Chapter 2: (Part 1) The Calling

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"Watch above you!" Zoran shouted, terrified.

With the fragile hide of the ground, a piece of the mountain fell and was rushing hastily to Theodren. He quickly thrust himself further despite the slim pathway below. The way behind him collapsed as the falling stone became a stampede of boulders running down the cliff side.

They traveled far east, to the eastern mountains that stood tall like a wall, covering the rest of the world beyond it. Each step in their footing grew more rough as they went on. Had they been barefoot, their feet would be bloody and course. They had to hold back their horses from what was ahead. The sun was going down soon, and the mountain pass was like a maze of crooked walls and massive grey spear tips below them.

"Sod off, mother!" Theodren raised his voice to a shout with every slip, a peaked reddish and aggravated tone was felt on his forehead.

"Don't intend to turn the same way back?" Zoran turned his unstable brother's way with a smug look, raised brow.

"Oh, but we shall! Best we learn how to fly over thin pathways hindered by the drop. A good crack in our bones, why don't we?" Theodren nervously stated in a sarcastic tone as he held firmly to the wall behind him. It seemed even to the might of Theodren, great mountainous heights was not a match he could win, for it terrified him.

"Quiet." Zoran held up his hand while his brother remained closely behind. "See that passage?" He pointed to a cave five arms length forward.

"I don't recall that I'm blind." Theodren held his hands to his sides as he lowered himself to his brother's level, rubbing his scrapes and bruises, and cleaning off rock fragments lodged in his clothing.

They went into the cave. The moment they took their first steps, damp musty air and the pungent scent of death blew towards them. Zoran immediately pinched his nose, and Theodren coughed heavily and cursed.

"Fine greetings this is! Could not a sign be placed on the cave's entrance to warn us of this foul intrusion of my senses?" Theodren retorted, utterly disgusted.

"Well, such as yourself; the mountain's passion to gain knowledge is but the wind that flows past it, glancing over the surface and then gone again." Zoran turned to him, holding his nose shut with his undershirt.

"If you're going to make a mockery of me, be proper and say it to my face. I've grown used to the reminder." Theodren held his nose as well, a witty muffled voice in response.

Zoran took out a torch, and the further in he went, the more he realized the scene before them. There were at least five corpses laying there: two a week or so old, and three just scattered bones. He cut out a chunk of one of the two decaying corpses, taking the fat from it and wrapping it in cloth. He then lit the fat-coated torch with a spark of flint against his sword.

Set to flame, they walked further within the void.

"That's how you lit torches all those years past? Surely something less grotesque!" Theodren commented, as Zoran took the torch aimed above in front of him.

"How many corpses have we stumbled across before?" Zoran asked, continuing into the darkness.

Theodren paused, thinking as the flame's light slowly faded in front of him.

"Wait!" Theodren rushed after him, glancing to the musky scented cave walls to the right and left, stained white and green in what seemed like mold.

The winds from outside began to fade. Slowly, step after step: not a vague fragment of sound remained, nor the light that hosted it. They were left alone with their echoing footsteps, as well as their muffled breathing.

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