Caravan Chaos Part 3: Saved by Blink Berries
Gurp, the giant, and Dela, the sprite, had just gulped down and devoured some glowing berries. And as Dela had developed a clever escape plan, Gurp now had a glowing grin on his face.
Looking up from the book, Finn smiles. His toothy dragon smile spread across his face similar to Gurp’s in the story. “Oh boy! My favorite part is coming up.” He was almost bouncing in his comfy, old maroon chair. Splaying out his restless legs in front of him, he giddily continues the story of Dela and Gurp’s escape.
He starts the story right after Dela and Gurp had prepared their escape.
…The Catcher returned after a few hours. This time, he was empty handed.
Hhhmm mhb hm— His humming came to an abrupt stop when he got to the fire. The little sprite, Dela, had disappeared.
“Graawh! Where is she?!” He violently shook awake Gurp who was lying asleep.
“Gruh… Where’s who? Who’s she?” Gurp sleepily asked with a dopey smile.
“The little sprite girl? Where did she go?!”
“Huh, did she look’n like that?” Gurp pointed up at the cave wall.
There she was. Well, at least a drawing was. Painted in the glowing juice of the blink berries was Dela. Her jeering picture shimmered. She stuck out her tongue. And next to it was the message, “Nah nah nah! Can’t catch me!”
“Rrraaahh!” The Catcher exploded, standing up from the giant. He could then see more drawings going deeper into the cave. More taunts and a few mocking drawings of the Catcher could be seen going deeper and deeper into the dark.
In a fury he plunged into the cave following Dela’s drawings. Gurp sat up, watching the Catcher trudge off.
“Think he bought it?” A voice came from behind Gurp in a whisper. With a flutter of her wings, Dela floated up from behind Gurp’s back.
“I’s thinks so. My favorite was the one where you gave him a mustache.” Gurp smiled.
“Mine too.” Dela winked holding up her hands coated in the berries’ juice. “Now let’s get out of here!”
They kicked dirt on the fire to disguise their disappearance and began running. The two stumbled and shuffled down the cave’s passages. Gurp did his best to move quickly with his shackled legs and hands. But sometimes he tripped and fell. They needed to move quick. Soon the Catcher would figure out their trick. But they were faced with a new problem. Dozens of tunnels and openings lay before them, each running off in different directions.
“Oh no!” Dela exclaimed. “I don’t know how to get out. There are far too many tunnels and passages down here. How do we know which is the right one?”
“It’s a’right. Just’n follow the berries.” Gurp said looking down at the near hidden blink berries on the ground. “I’s left them here earlier."
“Wow, you did that, Gurp? That’s really clever.”
“Yep, I’s thought I might’n want to leave the cave, so’s I drop dem when Catcher brought me here.” Gurp smiled proud of himself.
“Way to be prepared like Mama Gurp said!”
“Well, you’ll have to introduce me, when we get home to Hammerholt.” Dela whispered, calling Hammerholt her home for the very first time.
Quickly they followed the berries and reached the cave’s entrance. They would have celebrated, but that’s when they heard it.
A menacing tune came from the cave. The Catcher’s humming tune, but this time with words:
Fear washed over Dela and Gurp, when a gruff voice growled from the cave’s dark, “Oh children! I don’t hear any snoring!”
Dela looked at Gurp’s chains. What were they going to do?
“Get out here, Dela. You’s can escape. I’ll fight him off.” Gurp spoke mustering up his Hammerholter courage.
“No, he’s too strong! You’ll be captured again. There’s got to be another way!” Dela frantically looked around for a hiding place, a weapon, anything that could help.
Then she looked at the cave’s face. “Gurp, what does your family do again?”
“Rock moving business.”
“Let’s move some rocks then!” Dela cried pointing to the large boulders near the cave entrance.
“Sleep oh little child…" The Catcher kept singing that creepy song. He was close and getting closer.
Gurp had moved two boulders in front of the open, but it wasn’t near enough.
“Hahaha that’s not going to work.” The Catcher’s crude face could now be seen in the cave.
“Hurry!” Yelled Dela.
