Dark days in Undertown
As he soared through the air on the Storm hornet Rook Barkwater smiled benevolently. He loved the feel of the wind in his face and the excitement of flying the sky craft he had crafted himself. He soared over Undertown and towards Screetown and swallowed uneasily. Screetown, the barren wasteland of rubble, dark crevices and fearsome creatures. He shivered, even though the heat was unbearably hot and sweat drenched his face and body underneath his flight suit. He tugged on the mainsail and turned sharply around in the air. He sped back towards and Undertown and felt relieved as he left Screetown behind him. He soared through the air and mopped his brow to clear his soaked forehead. All of a sudden he heard a sharp ripping noise and his sky craft's prow suddenly dipped down. He struggled desperately to control his bucking sky craft, but he could barley constrain it. What was wrong with the Storm hornet? Rook thought desperately, it had never lost control before. He looked down below his sky craft and gasped, the neben weight was missing. He must have not tied it properly and it had come undone whilst he was flying. Stupid, stupid, stupid he told himself angrily. How could he have been such a fool? What would Varis and Magda say? They would have been very disappointed in him that's for sure, but Rook didn't have time to think about that right now, he needed to control his sky craft. After a few minutes of bucking and dipping he came to the conclusion that he needed to land in Undertown. It was risky as the Goblin guards and guardians of Night were ever vigilant and would leap at the chance to find a lone Librarian knight to capture and enslave, but what choice did he have? Carefully he lifted the loft sail and pulled on the nether-sail rope and slowly descended towards the ground. Undertown loomed before him with its ramshackle houses and filthy slums as he carefully steered his brokered sky craft through the thick smoke of the foundries. He was lowering himself beneath an alleyway between two tall buildings, battling to keep his sky craft under control. Finally, he touched onto the cobbled street with a thump and rolled off his Sky craft. The sails dropped and the Storm hornet lay in heap on the street. He looked both ways down the street to check the coast was clear. He clung on to his sky craft and slowly tugged towards and small and narrow gap between two towers. After he had slotted the Storm hornet in-between the tall and rickety towers Rook wiped the sweat from his brow. It was even hotter down here in Undertown and his entire body was drenched in glistening sweat under his leather flight suit. He sat down and began to think about how what he was going to do. He needed to get back into the sewers and make his way back towards the great library and, sky willing; he could come back and retrieve his damaged sky craft. He got back on to his feet warily and darted down the gaping alleyway. When he reached the end of the gap, he peered out and looked around. Rook looked out over a large and square clearing. The only people there were two Mobgnome males dragging a barrel of Winesap across the square. Perfect, thought Rook. Now if he could just find a drain large enough he would be able to find his way back towards the great library and report back. But just as he was about to dart out of the dark alleyway he heard heavy thumping footsteps echoing across the square. He shrank back into the shadows and listened as the footsteps grew louder. They were accompanied by loud and barking voices and the jangling of heavy armour. Goblin guards! Though Rook. He chewed into his bottom lip nervously as the first guard entered the clearing. There were three flathead guards in all, dressed in thick battle armour and, to his dismay, leading two ferocious white collared wood wolves slavering and snarling on their chains. Rook trembled as they marched across the square and sweated all the more. The heat was now making his head throb and his heart pounded uncontrollably and his leather flight suit was uncomfortably hot. He fingered his collar nervously as he watched the gobbling guards exit the square. Gasping with relief he poked his head out of the alley and darted out of the gap in the buildings. He was just about to enter another dark and steamy alley when he heard a vicious bark echo across the clearing. He spun around and gulped as he saw the two wood wolves bounding across the square towards him. Terrified, he bolted between the alley and ran for his life, but it was no good. The wood wolves were too fast and were soon snapping at his heels. He managed about five more paces and was tripped over by a great and powerful paw. He ended up sprawling across the cobbled streets and turning onto his back. He was about to clamber up and make a dash for it but before he could move a muscle he was pinned down by two heavy set paws on his shoulders. He looked up into the yellow eyes of one of the snarling wood wolves and Swallowed nervously. He could smell the warm and fetid breath of the slavering beast and trembled. There was no way he could escape now; he had been caught like a startled wood rabbit. A sharp whistle to his right and the beast had stepped off him and backed off. He found himself on the floor beneath the three flatheads he had seen earlier. They sneered unpleasantly and one of them stepped forward and reached down.
