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Pottsy6

Clinging To Hope

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Clinging to Hope

 

Chapter 1

Fire, Blood and Shadow

 

Somethings, darkness can be the worst thing you can imagine.

 

Without light, the world is a completely different place. Darkness distorts everything: your sense of time, your logic, your entire mind. Your imagination begins to conjure frightening possibilities, your entire body seems resigned to die. Darkness becomes a horrible barrier between life and death, where all you can do is wait.

 

It had been a long time since I had heard anything else but the rapid beating of my own frightened heart. Since I had smelt anything but the rusty scent of blood. Since I had felt anything but dread. I lay still behind the upturned table that had saved my life, shielded me from view. I clutched my hands together died, half expecting that door to slam open again. Once that happened, I doubted I had enough luck to survive twice.

 

My mind was still searing with painful memories of the first time the door had opened. Peering through a crack in the wood, I saw a man dressed in scarlet amour, cast against a roaring fire that burned on the outside of the house. He took a step inside, malevolent eyes searching for something within our humble room. He carefully drew a blade from a scabbard at his waist and held it at his side, his hand quivering with anticipation.

 

As he began to walk about the room, I found myself growing more and more tense. We had tried our best to make the house look as if it had already been pillaged by tipping over furniture, emptying drawers onto the ground and even ripping up pillows, but these ploys seemed as if they weren't fooling him at all. I bit my lip, finding myself grow desperate. I wasn't sure how much longer I could lie here and wait to be found.

 

Unfortunately, my father felt the same way. I heard more than saw as he rolled out from under the bed frame with a cry. He took up the wood axe from the mantle, swinging it at the intruder. With one fluid moment, the man turned around and sank his blade deep into father's unprotected chest. With a strangled cry, he crumpled to the floor, his own body weight sliding him off the weapon. His axe skid across the wooden floor and disappeared into the shadows. Satisfied, the armored man turned and left. He at least had the decency to close the door behind him.

 

That had been almost fifteen minutes ago. It was astonishing to think that I had already come to terms with the idea of living without a father. Maybe I was an emotionally strong person, maybe it hadn't fully hit me yet. Whatever the reason, I couldn't shed a single tear over the brutal passing of the man who had raised me all of my sixteen years.

 

I passed the time by counting. My maths wasn't great and I always got lost by the time I reached the mid hundreds but I needed to do something. I began to think of the invasion. From what I had heard, Lumbridge was no real conquest for this organized, well-trained army. They had already brought larger communities to their knees, destroying Fallador with ease and speed. They hadn't yet reached Varrok, but that was only a matter of time. Port Sarim was only rally standing due to the power of their navy.

 

No one knew where they had come from, or their motive for this domination, but everyone was sure of one thing: they would be hard to stop. With the Varrok army off eradicating undead in the wilderness and the White Knights doing battle with their nemeses. the black knights, they had found the kingdoms utterly defenseless.

 

I suppose I must have lay there for an hour in quiet contemplation, mind slowly numbing as my body lost the energy it needed to keep me panicking in the dark. Somewhere between thinking about what would happen after the inevitable take over of my world, and remembering a time me and father had gone fishing in Draynor, I fell asleep.

 

I awoke to a booming voice, laced with fear and uncertainty. Groggily opening me eyes, I heard the voice again.

 

"Hello? Mels? Tommalynne?" Only when my name, Tommalynne was called did I realize the voice came from within the house. "Saradomin's wisdom! He's dead!"

 

That was followed by some concerned whispering. The voices sounded familiar and the new my name, and my fathers. I reasoned that it was probably save to reveal myself to them. I hadn't realized how cramped my muscles were until I moved them. Groaning, I pushed my way through the narrow gap between myself and the rest of the room.

 

Before I saw anything else, the image of my father's corpse filled my world. He lay face down in a pool of crimson that had spread from the initial room to far across the room. He looked so unnatural, but at the same time totally normal. Yesterday he had been alive, the only thin impending his movement had been his bad back. Today, there was nothing. A piece of sharpened metal had taken him from me. I couldn't look at it anymore. I heard people around me crying out with relief as they watched me appear, and a few women grasped my shoulders in a tight embrace, but I felt as if I were far away from it all. I could feel only emptiness. Emptiness and a coldness that made me shiver. Before I knew it, I was crying on a strangers arms, as if I were a little girl again.

