I've always felt kinda pissed off that Rook had to tell Twig that Cowlquape was still alive for Twig to try and rescue him. When Twig does however, the reunion is a relatively short one as Twig gets struck by a crossbow-bolt and is then taken to Riverise by the Caterbird who has been watching over Twig since he saw it hatch in Beyond the Deepwoods. As a Twig/Cowlquape fan, I find that there is no time for romance between the two except during Midnight over Sanctaphrax. So I've decided to mix things up a bit. In this fic, Twig rescues Cowlquape when they are still young and he doesn't get taken to Riverise. This is my first fic so constructive criticism will be much appreciated. Plain hate comments will be laughed at.
Now, commence with the fic!
I kept my head down as I walked briskly through the busy streets of Undertown shivering slightly in the cold. It had been a few weeks since Twig and his crew had left in the SkyRaider for Riverise and I had officially become the Most High Academe of New Sanctaphrax. The last few weeks had been hectic but thankfully hardly ever chaotic. Accommodation had been easier enough to get, even though some of the Undertowners had scorned the idea of giving up their land for the high-and-mighty pompous Sky scholars. The Sky scholars liked the idea even less and there had been a massive uproar when their location of shelter was discovered. Eventually though, I managed to persuade the seven professors of the seven major schools and so each and every Sanctaphrax scholar was moved to vacant land. We mainly cooked our own food or bought food elsewhere in Undertown, much to the scholars chagrin. I smiled to myself as I thought of the faces of the scholars when told they would be staying in Undertown. Buildings for New Sanctaphrax had also gotten underway. It was predicted that a new rock big enough to support a new Sanctaphrax would not grow for a very long time. Upon hearing this, the seven professors of the seven major schools and I organized a new Sanctaphrax to be built on the ground. Amazingly, the architect of Sanctaphrax was Vox who had a brilliant mind in these things. We were not friends or even accomplices and he still despised me but I had to admit that he was a genius
The professors were not happy about this sudden development but they had no choice as they knew they could not stay in small tents for very long. I had also grown slightly confident since being made Most High Academe of Sanctaphrax but I still shivered slightly whenever a scholar, no matter how low in the rankings looked at me with scorn. I sighed and turned the corner and entered an empty lane that would eventually lead me to the camp of the Scholars. It was a starry night with just a comfortable hint of breeze in the air. It had just rained a while ago and the moonbeams bounced off the water on the road. I looked up and drew in a deep breath, thankful for the peace and quiet that the night brought me and the escape it gave me from the meetings and heated discussions and arguments that came from being the Most High Academe. Staring at the stars, I picked out a constellation that looked like a skyship. It had all the right features and I if I squinted I thought I could see a captain and his crew bustling away on board. I smiled as I saw it, remembering Twig. I had often thought of Twig during the nights after a long day and had often wondered where he was. I had always imagined him floating through the trees scanning the horizon with a keen eye, looking for the entrance to Riverise while he shouted orders to the crew. The first few days after he left, I often yearned to be by his side helping him to get to Riverise rather than being in Sanctaphrax dealing with whining scholars and angry professors. A few days more and the yearning faded away as I got more and more busier with each passing day but it was still there nonetheless and on nights like this, when all was quiet the yearning would come back. I turned away and continued on my way, my mind at rest for some time until I reached the still very much awake camp. I bit my lip as I stared at the tents nervously and all the scholars who were still not in bed. I always came back to camp late, preferring to skulk around in the shadows than walking straight through camp past the staring faces. I felt embarrassed to think that I was afraid of the people I had to protect but I couldn't help it, the way the scholars looked at me still made my stomach squirm. They knew I had been a Sub-Acolyte before I had gone off with Twig to find his crew and even though I had become Most High Academe, to them I was still Undertown scum.
Today, there was no escape. I would have to walk right into the centre of camp to get to the tent I occupied and the thought scared me. I could not linger by the edge of camp; scholars had already seen me and were in small groups evidently talking about me. To leave now when everyone had seen me would truly mark me out as scum to them. I took a deep breath and steadied myself before stepping into the camp, keeping my eyes straight ahead towards the centre of the camp. Scholars stopped and stared at me with no shame, some glaring and others whispering to their neighbor. My throat was dry and putting one foot in front of the other was an effort and the on top of all this the Sanctaphrax seal weighed me down, slowing my movement an extending the torture. Finally, I reached the centre of camp and hurried over to my tent, escaping the whispering behind me. I rushed into my tent and leaned against one of the canvas walls before sliding down it and letting out a deep breath. I was glad it was over, if I had been out in the crowd for a minute longer I would have fled and if I did that, I would never be able to face the professors or anyone for that matter ever again. It had never been like this before when he was a sub-acolyte in Sanctaphrax mainly because no one knew anything about me.
