Chapter Two: Goblins
Tado and Midnight reached the rock covered plain and turned around a big rock to hide. Tado tripped over a small rock and fell before he reached the cover of the boulder. Tado tried to get back on his feet, but the goblin army overtook him. Two goblin soldiers each grabbed one of Tado's arms.
"Help!" Tado yelled. Midnight looked back from behind the boulder. "Tado!" Midnight yelled.
The goblins continued to chase after Midnight. Midnight had no choice but to hide, so he ran behind a different boulder and hid until he could follow Tado.
The goblins traveled for hours until they reached a black, scorched plain with a huge black tower sitting in the middle. The tower had four large torches near each corner with white flame burning the wood. When they got closer, Tado could see mounds of black earth beside each torch. Each mound was as tall as Midnight.
The two goblins carrying Tado and four other goblin soldiers split off from the rest of the army and moved towards one of the mounds. One of the soldiers lit a small torch from the white fire and kicked open a hidden door in the mound.
They dragged Tado into a dark tunnel, illuminated only by the torch the lead goblin carried.
Soon Tado could see light coming from below, and the goblins brought him to the bottom of the staircase and into a large room with cell doors all across one wall.
The lead goblin lit a torch beside one of the cells.
"Toss him in." The lead goblin said in a scratchy voice.
One of the soldiers removed Tado's sword from his belt and the two goblins carrying Tado threw him in the cell and closed the door. They placed a heavy lock on the door.
The goblins went back up the staircase, leaving Tado to take in his surroundings.
The dungeon was dimly lit by the torches lit outside each occupied cell. There were five other prisoners, each prisoner appeared to be asleep. The walls were gray and covered with grime. There were steel bars separating each cell.
"There is much power in you." A voice said from behind Tado. He whirled around to face the man in the cell to the right of his. The man was old and he wore a gray pointy hat.
"What does that mean?" Tado asked. "It means you can save us all." The man replied as he sat down on the floor of his cell. "How am I supposed to do that? I'm just a... A kid." Tado said. "Faith unlocks power! You just need to learn to have faith!" The man yelled. "Could ya be quiet?!" One of the other prisoners said. "Some of us would rather be sleeping!" Another yelled from the far end of the dungeon.
Suddenly a loud bang echoed down from the hidden door high above. After a few minutes of silence, a dark shadow appeared in the entrance to the tunnel. The shadow strode out of the dark tunnel and into the light of the torches.
"Midnight!" Tado yelled. "Where are you?" Midnight asked. "I think I'm in the third cell from the tunnel." Tado replied. Midnight walked towards Tado's cell and examined the lock. He slammed it against the door. "What are you doing to the door?" Tado asked. "Trying to remove the lock." Midnight replied.
"Midnight?" The old man asked. "Tenndahl! You are alive!" Midnight said. "Indeed I am." Tenndahl said. "But the goblins burned the mountain village, why did they keep you alive?" Midnight asked. "That is a question I cannot answer." Tenndahl replied. "Though General Korg is not very clever." Tenndahl said. "Who is General Korg?" Tado asked. "The general of the goblins." Tenndahl replied.
"Is this the boy you went looking for, Midnight?" Tenndahl asked. "Yes, but his village was cut off from the outside, and knows nothing of war." Midnight replied. "Why did you have to look for me? What's so important about me?" Tado asked. "That is question no one alive can answer." Tenndahl replied. "The only wizard with the gift of prophecy ever known was slain long ago." Tenndahl continued. "And even he could not answer that question." Tenndahl said. "What is his name?" Tenndahl asked Midnight. "Tado." Midnight replied.
"That old prophet was a fool." The prisoner on the other side of Tado spat. "You were just as foolish if you thought Saldumaur would trust you!" Tenndahl snapped. "Saldumaur is clever and underhanded, you are much more of a fool to believe he did not know your plan to betray him, if the prophet was foolish at all." Midnight said.
