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Jogger's Trail (Part 4)

The Perils of Efil.

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 8 months ago Updated 8 months ago 10 min read
13
Jogger's Trail (Part 4)
Photo by Robin Li on Unsplash

A note from the author:

Firstly, I would like to say thank you to those of you who commented on my How to Save a Life article. Each of you has helped me find the inspiration that I needed to carry Tesha further in her journey with the Relliks.

This series is already going much further than I initially imagined it would but I am happy to say it will continue further yet, thanks to all of your help! I appreciate you all and will be doing a special thanks to you all in the epilogue of the series, to note where a lot of my ideas were generated from! I am doing this after the story because I do want to thank you personally but I don’t want to spoil any of the story that follows!

This is part 4 of Jogger’s Trail the Story. If you have not read the previous instalments you might be a tad behind and I recommend you start from the beginning. Here are the previous instalments to this series:

Jogger’s Trail - Jogger’s Trail the Story - Jogger’s Trail the Story (Part two) - Jogger’s Trail the Story (Part three)

A cold breeze blew through my hair, as I stood frozen in shock looking at the hole in the altar that revealed a stone staircase. I’m frozen in place and unable to move as I watch the four Relliks descend the stairs before me.

Mendel stops after a few stairs and looks back at me, the stars that begin to peak out in the cold night air reflect in his eyes.

“Are you coming?” He asks, watching me closely.

“He cut me.” Is all I can say in a small voice as I look at my hand, dripping with blood that spatters on the stone beneath my feet.

“Ugh.” Madra scoffs and comes back to the top of the stairs. She grabs my hand and pulls me forward. She purses her lips together and blows on my hand. 

I think I imagine sparkles or specs of light that flow from her lips to my hand and suddenly the wound seals itself. Leaving behind nothing but a painless- scar and dried blood.

“There, now let’s go.” She commands, turning and heading down the stairs again.

Flexing my hand and admiring her work, I furrow my brow in confusion.

“How’d you do that?” I ask in a dumbfounded voice, chasing her and Mendel down the stairs until we get to a landing.

We are met by the sight of a circular room lit by torches, the flames flickering and making our shadows dance together. In the centre is a stone pedestal and archway with what appears to be a translucent sheet that flows and ripples like water inside.

I feel drawn to it and as I step closer I notice not only is it adorned with some kind of text I can’t understand, it sounds like voices are coming from behind what I want to call a veil.

“What is this?” I muttered mostly to myself.

“It is the entry to the Hall of Perils of Efil,” Nakos explains, standing beside me as he watches me, observing the silken veil ebbing and flowing before us.

“What does this say?” I ask, poking a symbol on the archway, feeling a tingle run up my arm and down my spine upon contact.

“The entirety of the text says that to pass through to the Hall of Perils you must give up your mortal soul and a treasure that is important to you. Once you return, you will be allowed to reclaim them.” He explains in a soft, patient voice.

“That’s a lot of text to say such a simple message,” I mutter, my eyes following the text from the bottom of the archway to the top and back down the other side.

“Well, their version is a lot more long-winded but I think I've summarized it well..” Nakos says with a laugh, “Are you ready to do this?” He asks with what I interpret to be a nervous voice as he watches me now with a weary eye.

“No,” I admit in a small voice and pull my mother’s locket out from under the collar of my shirt. Removing it, I hold it up to admire it one last time as I sigh to myself. “Where do I put it?” I ask, feeling myself begin to shake in anxious anticipation.

“On the pedestal is a good safe place.” Nakos indicates with a nod toward it.

I start walking towards the pedestal, saying a silent goodbye to my last piece of home.

“What is it?” Mendel asks, cocking his head to the side in curiosity as he watches me place it on the pedestal.

“It was my mother’s locket, she gave it to me before she died,” I answer in a weak voice, feeling pain start to form in my chest as I turn away.

“What happened to her?” Inquired Madra, as she walked over to admire it.

“It doesn’t matter now,” I mutter in a barely audible voice, walking with determination towards the archway.

