Quest of oblivious, p.1
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       Quest of Oblivious, p.1

           Kentrick P Jones
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Quest of Oblivious
The Quest of Oblivious

  Chapter 1 - Hole in one

  Deep within the cliffs of Foill an Priosun in the Comeragh mountain range a deep reverberation emanated. The herd of wild goats who had guarded the mountain all their many lives raised their snouts from the long grass and cast their eyes, the horizontal slash of the pupils glistening in the early morning dawn, deep into the valley. The goats were ancient and wise, descended from the first of all goats, Bezoar. Generations had lived and died on this mountain over the millennia, protected by its mystical powers.

  There was a drop in the wind and for a moment no sound except for the rustling of the heather on the high mountain ridges. Then came a whoosh from the cliff top and immediately after deep down in the valley, an explosion from Crotty's Lake. Pike, old shopping trolleys and nearly forty thousand gallons of water exploded upwards. The sured-footed goats are up and over the mountain pass in moments. A second explosion hit the base of Crotty's cave that overlooked the lake.

  It was said that the cave was haunted, named after Crotty, a notorious highwayman whose body was hung, drawn and quartered in the eighteenth century. The cave was his hiding and lookout place and after his betrayal and capture, his wife threw herself from a nearby rock to her death on the cliffs below. This gruesome local legend had served the occupants of the cave well and protected its sanctuary for hundreds of years. However, that sanctuary lay shattered as yet another mortar came doodlebugging from the sky - this time a direct hit. The armoured door that was well camouflaged by surrounding rock and moss buckled and several human sized spiders spilled out and rolled into the lake, their flaming bodies hissing as they made contact with the cold water.

  The cliffs tops of Foill an Priosun suddenly came alive with hundreds of black clad soldiers abseiling fearlessly over the cliff edge. The zipping sounds of carabiners on nylon was like the swarming of angry bees. Soon the deathly pale, pointy-toothed warriors were pouring into the mouth of the cave and yet more enormous spiders came spilling out. Inside the entrance, the Disciples of Oblivious were fighting tooth to hairy leg with the Guardspider people. The element of surprise was in the Disciples favour and they were soon making their way into the cave's interior. They were well armed and prepared for attack with multiple explosive devices and guns hanging from their belts and straps.

  * * *

  The Disciples of Oblivious, or Bloodless as they were commonly known, stood at the entrance of the cave door.? An infantry leader was in the process of raising two of his hairy legs to give the order to storm the base.? 'I'll deal with that' came the cold and decisive voice of Revelent.? The Bloodless fell back upon the instruction from their commander.? The vast wooden door still smoldered from the last mortar attack, although it was still very much intact.

  Revelent was much taller than the others and, although it hardly seemed possible, paler. He was dressed head to toe in a flowing black robe that shrouded his presence and by its very absence made him all the more threatening and malevolent. He reached into his cloak and produced a small octagon-shaped object. A small winged creature rested on his shoulder, his bat, Fang. He placed the device in his mouth and Fang flew straight for the enormous wooden recessed in the cave. Fang dropped the octagon and banked round immediately. Revelent tapped a button that was fixed to his wrist and an incredibly loud explosion rang out, amplified by the enclosed surroundings of the cave.

  As the Bloodless coughed and spluttered in the smoke and dust of the cave the muzzle flash of shotgun fire came blazing from the remnants of the wooden door. Krator, a pint sized human with unlimited strength, was reloading his double barrel shotguns.

  'Bring it on vampires, I'll pepper you with lead' he roared as he took the shells from his belt and fed them into the cartridge slots of the shotgun. He snapped the barrels back with a flick of his wrists and unleashed on the Bloodless again, felling another four.

  'Snipe' called out Revelent who had held his ground, impervious to the explosions and gun fire.

  Just then a shot, clean and precise even in its sound, whistled through the air and Krator fell to the ground clutching his leg.

  The shot had come from Snipe, who had entered the cave silently and immediately sought out the highest and most discreet ground. Only Revelent could sense his presence and at times even he found it difficult to know where he was.

