Chapter 45: Something Shiny

The colours of the jungle seemed even more vibrant to Cordelia when she got up that day. The world around her hadn’t changed, and yet it all seemed so different. Up until last night, she’d had no idea it was possible for her body to feel all those things… she felt dizzy just thinking back on it.

Morgyn hadn’t mentioned any of it during breakfast. Their attention was fully back on the ancient temple, it seemed. According to the sage, they were only an hour or two away from reaching the entrance. And so they packed up the camp and continued towards their destination.

Cordelia tried hard not to get distracted, or at least, not visibly distracted. The last thing she wanted to do now was to get on Morgyn’s nerves again. But how could she possibly not think about their time together? She felt so giddy and light, almost as if she could fly…

She wondered what the sage made of it. Even though they said nothing, they had to feel something, didn’t they? Then again, perhaps not. After all, she wasn’t sure if what they ended up doing would have been all that satisfying for Morgyn. Not the same way as for her, that was for certain. She almost felt selfish, but then, it wasn’t her who decided to-

She almost tripped over her own feet. There weren’t even any vines along the path.

Focus, Cordelia, she forced her mind to shut up. If she kept going this way, she would definitely wind up annoying the sage, Cordelia knew.

So she better suck it up, quit replaying last night over and over in her head and concentrate on finding the stupid temple and its stupid secrets or whatever they were supposed to uncover inside.

The staircase finally led them up to the temple. Cordelia had never seen anything like it. But Morgyn seemed pleased.

“So… do we go in?” She asked uncertainly.

“Obviously,” Morgyn smirked. “Not so fast.” They stopped her as she was about to head up to the entrance.

“There’s likely to be items that inflict magical curses inside, so be careful.” The sage told her. “It’s not so much of an issue for me, of course, I can just ask L Faba to perform the trial of elements on me when we get back. You on the other hand…”

“You’d have her do that?” Cordelia interrupted them. She still remembered the trial of elements. Not something she would undergo again willingly, knowing what it involved.

“She enjoys electrocuting me and setting me on fire, so how could I deny her that delight? You know me, ever the people-pleaser.” Morgyn said brightly. “Anyway, my point was that that you should watch out for yourself. I won’t be able to have my eyes on you the whole time.”

“Of course.” Cordelia shrugged. Her heart could sing. Morgyn was concerned for her… it gave her all kinds of butterflies. She better not mess up and trip on the last few steps…

The first thing they were greeted by was some kind of barrier. The sage got closer to it to investigate.

“Can you break it with your magic?” Cordelia came closer cautiously.

“I don’t think so. It’s more of a riddle.” Morgyn said, almost as if to themselves rather than to her. They did not seem fazed. “There will be a mechanism to crack it close by.”

And sure enough, they did soon find a room with some sort of totem. Morgyn spent a long time examining it. They didn’t exactly explain their process, but eventually, they moved some of the cubes around, pulled a lever, and the path ahead opened.

Little did Cordelia realise that that was just the first of many puzzles ahead.

At first, she found it fun, watching Morgyn studying the old statues, even taking notes. They looked cute when they were all studious, she thought.

Not to mention she could take advantage of some of the views as Morgyn leaned ahead to examining the glyphs. Her mind would just wander back to last night aimlessly…

But as they progressed through the ruin, the riddles got more and more intricate, requiring the sage to spend more and more time on them. Cordelia had all kinds of expectations and fears before they headed into the jungle, but she never anticipated that delving into the old temple would be so… boring.

“You’re doing it again.” Morgyn stopped their scribbling.

Cordelia perched herself up. She hadn’t really been paying attention, so she wasn’t sure what they meant. “Doing what?”

“I know it’s difficult for you to not stare at my fabulous posterior, but it’s very distracting. I have work to do.” The sage’s tone was teasing, but it still felt like they were scolding her.

If you didn’t want me staring, you wouldn’t be wearing those shorts, she thought. But she didn’t say anything.

“Sorry.” She muttered instead.

“You’ll be pleased to know I’m done with this one.” Morgyn said with a slight sigh. She jumped up to her feet and followed them through the now open doorway.

A grin spread across the sage’s face as they entered the next chamber. “Now that’s more like it.”

Cordelia didn’t exactly share Morgyn’s enthusiasm. The long hallway that opened up in front of them was lined with strange skeleton warriors. They looked like guardians of some kind.