Nakos goes first and then I follow and the others follow me. As I pass through it feels as though I am walking under a waterfall, it’s cold and calming and refreshing but suddenly I realize that I feel empty. Like a piece of me is missing.

Turning and watching Mendel pass through last, I see the veil is still ebbing as it was before, undisturbed by our passing through. But within the ripple, I see an image of myself. She’s translucent like the veil but a slightly darker shade of grey, kind of like how I imagine a ghost would look.

Then I realize we’re in a circular room like the one we just left, only we’re surrounded by seven stone doorways with similar veils of their own. Only each has a different hue of colour, ranging in all the colours of the rainbow.

“Each of these will represent one of The Seven Perils of Efil that we must overcome,” Nakos announces, watching me in anticipation as I took everything in.

I continued to observe all the doorways around us as they rippled like the one we just passed through. “Which is the first?” I ask, looking at my image at the entrance one last time.

“That is entirely up to you,” Nakos replied, smiling at me fondly as he placed a cold long-fingered hand on my shoulder.

“Pick the one that speaks to you most, when you pass through you can bring one of us with you to guide you through the journey.” He added, watching me with an unfamiliar fondness.

I allow myself to be led by curiosity as my feet pace about the circular room in several measured laps. Each veil contains a whisper of voice, the words indecipherable but each tone unique to itself, conveying a different emotion as I pass by. Every door is a mirror image of the others, the only difference is the colour of the hues of the veils and the indecipherable text that is written along the header of each door.

“Which ones have you completed before?” I find myself asking before I know it, turning to face Nakos again.

“In theory, we’ve experienced all the doors. But in reality none.” He replies, gazing around the room.

I huff in annoyance, that he’s talking in riddles again.

Seeing my frustration he continues, “Each door may be the same but the variables change for the human entering it and depending on which of us you choose to bring with you.” He more clearly explains, now looking to the door closest to us.

I suddenly felt a pull and my feet carried me towards a doorway with a rose-red hue inside. My eyes flickered to the text on the header, indecipherable to me still. 

“What does that say?” I asked, pointing to the text above.

Madra walked up and read it, “Blinding and heated, an emotion of this kind is uncontrollable. The actions of which are beyond reconning and will always be met with regret.” She murmured in a small voice alongside me.

“It sounds like extreme anger or maybe the mortal sin wrath?” I replied aloud, feeling uncertain as I replayed the riddle or whatever it was in my mind.

“I would interpret it as such, as well,” Nakos stated, hobbling over to stand beside us.

“So now what?” I asked, “Do I just go on in?”

“First, choose one of us to go in with you.” Mendel chimed in with an eager voice.

“How do I just simply choose? There has to be more to it than just simply choosing.” I asked, looking at Nakos for a hint.

“You can let your heart choose like you did with the door. Or if you want us to lead you with experience with each peril, we can show you our experience with it and you can determine who needs to defeat the peril most.” Nakos explained, watching me through a narrowed side-eye.

“Okay,” was all I could say as I made a mental note that this was much more than just trials to prove that I was the chosen one. This is more of a test of them and helping them help me save themselves.

“Which of you has the most experience with rage or wrath?” I asked, looking at the four before me.

No one answered as I eyed each of them, my eyes landing on Madra last as I watched her shift nervously. Avoiding eye contact, like a student hoping the teacher won’t call on them.

“Tell me about your experience.” I requested, taking a step toward Madra.

She simply shook her head, unable to find words. Swallowing hard, “I don’t think I can.” Her small voice trailed off, “but I might be able to show you.” She added, raising her chin slightly with a weary look.

She then extended a hand out to me, which I instinctively placed one of mine on top of.

Suddenly I am pulled into another world and looking through the perspective of Madra’s eyes. Several snippets of memories begin to flash before my eyes. The day she was chosen as a boy's guardian angel, clips of him growing up and her guiding him until he makes a bad choice as an adult. Drinking and driving, then committing a hit-and-run that ultimately killed someone.

I feel the anguish that she goes through and the heartbreak of disappointment in someone that she considers to be her child.

I watch through her eyes as he is caught and sent to prison.

