The Origin Of Mount Woe Chapter 5
The Sun Stone
Zeal slowly opened her eyes. They seemed almost too tired to do this simple act. Despite her tired feeling, she felt that she had been asleep for a long time. As she forced her eyes open, she saw she was in a large, dimly lit tent. This couldn't be right. The last thing she remebered was falling down into the snow, exhausted, while the men were too far ahead of her to notice.
Then, her head was filled with odd sensations. A growing, bitter cold she couldn't stop. A sudden warmth on one side of her that seemed to defeat the cold for a while. Then, the cold returned, along with strange, alien voices. "What happened to me?" She asked out loud.
"Ah, Zeal. You're awake!" Belthasar ran over from where he must have been keeping watch on the other side of the tent. "You fell behind somewhere in the wastes, and we didn't notice until a few hours later. Vigo..." He laughed a little. "We couldn't stop Vigo from going after you. You see, the Sun stone was interfering with our magic, so he couldn't teleport. He actually ran down the trail after you. We began to worry when we realized he was out of food, and without shelter. Then... Then it gets weird."
"What?" She asked. Her throat felt dry. Belthasar handed her a mug of tea from the fire.
"Late last night, everyone heard this tremendous roaring sound. We all ran out to investigate. There was no real clue as to what made the sound, but we found you and Vigo lying in the snow."
"Vigo." She sighed. "He would have to be the one to save me."
Belthasar had an odd expression on his face. "He said something to the effect that if saving your life didn't soften you up, he'd find a way to reverse time and leave you there, since you couldn't be any colder."
Her face remained expressionless. "I guess Vigo isn't a bad guy, but I don't like to owe anything to anyone."
Belthasar just met her with a level gaze for a few moments. "Well, anyhow, he's just been waiting for you to wake up. We're just outside the Sun cave. If you feel ready, we'll go observe him try to deal with it."
"Hold on!" She was surprised. "I thought only the most powerful mage was supposed to attempt to use the Sun stone."
"Vigo is the most powerful." Belthasar said with conviction.
"Even more than you?" She was amazed.
"Definitely. That's why he's old Maro's apprentice."
"My father's apprentice? Where have I been this whole time?"
"Evading him. Now come on. He's going to get impatient before too much more time goes by."
Belthasar helped her to her feet and guided her the short distance through the blowing snow into the cave.
She paid no heed to the ranks of men who stood at attention in the corridor. She only saw a brightly glowing light at the end of the tunnel. She thought this must be symbolic of something, but it was hard to imagine what. Vigo acknoweldged her entry with a curt nod, then turned his attention to a brightly glowing stone. He started to speak softly, gradually growing louder. "Those who fear the night, and fight the coming of darkness, give us strength!" The stone glowed brightly in response.
"What? I'm not sure..." Vigo seemed to falter, holding his head. "I'm getting images... of some kind. Maybe I shouldn't..."
Zeal, with a worried look on her face, stepped forward. "Vigo, this will help our kingdom greatly. You know it will. You must take it!"
Hearing the words from Zeal, fire seemed to leap from Vigo's eyes, and she was a little afraid. But he just strode confidently up to the Sun stone, and took it in both hands. Suddenly, a blinding yellow flash erupted into the air. When she could see again, Zeal saw both the stone and Vigo were glowing brightly. Many of the men noticed that Zeal's hair had turned a shocking silvery blue shade.
"Oh! I never dreamed! So much power!" Then he turned. "Zeal, look at me now! Who in the kingdom could offer you as much as this? I have the greatest power on the planet. Share it with me! Be my queen and you can have this too!"
She found herself being drawn into his eyes. Maybe it was an illusion of the stone, but it really did look like there was fire on the inside. She found herself moving toward him, almost against her will. Staring into his eyes, the rest of the world seemed to dissolve away beneath her. She suddenly shook her head. "What am I doing?!" She shouted to herself. Then out loud she said, "Perhaps."
"YEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Zeal realized that this was the first time she had not given him a definite no. Maybe that "perhaps" hadn't been such a good idea. But after seeing what she just had (what exactly had she seen?) she could not just say no.
Vigo raised the stone above his head with that triumphant shout. Suddenly, a beam of light shot up from the Sun stone, into the roof of the cave. "Vigo!" Belthasar shouted. "Stop! What are you doing?"
Belthasar was afraid Vigo would cause a cave in. But apparently, the stone was actually vaporising all the rock it smashed through. In a few minutes, Vigo stopped. There was a loud rumbling, and a huge boulder came hurtling down and smashed into the cave floor right in front of Vigo.
Vigo didn't notice all this. He was too busy waving the stone and chanting, "She didn't say no! She didn't say no!!" Zeal blushed. She was embarassed, but she couldn't help but be little flattered by Vigo's odd display, which the glowing stone was obviously affecting. She even smiled slightly. He must really be crazy about her.
Belthasar's eyes widened with amazement. He walked up to the boulder with slow, measured movements, as if anything sudden might scare it away. Which obviously wasn't the case when Vigo blundered into him in his little celebration. "Vigo, please!"
"She didn't say no-oooooo!!!!!!!!!!" Vigo danced the other way.
Belthasar bent over, his nose only a few inches from the boulder. He backed up several feet, then peered closely again. "My word." He finally whispered.
"You all heard her! There was no "no" in her reply!"
"Vigo!!" Belthasar lost his patience. Not daring to grab the Sun stone itself, he grabbed Vigo's wrists and held him still. "Do you realize what this is?" Belthasar jabbed his finger at the boulder.
"Huh? What?" Vigo just now noticed the boulder. "Whoah! What is that?"
"That, is several tons of nearly pure Dreamstone!"
"But, Dreamstone is extremely rare."
"Exactly! That's why this is so important."
Comprehension came to Vigo's face. "Man, what a great day! I got the Sun stone! Zeal didn't blow me off! I got tons of Dreamstone!" Suddenly, the Sun stone began flickering rapidly, then dimmed noticeably. Vigo collapsed.
It was Vigo's turn to wearily open his eyes. "Man, what the hell did I do this morning?" He asked the empty air. Belthasar's voice answered.
"You'd be very embarassed if I told you."
He sighed. "Then you better tell me."
"Well you practically admitted your undying love for Zeal-" Vigo groaned, "-when you did a ten minute long victory dance after she didn't blow you off. But!" He started an upnote before Vigo could say anything. "Using the Sun stone's power, you recovered several tons of Dreamstone."
"So I got the Sun stone?" Belthasar nodded. "And a lot of Dreamstone?"
He nodded again. "And maybe Zeal?" He nodded a little less surely.
"You'd better start packing up. We're getting ready to start our return journey."
"Our return journey?"
"Yes. Remember? How we're supposed to get back? The second month of our two month journey?"
"That may not be necessary."
"What? Are you sure you've recovered?"
"You said we have the Sun stone, right?"
"Then it should no longer disrupt our magic, but augment it. Tell everyone to hold onto their hats." With that, he got up and strode out of the tent. Belthasar did not know what to make of Vigo's fairly cryptic remark, but a few minutes later, his world became a swirling mass of blue.
"It is the source of light that sustains all living things." - Anonymous
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