“I suggest we travel to the land of Thornhelm,” said Flamecrest, “After all, the steward, Rofan, is said to be an acceptable, temporary replacement for Anrhys while he aids in the resistance against Vildrin’s forces, and Thornhelm is one of the safest kingdoms I know of.” Indeed, Thornhelm was an extremely fortified kingdom and Rofan was an “acceptable, temporary replacement”, but it was a kingdom of paranoia and the people were scared.

“Safe! Thornhelm is nothing but a kingdom of cowardice, when did they ever come to help Darromane at Aovus Creek?” said Talonmaw. “Since when did Anrhys care about the safety of other kingdoms? Since when did Anrhys ever come for us when we were rotting in Thunder Hold? Since when did Anrhys care about Athrin?”

“Thaygo, that is enough!” scolded Xeleoth.”I agree with both you and Flamecrest but we have no choice. Howlveil is too near the Wastelands of White Blood, Messorfrost hates all “southerners”, Remnoth is ashes, and Astermound and Netherwind are under the rule of Vildrin!” said Xeleoth. “Flamecrest can predict what is to come through her magic and I respect her judgement. Remember, Vildrin has put a price at our heads, and he’ll do everything he can to get them on top of a stake. Don’t forget, Aried will need the tender care of his grandfather if he accepts him for adoption and we are in the presence of the Stone-Carrier. If Vildrin gets a hold of the Gem, he’ll unleash indescribable destruction on the world.”

Everyone else agreed with Flamecrest to go to Thornhelm, including Thaygo, even if he thought Anrhys was not to be trusted. However, they had an obstacle that they were not aware, for it was formed by Vildrin while they were stuck in Thunder Hold. Vildrin created it himself with his incredible power, the Chasm of Derelima. A dreaded realm of both evil and suffering, the chasm was infamous for its bewildering passages, tunnels, pathways, and mazes. Vildrin formed it for the purpose of keeping all the kingdoms trapped unless anyone was daring enough to try to travel through the savage chasm. Even the great Elder Anrhys cowers in fear at its enormous size and the fact that no one has ever come out alive. If  Anrhys still sits upon his throne with the Crown of the Almighty Elder resting upon his head, his people will be constantly dying from the punishment that Vildrin has forced them to burden.

As the party of ten walked along in the meadows and got their boots wet from the sparkling dew, they eventually came to the immense chasm, stopping them very abruptly. They all stood in shock, except for Aried because he was being carried by Xeleoth.

“Since when did this happen?” stammered Xeleoth.

“How should we know, we were all cooped up in that prison for five years.” said Thaygo. “This has Vildrin written all over it. Do you think we should go around it?”

“No. Vildrin is probably hunting us down right at this very moment. We need to get to Thornhelm before he reaches us.”

“Maybe we could hover across.”

“We can try, but I’m sure it’s enchanted.”

They slid down a small depression towards the chasm. When they reached the maze, Thaygo started to hover a few feet from the ground and ever so slowly lingered towards the great drop in the land. Everyone stood in suspense, and once Thaygo was just above the chasm, he immediately dropped like a stone.

“Thaygo!” screamed everyone, echoing across the vast landscape, mixed in with Thaygo’s screams.

However, he had just barely caught onto a ledge as he fell, breaking his fall, but giving him a large gash on the palm of his hand. When he managed to climb up, his dirty cut was dripping from blood. Norkra, being a healer, quickly tore off a long strand of her robe and wrapped it around the cut very tightly. She put her hand on his hand and a light blue glow emerged from in between the two hands. Thaygo clenched his teeth as his cut was singeing from the magic. Norkra unwrapped the bandages and the cut was now a pale scrape.

“You should let that settle as best you can. Don’t try to do much work with it.” said Norkra.

“Thank you,” cooed Thaygo, who had a strange appeal towards Norkra. “It feels much better.”

The two gave a small smile to each other. However, Xeleoth was getting a little tense.

“I think my theory was correct,” said Xeleoth. “I don’t think this place allows magic in its caves. Everyone should stay close and try to climb down as easily as possible.”

As they did this, many of them slipped and got bumps, scrapes, and bruises, but they managed to get to the bottom. Xeleoth tested another theory of trying to climb across, but the minute you touched the rocky walls, they formed into smooth, silky edges.

“We have no choice, we must now walk through the chasm,” announced Xeleoth. “And may Deishma bless us all.”

And off the party went, into the darkness.