The Garden

(An Erotic Story)

Co-Authored by

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10
Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15 Part 16 Part 17 Part 18

You tell me that you know of a magnificent garden, which contains an intriguing maze of tall shrubbery. It is not easy to find the entrance to this maze, as the creator did not desire to give access to just anyone. As I adore both gardens and puzzles, and have the curiosity of a cat, I beg you to take me there with you.

The garden is wild and overgrown, fragrant with exotic blooms, hanging pendulously and heavy from entwined branches. The night is warm and clear, the stars visible despite a bright moon.

It seems as though we meander aimlessly through the garden, with ferns and blossoms caressing our arms as we move alone. However, you know the path, and that we are drawing nearer to the maze. A solid wall of fragrant evergreen and bayberry bush looms upon the trail. The maze!

You look at me, searchingly, and pose the question: "This maze is not for the faint of carries a promise if you decide that you wish to enter. Do you take the challenge?"

Tell me, dearest, should I take your challenge?

I grin happily and lead the way towards the entrance. We walk along the outer perimeter to the maze; you can feel the altitude dropping as the path makes a stepe, but none-perilous downward slope. The path is faint, hardly trodden and have the sense that this path has been used more often by local animals than by any man. Not a wrapper, not footprint, shows that any a human has been there in mayhaps centuries.

As we walk downwards, you feel the air getting thicker and heavier and then the path seems to end. There are the thick and tall hedges to our left, a sheer cliff wall in front of us, the natural forest as far as our eyes can see to the rihg and the barely discernable trail more sensed than to be seen behind us.

Without saying anything, i brush aside some shrubbery where the bayberry bush presses into the cliffface. There is low cut tunnel, not one foot high nor two feet wide leading into the maze. But the path is lined by uninviting thorn bushs, the first thorns looking as intimidating as a cobra's fangs and every thorn more perilous looking than the last.

I make a last verification that you are sure you want to enter. As your enthusiasm shows, though normally a gentleman, I lead the way in so I may clear the path of any obstructions. Stifling my own curses under my breath, my hands take the occasional laserations so that I may preserve your beauty.

Even as we crawl through this fearsome dig, we are already feeling the enchantment of the maze, for the danger is frought with beauty and when we seek the source of the light that is guiding us, we realize it can only be a subtle glow coming from the plants themselves.

Onward we crawl and it seems this tunnel is never ending, but then it leads to a stone in the cliff wall. The massive stone looks immovable, but the volcanic rock is amazingly pourous and it pushs to the left with ease. The tunnel continues, but now the walls are of rock, worn smooth by once running water. As you crawl in behind me, the rock rolls back into place behind us. In a sudden sense of fear, you test it and discover it won't move from the inside. Our journey started, there is no going back.

You hear water dripping and feel the moister in the air as we press onward. And soon there is room to crawl, then stand. Now we are in a huge cavern. We gaze in wonder as stalagmites and stalagtites point out of their respective homes and marvelous glowing crystals eak out of the surounds as well. There are three openings in front of us, each large enough to walk through. Looking up, there is a fourth opening in the roof -- a thick and twisted root reachs down to make this passable.

There is a large pool of water in the center of the cavern. The water is perfectly clear. Though the edges are shallow, towards the center it grows increasingly deep. There is a large orifice in the center of the floor -- a fifth exit from the hall if we dare to take it. Looking in the water you see an entire ecosystem, complete with small fish thriving in the pond's enchantment.

Curiously, I dip my finger into the water to taste. Rich with minerals, the water tastes more invigorating than any refreshment I've ever tasted. I cup my hands and form a bowl. We each drink a bit as we admire our surroundings and each other. i pluck a twig from your hair. I take a handful of water and use it to gently remove a smudge of dirty from your face and from your shoulders, lovingly caressing you a I do so....

"'Tis a wondrous site, this glowing pond," you murmur, your eyes piercing mine.

"Aye, Brian, aye," I whisper, heart suddenly beating quicker in my chest...

