Wordcount: 665 words
The Cave of TARDIS
The rapids turned out to be less intense than they had feared and they made it to the safe spit of land that Rock-rock had found with only few bruises. Gray was a decent swimmer, but that didn’t stop the rockdog from going into hysterics once it realized what it’s psuedo-sibling was doing. Rock-rock only calmed down once they were both safely out of the water and well on their way into the hidden cave systems. Although the entrance hadn’t been that well disguised which reinforced Wendy’s suspicion that the secret nature of the hiding place had more to do with a lack of survivors returning to tell the tale than actual inaccessibility.
They hadn’t been able to bring torches or lanterns with them on the swim, but Gray had a rather ingenious set of glowing balls that he tossed down the corridor. They continued this way, picking up the balls and relobbing them as they advanced, for a good half-mile of twists and turns before they emerged into a larger room.
A much larger room, or cavern actually. Wendy looked across the dimly lit expanse trying to figure out where the warm glow of the indirect lighting was coming from. The path they’d been following had sloped downwards for the most part, so it couldn’t be sunlight, but she also hadn’t seen anything overtly magical since she’d gotten into Velanon. Not on this scale at least.
“I’m guessin’ this is the first test then.”
“What? Why– oh.” Wendy abruptly realized the white gravel covering the floor of the chamber was actually chips of bone. Lots and lots of bone.
“Could be animals,” Gray offered helpfully as Wendy blanched.
“That’s a lot of squirrels.”
They stared at the bones for a moment and then Wendy pulled out the map.
“So, what’s next then?” Gray tried to read over her shoulder and she elbowed him out of the way.
“I have no idea. Unless you read Falorian we’re on our own at this point.”
“There should be some sort of clue around here,” she tucked the map back into her belt with a sigh and started studying the archway that led into the room of bones. “I’m guessing the point wasn’t to just indiscriminately kill everything that walks into the room.”
“Won’t the hints be in Falorian?” Gray started looking over his end of the arch, but with less enthusiasm.
“Maybe, but we won’t know that till we find them, so it can’t hurt to look.”
They eventually found a handful of words carved into the stone, but they were so weathered it was impossible to tell what language they had been written in, much less what they said.
“Now we start taking chances.” Wendy shrugged and stepped into the room. “Hello? Is anyone home?” The yells echoes about the cavern for a moment and then a small ball of light began to form in the middle of the room. The chips of bone nearest to the light floated upwards, drawn towards the magical glow. Slowly the chips formed a giant face that clattered as it moved, frowning down the two intruders.
“Who dares to wake the Spirit of Bone?”
Wendy was hard pressed not to giggle, having seen the Wizard of Oz one too many times to take a giant talking head at face value. But that could just as well have been the hysteria talking, so she concentrated on maintaining what dignity she had left.
“I am Brother Grey and this is Wendy,” Gray pulled off a flawless bow, “and we seek the Flute of Five Winds to help us on our quest.”
“The flute is not meant for the likes of you, petty scavenger.”
“Then what about me?” Wendy stepped forward stubbornly. “I come in the name of Sparrow Brown, and I seek the flute to vanquish the Clockwork Sorcerer.”
The mask paused, considering, bones clicking together in a random hiss of noise.
“What will you give me in return?”