Mug rig grabbed the young librarian's leather flight jacket and pulled his face close to his. He could smell the librarian's warm and slightly sour breath, and he triumphed at the look of pure terror on the youths face. Fool, he thought sneaking round thinking you couldn't be caught. Put a stop to that didn't we! He lifted up the librarians head and banged it against the cobbled floor, the youth's head slumped forward and he groaned softly. The flathead shook his head in disgust. "Take him away!" he shouted to his two comrades. The two other flatheads stepped forward and reached down towards the sprawling librarian...
Rook's head was pounding painfully from the knock on the back of his head. He felt giddy and bilious and his vision was blurred and shaky. One of the flatheads grabbed the young librarian's leather flight jacket and tugged; he lurched upwards and was pulled to his feet. His legs felt wobbly and he swayed back and forth. The two flathead guards seized both of his arms and shoved him forward, the other goblin and the two wood wolves close behind. The cobbles blurred as Rook was propelled forward and he slipped and stumbled through the dark street. The flatheads handled him viciously and they frogmarched him through the blazing heat. His face was drenched his sweat and he was swarmed by salt flies. They landed on his ears, his eyes; they crawled around his lips and in his mouth, sucking up the drops of sweat. With both of his arms held by his side he could do nothing to try and bat them away. They continued to torment him and he closed his eyes defeated. He was finished. He had been caught by the goblin guards and now he was doomed. They would take him to the sanctaphrax forest and work him to death, or sell him to the guardians of night. He shuddered as he thought of the two possibilities, thinking of which one was worse. He felt dizzy and his flight suit was soaking wet from the drenching waves of sweat emitting from his body. His mouth tasted sour and the salt flies still wriggled around inside his mouth, crawling on his tongue and on his teeth. The flathead guards dragged him on, through the dark streets and presumably towards the slave market, where he would be hung on a hook and sold to the highest bidder. What a fool you've been Rook Barkwater, he thought. Landing in Undertown and being caught by one of the librarian's fiercest enemies. Just look at him now, being dragged through Undertown and powerless to do anything about it. Suddenly the two flatheads came to a stop. He looked up warily and focused up ahead. They had stopped at the foot of a tall building, with grimy windows and dirty bricks. The two guards let go and he thought about making a dash for it, but only for a moment. He was shoved viciously in the back and he banged his head against the door and sprawled on the floor. One of the flatheads banged on the door loudly. The other one reached down and grabbed Rook by the scruff of his collar; he pulled him roughly to his feet and hoiked him high off the ground. He found himself suspended in the air and his feet dangling off the ground. He heard voices just in front of him and listened closely. "Bit damaged isn't he" said a high pitched voice "great big lump on the back of his head, and he isn't very big is he" the voice enquired. "You said a Librarian knight and we got you one" said the leading Flathead "now you either buy him or find someone else to do your dirty work". There was a pause, finally Rook heard a jangle of coins being passed over, he was placed down on the ground and his legs threatened to crumple. He heard the sound of footsteps marching away and the fading yowls of