 

My feet didn't seem to even touch the ground as they walked me out of my house. People spoke questions at me, but I couldn't comprehend what they met. Outside of our house, it was with blank eyes that I observed the destruction I had only glimpsed beforehand. The charred ruins of my city stood as a testament to ruthlessness and power. Those homes that had escaped the fires had smashed windows or kicked down doors. A untouched house was as a rare as a gold coin in a beggar's purse.

 

Even Lumbridge Castle had not escape the damage. Stone had been scorched by flame and in some places, the entire wall had been forced inwards on itself. Inside, the well tended gardens had been sundered by flame and vandalism and the corpses of loyal guards had been scattered like leaves on an Autumn day. On top of the great fountain was an unmistakable glint of gold: the Duke's crown. Lumbridge had fallen, and that misplaced crown was as sure sign as any to its conquest.

 

The only thing missing now was the presence of the warriors who had destroyed my town. Surely they had not abandoned the town after putting such an effort into taking it. Yet not a single figure patrolled the streets, or watched from a stolen house. It had a spooky effect on me, as if my town had been ruined by some magical force, and I had only imagined the man who had killed my father.

 

Thinking of my father suddenly gave me the sharpest pain in my stomach. I broke free from my rescuers, threw myself to my knees some feet from them, and vomited. I heaved up the entire contents of my belly, which wasn't much seeing as I had been to scared to eat before the invasion. I don't know why I had vomited. Perhaps it was just my body's way of reminding me it still existed. For a moment, I felt as if I had just become a floating mind, observing the world but changing nothing. Able to see but not to feel.

 

I tried to stand on my own strength, but failed dismally. Keeling over, I passed out milliseconds before my limp body crashed onto the paved streets of my broken city.

 

Chapter 2

 

From the Ashes

 

Food.

 

I awoke with that word set firmly into my brain. My mind wanted it, my stomach craved it and my still weak limbs absolutely begged for it. I groaned and tried to get up but I hadn't the strength. After a few fits of coughing that threatened to tear my throat, I was aware of someone standing over me. They made come comforting noises as they held back my head, and slowly poured a warm, sweet liquid down my throat.

 

I slept for a time after that, an undisturbed sleep that left me feeling revitalized. Although it stung my eyes to do so, I forced them open. I was slumped against a stone wall, with cold slate beneath me. There was a rug discarded beside me that I guess I had kicked off in my sleep. The rest of the room was simple, a few broken photo frames here and there. A dozen other people occupied the room, some lying down, some pacing the floor. When I sat up, those standing immediately came to my side.

 

"How do you feel?" asked a man I recognized as Hans. I was shocked when I saw his eyes, they were hard, empty and emotionless. Before the invasion he had been a very jumpy man, now, there was nothing. Zamarok himself could have made an appearance and I doubted that he would have moved an inch.

 

"I'm fine," I started, before recognizing another need. A fire was burning in my throat and that fire needed to be quenched. "Do you have any water?"

 

Someone handed me a water skin, and I drank what I could. Spluttering, I turned back to Hans. "What happened?"

 

His face seemed to darken. "It's gone Tommalynne. All of it's gone. We just weren't prepared for this kind of thing. They just came in and took over. We couldn't stop them, there was no way. They didn't even lose a single warrior, when we lost dozens! They just marched their way up to the Duke, slew him and the town was theirs. They looted what they could, then marched away."

 

"The survivors were holed up in the general store for a while, before they came back. Not as many this time, only about a quarter of them. The only good thing I have to say about them is that they are compassionate. They took us from the store into the castle where we would be a little more comfortable. And, they bring us food and drink when we need it. But I won't forget what they did during the takeover, and for that alone, I will never be able to forgive them for as long as I live!"