  During all the commotion Fang had managed to fly undetected into the library beyond the door. He flew to the exact spot he had been instructed by Revelent and fetched the dusty old scroll. In its place he left a small octagonal shaped present.

  The Bloodless were already retreating from the cave. More Guardspiders were arriving as well as other reinforcements. Krator had been carried clear by some helpful Gnomes.

  'Snipe, some exit music please' called Revelent as he strolled casually towards the cave opening.

  A hail of rifle fire and explosions cascaded throughout the cave. Revelent emerged from a mist of smoke and light and gently touched his wrist. A huge explosion ripped through the cave. The mountain goats would not be back for some time.

  Chapter 2 - Cu Chulainn's lair

  'To the east lies Maebh's cairn and here to the west we have what is thought to be the grave of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, a famous Celtic warrior', said the tour guide.

  Paddy and Jack nodded in unison. Paddy scratched his chin, in a knowledgeable that was interesting kind of way, but also because it was itchy from several days of stubble. Jack scratched his bum.

  The sea breeze whipped off the Atlantic Ocean accompanied by a fine drizzle that covered the peninsula in a thin saturated mist.

  There were a couple of Spanish tourists and some South Africans in the group. They were easily identifiable by the flags that they wore on their backpacks. Perhaps there would have been more visitors had the weather been better. Paddy was Jack's father and had thought a trip to the oldest known graveyard in Europe might be an interesting day trip during school holidays.

  'Please feel free to take a look around the cairns and if you have any more questions I'll be in the information centre', said the guide as she put up her hood and wrapped her jacket tightly around her rather large frame. It was a cold and wet day and she could have carried on for a bit longer but the thought of the electric heater and a warm cup of hot chocolate indoors was too much of a temptation.

  The Spanish and the South Africans obviously felt the same as they took a couple of photographs of the drizzle and headed for their hire cars. It would be fun to have their friends around when they returned home to their respective countries and looked at the many pictures of rain they had taken.

  Paddy and Jack were well used to this weather and in the greater scheme of things felt that the weather probably bordered on the soft.

  'Let's take a look at Fionn mac Cumhaill's grave', suggested Jack, who had recently heard about him at school. Fionn mac Cumhaill was one of the most famous Irish warriors ever to have lived. He had accidentally eaten the salmon of knowledge as a young man and then later commanded the Fianna, a highly skilled band of warriors, after defeating a fire breathing dragon.

  His tomb had been hidden for many years under what was thought to be a pile of rocks. Many had been stolen by locals to build walls but not as many as from other cairns, probably because this cairn was felt to be cursed. It was only later that a Swedish archaeologist came along and felt this site had significance because of its location. He was not bothered by local superstitions and in his efficient Scandinavian manner excavated the enclosed tomb and found it to be a solitary grave. This was highly unusual as most other tombs contained the remains of many bodies. The resting place was obviously of considerable importance.

  Paddy was first through the entrance with Jack close behind. In the m
iddle of the cairn was a huge slab of rock mounted on smaller stones. Jack immediately scurried in under the large rock to the space underneath.

  'Anything interesting?' asked Paddy.

  'Not much', replied Jack as he began running his fingers on the stones inside.

  'The stones all feel a bit different' noticed Jack as he proceeded to touch the stones that felt similar in texture. He could sense that there seemed to be an order. He could not put his finger on it but he felt that there was a puzzle that could be solved. After Jack tried a couple of different combinations there came a strange rumbling sound.

  'Jack, come out of there, I can feel something rumbling', said Paddy, with more than a little concern in his voice.

  Quick as a jack rabbit he was out. No sooner had his heel disappeared from inside the tomb than the stones started to sink into the ground. The large flat rock that was the roof started to slide down into the ground at a forty-five degree angle before straightening up to a right angle with the ground. It paused there for a moment before it fell with a thud to the floor. Then came the sound of the grinding of gears and the hiss of hydraulics. The door slowly flipped over as if on hinges located somewhere in the earth.