the white collared wood wolves. He swayed back and forth on the spot and stared ahead of him. He could see a low doorway with a Small but stocky Gnokgoblin glaring out at him. Suddenly, the Gnokgoblin reached forwards and grabbed the front of his flight jacket and tugged. Rook lurched forwards and banged his head against the top of the door frame. His head throbbed viciously and his legs were wobbly beneath him. Someone behind him grabbed his arms and pinned them to his side, he was pulled up straight and the Gnokgoblin's leering face was pushed into his own. " Hold him tight Grom he might make a break for it" trilled the Gnokgoblin " mind you" he added " doesn't look in any state to start running does he" He chuckled cruelly. A voice behind him sounded, it was deep and booming and with such volume that Rook winced in pain. "That's right Cragg, bit on the small side though ain't he?" he growled "Sure he'll do?" "Of course I'm sure you dimwit" the Gnokgoblin snapped "he's a librarian knight isn't he? Supposed to be strong they are, just need to check him out..." The Gnokgoblin grabbed Rook's chin and lifted his head up. He felt his cheeks, his lips and felt up and down the young librarian's flight suit. He wrenched Rook's mouth open and plunged his fingers inside his mouth. Rook felt the goblins gnarled finger scratching his teeth and pulling his tongue. He fingered his gums and smelt his breath and then finally pulled his fingers out. "Ok, let go of him now Grom" he snapped. Grom let go of Rook and stepped back. Rook's legs buckled and he sank to his knees. It was so hot now that his sweat was getting in his eyes, and he was sweating under his flight suit even though he was inside. It turned out that Grom was a hulking great tufted goblin, with a jutting jaw and bloodshot eyes and armed with a vicious cudgel. "Well take him to his room then" snapped Cragg "and make sure he doesn't get out, wouldn't want our little friend here getting lost now do we". Rook was lifted off the ground by Grom and pulled after the great tufted goblin. Rook swayed after him and he was choked by his restricted flight jacket. His feet banged against a flight of stairs as the tufted goblin made his way up the building and into a narrow hallway. Grom opened a small door and threw Rook inside the damp and dark room. He crashed to the ground and sprawled out on the floor. His head throbbed uncontrollably and his leather flight suit rubbed against his skin, giving him painful blisters. He heard the door slam shut behind him and he was alone in the room. He lay there gasping for breath and soaked to the skin with sweat, he hurt all over and his mouth felt dry, cracked and sour. He needed water soon. Or else he would die of thirst. Suddenly he closed his eyes; it was all too much. The pain from his head and the blazing heat were making him weak and the light was fading quickly. He was soon unconscious and left lying on the dirty floor.
Magda Burlix paced across the hard wooden floor impatiently. Where was Rook? They were supposed to meet on the Blackwood Bridge at midday and have lunch together. That was over half an hour ago, he was supposed to have been on patrol and then reported back at eleven. Sometimes Rook could be very irritating she thought bitterly, always with his head in the clouds and wandering off and getting in trouble. But he was quite handsome she supposed, with his black scraggly hair and slight face he looked quite nice. But Rook was just her friend she thought sharply, not her boyfriend. She sighed, where was Rook anyway? And why was he taking so long? Something was wrong and she just knew Rook was out there somewhere.
