Terrible Mess

Knox Territory
Somewhere past a stone arch
Mid-day

 

Olivia,

Thank you for NOT sending Jackson. I could not fathom what would have ensued if he came to help. After I sent you the plea I knew all I could do was run. I saw the sun rise and set again. After I ran under a stone arch, I no longer heard the rustling. I’m pretty sure whomever was following has retreated. Even though I knew I was safe again, I continued to run. I probably should have stopped. If I had, maybe I would not be in the mess I am now.

A hole in the forest floor decided it wanted to eat my right foot. I’m certain my screams reached the mountain tops. Next thing I knew Jacob was running towards me calling my name. He is, at this moment, wrapping my foot with a strip of my shirt he tore off. It is very swollen with a purple hue around the sides. There will be no standing on it for the rest of the day.

I never realized just how handsome Jacob is, until now. His short brown hair, scruffy face, and slender jaw make him seem very rugged, when in reality he is a softy with a gentle heart, and some pretty gentle hands as well.

My eyes are burning from crying. He made some medicine from a yellow plant nearby. He says it will help ease the pain, however I feel there could be some adverse side affects.

I am at a loss as to what could have caused the illumination you saw. Don’t worry sister! I will be there soon and we can work together! I hope the cloak holds for you. When we return we can find a way to make it stronger. For now, just do what you can to stay safe. Whatever was following me could still be out there.

I best be going. Jacob is rummaging through my bag for food and I really don’t want him finding anything that would leave me in complete embarrassment.

As high as the clouds,

Charlotte

PS: We should be able to move again tomorrow. For now we will rest.

 

-Jay

Anxiously Awaiting Arrival

Knox Territory
Hidden Camp
2:15am

Dear Charlotte,

Jackson is currently on watch but I cannot fall asleep knowing that you are out there alone. Or not alone, but that is an equally terrifying thought. If the pigeon can find you, I want to let you know that Jacob is on his way. I wanted to be the one to get you; however, both men refused. You know how well I can argue too. I even tried to sneak out when they were planning. I am apparently predictable. Once you are safe I will need to work on this fact. Jackson volunteered; however, Jacob and I protested immediately. You remember the situation heading toward the ancient ruins! It would not surprise me that we would have to go after the both of you if Jackson went on his own. Bless his heart for offering though.

I know Jacob is not the ideal choice in the matter, as he is much more book smart than anything else, but he is determined and when he puts his mind to something, there is no stopping him. That is why he has been so amazing with all of our research.

I probably shouldn’t write this hear, but I need to tell you about a strange finding I have discovered with the artifact we have recovered from the ruins. I went to examine it last night and it started to illuminate. It was extremely subtle. It was glowing. I nearly dropped it when I discovered this; however, by the time Jackson got over to me as I was screaming its light had faded. This hasn’t happened before or since, but it felt important and I wanted to keep you apprised of the situation.

As soon as Jacob took off (about six hours ago) we had to cloak the camp again. We have been discovering some cracks in the camouflage. I am unsure if it was simply our mistake or there are forces out there that are trying to get in. I fear the latter. I need to get this sent before Jackson tries to stop me.

Please keep safe, Char. Trust in your instincts. Test Jacob when he gets to you to make sure its him. Discuss your first conversation. Ask a question that only he would know. We do not know anything about the darkness beyond. Always be alert.

Anxiously awaiting your arrival,

Olivia

~Kay

Unnerving Travels

Knox Territory
Lost in the woods
Night

 

Dear Olivia,

It frightens me to say this, but I think I have a shadow. Earlier this evening, just after I left the city I heard some rustling in the bushes not far from where I was. It wasn’t an animal, that I knew for sure. It sounds more like footsteps through the forest than anything else. I veered off the path to lose them, in doing so, I may have gotten a bit lost.The instructions you gave me are so jumbled in my head right now, I can’t seem to place it all back in order. I hope to find the path again later. For now, I think I am safe to rest.

It is definitely beautiful out here. The trees seem taller than usual and the moss is hanging from the limbs like frozen tear drops. This has created a nice shelter for me. I left in such a hurry I forgot to bring my tent, so it’s just me and nature. I really hope the clouds remove themselves so I can at least see the stars to get back on track again. Not being able to see them will make getting back to the path, challenging.

