Knowing now what they did of their heritage, Melody found herself full of unanswered questions about her mother. Why hadn’t their mother told them of her lineage? If the Grimward could be trusted, and she saw no reason why the old spirit would lie, Mase Storms End descended from a long line of magic users. Sure, her mother would’ve been discreet with that knowledge. Had she been found out, she would’ve been hunted and killed by the ignorant, idol worshipping, peasantry.
Melody sniffled, wiping her wet cheeks on her robe. In the end, what difference did it make? Death at the hands of the people, or being murdered by Helleden’s minions? Either way, her parents were dead. They had lived a lonely life in exile from their own people.
“It’s not fair.”
Silurian stopped clearing the unmarked graves and looked her in the eyes. “No, it’s not, but I’m damn well going to make someone answer for their deaths. Mom and dad were quiet, unassuming, caring people who never did anybody wrong. Mom’s only crime was being born a Storms End. Dad’s only fault was loving her.”
Melody put her arm around his shoulders and pulled him in close. His words sparked a feeling deep inside her she hadn’t known herself capable of. Revenge.
Inside the Earthwyrm
Melody’s mind whirled. She crept inside of the throat of a creature claiming it would destroy the world, searching for a talisman her dead mother referred to as the Tang Stone. She felt trapped within a nightmare—cognizant of her actions and able to exert her freewill, but confronted by an impossible dilemma. She rued the day she blew up her home on Dragon’s Tooth.
She had no way to tell time within the beast. The creature’s size was incomprehensible, marked by how far she travelled down its throat. When the staff’s light illuminated a widening in the tunnel, she balked at leaving the constricted passageway.
The Gimcrack’s throat widened into a cavern four times the size of its mouth. Lining the floor of what she perceived to be the Gimcrack’s stomach was a tumble of broken rock. The tunnel continued beyond the cavern’s far end, its opening half as large as the throat.
She shored up her courage and set foot onto a large rock and looked around. Other than random chunks of debris undulating ever so slightly, there was nothing remarkable about the lining of the stomach’s floor. Her mother’s words echoed inside her head. Seek out the Gimcrack. At its bottom lies the Tang Stone. At its bottom. Its bottom.
She swallowed. Did that mean she had to wiggle her way into the creature’s…? She shuddered to even think about it.
Glancing at the red rune confirmed her fear. It pointed into the intestinal tunnel. A shiver of revulsion gripped her, making her teeth chatter.
The floor of the stomach lurched and tossed her toward the smaller opening. She landed hard amidst a jumble of crushed stone, scraping her palms and bruising her knees. She lost hold of her staff and scrambled sideways to rescue it from a bank of churning rocks.
Her eyes widened at the significance. The rocks were being digested.
Another convulsion threw her farther along the stomach’s floor. She hung onto her staff at the cost of bashing her elbow.
She screamed when the stomach lurched a third time and barely avoided being crushed by the layer of rock behind her as she slammed into the back wall.
She was being digested.