[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 36 – Search! – Dave Bailey

[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 36 – Search!

Thorgaut screamed furiously. All the spiders turned toward him in shock. They fired back a warning for him to keep it down.

“Don’t use the collective web to express your emotions,” one little spider warned him. The unexpected feelings are a shock to those of us who aren’t expecting it.

Thorgaut apologized and continued to scan through the spider’s collective mind web. He searched for any information that could help him find Svart. None of the spiders claimed to have seen Svart and Abyss Snarer leave.

“How is that possible?” he asked in frustration.

“Tone down the emotions,” they fired back. “The giant spider most likely used a mental cloaking shield to hide itself and the child. And then they walked out of here without any of us noticing them. We’ve recently hatched. So, we don’t have enough experience or training to detect these things yet.”

“Right, but how did Abyss Snarer get free?” he asked with a groan.

“Well, obviously your boy let it go,” they retorted. “From the look of things, he pulled enough of the threads back to free the enemy.”

Thorgaut sensed an edge to their voices that hadn’t been there before. Somehow, they seemed to blame him. He sensed that most of their irritation was because he didn’t realize his role in the whole situation.

He asked the spiderlings for help in tracking Svart down. None of them were willing to help. As far as they were concerned, the damage had been done. But since they weren’t in danger, none of the spiderlings wanted to go looking for trouble.

“Let it be,” they said. “Go home.”

Thorgaut sat down to weigh his options. He remembered the memory pack that Happy Feet had left him. He tore it open and pawed through it clumsily. He finally located the sections of the cave that he recognized. It was easy to spot the entrance where they had entered the cave back at the house. From there, he trailed down to the map to their current location.

He picked out a couple of key locations that Happy Feet seemed to have tagged for him. One appeared to be the location of Abyss Snarer’s trap for unwary miners and dwarves. There also seemed to be a few other areas that she had marked with a similar tag. He assumed that these were additional traps that could be dangerous. He was grateful to have these guides to get him around in these caves safely.

The other tags seemed to refer to exits. One was a cave exit near the river that was most likely where Thorgaut had last seen his friends. And another that was most likely the town they had raided.

There were also a couple of other tags on the map with question marks. He assumed that these were locations where Halldora’s magically, cloaked glad would be. Happy Feet had left them as questionable was because she wasn’t sure which came out the closest to her meadow. He was still pretty excited though. All he had to do was locate Svart and then follow these maps out of here.

Thorgaut stood up and bid the spiders farewell. They seemed surprised that he was leaving so soon. The two little spiders who were supposed to go with him came scurrying over. But once Thorgaut told them that he was going to search for Svart first, they went back to their original tasks.

“Let us know if you survive,” the spiderlings said as they waved him off. “We’ll go with you to the humans, but not out to face that nasty spider.”

Thorgaut walked to the edge of the cavern where it narrowed back down into three tunnels. He paused to take a deep breath. He would have liked having the company of even one little spiderling. Heading off into the darkness by himself wasn’t a prospect he looked forward too. But what could he do?

He was on his own here. He would have to suck it up and make the most of the situation. At least he had the maps and a couple of fangs to keep him company. That was more than he had started with in the beginning.

The Viking warrior held the fangs in his hands. He called one ‘Terror’ and the other ‘Chelicerae’. He put one in each pocket and studied the cave maps Happy Feet had given him.

The tunnel to the right headed down towards Abyss Snarer’s nest. The middle shaft circled back to the river where he had left his friends. The third tunnel to the left went deeper down into the cave.

He didn’t try tracking it on the map because it wasn’t necessary for now and would take up precious time. Thorgaut didn’t think Svart could have been gone more than fifteen minutes. If he moved quickly, he should be able to catch up with them effortlessly. The spiderlings had injected Abyss Snarer with a lot of poison. That alone should have left her in a weakened and frail state. He didn’t imagine she would be able to move very fast in her current state.

Thorgaut entered the tunnel and walked as fast as he could while still not making much noise. He probed the tunnel ahead for any sign of Svart or the giant spider. After a few bends in the shaft, he picked up a strange presence that seemed to be coming from behind him.

He cloaked his mind and stepped into a large crack in the tunnel wall. He knew the cloak wouldn’t make him invisible like Abyss Snarer. But at least whoever was behind him wouldn’t be able to track his mind from a distance.

Thorgaut could tell that whatever was following him stopped as soon as he cloaked his mind. After a few seconds, it started moving cautiously again his direction.

Soon, he saw it coming around the bend. It was one of the little hatchlings that was supposed to travel with him. He waited for it to notice him. It perked up immediately and came scampering over to him.

“What are you doing?” he demanded to know while trying to give it a disappointed scowl.

“Coming with you,” it replied cheerily. “I didn’t think you were going to chase down your friend by yourself.”

The little spider giggled and hopped around while tapping its feet. It seemed particularly pleased to see Thorgaut. He couldn’t keep the scowl any longer. He snickered and stepped out from the crack.

“Okay. Okay!” Thorgaut said. “I’m happy to see you too, but we need to get moving.”

They continued walking down the tunnel. The little spiderling ran circles around the Viking man. It crossed the path in front of him and up the wall on one side. Then it would come down and traverse back to the other from behind him. Sometimes it would run up across the ceiling and come down on the other side. Thorgaut got dizzy watching the vigorous, little spiderling buzzing around.

“Why did Svart let Abyss Spider go and leave with her?” Thorgaut mused out loud while deep in thought. “I’m going to kill that kid when I find him.”

“The giant spider hijacked his mind and turned him into a puppet,” the little spider replied. “He’s no longer in control of his body.”

“What?” Thorgaut practically yelled. “How does she do that? And how do you know that?”

The spider shrugged. It looked funny since the creature had to use all eight legs to get the same effect.

“Because I can sense the boy’s mind up ahead, and he’s not in control of himself,” the spiderling answered.

“You can tap into his mind and read it too?” Thorgaut asked in surprised. “I didn’t think Svart was a mind reader.”

“He’s not,” the spider said. “But I am and I can.”

The spiderling pushed a replay of Abyss Snarer hypnotizing Svart. The spider had magnetized the boy conversationally by merely asking him various questions. Svart had soon slipped into a trance, and from there it was easy for Abyss Snarer to take control of the boy’s mind.

“That is crazy,” Thorgaut said in awe. “It must be an amazing skill to have.”

“Shh!” the spiderling whispered into his mind. “They are just around the next bend. Cloak your mind.”

Dave Bailey

Dave Bailey started writing short stories when he lived in Brazil to help his students learn English. Now, he lives in Florida again where he continues to write fun and inspiring sci-fi and fantasy fiction stories. You can read his weekly short stories here on his blog. Make sure to join his advanced reading crew so you know when new stories become available >>> https://davebailey.me/go/crew