Here comes the fresh Chapter 20 of the story [The FAEL WASTE] from Darth2018. Let’s see together what happens.
The land revealed its beauty as the sun climbed over the horizon. It was the fourth day of their journey and all were now eager to reach their goal. Lunalyn walked over to the elf, shaking the last of the sleep kinks from her limbs. “I can’t remember what a bed felt like, Dolen!” she laughed. “I have no desire to confront the beast but I shall be glad when we reach the broken gates. The wilds can be too much at times. I would love a warm breakfast.”
“Aye,’ Dolen nodded, “and a tankard of good ale!”
“Now you’re just being mean!” the pretty ranger growled. “But I’ll buy the first round when we get the chance.”
Eritra glided up to the pair. “Are we close, Dolen Sikil?
Dolen gestured north to the edge of the ridge. “We should see the Gates just below us. Come, and be wary!”
The company followed Dolen as he walked to the edge. The ridge fell sharply below their feet, a scree covered slope strewn with granite plates and long piles of broken rock, edged by fields of gorse and tall wild grasses. The slope fell into a long narrow valley running east and west, still in shadow from the ridges, on the far side of the defile, Charalangma rose into the heavens, snow mantled and bulking with majestic cliffs and buttresses of ageless stone, its jagged face dappled with both deep black shadows and glittering sunlit ice-clad edges.
A huge buttress of whitish-grey granite stood out, a massive shelf of impregnable stone marred at its base by a huge gash of shattered rock, The company could discern deep slashes scarring the face of the shelf down to black openings torn out of the mountain. Debris piled up high all around the great wound of the cliff face, evidence of the violence that had destroyed the fabled Triple Gates. They stared at the wreckage, awed by the extent of the damage.
“The dragon did this?” Moira said absently, unable to hide her wonder in her tone.
Dolen replied, “They are the most powerful beings in Nyria. For an age, we thought they had died out, battling each other for supremacy until only Draumok remained. Knowing where he rests, the world eventually forgot the awesome menace of dragonkind. Alas that we are wrong.”
Allura stamped her foot. “Maybe the tales of old are mere fantasies for children. Maybe there were no great heroes whose daring and valor vanquished the terrors of the past!” She turned and swept her gaze across the rest. “But…” she breathed, “maybe the old tales are true!” She loosened the sword at her hip. “As you said, elf warrior, it has been an age since Nyria has faced a menace like Angcaldroc! I wonder why the dragons withdrew if they’re invulnerable?”
Dolen nodded toward the broken entrance into the ancient city. “It may be that you are right, fair Allura! There may yet be an answer to the danger in the mountain. In any event, we must go and see for ourselves. We need to settle our horses before we go. Come!”
They returned to their wind-cut grotto. They gathered the horses within the cell, loosely hobbled them and formed a barricade of dried withered gorse and what few sticks they could find, reinforced with larger stones piled into a low wall. Moira looked at Dolen.
“It’s not much, elf. They may not be here when we return.”
Dolen shrugged. “It may be that we shall succeed and return to them, or it may be that we fail in our quest, in which case we won’t have need of them. At least they will have a chance to roam freely if they work their way out of the dell.”
The company followed Dolen back to the edge of the slope and they began a cautious descent into the valley. Dolen, as sure-footed as any elf, glided easily downward without as much as a stone rolling beneath his boots. Lunalyn was nearly as good, moving surely with hardly a sound. Eritra reached the base of the slope first, her serpentine form slithering swiftly over the scree. Allura and Moira slid and stumbled awkwardly with much arm milling but, exercising extreme care, reached the bottom without falling minutes behind their comrades.
Moira turned to gaze up to the top of the slope. “It will be worse climbing back, I deem?”
Lunalyn laughed. “I like your confidence, woman! We shall indeed have a rough climb out…maybe.”
Now on the floor of the defile, they moved carefully toward the massive stone-wracked pile of debris. A large opening gaped beyond, dark and intimidating. They were ascending the far side of the valley, climbing toward the fragmented gate when Dolen growled “Stop!”
The party crouched where they were, alert and alarmed. Eritra’s bows were up and nocked, the Njai swaying intently, ready to react to any threat.
Lunalyn murmured softly, “Dolen? What’s wrong?”
He turned his head to her. “We’re not alone.”