Rook was rudely awoken by being lifted by his neck and up in the air. His eyes snapped open and he found himself staring into the face of Grom the tufted goblin. "Move it Librarian scum" he roared in his face "time to do what you were payed for" He dropped Rook and shoved him hard in the back; he stumbled out of the room and into the dark and dusty corridor again. With Grom giving him sharp pushes, Rook was propelled and shoved down the stairs and into the main room he was in yesterday. His head still throbbed painfully and every jolt was agony. Cragg the Gnokgoblin appeared and glared at him. "Shall we take him to the shrykes now Cragg?" Grom grunted. Rook shuddered at the mention of the fearsome bird creatures, what would they be doing with him? He trembled at the thought. Cragg glared at him and shrieked "first we have to feed him Grom you halfwit, and give him some water while you're at it" Rook felt Grom grab him by the scruff of his flight suit and drag him across the room he pulled him through another doorway and banged Rook's head against the door frame yet again. Inside was a sort of kitchen, with a wooden table in the middle and a line of shelves across one wall. Grom shoved him towards the table and reached towards one of the shelves. Rook watched him grab a small pouch and flask and throw it across towards him. Rook grasped them gratefully and uncapped the flask. He gulped down the water, spilling it down across his cheeks and finished it in a few moments. He gasped and set the flask down; he then reached towards the small pouch and tugged it open. Inside the bag there were scraps of black bread. He reached in and grabbed as many as he could carry and stuffed them inside his mouth. As soon as he had finished his meagre meal, Grom had grabbed the front of his flight suit and was dragging him out of the tiny kitchen. Cragg was waiting there impatiently and pacing up and down. "There you are you great lummox!" He exclaimed angrily "We need to leave at once! Sister Hookbill is waiting, and you know how she much she hates waiting Grom". Cragg flung open the door and marched primly outside, Grom trundled behind lifting Rook in the air with his feet dangling above the cobbled street. The sun beat down on them as they made their way through the narrow alleys and large clearings of Undertown. They passed through gaggles of goblin matrons and gangs of goblin mercenaries, groups of cloddertrogs and huddles of slaughterers. They headed west through Undertown and towards the great mire road, where the fearsome shrykes set up their money making scandal. Finally they emerged through a slight and narrow alley and the tall towers of the great mire road loomed before them. They made their way through the bustling crowd of travellers and traders, making their way towards the deepwoods and beyond. Rook gulped. He had never liked the great mire road, inhabited by the terrifying shrykes and the danger that lay ahead. Finally they came to the Shryke sisterhoods Ironwood pine, transported from the deepwoods and imported for the shrykes benefit. At the foot of the Ironwood pine stood a tall and imposing Shryke with deep purple plumage and a gaudy deep red qualm cloak. She noticed the oncoming threesome and looked around sharply. As they approached she clucked irritably and whispered furiously "your late you goblin scum! If the roost mother see's me dealing with the likes of you she'll rip my plumage out and feast on my entrails!" Cragg bowed quickly and said softly "sorry sister Hookbill, but we were just preparing the top quality slave that we promised for you, a librarian knight no less!" Sister Hookbill looked around furtively "Be quiet you fool! Do you want anyone to hear?" she paused "A librarian knight you say, show him to me!" Grom shoved Rook forward and in front of the imposing Shryke sister. He trembled under her furious gaze and swallowed uneasily. She reached out and grabbed him by the chin, her sharp talons dug into his skin and he bit into his lower lip nervously. She twisted his head around and inspected him thoroughly, looking for any faults. "A bit damaged but he'll do" she finally proclaimed. "Excellent!" Cragg exclaimed "now erm, about the price...". "Yes yes I was coming to that" squawked Sister Hookbill indigently " now let's see, a bit damaged, looks like he's just been hit over the head with an Ironwood tree to be precise!, for that I'll give you... Seventy gold pieces" her eyes glinted maliciously "unless you want to see the colour of your own insides..." Cragg turned pale "Yes of course Sister Hookbill, that's plenty of course". And with that she threw Cragg a bag of gold pieces and turned to Rook. "Well my fine young friend" she said to him cruelly "looks like you'll be coming with me and Bekkle won't you?" She turned around and strode over to a blue and white striped tent and squawked "Bekkle come out you feather brained pile of Shryke dung!" There was a great deal of scuffling coming from within the tent and a drab Shryke male came bounding out of the tent, he came out with a leash around his neck and length of chain in his puny claws. Sister Hookbill grabbed hold of Bekkle's leash and yanked the chain out of his clutches. Ripping a hole through Rook's flight suit with her claw, she tugged him towards her and clapped on the metal chains to his wrists. And with that she yanked on the chains and set off with Bekkle at her side. Rook stumbled after her, propelled by the power of her pull. They made their way towards the Blue and white tent and promptly stepped inside. Rook was yanked in after her and sprawled out onto the thick carpeted floor. Great, he thought glumly, sold to the goblins and now sold to the shrykes. what was next he wondered miserably. He looked up and gazed around at the ornately decorated tent. Elaborate Blackwood furniture, priceless ornaments and gaudy cloaks and dresses were all clustered around with Sister Hookbill and Bekkle standing in the middle. "Well my young Librarian knight" She clucked softly "you're going to be doing something very important for me and Bekkle from now on". She squawked with laughter and Rook gulped desperately, it looked like he had been sold to a particularly gruesome specimen.