They were just statues, she knew that. But she still half-expected one of them to come to life any minute.

While she kept looking over her shoulder, Morgyn hopped from chest to chest, opening one after the other. As far as Cordelia could tell, there was nothing tangible inside them, just some kind of golden glow. Was this that pure raw magic that Morgyn talked about following their visit to the strange magical shop?

In any case, Cordelia was ready to get out of there. A feeling of unease quickly replaced her initial boredom.

“Is there much more?” She asked Morgyn as they walked through another doorway – oddly, this one had no barriers blocking it.

“No. I believe we have reached the final chamber.”

Cordelia looked around the room. There were no chests. “So… what happens now?”

Morgyn gestured towards a pedestal directly across them. “That looks like what we came here for.”

“What is it?” Cordelia frowned. The statuette seemed unassuming. A llama, by the looks of it?

“The omniscans had three kinds of relics, balampalosh, zazatotl and totelcallam. I believe this is the latter.”

None of those words meant anything to her. “Right…”

“Of course, within those families, there are different types of relics as well.” The sage continued, clearly unaware of how lost she was. “But I’ll need to take a closer look to see which one this is…”

“Ok.” Cordelia nodded. They’d just grab the relic and then they’d finally be able to get this whole thing over with, she figured, heading towards it.

“Cordelia, wait!” She heard Morgyn call out after her, but it was too late.

A blinding light enveloped her as she stood on the first of the ornate tiles below the base level.

Everything else was a blur. She felt Morgyn grabbing onto her to shove her out of the way, charging ahead of her. The sage’s body blocked the ray of light. And just like that, the beam subsided.

It was only then when she noticed something shiny and golden poking from Morgyn’s back.

As if in slow motion, she watched the sage’s head turn down towards to look at the arrow in their chest.

Morgyn let out a cough. “That’s… inconvenient.” They reached for the arrow shaft.

Cordelia felt sick. “Are you ok?” She walked around to have a closer look, and immediately regretted the decision. The sage was practically impaled. “Oh my god, Morgyn…”

“It’s… fine.” Morgyn managed. “I just need to… lie down.” And with that, they fell to the floor with a loud thud.

“Morgyn!” She felt powerless. What should she do? What could she do?

“Should we get it out?” She asked, kneeling next to Morgyn.

“Great idea. Wouldn’t have… thought of that.” The sage scoffed, managing a little sarcastic smirk.

Morgyn finally managed to pull the arrow out of their body, exhaling sharply.

“Don’t touch it. The arrow.” They added.

Why would her touching the arrow be a concern? Surely the sage’s wound was the real issue… Cordelia didn’t understand. “Why?”

“Poison.”

Poison. The arrow was poisoned, Cordelia’s brain caught up. Morgyn sounded so calm, as always. But how could they be? Her head was spinning. If the sage had any crazy untamed magic spells planned, surely this was the time.

“Morgyn… what do I do?” She turned to them, cupping their face in the palms of her hands.

“Nothing.” She could tell it was getting harder for Morgyn to speak. “Grab the relic… get out of here. Glimmerstone… in my pocket. Use it. Get home.”

“What? No!” She could feel her whole body shaking. “We’ll both go! I can’t leave you here…”

The sage didn’t say anything, but the look in their eyes was soft, softer than she’d ever seen it. The look that was saying they weren’t leaving this place at all.

“No… you can’t die!” Cordelia protested.

“It’s fine… I won’t…” Morgyn managed between heavy breaths. “I’ll cheat… death… I am the… master of the… untame-“

But the sage never finished their sentence.

“No!” Cordelia cried out, pulling them closer to her. “No, no, no… Please… come back… you’ve just said you can’t die… why would you lie to me?”

Except that Morgyn was no longer there to answer her question.

She wasn’t sure how long she stayed like this, holding Morgyn’s lifeless body in her arms.

It seemed something in the chamber moved. A cold descended on her. Was it a skeleton that moved? It couldn’t be. All of the guardians seemed still. But something was off.

It was then she realised that Grim Reaper was probably in the room. But she couldn’t see them, or bargain with them. Not that she’d had any luck with that before.

She gently placed Morgyn’s head on the ground. She could almost pretend the sage was sleeping. But of course, that wasn’t the case. All she could do was what they wanted her to.