  Paddy and Jack stared at this unfolding scene in slackjawed amazement. As the door slowly opened like a Hammer Horror Dracula coffin lid they looked at each other, took one step nearer and then looked inside. If Fionn mac Cumhaill himself had been standing there with spear in hand neither of them would have been surprised. Instead what lay there was a staircase. Not a staircase from the time of Fionn mac Cumhaill. More like the time of Star Trek! It was all smooth surfaces and stainless steel.

  'Shall we?' said Paddy.

  'It would be rude not to', replied Jack. Carefully they descended into the ancient tomb of Fionn mac Cumhaill and as they did the stone slab slowly closed over their heads. There was no going back.

  Chapter 3 - The sneezing bat

  Lord Oblivious rasped a dry and evil laugh as he held the scroll in his hands.

  'Well done', he said gleefully in a rare moment of generosity.

  His henchmen stood around him in the beautiful library, Revelent nearest with Fang resting on his shoulder. Snipe skulked in the corner, half hidden and nearest the exit. Atlas rolled his head from side to side, his huge hulking frame dwarfing even the extremely large Thor who stood beside him. Thor, so called because of his affection for his hammer, which he had named Jenny.

  'The scroll of Ra' exclaimed Oblivious. 'Ra was the Egyptian Sun god, he commanded the heavens, the earth and the underworld. In here lies the key to unlimited power'.

  'Somewhere in here 'said Oblivious gently stroking the scroll and releasing several layers of dust which had settled on its surface into the air, 'lie the keys to infinite power and immortality'.

  Fang sneezed and if you've ever heard a bat sneeze you'll know it sounds a bit like a Chihuahua barking. Atlas and Thor's enormous frames shuddered in a vain attempt to keep in the giggles before they erupted into full blown belly laughs.

  'Cretins', said Oblivious. 'OUT!' he roared and the laughing quickly died as everyone skulked out of the library and left Oblivious to his own devices.

  Luckily the books on the shelves were not for show and soon Oblivious was moving from shelf to shelf gathering the necessary tomes required to translate the secrets of the scroll. It was actually in this very library that Oblivious had discovered the properties of the long lost script. Many of the documents were from the lost library of Alexandria. 0r what was thought to be the lost library of Alexandria. Lord Oblivious' family had descendants who had worked in the time of Julius Caesar and had access to all of the courts secrets. They had managed to smuggle out most of the manuscripts, including original texts of ancient Greek scholars before staging the fire to cover their tracks. Also in the hoard were ancient Egyptian books and even more ancient scrolls that formed the basis of much of Lord Oblivious's power. To say that this library was important to him would have been a gross understatement. His followers knew this as well and to be invited into the library was a great privilege.

  Hence, Revelent and Snipe were less than happy to have been thrown out. However, Atlas and Thor were so thick it was hardly worth rebuking them. In fact, they had started giggling again as soon as they were beyond the door. Fang, not exactly proud of the sound of his sneezing was seething with anger and Revelent was restraining him with nearly every ounce of his mental powers.

  Lord Oblivious sat at the large oak desk and spread the ancient documents before him. The manuscripts had told him that the scroll of Ra was of great importance but he had had to rely on his own investigative skills to source its location. He should have suspected that King Flame would have had it in his own personal collection. Next to Oblivious, he had the largest collection of ancient and occult texts in the world. To have been able to acquire the text and destroy King Flame's base was an extra pleasure that brought Oblivious enormous satisfaction.

  Oblivious thought how wonderful it would be to see King Flame now, his library and headquarters in ruins, his army decimated and to know that Oblivious was responsible. A smile almost passed across Oblivious's face, something more frightening than any scowl he could ever produce.

  'Now, let me see', said Oblivious aloud as he picked up a particularly old and dusty book. He turned the opening page and as much as he resisted he could not stop the sensation rising in his nasal cavity.

  'Achhooo', he sneezed hard and loud. Atlas and Thor even heard it from down the corridor, which of course launched them into a new round of uproarious laughter.