Magda Burlix cautiously climbed out of the western entrance tunnel to the sewers. Rook had been missing for a day now and she was worried sick, so she had decided to set out and search for him. A ginger haired librarian knight had reported seeing another librarian near the great mire road and she had set out to search straight away. She had wondered why Rook would go near those Shrykes when he was so terrified of them. Varis had forbidden her to go on pain of a session with Petris Fillit's treatise about oozefish which Rook had told her so much about, but what choice did she have? Rook was her friend and she wasn't going to abandon him to the Shrykes. The great mire road loomed up in front of her and she shuddered uneasily. She creeped up the mudflats and stayed in the shadows to conceal herself. When she reached the foot of the mire road she scrambled up the side of the muddy slope and peered over the edge. She jumped onto the back of a passing wagon and hid behind a barrel of woodgrog. Now I just need to find out where Rook is She thought grimly as she trundled past a flock of Shryke guards on patrol.
"Now slave this is the plan" began sister Hookbill "You will go to the top of the ironwood tree and to Mother Muleclaws personal chambers. You will slit her throat without anyone seeing you and slip back again and then" she paused dramatically "I will be the new roost mother, Mother Hookbill of the golden age of shrykes!" Rook shuddered uneasily; with her being the new roost mother the current situation in Undertown would be even more chaotic. And even worse was that he, Rook Barkwater, would be the one to have to get past the entire Shryke sisterhood and murder the current mother Muleclaw. It made his made his stomach churn and He swallowed noisily. Sister Hookbill gave him a long searching look. "Bekkle will come with you to ensure that you don't flee like the coward you are!" She squawked loudly. Rook swallowed again and Sister Hookbill sneered in disgust at his obvious discomfort. She stepped forward and grabbed his neck; she lifted him bodily in the air and pushed her face up in his. "Mark my words librarian scum if you do anything wrong I will personally see to it that your gizzard is ripped out and fed to the fledglings, do you understand?" she glared at him and tightened her grip around his neck. Rook swallowed once again and nodded weakly. Sister Hookbill sneered at him and then dropped him to the ground, he crashed onto the floor and the air from his lungs was forcibly expelled. "I hope you do slave, you wouldn't want anything to happen to that handsome little face do you? Now I must alert my allies' sister Beakslash and sister Blood gizzard about the next step in our plan". She turned around sharply "Bekkle you had better not let him escape or I will swallow you whole do you understand?" she glowered. "Yes mistress and candle of my soul" cooed the puny Shryke mate "he won't set foot out of this tent whilst I'm here". She sighed "Just see to it that he doesn't Bekkle" and with that she strode out of the tent. Rook shuddered with relief and relaxed his tensed muscles, he looked at Bekkle and was disappointed to see him with a long curved knife standing at the entrance to the tent. Rook sighed; there would be no escape for him.
"She did what?!" shouted Varis Lodd the head Librarian knight at the trembling youth before her. He was very tall with short sandy hair, pale skin and a clenched jaw that was chattering with fright. "She set out to find R...r...Rook Barkwater at the mire gates" the youth stuttered. Varis Lodd glared at him "and tell me Samuelis Wykees, what did you do to stop her after she told you this?" The youth bowed his head in shame. Varis sighed; when she got her hands Magda by Earth and sky did she have a punishment for her. "Just get out Wykees and go back to your duties you fool" The youths face went bright red and he scuffled out of Varisi's study quickly. Her faced turned dark and she wondered where they were right now. She sighed again and murmured a prayer for the both of them.
