Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Triangle


As she moved down the triangle shaped hallway, she found herself unable to stop and turn back the way she had come, even though she know she should.

Something about the pulsating light at the end of the dark tunnel reminded her of the reoccurring dream she had had all of her life.

The red, glowing triangle hanging in the dark void in front of her, beckoning for her to pass through it; what awaited her on the other side filled her with speculation, and dread.

In her dreams she had never reached the hovering shape of the illuminated triangle, only coming close enough to reach out and almost touch the space of its hollow opening before awakening from her sleep, still filled with the unease of the unknown the dream shape held within it.

She had always thought the dream was a representation of the fear of the future that always seems just out of sight and the worry of what might be there; yet, it now seems it may have been a premonition of this very moment.

The plan had been to meet her friends to celebrate her birthday with a night of drinks and dancing, even though she would have much rather an quiet night in with a nice bottle of wine; she had relented to their insistence of going out to have a 'wild night'.

So, she had arrived at the address they were to meet at to find several old, abandoned warehouses, standing eerily against the foggy night sky, grouped together in the amber lights of the streetlamps of the industrial end of town.

As she had moved back to the car she had come in to ask if this was indeed the right address, the driver had already started to turn around and drive away into the night; leaving her there all alone in front of the foreboding brick buildings that lined the street.

A blue neon arrow on the front of the building to her left was the only indication that she might possibly be in the right place. It directed her to the dark alleyway between the buildings where another blue arrow shinned its lighted point toward a door-less entrance on the side of the rough brick warehouse.

Having limited options, she made her way down the alleyway and peered into the dark doorway with its buzzing arrow pointing her way in. Sighing to herself, she went in, hoping her friends were already there and that this was all worth it.

Once inside, she tried to adjust her eyes to the pitch dark she had ventured into, but it had been too complete with seemingly no other sources of light to draw any sight from.

And then, in the distance ahead of her, the red glow of the triangle had appeared, casting a soft light, allowing her to see faintly that she was in a long tunnel of a hallway that was also in the shape of a perfect triangle.

Looking back behind her, she found that the entrance was gone and only absolute darkness filled in the space where she had come.

Furrowing her brow with impatience, she turned back to face the pulsating triangle that she now recognized as the shape that had haunted her dreams, and started to make her way slowly towards its red glow.

Now, she was nearing the massive triangle of light and could see how it took up most of the space in front of her, which seemed to have expanded to an immeasurable abyss that the triangle was a gateway to.

Slowly reaching out her hand, she moved ever closer, inching her way along the smooth onyx coloured floor, until the enormous angled lines of the triangles two sides loomed high above her and the points of her high-heels almost touched the base line that ran along the ground like a red slash in the flooring.

Her trembling hand outstretched, she closed her eyes and held her breath as she readied herself to move through the structure and finally find out what lay on the other side of the unknown.

As she took a step forward, she felt her hand move through a heavy velvet curtain and she could feel welcoming warmth in the air; a contrast to the damp chill of the dark she had just walked through.

Moving fully through the black curtain that hung from the triangle door's frame and opening her eyes she found herself in a dimly light room full of people that stood in line in front of counter where two pretty girls where taking coats in exchange for numbered tickets.

It was the coat check.

From behind the other set of steel doors to her left, also in the shape of a triangle, she could now hear the throbbing beat of dance music being played inside the factory-converted club.

"Wendy!" squealed a chorus of voices excitedly calling her name from across the room and she looked over to the washrooms on the right and saw her friends coming out as a waving, giggling pack of enthusiasm.

Wendy exhaled a sigh of relief and disappointment. This was going to be a long, annoying birthday.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Destroyer


What had he done?

Along the shore of the coastline, the sheer cliffs rose up from the swirling black waters of the sea as the dark clouds gathered overhead.

Flashes of lightning rumbled with thunder inside the ominous clouds as the storm within grew, threatening to unleash itself upon the green farm lands that lay a top the high-reaching cliffs.

Haemal stood on the rocky shore that led out from the hidden cave entrance to meet the crashing waves of the angry waters that swelled under the darkening skies.

He had only meant to exact revenge on the farm folk that had banished him from the little village above; the village he had lived in all his life; his home.

All for what? Believing he had brought the drought that had caused the crops to wither and die out before they could be harvested?

What reason would he have had to bring about a famine that affected him as well as them?