 

Hans turned away. I talked with some more of the survivors but I wasn't really that interested. I kept thinking about what Hans was saying, and I agreed with him one hundred percent. These men had killed my father and who knows how many of my friends. I hadn't heard anything about Kesin yet, and he had been my best friend before this had all happened. I would not forgive any man who wore their colors. They were barbaric monsters who, I was confident in this, would be struck down by Saradomin.

 

I drank down some more water, and a bowl of soup while I talked. I noted that no matter what the topic was, everyone took pains to avoid talking about my father. It was as if they thought I didn't know he was dead! It angered me that they wouldn't even acknowledge him, or even ask of the heroic circumstances of his death. I became fairly moody, and eventually everyone left me be. Just as I considered going back to sleep, Hans sat down beside me.

 

"He tried to fight them, didn't he?" he asked, and I nodded. He sighed. "Don't worry. I'm confident that you will get your revenge. We all will. The fires have burnt out now, Toma, but life still exists in the ashes. We will rise from those ashes! Rise to overthrow our overlords. We will learn from this, I am sure. No matter how bad it gets, remember that."

 

He left me without another word, giving me a lot to ponder.

 

Chapter 3

 

A Madman's Fancy

 

The next few days were a blur to me. I knew that they contained a lot of sleeping, drinking and eating, but that was about all I could remember. Dedicated solely to my bodies rehabilitation, my mind didn't bother me with useless thoughts and energy draining emotion. Hans helped me a fair bit, feeding me when I was to weak to feed myself. The rest of the time he sat by himself, talking to the shadows and cursing our hosts. Every day, his face grew thinner and his eyes grew wilder. How long would it be until he snapped under the pressure of his own brewing insanity?

 

I was amazed that holding back grief could use so much of my life force. At first I had thought my body's weakness had been due to my lack of food but that couldn't be the case. I had gone without food for longer than this, and it hadn't reduced me to a state like this. Hell, the only difference between me and a corpse was the labored breathes that I was emitting. Fighting to stop myself from grieving over my father and my town, I had brought myself to the edge of the grave.

 

On either the fourth or fifth day, I couldn't struggle anymore. Despite myself, I ended up with my blanket over my head, letting the tears stream down burning cheeks. Nearly every memory I had was now a painful one. Every part of my life had revolved around either my father, or around Lumbridge. It was as if someone had taken a battle axe and shattered my soul with it. The world was suddenly a cold, empty place filled with nothing but sorrow. Happiness, laughter, love. They didn't mean a thing! I wept for a long time, thankful that I was able to hide my grief from the others in the room.

 

I don't want to dwell on that for to long, because it really isn't a part of my history that I am proud of. For hours, I had completely given up on the world. How could anyone survive in a place where joy was fleeting, but sadness was eternal? Some very dark thoughts inhabited my mind that day.

 

The only redeeming thing about this breakdown was that I emerged from it with my mind focused on healing. Brain and body concentrated on repairing my emotion damage, and by the next morning, I was fine. Taking some unsteady steps, I found myself walking again. Everyone seemed to light up when I walked for the first time, even Hans came out of his spiraling depression for about an hour. Some of the others ill people, a few of them sporting horrific burns, followed my lead and tried to walk again. And although most of them failed, you could see the determination on their faces. The people of Lumbridge were strong, we would bounce back from this stronger and more prepared. Hans was right.

 

After the excitement died away, I approached Hans. He was the only person in the room who struck me as sharing my wish for revenge. Now that I was getting my strength back, I was thinking about putting that wish into a plan of some sort. I would undoubtedly need help for something of the scale I was thinking. Hans was sitting cross legged in the middle of the room, with three other people.

 

The first was a tall, dark-skinned man who I had often seen running the axe shop when I went to church. He was talking to Hans but paid no real attention to him, more focused on cracking his knuckles than the conversation. His eyes were dead, his expression was unreadable. What was happening to my town?

 

The second was a man wearing the whitest beard I had ever seen. I remembered him for that beard. He was the mysterious man who had sauntered into town one day and immediately began to help anyone he could. No body knew very much about him, most suspected that he was some sort of religious man, trying to please Saradomin with his charity.