I won’t be sleeping tonight. I’ll rest for an hour and be on my way.

Weary,

Charlotte


 

Knox Territory
Lost in the woods… still
Hour after last letter!

 

LIV!

Send help! Please! Jacob… Jackson… YOU! I don’t care!! I know I’m being followed. I don’t want to move. I closed my eyes for a second and I could sense something coming closer. Even the silver lilies have tucked themselves into their leaves. I’m scared. The rustling hasn’t stopped and it’s getting louder!  PLEASE!!!  Hurry!

In Fear,

Charlotte

PS: I’m going to make my way back to the path but I’m not sure how long I can be there!  I’ll do what I can. Help…

Silent Arrival

Knox Territory
Outside Olivia and Charlotte’s Flat
Pre-Dawn

Dearest Charlotte,

I hope you were not alarmed by how this letter has arrived. I dropped it off at our flat myself; however, I couldn’t stay or wake you. I am so thankful that you and Jacob have been working so diligently at the research facility. It helped us uncover something even greater than we hoped. I dare not put our discovery down on paper. You never know who is watching. Do you remember that place we used to visit when we first moved to the city? Go there and I will tell you more and give you further instructions.

Elated,

Olivia

——————-

Knox Territory
Outskirts of the city
Dawn

My dearest Charlotte,

I am so thankful you remembered where to go! The sun is rising over the Eastern horizon and with it, a shadow appears. The secret of the ancients has been found. Can you believe that? I didn’t even realize what I had discovered until I brought it to Jackson, which happened to be the first time I have seen or talked to him since that INCIDENT. It was awkward at first; however, once he saw what I had in my hands everything changed. More on that another time.

As soon as you are finished reading this note, please make it disappear. I need you to head through the forest at the edge of down. On the north side of the river bank there is an enchanted entrance to the tunnels. Before you say anything, I am sorry I didn’t warn you to change first. You WILL be getting dirty. You will survive. It is imperative you move swiftly. Go straight through (west) until you reach a fork. Go left for 3400 meters. It is there a door is hidden. It is a back way into the vault corridor which should allow you to reach me.

Make sure that you are not followed. We have Jacob here already and we need your help analyzing everything we have brought back with us. I have missed you dear sister. I am so sorry that I have put you in danger at all. That was never my intention.

Be safe and make your way here swiftly.

Olivia

PS. Do not talk to anyone along your way, not even anyone you know… especially those that you know.

~Kay

Another Sleepless Night

Olivia and Charlotte’s Flat
Knox Territory
Just before dawn

 

OLIVIA CONSTANCE LUNAIRE!

What were you thinking??? Let me rephrase that…. WHY ARE YOU STILL PACING IN YOUR TENT? You should go talk to him. No, you won’t get fired for something like this, especially if you are honest about it. Or… you can hide the incident forever and let it eat at you day and night.

I’m glad those breathing exercises are coming in handy, however, the won’t help if you don’t face the situation. Jackson is a great guy and I’m sure he’s panicking as well. you could act like nothing happened! He may do the same. But, I can’t help you if you choose to do that and he decides to confront you. No matter what, it will work itself out. Stay focused! You still have a job to do!

Jacob showed up at our flat yesterday! Yep! That’s right!  Around 6am I hear a faint knock on our door. I slurred myself out of bed, put on my pink fuzzy slippers, and sauntered to the door in my long night shirt and my hair sticking out everywhere. Needless to say, I was not a pretty picture. I think I might have been drooling too. There was an awkward silence for a minute or two until my nose caught a whiff of Mango Tea. He was holding two mugs in one hand with a pile of dusty old books in the other. I was kind of freaking out on the inside. I tried to not let it show, but I think the obsessive brushing of my hair probably gave it away.

The books he carried talked about the ancients. He found them under some old manuscripts in the lab. A lot of it was about the powers they possessed, but not enough to make any firm conclusions just yet. They also indicated some of the darker history. One of the stories was about this stone the Elder Ancients discovered that when in the hands of someone filled with pride, would suck the souls of others and store them in it. Apparently the stone disappeared along with some of the Ancients.

I need to get going. I promised Jacob I’d be at the lab before dawn tomorrow and I’m already seeing the rays of the sun peak through the curtains.