"I don't understand, who is Saldumaur?" Tado asked. "He was head of the High Council of Wizardry, and friend to my father." Midnight replied. "But that was before he turned against us and freed the goblins from exile in the underworld." Tenndahl added. "Why were the goblins exiled?" Tado asked. "That is quite a long story." Midnight said. "A few hundred years ago, the goblins were a mighty empire, with Korg as their king, they conquered and destroyed everything they saw, so they had to be defeated, so Saldumaur, the same wizard that released them, was the only wizard powerful enough to exile them, so he did. But now he has become corrupted and he revived the goblin empire, this time with him as a king." Tenndahl said. "But why did Saldumaur turn against you?" Tado asked. "I believe it was because of the prophecy that a greater wizard would rise up." Tenndahl replied.
Suddenly a loud bang echoed from the tunnel above, and Tado heard the scratchy voices of goblins coming from the tunnel.
"We need to get out of here!" Tado said. Midnight grabbed the torch mounted on the wall beside Tado's cell and set the wooden door on fire. Tado jumped back from the flames. Midnight did the same for Tenndahl's cell. Midnight pulled off his cloak and used it to bat out the flames so Tado and Tenndahl could walk through.
Midnight drew his sword and Tado took his from the opposite wall with weapons and staffs hanging all over it. Tado strapped his sword to his belt and Tenndahl took a large wooden staff.
"They're escaping!" A deep, slightly scratchy voice boomed from the tunnel. "It's General Korg!" Tenndahl said quietly. "Scrag! Get your elite troops down there! NOW!" General Korg yelled. "Yes, General." A scratchy, slightly nervous sounding voice said.
Tado drew his sword.
A small squad of goblins wearing black armor with a sword symbol engraved in the chestplate rushed into the dungeon.
Midnight threw his scorched cloak at them and swung at them with his sword and knocked them over.
"We need to get out of here!" Midnight said. "Follow me!"
Midnight rushed up the staircase only to run into General Korg. Tado and Tenndahl followed, and all three of them were taken to the tower.
When they reached the doorway the accompanying soldiers took everything they carried before they were allowed to enter.
General Korg took a step toward the large black double doors and they swung open.
"You may enter, Korg, and bring your prisoners with you." A deep echoing voice called from the top of the tower.
"Who was that?" Tado quietly asked Midnight. "That, Tado, was Saldumaur." Midnight whispered back.
"Yes, your majesty." General Korg said with a slight bow.
"Let Tenndahl do any speaking necessary." Midnight whispered to Tado.
Tado, Midnight and Tenndahl were taken up a spiral staircase to the top floor, where Saldumaur was waiting for them.
Saldumaur turned from a large pearl colored crystal orb sitting on a pedestal to face them.
He was clad in long flowing black robes, and his long gray hair reached down to his back. He had a long gray beard.
Saldumaur walked over to Tado.
"Is this the boy you deceived to believe he could become a greater wizard than I, Midnight, you fool?" Saldumaur said in a slightly amused tone of voice.
"He was not deceived, Saldumaur." Tenndahl said. "You cannot stop what is happening."
"Nothing will happen if he is dead!" Saldumaur shouted. "You cannot save him from his fate!" Saldumaur said as he started to laugh.
"His fate is your own death!" Tenndahl snapped. "The Orb of Knowledge has driven you mad!"
"Take them away!" Saldumaur yelled.
"Yes, your majesty." General Korg said.
General Korg signaled to the four soldiers guarding Tado, Midnight, and Tenndahl, and they followed General Korg back down the staircase.
Now that Tado saw him near the other goblins, Tado noticed that General Korg was taller than the other goblins, and his shoulders weren't hunched over, either.
"What is the Orb of Knowledge?" Tado asked, as he leaned toward Midnight.
"Have you ever heard the legend of the lost seeing stones?" Midnight asked.
"Yes." Tado replied.
"It is like one of those, except more powerful." Midnight said. "But if you use it too much, it can drive you mad."
"Why?" Tado asked.
"No one knows." Midnight replied.
They reached the end of their descent down the staircase, and left the tower.
General Korg lit a torch from the fire beside the entrance to the dungeon, and pushed the hidden door open.
