Child's Play

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Entry 2775 10/10/07 00:00
William didn't respond right away. He was looking at the road ahead and appeared to be in a totally different world. 

"Okay," he finally said. "That's good." It sounded as though he had an edge of sarcasm, but it was so subtle it could just be that he didn't believe Luke. He said nothing more about it. 

Ahead, the road turned around and the remnants of a small cobblestone wall guided one's eyes toward a side path heading off into deeper and darker woods. William turned down this path without saying anything, and still the fort wasn't in sight.
Entry 2776 10/10/07 00:00
Luke shrugged. "Fine, don't believe me." He quickened his pace a tad. "Come on Will, let's find these kids." He waited for Will a bit, but not as much as before. "It's true, why would I lie about something like that? I hate being a noble, but I am one. But all those restrictions of a palace. Eat this way, walk that way, use these manners, don't do this, don't do that..." he trailed off. "We anywhere close to this fort?"
Entry 2777 13/10/07 00:00
William ignored Luke. Was he being mean or just concentrating on getting his money back? It was hard to say. William's face was tightened in annoyance and his walking was stiff, but he didn't look at Luke with spite. As they came around a corner, William almost slowed to a stop, but didn't want to appear cowardly in front of his companion. Overhead, a large stone arch stretched, strangled by vines and breaking the thick canopy above. Sunlight shone down in shafts and strange birds sang nearby. 

As they passed under this arch, they came into what looked like a long courtyard, though many of the walls had fallen and there probably twice as many "windows" as there originally was. There was no immediate sign of the kids, but it was a huge place with many walkways, columns, staircases, and battlements, so it would take a while to search the dark tunnels and high walls. 

"If I was a jerk, where would I hide myself?" William asked himself, but he had no answer.
Entry 2778 14/10/07 00:00
"They'd hide probably in the place you were absolutely terrified of," Luke reasoned. "The place that scares you most out of the place that scares you." He took a step then suddenly felt a sort of descending coldness. When it stopped he looked down to see he was wearing his noble robes and his skin was fair. He turned back to Will. "Told ya! Didn't exactly want it to happen now, but still."
Entry 2779 18/10/07 00:00
Again, William didn't seem to notice. He quickly glanced at Luke when the youth wasn't looking but said nothing about it. Then he grabbed Luke's hand and led him along the courtyard, turning left at the old stone path and towards the central keep -- a giant tower with dark stained walls, strangled by vines and penetrating the forest canopy. It had its own gatehouse but the iron gate lay to one side, rusted to death. They descended stairs into darkness. 

"This is the scariest part," William said, taking him into a side corridor and pointing down a staircase to thicker blackness. "Down there. The dungeon."

The room they were in was lit by a single window high above. William squeezed Luke's hand. 

Entry 2780 20/10/07 00:00
"You sure they'd come here?" Luke asked. "Look at the place, you'd need a candle or lantern in here. And I highly doubt they had a lantern on them." He looked back down to the dungeon. He wasn't scared as such, at least not of monsters or ghosts or anything like that. He was worried they could miss a step and break their necks. "We could get hurt trodding down stairs in the dark. And so could they, I doubt they went down there."
Entry 2781 20/10/07 00:00
William shrugged. "You told me to show you the scariest place. That's it down there."

Suddenly there was an echo that sounded like voices. William turned around and peered out of the passage. He ran back into the main room and into a corridor leading to a stairwell that spiralled up into the tattered upper levels of the fort. It looked a little rickety with the creaky boards of wood and arches of stone, but William began to ascend the stairwell without waiting for Luke.
Entry 2782 21/10/07 00:00
Luke ran after him, his robes not really designed for running. He tried to change shape, but it did nothing. For the moment he was a noble. Which meant Will was the better if any fighting ensued. It annoyed him even more that Will wouldn't wait for him. Luke finally came to the stairs, panting and out of breath. "Slow down Will!" he called.
Entry 2783 21/10/07 00:00
William's face appeared above. "Don't yell!" he whispered loudly. "They'll hear you. You probably already scared them off..."

But the voices came again -- giggling, this time. William, who was on the second floor and inspecting the stretch of floorboards before him, crouched down and listened more carefully. It was difficult to tell where the giggling came from, but it was clear that it was across the floor they were on, over on the other side where the wall and keep rose higher. 

