Chapter Nine Part Two (Because it was just getting too large with only one part): Incoming! (or a basic lesson in quest magic)
Everyone looked at Parry like she had two heads. Their collective gaze was so intense that she actually checked to make sure. Nope, only one.
Did you see the bridge when Tsidu and Dirwe went across?! Cin demanded, catching her attention again. It couldnt take one more person, let alone a whole line of them!
Really, has the rain started leaking into your head, or is there something youre not telling us? Dirwe chimed in.
When it had become obvious that they were going to ramble for a bit, Parry had started on her knitting again. Now, at the pause she looked up. Its a foot bridge.
Obviously! Cin replied, rolling his eyes, That doesnt explain what you were, or in this case werent, thinking when you said that!
If you take your shoes off youll go across fine, was the knitters only response.
Cin smacked himself on the forehead. The girl had clearly taken leave of her senses. There was no way that lessening the weight by taking off his shoes was going to make any sort of difference.
Why dont you try it and see, Parry suggested, her voice oddly carrying over the rain without her having to shout.
Cin smacked his forehead again, this time for talking to himself out loud. Sighing he decided that he had to try it Parrys way, if only to prove to her that taking his shoes off wasnt going to do anything when it came to the weight. He went over to the edge of the bridge and slipped his shoes off.
Socks too! Parry called without looking up from her knitting.
Grumbling, Cin removed his socks as well. With only the slightest trepidation he stepped out onto the knitted bridge. It held firm, like there was nothing on top of it. He walked out a little farther, jumped up and down on it.
Alright, I give, whats going on, he asked as he turned to look at the rest of the group. The bridge was acting like it was made of wood or some other rigid material rather than wool.
Well, its a footbridge, She replied.
So? How does that have anything to do with this suspension of the combined laws of physics and gravity?
Arent the laws of physics an all encompassing term that includes the law of gravity as well? Dirwe mumbled to Tsidu, who simply shrugged.
Its the weave, Parry replied, ignoring the comments coming from the peanut gallery, Its a magic weave that allows those who are bare footed to cross without sinking under their weight. Itll act like something knitted normally would, though, for anything other than bare feet.
Okay, Cin replied as if he understood even though he really didnt. Lets get these people across. Well need to take the shoes off the horses, and the rickshaw is totally out. The broom and pestle are going to be used constantly, so the drivers/steerers need to come back for more loads after their first ones have been dropped off. Everyone else take off your socks and shoes and start across as fast as you can.
The people of the village did as they were told, and, feet covered in mud, they started at a good trotting pace across the bridge. The moment one of them set foot on the other side, though, something odd happened. The rain stopped, and the water that had up until that moment been running rather forcefully over the side of the cliff suddenly dried up, or at least wasnt gushing over anymore. The villagers, for their part, started moving faster than they had been before. It was a few more moments before they heard the roar.
What on earth is that? Cratty yelled to Esau, who was already half way across the bridge with the old hag who theyd never gotten the name of.
Big wave! Esau shouted back, Youll need to get the rest of the villagers across before it gets here!
What?! Cin looked up from where hed been loading a child into the pestle. Even with the flying things and the bridge, well never make it in time!
Oh yes we will! Everyone looked at Fieskar. Everyone who isnt afraid of magic, get over here and Ill send you across.
Dude... The teenagers from earlier looked at Fieskar suspiciously. The talking squirrel wants to do what?
Maybe he wants to make us blue too! Replied the other; they hadnt looked especially bright from the start, so this supposition really shouldnt have been as much of a surprise as it was to the people standing around them.
Just get over here you idiots! The squirrel shook his head as he waited for the two boys to get into position. Alright, now, just send you across. There was a bright blue light that engulfed the boys, then a corresponding light that appeared on the other side of the gorge. The boys appeared as the light dimmed. They seemed unharmed, but the possibility that this might be because there wasnt much that Fieskar could have done to make them worse did cross several peoples minds. Right, The blue creature brought everyone back to the here and now, Ill need to send you all over in groups of ten or so. Start another line and Ill send you across as fast as I can.
Fieskar, why on earth didnt you tell us you could do this at the beginning? Dirwe asked.
Because I couldnt, you twit. The squirrel snapped in reply as he send over a group. Have you ever tried to cast a transportation spell in the rain? You dont if you dont want the storm to be sent with the people! And in these conditions it would have doubled the other sides intensity. And quite possibly would have affected the magic that surrounds these people and caused the wave to come from that side instead of this one! He sent over another group.
Trying to understand that makes my head hurt, Tsidu complained as she set two children onto the broom that had just come back to this side of the gorge.
You dont have to understand it, you twit, The squirrel replied, sending another group, You are not a mage, and thank goodness for that!
Wastakn dewev slonta gear? Absin asked, looking back towards the Proving Village where a wave was just coming over the horizon.
Whatd he just say? Asked Tsidu, scratching her head.
