My Next Medieval Adventure
Needing gold to further my cause, I went to the tavern to seek out a job. The tavern wench was helpful, only after taking all of my gold or what's left of it. She introduced me to a Half Elf maiden, who needed a job done regarding a treasure. According to her, this treasure was hidden in terrain hard to reach by an ordinary man. Not even the most fit could accomplish the mission. It was risky, dangerous and deadly. One false step or decision could lead to an early demise. The bravest turned her down. But I, Lucho the chosen will accomplish the mission for her! Where all else failed, I will succeed!
It was true that the task hand was not easy. The Half Elf maiden brought out a stone from her pocket and placed it in front of me.
"Touch this and you will be brought to the entrance of the Dead Valley."
I have heard of the Dead Valley. No one ever came back to tell the tale of what Dead Valley is all about, thus earning it's name. No wonder the Half Elf was afraid to venture out there herself. And no wonder not even the bravest drunks in the tavern would do it.
Touching the stone brought me in front of two large stone pillars, with thick thorny hedges on both sides running for miles. I stepped into the pillars and I was faced by a large black pool for about a mile and a half in length. I needed to cross it to get to the other side, where I know it would lead me towards the treasure. It was good I swam when I was young. We lived not far from a river where the strong currents build my muscles. With sure strong strokes, I was able to reach the other end with ease.
Fighting a pack of Hyena would have brought fear to any normal man. But I was not normal. I was the chosen! I continued walking, making sure I was following the path. I had reached a bend and when I got past it, the path was again divided a stream. It was shallow since I can see the pebbles and large stones under. I took a step, feeling the cold biting through the skin of my foot. I took another, then I slipped down under, about 50 feet! I could feel the current pulling me down. It was black magic! Evil! It gave the stream an illusion of being shallow, when in fact it was an abyss of Death!
I kicked, one foot after the other, one arm reaching forward, then stroking back, the other doing the same. I strained with each stroke, muscles overworking, oxygen lacking, I knew I had to get to the surface quickly or I will surely die.
I continued kicking, and stroking, fighting the strong pull of the current, then just when I thought I couldn't hold my breath any longer, I broke the surface, and breathe a large gulp of air. I then swam towards the opposite shore, telling myself never to give up.
I finally found the cause of death of most adventurers who visited this place. Not right after I got past the evil stream, I was now faced by another river. I went closer to inspect it and found several human remains on the shore. There was a rib, several small bones that looked like fingers or toes. And a skull with some muscles still attached on it. I looked into the water and found the culprit. Small fishes swimming in one giant swarm near the shore, probably attracted by my presence. A frog which I just noticed near me, leapt towards the water and the swarm of fish enveloped it then in a few seconds, there were only bones left.
I made a plan quickly and looked for another frog. After turning a large stone, I found one hiding under it. I grabbed it by the body then threw it on my far left, watching it land a few feet away from me. And as soon as I saw the deadly swarm moved towards the direction of where the frog entered the water, I ran towards the river till I got to the deep part then started to swim as fast as I could. Each stroke reaching farther from my head, then puling with all my might and kicking as fast as I could. I was doing this for a few minutes, wondering when the deadly swarm would go after me and reach me when I felt a painful nibble on my left foot. This made me kick harder and harder, consuming almost all of my strength and oxygen. And right when I was about to give up and be a meal for the deadly swarm, my knees hit sand. I stood up quickly, pushing myself up as I scrambled towards the shore. When I knew I was about a few feet from the water, I laid on the shore, catching my breath. I considered myself lucky once again.
I have deduced that this land was crossed by a lot of water system. So I decided to follow another river I found after walking for an hour. After a few miles of walking along the shore, I noticed a wide path bounded by tall grass on the other side of the river. The current at this part was slow as I noticed lots of large dead logs floating on the surface side by side, not moving up or down stream. The river at this point was about half a mile wide. And to get to the other side, it was obvious that I needed to dive under the floating logs, swim under to reach the other side.
I prepared myself, took a deep breath, then dove under, as deep as I could then swam forward. I was glad that I had trained swimming and diving before. I remember diving for pearls when I was in my teens.
I was exhausted after all the swimming I did and the walking, but I promised myself I will never give up. Blessed are those who persevere! And true to those words, I reached the other side.