Her disappointment turns to anger and rage as she disowns him in a sense, leaving him to his fate, even openly wishing harm upon him. Then one day her wish is granted as she watches a group of other prisoners assemble around him, seeking to harm him. She had the opportunity to summon the guards to help him survive but made the decision not to. Ultimately letting him get assaulted and succumb to his injuries before the guards found him.

The memory begins to fade as I feel Madras's body racked with regret, watching over her human’s lifeless body.

My vision suddenly snaps back to that of the Hall of Perils of Efil, where we now stand.

“Wow.” Is all I can say as I do my best to pull my hand away from hers in a controlled manner.

Madra’s shoulders slump and she holds an air of defeat, the shame she feels for her actions ever more apparent.

“I’ve made my choice,” I announce, taking a step towards the rose-hued doorway.

“We wish you two luck in your first peril.” Nakos bid us with a smile as we walked together through the veil.

Passing through it I am blanketed in sweat, like that from the heat of the sun. My skin sears in the blazing sensation as I step through to the other side, into the realm of Wrath.

Part 5:

SagaMagical RealismFictionFantasyCliffhangerAdventure
13

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

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  1. Compelling and original writing

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Comments (13)

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  • Dana Crandell7 months ago

    Finally here to catch up with the journey, and this one certainly didn't disappoint! On to the next!

  • Rob Angeli7 months ago

    Great ancient mysteries vibe, the unknown writing, the whispering; less creepy than some of the previous, now the quest solidifies and I like the characters' sense of determination and introspection. We'll see what the trials of Wrath bring!

  • Thavien Yliaster7 months ago

    Just in her interactions with Alaric, I feel like I already knew that Madra would've been the one who has to deal with wrath more often. Yet, even though they're guardian angels, I though Madra's actions were more out of neglect or inaction than out of wrath, but it still makes sense.

  • Loved reading this introduction to the perils. You did very well setting the scene. I enjoyed the way you personalized the perils with the relics. Can’t wait to read part 5 and the peril of rage and wrath

  • Mohammed Darasi8 months ago

    That is a nice introduction to the whole process. It doesn't give too much but enough, and kinds sucks you into the story. Very nice chapter

  • ThatWriterWoman8 months ago

    I really adore how you added Madras story into this! I was so eager to get to know the releks better so thank you! The pacing is excellent in this one. Well done. You language is detailed and immersive too! I truly feel as if I am somewhere else when I read your brilliance! Thank you so much for writing this!!

  • Lamar Wiggins8 months ago

    Awesome! I loved it! So many great details to give the reader a full experience. Can’t wait for the next chapter!

  • ema8 months ago

    hi Donna, happy to see the 4th chapter! So let's start this long journey! I will follow with great pleasure!

  • That waterfall reminded me of the waterfall thingy deep inside Gringotts in the 7th Harry Potter book. I forgot what it was called but it would lift any enchantment and concealment. The room with the seven doors reminded me of the spinning room with many doors in the Ministry of Magic when Harry and his friends go to find Sirius in the 5th book. I felt so sad for Madra because she now feels so bad for what she did but I don't blame her. I understand her anger. She did what she felt was right at that time. Also, I like how Tesha can choose one of them to go through the perils with her. The one that she deemed would be most suitable. Red is my favourite colour so I was so happy Tesha was drawn to that door. Can't wait to see what awaits her in Wrath! You're doing such a brilliant job with this story! I just love it so much!

  • J. S. Wade8 months ago

    Such a challenge a compelling and original story. More ! Please ❤️

  • Alexander McEvoy8 months ago

    This is amazing! I love the description of the Relik’s wrath! It was so very human, completely believable! You brought out the emotions so strongly in that short passage :) Eagerly awaiting the next instalment!

  • Paul Stewart8 months ago

    ohmyohmy! this has an epic feel to it, can't for the next part! well done, Donna!

  • Mark Gagnon8 months ago

    Donna, you left me hanging! You’ve done a great job at setting the stage and building suspense. Don’t take too long publishing the next chapter, I need to know what happens.

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