🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #54
Chapter 10 – The Plan
Henrik slowly and very carefully placed the two hairs from Trabernikus’s head inside the small ball he had made from Tarla leaves and Bindenvines.
After he added the hairs, he took a few more leaves from his pocket, asked Boevill to lick them, and he used them to seal the gap in the top of the ball.
Now he had a bomb.
“The only way it can be detonated is to request it from the Witches of Algairtha.” Henrik said.
“You’re sure you trust these witches?” Trabernikus said, relieved he had his hairs back. “Will they definitely do what you want?”
“Yes,” Henrik said. “In fact, I can ask them now. Stand watch for anything nearby.”
Henrik was kneeling down. He closed his eyes, and he felt himself travel to the minds of the Witches of Algairtha, who were sitting around a fire, staring into the flames. None of them wore hats. They were all quite beautiful, had long dark shining hair and always wore long dark robes.
“Dearest witches,” Henrik said. “I have used your advice to create a bomb made from Navigation Troll hair, to prevent the Marauders of Derdark from attacking the Kingdom of Argad. When the bomb is planted, I will request that you detonate it, since Algairtha creations can only be detonated by Algairtha minds. Will you do this?”
The witches were all now staring at Henrik with bright eyes that reflected the flames in front of them.
“We will do this,” the group of witches all said in unison. “Give us the signal.”
“Thank you,” Henrik said. “There is another quandary that I am still hesitant about. I have been told that the young prince…”
“Kill the boy!” all the witches said in unison. “Kill the boy! Kill the boy! Destroy the magic of the Terradarks! Destroy destroy destroy!”
Henrik could not stay with the witches, but they were standing and beginning to move towards him.
“The boy must be destroyed, and the Terradarks along with him! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!”
Henrik was being called away, as he struggled to find any memory of anything called a Terradark in his mind. Something was pulling him away from the witches, but he could see the keenness in their eyes, the hunger they had within them for Henrik to bring an end to this young boy.
“You must do it! No more hesitations!” he heard one of the witches cry out as their image faded into white, and Henrik opened his eyes, with Trabernikus prodding him on the shoulder.
“Marauders are coming this way, Henrik. They are coming!”
Henrik looked beyond the enormous tree they were hiding behind, and he saw two Marauders trundling along, in a very similar way to how he had seen Goblins from Guntharp moving. But Marauders had emptier faces. They had dark eyes and small mouths and small noses that made their faces look almost blank. Their noses were more like holes in the middle of their faces.
Henrik could hear them speaking to each other, but it was in a dark language that he did not want to understand.
Henrik covered Boevill’s mouth to stop him from growling, and as the Marauders walked past the three, they sniffed at the air. They were about to turn, when Boevill leapt on top of one and Henrik grabbed another, and as the Marauders struggled, Henrik strangled one of the creatures until it stopped moving. Boevill had clamped on to the other one’s neck, until it too was still.
“They can smell better than they can see,” Trabernikus said. “Here, give me the bomb.”
Trabernikus held out his hands, but Henrik did not hand it over.
“Why?” Henrik said. “I have to plant it inside.”
“How in the hell will you, a giant bearskin-covered man, make it into that mountain without being seen? I cannot reach it underground as I would like to. The Marauders have poisoned the land around it so much that I can not travel through it. At least they do not see me as a threat. I will take the bomb to them, above ground, and I will plant it.”
Trabernikus was still holding his hands out.
“How?” Henrik said. “The bomb is too obvious. You cannot hide it.”
“I don’t need to. Marauders trust their noses more than their eyes. I will smear this bomb with the scent from those two Marauders you just strangled. That will be enough to get it inside before they realise what it is. Are they still alive?”
“My one is,” Henrik said. “I’m not sure about Boevill’s. Release it, Boevill.”
Boevill opened his mouth. There was no blood.
“Yes, I think they are alive,” Henrik said.
“You two get out of sight,” Trabernikus said. He was trying to jump up to take the bomb from Henrik. “I will rub the bomb over their bodies before they wake up, and when they do, I’ll be holding this ball of leaves that smells like their own kind. I’ll say it’s a gift from Marauders from another land. They’ll be confused, and they’ll take me into the mountain to meet with whoever is in charge. Then I’ll escape, leaving the bomb inside the mountain for you to detonate.”
Henrik did not like the plan. It was too complicated. Too risky. He did not like sending Trabernikus into a dangerous situation.
Henrik took a step away from Trabernikus, who was still trying to grab at the bomb. As Henrik looked more closely at the mountain through the trees, he could see yellow-tinged smoke leaving the top of the mountain.
“What’s the smoke?” Henrik said.
“It comes from where they are making those monsters,” Trabernikus said, putting his arms down. “The caves are around the other side of the mountain, but they let some of the fumes escape from the top. Toxic stuff, those monsters are made from, toxic stuff.”
“Well that’s it,” Henrik said. “All we have to do is drop the bomb in from above. It will drop down into the cave, and I will ask the witches to detonate it.”
Trabernikus sniffed. “Well that sounds easier. But how will we drop it in?”
At that moment an Arganbird fluttered up through the trees and landed on a branch behind them. It was a bird that was acting as a spy, perhaps ready to go back to the Kingdom of Argad and report what it had found, to the one man in the kingdom who knew how to communicate with birds.
Henrik smiled at it. “I think I know who would like to drop the bomb,” Henrik said.
Story written and read by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley