(Serious) Author's Note: This is the second story in a Series of Alternate Events, and is the sequel to another of my stories, 'The Sinister Schism'. Although it is not 100% necessary, I'd reccomend reading that first before this story.

(Fictional) Author's Note: Dear reader,

I am writing to notify you that the story you are now reading is very unpleasant. The Baudelaire children, who this story concerns, are not unpleasant themselves. They are intelligent and resourceful children, but their lives are plagued with misery and woe.

For instance, within this story the Baudelaires will face many unpleasantries, including a notorious villain, a terrifying castle, torrential rain, a late arrival and the loss of a friend.

I may have devoted myself to chronicling these tragic tales, but you have not yet devoted yourself to learning of them. It is not too late to abandon this and read something more upbeat, if you prefer such things.

With all due respect,


Chapter One

The word "blade" is a very interesting word. A homophone, to be exact, which is a word that sounds the same but has two different meanings.

One of these meanings, almost everyone knows; a sharp tool, usually metal, used in knives and other cutting instruments. This type of blade can be useful in a variety of ways, as it could possibly be used to slice up celery to put in a salad, or as a makeshift can opener, or in the eyes of an evil person such as the notorious Count Olaf, a blade could be used as a weapon.

However, the word "blade" has another meaning, and that refers to a place; the Blade. The Blade (or Blade Ridge, as it is sometimes known) lies fifty miles north of the city in the low hills, not too far from the town of Tedia. From past experience, I can conclusively tell you that Blade Ridge is not a nice place to visit. It is exactly as it suggests, a high, narrow - and I mean very, very narrow - ridge that descends out of the hills and around Bladeridge Castle, a fortification that has sprung up there in recent centuries. Like Blade Ridge itself, the castle is not a pleasant place to visit, with a dark, gloomy courtyard and menacing towers. It always leaves you with a feeling that you're being watched...

But, I digress. I must warn that both meanings of the word "blade" come up frequently throughout this story, especially when describing what a certain blade does when it the wrong hands at Bladeridge Castle. So I must warn that this story is neither pleasant nor happy at the start or the end, and there are very few pleasant or happy things that happen in the middle. It saddens me to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.

Sunny was frightened.

She woke again in the same cold, damp room that she had awoken in since surviving the cold waters of the Stricken Stream. The room was made of roughly cut stone, but the walls were old and damp and Sunny could see green patches where moss had grown into the walls. All in all, it wasn't a very pleasant place to be.

The room had no windows, only a couple of wooden torches fixed onto the thick stone walls, casting a soft yellow-orange light across the room. There was minimal furniture, too; merely a hard wooden bunk that Sunny's mother was sleeping on, and the bale of hay that Sunny had been forced to use as a mattress. Aside from that, the room was cold, bare and entirely miserable.

Sunny turned her attention from the room (nothing had changed since she'd arrived there, after all) to her mother, who had been her only companion during the last miserable fortnight. She was, of course, too young to understand what was going on exactly, being only an infant of two years, but she could tell that something was wrong.

Her mother lay sleeping fitfully - a word which here means "not at all comfortably" - on the wooden bunk, tossing and turning as though she was having a nightmare. The problem for Mrs Baudelaire was that when she woke that morning, she was still living in a nightmare. She was trapped with her youngest daughter Sunny, with no idea where they were and no idea whether their family were still alive or not. She didn't even know where she was. All she did know was that she and her daughter were entirely at the mercy of another.

That person soon ended up opening the thick wooden door into the Baudelaires' prison cell (as they had become used to calling it), waking Mrs Baudelaire and grabbing the attention of both the cell's occupants instantly.

The man who had walked into the room was a man in his mid-late forties, with a tall, slender figure, white hair and a goatee beard. He also sported a single, long eyebrow above his shiny eyes and had a tattoo of the V.F.D. insignia, the eye, on his left ankle. He was dressed scruffily in what may have once been formal clothing, and held a slender, curved knife in his right hand. The blade shone menacingly in the light of the room.

"I have news for you, Beatrice," Olaf snarled, beckoning for the Baudelaires to follow him, keeping the blade between the prisoner and the captor.

Date: August 19th

Time: Morning (I don't have a watch)

Sitrep: I don't really know why I'm doing this, if I'm honest. Klaus said that it helped him when trapped in the Firestarter base to write down his thoughts in his commonplace book, so I told him I'd give it a go. I guess this is a bit like a diary entry, really. I don't really know how to start this, but here goes.

My name is Violet Baudelaire.

