Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chapter 73: Uncharted

The rain is still coming down, but finally starting to clear up, when Jillyan spots land.

"I've got you. C'mon, hang in there," she groans, dragging Julian onto the shore of the tiny deserted isle, somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.

"We're okay, Julian, baby, we've made it."

Julian makes a small groan, indicating that he'sat least conscious. When theyhit  the water, saving him was Jillyan's first and only concern. Getting him onto dry land where she could see to his injuries. "You're going to be okay, Julian," she insists, all grim determination. Because she'll be damned if she's going to lose him.

She lays him down the wet sand. At first glance, there nothing but the sand and a few palm trees. And miles and miles of ocean. "Wait here, baby, okay?" she whispers, stroking is hair, "I'm going to see if I can find...anything." Something to cover him from the rain, something to eat, fresh water...other survivors, if that's even possible.

As much as she hated getting back into the water, the shore of the nearby peninsula seemed like the best place to start looking for washed up flotsam from the plane, so Jilly swims across to see what she can find.

Someone had spelled out an SOS with rocks on a small rise by the shore. Other survivors? But that doesn't seem likely. If anyone else made it, they wouldn't have found this island so long ahead of here that they'd have time to be gathering rocks. And the camp, with it's burnt out fire, looks like it's been here for awhile.

And the skeletons...whoever these people were, they were here for longer than awhile.

Whoever they were, they are beyond help, and Jillyan doesn't have time to wonder about them. If she wants to have a better chance of survival than they had, she'll have to find some shelter, some food, fresh water.

She's lucky enough to find some luggage washed up from plane, and she's able to cobble together a lean to from some blankets. There was a bottle of water and some field rations in her backpack, which was enough to get Julian sitting up and talking again, at least. It won't last long, Jilly realizes, but at least it will get them through the first night.

 "Are you okay? Is anything broken?" Jilly asks.

"I don't think so," Julian answers, and Jilly sighs audibly with relief. Even if she knew how to set bones, she didn't find any first aid kits.

"But your face," she says, caressing his cheek, "You're all scratched up..."

"Am I still pretty?" Julian asks, forcing a smile.

"Of course you are," Jilly smiles back at him, genuinely happy. "We're going to be okay," she says. She'd been saying it since they hit the water, but it's only now that she knows it to be true in her heart, with no doubt.

Finally able to relax, at least a little, Jilly leans back into his arms.

"I found another camp. Over there," she says, gesturing at the peninsula behind them.

"Other survivors?" Julian asks.

Jillyan shakes her head. "It was old. And...there's bones. They made an SOS sign with rocks. But no one ever found them. And they didn't make it, I guess. I won't let that happen to us, Julian. I will find a way home. I will," she says, trying to make it true just by speaking it aloud.

"I know you will," Julian whispers.


I'm tired of the same old same old of WA tombs. But I've found this awesome adventure world called Treasure Island which I've never played before. It has several tombs that I'm looking forward to exploring with Jilly.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chapter 72: A Mighty Axe

When she asked about the Axe of Pangu, the Brotherhood of the Fist sent Jillyan to Mei Xi, their expert on magical artifacts.

"The Axe of Pangu, yes, of course I know of it," Mei says with a knowing smile when Jilly tells her about her quest, "It is said that Pangu, the first living being, used it to cleave Yin from Yang, separated the earth from the sky."

"And will it smash boulders?" Jilly asks.

Mei chuckles, "Yes, it will smash boulders."

"Do you know where I should start looking for it?"

"Start looking? It is not lost; the Axe of Pangu resides in the Temple of Heaven."

"Well, can I borrow it?" Jilly asks, "I just need to smash some boulders in France. I'll bring it right back, I promise."

Mei smiles indulgently. "I cannot give you what is not mine to give." Jilly's shoulders droop and her lips curl down into a frown as she starts planning a late night break in to the ancient temple. "You must prove yourself worthy. The way to the axe is clear, but it is not straight. If you are able to get to it, then, you may take it.Here is a key to the great hall of the temple, to get you started."

Jilly smiles. That makes everything so much easier.

"What did she mean, 'the path is clear but not straight'?" Julian asks as the couple descend into the ancient temple.

"Traps, probably," Jilly answers with a resigned sigh, "Stay close behind me. I don't want you running off and getting hurt."

Jillyan inserts the large keystone into the shaped slot, unlocking the temple's inner depths. As she anticipated, they encounter a few traps along the way, but nothing she cannot easily handle.

"And there it is. That wasn't so tough," Jilly muses when they find the axe, hanging on a wall in the in the center of a large chamber.

"There's a deep chasm between us and the axe," Julian observes.

"That? I can jump that. Easy," Jilly scoffs.

"Wait," Julian says, stepping in front of her before she can hop the fence guarding the deep black chasm below, "I know it looks easy, but that chasm is dark and we don't know how deep it goes or what lies on the bottom. I don't want you to risk it. There must be another way to get to the other side."

"Okay, we'll look for one," Jilly agrees, "But you know there will be more traps."

"You're good with traps," Julian points out.

"I'm also good at jumping," Jilly answers. Julian frowns and Jilly gives him a comforting kiss on the cheek, "But I don't want to worry you, sweetheart. We'll go the long way."

The way to the axe was indeed clear, but not straight, requiring several trips through twisting corridors and up and down more stairs than Jilly cared to count. And of course, traps along the way.

"It might have been easier if I jumped," Jilly quips as she disarms a fire trap in the walls of a narrow corridor.

All the effort is paid off when Jilly stands before the axe and lifts it from the wall it hangs on.

"Ugh, heavy," she groans as her knees buckle under the weight of it. "Oh!" she gasps as it surges with luminescent power before shrinking itself it down to a convenient pocket size.

"I've read about things like that in old Chinese legends," Julian says, "Weapons and other tools that shrink down to a miniscule size until they are needed."

"It does make it a lot easier transport," Jilly says, "I wasn't looking forward to lugging that giant thing all the way back to France."

Though they are both exhausted from the day's adventure, sleep is not the first thing on their minds when they get back to their bed in the resort in town. 

"You know, I was thinking," Jilly says, propping herself up against his shoulder.

"What about?"

"I can't marry you until you've met my parents. Well, I could, but, my Dad would be really bummed if I just ran off and got married like that."

"And, what if your parents don't approve of our marriage?" Julian asks. 

"Why wouldn't they approve of you?" Jillyan asks, "You're awesome. And you've always been really good to me."

"I lured you into a trap and drugged you," Julian reminds her gently.

"Well, that was for a good reason. I wanted to rescue you, and you found a way to make that happen. And, it's not like my parents are perfect. My Mom ran a crime syndicate, you know."

"I'm a Landgraab," Julian says.

"You won't be for much longer," Jilly says, "I'm going to make you a Brannon."

"It's not that simple," Julian laughs.

"It is," Jillyan insists, and Julian gives up the argument. He was going to have to meet her parents sooner or later anyway. He would have preferred for it to be after he and Jilly were safely wed, but it's fairly obvious that even if Jack and Delaney tried to put some roadblocks on the marriage, Jillyan would run right over them, anyway.