Just because they thought he had delved too far into the 'black arts'. As if they knew the difference between natural healing and true Black Magic.

Simpletons.

Had he not cured many an ailment with his skills in apothecary? In fact, he had saved no small number of the village's children, who would have surely died without his knowledge of simple healing plants and herbs.

Yet, to the idiot villagers, his medicinal potions were no different than the blackest of magics.

So when they needed to place blame for a run of bad weather, they turned their anger and frustration to him and threatened to do him harm if he did not leave the meagre little hamlet.

Pelting him with the rotten and spoiled crops from their failed harvest, they had run him out of town and forced him to seek shelter in the cold, damp caves of the cliffs below.

There, he had given into his anger and ventured into studying the very subject he had vowed never to practice: Black Magic.

Within the darkness of the caves, he had pored over the volumes of primeval texts he had taken with him and found an incantation that promised to bring punishment to one's enemies.

Little did he know that behind all Dark Magic, laying in wait behind the words written upon the ancient pages, a sinister force awaited a fool to perform the ritual transcribe and release its evil upon the world.

He had been a fool indeed, he thought as he stood in terrified awe of the darkening scene in front of him.

From the depths of the churning waters he could see a humongous shape emerging, its hideous tendrils branching out and reaching up toward the surface; the intangible size of the thing filled Haemal with dread that boarded on madness.

Lightning cracked above and the bright flash lifted his eyes from the dark waters of the sea to the clouds converging above.

And the sight weakened his legs to cause him to drop to his knees and weep.

For the sea had only been the murky reflection of the creature emerging from the darkness of the cloud-filled sky.

What had he done?

In his foolish pursuit for revenge, he had become a puppet of the evil he had been persecuted for.

Screaming in aguish as the tentacles reached down from the clouds that veiled the beast's true form; his last thoughts were the terrible realization that he had brought about the end of all things.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Gnorman


Once there was a gnome named Gnorman who lived near the edge of the woods that bordered the suburb, which in turn bordered the big, sprawling city to the south.

But Gnorman had never ventured that far away from his house; hidden within the exposed roots of an old oak tree, just a little ways in from where the backyards of the well-kept neighbourhoods touched the forest's edge.

He was content with staying in the woods of his ancestral home and did not feel the draw to the big city like so many of the other gnomes his age; roughly 108 years old in human years, yet still just a youngling in gnome society.

While others his age wanted to move to the big human city to fill one of the many positions there, Gnorman felt he had a duty to stay and take up his father's district; covering the subdivision that had been their family's responsibility for many hundreds of years, possibly since the very beginning of humans settling in the land so long ago.

Each day Gnorman would wake up before the sun rose, have a good breakfast of mushrooms and moss porridge and then head out to along the twisting and winding path to the old fishing pond that lay safely hidden away in the deep woods.

Setting up his rods, nets, baskets he would sit on the soft green grass that surrounded the glimmering waters of the pond as the morning sunlight filtered down in beams through the canopy of trees and cast his line in.

Soon he would start to drift off to sleep to the sounds of the birds chirping in the distance and the soft breeze blowing through the branches of the trees; until a bite would come on his line and startle him to alertness as he gripped his rod and began reeling in his catch.

It would not take long once the first bite was on the line before his baskets were full and he was at his limit for the day and it was time for him to head home with the afternoon sun hanging high in the sky above.

Once back in his cozy little tree home, Gnorman would prepare all of that day's catch for that night's outing and after a tasty lunch, lay down for a nap before heading out again once the sun set and darkness blanketed the night sky.

Heading out under the cover of night, Gnorman headed out toward the houses of the suburb, lit by the street lights lining the roads in the front, yet the darkened back yards still made it easy for the little gnome to approach unseen with his knapsack full upon his back.

Slipping in to each house by the little nooks and crannies that the humans failed to pay attention to, he would make his way to the bedrooms of the sleeping children, dig into his sack and sprinkle the good dreams he had brought to put into their slumbering minds.

It filled him with a great sense of pride to know that he was tasked with bringing all the children of this subdivision their happiest of childhood dreams from the magical pond of wishes back in the forest.

He smiled as a child he had just sprinkled a dream of flying through space in a cartoon rocket ship on grinned in their sleep, but then a movement in the corner made him frown and stare into the shadows there.