Always Sleepy,

Charlotte

PS: By the way, how was the kiss?

Unexpectedly Complicated

Knox Territory
Ancient Ruins
3:45am

Charlotte,

I… I… I am so stupid! I don’t know what I was thinking. And then, to simply run away! What a fool! I am so incredibly embarrassed, I don’t even know if I have the courage to tell you what happened. I have been pacing my tent since it happened and that was like five hours ago! Okay, I am practicing the deep breathing exercises you taught me last Spring. I have to get this out… Here is how things went down last night.

Jackson and I were the last two on the work site. I’m convinced that we have these internal competitions with each other to see who will work the hardest and longest. I’m a sore loser so I kept pushing well beyond what I should have. I had not eaten or even had a sip of water all day. I needed to finish uncovering the artifact we were in search of. I was so determined to finish last night so we could finally start heading home.

I didn’t notice when the others left, and I didn’t know that the sun had set. You know how I get when I’m determined! It is as if the world simply melts away. Anyway, it had to be close to 10pm and I heard Jackson calling out for me. I turn around and he’s holding a hunk of bread and some steaming stew. Char, I nearly cried. I had no idea how hungry I was until the moment I saw the food. I nearly passed out.

I did my best to eat like a lady, but I basically devoured everything. The moon had risen over the horizon and by the time I was finished eating I was full and happy. It was the first time the entire trip that I could actually just breathe and enjoy where I was and what I was doing. It is very refreshing.

Jackson had suggested that we call it quits for the night and that we could finish up in the morning. I could feel myself drifting already so I agreed. He helped me up and walked me to my tent. It was nice. He said good night and you know what I did?! Yeah, you guessed it, I turned around and kissed him! I could not believe myself and I have a feeling he was a little shocked. I made a little hiccup noise and then climbed into my tent and shut the door. I’ve been in here panicking ever since.

I don’t know how to face him in the morning. I swear I didn’t mean to do what I did and I don’t want him to read anything into it. Can I get fired for this? Help!

Perplexed,

Olivia

~Kay

Nervous Wreck

Town of Knox
Mid-day
Library

 

Dear Olivia,

I am relieved to hear you made it to the ruins safely. Sorry it took you longer than it should have. good thing you were there to help Jackson. Who knows what would’ve happened if you weren’t there to help. He probably would’ve never made it or got hurt in the process. That wouldn’t be so good.

I will keep doing some more research for yo. So far I found that the ruins may hold power from the Ancients. Not exactly sure what that means, but maybe that is what you felt. Remain cautious, you don’t know what the artifacts may hold.

Do you know how much longer you will be? I see Jacob almost daily, pacing back and forth in front of the lab sipping on his Coconut Coffee. I’ll tell you later how I found out what flavor it was. He seems to be getting antsy. I am taking your advice. I will be going to the lab this evening and hopefully get the nerve to talk to him rather than starring at him through the window. I’m so nervous. I know he’s an ally, and I shouldn’t be nervous, but I’m afraid your right.

You’ll be pleased to know that the pub is still standing. There was a terrible fight that broke out between Neil and a patron. I tried to break it up and got a black eye for my trouble. The guy ran off as soon as I got involved. He had very pale complexion and was completely bald. His face reminded me of the statues in the library, the ones with the long-gated faces and the floor length robes. I asked Neil what it was all about but he wouldn’t tell me. It’s not like him to keep an issue like this to himself. Usually he complains about the bad ones. It happened just after I finished your previous letter. Oh, and Neil says “Hi”!

I got your tea like you requested. It does work. I was finally able to sleep after the second cup. I probably would’ve fell asleep after the first, but I was trying to break up that fight. It will be easier to sleep tonight knowing you are safe at the ruins.

I hope you start seeing some better weather. It’s dreary here and the fog seems to be getting thicker every day.

Time for me to visit Jacob. Wish me luck!

 

Nervous Wreck,

Charlotte

 

PS What incident are you talking about??

 

-Jay

Directionally Challenged

Knox Territory
Ancient Ruins
Dawn

Dearest Charlotte,

I cannot begin to tell you how ready I am to be home. I know this expedition is necessary, but I am so tired of being sopping wet. It has been storming constantly since I wrote you last. The lightning has crept dangerously close. If we rest for even a moment it will be at our heels. The danger is very real. Next time, if I make it back of course, you will not be leaving my side. I cannot put my finger on it, but I feel stronger when we are together.

