Chip and Tasha walk toward the northern edge of the small mountain valley. On the way Chip points to the still smoking volcano. "Scar Mountain is still smoking". Tasha nods: "I hope that is all it does". The young rabbit nods in agreement.
The midmorning sun shines hot as they near the base of the cliff that follows the north and eastern side of the valley. There the two rabbits stop to rest in the shade of a large oak. Chip offers his mate a drink, and points as he asks: "Where do we go when we reach those cliffs".
After having a drink of water she points to a small outcrop. "Below that outcrop a path begins that climbs to the top of the cliff." The young rabbit gulps as he stares at the high cliff. "It must be nearly 300 meters to the top".
Tasha nods: "But with a bit of care there is little danger with the climb. I choose this place because I felt you would enjoy seeing the ancient ruins that overlook the valley"
Chip nods: "I would". He then points to an object near the cliff edge: "Is that part of it?" Tasha looks up, and nods. "We should get started; so we can be at the top by late afternoon. It wouldn't be safe to be climbing after dark". Chip bites his lip a little then nods as they make their way toward the cliff face.
As they near the base of the cliff Tasha searches for the path: "I know its close by". Chip looks up, and says: "I wish I hadn't told the dragon to take the week off", Tasha smiles: "It's more of a adventure to climb up to the ruins".
The young rabbit girl shouts: "Here it is!" Chip looks over and says ok. He walks over as his mate starts up the path. "Hey that doesn't look too bad". He starts up after her. Tasha waits for him: "I told you it wasn't too hard". Chip nods as they continue up the narrow rocky path.
Upon reaching the rock outcrop they decide to stop for a few minutes to rest. Tash points: "The valley is so beautiful from here, don't you think?" The young rabbit smiles: "Yes it is, I am glad we decided to come here". Chip gives his mate a hug and kiss on the nose.
Tasha returns the hug, and kiss: "We best keep climbing, its still a long climb to the top". She then starts climbing: I best lead the way, I have climbed this path before". Chip nods as he follows along: "I wouldn't have it any other way love".
Farther up the cliff the path starts to get a bit steeper and even narrower. The young rabbit calls out as he stops for a bit: "Tasha! I hope the path don't get much smaller". She looks back and smiles: "Don't worry; we will be at the top soon"
Chip nods as he holds on to a rock. Just then the rock pulls loose, causing the young rabbit to fall. Tasha stops upon hearing Chips cries for help. She looks back to see him trying to climb back up on the path only to fall from sight a moment later.
She calls out: "Chip!! Chip"!! Her eyes filling with tears as she hurries back down the path searching for him. She stops to look down for him as the loose rock bounces its way to the valley floor causing a small rock slide as it does. She calls out once more then a few moments later she hears Chip calling out for her. The rabbit girl kneels at the edge trying to catch sight of her mate.
She shouts: "Are you alright?" Chip responds: "I think so; I did hurt my wrist a bit though. But I found what looks like a cave". Tasha, relieved to hear that her mate is ok replies: "Don't move I will drop a rope to you." Chip shouts back: "There are steps, let's explore it."
Tasha glances toward the sky: "It will be dark soon. We can explore it later." Chip replies: "I don't think I can climb back up to the path with my wrist like it is." Tasha thinks for a minute: "I will climb down to you then. Can you tie your end of the rope to something solid?"
Chip grabs the rope and ties it around a large rock just inside the cave entrance, and shouts: "its secure love." Tasha secures her end of the rope, and slowly works her way over the edge down to a ledge at the cave opening.
Tasha smiles as she sees her mate sitting in the cave opening with his hand reaching out to help her into the cave. They hug tight as she sits beside him, and says: "I didn't know this cave was here." Chip nods: I am not surprised. This bush had it mostly covered till I nearly uprooted it as it broke my fall." She hugs him again: "I am glad it did."
She looks into the dark cave her eyes following the ancient stairway as it disappears into the darkness: "We need to find a place to spend the night. Maybe this stairway leads to the top of the cliff." Chip nods: "Lets see where it goes then." She nods: "I will leave this rope here incase it's blocked and we have to return."
Tasha pulls a candle from her pack, and lights it: "We will need a light to see." Chip nods as the two young rabbits work there way ever deeper into the dark cavern. With only a flickering candle to light their way.
After climbing for several minutes along the dark passage it opens up
into a large cavern. With only the light of the candle they slowly search the huge room for a
path that continues upward.
Chip points: “This place is amazing. Is that writing?” Tasha nods: “Yes,
from a thousand years ago.” The young rabbit looks at the picture writing with wonder: “Can you
read it?” The young rabbit girl smiles: “A little”. She holds the candle close: “I think it says
(In this place you will find safety from… ) I can’t tell what the last symbol was.”
Chip nods rubbing the spot:: “It looks like it was worn away with water
dripping on it Shame we can’t tell what the danger was.”. Tasha nods: “This proves the cave is
part of the ancient ruins at the top of the cliff. That is part of the mystery; there is much
that has been lost over the centuries. I hope this passage is clear all the way to the cliff
top. Otherwise we will have to spend the night in this place”.
