Most stories begin with either an unforeseen turn of events or a problem.
Krank has a problem. For centuries, the people of the island have lived on the animals and plants to be found there. It was bliss and so the population grew. It was not until very recently anyone noticed that the quantity of plants and animals had not. The delicate balance of the ecosystem has tipped and food is dwindling.
The King assigned the island’s two resident self-proclaimed geniuses, the Creators, to find a solution. The fruits of their labour ripen into the invention of the world’s first aquatic transportation device and promises to provide passage from the island to search further afield for food and resources.
So, there it is. Problem solved. End of story. Barring any unforeseen turn of events…
After the debut launch of their greatest invention, the world’s first floyancy (or what you and I might call a boat) goes wrong when they forget to bring the paddles with them, the Creators are swept across the see in a torrent of waves brewed by a thunderous storm. They wake to find their vessel destroyed and an assortment of weapons pointing at them from small, stout creatures with spectacular beards.
The dwarves speechlessly take them up the greatest mountain in the range, to its very summit and the entrance to their realm below.
The dwarves were looking at them and parted to reveal a square hole in the surface of the peak. The leader gestured with his head for the Creators to approach and they did. One dwarf produced four torches from his pack and lit them. He passed three to his companions. One entered the hole and disappeared below. Two dwarves followed suit with another torch bearer behind them. The ginger dwarf gestured for Koel to go next, and he went behind Koel, followed by Edin. The other dwarves filed in, covering the rear. The company disappeared down into the mountain’s throat.
The staircase spiralled into darkness until it fell upon a corridor. The passage went off in opposite directions. The dwarves did not hesitate in choosing one. They reached a fork and again the lead dwarf chose which pathway to take without a moment’s thought. They reached another staircase and continued down. The next level was more complex, with triple the number of forks and passageways. The dwarves led the Creators through and down again.
With every descent, the passages became more and more convoluted as the mountain widened. The Creators probably should have been worried about how they were ever going to escape this place, but all either of them could think about was what would happen if they got lost. They would never be able to work their way back up to the surface on their own and likely the dwarves would never find them, or even bother looking. The dwarves became their lifeline. An ancient abduction technique cultivated by the dwarves. They found it worked far better than the more conventional methods of binding limbs, people always had another knife hidden on them somewhere that they would use to tediously cut their binds when you weren’t looking.
They descended another level. With every staircase taken, Koel could feel heat radiating from the stone walls grow stronger.
At last they entered a charmed circular chamber. In its centre burned a white-hot fire. The four dwarves stood forward and added their torches to the flames. The heart of the mountain barely seemed to notice the addition, but all dwarves bowed their heads and muttered to the inferno.
Eight passages led from the room: four corridors, two descending stairs and two ascending. The dwarves led the Creators to the other rising staircase and they ascended into darkness, now without light.
The black of the cave the night before seemed blinding in comparison. That was umbra. That was shade. That was night. This was not the draining of light. This was where light would never be. This was eigengrau. This was complete. This was nothing.
The Creators ran their hands along the walls, feeling their way, fearing the dark. The dwarves did not, they knew these ways with absolute surety. The Creators felt pathways open in the walls, passages they did not take. To begin with, whenever they passed one of these they would reach out at the dwarf in front of them to make sure they had not taken it. After a while, they learned to trust their ears and followed the dwarves’ breathing and heavy footfall.
Twice or more they took a staircase up, but their movement was mostly down. The Creators were tiring again and began to grumble about their current situation, but they needn’t have, their destination was not far away now. They were just above the belly of the beast.
They came to another spiral staircase, much wider than the one they had taken to enter the mountain. The dwarf leading the way took things slowly. Wary of the danger.
Just faintly, Koel began to see the outline of the steps. A couple more, then the dwarves in front came to a halt. They stayed where they were in silence. Koel squinted with his eyes, but the steps had shifted back into darkness. They began to move again and Koel spotted the outline once more, then they stopped again.
‘Steps! I can see the steps. Light!’ Edin frantically tried to push his way down the stairs, but the ginger dwarf grabbed him by the chest and in a swift move decked Edin onto his back and planted one dense knee on his chest. Edin continued to wrestle the dwarf, but he was easily overpowered.
The dwarf stood off. Edin paused for a moment before pushing himself back up and into the dwarf. The dwarf slammed him back against the stone. ‘No!’
Edin froze. ‘Did you… did you just talk?’ The dwarf turned away and the troop started to descend again. ‘Koel, they can talk! He spoke. You heard him, he spoke.’
Koel remained silent.
Edin’s protest would have continued, but in the darkness he could feel the stares. The dark dwarven eyes congealed on his aura. He swallowed his rebuttal and against his instincts allowed order to resume.
They continued down the staircase, always stop-starting. Noise rose from the depths.
The stairs no longer vanished with each stop, but became clearer with every start. The light grew brighter, the noise became louder. The dwarves led the Creators out the stairwell and into the light of Oth-Zorak.
Thank you, Linden Forster and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Linden Forster began writing at the age of seventeen. Divine Invention is his debut novel and it took seven years from the idea conjuring at the back of an English class to reaching the page.
Since then, writing has become his dream and passion. His sequel is finished and awaiting publication, while he types the third in a darkened room.
He is a lover of nature and enjoys walks in the country and often ventures out armed with a notepad and pen.
Social Media Links – Blog – https://lindenforster.wordpress.com/ Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lindenforster/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/LindenForster Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lindenforster/?hl=en