So, the commenters have spoken. On GA and here I listened to my readers. The story of Benny and Yuri's Clan is far from complete, but I think their tale has come to an end for now. Plus... a lot of people want more to read with each update--those 1k limits were killing them, lol. So, I thought I'd start something new. This is a different kind of story than I've tried before, so we'll see where it goes.
This newest story was inspired by a photo prompt, both for the setting of the story and a specific plot idea. Enjoy!!
FORTITUDE Part One
“The lantern changed.”
“Noted. Your point being?” I continued deeper into the cavern, my lantern held high above my head to ensure I did not fall prey to any holes. The last thing I needed was a turned ankle. My boots were already hampering me enough.
Pride does go before a fall—one of my mother’s favorite sayings. Heels were not conducive to my explorations.
“A flame turning blue usually means a ghost is about.”
I scoffed at Theodore. “You are being superstitious. Ghosts? Have you been chatting with the servants again? I simply sent a wave to increase the light.”
My best friend was a Gamma. They weren’t slow-witted, exactly, but he was prone to fugues. I really shouldn’t have let him come with me. I was on a mission, and I would not fail. I was a singular being; success was my destiny.
Not even in my darkest moments of self-doubt did I consider not finding the Dresfrei Codex. All my life, from the first time my father told me the tale until now, I’d known I would find a way to fix Schvesla’s machine. No one could fix it, though the King said he had men worked on it continually.
With it, I could bring back the golden age of beta power. My lineage would be elevated to Peer status, and no longer would I be looked down upon. My mind emitted beta waves, giving me an unparalleled intellect as my brain worked at a feverish pace compared to gammas, alphas, and thetas, but my personal power meant very little because of my station in life to those who mattered—the powerful nobles. I was viewed as an aberration.
I’d prove I had the will, not just the strength, to make the journey and decipher the clues Schvesla left behind. His codex was the key, and I’d finally, finally, discovered its location. The first step was getting through the natural caverns below the city. I was the first Beta born in a hundred years, and by damned, I would prove my mettle.
“Where exactly are we going, Will?” Teddy asked.
“My name is William-Henry. We’re not children anymore, Theodore.”
He snorted, as vulgar as can be. “You’re Willy, and I’m Teddy, and we are not children. That doesn’t mean you need to take on such airs.”
I stopped. “Don’t you want to be somebody important? Don’t you want to be more than “Teddy, the printer”? My father was an inventor, but his devices were child’s play compared to what I could be if I get Schvesla’s machine running. Why should I be forced to remain as I am? I want something more. I want to understand my power and use it in a way that would truly matter.” I spread my arms wide and grinned. “I could be a hero.”
Teddy smiled wryly. “Grown up. Oh yes, you’ve definitely left behind the imaginings of childhood.”
I waved off his amusement. “I want my name to be remembered,” I said passionately.
“Well, I will always remember you as, Willy, who dragged me along on dangerous adventures and got us lost in dark caverns because he used up too much of the lamp power.”
Scowling, I turned away. “I’m the power. At least call me Will.” As long as I was conscious, and holding on to the metal handle, my mind would make enough energy to keep the spark in the lantern going.
“I can see it now—in print, no less—The Misadventures of Two Youths, Long Since Forgotten.”
“Very funny, Teddy.” He always came up with the most outlandish stories, though all he was allowed to print were pamphlets and bills his father approved. “C’mon, it’s still a ways to go.”
We walked into a tunnel on the far side of the cavern, moving farther from the city center. It was amazing the underground way was undiscovered. No one had probably been in the tunnel for a long time. It smelled like dirt and damp, but the air was strangely clean compared to the city where buildings and vehicles belched black smoke.
If Schvesla’s machine worked again, we could have clean energy again. Damn it, I was a Beta, the only person alive with brain waves strong enough to power it up. What else was I born for?
I looked over at my shoulder. Teddy was right behind me, staying in the sphere of light. “Buckle your jacket.”
He looked down. “Oh.”
Gammas. I swear, half the time they daydream through life. At least he’d grabbed his wool trench coat like I’d told him. “So tell me, where are we going?” Teddy asked as he tightened the buckles on his coat, cinching the chest tight.
“The tunnel continues under the walls of the city and out into the wilds.”
“We’re traveling outside the walls?”
“Yes. That’s why I brought my gun and my sword.” I patted my silver plated pistol. “We’ll be fine, don’t worry,” I assured him.
“Worry? Are you kidding?” Teddy skipped and then stumbled into me. “Oops, sorry.” I braced myself with one hand on the wall.
“Ew.” The rock was slimy. “You okay?” I hoped he hadn’t hurt himself. It wouldn’t be wise to leave the city if he were unable to run—the wilds weren’t safe at the best of times.
I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out a starched handkerchief. I wiped the muck off my palm. Gross. I sighed and folded it back up and stuffed my handkerchief back in my pocket. I had more in my pack, but I knew we wouldn’t find a laundress out in the wilds.
“How do you know where to go, Will?”
“That’s the secret I wanted to tell you.” I pulled out a locked metal box from the inner breast pocket of my coat. He crowded close. The gears clicked slowly as I spun the bottom cog five turns left and two right. The box popped open.
Oh yeah, I'm leaving it there! LOL So, what do you think of the new story? Something different, right! Okay, go check out the Briefers website or use the links below to check out the other great updates this week.