Hello readers! Yes, I have returned, and hopefully this chapter will be longer! The last one wasn't Enjoy and review! By the way, it starts out in Raz's dream.
Raz hopped excitedly about the ship, giggling for all she was worth. Squint lunged for her, but she hopped out of his reach at the last moment. He landed face first on the ice deck, causing Raz to giggle even more. Gupta appeared in front of her and held his flute out as she moved left and right, trying to pass him. All other ways blocked, she finally surged forward and leapt over the badger's head, continuing on with a satisfied smirk. A loud, cheery voice exclaiming, "Belly flop!" alerted her of Flynn, as she hastily jumped away, truly afraid this time of being squashed. Gutt sat in the mast, watching the goings on with a smirk, Silas perched on his shoulder.
The bird had learned long ago that it was futile for him to try catching the joey. Try as they might, the pirate crew knew that there was only one of them who could ever catch Raz and bed her down for the night. Shira suddenly appeared and pounced on her daughter, not squishing her into the deck, but hovering over her to the point that she couldn't hop anywhere else. The joey squirmed vainly. "Ah, let me go mum!" Shira chuckled.
"I don't think so." she replied, leaning back and embracing Raz.
"Truly we are unworthy parents if we can't simply catch a little girl and put her to bed." Gupta chuckled. Raz glared at him indignantly.
"I'm not little!" she protested. "I'm just young. Besides, I'm a red roo, and we're tha' biggest of all tha' kangaroos! I'm gonna' be taller than all of ya', even Gutt!" Shira chuckled and nuzzled the joey.
"Yes, but even big reds need to sleep. Otherwise they won't get so big."
Raz awoke with a smirk, humored by her past times with the crew. She looked around the camp to see that no one else was awake yet. She smiled at Jae, before fondly rubbing her nose against his. His blue eyes opened, surprising her. "Mornin'."
"Mornin' Jae." The two sat up and stretched, before Jae wrapped an arm around Raz and gently nuzzled her cheek with his nose, causing her to giggle. He then gently kissed her nose and pulled her closer, stroking her ears. Raz leaned against him with a smirk. "Ya' know if anyone else was awake they'd tell us ta' get a cave."
"Why do ya' think I'm takin' this rare opportunity?" he whispered back. Jae began gently pressing his nose to Raz's neck, causing the female to giggle.
"Jae, stop it, that tickles!" she muttered, trying not to laugh. "Ye'r gonna' wake everyone up!" But Jae only persisted, and Raz could only giggle like an idiot, squirming around fruitlessly. At last, she was able to twist herself and grab his ear, softly yanking it.
Jae pulled his head back from her neck with an 'Ow!' but was smiling all the same. Raz giggled, then teasingly grabbed Jae's nose and lightly shook it back and forth.
"Hey!" Jae whispered nasally, before gripping Raz's hand and wrenching it off. Before she could make another move however, Jae tilted her chin upwards, and gently pressed his lips to hers. Raz stilled, a calm reverberating through her. She brought one hand up to the back of Jae's head, feeling serene...and loved...and happy. Something in her pouch suddenly gave a jerk, and she pulled back sharply, placing her hands over the joey. "Raz? What's wrong?"
"It...it's nothin' Jae. Mira's just movin' around." Raz replied with a soft smile. The jack seemed to let out a sigh of relief, before placing his own hand on her pouch.
"Mira...where ever did you come up with that?"
"She's a miracle, is she not?" Jae nodded.
"True. She's three months old now...it won't be much longer until we can't hide her." Raz frowned sadly.
"I know. Let's just hope it doesn't take us two months ta' get ta' this 'Stonehenge' place." Raz was thankful when Diego said they had arrived three days later. The band had reached a circle of stone pillars, sets of two linked together by other pillars laid horizontally across their tops. Within the circle appeared to be only grass.
"Well, what now Raz?" Gutt asked. The kangaroo stared at the set up for a moment, imagining Gutt squirming in his skin as he awaited her answer.
"The lullaby talks of tombs...and 'kings' being buried there, but I doubt that would offer us any help. At the end it doesmention waiting for the sun on a winter's day."
"We are in summer now! We will be stuck here forever! " Gupta interjected.
"That is true." Gutt agreed with a nod.
"It means sundown." All eyes turned to Diego.
"And how do you know that?"
"I know some of the lesserknown secrets of the Druids."
"But it doesn't even make sense!" Squint objected.
"It's all about opposites." Diego explained. "Winter is the opposite of summer, and day is the opposite of night. A winter's day is a summer's night, and night comes right after sundown." Gutt nodded.
"So we wait for sundown?"
Shira had run over the entire island, even the half of it that the hyraxes had warned her about, but she couldn't find Diego anywhere. She returned to the cubs now, carrying a fresh carcass. The four balls of energy rushed up and clambered all over their mother, excited to see her after a long day of her absence. She smiled and licked them all in greeting. "Momma, where's daddy?" Dennis asked. Shira winced; Dennis needed Diego if anyone right now. He was to lead after his father was gone, and Diego wanted to prepare him early, even if it was small and gentle nudgings in the right direction.