Just before he was shoved into the dark entryway, Tado saw a shadow turn from black to brown, and back again.
"Did you see that?" Tado whispered as he pointed in the direction of the shadow.
"I did." Midnight replied.
"What was it?" Tado asked.
"A signal." Midnight replied.
"From who?" Tado asked.
"You will see soon enough." Midnight replied.
A light flickered from the darkness of the tunnel, and Tado's head shot up.
"Midnight, someone's coming!" Tado said.
"Be quiet, whoever it is has ears." Tenndahl said.
For a moment there was a black shape against the wall, and it faded into the dirty gray of the walls.
"Drop your camouflage, Ranger. We are your allies." Tenndahl said.
Suddenly a dark figure wearing a brown cloak appeared in the doorway.
The figure pulled back his hood, revealing the frowning face of an experienced Ranger.
His belt bore a set of throwing knives, a sword, and a hunting knife. He also carried a longbow, and a quiver full of black shafted arrows with a gold arrowhead carved into them. His longbow bore the same symbol, marking him as a Division One Ranger.
"Conall!" Midnight said. "You always manage to get me out of bad situations."
"I suppose I do." Conall said.
Conall reached into his cloak and removed a ring of keys from his belt.
"The guard was asleep." Conall said, his voice was grim, although Tado thought this was slightly amusing.
Conall selected on of the keys and unlocked Midnight's cell. he used the same key for Tenndahl's cell, but when he tried to unlock Tado's cell, the key wouldn't fit.
"I don't think Saldumaur will let Tado escape so easily." Midnight said as he removed a torch from the wall.
Midnight held the torch up to the door so the flame could touch the wood. The door burst into flames, and Midnight let the flames burn a large hole in the door before he stamped them out.
"Smart. You've learned a few things since we first met." Conall said.
"You'll need these." Conall said as he unstrapped his quiver and reached underneath the arrows and pulled out two more cloaks identical to his.
"I was only expecting to have to rescue two people, so I don't have a cloak for you, Tenndahl." Conall said. "Maurus and Dougal are waiting on the mountain path."
"Feardorcha let Maurus come along?" Midnight asked.
"Maurus is a special case. He got far enough ahead of the rest of the students to become a Division Three Ranger." Conall replied.
"What does Division Three mean?" Tado asked.
"We don't have time for questions." Conall replied. "We need to meet up with Dougal and Maurus at Steepfall Pass, and continue on to the mountain village."
"Well, let us get on with the journey! If we must go then let us go!" Tenndahl said impatiently.
Tado and Midnight put on their cloaks.
"Think about the color you want, and the cloak will change color." Conall said.
Black. Tado thought. Tado's cloak changed to a deep black, so he looked just like a shadow.
Midnight's cloak changed to the same black.
Conall started up the tunnel and Tado, Midnight, and Tenndahl followed.
They walked for a few minutes, and suddenly Conall turned his cloak bright orange.
Tado jumped back, surprised by the sudden disturbance.
"If we continue along this tunnel we will have to face the goblin army, but I know a secret tunnel that crosses to this one." Conall said.
"Where is it?" Tado asked.
"Follow me." Conall said.
He suddenly disappeared through the wall of the tunnel.
Tado, Midnight, and Tenndahl went through the wall behind him.
Conall changed his cloak back to black and ushered them down the tunnel.
"How did we do that?" Tado asked.
"That was a ghost barrier, used to conceal escape tunnels." Conall replied.
As they progressed through the tunnel, Tado began to feel more humidity in the air, and soon, he saw light.
"We're almost to the end of the tunnel." Conall said.
"Where does this tunnel lead?" Tado asked.
"The eastern swampland." Conall replied. "Steepfall Pass is a two day walk through a wood."
"Tado, would you like to stop in your village? It is in the center of the woods." Midnight asked.
"Yes." Tado replied.
They stepped out of the tunnel and into the swamplands, a murky and muddy place with hidden waterholes, and quicksand pits.
I'm not finished with chapter three yet, but I will be done soon. The beginning of chapter three is kinda sad, because (these words were removed by me due to spoilers. BBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP)
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