"Excellent Sister Hookbill excellent!" clucked sister Blood gizzard excitedly. "With you as the new Roost mother and me and sister Beakslash as your second in commands we will be the most powerful force in all of the edge!" she paused for a second "but can we trust this Librarian slave of yours to do it?" she asked. "He seems like a coward" admitted sister Hookbill "but with Bekkle there he won't even think of double crossing me Sister's". The three sisters were crouched in the shadows of the ironwood pine, away from prying eyes and pressing ears. The sisters nodded, fresh from the eastern roost they were the most ambitious out of all the sisterhood. From the day they had arrived they had dreamed of greater things and now they were putting their grand schemes into action. By tomorrow evening, there would be a new roost mother. Ad they would make sure it was Sister Hookbill.
Rook waited nervously in the shrykes tent, Bekkle had kept a close watch on him and he couldn't do anything about it. He was trapped and his chances of surviving Sister Hookbill's plan were slim. He sighed and thought about Magda, his friend and fellow librarian knight. To think that only last night he had met her in the storm chamber underground. He wished that she was here right now and was coming to save him from the clutches of the evil sister Hookbill. He missed her laugh, her sweet smile and her beautiful face. He sighed, he would probably never see her again and it was his entire fault. He had been a fool to have let his neben weights snap, suddenly the tent flap opened up and Sister Hookbill strode in. She glared at Rook and loomed over him. "Time to go librarian scum, and don't even think about running away" she squawked. She seized Rook by the hole in his Jacket, pulled him roughly to his feet and marched him through the flap of the tent with Bekkle in tow.
Magda crouched in the shadows of the Ironwood pine and peered out over the open courtyard. He must be somewhere! She thought desperately. Then suddenly she saw a tall Shryke sister, with purple plumage and a fine crimson cloak she strode out of a blue and white tent and paused outside. Moments later a young librarian knight in a leather flight suit, with black hair and a wiry body stumbled out after her with his hands in chains. It was Rook! She thought excitedly, so he was still alive. She quickly pulled her hood over her head and stepped into the crowd to follow him. She slipped and stumbled through the crowd until she was just a few paces behind them. It was so hot in the clearing and her entire body glistened with sweat, she wiped some of it from her brow and resumed her chase. They were heading around the ironwood pine, she realised, and towards a set of stairs leading all the way up to the top. They stopped at the base of the stairs and the Shryke sister began to talk franticly to him, they were accompanied by a drab Shryke male with a long curved knife and blue cloak. After a while the Shryke sister glanced furtively around and dashed off quickly. Rook and the Shryke male were left alone; the Shryke male turned around and gestured to Rook for him to start climbing. When they had climbed to the first level, Magda rushed out and took the descent after them. She would save Rook her greatest friend, no matter what.
