Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Labyrinth of Shard and Shadows Part 1

Ok, here is where the Dsplash Chronicles really start picking up. From this point forward, there should be very, very few plot holes (in other words, I won't skip a ton of events in between Chronicles like I have before). This plot is very fun, very tense, has some good character moments, but overall is just wacky! You'll see why if you read it. This first part is only about four pages long and it follows Hiccup, Toothless, Link and Skari as they enter a deadly maze which is the hiding place of a very crucial treasure, the Gemshard. I hope you enjoy it. This is a three parter and the next two parts are significantly longer. In my opinion, this is where the Chronicles really do start to make sense as a story and I did try very hard to put good writing style and plot into these. As always, feel free to comment.

Dimension Splash Chronicles
Event: The Labyrinth of Shard and Shadows Part 1
Pov: Hiccup, Link, Toothless, Skari
Time: Year 10.11 of Hiccup and Link’s existence in the game

     The huge stone door snapped behind them, and darkness swallowed everything. There was an electric buzz as Skari charged himself and gave off a quick glow. Toothless eyed him warily. He had seen what Skari did to the dragon hunters when he got them alone in the dark, and Toothless was not going to leave that Skrill by himself with Hiccup even if he had to kill Skari to prevent it. 

      Hiccup tossed Link a torch and Toothless ignited both of them. Link drew the Master Sword and it sung in the air as it let off its brilliant, shimmering glow. Hiccup looked down the corridor gaping before them. The walls were smooth and squared perfectly with the floor, and even though they were several hundred years old, not a single crack was present, just smooth blackness stretching on for what could be miles and miles. Hiccup sighed, and then cringed. He felt another flashback coming, but he drowned it out quickly by speaking. “Alright. Let’s get moving.”

     Link nodded, and the two boys and two dragons walked slowly along the silent hallway. Hiccup’s torch seemed incredibly loud, and the footsteps echoed on forever. It was uncannily eerie, for when they looked back the hallway looked exactly like it had looked twenty minutes ago. Just as Link was going to assume that the catacomb must be a kind of illusion, the group stumbled into a larger, circular room, and as soon as they stepped foot into the room, a rippling white orb descended from the ceiling and began to glow. It floated there beautiful and silent in the air, yet for some reason its light felt smothered almost as if the darkness was pushing in at it from all directions. The pale glow of the orb illuminated enough of the room for Toothless and Skari to see everything clearly, and what Skari saw made him give an interested, almost amused, little clack of his jaws. He whipped his head over to Toothless and growled, “Are you seeing this, Dagr?”

     “Yes... my sonar picked it up the minute we entered the room, and I don’t like it. Unlike you.” Toothless’s last remark came out as a low growl, and Skari shot a hiss back. This was a perfect opportunity for the dragons to have their typical argument because lying all around the edges of the room were the contorted skeletons of human beings. Skari felt no concern, but Toothless felt worried by the sight, and Skari’s amusement sickened him, but this was no time to debate. Toothless nudged Hiccup and gave a concerned groan as he motioned towards one of the nearby figures. Hiccup and Link looked in the direction, saw the remains, but Link was almost unmoved. They had seen so much worse, but Hiccup was just thankful that this was not the corpse of someone he knew... or his own. Hiccup shivered, the horror of this world so real to him all over again, and he forced himself quickly to focus on something before the flashbacks started. He and Link walked up to investigate, and Link stooped and found that one of the men had scraped something into the floor with his dagger. He read it aloud, “Beware the Vashta Nerada. Count the Shadows.”

     “Any idea what that is?” Asked Hiccup, his voice sounding a little wet and clammy.

     “No... but I can find out.” Link pulled out his iPhone and tried to access the Knowledge Gem, but to no avail. “Hrm... Of course, no bars.” 

     “Well whatever this thing is, it stripped these corpses perfectly clean,” Hiccup swallowed, “and I think we should be very, very careful to avoid it. I don’t even see signs of a struggle, and I’d prefer not to die again anytime soon.”

     Link exhaled and straightened back up from his stooping position. “We’ll just have to keep moving on, but I think we best remember what we saw here.”

     “Count the shadows...” Hiccup breathed. 

     The group then made their way to the opening at the other side of the circular room. As they left, the orb behind them faded, but another sprung to life in the hallway ahead of them. As the room behind them was engulfed into blackness again, Toothless and Skari felt that they heard a noise, very small, but something like sifting sand. The orb in the hallway actually turned out to be a whole complex of lights leading them down the seemingly endless path. Each time they approached the edge of the light, one orb would fade, but the one ahead of them would slowly awake. Skari paced on the opposite side of the hall as Hiccup with both Link and Toothless between him and the viking boy. Skari looked at Hiccup wondering if the boy was the one behind this or his friends. Hiccup tried to force a confident look back at the Skrill, but deep in his heart he still feared that dragon, and not just that dragon. Deep in his heart Hiccup even feared Toothless, and if he could not give Toothless trust, how could he ever trust Skari? Watching the slinking, spike covered, sinister looking creature eye him made Hiccup sincerely wish Skari would not have insisted on coming along. In the dark even Toothless seemed dangerous, and Hiccup hated himself for feeling that, but a sudden flashback made the thought all but impossible to avoid. Just as he was about to lose his nerve, there was a sound ahead of him, and his mind flooded with relief. Any distraction from the nightmares he had lived through was a good thing.

