Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
TITLE: The Final Gate of Efila
By Tammy Johnson
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Namuh approached the final gate of Efila with confidence. Many were the gates of Efila that he had passed, each one guarded by some fierce creature. Many had seemed daunting and impassable at the first. Fear would seize Namuh, threatening to paralyze, promising certain defeat, until he remembered his treasure. This time, he was well aware of his treasure.
An odor of rotting vegetation mixed with sulfur and burning flesh accosted his nose. Remember your treasure. Namuh desperately tried to grab a treasure, any treasure to fend off the familiar finger of fear creeping around his throat. A shadow passed before the gate. Turning, he froze. All courage and remembrance of treasure fled as great yellowed teeth set in blackened and bloody gums greeted his terrified stare.
The creature roared a deafening mix of shrieks and rumbles as he straightened to reveal his full height. Namuh raised his head up, and up, until his neck was strained as far back as it could go. Never had he battled a creature of such incredible stature. A long, barbed tail whipped around and missed Namuh by mere inches. Instinctively, Namuh jumped back and pulled his sword from its sheath. It dwarfed in size compared to the monster, but Namuh knew he had to fight. I need a treasure! What treasure might I have with which to defeat this treacherous beast?
No moment to ponder further was afforded Namuh, for the beast struck out with razor claws, leaving a jagged, bloody wound across Namuh’s right shoulder. A cry of pain escaped Namuh’s lips as he clutched the stinging slash. He caught the shadow of another pending blow and again jumped to escape the hit. He had to find the offensive quickly if there was any hope of escaping this creature.
The gate! Perhaps the carvings along the side could remind him of another treasure!
He remembered one particular gate where certain defeat almost overtook his will to keep fighting. His wounds were deep and his strength almost spent. As he clung to the side of the gate he felt the grooves of the carvings. Rubbing away the moss he had found the words, “Ton Raef”. Fear not. He remembered the ancient language of his father and the rest of the saying, “Fear not for I am with you, even unto the end of the age.” It was then that he remembered the water of healing. Quickly he had opened the flask and drank heavily, strength and restoration flowing through his body. With one solid stroke of his sword his enemy lay defeated and Namuh had passed through the gate.
With hands behind him, Namuh began backing up to the final gate. The creature followed with slow, heavy steps. Namuh found the ridge revealing the edge of the gate. Desperately he slid his hand along searching for any telltale ridges. The creatures advance continued. Bits of dust and rock showered down on Namuh with each monstrous step. Sweat beaded his brow as his fingers continued to search. One more step and the creature would once again be upon him.
A ridge! His heart jumped and in the haste of excitement, Namuh turned around to read the words. “Ahpla & Agemo” Alpha and Omega?
“Ahhhh!” The echoing cry filled the space between Namuh and the creature. A stinging pain shot through his back as the creature pulled his sword-like tongue out of the wound. Namuh’s knees buckled underneath him and he fell against the gate, turning to face his enemy. Alpha and ... The Omega stone! His remaining treasure!
Gritting through the pain, Namuh pulled the smooth stone from his boot and in an instant a light so pure, so blinding filled the space between them. Shrieking, the creature fell back. Namuh turned back to the gate and with a mighty push it opened. Holding the stone above him he walked in its light straight through the gate unhindered. With a final glance at the cowering monster, Namuh closed the gate.
Instantly the space around him was filled with the same pure, bright light. Warmth spread through his body and he no longer felt the sting of the monsters blow. Gone were any thoughts of the journey now ended.
A voice up ahead beckoned him, and with one step in front of the other, Namuh entered his own great beginning.
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