The Cube

A short tale by Dare Pelletier

Fyn waited outside the old stone building as the sun set, covering the city of Orindale in a magnificent warm orange light. He tapped his foot and leaned against the hard stone, smelling the scent of the bakeries, restaurants, and butchers of the district.

He waited until the sun set, and the darkness loomed over the city like a hood, and then went into the building, which conveniently was unlocked.

The candles of the old tower illuminated it with a yellowish light, which was dim and didn’t quite cover the entire main entrance room, which was decorated with paintings and treasures of unimaginable value.

Fyn Chaça pulled his mask up over his lower half of his face and crept along through the room, being careful not to be seen, even if it was possible that no one else was even here.

He looked at the art and paintings.

Fyn could hear faint talking coming from a room to his left, so he darted past the room and came to where the curling spiral of stairs was, leading to the top of the tower. He climbed the stairs to the third floor, where the item he had come for was resting.

The tower was a thieves guild, and Fyn had heard about it from the city guards and was tasked with finding the one thing they stole that really mattered; the Cube, as they all called it.

Fyn had no idea what “The Cube” did, but he knew that it must be important and had accepted this job to earn a little bit more money and hopefully get a full meal on his plate.

He was stepping off the stairs to go onto the third floor of the guild tower, when he heard a door open several floors down.

His heart sank.

He heard the main door of the tower open, and he heard someone come in and say faintly:

“They told me he was here.”

“Find him.”

And then metal shoes hitting the stairs. He began to become urgent. He only had a few seconds.

He dashed across the room, coming to a small but tall crystal pedestal which had an ornate cube coloured blue and gold on one half, and red and silver on the other. He picked it up and tried to fit it in his pocket, but it wouldn’t fit, so he carried it in his hands and ran to the stairs again, seeing the guard just arriving at where you could get off to the second floor, and ran to the top, clearly being heard, and then the guard picked up the pace and jolted up after Fyn.

Fyn reached the top of the tower, where there were walls up to his waist made of laid bricks.

He stood across from the stairs, holding the cube in his hand. The guard arrived at the top of the tower, a glare on his face.

Fyn looked down at the city around the tower, as the guard readied his crossbow. If he were to jump, he would definitely cause himself bodily harm, and would likely break a bone.

But if he didn’t jump, then he would most assuredly be shot and killed by the guard.

He jumped, falling down fast, but reached out his hands and grabbed onto a window sill and held on.

The guard at the top aimed the crossbow down, firing it with it hitting Fyn in the shoulder, making him fall to the bottom, and sending a powerful pain seeping into his upper body. He landed painfully on his knees.

“You’ve no idea what you just started!” The guard yelled angrily.

He slowly got up, surprised he could still run.

He made haste and darted through the city streets, the guard watching him and his shoulder burning.

This better be worth it.

By the time Fyn reached the inn he was staying at and got into his room, it was completely dark outside except for the lanterns on wagons and on other stores and dwellings.

When he entered the inn, several people were sitting in the main entrance area, but he paid them no attention and he quickly got to his room.

As soon as he got back to his room, he quickly took a small sip of the contents of a small blue flask which he carried with him, which almost instantly made his shoulder feel better. However, this flask was slowly losing its liquid as Fyn more and more often had to drink sips of it.

He had to rest, for tomorrow he had to begin his journey to Ironhelm, where he could hand over the cube.

The morning sunlight creeped into the bedroom, illuminating the scarred wood flooring, and dust on all the pieces of rickety old furniture.

There was no time to lose. The journey from Orindale to Ironhelm took around a full day of riding, so it would likely take Fyn and his horse two days to reach the city.

Quickly Fyn grabbed his small amount of things, and put on several new pieces of attire, and dashed out the door in a frantic manner, as the rain hammered down on the slightly cracked windows of the inn.

He mounted his horse which was at the inn’s stable, and secured his provisions on the horses sides. They galloped away down the street.

As the horse and Fyn left Orindale, looking at its beauty, the rain began to slow down.

Orindale was a rather large city and stood out as a jewel in the Lands of Loria, and Fyn could tell why.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful. They had briefly stopped to eat and drink, and had continued. They encountered no danger, but were going to pass through a rather ruff area, but first he would have to find a way to cross the river.

The river Fyn had come to wasn’t particularly large, and probably wouldn’t be too difficult to cross, but the current was flowing hard.

Fyn surveyed the river, seeing if he could see a ford anywhere or another way to cross.

He disembarked from his horse, leaving his provisions on it, but strapping his sword and dagger to his waist. He took his flask with him, and then put one foot into a part of the river which looked to be shallower than the rest.

The bottom of his boot was submerged, but he continued as the water slowly got deeper and deeper as he reached the halfway point, and continued a little and then came to a sandbar. His horse was following a little behind him, but the water got over the horse’s knees and it bolted out of the river and through the meadow, out of Fyn’s sight.

He cursed at it, and continued, his mind no longer on the river and now on his horse, but suddenly he took a step and fell into a deep rut of the river, and was pulled along with the west bound current.

The first thought that ran through Fyn’s mind was that he needed to get out soon before the river became wide and spilled into Timber Lake, in which case he would surely die.

He paddled slowly to the shore, but struggled dearly, for the current was getting stronger and the river wider. But then the river became the least of his problems when a creature that looked like a large lizard with large red frills on its head and back and blue scaly skin, with claws on its hands.

He drew his sword while tiringly trying to stay above the water.

He slashed his sword about under the river, only feeling the sword hit something once, which was, unfortunately, not the creature and just the ground. The creature disappeared from sight, so Fyn sheathed his sword which was incredibly awkward to try to swim with in a fast flowing current.

Then as he was beginning to gain hope as he neared the shore, he felt a searing pain in his left foot as the creature (which was called a Kivar) pulled him under the surface, pulling him deeper and deeper under the river, for it got fairly deep at this point.

Fyn was scared, and his fear amounted to a point where he felt as though he should just give up, when something rather odd occurred.

The river parted itself around Fyn, making him stand in the middle of a bubble of water, the creature had been flung away downstream by this strange force.

He made sure all of his provisions were secure and reached down to find the Cube, which, on the side which was painted red, glowed where the gems were.

He crawled up the river, banked and tumbled onto dry land, which came as a miracle to Fyn. As soon as Fyn got to the safety of the bank, the bubble collapsed back into the babbling river, and everything seemed the same. What had happened?

There was a wind which whipped Fyn’s cold and wet body, which made him even colder. As he stood up, content to have been given another chance, he heard a phrase he was not very fond of, yelled from nearby.

“Put your hands in the air!”

To be continued…

IMAGE: The Parted Sea by S.T. Art

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