Nothing happened when she lifted the relic from its pedestal. Cordelia didn’t understand what all of this was for. But there had to be a reason…

She returned to the sage’s body and crouched down to take the glimmerstone. Was this really goodbye? She stroked Morgyn’s cheek gently, wishing she knew more about what Morgyn’s plan here was, what they had wanted to do with the relic. Wishing they’d just open their eyes.

A part of her wanted to believe that if she just did what Morgyn asked her to, take the relic and leave, everything would somehow be ok, and Morgyn would be back again. But seeing their lifeless body on the ground was making that hard to believe. She had to get out of there now.

However this glimmerstone worked… she hoped it would. Maybe once she left here it would all turn into a bad dream.

27 thoughts on “Chapter 45: Something Shiny

Add yours

  1. Hurrah! Mission accomplished and no wildlife hurt in the process!

    Seriously though… Plumbob… I just have no words. Well I do, but they mostly contain four letters and you’ll shout at me. I’m not about to rip the Morgyn page out of my notebook just yet though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Heck, darn, hell & argh, obviously. 😂 I’ve calmed down now, had a green tea. So here is my genuine, considered and very thoughtful and poetic comment.

        One night of what sounds like epic love-making and a last selfless act before the body hits the floor. “Go on without me Cordelia! Save yourself! Remember me for whatever it was that was in my pants… not this final moment.”

        I see Morgyn is going to extremes to ditch their spent sexual partners nowadays. Probably got up and wandered off after she’d gone, to screw whatever it was that was moving around in the tomb that will inevitably save them.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! Sorry I’m only replying now, I almost missed your message there, landed in my spam for some reason!

      I suppose Morgyn also refused to believe they could die. Didn’t work out so well for them…

      Like

      1. I know the gnome army is dancing Rumbasim right now, but I’m a sentimental romantic and my heart exploded into tens of pieces 💔😭

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Why’d you kill Morgyn? They’re not Richard you know!! 🤣

    Ok so im thinking they could come back via potion of resurrection provided they took it at the start of the mission. Or that totem thingymajig. Or the other sages could bring them back? Or half vamp half sage?

    I didn’t realise there would be a way to make Cordelia feel even guiltier than she already does. Facing Micah isn’t going to help now.

    Also if Morgyn placed a protective barrier of some sort on his loves, since he’s gone Cordy and Micah would most likely be found by Verena.

    And Morgyn has kinda immortalised himself in Cordy’s heart. 😅 she’s never gonna leave their side if they come back.

    By the way I enjoyed the action / thriller! Love the suspense and danger. 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Can’t win, can I? First everybody wants Morgyn to fall into a death pit of snakes, now people don’t want Morgyn to fall into a death pit of snakes, how do I keep up?

      (Ok, for reals, this was planned long before the pit of snakes and other wildlife made an appearance in the comments, though I did actually happen to write this chapter on the day when everyone was going on about Morgyn dying by a varied assortment of animals…)

      Yeah, apparently I decided Cordelia doesn’t quite have enough baggage. Oops. And yes, she was already not doing so well getting over Morgyn as they were parading their flawed ways in front of her face, getting over dead Morgyn the martyr who died for her will be even harder. Double oops…

      Interesting predictions! I especially like the half vamp half sage one, that would be cool, alas you can’t just turn any random corpse into a vampire (and indeed, they can’t quite be a corpse to be turned either, they still need to be somewhat alive).

      Thank you, that’s a huge compliment coming from you! I don’t think I’m particularly good at thriller, so I’m glad it was still suspenseful!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oof I have no doubt that you’ve got it all figured out! I remember you told me you’ve planned way ahead into Season 2 so I’m pretty sure you were just enjoying the ride, ruffling our skirts and eating popcorn haha!

        I think its a win! I don’t know about a pit of snakes. But they did block that arrow for Cordy. I don’t know how to interpret it though o.o That’s why I need you to bring him back so we know why. haha!

        Psh. Nice try. Go eat your popcorn in your corner of schemes. 😛

        Dang. I wish you could though. Morgyn would be the best of both worlds and it will totally go to their head and I will rant at them once more. But it will be interesting anyway.

