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Deeds Done in the Dark

The Singing Hills

While journeying between quests, a strange man shows up. The sky rumbles ominously as the man produces a letter. Even in the growing darkness, they can see the swirled calligraphy and wax seal. It stands out in a stark contrast to the weather worn satchel that carried it. The seal shows that the letter is from King Aodhan. As lightening flashes across the sky, the messenger shoves the letter at Alduin. The fear on his face is clear.

The seal shows that the letter is from King Aodhan. As lightening flashes across the sky, the messenger shoves the letter at Alduin. The fear on his face is clear.

Reyalumin approaches the messenger, his arms raised to show that he was unarmed.

“What has you so fearful,” he asked.

The messenger’s eyes darted around the group, before dropping his head. With white knuckles, he shoves the letter towards Squeb.

With apprehensive hands, Squeb cracks the seal and read the spidery writing.

Far and Wide, news of your exploits have spread. I am in need of your assistance. I fear that the situation grows more dire everyday. My kingdom rests at the foothills of the Fingall Mountains. The dwarves that dwell in those mountains are pressing our boundaries. They have recently stolen an artifact of great importance from us. I seek your help in returning this to our kingdom. I anxiously await your aid.

Aodhan HendreyFirst of His Name,

First of His Name,

King of Raghnall

As Squeb finishes reading the letter aloud, the only sound is the distant rumble of thunder. With a start, the group realizes that the messenger has disappeared. They turn to face Alduin, hoping that she knows of the kingdom of Raghnall.

“The kingdom of Raghnall is shrouded in mystery and a hard three days ride from our location. The only thing I know for certain is that Raghnall means strength,” Alduin continued. “The dwarves must be fierce-some adversaries if they could defeat a kingdom named for its strength. There are two routes to reach the kingdom. One route will take us through the Singing Hills. Not much is known about them since no one has made it through them unaffected. The other route is more direct, but we must go through the Foggy Marsh. The Foggy Marsh is an untrustworthy route, where every step you take may end up with you sinking into the depths of the earth. Creatures of darkness dwell there, waiting to lure unsuspecting travelers to their death. You can make it through, but the chances are slim.”

“The dwarves must be fierce-some adversaries if they could defeat a kingdom named for its strength. There are two routes to reach the kingdom. One route will take us through the Singing Hills. Not much is known about them since no one has made it through them unaffected. The other route is more direct, but we must go through the Foggy Marsh. The Foggy Marsh is an untrustworthy route, where every step you take may end up with you sinking into the depths of the earth. Creatures of darkness dwell there, waiting to lure unsuspecting travelers to their death. You can make it through, but the chances are slim.”

“I would trust my own strength before putting my fate in the hands of a swamp,” Pantoran said gruffly.

The rest of the group nodded in silent agreement.

The Singing Hills come in to view as the sun slowly creeps across the skyline. The sudden absence of all living things sets the company on edge. Even the plants turn to dust as they get closer to the Hills. The deeper they trek into the Singing Hills, Reyalumin begins to notice strange tracks. They start appearing more often, along with a faint crooning wound. He takes a long swig from his flask, dreading meeting what made the tracks.

The sound grows louder and seems familiar, like a lullaby from their childhoods. Everyone hears their own song and visions of their childhoods fill their minds. A happy carefree time when life was simple. Even as they feel the memories taking over, they fight to regain control.

The music grows louder, drowning out all other sounds. A small humanoid creature appears on a hilltop in front of them. Through the fog of false memories, Alduin recognizes the creature as Lulshax. Reyalumin lunged and grabbed the creature, desperate to stifle it’s song.

In the blink of an eye, Lulshax’s swarm over the hillside. Pantoran yells at Reyalumin to release the screaming creature, but his dazed eyes and slack jawed grin showed just how lost in memories he was. The Lulshax’s song overpowered his broken childhood, flooding his mind with memories of a loving home.

Alduin opens her mouth, pouring every ounce of her dragonborn fiery into a shriek. The terrible sound shakes Reyalumin out of his stupor. He drops the Lulshax and it runs back to the others. Pantaron and Squeb help Reyalumin run through the sand, desperate to leave the singing creatures behind.

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Read next: 'Upgrade'
Jessie Wing
Jessie Wing

I have been writing for over ten years. I love writing fantasy books the most! I have two wild children and an amazing husband. If you like what you read here, check out my young adult novel, Living The Lie, now available on Amazon.

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Deeds Done in the Dark
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'Upgrade'