With that she points: “I think that is the way we should go.” The two
rabbits hold hands as they again enter a narrow passage. They carefully make their way along the
worn steps slick with dripping water.
Chip acks as he nearly falls down. Tasha ohs as she stops to see if he
is alright. The young rabbit smiles: “I am ok, Just about slipped on these wet steps.” His mate
nods: “Try to be careful love; it would be difficult to get help if one of us was seriously
The cave ceiling becomes lower till the two rabbits are forced to crawl.
Tasha turns to say: “I hope the passage doesn’t get any smaller.” Chip nods just as the cave
opens into another room, but they find the way blocked by what appears to be a huge stone.
The last rays of sunlight can be seen along one side as they both try to
move the large stone. But after several minutes they both sigh with disappointment and sit down
to rest for a bit.
Chip looks at the large rock then at his mate: “I can’t believe we will
have to walk all the way back. We can see light coming from the other side.” Tasha nods sadly: I
was afraid this might happen. This must be a secret passage to escape some danger. There must be
a lever or trigger to move the stone, but I don’t know where or what it would be.
The young rabbit looks around pushing on various stones. Tasha shakes
her head: “We are both tired, let’s wait till morning before we give up and walk back.” Chip
nods: “At least it’s dry here. We best fix our beds to save our candle in case we do have to
walk back.” Tasha nods: “Your right.” With they both find a good place for their bedrolls, and
soon are fast asleep.
The morning brings sounds of birds chirping that soon wake the two young rabbits. The light filtering in from the outside is just enough so that when Chip sits up he can see most parts of the room better than the night before.
Tasha blinks as she first opens her eyes: “Good morning love.” She moves to give her mate a tight hug. Chip smiles, and hugs back: “I see more of that same writing.” Tasha hums: “Where is it love”? He points to the wall above the large stone: “There!”
She climbs up on a ledge to look at the writing closely. Then looks at Chip: “It’s not clear, but it appears to say. Through this portal only the brave of heart may pass. Then there is a picture of someone pushing the stone aside.”
The young rabbit shakes his head, ears drooping a bit as he does: “I have pushed as hard as I can, but that stone won’t move.” Tasha nods then jumps to the floor, then leans against the large stone. Moments later a scraping sound is heard as the stone moves just a little.
Chip blinks: “Did the stone move”? He looks as his mate nods. She then grabs his hand: “I think I understand now, lets both try jumping on this spot.” They both hold each others hands while they rabbit hop on the spot Tasha landed.
Moments later a low grinding sound is heard as the great stone slowly moves away from the opening. Chip and Tasha stop jumping as she says: “We did it. I haven’t done that since I was a little bunny.” She then gives Chip a hug. He returns the hug then looks at the floor. “I guess the stone block we jumped on was the trigger for the door.”
Tasha nods: “Yes, when I landed on it and saw the stone move a bit I realized I had misread the writing. The picture that looks like someone pushing the stone is actually jumping on that spot.”
Chip nods as they both step out onto a wide ledge with two large statues overlooking the valley below. “This must be what we could see from the valley.” Tasha nods: “I have stood here several times never knowing the passage we came through existed.”
After a few minutes they make their way down from the high ledge along stone steps that lead down to a central plaza. Chip stands in the middle turning looking at the ancient structures. “This must have been a beautiful place in it’s time.”
Tasha smiles: “Yes, my father told me many stories about this place. My grandfather knew a very old fellow who lived among these ruins that claimed to be a direct descendant of the people who built all this.”
Chip only half listens as he imagines what it must have been like. Tasha pokes her mate in the ribs to get his attention. He jumps as she does, then chases after her as she giggles and laughs. They both end up chasing each other for next few minutes. Unaware that they are being watched.
After a short time they both stop to catch their breath sitting down on
some stone steps that run along one edge of the plaza. He turns to Tasha: “Are there any more
passages in any of these buildings”?
She points to a large pyramid like structure: “That one has some
passages. We can explore them next, but we will need torches to light our way. Chip nods: “Do we
have anything to make them with”? The young rabbit girl nods: “There is a black oil pit about a
kilometer north of here. We should be able to find some thick black oil at its edge.” Chip ahs:
“Black oil burns slow, and with the proper wrapping it should last for hours.
Tasha nods: “Much like a large lamp would. My grandfather taught me how
to make black oil torches. He said the ancient ones could make torches that would burn for a
week with a good flame.” Chip blinks: “That is amazing.” Tasha nods.
With that the two young rabbits walk north toward the black oil pit
followed by a shadowy figure who stays just out of sight. The path drops steeply as they wind
their way down into a small blind canyon. Chip calls out to his mate: “This seems to be the only
way in or out of this place.” She stops to wait for Chip and nods; moments later her long ears
catch a cracking sound where she glances up then shouts: “Look out!!”
She quickly jumps hoping to knock her mate out of the way of a large rock crashing down from above. A second later the rock barely misses them both as they fall to the side of the path.