I think he said something about Wisconsin, Dirwe replied grabbing a child too close to the edge and putting them back in line where it was marginally safer.
No, replied an extremely blue squirrel, He asked why the wave was taking so long to get here. Normally a wave, even one so large would be propelled by the forces of gravity and-
Just say what youre trying to say! Dirwe exclaimed in exasperation.
It should be going faster! The squirrel was clearly annoyed.
Oh, Dirwe frowned. You know, I think youre right. It hasnt gotten much bigger while weve been arguing and if it was a normal wave we should have already been swept away by now.
Its because you guys cant work any faster. One of the children still sticking around said.
What do you mean? Cratty asked.
Well, if your mage was one that could take all of the people over to the other side at once then the wave would be coming at normal speed. But since he cant do more than he is doing right now the wave is moving much slower than normal.
So youre saying its Fieskars fault that this part of the plot isnt moving faster? Tsidu asked.
Im only a squirrel for Petes sake! Fieskar yelled, an angry shade of blue, I cant be expected to lift more than two thousand times my body weight!
Right, and the spell takes that into account, the kid replied with a grin, You guys are doing the best you can, and thats why you all havent been killed yet.
Great, the elements get a handicap because we arent competent enough to save the people of the village quickly, Cin groaned.
Faiwerya ahdtak enthen eyen geh. Absin muttered.
Yeah, well lets just hurry up, the little squirrel on his shoulders replied in an annoyed tone of voice as he transported yet another group of villagers over to the other side.
With the crowd steadily thinning, and the wave slowly moving across the landscape towards them, our substitute heroes were starting to wonder what would happen next. After all, the magic that was guiding this little shindig didnt seem to want to harm the villagers at least, if not the adventurers themselves. There really wasnt much more than to do than they were doing right now, though. Soon they were down to the last couple of people, most of whom were just slow. There were, however, three children playing paper rock scissors at the back of the line. Unfortunately it seemed that they were paying more attention to their game than they were to the line. Finally the one little girl in the group won. The other two groaned, then started elbowing their way to the front of the line.
Hey, watch it! An elderly man they almost knocked off the bridge called.
No pushing! Cried a mother with her baby.
Oh, just let em go, cried a third villager. We already know what theyre doing and why.
Yeah, but were supposed to play along like we dont! The mother called back.
The protagonists for the most part were oblivious to this exchange as they were alternately loading the last passengers into their respective flying vehicles or sending over the last group of natives in a bright blue sphere of light. In fact there was only one villager left on this side of the gorge: the little girl who had won the paper, rock, scissors contest. She was clinging stubbornly to Cins leg, in spite of his best efforts to carefully dislodge her. She was making it very clear that she wanted to go across with him, and that she wasnt going to take no for an answer. So, finally he did the only thing he could do. He gave in. It looked like now might be a good time to make a strategic retreat anyways. As the wave suddenly seemed like it was picking up speed. He started across the bridge, and everyone else followed. Everyone, that is, except for one person.
"Come on Parry, we have to go!"
"Alright, I'm almost done!" The pirate captain finished the last row and-
"Oye! You are NOT going to skip over my section like that! All the work I and the animals have done, and you are just going to act like it didn't happen? What's with you and skipping over everything I do anyways? Do you dislike me or something?"
No, no, nothing like that. Its just I thought the book would go a little faster if we just skipped over this little bit...
"Not on your life! If you don't tell them everything I've been doing then I'm not going to work. I'm going to sit right here with the wave looming and not move. And you'll have to make up filler or something while the plot stagnates just because you wouldn't fulfill a simple request."
Alright, alright already, I'll tell everyone about your knitting, geeze.
While everyone else had been working hard-
"I was working hard too!"
I didn't say you weren't. If you'd let me continue...
"Oh, sorry. By all means, please do."
Now, as I was saying, while the others were working hard to get all of the villagers across in one piece before the arrival of the giant wave, Parry, Aitys and Saeti had been knitting as hard and fast as they ever had. The stitches were minute, smaller than anything shed knitted previously with the exception of the rain coats. Speaking of which, the coats, which had been more like ponchos to begin with, had somehow been absorbed into whatever it was that the three of them had been working so hard to create. As the last of the villagers started moving towards safety, what they had been making started to draw to a close.
How was that?
So can we continue with the story now?
I suppose so.
Thank you. So, as I was saying, as the pirate captain finished the last row Cratty jerked her to her feet, pulling her towards the bridge. Come on! The waves almost here! And indeed the wave was looming much closer than it had been before. It also seemed to be picking up some speed. As in it was about to crash down on top of them! There was no way they were going to make it in time.
Go, go, run! Cin pushed the little girl ahead in a futile measure. They were only halfway across the bridge, there was no way she would make it.
Then a ball of blue light engulfed her and deposited her at the end of the gorge. The wave hit them full force.