I am fourteen years old.

And I'm a girl with no idea what to do.

It's been three weeks since the fire that destroyed our home in the city. Since then, I've been from place to place, trying to get by after that fateful day. Not only did I lose my home to fire, but my parents and Sunny to the evil Count Olaf. Thankfully I now know that father is safe; well, safe-ish. He's badly injured, but in safe hands in the Mortmain Mountains. As for mother and Sunny, well, I really don't know. Olaf had them in his clutches after he confronted us on the day of the fire, and I doubt he'll have let them out of his sight since then.

On the plus side, at least I still have Klaus. My twelve-year-old brother and I might not always have been best of friends, but we are close enough to stand by each other in the face of adversity, as we have done this past week. I hope that-

Violet Baudelaire, the eldest of the three Baudelaire siblings, paused for a moment as she was met by her brother outside the tent that they had slept in the previous night. They were alone in the Hinterlands; a vast, flat, dusty desert where nothing grows and nobody lives. There is just miles and miles of nothingness.

Violet and Klaus had been travelling into the north to the Mortmain Mountains, where they hoped to be reunited with their injured father once more. Apparently, the Baudelaire parents had been involved in a secret organisation known as V.F.D. before the children had been born, and a confrontation (or schism, as it was often called) had split the organisation in half. Now, members of the opposing side had tried to hunt down the Baudelaires, such as Count Olaf, who I'm sorry to say had done rather a good job of it.

Following a confrontation with Olaf and his henchmen, the two elder Baudelaire siblings had been on their way to the Mortmain Mountains with another V.F.D. member, Jacques Snicket, before the helicopter was shot down.

To cut a long story short, two days had passed since the crash and the Baudelaires were yet to move out from the wreckage.

"Hello Violet," Klaus said, coming to sit outside the tent with his elder sister. "Are you alright?"

"I guess so," Violet shrugged. "I mean, apart from the fact that we're all alone in a desolate landscape with no idea where to go next, I think I'm alright."

"We have some ideas," Klaus said helpfully.

"I know," his sister replied, looking out into the endless nothing of the Hinterlands. "Maybe we should head back towards the Verdant Valley, and explain to Daniel Thursday, the man in charge of the V.F.D. base there, that we failed to get to the Mortmain Mountains."

"What good would that do?" called a third voice from inside the Baudelaires' tent, a voice that belonged to fifteen-year-old Arlo Thursday.

Arlo was a recent travelling companion of the elder Baudelaire siblings, who had become their friends when Violet and Klaus took refuge in the Verdant Valley after escaping the clutches of Count Olaf, unlike their unfortunate relatives, who had been injured or captured by the evil man. Like Violet, Arlo had a quick inventing mind, and the two had spent much of the last two weeks working together on a project of Arlo's, becoming close friends in the process. He'd offered to join the Baudelaires on their journey to meet their father in the Mortmain Mountains.

"You two were the ones who wanted to get to the Mortmains," Arlo said, coming out to join his friends, taking care to brush his long black hair from in front of his eyes as he sat down next to Violet on the opposite side to Klaus. "And your father's waiting for you there. It's not too far away, either. We're at least two thirds of the way there already. All we need to do now is follow round the base of the mountains until we reach the Stricken Stream, which we follow until we reach the base in the Valley of Four Drafts. It'll take us two days. Maybe three at most."

The three children looked at the Mortmain Mountains, as the first foothills rose from the flatland a mile north of them.

"What about mother and Sunny?" Klaus asked, feeling worried for his family. "We still need to find them, too."

"But we have no idea where they are," Violet said frustratedly.

"I do," Klaus said, making Violet suddenly feel excited that Klaus had somehow learned something new. "I overheard a man talking in the Firestarter base, saying that they are being held in Bladeridge Castle."

"Bladeridge Castle?" Arlo said. "I've never heard of it."

"Neither have I," Klaus said glumly, which surprised both his sister and his friend. They knew that Klaus was extremely interested in reading up about lots of different things, so it surprised them that Klaus hadn't ever heard of this castle from either an encyclopaedia or an atlas.

"Maybe someone at the V.F.D. Headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains will know," Violet mused. "I guess we'll need to head there first to find out."

"I suppose you're right," Klaus agreed.

"Well then," said Arlo, brushing the dust from his shorts as he stood up. "We'd better get ourselves sorted out. We've got a long journey ahead of us, so there's no time to waste."

(Serious) Author's Note: If you enjoyed this chapter, please review! I'd like to know what you all think :)