Chip looks down where the rock fell then at Tasha : “Thank you love. I fear that rock would have been the end of me.” A few tears run down Tashas face as she chokes out a few words. “I .. I am so glad you weren’t hurt.” She gives him a tight hug and kiss on the nose.“
She looks up to where the rock fell from: “It is very strange that rock chose that time to fall. I wonder.. “ She turns to her mate: “We should go on”. Chip nods as they both get up, and continue along the winding path.
The young rabbits stay close to each other as they near the oil pit. Tasha points: “There it is hon.” Chip holds his nose: “Whew that pit does have a strong smell.” Tasha nods as she gathers materials to make the torches. The young rabbit walks over to the pit and dips a finger in the slick liquid.
He wipes the oil off on some dry grass: “I don’t think I would want to fall in that stuff.” Tasha shakes her head: “No you would not; it would take a good scrubbing to get you clean. (She giggles) Or at the very least be very stinky for a while.”
He wrinkles his nose at the thought. “I believe that. Do you need any help making those?” She smiles: “You could wrap one end of these sticks with those vines. Be sure they are wound tightly.” Chip nods: “You got it.” He grabs a vine trying to pull it loose; it breaks suddenly causing him to loose his footing and falls back towards the pit.
Chip tries to grab another vine as he slides back. Hearing the commotion Tasha looks just in time to see her mate right at the edge of the pit. Hanging on to a small vine with his feet slipping on the slick ground she runs to try to grab him before he sinks into the oily mire.
She manages to save him from an oily bath by grabbing his arm, and pulling him up to solid ground. He smiles meekly at Tasha: “Seems like you’re always saving me love.” She shakes her head at her mate and says: “I don’t mind, but do try to be more careful. It could take days to get clean after falling in a black oil pit. Your fur might even fall out.”
“Yikes!” Exclaims the young rabbit as he imagines his self without fur. “I would not want that.” His mate giggles: “I don’t think I would want you to either.” She gives him a hug and kiss on the nose. “We best finish these torches so we can be back to the ruins before dark. “Chip nods as he wipes his feet on the dry grass.
A couple hours later they both walk up the winding path out of the small canyon carrying an arm load of torches. The young rabbit glances upward as they pass the spot where the rock almost hit them. As his eyes scan along the rock face above, he spots a dark figure standing at the top of the canyon wall.
Chip stops to tell his mate when he notices the figure holding up a long spear. Almost without thinking he throws his self against Tasha. Pushing her and himself under a rocky outcrop just as the spear glances off a stone only centimeters from the young couple’s feet. They both hold each other close not sure if the attack would continue or not.
A few minutes later the sound of padded footsteps are heard as Chip and
his mate prepare to use some of the torches in a attempt to defend themselves. She whispers:
“Lets try to make peace if possible.” Chip nods just as the shadowy figure steps out into
Holding a knife the stranger asks: “What are you doing in this place?”
Tasha steps forward. “We are only exploring, and mean no harm. We live in the valley below. I am
the daughter of Dinre our village elder.”
The stranger points the knife towards Tasha saying; “Stand still if you
wish to live.” Chip pulls her back stepping in front of her, and begs; “Please don’t hurt us, we
will leave if you wish.”
The stranger throws back a hood revealing the bandit face of a raccoon.
His eyes shining through his dark fur as he tells them to do as he says. “We will return to the
stone village. You will stay there while your fate is decided.”
The stranger tosses a short rope to Chip; “Tie her hands behind her
back, then I will tie yours.” Chip nods as he does as ordered. A few minutes later the stranger
steps back allowing the young rabbits to start up the path ahead of him as he follows behind
holding the rope. “Do not try to run I am very good at throwing a knife.” They both nod as they
walk along the path.
After returning to the ruins they are forced into a small room after
which the raccoon pushes a lever causing a large stone door to close preventing their escape. A
few minutes later Chip manages to free his hands then Tashas as well. They both hug tightly for
several minutes. Chip remarks: “I wonder what is going to happen to us.” Tasha shakes her head:
I don’t know. I haven’t seen anyone at these ruins before.”
By this time their eyes are getting used to the dark and they look
around the small room. Chip thinks: “If you haven’t seen them here before perhaps they don’t
know this place as well as you.” Tasha nods: “I think you may be right. Otherwise they wouldn’t
have put us in this room.The writings here indicate there may be an underground exit from this
Tasha continues to read the writings as Chip comments: “Maybe
these characters are here robbing these ruins. She hums. “You may be right. My father told me
there was a band of thieves around. He has our guards watching for them. But as we found out
they are good at staying out of sight.”
“Aha!” shouts Tasha. Chip jumps: “What is it?” “I found out how to open
the door.” Chip yeas: “Let’s do it before they come back.” His mate nods then steps over to a
large circular stone.
“The writing says we have to rotate this stone ball.” Chip Okays, and
quickly turns it. Tasha shouts: “No! Not that way.” Moments later a rumbling is heard as the
floor starts to slide out from under them. They both cry out for help trying to hold on but soon
loose their grip and fall into the unknown darkness below.