Yes, I am sure it is most beautiful, yet I cannot concentrate upon that beauty as I am so enraptured with your gaze!

How charming you are, how utterly, devastatingly charming! Shall I be bold enough to solicit a kiss?

Instead, I chance to reach my hand out to you, one finger gently tracing your cheek, a slight secret smile upon my lips. I let my hand drop, lightly caressing your arm, and, feeling a welt, I break my gaze from yours with growing alarm to see that you have been wounded by those fearsome thorns!

Distressed, I reach for the cotton lawn petticoats beneath my skirt. All is quiet, save for the sound of dripping water and fabric tearing. I quickly dip the cloth into the cool water, turning back to you to bathe your wounds. How I wish I had a salve to ease your wounds, but, so unprepared, I have nothing to offer but a cold compress and my quiet admiration.

Gently, so as not to aggravate your discomfort further, I wipe away the splotches of your blood, feeling my heart pierced to see your flesh thus torn...

Indulging me in my humble ministrations, you smile and murmur,

"Shall we rest here or go on further? Has your curiosity been yet assuaged?"

"Truly, this cave is marvelous, but I should like to explore more, as we can always return here on our exit if we so desire..."

"Then, let's be off!"- you interject, rising from your former repose.

You assist me to my feet, and I place the drying compress in my skirt pocket, not wanting to mar the area or leave any trace behind.

"Now, milady- which portal will we enter? I shall leave the choice to you..."

I smile. "I should like to climb up that gnarled root! I am curious to see what manner of tree and other flora exist above such a root! For now, the other passages can wait for our exploration..."

Silently, one hand on the root, you find a foot-hold, and nimbly hoist yourself up upon the plateau and reach your hand to me.

There is electricity in the air, an anticipation of delights to come.

You take my hand and pull me to you.

The plateau being but a narrow ledge, I pull you close to me as we evaluate our situation, enjoying the feel of your warm body held so closely against mine.. The roots of the tree disappear into the bedrock above, but a narrow cave conitnues to lead upwards. The footholds are sparse, but the cave look passable. We decide to continue up. I help to boost you and then I follow you close behind, trying not to let my magnificent view of your posterior distract me from my climbing efforts.

Upward we climb and after a few minutes of easy climbing I grow a little complacent The ground is getting softer and the footholds more numerous. I let my eyes wander a bit too much. A misplaced hand and I slip. A shreak escapes your lips as you hear the tumbling behind you. I slide down a couple yards in a current of loose gravel, but I quickly manage to brace myself against the narrow tunnel. You climb down to check that I am alright, which, other than a slight shortage of breath, I seem to be. We rest for a moment and then we continue on.

The ascent this time is uneventful. A short time later the path twists and then sunlight breaks in to light the way for us. You reach the narrow apiture first and clear a mound of small stones so that you may climb through. Clearing a few more stones out of the way, I climb out behind you.

There are solid walls of evergreen and bayberry to the north and south. The walls form a corridor leading east and west, shallow grass and budding flowers line the walkway.

Looking north, mayhaps 100 feet away, dominating our field of vision, is a giant olive tree, approximately 500 feet high, and with a trunk 50 feet wide. The gnarled branches form a three dimensional labrynth filling the entire sky. Black olives the size of grapefruits hang in abundance and I pluck one from a low branch that is within arms reach, low enough that we could pull ourselves upon it with a bit of effort. I bite into the olive, forgetting that olives normally need to be cured, and discover that the fruit is not only edible, but perfect in taste and texture.

I offer you a bite and we share the fruit, until we notice a shiny speck of green glow coming from the olive's core. Clearing the meat from the olive (and enjoying every bite of it), we find the olive's stone is not an ugly pit, but a perfectly cut emerald, matching your eyes perfectly in colour, and almost in beauty. I humbly present our find to you as a gift which you admire and then place the stone in your skirt's pocket.

After we finish enjoying the fruit we decide to continue on...