From the dark of the corner, two red glowing eyes appeared and were joined by a crooked, toothy grin. Gnorman gave a little growl as a dark gnome stepped out of the shadows with its own sack full on its back.

Stalking around the room, the two little gnomes circled each other as Gnorman tried to keep the dark gnome away from the still sleeping child.

"You get out of here, Ggordon!" Gnorman hissed in a whisper. "I've already given the child their dream for the night; they don't need you mucking it up with your rotten ones. Now get!"

Gnorman lunged at Ggordon but the other gnome did not flinch, only smiled mischievously and tried to edge his way closer to the child's bed; always keeping his eyes on Gnorman.

"I've just as much right to do my job as you do." Ggordon croaked hoarsely. "Gotta have some bad dreams too, ya know." He said as he tried to jump up on the end of the bed, but Gnorman pulled him down.

"Not your brand of bad dreams." Gnorman whispered loudly as he dragged Ggordon back down and pushed him towards the window. "I know you've been putting a little extra darkness in those dreams of yours, kids ain't supposed to be havin' those kinda nightmares yet."

With a sweep of his leg, Gnorman kicked Ggordon in the rear as the dark gnome growled and rounded back to tackle him.

The two pint-sized gnomes rolled around on the floor of the moonlit room, gnashing and clawing at each other trying to get the upper hand, until they hit into one of the play table chairs and knocked it over with a thud.

Both gnomes froze and looked over to where the child lay in their bed and saw their eyes fluttering open; woken from the noise of their scuffle.

Forgetting their scrap, the two gnomes scrambled for the windows on the opposite walls from each other, leading out to the east and west sides of the house.

Clambering up to the sill of the west window, Gnorman looked over to see Ggordon was breathing heavily as he stared over at him from the east window, still sneering bitterly.

Taking a last look at the child, he saw that they were looking from him to Ggordon with sleepy disbelief, before the two gnomes slipped out of the house and into the night.

As the child sat up in bed, they tried to decide whether the little bearded men they had seen on the windows had been real or jus part of their dream. In the end, they figured it was just part of the dream and tried to fall back asleep so they could get back to the awesome space adventure dream they had been having.

From now on, Gnorman thought as he headed back home before the dawn's light broke over the horizon; he was going to have to keep an eye out for that jerk, Ggordon and his sack full of bad dreams.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Maze


The three of them ran down the corridor as the medieval-looking walls closed in on them further and further.

Trace, Chad, and Melody gradually moved from a three-abreast to a single-file formation, desperately trying to make it to the opening at the end of the long, ever-narrowing passageway before being crushed to death.

Ahead of him, Chad watched Trace as she reached the opening and disappeared around its edge moments before he made it himself and leaped around the corner of the opening.

Once around, he found Trace stopped dead in her tracks in front of another opening and barely had time to stop before ramming into her.

From behind he heard Melody's guttural shout as she leapt out of the opening just as the walls slammed unforgivingly together.

Not slowing, she kept right on running passed him and Trace, but snapping out of her gaze, Trace snatched Melody's arm just before she careened straight off the edge of a deep chasm that led into darkness below.

"Whoa, there!" Trace shouted as she held onto the still yelling Melody and pushed her back against the pockmarked stone of the wall that connected to the ledge they stood on; no wider than a few paces.

"Oh, shit!" Melody exclaimed as she realized what was in front of her and her eyes bulged at the seemingly bottomless void they now were faced with. "What's with this place!? I just want to get the hell outta here!"

Trace gripped the panicking Melody by the shoulder and tried to calm her.

"It's okay. We're okay." Trace tried to placate her. "We'll just figure this one out like the rest and we'll be on our way out. Just calm down and take a breather."

Chad strained his eyes to look across the expanse and could see another ledge and opening on the far side. Tracking the opposite side to the left and right, he could see no way across.

"I don't know." He stated in his unperturbed voice. "I can't see any way to get to that other side, and..." Squinting to focus further on the far side, he continued, "...I think, Trace, do you see what I see over there?"

Trace looked from Melody to follow Chad's outstretched arm to where his finger pointed across the wide gorge. To the other side where she could just make out three figures standing on the ledge opposite them. One of them pointing back to where they stood.

"Oh no." Trace said in a downtrodden voice.

"What?" Melody asked frantically as she looked across at what the other two were staring at.

