Gold-Digger

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Entry 2656 01/06/09 00:00
Beneath the stony peaks of the West Hadars, somewhere west of the desert-bordering town of Cuenteseles, there was a gathering of Raider scouts, gazing over the rocky cliffs. They all had bows and swords, and they all held an air of seriousness as they scanned the jagged rocks. 

"Three entrances there," said one, pointing somewhat to the left. "One above it, higher. Maxan, take that first. Kely, take the south. Hayden, take the middle. I take the higher. Go." And they went.

The youngest -- just a boy -- plunged into the dark hole he was directed to. Torch in hand, he thrust it forth as he carefully descended a stony slope. The cave seemed as empty as any other cave, but he could only see a short distance and it no doubt went deeper than he could imagine, so he pressed on.
 
Entry 2657 02/06/09 00:00
Deep within the cave was indeed something worth finding, for behind a mound of shiny coins, broken pottery and trinkets that people would have stopped looking for a long time ago was a boy. This boy, who called himself Whip, had lived in the cave for as long as he could remember. He didn't venture out often, but when he did, he usually came back with something to add to his collection.

As he woke up on this particular day, he smelt something that he knew wasn't supposed to be here. However, this got him excited. Without any need for preparation, Whip was soon sneaking his way over and under various rock formations that a regular person would easily trip over.

Soon enough, Whip made his way through the inky blackness and found who he was looking for. However, when he saw that the newcomer was no older than he was (possibly a little younger) something stopped him from attacking! He knew that attacking someone younger than him without a reason was a bad thing, so he decided to take another approach. After he got as close as he could without thinking that he'd be seen, he spoke one word in hopes that he could scare off the intruder:

"Hi!"
 
Entry 2658 02/06/09 00:00
Hayden came to a complete halt. Did someone just say 'hi'? He drew in a deep breath and stepped forward. A figure became slightly visible before him and he held up his sword. 

"Hurr," he muttered, scowling. "Who are?"

He moved in a little closer and began to see that this person was younger than he thought; much closer to his age. He tilted his head but remained on his guard, with his sword and torch held up before him.

"A boy? Why in this cave?"
 
Entry 2659 02/06/09 00:00
When Whip became accustomed to the light of the fire and saw that his adversary was younger than he was, he let down his guard a little and freely answered the question that was asked of him. "Why Whip here? This home! Why you here?" he asked back. Whip did not register the metal thing in Hayden's hand to be a threat, so he was more than happy to discuss what he was doing in the cave.
 
Entry 2660 07/06/09 00:00
Hayden stared at Whip for at least a minute, looking him up and down curiously. He certainly wasn't a raider, but he sort of spoke like one, and he definitely wasn't from Scarcus or any of the towns. He observed the boy for weapons, but he didn't appear to be carrying any. He did, however, seem nimble and that was something Hayden would have to watch out for if it came down to it. He kept his sword in front of him. 

"Your... home? Why in a cave? Oh, I need to ask, do you see gold in here? Money? Shining brown or yellow? Treasure?"
 
Entry 2661 07/06/09 00:00
Whip had never questioned why he lived in a cave, but the other part of what Hayden said made some sense to him. Still, he tried his best to answer both questions as he jumped from rocky platform to rocky platform. "Whip live in cave because that where Whip live. Why you looking for shinies? You lose some?" he asked.

There was something about this newcomer that was making Whip uncomfortable. He didn't know why, but he had a feeling that something bad might happen if he took Hayden right to his collection, but he brushed off that feeling as simply being confused as to why this person wasn't trying to catch him from the get-go. 'He just not try catch,' Whip thought as he jumped to another location, which was closer to Hayden.
 
Entry 2662 09/06/09 00:00
"Kind of a sort," Hayden mumbled. "A certain kind of it I need to find. If you have some... it not yours to keep." He tried to peer past Whip into the darkness, feeling already that he was wasting time. "Can you show me yours? So I can check it. Just check. If you want to trade... my elders have things that are value."
 