I turn to offer my cheek to you, and, as your lips move toward me, I playfully substitute my smiling mouth. Our lips meet but for a moment, and in that moment desire was awakened in the both of us. My hand moved behind your neck as yours slid around my waist to pull me close. As your warm tongue entered my mouth, molten tendrils of my need curled through my body. I was beginning to feel weak upon my legs.

Curiously, the emerald in my pocket began to give off its own warmth between us. Feeling suddenly mischievous in this hidden world, I break our kiss to catch my breath, my hand upon my flaming cheek. Bewitched, I turn and skip a few paces ahead of you, then abruptly pause at the sound of a whisper or tinkling bells. Listening, I cock my ear to the noise.

As you come to my side, you look down at your foot and notice a shiny silver key. Curious, you pick up the key to get a better look. Distracted, your thumb idly rubs the key, a slight frown upon your brow, as you contemplate how in the world the key came to be in such a place.

Suddenly, I feel the urge run, as if I have been called. I take off at a full run for no apparent reason. Oddly, my foot knows the path I am to take, considering I have never been here before. I hear your voice behind me (something about the madness of women;-)!) and want to stop, yet I am compelled forward. Alarmed, perhaps I shall be made to run until I drop from exhaustion, and it is at that precise moment that, around a sharp bend, that see a wondrous sight- large bush, bent with heavy flowers in full bloom! I can feel goose-flesh crawl up my neck as I hear a whisper, no, it is just the wind- behind my ear. The blossoms seem alive, they are so lush! Their perfume draws me yet closer. A sparkling golden pollen fills the air around me. The fragrance of the full purple blooms is both enticing and intoxicating...

I pluck one blossom, smiling, and place it above my ear. As you approach the clearing, I turn to beckon you with a smile as I reach toward a branch. Another bloom I place in my bodice, peeking out above the swell of my breasts.

The third blossom I hold to my lips, and breathe deeply of its heady scent. As I reach for another flower, a slow numbness curls down my spine. I begin to feel slow, heavy, my arms weighted down as I reach for you, falling backward.

I know you catch me and hold me to you, but I cannot feel your touch. The blood is pounding in my ears and I can feel my breath slowing, being squeezed from me. I struggle to open my mouth, but it is slack, useless. Through a haze, I hear you call my name, questioningly, then sharply. I cannot speak to answer you- my tongue is bound.

My vision grows darker until I collapse in total darkness.

Lo! But what am I to do?... For I have neither smelling salts not much medical training.

But I can tell from where I stand that the perfume of the plant is intoxicating and weakening... In order to get my adreniline pumping and keep myself awake, I rake my long nails across my abdomen. The scratchs are but shallow, but the area is sensitive enough for the wound to smart. I remove the flowers from your body so their scent may do no further harm. As gently as I can, I lift you and hoist your body into position for a fireman's carry. I carry you as far from the bush as I feel able and the I gently lower you.

I kiss your prone body, but alas, the old cliche fails us.. I pause to think for a moment. How can I rouse you from your slumber? Surely, I can not leave you here. I remove my water bottle from my knapsack and splash some cold water on your face, but it seemingly has no effect. I take a sip of water and close the bottle.

I check your vital signs: breath, heart, pulse, and though they all reflect a deep slumber, they do not feel unhealthy. I decide that it should be best to allow you to sleep for a bit and see if this weariness does not lift itself or if your situation seems unstable or likely to deteriate. I remove the lightweight two-person ten from my pack, amazed as ever at the cleverness that crafted such a thing, and set up camp, moving your body into the tent and covering it with a blanket as soon as I have the tent pitched. I sit guard for awhile, but there seems to be nothing fierce to guard against an as night falls I grow weary. I crawl into the tent, seal it off and fall asleep beside you as I whisper words of love in your ear.

I feel as if I am at the deep bottom of a lake, slowly, not of my own violation, rising up to the surface. I am drowsy, wanting to continue my sleep at the bottom of the lake, but I am drawn upward. My mind is fuzzy, but I can feel a gentle caress, a sigh in my ear. A tingling warmth suffices my body, driving out the numbing coldness. My eyes flutter open and stretching, my arms tighten around you, drawing you closer. Is it yet dawn? How did we get here? Where IS 'here'? I know not, but I revel in your closeness, savoring the moment.