"Great." She exclaimed once she finally saw the others staring back, "a giant mirror wall! So there's probably nothing over there at all to even get to; a trick to make us try and jump or something and just fall forever into this bottomless pit!"

Her voice echoed across the expanse as she slid down the wall to a crouch, holding her head in her hands as she began to rock back and forth.

Chad continued to watch their far reflections as Trace tried to comfort Melody again.

"It's okay, Melody." Trace soothed, "we'll figure something out, maybe we'll just go along the ledge here until we find another opening. What do you think, Chad?"

Before he could respond, Melody laughed derisively.

"Ha! Chad is probably loving all of this!" She huffed accusingly. "An endless, mysterious, and ancient maze, full of deadly traps, all hidden below a legitimately haunted house that he goaded us into exploring! He's probably having the time of his life!"

Starting to laugh hysterically, Melody pushed Trace's arms away and continued to rock on her heels.

"Hey!" Chad's booming shout jolted both women's attention to their usually mild-mannered and good humoured friend.

"Stan is dead!" He cried out. "We evoked the wrath of the spirit of the evil necromancer that built that house up there, when YOU red aloud the inscription on that ebony orb I might add, and have been wondering this ghost-riddled maze for who knows how long. If we don't get killed by the maze's puzzles, or a ghost of one of that guy's victims, we'll probably starve to death because I haven't found anything to eat down here, have you?!"

Calming a little, Chad shivered and continued in his regular voice as the other two stared in shock.

"So, no, Melody," he said with a sigh. "I am not loving it down here."

The three stood in silence for sometime before Chad stomped at a loose stone with his foot.

"Sorry." He said mildly. "I'm hungry and tired and scared. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. I just want to get out of here too..."

He stopped as he kicked the loose stone over the edge of the ledge, and instead of falling down into the void of the pit, it seemed to just roll over the ledge and continue on.

"What a second." He said as he peered over the edge.

Trace and Melody looked at each other with mutual puzzlement and then to Chad just as he was stepping over the edge.

"Chad, no!" Trace shouted as she moved to grab him, but it was too late, he had disappeared over the ledge.

She scrambled over to where he had stood and reared back with surprise as his head popped back into view from beyond the darkness.

"It's corner, not a ledge!" Chad told them with glee. "Just step around and the ground is beneath you! Come on, there's an opening just down there!"

He pointed off to a direction hidden by the ledge.

Looking back at the flabbergasted Melody, Trace was flummoxed herself.

"I think we'll be out of here in no time!" Chad reassured in a chipper voice as he stood at an impossible angle.

Later, after escaping the soul survivor of the necromancer's accursed maze, though he would never admit it to anyone aloud, Chad was indeed having a really good time!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Wizard Fight!


Sparks and flames spewed up form beyond the hills at the eastern edge of the village.

The sky boomed and crackled with electricity as storm clouds rolled unnaturally in from the north and south, converging in the skies above the ancient battle grounds that had not been used in more than a century. Not since the last of the old wars had been fought.

Johann, the butcher's apprentice looked up from the carcass of the meanderbeast he was carving up to see the streaks of lightning shoot up from over the horizon; up from the grounds below, not down from the clouds above.

He wiped his bloodied hands upon his apron and ventured into the village's main street where his master's shop was prominently located.

From behind he heard the stomping of feet fast approaching as he looked toward the old battle grounds.

Turning just in time to jump back out of the way of the rushing crowds of villagers, running like mad toward the east end of the village; towards the commotions erupting there.

Johann caught sight of his friend Verner and yelled to him through the throng of people stampeding passed.

"Verner! What is all this about!?" He shouted as his friend approached.

Not slowing, Verner only waved for Johann to join them, shouting as he pointed east excitedly, "It's a battle!"

Not needing any more of an explanation, Johann threw off his apron and dashed to catch up with his friend as the growing crowd sped toward where columns of fire and smoke gushed up from behind the hills that hid the old wizard battle arena.

Clambering up the west slope of the grassy mound, the crowd spread out and came to a halt to stand in a line at the top of the hill, watching in awe at what was happening below.

Two cloaked figures stood at either end of the large field that was surrounded by the oval shape of the hill that been build up around it to create the natural arena in days long ago.

Smouldering craters and charred blast marks marred the field between the two long-bearded wizards as they both breathed heavily from the exertion of the many attacks they had already reined upon one another.

