Find the Cave

Kaelyn had spent a somewhat distressing morning in town, feeling like she was going in circles. She visited the wizards' workshop, and asked Sonja where they felt that demonic energy. Sonja gave her a general direction, and condolences that Mason wasn't in the shop today. Kaelyn set out to the library to look at any maps they might have, and found once again that Strand's library left much to be desired. However, they told her that he wizards might have some maps.

She decided to skip another trip there and just headed east. Strand was well named, the space between the sea and the mountain range was narrow, less than six miles before you got to the peaks, and less than an mile to the foothills. But she was also planning on cheating just a little bit.

There is an incantation that healers use to help diagnose and monitor patients. It was a simple spell, requiring just item the proposed patent could hold, and a lot of patience. the spell could be cast on the object and then, as long as the patient was in contact with that object, you could hear their heart beat.

Kaelyn's somewhat frantic logic concluded that Daisy was in contact with her blanket and pillow, because they were doing nothing for Kaelyn. Her sore neck and cold, half sleepless night attested to that. So she held the pillow and made the incantation.

And waited. A lot of healing magic came down to waiting. After a long moment she thought she could hear a quiet, faint heartbeat. She checked it against her own, this was different. Nodding in satisfaction she set back out, heading south, imagining in her mind where south of the cottage and east of the wizards would be. She briefly regretted not exploring the woods more, but it wasn't entirely her fault. Apprentices are busy.

The heartbeat grew steadily stronger in her ears, although it still wasn't more than a whisper. Kaelyn was feeling fairly confident in her solution when suddenly Daisy's heart rate increased sharply, suddenly, and then cut out altogether.

“Daisy!” Kaelyn shouted, and started running south. Obviously something had scared Daisy and then Daisy sat up or left contact with the pillow. Nightmare images flashed through Kaelyn's head, imagining every terrible thing that could be happening.

The ground was rougher here, and Kaelyn stopped to rest. She was into the foothills, gentle swells and sharp cliffs where the mountains had been thrust up from the surrounding landscape. The rock was covered in dirt and plants, but she knew where the stream that provided water to Strand ran, and reasoned that a water-formed cave would be close to there. She stumbled along through boulder field, trying to will herself to walk slower, to calm down, and failing.

Searching each ravine was exhausting, wearying, and for the first time Kaelyn really understood the concept of searching for a needle in a haystack. There was so much land and so little time.

Finally Kaelyn sat down, to catch her breath and gather her thoughts. She needed help, she needed a new idea. She needed a miracle, something or someone to guide her to the cave.

Kaelyn would describe herself as moderately religious at best; but perhaps now was the time to ask the Divine for a little help.

She sat down on a rock and pondered how to even start a prayer like this. “I've been busy lately but I could use some assistance” seemed too casual. She realized she was experiencing stage fright about prayer and wondered if that was normal.

She had bowed her head and was thinking of what to actually say when she heard a sound. Someone was climbing up the path toward her. And whoever it was, they were whistling quietly and, truth be told, fairly tunelessly.

Kaelyn stood up, not sure what or whom to expect as they rounded the last bend in the path before they saw her.

“Oh, you're up here too? I guess that makes sense. Listen, I think I got a pretty good reading on where that signal was coming from, and I was able to triangulate on the echo...” Mason said. He carried on explaining the wizard magic he did, and Kaelyn said a very very short prayer.

“Best miracle ever. Amen.” she said silently.


© 2020-2021 Nathanial Dickson. Written during #NaNoWriMo 2020 Contact me on Mastodon