My cheek is pressed to your chest, and I can feel your heartbeat and smell the scent of you. I move my lips up to kiss your neck, as one hand, formerly idle upon your back, slowly moves downward, to the edge of your shirt and underneath to touch your bare skin. The other hand, entwined in your locks of hair, moves to caress your nape, then follows the other hand. My fingertips lightly glide across your back, and I gently press my lips to your neck, my tongue darting out to taste your skin. I feel your arms tighten around me, hear your intake of breath, and I now feel quite awake as my nipples, pressed against your chest, harden quite painfully. You mold your body to mine, and I can feel your arousal pressed against me, teasing me through our clothing. I press back against you as I seek to assuage the ache I feel for you. Your hand moves up to the tangle of my curls to guide my face to yours. Our lips meet, and my tongue darts out my mouth and into yours to tease your tongue as I rake my nails lightly down your back and draw them across your abdomen. You flinch, breaking the kiss.

Startled, I draw back to lightly run my fingertips over the same area. I feel welts and deftly unbutton your shirt to see what vexes you. A slash of nail scrapes mar your flesh. Frowning slightly, my question asked by my perplexed look. "Later," you chide me, pulling me closer...and a huge, cold, slimy toad plops down between us. I shriek!

Quite irked by the amphibian's poor timing, and wondering how a toad might have gotten into our tent, I open the tent's flaps. We crawl out of the tent and I light a torch. By the light we see that the toad is the same emerald green as was the stone that is now missing from your skirt pocket.

The toad jumps out of our tent and makes a croaking sound that thunders across the night sky. We are both thrown backwards by the force of the air current. As we try to get to our feet, the frog croaks again but louder, and the earth quakes beneith us.

Quite irritated with this unwelcome intruder, I hurl my torch at the beast. A third time he croaks and the torch breaks into flaming wooden shrapnel which are flying back towards us. Turning away from him, I put myself between you and the blast and a moment later feel the torrent upon my back, arms, and legs.

You pull the knife from my boot to ready your own assault when the frog again croaks, and now the earth is opening beneith us. You plant the knife into the ground and grab hold of it's handle and I quickly follow suit.

As we dangle precariously in this growing chasm, we look down to see a river of lava perhaps a mile beneith us. But perhaps only 20 feet beneith us is a gem encrusted appiture. Across the chasm, a toad menacingly paces back and forth.

The heat from below causes perspiration from our hands, making our grip even more precarious. Our only recourse is to get to that gem-encrusted ledge or fall to our deaths in the molten fire below.

Without words, you gauge how far to swing to get to that ledge and, pushing yourself from the earthen wall for momentum, you deftly swing yourself and land soundly upon sturdy footing. I am holding on to the dagger with all my might as my grasp begins to slip.

You call to me jump, but all I can see is the glow from the river of fire. I will not budge. Again, more sharply, you tell me to swing towards you, finally gaining my attention. My heart pounding in my throat, distracted, I weakly push off from the crumbling wall, not releasing my grasp.

You order me to push off the wall NOW, and, in a spur of strength, I swing my legs back and thrust forward, launching myself into mid air and onto the ledge beside you, unknowing that the earth around the knife was weakened and crumbly, and the dagger had worked itself out of the earth and disappeared below.

Thinking we are safe for the moment, we both breathe a sigh of relief, however, it is too much soon. For, at that moment, the insidious toad begins a volley of loud, reverberating croaks above us that cause the ledge to tremble violently, dislodging chunks to disappear into the fire below.

Fearful of joining the ledge to its inevitable doom, we both scurry toward the wall where the ledge guts from, pressing our backs to the stone. Suddenly, the wall caves in and we go tumbling backward into a chute spiralling downward, rocks and debris sliding with us.