 

The third I had only seen once or twice. She was a tall, brown haired woman whose very presence had an unmistakable air of power. Even though she was dressed in plain brown cloth, there was no mistaking that she belonged in the attire of a great mage. She was the magic tutor that had come along not long after the bearded man.

 

Hans smiled as he saw me approached. "Tommalynne, we were just talking about you. Sit yourself down." I did, squeezing between him and the dark-skinned man. "Guys, this is Tommalynne. Tommalynne, have you met Bob, Philaes and Mikasi?" I shook hands with each. Bob was the owner of the axe shop, Philaes was the mysterious helper and Mikasi was the magic tutor.

 

"I've touched on this before with you Tommalynne, but other the past few days, we've been thinking and plotting quite a bit. We think we might just be able to escape from this room. The plan is a little sketchy at the moment, but I'm working on it. But once we do escape, I propose that we head into the wilderness. The Armies of Fallador and Varrok are still campaigning there. If we can convince them to work as a single unit, I think we might be able to stop this invasion. If we get lucky, we will then be able to reverse it. But sadly, thats all we have to go on. A rough escape plan and an impossible journey. It's a madman's fancy, but by Saradomin, I plan to see it out."

 

"Aren't you getting a bit ahead of yourself Hans?" I asked, a little taken back. What he was suggesting was impossible. To escape from this room alone would be a be a miracle, but then Hans proposed a trek halfway across the world, through enemy territory and into the Wilderness: a place that had been highly dangerous before the invasion.

 

"That's the plan Tommalynne. Either you lend your mind to improve it, or you agree to spend the rest of your years in service to the people who killed your father."

 

I looked to the others for help but they were silent. Nobody seemed to want to get involved, or even challenge this insanity.

 

"It's impossible!" I protested.

 

"It's far from impossible," a voice from behind me whispered. Looking behind me, I saw a fat little man lying against a wall. I had thought him to be alseep, but apparently he had been listening keenly. "There is a way out of this castle that the enemy probably doesn't know about."

 

"Well?" Hans asked, rather rudely.

 

"Are any of you familiar with Dorgeshuun?"

 

Chapter 4

Planning an escape

 

There was an awed silence. I guessed that we had all heard of the Dorgeshuun, the mythical cave goblins who dwelled beneath our city. But I didn't really believe in them. I didn't think anybody did. I was intrigued.

 

"Of course I've heard of them," said Hans, "But they're not real. And even if they were, they wouldn't help us. The stories portray them as cowards, and as not trusting anybody who was not a cave goblins."

 

"I assure you, they are very real indeed." said the fat man, "and I doubt that they would help us as much as you. At least not directly. But there are tunnels. Some of them they don't even use anymore. There's one in the castle, and I'm confident that I'm the only person in Lumbridge who knows that it exists."

 

"How so?" asked Philaes, speaking for the first time.

 

"People are reluctant to pester a chef at work, and even more reluctant to enter his basement. I keep a lot of cleavers around in my kitchen, and not all of them are for cutting meat," he grinned wickedly. "I've used that tunnel it a few times to slip out of the castle when I'm low on supplies. I don't like being pestered for food when I take the roads, so sometimes the tunnel seems my only option."

 

"Have you ever actually seen a Dorgeshuun?" I asked, a little doubtful.

 

"Well, no-"

 

"Dorgeshuun or no Dorgeshuun, a tunnel's a tunnel!" said Hans, eyes calculating. "More than that, a cave the enemy might not know about. That's more than I could have hoped for. That gives us a way out of here!"

 

"There's still a castle full of trained, armed soldier between us and that tunnel," I said, still doubting the sanity of this plan. "And they've all probably killed for smaller reasons than escaping prisoners. And we have no weapons, little battle experience and no equipment. Outside of this castle, we wouldn't last a week! It's suicide!"

 

"I've been in my share of fights during my youth," said Philaes.

 

"So have I," said Mikasi.

 

"Experience isn't the point! It's to dangerous. My father didn't throw away his life for me so that I could lose it in a hair brained scheme."

 

"Your father didn't die so that you would spend your life in service to his murderers!" Hans said angrily.