Entry 2663 10/06/09 00:00
"You want see shinies? Okay!" Whip said as he lead Hayden through a seemingly endless trail of twists and turns. He stopped occasionally to sniff the air or eat a bug, but soon enough, the pair had arrived in a small chamber that was lit up by a small fire in the middle.

However, the fire wasn't what Hayden was here for and Whip knew it. He practically dragged the boy over to a pile of shiny gold and copper coins! "Whip win these. Silly town people try catch Whip, but they not win. Whip too fast for them!" he said as he handed some of the coins to Hayden, so that he could properly 'check' them, whatever that meant.
 
Entry 2664 25/06/09 00:00
Hayden went silent when the coins were shoved into his hands. He looked over them slowly and carefully as though he recognised them immediately but didn't want to jump to conclusions. He held some up to the fire sideways and inspected the way they responded to light, and even bit a couple of them quickly to test their substance. After he clanged two together and they rang clearly he shook his head. 

"These coins not yours. Belonging to my people... We have more... shinies... to swap, if you let us take ours." He looked to Whip and put on an innocent face, wondering if the boy would pick up on his reference to there being more than one of his kind nearby.
 
Entry 2665 25/06/09 00:00
Whip looked Hayden over again. "You want shinies? All you need do is race Whip to outside. You start running, then Whip chase. If Whip not catch, shinies yours. If Whip catch, shinies stay here. Silly town people never catch Whip, but if you out first, Whip 'swap' shinies with you," he said. Whip wasn't exactly the shiniest coin in the pile, so he completely missed the concept of there being other people looking for these coins.

After throwing a few dry sticks into the fire, Whip found what he thought was a good starting point. "You ready? Or you scared?" he asked with a grin as he prepared to chase Hayden through the dark, nearly directionless tunnels...
 
Entry 2666 18/07/09 00:00
Hayden grinned at the mention of a competition. As soon as Whip called him scared, he took advantage of the boy's nearness and went to trip him, breaking into a run as soon as he thought he knocked Whip over. Hayden was swallowed by darkness and suddenly found himself disoriented, but he kept moving. There was just enough light to see which black masses before him were rocks and which were just open tunnels, but the uneven floor and stalagmites proved to be quite dangerous, as he almost tripped a few times. He took a moment to glance over one shoulder to see if Whip was near him at all, but he wasn't exactly sure where he was running to.
 
Entry 2667 19/07/09 00:00
Whip nearly got tripped up on his way out, but he managed to keep his balance thanks to a lucky stalagtite grab. "Cheater!" he called out as he scrambled to catch up. Luckily for him, he knew every dangerous step through the caves and catching up was easy as could be.

Soon enough, Whip had caught up to Hayden. "Seeya at end!" he called out as he dashed by and ducked into a side tunnel, hoping that it would be one that would lead him out. However, with what he could tell about Hayden, it was possible that he'd lose this little contest.
 
Entry 2668 19/07/09 00:00
Hayden grabbed Whip's arm as he passed and yanked it backward. Hard. Then he shot down the tunnel Whip had chosen and took another turn at the end. Strangely, this tunnel sloped down a little. So did the next one. Concerned he was going deeper and not heading to daylight, he came to a stop and looked about. Heaving his breaths, he noticed that the air was warm. He widened his eyes and turned over both shoulders. He felt as though he was being watched. 

Randomly selecting a nearby tunnel, he decided that it was now important to find his way out and not to get to the exit first. He chose not to yell, for fear that the caves might be unstable, and instead crept along another tunnel, his hand running along the wall.
 
Entry 2669 19/07/09 00:00
Whip was confused. Did he just get tricked? In his own home? After he picked himself up and reoriented himself, he was off like an arrow fired by an expert marksman!

Even though he was ducking and weaving through his home turf, there was still a good chance that Hayden could win, if he was smart enough. Nevertheless, Whip put his heart and soul into every step, in hopes that he'd get out first.
 