We are falling in complete darkness. We can not gage the depth of our fall. Only that after some time it ends not in death, but something wet, spongy, and somewhat sticky. As we right ourselves, we find we are standing waste high in some sort of muck. There is a bizare oder, neither pleasant nor fowl coming from the substance. We can not see anything, but we use our voices to locate each other. A loud groaning sound from nowhere identifiable echos through the cavern and in fear you clutch me tightly. I hold you firmly until the noise quiets and then I lead us into the darkness.

We walk for maybe five minutes before we find a wall. to the cavern. The wall is soft and sticky and when you go to lean upon it, your arm sinks to the elbow before you catch I catch you and stop you from toppling into it totally. The syrup on your arm tingles and having nothing to wipe it on, you do your best to ignore it.

We follow the wall, touching it as gentely as we can for some time. Again we hear a groan and the wall quakes. Something squirms past us in the muck. The muck growths thicker and more difficult to wade through. It is deeper now and almost above our belies. We contemplate turning around, but we are growing weary.

As I lean heavily upon your arm, you suddenly feel quite alert. There is something unusually strange about this cavern and you immediately look for an exit to this place.

There seems to be no conventional exit to this place. Inspired, you look toward the ceiling. Seeing what appears to be a pale light, you decide that we shall climb out of this muck. Trusting your judgement, but so very tired, I ask if we could rest a bit.

Silently thinking that a VERY bad idea to delay our exit, you think of a way to motivate me. Taking me in your arms, you plant a kiss upon my surprised lips, arousing me awake.

'If you promise to move quickly,' you smile, 'I shall reward you more.' Now quite awake, I follow in your wake as we climb what appears to be a very spongy set of stairs toward the light source.

Up we climb, toward a reddish light, nonplussed by the cavern quakes. 'Hurry!' you call down to me from a ledge. As you help , me up to where you stand, a fierce wind threatens to blow us down.

'Brace yourself,' you call over the wind, pulling me to you.

As we climb, we hear the sounds of bubbles popping and feel a current of heat rising. The muck we climb through is quickly solidifing threatening to trap us in it's cement. Adrenilin starts to pump are we realize we shall be trapped in this if we don't hurry. We struggle furiously towards the exit and find that the sticky fluid below us has also been rising quickly and is almost up to our heals.

Again there is a groan and the cavern quakes. The fluid is up ot your waste again and you feel something swim past your leg. Growing quite scare you again quicken you pace and we have soon reached the light, but it is evident we are not safe yet. The light is emitted by a volcanic current and we feel the heat blazing past us. Knowing that the muck is following on our heals, we continue towards the lava, hoping to find an exit before we are forced to choose between the two deadly fluids.

Forcing ourselves to keep moving despite the growing difficulty, I chance to feel something heavy brush against my shoulder. Completely exasperated, I attempt to fling the debris from me. However, on a quick second glance, I can see and feel the waxy leaves of a very thick, knotted vine that leads up into the darkness of the ceiling. I call out to you and gesture to the makeshift ladder.

Quickly helping me up, I begin the ascent, using the soft nubbiness of the wall as my foothold. I chance to peer down beneath me and see that you are right behind me, well out of reach of the sticky quagmire. As we climb upward, the light grows dimmer and dimmer until we can see nothing, but feel the leathery wings of unknown creatures beating against us.

Constantly reaching ever upward, I feel the texture of the cavern change, growing more solid in composition until we are climbing up over craggy stone. The heavy leaves of the vine snap and rustle as we continue to climb. My last handhold feels to be a flat space, and I call down to you that I think we may have a resting place. Exhausted, I struggle to pull myself up into the crevasse and out of your way so that you may join me.

Pausing to catch my breath, the darkness envelops me. The air is cool- a welcome change from below. I hear your movements into the cave and move toward you, a bit afraid of the pitch blackness and what may be scurrying around us, reaching out to touch you. You take me into your arms and we rest for the moment, not even wondering what we may find yet. I place my ear to your chest and, with your arms about me, the steady beat of your heart lulls me to sleep.

