Apul: North is as good a direction as any. At least it’ll take us closer to the straight between here and the Red Isle. If we are really lucky, maybe we’ll meet on of those mineral hunters you were talking about, Barin.
Barin: Not a bad idea, Apul. Let’s head north.
The group walked north towards the straight, making their way around quite a few large boulders blocking their path. Hours seemed to pass without any signs of life, especially not from anyone who could help them get off the island, and they began to lose hope. Eventually they stumbled onto a very large, and oddly shaped, rock formation.
Naelroe: I’m tired of walking, and we’re not finding anyone to help us on this useless hike. We should rest.
Apul: I agree with her; we should head for that giant rock formation over there. At least it will provide us with some cover.
Najen: We’ve barely walked at all today! Surely you both can’t be tired already!
Barin: They do have a point, though… we haven’t found anyone to help us get off of this island yet. I don’t see any harm in just resting for a while.
Naelroe: Then it’s settled! We go to rest at the Devil Cat’s Maw!
Barin, Najen, and Dugo all shoot confused looks at Naelroe.
Dugo: How in the world do you know the name of that place?
Apul: She doesn’t. It looks like a cat’s mouth, see?
Naelroe: And it sure does look devilish! Grrr!
Najen: Whatever… let’s just go.
The five walked and climbed their way over to what had been dubbed the Devil Cat’s Maw, and as they grew closer they realized that there was a tunnel not much larger than the size of a person in the side of it. They made their way over to it and looked inside. The tunnel lead down towards a single large room that, at the moment, was empty.
Naelroe: Come on, let’s go inside!
Dugo: You aren’t usually one for bravery, Nae; what’s gotten in to you?
Apul: Nothing has gotten in to her, Dugo. The room clearly looks safe, and if you’ll look above you you’ll notice that it’s going to rain any moment.
Najen: Why are you defending her so adamantly all the sudden, Apul?
Apul: Was she being attacked? My statements were simply there for clarification, nothing more.
Najen: Well she can clarify things for herself, can’t she?
Barin: Enough out of you two! He’s right; let’s just get inside the cave.
They carefully crawled down the somewhat steep tunnel and out into the chamber. It was disturbingly quiet there, and the five hoped silently that it was a sign that they were alone.
Naelroe: Hey Apul, let’s check this cave out a bit!
Apul: Why not? Let’s go.
Naelroe and Apul made their way over to the far end of the chamber, leaving the remaining three to talk amongst themselves.
Najen: They sure are acting strangely…
Barin: I suppose so, but I wouldn’t worry about it.
Dugo: True enough. What possible harm could their craziness do, anyway?
Najen: Well, for one, that Naelroe’s antics are giving me a headache.
Barin: You’ll learn to live with her eventually, I’m sure.
Najen: It seems more likely that I’ll teach her to die before I do any of that sort of learning.
Naelroe: Barin, come over here for a minute!
Barin: You just get some rest, Najen; it’ll do you well.
With that, Barin made his way over to the other side of the chamber, where Naelroe and Apul were waiting for him.
Dugo: Now that we are alone… would you mind telling me a little about my past?
Najen: Well, I suppose it couldn’t hurt.
Before Najen could tell Dugo anything, she was interrupted by Naelroe’s piercing scream from across the room. They both quickly looked over in the direction of the scream. To their horror, they say Apul standing there with an evil grin on his face, grasping the hilt of a sword. The blade of the sword was protruding from Barin’s back, and as Apul pulled the sword from his chest, his lifeless body crumpled to the ground, landing in a rapidly growing puddle of his own blood. Naelroe looked at Apul with a look of absolute horror in her face After shaking of the initial shock of what they had seen, Najen and Dugo rushed over to their fallen comrade.
Najen: What have you done?! You traitorous bastard! I’ll kill you!
With that, Najen drew her duel daggers and thrust them towards Apul’s chest. Mere seconds before her blades made contact, she felt something very heavy smash into the side of her head. Najen fell to the ground much like Barin had, and Naelroe stood over her holding a rock and wearing a grin similar to the one Apul had on.
Dugo: Have you both lost your minds?! What the hell are you doing?!
Before waiting for an answer, Dugo let his anger take over and he lunged toward Apul. Naelroe came up behind him but he deftly kicked her aside. Apul tried to fight off Dugo’s attacks, but it was no use. Within seconds Dugo had thrown Apul’s weapon to the ground and was about to drive his sword right through him.
????: Sorry friend, but I’m going to have to stop you right there.
Dugo whirled around to see who had spoken up from behind him, but just before he could even turn halfway around he was greeted by the hard kick of a boot to his head. Dugo fell limp just like the two before him.
????: Get him. Leave the other two; they are of n use to us anymore
Apul: Sure thing. Help me out here, Naelroe.
Naelroe: Now now Rivers, there is no need to continue calling ourselves by those foolish names, is there?
Rivers: No, Tryn, I guess there isn’t.
Tryn: All right, help me pick him up and we’ll get going.
Tryn helped lift up Dugo and got him situated on Rivers’ shoulders, and then the two of them followed the mysterious character out of the room. Hours later, Najen awoke with a headache hundreds of times worse than any one she could have gotten from Naelroe’s ramblings.
Najen: Apul… stabbed Barin and… then… Naelroe hit me in the head with a rock! Dugo… where is Dugo?! Can Barin really be gone? Damn it!
Which Gate Do You Choose?
Najen: Barin can’t be dead! He just can’t be! I have to try and save him!
Najen: Even if Barin did survive the initial stabbing, there’s no way he could have survived for this long unless someone had tended to his wounds. Those bastards will not get away with this… I will have my revenge.
This poll ends on January 7.