As the crowd gathered all along the top of the border hill, the wizards never took their eyes off one another, each lanky man of middling years squinting warily at their opponent, strategizing their next spell.

The wizard in his grey cloak, covered in dirt and soot, wiggled his fingers in readiness as the black cloaked wizard flex his fingers open and close, neither one blinking or making any other move to indicate what they might do next.

Suddenly, the wizard in black flung his arms forward as his hands glowed orange and shot forth a giant ball of flame that sped toward the wizard in grey. At the same moment, the grey shot a hand to the sky and bolts of lightning sparked from his finger tips, not towards his opponent, but to the clouds above.

Moving in a blink of an eye, the lightning bounced off the dark clouds and rebounded down to where the wizard in black stood. Before the man could react, hitting him directly in the chest.

Meanwhile, the grey cloaked wizard was able to safely jump out of the way of the ball of flame that flew passed him and exploded into the side of the far hill wall, knocking the spectators that stood watching flying in every direction.

As the smoke cleared from each of the explosions, the grey wizard could be seen hovering above the scorched field over to where his fallen rival lay prone, struggling to breath.

Glowing green orbs appeared in the approaching wizard's hands as he came to a landing a few paces from the black-clad wizard, who lifted a shaky arm in an effort to shield himself ineffectually.

Raising his hands to deal the final blow, the grey wizard looked down upon his fallen foe with contempt as the crowd watched with bated breath.

With his arm still weakly outstretched, the black wizard muttered an incantation barely above a whisper, but with a subtle circular motion of his badly burnt hand, a magical gate way opened in the space directly behind the grey and from out of it pour forth a horde of bearded wizards; all of them wearing the same long black robes as the one laying beaten on the battle field.

Hundreds of them streamed out of the portal and soon the grey wizard was surrounded by identical black cloaked wizards; hurriedly he created a domed shielding around himself.

Once the green glowing shield was in place, he quickly did a similar motion with his hand as his opponent, only directed at the air above where the black wizard lay.

From out of his portal, fell an army of his own duplicates, landing and spreading out to surround the wild-eyed black wizards.

For a moment both sides stood ready to attack at the slightest moment of the others.

Finally making it back up to his feet, the injured stood, his shoulders heaving as he seemed to be building his strength up by sheer will. Then, with a wild, unhinged scream, he cried, "Wizard Fight!"

Both the wizards and the crowd yelled and howled, and the real battle began.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Eternal

As she lay in the tall grass of the field, dying of from her wounds, she looked up at the clear blue skies above and remembered all of her past lives, and deaths.

How many times had she died? Too numerous to count, always the same, they blurred into one another.

She had been a simple famer, a primitive Neanderthal, feudal lord, a beggar, and even a famous general of a vast army in her lifetimes; and in a great battle against her enemy's forces she had met her end, as she had always done, at the hands of her one and true foe; and he at her hands.

They had fought one another throughout the ages; many of their conflicts were written of in the history texts that told of civilization's journey through the millennia, though no one would suspect that they were all just a continuation of the same war.

The eternal war between darkness and the light; renewed each time as she and her enemy were reborn into the world.

From epic battles between military generals, to lone ruffian fights in the back streets of some ancient market city, they always found one another, no matter who they were each time.

Their lives were not their own, but were confined to the unending struggle to keep the balance between what is good and what is evil.

Now, laying a few short paces from her fallen enemy, she held her hand to her stomach where their blade had made its fatal strike. Her other hand however, was held tightly by the hand of her love, kneeling by her side.

Just as each time they died, her enemy was left alone and abandoned by their followers, her love stayed with her until the end.

Looking into her lover's tear-filled eyes she could see the sadness at their departing yet again. If only she could spare them the pain of losing the one they loved over and over; but they too were enslaved to their fate.

A soft breeze blew through the grassy field where the two adversaries had met; samurai warriors this lifetime; ronin that had wandered the lands until finding each other yet again.

The familiar calmness washed over her and she smiled up at her lover for the last time in this life, and they smiled bravely back.

Most deaths blurred into one another, but this one she would remember.

Birds swooped passed, gliding gracefully on the wind as with her last breathes, she spoke soft and sweetly to her love.