"Yeah, where is he? I haven't seen him all day!" Rebel inquired.
"Your father...left, for a while." Shira replied sadly.
"I...I don't know. Probably to find new hunting grounds. You know, some new suckers who don't know any of his tricks." Shira added with a smirk and a wink. The cubs giggled.
"I hope he get's back soon." Arilla said. Shira licked her tenderly.
"So do I, sweetheart."
Diego squirmed anxiously as the sun set. He had to try at least one last ditch effort to save this party. "Gutt, you have to listen to me!" he hissed. "You will die! Raz will die, Jae will die, I will die. You are condemning us all!" The ape paid him no attention. "Gutt please, you may be one of the most rotten creatures I've ever met but I'm willingto save your soul from what your gambling it for!"
"I lost my soul long ago Diego. Your pitydoes you no good here." Diego sighed, once again glancing over at Raz.
"I'm sorry." he whispered, even though she wasn't even looking at him. He turned his face to the ground in shame, "I'm sorry I couldn't save your family."
"Hey look, there's a beam of light comin' outta' one of the pillars!" Diego's head snapped up at Squint's voice. Indeed, as the sun set, a beam of its light traveled across the grassy clearing towards another pillar.
"Well?" Gutt asked. "Someonemust know what to do." Diego steeled himself to reply.
"Whichever pillar the beam lands on is the one that stands before the entryway." he said, reiterating his father's words. The group made their way to the pillar that the beam soon shined on, and began feeling it for something. Diego hung back until they had stumped themselves. Once they had cleared away, he stepped forward and laid a paw on the pillar, before lowering his head and taking a deep breath. "I promised myself...I'd never do this." He gritted his teeth and drew all four claws in a circle on the right side of the pillar, sparks flying as the first circle was made. Once it was finished, he did the same thing up a little higher in the center of the pillar, making a second circle that overlapped part of the first one.
Then he drew a third circle on the left side of the pillar, below the one in the middle but at the same level as the one on the right. They all overlapped in the center of the pillar, forming an oval like shape, each circle made of four lines. They claw lines suddenly glowed a light blue, and Diego stepped a good yard back from it. The ground just in front of the pillar suddenly caved inwards, revealing a flight of stone stairs. The rest of the party gasped and murmured amongst each other. Diego descended down the stairs, his heart heavy as he remembered the one other time he had gone into this place. The pain nearly consumed him, but he hid it expertly.
Raz hopped carefully down the steps, unstable using such a human device. The way was long and tiring, and they went deeper into the earth than Raz thought possible. They finally reached a large chamber, hollowed out and the walls covered with mysterious writing that could only be interpreted as writing. She approached one of the walls and reached out to touch one picture in particular that caught her attention. "Don't!" The sharp cry surprised Raz and she jerked back, turning to Diego. He seemed to calm down after a moment.
"It's writing." he explained. "Forewarnings that to continue on is doom." Raz blinked; those words didn't sound like Diego's own.
"So, where is the bounty?" Gutt asked. Diego sighed, and Raz thought she saw a melancholy expression flit across his face.
"It's not here. The Druid's were very thorough." he replied, before leading them onwards and through another tunnel. At the end was another chamber, only this one was dominated by a strange structure on the far wall. Diego halted right in front of it. As Raz approached it she could see a definite shape to the vertical structure; it looked like the face and underside of a sabertooth had been carved into whatever material it was made out of.
"Blimey, what is that?" she asked.
"A sarcophagus." Diego replied.
"A sack-cargo-what?" Jae inquired.
"Sarcophagus. The Druids were, in a way, advanced beyond other sabers. They had a form of writing - as you saw earlier - something even the humans don't have. They didn't just bury their dead; they sealed them in a case of rock, deep below the ground. They saw it as protection for their remains, and it was generally considered disrespectful and curse inducing to disrupt the dead from anyone'sfamily in their time."
"So this is supposed to be a way of protecting the bounty - placing one of their dead in the path?" Jae suggested. Diego nodded.
"You're pretty smart for a kangaroo." Raz giggled at Jae's indignant pout.
"So how do we get past this sarcastic cargo whatever ya' call it?" Gutt inquired.
"Quite simple." Diego replied. He walked around to the right side of the sarcophagus and raised up on his hind legs, placing his front paws on it. He then commenced pushing it to the side. Once it was fully out of the way, he led them through a rather narrow opening in the wall, single file. Once through, the group fanned out onto a rocky ledge.
"Say, Diego?" Raz asked quietly, catching the saber's attention. "How much would one of those weigh?"
"Eh...fifty pounds, add the weight of the body inside." Raz blinked in shock.
"But...you sabers weigh at most four hundred pounds."
"Hey, it's all muscle." Diego replied. He then smirked and took a few steps forward, examining the next obstacle that lay in their path. "And so begins the torture." he muttered.
Interesting, no? Again, this is not a good source for writing a school paper. The interpretation of the song lyrics are my own (which means no one else is to use them without my permission.) Please Review! :) And I would like to say thank you to MBSAVfan1, considering their my only constant reviewer. Come on guys, leave some reviews!