Chapter 1 - Warriors'
I was growing increasingly
exhausted and soaked in sticky sweat as we traversed
our way uphill toward the caves in the far distance.
Taking a deep breath and not allowing the others to
witness how I was feeling I turned to face them as
they straggled along behind.
"Keep up!" I boomed
while letting out a chuckle, "We want to get
there before nightfall!"
The sun had only just risen
and we were almost at our destination but teasing my
people was good for their morale, or mine at least.
They all stared back knowing full well I was as
exhausted as they were, apart from Morice who was
looking totally bewildered as usual.
There were six of us in all.
I was selected due to my many years experience
serving in the King's Regiment with hundreds of kills
to my name. I could handle a sword but brute strength
was my most important asset. There was also Morice, a
very odd looking fellow, that was a priest of the
Magdalene Church. He was sent to make sure we didn't
do anything considered blasphemous. There was also
Alger who was tall, agile and thin. He carried a long
spear with a razor sharp blade and wasn't afraid to
use it. There was Gareth, the healer, who was wise in
many ways but lacked battle experience. He carried a
sack around his hip containing all kinds of medicinal
remedies and bandages. There was also Gwen, who was
very witchy in appearance, with pale skin and wearing
a long dark cloak. She and Gareth often squabbled due
to their many disagreements about herbs for the sick.
They once knew each other well long before our quest
began. Finally there was ZoŽ from far afield who
practically never understood a word of English. To my
knowledge the only reason she was selected was due to
her short stature and thin body. She could scamper
around the labyrinth as quiet as a mouse.
"I need to rest my
aching limbs," Morice said caressing the back of
his thighs, "My legs are about to give way."
I let out an exaggerated
"It's only a couple more
miles," I said looking down at him from my
position further up the hill, "We'll rest when
we get there and not a moment before."
Chapter 2 - The Cave
Continuing to chuckle as we
eventually arrived at the entrance of the caves I
stopped momentarily to rest whilst watching the two
stragglers trying to catch up with us. Both Morice
and ZoŽ were still hobbling further back with ZoŽ
in front clearly doing her best to beat Morice as
though it were a race.
"Come on Zo Zo!"
Gwen called out at her waving her hand.
I took a moment to look for a
suitable sized rock before sitting down upon it.
Alger and Gareth were peering inside the cave
inspecting the labyrinth entrance closely.
"I personally cannot
stand that ZoŽ to be honest with you," Gwen
said turning to face me, "Nothing personal but
she's simply not suited for this, or any other task,
for that matter."
"None of us are really
suited for this," Gareth's voice echoed around
the entrance of the cave, "For we've no real
idea what we're up against. This could be a task more
suited for a wizard than a warrior."
Gwen ignored his comment but
continued to look at me as if awaiting the answer to
her unasked question.
"I didn't pick her,"
I responded while shaking my head, "She was
personally selected by the king... as a favour to
someone I suspect, or possibly to keep us on our toes."
"Well if you expect me
to mother her then you're out of luck," Gwen
As I opened my mouth to
respond Gareth butted in as he approached and sat
upon the rock beside me.
"She's older than you by
a fair few years at least," he said to Gwen,
"How can you be expected to mother her?"
Gwen quickly jerked her head
away from Gareth not wishing to make eye contact.
"You know perfectly what
I meant!" She snapped causing her visible
cleavage to heave with annoyance.
We all remained silent for a
few moments as we waited for ZoŽ and Morice to
approach. We were in no real hurry so it didn't
really bother me that they were taking their time. I'd
still likely tease them about it later however.
"ZoŽ, I knew you'd do
it!" Gwen said happily jumping to her feet and
rushing over to ZoŽ reminding me of a mother whose
child had just won a race.
Both Gareth and I looked at
one another thinking the exact same thing.
Chapter 3 - A Warning
When Morice eventually caught
up we all sat resting ourselves while deciding on our
next course of action, all apart from ZoŽ who
appeared to fidget occasionally standing then pacing
around. Something deep within my mind sensed she may
be in danger and I wanted her to remain outside the
cave. I'd have to make up an excuse later and tell
her to guard the entrance, in fact Morice could
"There's a ladder
propped up inside," Alger said while leaning
into the cave entrance, "There's a bit of a drop
mind but it's no more than five feet or so."
"That ladder's likely
rotten after so many years so take care when using it,"
"What's that writing?"
Morice said and he made his way over to Alger beside
"Just the usual
ramblings of a curse to keep people out," Alger
mumbled with his head still poked within the cave.
Morice turned to look at me
before looking at the writing again, then glanced
back with a bewildered look upon his face.
"It has your name on it,"
he told me.