 

"STOP FIGHTING!" roared Bob. Everyone turned to him, even those on the other side of the room. He got up, walked to a pile of clothing in a corner of the room and removed a heavy, steel battle axe. "I know this isn't much, but its a start. We could use it to kill a guard, chop through the door and for firewood." he pointed at the fat man, "he can cook!" He pointed at Mikasi and Philaes, "and you can fight!. Everyone here will have skills that they can bring to the escape."

 

Hans stood up.

 

"Everybody. I know that we have found ourselves in far from the greatest situation possible. We are homeless! We are injured! We are poor! We are mourning! And who is to blame for this? The same cruel overseers who have us trapped in this room. Well I say, no more. For a week we have sat around, growing lazy and accepting reality. I am forging my own reality! I am escaping tonight! Anyone who wishes to join me, I will talk with you. All else, good luck."

 

He went back to the circle, leaving an astonished quiet in his wake. My brain was in conflict with itself: part of me wanted to escape, another part wanted to stay safe. I couldn't decide which part was stronger. All I knew is that if Hans left tonight and I wasn't with him, I would regret it.

Edited by Pottsy6

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Pottsy's back! Pottsy's back Pottsy's back Pottsy's back!

 

I remember your going away thread in this forum sometime last May. Great to see you back here writing again, I absolutely loved Zatih, although I didn't read much of your other works.

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Wow, I love it. Do continue, and it'll make it to one of my favourite stories. :blink:

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Thanks for the comments guys. This forum had really picked up from when I left it. Back then you would be lucky to get three replies in a week, let alone a day. So, once again thanks.

 

Chapter 1 is completed, 2 is on the way.

 

:blink:

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Chapter 2 is up.

 

Thanks for the praise Buland, I only hope you enjoy this next segment. It's a little rushed, but I'm making this up as a I go so I forgive myself. :blink:

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Chapter 3 is up!

Has Hans completely lost it? And who is this man who seems to be in league with the Dorgeshuun? Find out in chapter 4, Planning an Escape

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Goodness! I'd be expecting a lot more views and replies from this!

 

This story is by far, one of the best I've seen. The descriptions of the moods and feelings of the protagonist are unbelievably beyond incredible.

 

Bravo! Bravo! This is a definite 10/10! :blink:

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Goodness! I'd be expecting a lot more views and replies from this!

 

This story is by far, one of the best I've seen. The descriptions of the moods and feelings of the protagonist are unbelievably beyond incredible.

 

Bravo! Bravo! This is a definite 10/10! :(

I've been thinking the same thing! :blink:

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Goodness! I'd be expecting a lot more views and replies from this!

 

This story is by far, one of the best I've seen. The descriptions of the moods and feelings of the protagonist are unbelievably beyond incredible.

 

Bravo! Bravo! This is a definite 10/10! :(

I've been thinking the same thing! :blink:

 

 

Aww shucks. Seriously though, thanks for the praise. You guys make writing worthwhile :o.

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Goodness! I'd be expecting a lot more views and replies from this!

 

This story is by far, one of the best I've seen. The descriptions of the moods and feelings of the protagonist are unbelievably beyond incredible.

 

Bravo! Bravo! This is a definite 10/10! :(

I've been thinking the same thing! :blink:

 

 

Aww shucks. Seriously though, thanks for the praise. You guys make writing worthwhile :o.

Good, reading your work is also worthwhile.

 

Now anyways,

New chapter before I killz you!

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Please! You have to end this story! Don't leave it like this!

Excuse me, Buland? :blink:

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Sorry guys, been tied up with school. As a result, the next chapter isn't terribly good. But I have a feeling, the escape will be better.

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Please! You have to end this story! Don't leave it like this!

Excuse me, Buland? :(

:o

 

Sorry guys, been tied up with school. As a result, the next chapter isn't terribly good. But I have a feeling, the escape will be better.

:blink: That six-letter word drives me mad! Why, just earlier today I was taken to the principal's office for accidentally insulting a friend who kept annoying me!

 

Don't worry about the escape. Judging by your writing skills, it'll be splendid!

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New chapter, please.

 

kthxbai

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