No one really knew that I was a sub-acolyte and so I was never stared at or whispered about but here, when people knew every detail about me, I was afraid to even walk through camp. I had never liked being the centre of attention and I would be embarrassed to see even one person staring at me but now it was almost unbearable. I sighed and looked around my tent, as if it would give me some new found hope. It was a large tent with a nice mattress to sleep on and a kind of old desk that no one wanted which I used for paperwork where most of my barkscrolls were kept. There was a mirror that was hanging on the right wall of the canvas and in a corner there was a bag of my clothes. Apart from that, there was not much else in the room of interest. I got up from my position on the floor and lay down on the mattress, my mind already thinking about all the things I would have to do the next day. Then, a single idea nosed itself into my head which rang loudly and relentlessly. No one understands me. I stopped thinking about the schedule for the next day and instead focused on that one thought that would not let me go. It was true in a way; the professors thought I was a confused young'un who would never get anywhere and the scholars thought I was useless scum. The last person to understand me was Twig and he was far away in a grand, magnificent skyship. I bit my lip, the fact that no one understood me; no one would bother about me hurt me more than you could possibly imagine.
When I had lived alone with my father in Undertown, I would get these thoughts while I was reading a barkscroll in bed or while I was walking through the streets of Undertown. The thoughts used to scare me; they made me think about things I didn't want to think about and once I started thinking I couldn't stop. In the end I would almost always have tears in my eyes. The memories came back to me and I bit my lip harder, hoping that they would all go away. I got up from my mattress quickly and stood up before rushing out of the tent. I didn't care anymore about people staring at me; I had to get away from these thoughts. As soon as I got out of the camp, I turned around and headed down a quiet street. The moonlight beamed down upon the street and allowed me to see. I let the cool breeze and the silence calm me down and I continued walking trying to keep my mind completely clear. You should die. It was the voice inside my head; I angrily blocked it out and continued walking with my shoulders hunched. No one cares what happens to you; your own mother didn't care enough to stay and look after you and instead left you with a father who hates you. My lip was bleeding from being bitten and I walked faster, as if walking would help me shake off the voices. Who do you think you are, a young'un leading the sky scholars? How will you do it? You should hand the seal to someone capable, a professor of a major school or even Vox, he could lead the scholars to prosperity while you"-and here an imaginary voice sniggered- "while you would run them into the ground. I started running and a few moments later I felt something wet on my face. It was the tears; I knew they'd be coming. Suddenly I heard footsteps behind me, by the sound of it a few men.
I turned around and saw three large, strong men running at me with clubs drawn. My heart came up to my mouth and chest pounding I continued running. There was no one else on the street to ask for help and the deeper into Undertown I ran, the streets kept getting more and more complicated, with twists and turns and dead ends. I rushed down a cobbled stoned street and noticed it was immediately darker than the street I had just come by. I wanted to stop right then and there and run back to a brighter street but the men were just around the corner and as I turned around for the second time I was startled to find how close they were. I tried to run faster and I turned the corner into a street just like all the others with closed, run-down taverns with boarded up windows on either side while behind me, I could hear the men grunting with exertion. There street led to a narrow alleyway and I pushed onwards thinking the men would give up the chase. I was feeling tired as I squeezed through the narrow gap and came out on the other side into another equally quiet street. The men had stopped, unable to squeeze themselves through the alleyway and my spirits soared. My relief however was short-lived as shadows lurked towards me, clubs in hand. My eyes grew wide and I spun around looking for the alleyway but a rough hand pushed me down and I fell onto the ground on my knees. One of the men, a brunette with a long scar starting from his temple reaching down to his cheek held up the club he was holding and brought it smashing down upon my head. The world spun before my eyes and the men kept coming back into my view only to disappear the next moment. The man with the scar laughed heartily and through his club down on the ground. It was the last thing I remembered before losing consciousness