Maya sat in the carriage looking out as trees passed by. She sat quietly watching the nobles in the carriage talk. These teenagers were entitled. Each of them talking about their parents’ vast regions and power. They talked of their subjects and asserting their will over them. All of them were talking this way except for Cristobal. Cristobal was the son of the most powerful rulers of the bunch. He sat quietly looking down at the floor of the carriage. His betrothed, Anjuli, sat across from him next to the son of a neighboring noble. His name was Edgar. There were also twin heiresses of another land that were with them as well, they sat if polar opposite dress as if trying to visually prove that they were nothing like their genetic similarities. They were Anastasia and Gloria and they both seemed to eye Edgar as if he were a prize the other must not win. Their infatuation could be felt only between themselves and myself. The others remained oblivious. Maya thought to herself what it would be like to still have parents and land that she could join their conversations without a care in the world, but then she remembered that she would not want to be like the rest of them. At least Cristobal was somewhat humble. His family was kind enough to take her in after her family lost its lands to the invaders of the north, even if it meant her title was stripped with the loss. Still a vacation was exactly what the priest had ordered. She looked out the window as the large campus came into visibility. This lake resort was a property that came to Cristobal’s family through a recent victory and they would have it all to themselves and their small militia of protectors. Maya could not wait to get out as the gasps and gloating of the nobles grew. Each one began talking of what they would do first. Skinny dipping in the lake, exploring the forest, and drinking the hidden liquor stash that the twins brought. Only Maya noticed the silence of Cristobal. Anjuli tried coax Cristobal into going swimming with her and the rest. Cristobal joined in the conversation as the carriage pulled up to the main residence. The servants began lugging the massive articles that were brought. Most of which were unnecessary for a trip such as this. Maya gathered her own belongings while she watched Cristobal walk in with Anjuli on his arms. Something seemed off by her overtly obvious attempts of flirtation and gushing of enthusiasm. Edgar walked behind them as both the twins began a small physical quarrel of hair pulling and elbow jabs as they tried to catch up the Edgar. Maya walked behind and made small talk with one of the handmaidens. Even for them a few days away from an entire family was a vacation, and as such spirits were high. Maya turned back and saw that the guards had already circled and were discussing their assignments. This should be a safe trip unless one of them lands oddly during a cliff dive, she thought to herself. They all went inside and explored the manor in its entirety. There were sixty different rooms throughout the campus, yet each revealed its nature as they explored. There was much room for activities.
The next day they decided to go exploring. Together they hiked and explored nature together. So this must be the life of the adventurer. To run free slaying dragons, recuing towns, and stopping bardic troupes from summoning lake trolls through ancient verse. “Maya, are you okay?” Cristobal asked. Anjuli pulled on his hand to continue down the path. Maya woke from her daydream and followed behind the kids. It was nice to get a break from the guards. They reached the destination. The cliff overlooked the entire lake. The group argued trying to coax each other to jump. The bickering continued. Maya had enough. Before they knew it she ran past the nobles and flew through the air. The freedom of her daydream came roaring back as the wind caressed her hair like a kitten playing with dangling yarn. For once nothing could stop her. Except, maybe the fast approaching water that was about meet her horizontal body. Splat. The most glorious belly flop that made even the gods of the ocean envious. Pain stretched through her torso and ripped through her muscle, but the pain like the wind made her feel alive. After catching her breath, she surfaced and saw a fast approaching twin who had just been forcibly hefted by her sister. Within a few short moments everyone was in the water. The cool water helped ease the warm day. As they were swimming one of the twins showed the twins of her twin to the entire group. It was at this time that Maya saw Edgar grasp Anjuli in the same place. It was quick. Maybe he was trying to swim and it was an accident. She put it out of her mind as they got ready to continue their hike.
It had been a short while from the lake when they came across a shock. There was a cabin that was not on the map. It was clear this building has not seen an inhabitant in years. Edgar turned this into a challenge. The other girls were too nervous to go near it at first. Eventually the youth made their way inside. It was quite nice in a rustic way. Maya made her way throughout the room imagining the lumberjack or trapper who probably lived here. To live off the land hunting and fishing all day long only to retire under the moonlight sipping on fresh water from the nearby stream, would be a reviving experience. They made their way till Edgar tripped over a rug. He claimed it wasn’t just the rug. When removed it became clear he was telling the truth. A door lead to the basement beneath the floor. It was dusty down there. It was filled with saws and animal traps. Then there was a table with a book on it. The only thing that had no dust on it. The group became enthralled with it. When they picked it up, a note fell out. It read,
Everyone laughs it off, it is probably a prank by someone pretending to be mysterious. Wraith? Who does this guy think he is? It is probably just a scary storybook someone wrote. Everyone laughs it off and heads back to the resort before the storm that was brewing hit. Then the fun game.
The twins pulled out the liquor and everyone lounged around drinking. Childish games were played and then the book came out. Everyone got real quiet as Edgar held it up with as much fervor as he could muster. He spoke out in an ominous voice reading the foreign language.
Surge. Qui dormitabit consurgent de terra. Immolate ultionem viventium. Surge mortuis. Surge. Klaatu Verata Nikto!
The room was quiet and a vase fell over. Everyone jumped, but realized that it was Cristobal who had drunkenly bumped it. The twins retired to their rooms. It was just Cristobal, Edgar, Anjuli, and Maya left and Cristobal was passed out. Maya slowly closed her eyes and zoned out. Smooch. She was awoken by the sound of a kiss. She let one eye pry open. Anjuli was on top of Edgar kissing him intimately. She then grabbed him by his shirt and led him away. Should she tell Cristobal? The rain was heavy now. Thunder could be heard in the distance for now she just needed to be next to him for support as he slept off the alcohol.