his feet. laboring towards them. Adam could only kneel, hands to his face to block the wind and debris flying through the air.
Trees, torn from the ground, flew through the air as if they were nothing more than mere sticks, cracking as the passed overhead. Seth, Sarah, the Minotaur and Ujor lay low on the ground.
The sky had grown angry, green, and dark. The wind crushed with sound in their ears, Adam could not hear the others screams, though he saw their faces howling in terror. And then, just as quickly as it had come, the wind stopped leaving only the silence of the dark woods surrounding them. In the sky the green clouds began to swirl, spinning in tendrils expanding from the center across the sky above them. Directly above them, the spiral ended leaving a small circle through which they could all see the night sky.
The silence left their ears as full of sensation as the howling wind had before. It was a silence like none that had been before.
A horses snort broke the silence, then the sounds of its hoof stomping the ground. And then the animal made such sounds that no human ear could have imagined a living creature could make. Terror filled the void between the camp and where ever this poor animal had found itself, with what ever horror of death was attacking it.
As Adam rose to his feet, what had been the horse tumbled from the sky, landing in the middle of the camp. Ripped from neck to tail, body open leaving the red flesh and exposed inner ribs, the horse landed heavy. Its innards had been removed cleanly through the straight cut as if it were ready to hang for the butcher.
Black vapor started flowing along the ground from the forest. Adam stood, and ran to join the others in the center of the camp. The vapor crept towards them on all sides, reaching within a body’s length from them. It has surrounded them and now rose, forming a dome above them. Trapped in the center of this vapor, they could feared to move into the darkness.
In the vapor, apparitions appeared. Faces contorted in pain and suffering swirled around the group, wailing and howling. These, things in the dark cloud, danced in and out of the darkness. Receding to be barely visible, then suddenly rushing, thrusting their open fanged mouths like they would take flesh from the bone of any limb they could find. Then they flew up and over to the other side of the dome, swirled in the mist, and then again receded and lunged at them in the darkness.
Sarah closed her eyes, raising her arms above her head she created a blinding burst of light and thrust it into the darkness. It was swallowed completely as if the cloud had a great hunger for it. The apparitions grew in intensity. Sarah raised her arms high again, and thrust another burst of light into the cloud. It was more powerful than the last, and exploded deep in the darkness. The swirling cloud of darkness began to slow and the apparitions slowed.
Once again, Sarah conjured a bright ball of light and thrust it into the blackness. With that, the swirl of tortured faces and twisted bodies joined into one grey cloud of smoke in the black cloud, and all of it began to flow up to the green swirling sky like smoke rising through a chimney.
Through the hole in at the top of the green swirl above them the trail of black left them, it’s tail making a thundering sound as it passed through the opening. The green sky started to dissipate, flowing into small waifs of cloud, then shrinking, then vanishing before their eyes.
The forest returned to its silence, and the moon now shone its light on them. The fire had been blown away and uncertainty of what lay in the woods stopped Seth from gathering wood.
“That, my friends, is only a small taste of the evil in this valley.” Ujor said.
“We will meet it” said Sarah, “and we will defeat it.”
Sarah created a ball of light and warmth. They gathered round it. They slept little this night.