I heaved myself up from the
rock I was sitting upon and walked over to join him.
There was a faded warning written in charcoal on the
stone wall beside the cave entrance that read: "I
beg of thee, please turn back, Sherwyn Wilbur III."
I was stunned having no idea
that one of my relatives had ventured into the
labyrinth before. As far as I knew I was the first
Sherwyn Wilbur in my family. I guessed it may have
been a coincidence.
"It's likely an ancestor
of yours, turned guardian angel," Gwen said
leaning forward beside me.
I couldn't tell if she was
being flippant or not but from the look on Morice's
face I could see he wanted us to take heed and listen
to the warning.
Chapter 4 - Inside The
It wasn't more than a few
moments later that Alger pointed his hand inside the
cave with a sense of urgency.
"There's a moving light
down there!" He yelled as he grabbed his spear
causing his large biceps to flex before climbing down
the ladder into the cave.
"Wait!" I ordered,
"We haven't decided our plan of action yet."
Alger was keen and hurried
his way further into the cave trying to find out who
was already down there. I quickly followed, making my
way down the rickety ladder, into the dimly lit cave.
The others presumed I wanted them to do the same and
they all began making their way inside.
"Alger!" I yelled
further into the cave causing my voice to echo,
"We need to stick together!"
"I can see a lit torch
ahead!" He called back, "Someone is down
here and they appear to be running!"
It was no surprise that they
were running for they had no idea who we were, but I
couldn't see why Alger was overreacting to their
presence, it wasn't as though the labyrinth belonged
"We'll soon catch up don't
worry yourself," I said as I continued to make
my way further into the cave and approach Alger,
"They may even prove to be of help."
As I looked along the walls
of the cave I could see a strange blue mould that
glowed, filling the cave with a dim blue light, not
enough to fully see however and I already regretted
not bringing a light of our own.
"Right," I said
with confidence turning to face the others as they
headed up the cave towards us, "We're going to
need some torches and something flammable, so I
suggest we leave for now and fetch some wood from the
I raised my axe visually
implying we'd likely need to chop some branches.
"I'd like to add that
the short lady and the priest should remain outside,"
Alger said clearly not having taken the time to learn
Morice took a step forward
offended by his words.
"Now look here..."
There was the sound of
movement ahead of us. Footsteps in the dark.
Chapter 5 - Getting Lost
I stared ahead trying to make
out if anyone was approaching ahead of us but I soon
realised the movement of have been a trick of the
light caused by the glowing moss. As for the sound
however I still couldn't be sure. Maybe it was
"It appears this cave
may be unstable," Gareth said calmly, "Just
one wrong move could cause a collapse."
"You may be right,"
I responded calmly, "I suggest we proceed with
Very slowly we continued
ahead making our way deeper into the cave. The glow
emitting from the moss on the walls gave the entire
labyrinth an eerie feeling with only our present
location lit, while the cave ahead was still pure
darkness. The cave entrance behind us was still lit
with daylight so as long as we completed our quest
before nightfall then we should still be able to find
our way out, so I hoped.
"Wait, what's happening?"
Gwen said with a slight tone of panic, "Where's
"We're here," I
responded as I turned my head trying to look for her.
Suddenly she came into view
as she hurried back into the section of cave with the
rest of us.
"Oh, I see how this
labyrinth this works," I said in a tone of
realisation, "The glowing moss only reveals part
of the cave while the rest hides the alternative
routes. We're going to need all our concentration on
this, and some good sturdy torches."
I turned to Morice who was
"This is our plan,"
I said in an authoritative tone, "You and ZoŽ
go back outside and gather some twigs to make torches,
we'll need four of them. Gareth can use some of his
bandages to make a..."
"Where is ZoŽ?"
"Where's Alger too for
that matter?" Gareth added.
I let out a very audible sigh.
"Oh for the love of God,
everyone return to the entrance this instant!" I
yelled which caused the cave to resonate.
We all looked up as a gentle
sprinkling of cave dust fell from the roof followed
by one or two larger clumps of stone. While remaining
motionless we waited until it stopped. From the
corner of my eye I could see a leg squeezing its way
between a narrow crack within the rock, followed by a
blackened face and a bright pair of white eyes. It
was ZoŽ. I would have to tell her off later but I
now knew all too well that yelling within the
confines of the cave was something that should never
be done. I wondered for a moment if Alger had been
with her but there was no way he could have squeezed
through such a narrow gap.
The rain of cave dust
suddenly increased causing everyone to crouch and
cover their eyes. There was the distinct sound of a
nearby cave-in followed by the sound of a thud and a
breathless cry. We couldn't react until the dust
"It came from down here,"
Gwen's voice echoed as she hobbled in a half crouch
into one of the side tunnels.
