The Hunt.. something i wrote that is completly non sexual… shocking i know.

                                                 Cool darkness flooded the room. Her eyes adjusted to the dim light coming from the corner. Softly she picked her way through the dark and saw clearly the candle on the desk. Papers strewn across it covered in pictures and symbols. None of it made sense to her but she was drawn in. Touching each one as if it were going to shatter she made her way through the pile. What did it all mean, she wondered. Gathering them up like long lost children she lovingly put them in her pack. And then made her way back out into the heat of the desert night.

Her love of history had started young. Every book she read was of conquering heroes traveling the globe in search of treasure and fame. She knew one day she would follow one of these mysterious mens path and see if she could discover the lure of it all. 

Back at her tent she took out the papers and began making notes in her journal. Trying to deceifer the messages held in mystery. With better light she was able to see that some were maps. And others were stories told in picture form. Of a great storm that blew a large vessel out of the sea. It showed large crates being carried in land on the backs of men. Mountains and rivers marking their trial. Would any of it still be there she wondered or was it all a fairy tale from long ago. Sleep called to her so she placed the pages back in the pack. Put the journal under her pillow and drifted off to sleep. Dreaming of great ships and piles of treasure.

Morning broke and she awoke wondering how it always seemed to get hotter every day. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and could smell the coffee brewing in the next tent. She grabbed her journal and fumbled for her cup and the lure of breakfast.

After food she still was hot but now awake and no longer slave to the rumbling from her stomach. Opening her journal she began to construct the path taken by the treasure toting men. Some of the images seemed very familiar but she would need to check them against the maps first. But excitement crept up in her chest at the thought of finding even one small piece. She made her way to the map room of last nights discovery. Rolls and rolls of maps were lined up on shelves. Some were so old and brittle you dare not touch them. But some seemed much newer. Who had kept these up she wondered as she pulled one down and rolled it out on the table. Her head lamp shown brightly upon the mountain range that ran from east to west. There were paths leading deep between some of the peaks into valleys no man had seen in centuries. One of these held what she longed to find. Proof of the large ship, its men and its treasure. But which one.

She needed to look back at the orginal pages so she scurried back to her tent. When she looked on the table the pack was gone. Quickly she began searching every where, but could not find them.  Who would take them? How could someone do such a thing? She prayed that they were treating them with care. For such precious things to be lost would be a tragedy.
She returned to her maps. Staring in what was now almost a trance she knew she would find those pages back, and the treasure they pointed to.

                                                 Those maps held the clues. She was filled with curiosity as to who had kept up them up over the years. This place was filled with mystery. It was no more than a collection on caverns in the side of a mountain. And her team had been searching for it for the last three years. But it was obvious that someone had been here. Hopefully they were the same people who had taken the pages. At least they would treat them with the care they deserved.

If she could only remember more of those symbols that she had seen and not yet copied then maybe she would know where to start. A noise caught her attention. Just the faintest of rustles behind her, but in the quiet it rang loud. Looking around she saw nothing that seemed out of place. Put on a shelf full of very old maps lay one piece of new paper. It was beyond odd. So she picked it up and carried it back to the light. It was covered in random symbols. All hand drawn.
Clues to the beginning to her path. But yet more mystery as to who was her silent benefactor.

A couple of weeks went by and slowly more clues would show up in random places. Each adding to her puzzle. More and more urging her forward in her quest. And more and more driving her need to know who was helping her. Nightly she would sit in darkened shadows hoping to see even a glimps of who ever it was. But never would she see them. Rustling sounds was all she ever heard. Pieces of paper with symbols, old artifacts with unknown origins. All left for her to find. Slowly she was building a map of her own. One that led from the sea to somewhere deep in the forest. She knew in time she would know her way. But would she ever know who hid in the shadows?

                        One evening she sat with all of the pages in her lap. Studying each and every one with great care. She seemed to see them with new eyes. The writing was delicate. Not that from a mans hands, but softer and gentler. Why had she not seen it before? How could she have missed it?  There in the pictures were symbols, not for man, but woman. A ship lead by women? Was it possible?
Her mind reeled at the possibilities. Who would ever believe that  a great ship had been captained by a woman? Now yes, maybe but so long ago, it would not have been possible. But yet here before her was proof. Now more than ever she knew she must find the truth.

There was a new spring to her step. New energy in her search. Her eyes now open to what was instead of what her mind had lead her to believe. She looked at every wall of the caverns hoping to find some small clue she had missed. Something that would show her the end of her trail. She had mapped it from the ocean, up the river to where the great ship had finally come to rest. The trail lead deep into the mountains. And she was certain now that she knew just which valley would lead to her final goal. But she needed something to point the way to the end. She kept searching, knowing it was there. Carvings covered the walls.Telling stories of a great people. How their lives had changed when the great ship has arrived. It told tales of people clad in skins not from any animal they had ever seen. People with the magic of shooting sticks that could take down large woodland creatures from long distances. Those who’s words were strange to their ears. Time changed the local people and they began to mix with these people of the boat.  Great prosperity came for many lifetimes. But there was dark magic that came with them. The cloaked one…  This one held power over the people of the boat. Their face was never seen, No voice ever heard. But silently they followed directions written on strange scrolls. No one ever dared to defy the cloaked one.

She wondered, was this cloaked one the Woman who captained the boat? Did she hide her identity from the local people because they would not follow her willingly? And what had happened to her?