Our day and a half journey from my last letter ended up taking four days. Even with the rain, we would have made it on time if Jackson would have let me lead us. He wouldn’t know the correct direction even if I hit him over the head with it. I am not kidding, Char, he is the most directionally challenged human being on the planet.

We set up camp last night and Jackson did something right and had some extra supplies brought in. I do not know how he managed it, but I am thankful for a dry blanket and a comb. He also brought a few more things in but he’s keeping those in his tent and will not tell me what he has. He told me to let it go… I told him sure. Not. You know me. Me and surprises do not work well together.

What I wouldn’t give for a pint of that hot raspberry tea that Neil was recommending. Could you possibly figure out a way to post that to me? Even with the blanket, it is chilling here.

On a serious note, Charlotte, you need to see Jacob out. He is an ally. I really think you guys would work well together. He will know exactly how to assist you. Besides, he really needs some human contact. Desperately.

I have had these weird sensations lately. When we were investigating the northern ends of the ruins, I could feel that the pull of the earth and the elements are stronger there. I am trying to gather more information about the history of that area. My reach is short here. Could you possibly take a little time and research for me? I would greatly appreciate it.

It looks as though Jackson is stirring. I should get out to the excavation site before he thinks that I am just sleeping the day away. I will tell you that story next time if you remind me. I will not forget that incident even if I wanted to.

Please write soon. My connection with you is all that is keeping me going.

At my wits end,

Olivia

PS. Don’t forget the tea!

~Kay

Nervous and Worried

Back Alley Pub, Knox: 1am

My sweet sister Olivia,

You would not believe the squeal I let out when I received your letter. I almost pulled off the carrier’s thumb trying to take it from him. I’m thankful you are doing… well. I know it’s rough, just hang in there. From your description, I calculate that you are only a day and a half away from the ruins. That is, of course, if the elements do not interfere with your travel.

I hardly see Jacob now. In fact, I have only seen him once since you left. He spends all day and night in the research lab preparing for your return. I know something is up because when I saw him, he was staring at the ground talking to himself.  It makes me wonder if he knows something I don’t.

I can’t sleep at night so I’ve been in the pub most evenings drinking a special hot raspberry tea. The bartender, Neil, said it would help calm my nerves, maybe even help me sleep. Third times the charm, right? I’m worried sis. If I’m not here, I’m at the library drowning myself in books about the ruins. It’s getting a bit old. I haven’t found anything we don’t already know about them, so in a way it’s pointless. Nevertheless I’ll keep looking. There has to be something here.

I hope you have enough supplies to last you for the return home. If you need something let me know, although it may be too late before I can get it to you.

I miss you too. Wish you were here.

Nervous and Worried,

Charlotte

P.S.: I’m sorry you had to go, but you and I both know that you are the only one who can put up with Jackson.

Stay safe!

-Jay

Always Dirty

Knox territory: Dusk.

My dearest Charlotte,

It is only day three away from the city and everything is unbearable: the terrain, the weather, and most certainly Jackson. We have been trudging through this marshy sludge for a day and a half now with no sleep. No sleep because if we laid down, the muck would overcome us all. The sun seems to have been scared away, for we have had storm clouds hovering over our heads since we left. This was supposed to be nothing more than a quick week long trip to the ancient ruins so we could collect some samples for the research department. Three days in and we are not even halfway there.

Jackson assures me that the cave we are now huddled in is safe and dry. I beg to differ. If I’m lucky I will be able to catch an hour or two of sleep. How did I let you talk me into doing this? I hate nature! I mean, I do not hate it. I just hate when it is forced upon me… completely blind sighted! I still have your voice in my head: “It will be an easy and fun adventure, Liv! I swear you will have the time of your life and be back in no time!” Right. I will be lucky if I see the inside of a pub again before the end of the month.

My light is fleeting, Char. I just wanted to let you know that I am still alive. For now. I’m not mad at you, not really, even though I want to be. I should not be out in public looking like this! I truly believe that you would be just as irritable if your pants were filled with mud!

Write soon and send it via carrier. I miss you, sister.

Always dirty,

Olivia

~Kay