"They're over there," William said, pointing to the keep that broke the canopy when Luke caught up. "Maybe we can surround them?"
Entry 2784 23/10/07 00:00
Luke panted and looked apologetic. "Sorry Will." When he felt a little more rested he once more attempted to change form. This time it worked and he was back to his warrior form again. "Okay Will, how do you propose we surround them with just two?" he asked.
Entry 2785 26/10/07 00:00
"Pincer. Duh," William said, though he smirked. "I mean 'sir'. One can go in the door and the other goes in through the side entrance. I'll come in the front and scare them and they'll try to run away, and then you can block them and I can get my money back. That'd work wouldn't it?" He suddenly seemed unsure of himself.
Entry 2786 29/10/07 00:00
Luke grinned. "Hey, it's worth a shot," he said confidently. "And besides, as long as we can see them we have a better chance of catching them. It's easier to catch a fly when you can see it." With that he moved towards the side entrance and waited for Will to make a move.
Entry 2787 29/10/07 00:00
William put his back to the wall beside the doorway until Luke was in place, and then he stopped to listen. Inside, there was faint talking, echoing through the stone walls, but they were definitely in the next room. He could hear metal jingling on the ground. He clenched his fists and spun around, showing himself and yelling the first thing that came to mind. It was so loud he made himself jump, and he didn't even remember what he yelled. His voice exploded through the old castle and the three kids screamed and for a moment were caught in chaos, but then they ran for the side door without even looking to see who it was. 

William ran in and put his hands to the black stone floor, feeling cold coins. He looked across to see if Luke had stopped the kids successfully or gotten trampled and let them escape.
Entry 2788 26/11/07 00:00
Luke saw the kids coming and straightened up. He spread his feet apart and even drew his sword. In truth it was all show, but he wasn't going to let these kids know that. "Woah, woah there kids," he said. "What's going on? I should think a place like this would be out of bounds to you kids."
Entry 2789 28/11/07 00:00
They all saw Luke and the sword, and stopped in their tracks, somehow stuck in half-running poses. It took a moment for any of them to speak, as their eyes were glued to the shining shaft of metal. 

"N-nothing," stammered one. "We're really sorry. Could you uhh let us go now?" 

"We won't do it again!" cried another. "Promise!" 

William remained on the floor in the shadow, gathering the scattered coins angrily.
Entry 2790 28/11/07 00:00
"I don't think I'll let you go. I think I'm going to take you home. I'm sure your parents will be interested in what you've been up to," Luke said, a gleam of amusement in his eyes. He didn't speak to William, waiting for him to gather up his money. The position in the shadows made it unclear to Luke whether or not Will wanted to be revealed. "So you three, shall we get moving? And don't try to run off either." He raised the sword so it flashed in the low light.
Entry 2791 28/11/07 00:00
From the strange movement in the shadows, it seemed as though William had recovered all his coins, and he stood. 

"I've found all my c--" He was abruptly stopped and his voice trailed away as something between a gasp and a yell as there came the sound of wood breaking. There was only a gaping hole in the darkness, bordered by rotting wood.
Entry 2792 16/12/07 00:00
Luke rushed to the edge of the hole, remembering to keep a hold on the three kids. In fact he managed to find some rope and tie them loosely together by the wrists and he held the rope where it ended. "Will!?" he called into the darkness. "Are you okay!?"
Entry 2793 18/12/07 00:00
There was a small cry from the darkness -- it sounded quite distant -- and then it stopped. He had fallen at least two floors, but onto what, it could not be seen. Since the floor below also had wood, it's likely it broke half his fall before he fell through again. The only way to tell would be to descend and see first-hand. 

The boys didn't resist at all. They seemed too concerned for William. 

"Are you gonna go down there?" asked one. 

"He probably fell into the dungeon," said another, shuddering.
Latest Post Entry 2794 05/02/08 00:00
Luke ran a hand through his hair at the problems and delays. "Oh yes kids, I'm going down. And you're all coming with me," he said sternly. "If it wasn't for you, he wouldn't be down there, or even in this place at all." He turned towards the stairs but kept a hand on the shoulders of two of the kids. "Now how about I get to know your names."
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