Chapter 7 Mountain Training
Along the banks of the Bluff River there was a beautiful clearing that sat tucked inside the edge of a mountain. It had protection on three sides and a small opening on the fourth making it a very safe place to stay for a while and train. Colt had noticed an old farmhouse before, but it looked like no one had been here in many years. They searched the area looking for anyone who might live here but found no traces of anyone living here. Between the house and the barn there was enough room for everyone and every creature to find a place to sleep and eat. They would call this place home for the next few months while they learn more about their swords and each other. Colt and Remi found a nice spot up on a ridge that overlooked the peaceful farm and flowing fields of wheat left unattended, waiting to be harvested.
Colt and Remi kept everyone on a strict schedule. Everyday wake up was at 5:30 a.m., breakfast was done by 7 and training began by 8 and they always ended the day with a bible study around a fire while having dinner. So far, everyone has pulled Colt aside at some point and asked how to get saved. He has prayed with many of them and discussed what it means to be saved and how to ask Jesus into their hearts. They also had a night where they went down to the river and Colt got to Baptize them. There are still a few that have questions and aren’t quite sure what they believe yet, so Colt just continues to answer their questions and show them the love and guidance they need from a father-like figure.
Remi spends everyday teaching a different pair about their sword. Her job is to help them unlock and master all the power within the sword and themselves. They had to know exactly how they connect with their sword and how to let that power flow freely through them.
As the weeks went on and the training grew more intense, so did the questions about their faith. Colt noticed they were beginning to discuss it amongst themselves and walk each other through tough questions without Colt having to be a part of it. They have become disciples to each other and are beginning to reach the others that have been skeptical. Colt was immensely proud to see these kids were growing and maturing. He looked at this group of kids as his own now, they were in his care, and they were fighting side by side with his own daughter.
After a few months of training, Remi decided they were ready for battle. Colt learned to fight with Ranger, Dallas mastered the Sword of Fire while Kane learned to fight with Thraxal, and everyone else took turns learning their sword just in case one falls the other would be ready to take up their sword and continue fighting.
Unfortunately, on the last day of their training Emma took a hard blow to the head from Kay while using the Sword of Power. Colt rushed her into the farmhouse and for the next few days it was very touch and go. They weren’t sure if she would pull through, but for now she was laying there in a coma. Eliza never left her side, in fact she barely even ate or slept. Until she woke up, there was no way they could leave the farm and hunt down Ragnar, but Colt began to send out pairs as scouts.
They would come back with nothing. Occasionally they would find some supplies or hear some stories about where Ragnar might be. On one scouting mission though, A.B. and Kay, decided to go further than usual and pushed on until they came to a forest that seemed to go on forever. The only thing that stopped it out in the distance looked like a massive castle that had been swallowed up by the forest. They knew they couldn’t make it there and back before the others began to worry, so they turned around and headed back to the farm. They noticed someone in the distance was watching them but then just like that, they disappeared.
“We need to move fast and keep an eye out for anyone following us,” A.B. said cautiously, “I think we are being followed and I don’t want to lead them back to the others.”
They took every back road they could think of and every few hours they would duck into a building or behind some rocks and wait for an hour. Surely if anyone was following them, they would get tired of their games and either give up or come try to find them. It took the girls a lot longer to get home than they planned and after a few days they knew the others would be worried. They decided no one was following them at this point and took the quickest route back to the farm, where they found everybody gathering up the supplies and getting ready to come looking for them, even Emma. She finally came out of her coma, she was still weak, but ready to move.
The girls told them about being followed and about the castle they found. They decided that it might have an armory and have shields and helmets for everyone. They figured it was worth exploring to find out, at the very least it might be a good place to make a stand against Ragnar if they need somewhere to fall back to.
It was settled they would follow A.B. and Kay and go find the Monkey Kingdom, well that’s what Klaus started calling it at least. Everyone was on edge though knowing someone might be watching them, someone connected to Ragnar. Could he really know where they are and have spies following them? They moved quickly, watching everywhere, making sure no one was following them. Again, A.B. noticed someone off in the distance watching them, hiding behind trees, and following behind them as they got close to the forest edge. As the group moved on A.B. let her dad know and she hid in the bushes along the road without being seen. The rest continued moving to keep the mystery person following them, so A.B. could catch them off guard.
As the girl got closer A.B. noticed she wasn’t quite human, in fact she looked a lot like the trees around her. It was a Dryad or a tree fairy, and this must be her forest. A.B. remembers learning in school that you must get their permission to enter their forest or the Dryad’s can become very mean and we were about to cross into her forest, she had to stop everyone.
A.B. jumped out in front of the Dryad which alerted the others. She then bowed before her and asked her for permission to enter the forest. She told her tale of why they needed to enter and what they were looking for and then waited for the Dryad to answer.
“My name is Zada, and this is my forest and all within it belongs to me. The castle in which you speak is mine, but I will let you use it if you are worthy. Only two of you know what it is to lose everything and think all is lost only to find it again and then to selflessly give it all up again to go save people they don’t even know. You, Emmalyn, and you, Lyndsey, are worthy and can take your friends into my forest. You may take whatever you need from my castle, just leave my trees and plants alone. Many who travel through here will cut down my trees for fire or pick my flowers just to smell them and then throw them away.” Reeya told the group.
Zada pointed them down the right path and told them to follow the crimson flowers along the pathway and as she said it, a trail of dark crimson, blood colored, flowers began popping up in a line down the pathway. They thanked her and began on their journey into the forest.