Chapter V Of My Campaign, Which Started 11 Months Ago, Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays The Character Vilven
CHAPTER V – CATLIKE
Vilven swam fluidly in the large lake, circling the magnificent castle in the center. Her introduction to Wiendle was still fresh in her mind, and though she was unsure if she was going to end up to be an ally in this situation, she knew she wanted to be. Wiendle appeared to be desperate for another life, consumed by innocence and pushed by longing. But Vilven was wiser than to leave the mysteries in Wiendle’s request to escape the castle, and her royal father, as mystery. She knew that there was much more to the story than she knew or was being told.
As a stranger in a new land, perhaps it was the wrong approach to creep into a household of possibly otherwise peaceful and friendly people, but Vilven figured the opposite could be much worse. And though she had very little experience in doing anything like this, the twinge of curiosity and the knowledge she was sent here for a reason pushed her to explore further. She waited for the sky to turn black before she decided to try to sneak into the castle again. As the sun set slowly, Vilven jerked in surprise as her eyes adjusted to the dark easily. It took her only seconds before she realized it was another gift from Arieden.
She was beginning to get used to the feeling of the magic swelling inside her, even after less than a day she loved the almost instantaneous way it responded to her needs, quicker than a thought, as natural as a heartbeat. But she also knew it would take discipline to master. Controlling the magic would be like controlling a reflex of the body, and there were times when she knew she wouldn’t want to do what her most immediate instincts told her to do. It would be learning to think a whole knew way. There had to be space between thought and magic, between emotion and magic. But for now she was just thankful she had magic that allowed her to see in the darkness at all. She decided she would always try to be thankful for it.
She swam to the bottom of the lake to walk on the sand, now colored an unnatural grey, whether from the dull light of the moon or her dark vision Vilven couldn’t tell. Her mind was set on trying to break into Wiendle’s chambers again, it seemed the easiest way to enter and at least she could try to lie if Wiendle caught her. But looking up, preparing to swim toward Wiendle’s window, she spotted a surface that seemed oddly smooth compared to the rest of the rocks that made up the island of land that held the castle. She cautiously swam closer to see a kind of door. It looked to be steel, round, with a large knob in the center. In Vilven’s mind, the knob looked like a wheel from a ship, though it was made of metal and not wood.
Without thought, Vilven went to the wheel and, with both hands around one of the spokes, began to pull it. It put a strain on her, and though it took her a few minutes, the initial fastening released and the wheel-knob began to turn easily. She silently cursed herself for being so impulsive, but it was drowned out by her excitement.
When the knob had reached it’s final turn, Vilven pulled the hefty door aside on it’s hinges to expose a long round tunnel. The tunnel was already filled with water, but the water from the lake still rushed in slightly, mixing with the considerably warmer water in the tunnel. After a short moment, Vilven swam into the mysterious channel, careful to be silent and to not touch the walls.
When the tunnel stopped suddenly, Vilven would have rammed into the wall had she not been able to stop herself and thrust herself back. She looked forward at the stone wall, inches from her face, looked behind her to see the distant circle shape of the entrance that lead to the lake. Then she looked up to notice that the tunnel extended upward, with a sigh of relief, she began to swim, noticing the ladder welded to the side. She was able to deduct that this, hopefully, was most likely an entrance into the castle. Probably something like an escape route in case of emergencies. After what seemed like far too long, Vilven’s face finally broke the surface of the water. Looking around she noticed about ten feet of space between where the water stopped to the top of the tunnel, where there stood an outline of another round door. This one, however, had no knob-wheel.
Determined, Vilven swam to the ladder on the wall to take hold of the first rung. She pulled herself up to take the next one, her feet following her hands, until she was fully emerged from the water, climbing the wall. She smiled silently to herself thinking that it was somehow ironic she was entering the castle similar to how she had the first time. Using a small magical ability she learned as a child, she connected to the water clinging to her white dress, her indigo hair, her silver skin, to flow off her body until she became fully dry. The one magical thing she could do before she ever met Arieden. It felt good to need something that came purely from herself.
When she reached the door above her, she took pause, as she wasn’t sure how to open it. On closer inspection, there wasn’t even hinges on this one, only a small space for ones hand on the side. She put her hand into the space, and pushed upward with force, as it looked heavy. It popped open easily, and the lid to the tunnel flew forward to ram into a nearby wall, making a loud clang. With shock, her black eyes glancing around frantically, Vilven pushed herself into the castle, and half crawling to the lid, quickly dragged it back to cover the hole of the tunnel. Then she bolted. She flew down the hall, unsheathing her sickle, to look for a place to hide. She put her ear to the nearest door, listening to see if she could hear anything or anyone in the room.
When she heard the sound of snoring she let out an audible breath. Her heart steadied a bit, as she hoped the rest of the castle, like this person, hadn’t been awakened by her. But then, in the corner of her eye, she saw a slight movement, and her heart started pounding again. As quickly as she could, she pushed herself up against the wall next to the door, peering down the hall to where she saw the movement.
Out of the door, in the opposite corner, an older man of about sixty stalked into the hall. His beard was long, as was his hair, which glittering a mix of silver and black in the low light of the candle he held. His robes were unkempt, but were a pleasant gray and blue color. He seemed very preoccupied with something, Vilven thought, as his eyes were furrowed intensely, staring at the floor. He was grumbling to himself something inaudible as he began to walk, nearly stomp, down the hall, toward her direction. She held her breath and dared not move as she watched him come closer and pass, hoping that the low light and his intent on the floor would keep him from seeing her. When he rounded the corner her whole body released.
Vilven shook her head in disbelief from her luck. She realized she was in dangerous territory and should have been much more careful. But the old man hadn’t seen her, and hopefully she could keep it so no one would.
She looked forward to where he had entered into the hall and saw that he had left the door open. It was well lit inside the room, the candlelight dancing into the dark hall. With a quick look back in the direction he left, Vilven remembered why she had gone through all this trouble in the first place: to learn more about the castle, the land and the people inside it. In an instant decision, connecting deeply to her resolve, she rushed quietly to the open door, hoping she could learn something about her purpose here.
When she peered in, she nearly yelled as two big, yellow eyes stared back at her.
The beautiful, black cat meowed at her as he moved toward her. She had heard of cats, had even seen one once living on one of the ships that had crashed in the Water Plane.
Resisting the urge to pet him, Vilven whispered “Not now, Kitty” as she entered the room, past the cat. The room was a mess of papers and books, random items were scattered everywhere, and she had never seen so much ink in her life. Glancing all over not sure where to start, as well as trying to be fast, Vilven grabbed the closest book to her. She held it under her arm, praying it had the answers she needed.
Then a throat cleared behind her.
With an intake of breath, Vilven slowly turned to see the older man from before standing there, his face obviously annoyed, nearly furious. He looked menacing in the candlelight outlining his figure, but he held two cups of tea in his hands, one she knew was for her.
The cat meowed almost proudly up at him.
“Was it the cat?” Vilven asked the man, nearly appalled.
“Yes, it was the cat” He said shoving the tea into her hand.
“But then again, you don’t really know how to sneak around quietly do you?”