Brushing dust from my hair I
stood up trying to focus upon what was being said, I
was sure a large stone had hit me in the head causing
a temporary concussion.
"No, I'm here!"
Alger said appearing from behind us while brushing
debris from his clothing.
"Is ZoŽ with you?"
He shrugged his shoulders.
"She was just here,"
Chapter 6 - The Search
We searched the area of the
cave between our location and the entrance but couldn't
find any sign of ZoŽ. We were about to give up upon
the search when Gwen picked up a boot from the cave
floor. It still had a foot in it along with the
bloody remains bone protruding out of the top.
"Is that..." I said
at the same moment as Gwen nodded her response.
"The rest of her's
likely under the debris," Gwen said looking down,
"She's surely dead."
I let out a deep breath. Part
of me wanted to give up upon our quest but the
Fountain of Wishes was far an important find to give
up upon. I hesitated for a moment wondering what to
"Can you raise the rocks?"
I quickly asked Gwen, "Is that something within
Gwen stared at me.
"Well I can't bring her
back from the dead if that's what you're asking,"
she responded bluntly while holding the bloodied boot
out in front of me.
I slowly blinked my eyes and
took another deep breath.
"Then we mustn't let her
death be in vain and should proceed as planned,"
I said forcing myself to remain calm.
I wanted Morice to say a few
words of comfort but he didn't appear to be in sight.
I only hoped he wasn't crushed by the cave-in too.
As I took a step closer to
Gwen the floor swiftly collapsed under my feet and I
fell. I heard yelling as myself and a few others of
our group slid down a slope of darkness which seemed
to last on and on until I suddenly stopped at the
bottom. The moment I tried to stand up I was knocked
straight back down as someone tumbled on top of me.
Chapter 7 - Twists And
As I tried to get back to my
feet I realised the person on top of me wasn't moving.
Within the dim light caused by the glowing moss I
realised who it was.
"Alger?" I said as
I wobbled his body from side to side.
There was the sound of
screaming as more of my people slid down the slope. I
hoped to dear God that they weren't intentionally
following me as I wasn't sure there was anyway of
climbing back out.
"Urgh!" Gwen cried
out as she hit the ground with an audible thump,
"I think I've broken my nose, I can taste blood."
"Hold on," I heard
I could also make out Morice
within the darkness with both of his arms held out
trying to navigate his way around the cave.
"We have more pressing
needs," I told Gareth, "Alger here isn't
Garath immediately approached
and bent down before feeling his hands over Alger's
"Damn it!" He
cursed, "His neck's broken. I'm afraid he's dead."
I closed my eyes repressing
"Right, well, we still
need to press on," I said while thinking aloud,
"I suggest we follow where is passage leads and
As I glanced my head around I
could see the passage went on in both directions and
split up into multiple side caves. Gareth shook his
head and stood up before joining Gwen and attending
to her bloodied nose.
"We can't leave this
poor man's body here," Morice said as he
approached, "We need to return him and whatever
remains we can find of ZoŽ and give them a proper
Christian burial. It's the right thing to do. Our
task here has failed, we should leave."
"And how do you propose
we get out of here, hah?" I said.
Morice glanced up the slope
in which we had just fallen realising it would prove
an impossible climb.
"We'll press on," I
Chapter 7 - Circles
We walked on and on with just
the blue glow emitting from the moss lighting our way.
It was imperative that we stick together but with so
many side turnings it was going to prove an
impossible task. After a number of hours treading our
heavy feet against the hard stone ground I noticed
something that gave me an idea.
"Everyone stop, we'll
rest up for a few moments," I said taking the
opportunity to pick up the small item from the ground.
"What is that?"
Gwen asked still clasping her hand against her nose.
"It appears to be
charcoal," I said whilst drawing a line across
the glowing surface of the cave wall, "Useful
for guiding our way and keeping track of where we've
Gwen had a strange look upon
her face as she looked over my shoulder.
"Where's that religious
guy?" She asked.
I turned around and could see
no sign of him.
"Morice?" I called
out whilst trying not to shout too loud as to prevent
another cave collapse.
"There's a body!"
Gareth called out before rushing ahead.
There was a moment of
confusion as Morice had been walking behind me so it
couldn't have been his body ahead of us. We all
hurried over to Gareth who was already examining the
"It's Alger," he
gasped, "How can this be? We left his body miles
It was clear we had been
going in circles. Gwen let out an annoying grunt and
cursed loudly while resting her hand on her hip and
turning away. I had failed them. Everyone remained
silent with just the sound of dripping water nearby
breaking the tension.