Time has no meaning in the darkness, and I am disoriented as I awake. I feel you squeeze me as a greeting and you ask me if I am ready to continue on and that you have found fresh water. We set out toward it, feeling our way along the walls, as our thirst knows no abounds.

Holding my hand to guide me, you caution me to watch my step, as the aperture to the water is nearby. I realize how close it is when I slide right through it, falling 10 meters so quickly to the water below that I had no chance breathe. Slightly panicked, I make my way to the surface to see you drop to the water with a splash.

Worried about your safety, I dived down into the cold pool. After entering the water, I rise to the surface to catch my own breath and look around for you. Happily, I see you have also surfaced and I make my way to you. Playfully you splash some water at me and I return my own volley. We enjoy the feel of the cold fresh water, invigorating, upon our bodies and then decide to continue on our way.

We swim to the edge of the pool where there is a beach about a quarter mile long and about half that in width. Glowing crystals allow us to see passages heading in several directions. To the left are two passages which seem to angle upwards. To the right, three more angle downwards. In front of us, there are two passages which appear to run level, at least within eyeshot. At the center of this subterrainian shore is a small berry plant with ripe purple fuits. Under the plant there are three small boxes. The first is gold with the words "nux vomica" inscribed in ancient ruins. The second is silver and says "foutre". The third is bronze and states "Ragnarok." The boxes are all locked, but the locks at least look superficial. A small stone might open any of them with a little effort.

The silver box causes me to blush, as I understand that word, however, the others are quite cryptic to me. You find a stone to break the locks, however, our next decision is which box to open first. Ever the gentleman, you let me choose the first.

I choose the bronze box. Moving the box on its side, you strike the lock and it springs free. I open the box and find a shiny, jeweled key attached to a black satin cord upon blood red velvet. What manner of key is this? I pass the key to you, and, having given it your perusal, you hand it back to me and ready the gold box for its opening. I take the cord and fasten it about my neck, dropping the key into my bodice.

You call me out of my musings when you have opened the gold box. Inside, nestled in the black velvet, is a clear thick crystal flask. The vessel is quite unremarkable in its smoothe plainness, except that the liquid inside the flask is iridescent and glowing with its own fire. The liguid gives off shards of color as it churns within the flask.

The vessel is slightly larger than your palm, and gives off a subtle vibration in your hand. The top is tightly sealed to the body, and, not wanting to risk allowing the mysterious fluid to leak out until you have had a chance to properly analyze it, you leave the seal in tact.

Running your fingers over the cool glass, you examinine it more to find any more runic clues to it origins, and, finding none, you place the flask securely in your bag and move toward the silver box.

As you reach for the box, and place it in your hand ready to strike the lock open, the lock springs open without your effort, as if it were waiting for you. Cautious, you carefully, you remove the lock to uncover the contents within.

At my gasp, you look up to see spear points aimed at us and drop the box.

At the far end of the spears are twelve angry elves dressed in loincloths, furred boots, and horned helmets. The leader barks something at us in a strange tongue. "Geut opentol solter meno torpuid en uti bamn." When we fail to react, two on either side of him put their spear points to our necks and use them to prod us to a standing position. An elf from the rear shouts to the leader "Om fro moertu extro popsur eleocro poewro. Im eb to la for seeptemio. Supis al-al aris. Muke humis; ter amcro-sax." To which the leader replies, "Do rem elc em seb, sorbo lix la."

The elf from the read comes forth. "Yu hoomen? Wat her? Teef? Basfomer? Invit fin? Fuls! Ye ope Ragnarok! Ragnarok! We al di!"

Gently pushing the spear tip from my throat, I attempt to speak with the elf. "We come in peace. We mean no harm. If this treasure is yours, you can keep it. We didn't know anybody lived down here. We just need to find out way to the surface and we will leave you in peace."

The elf replies, "Peace? No harm? Ragnarok! Yu bing Ragnarok! We al di!"

"What is Ragnarok?"