Rook stumbled up the stairway slowly, it was tricky as his head was still throbbing and his flight suit was unbelievably hot and uncomfortable. He couldn't turn back what with Bekkle pushing him on. He suddenly tripped over a step and sprawled out on the steps. Bekkle clucked impatiently and prodded him with his knife; Rook stood up shakily and clambered on. Suddenly he heard a high pitched squeak emit from behind him and he spun around. There was Bekkle his beak open and staring ahead as if in a trance, then Rook noticed that there was a blade sticking out of his chest. It was quickly withdrawn from his chest and Bekkle tumbled off the staircase and down into the Edgewater river below. Rook looked back down the staircase, his mouth dropped open in surprise and he stared down at his savour. It was a librarian knight with long golden hair and a smiling face with tears in her eyes. "Magda!" shouted Rook he rushed forwards and hugged her tightly. Suddenly she pulled his head back reached forwards...and kissed him. He breathed in her sweet breath and looked into her light brown eyes in shock. After a few seconds she pulled away and Rook stared at her with his mouth open and his eyes wide. "Wha...What was that for?" gasped Rook, Magda laughed and hugged him again, and Rook was frozen in shock. He had just kissed Magda! He had just kissed Magda! His head was swimming and his surprise turned into happiness. Magda pulled away from him and beamed, he smiled back and squeezed her hand. Their joy was short lived because suddenly a furious shriek emitted from below them. They turned to see a group of about five Shryke guards rushing up the stairs towards them. Rook gasped in horror but fortunately Magda was still thinking straight. She grabbed his jacket collar and shoved him roughly up the stairs; he stumbled but regained his footing as he heard Magda scream "RUN!" They bolted up the stairwell and stumbled up to the next floor. Suddenly two more guards had were rushing down the stairs above them, they were trapped. Rook gasped as Magda once again seized him by the hole in his jacket and tugged him out of the way and onto the landing. This time Rook sprawled out onto the floor as Magda pulled out her sword to battle the oncoming Shrykes. Rook clambered to his feet and pulled out the long knife that Sister Hookbill had given him and steadied himself in a battle stance. His heart was pounding, he was sweating from every pore and his temples were throbbing continuously. This really did look like the end. The Shrykes fell upon them in a matter of moments and attacked them viciously. Rook slashed at them with his sword desperately but it was no good, he had never been any good at sword fighting, Magda was always better at that. The Shrykes were hacking at them with such force it was all Rook could do block their ferocious bone flails and serrated spears. He stole a glance at Magda and saw that two Shrykes were already dead at her feet. He concentrated on the remaining Shrykes and desperately tried to hold them off, but it was useless. Finally one of the Shrykes had disarmed him, had grabbed him by the scruff of his collar and lifted him off the ground. He trembled as his body was suspended in the air; with his leather flight jacket tight beneath his arms he couldn't move them. The fearsome Shryke guard was already screeching loudly and raising her serrated spear to his neck. He wriggled desperately but the Shryke's grip was too powerful. Suddenly his head lolled forward, it was too much. His throbbing head, the blazing heat and the pressure of his restricted leather Flight jacket making it hard to breathe. He heard the swish of the Shryke's spear and then... He dropped to the floor with a thud. He looked up warily and saw the Shryke guard crushed beneath a great wooden pole, Magda must have cut one of the ropes suspending it in the air. Suddenly someone grabbed the back of his Flight suit and was dragging him away, he slumped forward and stared at his feet as he was tugged away from the screaming Shrykes and the sounds of battle. The dragging stopped and he looked behind him, there was Magda tears in her eyes and looking right into his own. He looked at her desperately and tried to say something but nothing came out. She touched his lips with her finger and shook her head. She grabbed him by the arms and pulled him to his feet, he swayed back and forth. Magda held his hand and squeezed it, and then she jumped off the edge. Rook was dragged after her and soon they were both freefalling, plummeting down towards the great Edgewater River. Rook straitened up and prepared for contact with the water. Moments later he plunged into the warm and oily water with Magda by his side. The water lapped lazily over the leather of his flight suit as he broke the surface and he clung on to Magda. He looked around and saw her head floating just above the surface and hugged her tight so that he could feel the curves of her body. Though he was immersed in water, he began to sweat uncomfortably inside his flight suit as he treaded water. Magda was so close he could hear the rasping in her breathing and smell her warm and sweet breath. He started to pull her towards land and she obliged by relaxing her body. He battled against the current and slowly but steadily reached the muddy shores. They both lay there panting uncontrollably and sweating uncomfortably. They lay there for several minutes catching their breath and resting from the hardships they endured. Finally Magda turned towards Rook and said weakly "You know you really do stink with all that sweat" Rook's cheeks burned red and Magda started laughing. They sat up and stared at each other for a few moments. Then Magda said "You know Rook what happened on the Ironwood tree, you do realise were still just friends, right?" Rook looked away, disappointed. He thought it was much more than that and he really did like Magda. "Yes" he whispered "Yes of course" And with that they stood up, and softly wandered back towards the Western entrance to the sewers.