Back to home page

Back to "The Blue Sky" contents page

Back to previous chapter





Sianna woke up in a cave. She had no idea as to how she got there. The last thing she remembered was falling into the icy water and then being sucked down.

The cave was damp, and she could here drips of water all around her. But there was no light to see anything by. She slowly started to feel along the walls around her, and she quickly ascertained that she was at the end of a tunnel. She walked carefully along the tunnel, keeping one hand on the wall to her right.

She couldn’t understand how she had got here. She surmised from the dripping water that this cave could be somewhere underground, and underwater, but the sea was somehow not being able to get in. But as she had woken up at the end of a tunnel she couldn’t have just fallen there. It was also unlikely that the sea had brought her here – had this tunnel been filled up with water with her inside it she would have surely drowned. Perhaps someone found her and carried her here? But that didn’t seem to make sense either. This was a long tunnel, what purpose would be served by dumping her at the end of it? She was left with a genuine mystery.

And where were the others? After what had happened she would be happy to never see Tyght again, but what of Gaian and Bevern? Had they also somehow been saved, or were they... That thought didn’t bear thinking about.

She started to slowly walk down the tunnel. Suddenly, she heard some scuttling in the distance. It appeared that she wasn’t alone down here. She then heard some clacking sounds. She decided to cast a low level fire spell, to give her a brief moment of light to see what was ahead. As she said “Fire” a small shot of flame came out from her hands and travelled down the tunnel, and along the way it illuminated what looked like giant crabs that were coming towards her. Their pincers looked like they could easily break her bones.

Sianna started to panic. There was no point in going back as there was no where to go. And so she had to find a way of dealing with these crabs. She had to be careful not to use too much magic – it was no use draining her energy, causing her to collapse and become lunch for the crabs. She had to make sure that she used the right spells at the right time.

She thought of the Ultima spell that Lisa had given her, but that wouldn’t have been the answer. Not only would just one casting of it drain virtually all of her energy, she could sense that it was an immensely powerful spell. It would most likely destroy the tunnel, and, if she was right in thinking that she was under the sea, it could then quickly fill up with water.

She slowly stepped back the way she had come, and fortunately the crabs didn’t appear to be following, so she had some time to think. She sat down on the ground, but as she did so she realised that she wasn’t sitting on rock. She moved aside to investigate what it was, and she discovered that it was a plank of wood – probably the remains of the pirate ship. She continued to feel around the floor and she found a few more planks. Then an idea came to her.

She gathered a few of the planks of wood together. Then she ripped off some of the lower part of her skirt, and tied them to the end of the planks. The planks were a little damp, but as long as she got the intensity of the spell right...

She pointed at the skirt-end of the planks and said “Fire!” A small ball of fire came from her finger and, as she had hoped, the skirt-end of the wood caught fire. She now had herself a torch, so at least she could now see what was ahead.

She slowly began to walk down the tunnel again. Before long she could see the crabs ahead of her. But instead of coming towards her they were scuttling away from her. She figured that it must have been the light from her torch that was frightening them off.

She continued walking down the tunnel. But whilst it did turn a few times, there was only one path available to her as there were no separate paths turning off. She had to find a way out of here, and quickly. Her torch wasn’t going to last forever, and the crabs were probably grouping together and becoming more concentrated, and so if her torch went out at the wrong moment she could find herself having to try and deal with dozens of them at once, which was a thought that she didn’t relish.

As she continued down the tunnel her mind wandered, as she tried to come to terms with how she had ended up in this predicament. The events of the past couple of days had changed everything, and had taken their toll on her. Before the Apocalypse she was just living a simple life, working as a barmaid. Her life before that had been full of trials in the Republican Defence Force. There were only a limited number of witches and wizards in the RDF, and their services had always been in great demand. Whilst the RDF hadn’t been involved in any wars for some time, there were still all sorts of beasts that they had to defend the Republic from. The regular soldiers were able to deal with most of these, but there were often beasts that were considerably larger than the common beasts.

These beasts could end up growing to over 50 feet tall. No one quite knew how they were able to grow so large, but the most popular theory was that there were some dark magical forces at work in the unpopulated regions outside of the Republic which cause these beasts to mutate and grow. Whilst the regular soldiers do their best to deal with them, it was dangerous work, with many injuries and several fatalities each year. The safest way of dealing with them was by magic.

But as so few people had the necessary talent to use magic, and only a few of these remained in the RDF beyond the period of their conscription, you were lucky to get a witch or a wizard to dispatch your giant beast. There had been talk in the Senate of forcing people who were able to use magic to remain in the RDF indefinitely, but these proposals had been fiercely resisted, especially by religious leaders. They argued that forcing witches and wizards to remain in the RDF against their will was equal to slavery, and keeping slaves is against the will of God, a dishonourable thing to do, and thus weakens God in his protection of the world against Geevan.

Sianna had liked helping people, knowing that the work that she was doing was saving lives. After her two year period of conscription she elected to remain for a third year. But that third year proved to be especially tough – she was having to deal with a giant beast almost every other day, and was rushing around from place to place so much so that she barely had time to stand still. It was the Regelen Incident that finally broke her resolve.

Regelen was a small coastal town to the south, popular with holiday makers. They rarely had any trouble with beasts in this region of the Republic. Then, one day, a carrier pigeon arrived at her base informing them that a gigantic adamantose turtle had been spotted in the area. These were especially dangerous – they could use their own magic, and their hard shells could resist the best efforts of the regular soldiers. The only way they could be dealt with is through magic.

She was the only witch currently in the area, and so she raced to Regelen as fast as she could. But when she had got there it was too late. The turtle had come ashore, and had destroyed most of the buildings in the town. It had used lighting magic, and many of the buildings were on fire. Dead bodies littered the streets, civilians and soldiers alike. She had seen the damage that giant beasts could do before, but never on this scale.

She walked to the centre of the town. There she found a small boy, aged only about 7 or 8. He was crying. She tried to comfort him, tried to get him to talk, but he didn’t say anything.

Then she felt an electric shock, and was blown backwards. The turtle had entered the square, and, for no apparent reason, it had used lightning magic on the boy, killing him instantly. It had been a miracle that she had survived.

She turned to face the beast, furious that it could commit such an evil act, killing a defenceless child. She unleashed her full fury against the beast, casting fire, ice, and quake spells at it, and it fell quickly. But the effort of casting so many high level spells in quick succession had drained her, and she collapsed unconscious.

She remained unconscious until the regular soldiers found her the next day. The inquest that followed quickly established the facts of what had happened, and that she had done all that she could. She went to some counselling sessions, but they did little good.

When the nightmares wouldn’t go away she decided that enough was enough. She had served more than her time, and now she wanted a quiet life, away from the stresses and hassles, and upsets, of the RDF. Someone else could now take over the burden. She settled down in Eliviston, where no one knew of her magical abilities. She found a job as a barmaid, and, eventually, the nightmares went away.

And then the end of the world happened, and she now found herself in an endless tunnel, filled with crabs, and no clear way of escape.

After about half an hour she slowed, as she could see a large collection of crabs ahead of her. But she then saw something that astounded her – the crabs were somehow merging into each other. Two merged to form one larger crab, and then two of these merged to form an even larger crab. Within seconds there was just one, gigantic, crab, and it started to come towards her at speed.

Sianna feared for her life. Her torch appeared to have no effect on the crab. There was only one thing for it – she had to take a chance.

She placed her hands together, and shouted, “FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Forward to next chapter

Back to "The Blue Sky" contents page

Back to home page