Chapter 8 - Muddy Soil
I let out a sigh then calmly
headed towards the source of the dripping water which
came from one of the adjoining caves making sure not
to wander too far. The ground under my feet felt
muddy and I was sure I was standing upon soil rather
than rock. Gareth walked in my direction also
noticing the moist ground.
"We really should search
for that Morice chap," Gwen said whilst still
standing next to Alger's body.
There was then a scream
followed by the sound of a rumble. Talking a step
forward I lost my footing, slipping against the muddy
ground and getting my face coated. There was yelling
from Gareth as he ran back directly into danger as he
attempted to rescue Gwen from the cave collapse only
for them to both be crushed beneath.
While wafting my hand from
side to side I tried to catch my breath within the
dust of the debris. I couldn't breathe and had no
choice but to run against the slippery ground making
my way further into the side cave having no idea
where it led. I blamed myself, and my own
incompetence, for everything that had happened.
Chapter 9 - The Wish
Wandering on and on aimlessly
in the near dark, whilst occasionally marking my way
using the charcoal, I knew within my heart that our
quest had failed and it wouldn't be long before my
own demise. If only I had listened to my own sense of
doubts before taking a stupid risk embarking upon
such a risky mission. Endangering myself was bad
enough but to put the lives of others at peril was
beyond the pale. I hated myself as of that moment and
death was to be a relief from such feelings.
I could see light ahead at
the far end of the cave, most likely a way out, but
any feelings of joy were dulled by a sense of remorse
for the others. Rather than hurrying with excitement
I calmly continued to traverse the cave heading for
To my surprise it wasn't
daylight at all but a large hall decorated with
beautiful golden statues that reflected the light
from the flaming torches above. In the middle of the
hall was a golden fountain that spurted its clear
sparkling water some ten feet into the air before
cascading into the pool below.
The quest was a success after
all, it was just a matter to determine if the legend
of the fountain granting wishes was true. I slowly
made my way closer and looked into the pool at my
ghastly reflection. There was also something else
within the pool, a shadowy white figure, that flew
out of the water into the air. I quickly raised my
battle axe and withdrew my sword.
The creature whispered in an
incomprehensible ghostly voice as it flew around me.
I could see my weapons would have no effect upon its
mist-like body but I remained defiant and stood my
"Stand back demon!"
The ghost swooped high to the
top of the cave then down to the base of the fountain
before swiftly floating forward through my body. I
couldn't tell if it was real or illusion.
"There is no need to
fear, for I will do you no harm. I am the fountain
spirit, guardian of desires," the shadowy ghost
then said in a divine voice.
From its body shape I guessed
it was the ghost of a naked female yet it appeared to
have no breasts, while at the same time it was
clearly not male. It may have been a hybrid of the
two or possibly neither. Its face however resembled a
"We... um, that is I
came here upon a quest to seek out the Fountain of
Wishes," I told the spirit while it hovered
above the ground ahead of me.
"I've been monitoring
your progress, you've been magnificent," it
responded, "Look into the pool, you may make
your wish, whatever your desire will be granted."
I had yet to think of a wish
and it was important to make it an unselfish one due
to the amount of lives that had been lost. I began to
take a moment to think.
"Five lives were lost
seeking this fountain," I said to the ghostly
figure, "I need to take their wishes into
consideration before making my own."
"One of your clan is
still alive, lost within the labyrinth," the
"You mean Morice?"
I said with a tone of happiness that not everyone had
The creature shook its head
then closed its eyes as though checking within its
"The one you call ZoŽ,"
it responded, "Alas she too is soon to pass due
to blood loss. She cries out for help yet no one can
I sighed and shook my head
repressing my inner rage with myself then looked into
"I wish we never
embarked on this God forsaken venture to begin with,"
I said gazing within the sparkling fresh water.
Chapter 10 - The Wish
Within a flash I was outside
the labyrinth at its very entrance in fact. I quickly
looked around to see if any of my people had been
brought back from the dead but alas I was alone. It
was early morning and it occurred to me that it may
have in fact been the very same day just before the
quest had begun. I only had a short matter of time to
warn myself and the others.
Taking the charcoal from my
pocket I attempted to write a warning on the cave
entrance only to discover the meaning of the previous
that was still there. It read: "I beg of thee,
please turn back, Sherwyn Wilbur III."
There was no time to write a
detailed message as I could already hear myself and
the others traversing up the hill. I quickly altered
the message to read: "I beg of thee, please turn
back, Sherwyn Wilbur IIII."
Two of me weren't able to
live side by side within this world so the moment my
other self hurried up the hill I vanished into
nothing hoping the eternal torment would soon end.