        >.> You don’t think you’re good at thriller??? Your character relationships are already one heck of a thriller for my fragile heart lol. Every chapter is a freakin suspense to see if Cordy will sink or swim. xD

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I..
    Well.

    When they were going on their exciting, dangerous, possibly deadly jungle adventure, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting this. I hate to say poor Morgyn, but poor Morgyn. If they’re truly dead, then that is a truly poetically terrible way to go. For all their power over the untamed and all their tricks and all their words, they couldn’t overcome a single poisoned arrow. They were a complete potato, but to die like that after everthing… ouch. That’s cruel.

    On another note, way to spring a plot twist on us, Plumbob! That came totally unexpected, well done, haha. I really liked the poses of Morgn and Cordelia in this chapter, too. They worked very well, especially the one where Cordelia is cradling Morgyn in her arms. Aw man, and she doesn’t even know what that relic is for, since Morgyn never explained it to her. For all she knows it’s a decoration to put on a fireplace mantle. Aw man, Morgyn died over a llama statue. That’s just the epitome of cruel irony. The master of untamed magic and one of the strongest spellcasters alive died over a llama statue. 0.o

    Well, then. I better go tell my gnome army to abort mission “assault-magic-HQ-and-turn-Morgyn-into-a-flamingnome”. 0.o

    Also:
    “The omniscans had three kinds of relics, balampalosh, zazatotl and totelcallam. I believe this is the latter.”
    Damn it, Morgyn, don’t go dying on me without explaining that stuff! I need to know the lore!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, everybody was so focused on Cordelia’s safety that nobody considered the ruins could be dangerous to Morgyn too – guess they were convincing in their “I’m practically immortal” spiel.

      And thank you! I guess Cordelia will have to find some answers about that relic, or Morgyn died for nothing.

      Um, yeah, that would be for the best – not too sure if your gnomes alerting Verena about where to find Micah and Cordelia now would do anyone any favours as things stand…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I… have no words.
    This went totally unexpected!
    If Morgyn is really dead for good, I have to compliment you on writing them such a pathetic and unsatisfying ending. They never had a chance to get better, nor to suffer for the damage they did…
    Not to forget that this will throw Cory back even more… but at least she has good memories, at last, that may make her feel less insignificant? After all, the mighty sage of untamed magic protected her with his life.
    If that’s not something to boost her confidence at least (and add a nice pile of guilt), then what is?

    Idk what to say 😅
    I hate this chapter, and also I love it a lot. It’s a slap in the face chapter. Yes yes, a v good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If unsatisfying slap in the face is the kind if resolution you enjoy in a story, you’ll be happy here, lol! 😅

      I’m sure there will be consequences for Cordelia’s state of mind, yes. Though I like that you’re trying to find something positive in the situation, let’s hope she manages to find that silver lining there.

      Like

      1. oh I enjoy a well rounded story as everyone else. But when it goes completely different than expected and it’s not sure if those unresolved ends will be ever be tied, it always reminds me that it’s just like real life. (let’s ignore all the magic and stuff here xD)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha I was being serious – I definitely don’t intend for everything in this story to end up in a wholesome way and with a bow on top 😊 I’m glad you like curveballs like that 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. HOLY [insert favorite expletive here]!!! I actually yelled this at my computer when I read this, only with a more inappropriate word. I totally didn’t see that coming, nicely done! I loved all the action in the end. When I saw the arrow I was like, yeah, I don’t think Morgyn is getting out of this one, that looks like it’s in a very precarious position in their chest.

    Oh man, I was totally expecting more Morgyn viewpoints. Well, maybe Morgyn is dancing “The Time Warp” with the reaper in the afterlife. That’s how I will always remember them. RIP, Morgyn.

    But in all seriousness, I actually think this is the perfect end to Morgyn’s story and like that not everything is answered. Oh, man, now I wonder what Micah will think? Or L Faba? Will she blame Cordelia for Morgyn’s death? And what about the sprites? Will the statue help with getting rid of them. Now I have so many more questions, and I love it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s quite the reaction, thank you! Yes, the arrow did not look great before we even found out it was posioned 😕

      Goodness, dancing the time warp with the reaper 💔 Yes, I bet Morgyn would love to be remembered like that.

      We will actually hear from Micah in the very next chapter. He will have a reaction for sure. And no doubt the other sages will have thoughts of their own as well, yes.

      Liked by 1 person

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