     The noise ahead of them was a faint hissing, a shifting sort of sound. Ahead of them the orb awakened, but it’s light was so faint as to be almost nonexistent. The way before them was covered in what looked like a dense shadow. They could see through it, but everything inside looked darkened. The sound was coming from the shadow, and Link stepped forward with the Master Sword drawn. He had a bad feeling about this sudden lack of light. He pushed his sword into the darkened area and even the glow of the Master Sword seemed diminished, dirty, overcast. “I don’t trust this.” He said stepping back, “I don’t trust this at all.”

     “Well, there’s gotta be some kind of way around it. It is just the dark... Maybe it is some kind of field. Try damaging it.” said Hiccup. He was holding his forehead in one of his palms sweating badly. His body was trembling all over from the shock of the recent mental flash, and Toothless nudged himself up next to him humming sadly. 

     Link held his sword above his head and charged the Skyward Strike. He sliced the air in front of him sending the wave of light sailing through the darkness. The shadow seemed to part and avoid the cutting wave, but it quickly reformed. Link clenched his teeth. They couldn’t just risk walking into this, could they? He raised his sword again, charged the Skyward Strike, and slung it into the darkness. Again the shadow seemed to divide and flee for a split second before slinking back into its normal shape. Was it Link’s imagination, or did the darkness move slowly almost as if it was alive? Link shot another blast, then another, then a third. The shadow seemed to be gradually giving way. Suddenly Hiccup spoke.


     “What?” Link didn’t turn to look as he charged another blast.

     “Link.” Hiccup’s voice trembled slightly.

     “I think we’re going to be able to cut through this!” Link’s voiced raised in excitement as he sent a particularly effective blast of light through the field of darkness.


     “What!?” Link turned, Hiccup was standing completely still staring wide eyed at him.

      “We have two shadows.” Hiccup said and motioned with his hand to the floor beside him. Stretching out along the cold smooth surface were two dark black shadows both coming from Hiccup’s feet, but one was a shadow that should not have been cast. Link looked down and saw he was in the same predicament. Toothless sniffed at the extra patch of darkness coming from Hiccup’s little body, but the Night Fury reared back in pain when he did so. He sneezed twice and then hissed. Whatever was making that shadow was not light, it was some sort of swarm, and when Toothless had put his nose into it, it had displayed a surprisingly painful defense. Link eyed Toothless’s reaction cooly. He reached his gloved hand down slowly and touched the shadow at his own feet. He felt it distinctly, almost a gnawing, a shredding, the leather was being torn to bits. Whatever this shadow was, it was going to kill them both. Link’s mind flashed, his hand was still being attacked even though he had pulled it from the shadow, he had to do something to stop this. He needed some way to save both himself and Hiccup. Then the idea came to him, and he leapt to Hiccup’s side. 

     “I’m going to stop time! You and I are going to go ahead. These shadows are going to eat us alive if we don’t!”

     “But, the dragons.” Hiccup started to say, but Link screamed out in pain as the leather glove disintegrated and the skin on his hand began to be eaten away leaving blood to poor onto the ground. 

     “No time!” Link shrieked. “They’ll find us! Toothless always finds you. No more arguments.” Link stabbed the Master Sword downwards and time froze. The searing, ripping pain ceased and he moved his hand away from what now looked like a cloud of microscopic black particles. Hiccup stood their frozen in that moment of time, and Link walked up and gabbed him around his waste tossing him over his shoulder. Link’s sword was blazing brightly, and he charged ahead into the blackness. He dared not stop, not even for a moment. If his time stop were to end while he was in the shadows, he and Hiccup would be stripped clean, they would reappear at the nearest portal without their Shrouding Spheres, the Gemnodes would find them, and they would suffer a fate far worse than death. Link couldn’t let that happen even if it meant leaving Toothless behind and dragging Hiccup away. It was what was best for Hiccup, but as he ran through the blinding fog of black specks he feared that Hiccup would never be able to forgive him. He had abandoned Toothless, left him alone in the dark with a dragon who had killed his parents and a hoard of shadows that would devour the Night Fury’s flesh in moments. Hiccup and Toothless were separated, and it was Link’s fault. He tried not to think about it as he pelted through the dark, but he couldn’t help it, and the thought of Hiccup losing Toothless because of his own choice choked into his throat. Link shed a single tear, but kept running, kept pulling Hiccup farther and farther from Toothless. He reached the edge of the fog of shadows, and just as he sprinted out of them his sword flashed, and time went back into motion. Hiccup fell off of his shoulder and landed roughly on the floor. He looked up shocked at his adopted brother, and all Link could do was shake his head sadly as he knelt gasping for breath. 

      “I am sorry, Hiccup, there was no other way.” 

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