Entry 2670 19/07/09 00:00
Every tunnel Hayden went down took him deeper, and every time he tried to get higher, he went deeper again. Frustrated, he came to a stop and sat on a rock. He stared straight ahead, listening for signs of something. For some time, he heard nothing but his own breathing and shuffling as he got uncomfortable. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself but his hands were shaking. He hoped that Whip would realise he was far from the exit, and that the boy would also come and rescue him, though he knew that he had taken several dozen turns and walked for quite a long time; it would still take a while for anybody to get to him, even if they knew where he was sitting. 

He opened his eyes. What was that noise? He turned to the left and stared down thick blackness. A chill ran through him as he stared. He was sure that something was standing there, staring right back at him. It made him so uncomfortable that he looked away and closed his eyes again. He heard a faint scraping and then it stopped. He opened his eyes but still couldn't see anything.
 
Entry 2671 19/07/09 00:00
After quite a while, Whip reached the exit. The sudden change was quite a shock to his system, so he shielded his eyes when he finally burst out. "Hooray! Whip win! Whip win!" he shouted as he jumped up and down for joy. Any minute now, Hayden would pop out and hopefully, the boy would admit defeat graceously.

Yep, any minute now...

After waiting in the sun for quite a while, Whip began to wonder if Hayden was lost in there. He knew that other people sometimes got lost in his caves, so it wouldn't surprise him too much if that was what happened. "Whip wait a little longer, see what happens," he said to himself, but still Hayden didn't appear.

With no other course of action to take, Whip walked back into the caves. "Hello? You okay?" he asked as he began to walk slowly back in. Luckily, Hayden had a distinctive scent, so finding him hopefully wouldn't take too long...
 
Entry 2672 19/07/09 00:00
Hayden didn't hear Whip at all. He had gotten too deep, and nothing was audible but a cold silence. Again, he looked to one side and he thought he saw something shiny, about chest-height. Then, chillingly, he thought he saw it blink. That did it. He cried out and immediately burst into a run in the opposite direction. It wasn't long before he slipped on mud and fell onto his back. With a wince and a moan he clenched his teeth and scrambled to his feet, but his arm suddenly ached. He spun around to see if there was anything there but the shadows were too thick. 

"Whip!" he yelled. "Help!" But he couldn't hear any reply.
 
Entry 2673 19/07/09 00:00
"Whip, Help!" The cry was only barely audible to him, but Whip could tell that Hayden was in trouble. After picking up two stones, he rushed down, down, down into the tunnels, into parts where not even Whip was familiar with the terrain!

Suddenly, he came across Hayden and something else that he'd never seen before! "Nasty thing! Go back!" he shouted as he threw a rock at the bug-like creature. A rational-thinking person would know that this would most likely enrage the creature, but Whip didn't care. Someone needed his help and he was more than willing to provide it!
 
Entry 2674 21/07/09 00:00
Hayden couldn't see what Whip was yelling at when he came into view; there was only darkness. He assumed the other boy had some pretty good night vision, or at least knew what to expect down here. It was certainly nothing he'd known of, even after spending much time in caves himself. However, now that he listened, he could hear what sounded like a giant insect moving in the shadows. 

The creature was unaffected by the rock; it shot forward with blinding speed and lashed at Whip's legs with blade-like appendages. 

[1]
 
Latest Post Entry 2676 21/07/09 00:00
Hayden didn't need to be told. Though he had been running just earlier, and his feet were really being put to the test on the harsh, stony ground, he found it in him to push through it and just concentrate on escaping the thing. His feet were used to running on hot sand, but thousands of bumpy and sharp rocks were another issue, and after running for a while, he spun around a corner and pushed his bare back against the moist cave wall, his heart pounding in his chest. Catching his breath, he listened, and then turned his head around the corner to check. There was nothing there. Suddenly afraid Whip was trying to fight that thing alone, he had a powerful urge to head back to help the boy. 

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The creature seemed satisfied on hitting its target, and it withdrew a little and watched for some moments, inspecting the damage it caused. Its target had taken refuge behind a stone, so it took to climbing the cave wall a little so it could see over the top. It spotted Whip's head and let out a strange, buzzing, rumbling sound.
 
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