"Tilite o' Gots. Judmet. We al di!"

"We don't know anything about Ragnarok. We are just lost."

Some elves in the back grow impatient with our discourse. "Exde up to! Elgoro!" "Seb al emno porto." "El eb semdemo!" This last draws laughs from the crowd as several elves eye you lustfully and adjust their loincloths.

A bit alarmed, I wonder if the lusty little trolls would force themselves upon me. Mustering all of the bravery that I can with a spear pointed at my neck, I stamp my foot and make an angry face at them. I hear another volley of laughs as they once again spout their language.

'If you dare come any closer!' I state with hauteur, 'I will cast a spell upon you!'

At the mention of the word 'spell', their ribald laughter stops and they peer at me warily.

One that seemed like the leader once again began to speak once again about Raga…. And their anger was rekindled.

There is a loud crash in the distance and the ground trembles with a quake. The gnomes, howl with fear and begin to babble hysterically. We look at each other conspiring, wondering if we can make our escape while they are distracted.

Using their distraction to your advantage, you grab the spears that are nearest to us and turn them on our captors. The do not seem to care, as the booming sound gets closer and the earth shakes even more violently, causing crystals and debris to be dislodged around us.

A darkness blankets us as the dwarves disperse, screaming Ragan repeatedly as they look for shelter. Gooseflesh rises on my arms and I move to your side as the quakes become more violent. Over a knoll, we see a terrible sight, as a huge golem made of stone, dirt and knotted roots looms over us. It's face hideous and twisted in anger beneath its pointed head. Roots stick out if its head like horns, and there is no distinction between the head and neck, making the sight even more hideous to the eye.

I am mute with terror as you grab my arm and pull me out of the way of the creature's massive foot that pulverizes the spot we had just stood upon. It it's wake, a deep footprint the size of a huge boar is left, everything else obliterated.

As we run, the creature lumbers after us as we dart into a dwarfed forest, the trees knotted and bent. We can hear the ponderous footfalls of the malevolent giant as it lays waste to the forest in its anger. Guttural growls and groans come from the monster's withered mouth. It gains on us and reaches out it's huge claw to crush us, only to be outwitted as we jump out of its way and tumble down a steep grassy knoll and into a stone chest, which knocks the wind out of us.

Stunned for the moment to find a chest seemingly rising out of the earth, we run our hands over it feverishly, hoping to find a weapon. Despite our combined strength, the chest will not open. Spying a keyhole covered by small vines, you call out to me to give you the key I have about my neck. I tear it off and throw it to you, and watch as you place the key in the keyhole and rotate the key.

The stone chest groans open with a dusty sigh. Inside beneath the cobwebs are three items: a hooded cloak, a wooden staff, and a pouch of herbs. The giant's crested head looms over us.

As I go to pick up the staff, a hand comes forth from beneith the cloak and grabs the staff first. The cloak starts to rise and a human form fills it.

"Who interupts my slumber? Ten times the Age of Man have I slept. Ten time the Age of Man have I waited. Is it time? Then so be it. Ah, Asgareth. I recall yea well, my old and angry friend. Go West, for the East is to be mine." And with those words, he blows some herb from the pouch in the golem's direction.

The golem looks quizically at the apparition and does not stir forth nor hence.

"I said go, Old One! Hear me not?" He blows some more herbs. Nothing happens. The apparition reachs into the bag, takes a pinch of herb and tastes it. He spits it out on the ground and in disgust dumps the rest of the bag upon the ground."

"Perhaps herbs last not so long as time. Fairly well, Asgareth, you may take the East and I shall take the West. Little difference. Just stand aside for you block my view."

The golem still fails to respond and the apparition begins to make odd gestures with his hands. The floor of the chest becomes as a night sky full of bright stars and a droning hum echos forth from it. The golem is clearly distressed by this humming and covers its ears to block the noise. We find ourselves similiarly disposed and are soon on our knees with our hands to our ears. The apparition floats above us.

This page was prepared by Brian Matthew Kessler of Nowhere@All
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