So began the search for one of the scrolls. Some hint as to the identity of this mysterious cloaked figure. She would find her, she would know her secrets. And she would find the treasure if it was the last thing she ever did.  Little did she know that such a statement would be to close to the truth for comfort

                        Some where on those walls the final piece of her puzzle lived. She knew she would find it.The stories of these people made her insides tingle. They held the cloaked one in such reverance. It was a combination of respect and fear. Judgement for sins against the colony were swift. Rewards for honesty and generosity were rewarded in kind. But where was the treasure, and who was this person who held such power?

Finally after weeks of searching the final piece was before her. On the ceiling of a small room there was a series of symbols. They pointed the way to another set of caverns deep in the valley of eternal night. This valley was so far from the village and cloaked in constant darkness that no one dared travel there. The blood rushed to her cheeks as the reality came to her. She knew where it was. Now all she had to do was travel there and claim it.

Talking her collegues into the journey was her biggest challenge. Old folk lore dies hard. And most of them had lived here all of their lives. None knew who the cloaked one was, but they knew to stay out of the Valley of Eternal Night. But her charm won them over as always. Her energy was inffecteous. And when she was on the path nothing and no old wives tale was going to stop her.

Dawn broke and the team headed out on what was sure to be a journey of mythic proportions. With map in hand she led the way. Winding through the mountain passes that lead to the Valley. They had only made it to the mouth of the Valley by days end. And though her spirit wanted to move on, her body screamed for rest. Quickly tents were erected, meals were cooked and consumed. And everyone went off to rest.

A scream pierced the darkness. Jumping to her feet she ran to the tent closest to her. Sitting in the corner trembling in fear was her friend. She soothed her hair and cooed calm words to the frightened girl. Until she was breathing normally again. She was soon able to tell how she had been reading and in the shadows had seen a cloaked figure. The figure had issued a warning. Stay out of the Valley! And then it vanished into the dark leaving behind a piece of golden coin. Why the coin? why the warning? Faith refused to believe in long dead spirits but knew that something or someone was guarding the mysteries of these people.  Once everyone was calm again they slowly shuffled off to sleep. Leaving Faith to her mystery once more.

Sleep was fitful at best. Leaving everyone a bit sluggish as the morning sun rose. Faith studied the coin in the morning light. The carvings were exquisite. Tall ships on one side and a woman with strong yet feminine features on the other. Was this the cloaked figure? The face seemed somehow farmiliar to her. But she shrugged it off. Along the sides were the words “to our queen we hold true”  She must have been this imposing figure on the coin. But that face, where had she seen that face?

Once again they began their journey. The descent into the Valley of Eternal Night was a slow one. Even with the head lamps they wore it seemed to get darker and darker as the day wore on. Guided carefully by her map she led the way. Taking care to mark each and every turn with bright orange tape. The trip out need not be so hard. After what felt like days but had only been 4 hours they were at the mouth of a cavern, hidden along side a stunning waterfall. You could not see it but the roar of the water was almost deafening. Faith wanted to dive head long into the cavern but did not want to over exert her team. They made camp  in the darkness and built a fire for light  and warmth. It was cool here in this part of the Valley. The desert seemed an eternity away. She rolled the coin between her fingers, feeling its edges in the darkness trying with all her might to remember that face. But it escaped her and the need for sleep took over as she rested on her cot in the cool darkness of her tent.

                                                 The entrance was small. Way to small for such large men with large boxes. Could she have been wrong? She sat carefully studying her maps by the light of her head lamp as the other milled around. NO she knew this was the place. But how? How did they transfer all of that treasure? And what was it? And who owned that Damn face that had haunted  her dreams?

She called them all together and let them know of her plans. Ropes were tied together and then around her waist. She was going in no matter what. If someone wanted to join they should take the same precautions. soon she was edging her way into the small cavern opening. Darkness enveloped her but she pressed on. Almost to the end of her rope she suddenly felt herself falling. Landing with a thud she was knock out cold.

Images swirled in her head. Things that made little sense to her. A beautiful raven haired woman standing tall. Her children at her feet. Eyes shining brightly as the mid day sun as they sat intently listening to her every word. Tales of long ago. When men and women were warriors side by side. When tribes united to fight off a common enemy, pale skinned men. How when they had destroyed the land her people had placed all that they valued in one large vessel and set off across the great waters to find a new home. Somewhere that they could take what they valued most and see it grow.

Voices softly brought her back thru time and space. Into this world and out of the past. blinking her eyes she could see only bright lights shining and swirling at her. It took a few more minutes for her to realize where she was. Rubbing her head she remembered the visions and suddenly had clarity. Faith almost bounded up from the floor, a woman on a mission.  Scanning the walls she knew it would be there. The proof of what she already knew.

There it was as plain as the nose on her face. And she began to smile. Treasure was not always gold, or diamonds. Sometimes treasure was something even greater. Faith had see it in her dreams, bright shinning faces. A treasure far beyond money,, children. They had put their children on that boat. Sailed them away to safety and kept them here far from the world until the time came. More loved that all else, their children. Her family. Faith knew it with her every breath. A memory flashed back into her mind as a child. Sitting at her grandmothers feet as she told stories of the old people. Those who cam from mystical places on a tall ship. Her hair even at an advanced age still raven black. Features sharp and strong. The face from the coin, one that she could now see in herself. She had not come here to find a treasure but to find her destiny. To tell the story of her people. And of a love worth the greatest sacrifice of all. To save the children and a civilization from complete ruin.





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