“I’m comin’ for you stinky giant,” snarled the Catcher. “And you pesky sprite.”
Looking along the cave’s opening, Gurp dropped the boulder in his hands.
“What are you doing?! He’s right there!” Dela panicked.
“I’s gotta better plan.” Gurp said with certainty.
“Hehehe! The Catcher’s bent body cracked and shift downward. Hunched forward all the way to the ground, on all fours he began to run like a deranged wolf. Like the predator he truly was, the Catcher was coming!
Gurp stumbled up cave’s entrance, where began hammering and punch a big root by the cave entrance. Hammering and hammering. The Catcher was getting even closer. Still Gurp kept beating against the root.
Bang bang bang
“Sleep oh little child or the Catcher will come get you…”
Dela now saw the yellow eyes and cracked toothy grin of the Catcher. They shown in the moonlight.
“GURP! RUN! HE’S HERE!!!” Dela attempted to pull the giant away from the entrance.
“Looks like I’ll be eatin’ child stew tonight!” The Catcher lunged towards them both.
Crreawk scraAIk CRUMPh
The root snapped! And rocks tumbled down. With a dusty cascade of stone, the entrance was blocked. And they were safe.
While dust floated through the air, the Catcher’s voice could be heard behind the tons of stone. “How dare you! You can’t escape me! I’m the Catcher!” His now muffled and quiet voice made him seem no more threatening than a mouse in a wall.
“Wells dat worked pretty good,” Gurp smiled wiping dust off his face.
“Wah… wah… how? I can’t believe it!” Dela thrusted her arms in the air in triumph. “You did it, Gurp!”
“I’s guess rock movin’ ain’t so borin’ af’er all.” Gurp coughed out dust and rocky gravel. With a glowing berry smile they both enjoyed a moment of relief and celebration.
Then they proceeded down the mountain, looking to catch up with the caravan.
The sprite caravan was loading up the Hammerholt hyraxes. Those giant mountain badgers yawned themselves awake ready to carry the caravan’s heavy gear and belongings. The sprites stretched their legs for the journey ahead, and a few had already begun singing some travel songs. Just as they were ready to depart, two figures appeared on the mountain crest.
Dela and Gurp. The two made quite the sight bumbling their way into camp, Gurp tripping over his chains and Dela attempting to support her oversized giant friend. They yammered on about bear-men and berries, much to the confusion of the sprites and the Hammerholt guard.
Soon some sprites helped Gurp with his chains, and Dela found her now very confused parents. In one big embrace she hugged them both.
“What happened to you?” Her dad fumbled out the question, looking at his dusty and glowing daughter.
“I’ll tell you later.” Dela brushed some hair out of her eyes, leaving a glowing streak across her forehead. “Can we go home already?”
“Delicia, we’ve been over this.” Started her mother, crestfallen that they had to have this conversation again. “We can’t go back the Aerias —“
“Mom, not Aerias.” With a smile she accepted her new home. And Gurp, her new giant friend. “I mean Hammerholt.”
And so she hugged her parents, ready for the next chapter of her life. Confused her parents hugged her back.
Folding up the little pink book, Finn brushes aside some scrolls and parchments on his coffee table. He then places the pink book on the open space, signaling the end of the story.
“So Dela and Gurp would go on to be one of the earliest Sproot and Galoot build teams. Gurp was known for his innovative methods of moving larger stones. He excelled far beyond any other Galoot in Hammerholt history in his abilities. And Dela became famous around the Realm for her elaborate, playful carvings. Sometimes she’d even use some shimmering, glowing paint to bring them more to life!”
Springing up from his seat, Finn bounces around the house. Trying to decide what would be next, his eyes dart from the sprawling bookshelves to his hanging display of Sherwood teas, and then finally to his kitchen.
“It’s decided!” Bounding across the house, he grabs a mixing bowl and dawns an apron. Across its front the apron’s inscription says, “I Sherwood like some cookies!”
Picking up a bowl and a big spoon, Finn says, “Ok! we are having crackle nut cookies. You know how to bake right?”
And so, the two of you pass the rest of the day away making cookies with Finn sharing his favorite cookie related stories.