  Chapter 4 - Remembrance of things past

  Just as Oblivious had stood in his library, King Flame stood in his - or what remained of it - surrounded by his loyal band of followers. There was Spike, Ajnin and Krator, who had been wounded in the attack. Krator lay on a stretcher, both his legs in casts. Spike and Ajnin had been out on a mission and had missed all the action at the base. They arrived back to find the bodies of Spiderguards people littering the perimeter of the cave. Mingled in with them were some of the Bloodless.

  'Oblivious' Spike had instantly surmised when he saw the corpses that had turned a shade of grey. Interesting, he had thought to himself, that the Bloodless should turn from white to grey upon death. I suppose whatever is absent in them while they live returns when they die. The remainder of his thoughts on the matter had been cut short as he entered what was left of the library and found Krator on his back. He had narrowly missed a gunshot to the head - luckily his instinctual reactions had kicked in as the gun cocked and buckshot littered an overturned bookshelf he had managed to dive behind in time.

  'Sorry' Krator had said, 'couldn't make you out with all the smoke'.

  They were now standing in pretty much the same spot. King Flame was trying to piece together the motives for the attack.

  'Certainly, life would be easier for Lord Oblivious with the Army of Flame out of the way', said King Flame, 'but I can't help but think that there is more to this that meets the eye.'

  'What I don't understand is that if he meant to wipe out the army then why didn't he just obliterate the place?' questioned Spike.

  'He did a pretty good job of it if you ask me', said Ajnin.

  'I don't suppose they wanted to face the double barrels of doom', scoffed Krator, miming the action of reloading two pump action shotguns with both arms.

  'With all due respect Krator, you were shot', replied Spike.

  'Well, at least I was here defending the fort', said Krator angrily.

  'That is enough. This is exactly what Oblivious would have us do. Spike is right, they could have finished you off Krator. It also seems that they attacked deliberately when they knew we would be light on defenses with Ajnin, Spike and I all away. There is more to this, I know it,' said King Flame as he paced the ruins of his charred library.

  'Krator?' he asked, 'was there anything unusual you can remember?'

  'You mean aside fro
m the explosions and the shooting, the general mayhem and carnage you mean?' said Krator.

  'Yes', was the clipped answer from King Flame.

  'Well, now that you mention it, as I was on the ground having been shot I saw that bat of Revelent's flying into the library. A few moments later he was flying back out carrying something. Then all hell broke loose and there were explosions everywhere', said Krator.

  'I knew it, they were after something. Now see if you can concentrate on what exactly he was carrying Krator'. advised King Flame.

  Krator closed his eyes for a second then opened them with a start. 'It was a rolled up bit of paper with some wooden knobs on the end',+ said Krator, obviously delighted with his own powers of recollection.

  'Excellent. That sounds like a scroll of some sort.' said King Flame as he headed into the still smoldering remains of the main library. 'What scroll would be of value to Oblivious. Let me think. There were only three scrolls in this part of the collection.' King Flame was thinking aloud now. 'And only one that Fang could have reached in that short space of time. It must be the scroll of Ra.'

  'But what could Oblivious want with the Scroll of Ra. I acquired that because of its historical significance but Oblivious clearly knows something we don't', surmised King Flame. 'We'll need to get to our secondary base. We should be able to access the digital archive from the mainframe there. I'll be able to figure out what's so special about this scroll.'

  'I'll alert the Gnomes that we'll need access to the caverns' said Spike as he strode towards the exit.

  'I'll ready the craft'. said Ajnin.

  'Excellent, we have no time to loose. We must get to Sligo as quickly as possible', said King Flame.

  Chapter 5 - You shouldn't play with fire

  Ajnin manned the controls of the Gnome Drillporter, a torpedo like device that could transport up to ten people at a time through the tunnel network that ran throughout the country. Many of the tunnels were naturally occurring. The one that ran from the base within Crotty's Cave was created by magma flow from the extinct volcano that originally formed the mountain. The Gnomes, who were a very secretive race had built and maintained the tunnel network that ran from Youghal in the South to the Giant's Causeway in the North, and from Clifden in the west to Howth in the East, and just about everywhere else in between. They had also perfected the technology required to run manned crafts throughout the network with their own unique propulsion system.

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