"This was my favourite death." She whispered as she closed her eyes for the last time; until the next life time.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hijack

It was the tiniest of things; a spark in the early hours of mornings dim light that almost went unnoticed, except for the keen eyes that had been watching for it.

Eyes that flashed with the reflection of the pop of light that was visible for only a moment before winking out of existence again. Eyes that then narrowed to slits that nearly vanished into the shadows that surrounded them.

Soon they would be coming and the hidden figures laying wait in the shadows would welcome them, in their own special way.

The sound of a blade sliding out of its sheath whispered in the dark as the glint of the razor sharp steel signalled to their counterparts that they were ready and waiting.

Soon, with the rising light of the sun behind, a coach rumbled along the well-worn dirt road that led to the palace which stood to atop the high-reaching cliffs so that it overlooked the lush forest of the valley.

Its train of horses pulled the coach at a brisk pace along the road as it wound its way through the tall-standing trees, their green leaves heavy with the moisture of the previous night.

The coach's driver sat on its padded roof edge seat as they worked the reigns, steering the horses deftly along the curving roadway. Their high-collared coat and pulled down hat, with its broad brim hid the driver's features to the point that they resembled a phantom driving the midnight-black coach faster to beat dawn's creeping light.

The windowless coach gave no hint of who or what might be riding inside, but it was clear from its lacquered and well-maintained exterior, that it would be a prime target for any daring marauders who might try to highjack it.

As the coach turn a bend, four shadowy figures leapt silently from the surrounding trees and onto its roof behind the unsuspecting driver; their entire bodies cloaked in close-fitting black garments from head to toes, with only their eyes visible from a slit in their face masks.

Nimbly, the four figures moved toward the seated driver as the coach continued to rumble along the forest road at a brisk clip. Steel flashed as they unsheathed their long swords in unison and made ready to attack.

With choreographed precision, the four marauders moved as one, plunging each of their swords into the back of the driver, yet there was no reaction from their victim, no blood spurting out from the swords thrusting all the way through their body. Only, electrical sparks shot out from underneath the driver's cloak as it tore away to reveal the mechanical carapace of an automaton.

The galloping horses flickered for a moment as if they were only a visual illusion, as the coach was well capable of driving itself.

The four assailants looked to each other with a moment of confusion before the flash of a steel blade sliced them in half with one blurred slash.

As their bodies fell in pieces from the coach, blood spraying off in gushes that splattered the passing trees before tumbling to be left unceremoniously on the side of the road, a red cloaked figure stood alone atop the still speeding carriage.

Their face hidden as well, save for bright blue eyes staring steely ahead, they cleaned their blade before deftly re-sheathing it and abruptly springing into a back flip off the roof to land on the back rack of the coach, with the grace of a lithe cat.

Catching onto the bar that attached to the back of the carriage for use as a handle on the rare occasions when guards were used, the figure in red made their way around the side of the carriage to unlatch side the door and slip inside.

The interior of the coach was red leather to match the cloaked figure's outfit, which they quickly unfurled to reveal a young woman with auburn hair that fell in curls around her freckled cheeks.

She placed her outfit and sword underneath the plush bench that hid a storage truck within, and took out a white ruffled dress which she thought of as more a disguise than her previous clothes.

Donning her respectable lady's attire and placing her hair up in a more fashionable style, she took her seat on the coach's passenger beach and touched a panel to her right, causing a screen to appear as its display glowed into the image of a well-groomed man in fine livery.

"Yes, my lady?" The groomsman spoke in a hoity drawl. "Has the journey been uneventful as you predicted?"

"Quite, Harrington," the lady replied while nonchalantly pulling on her lace-embroidered gloves. "Very dull indeed; though we will need to do some repairs on the driver; a minor malfunction, still operational, nothing to worry about."

Harrington raised a questioning eyebrow, "As you say, my lady."

"I should be there within the hour," she advised. "Have the east gates opened. I have a few items I've pick up along the way."

"Of course, my lady," Harrington answered dutifully as his image winked out and the display screen sunk back into its hidden panel.

Looking sufficiently proper once again, the young lady looked to the chests sitting on the floor of the coach and lifted one of the lids to reveal the shimmering glow of its contents.

With a wickedly mischievous grin, she scooped up a handful of the gold coins that filled the chest and let them trickled through her fingers to drop back down with their satisfying clinks.

Yes, she thought to herself as the coach rumbled towards the palace, very dull indeed.