Terra Vonnel and the Skulls of Aries – Chapter 7
This was a long time coming, and she hoped her father had been right… that apart from being gate keys, the skulls also contained a hidden map to Mount Aries.
No one knew the true location of Mount Aries. There were plenty of stories of pirates that had run across it, but every story ended the same way. No pirate that ever found Mount Aries had lived to tell about it.
Terra had her own theories about the legendary island, and hers were based on fact, not fabricated stories. After all, her father had met one of the ancient descendants that actually hid the Skulls of Aries to protect its treasure–a treasure thought to be too powerful for humankind. The race was called the Vendelli. Its members were human for the most part, but at the same time they possessed reptilian features. Their eyes were like those of a snake, with slits for pupils and no eyelashes. Their tongues were said to be forked under close inspection, and their skin had patches of scales visible only in the moonlight. Her father claimed they wore veils and long robes to hide their features. Legend had it they walked among us as diplomats and infiltrators, pretending to be humans.
It was this Vendelli that her father had saved more than thirteen years ago in a battle in the Caribbean. Before succumbing to injuries sustained in battle, he told her father of the Skulls of Aries and the treasure they protected. It wasn’t until after Terra’s mother’s death that her father became obsessed with finding it. If the Skulls of Aries protected a treasure that could go back in time, then perhaps he could save his wife before the killer got to her. That was his plan anyway.
Terra’s mother was his one true treasure. Piracy came naturally for her father, but his love for her mother was like no treasure he had ever found or would ever find again. It was a little over two years ago that Terra had taken her father’s place in searching for the Skulls of Aries. He had fallen ill, and from what she heard, he was not getting any better.
The Skulls were just the first step to finding and saving her mother. They still needed to narrow down the date and, of course, find the killer. The date was a problem because her father had been away on a hunt as usual and Terra was only five at the time. Her mother was murdered in her sleep and not discovered until weeks later when her father had returned.
As for the killer… there was a long list of suspects—even spanning different races–who wanted to see her father in shanks… or better yet, dead! The Goblins were at the very top of that list and with good reason. Terra’s father had been wanted by the Goblin race for as long as she could remember. In his youth, he had stolen their sacred artifact known as the Vanquisher, which in time he had given to his daughter.
The magical weapon was forged as a gift for the Goblin king, Talon Kor, by a race known as the Nitra. Terra’s father discovered its location the night before the ceremony and stole it from Nitra’s forge. Once King Talon received word the one of a kind sword was stolen he was outraged. In retribution for their carelessness the king ordered his armies of Goblins to destroy Nitra city. He spared no one, and for several years after the massacre the Goblins hunted down the remaining Nitra like animals until every last one was dead. They never did find Terra’s father, but somehow they managed to find her mother–or so Terra thought. There was still something that burned in her mind. Why would they kill her mother and leave Terra alive? Why not wait for her father to return and kill him, too? After all, he was the one that had stolen the sword. These were questions Terra would have answers to someday, she thought.
Terra had survived on bread and water left in the house at the time. She still remembered crying at the foot of her mother’s bedroom door, hoping and praying that it would open. Those prayers were never answered. Her mother had been killed by someone, or something, leaving Terra alone.
It was at the age of five that Terra knew one day she would find this person, this thing, and put an end to its life. She had the Skulls of Aries now, but she needed the Orb of Time if she was to go back and save her mother.
Terra was a natural when it came to piracy. She had learned from the best, most notorious pirate that had ever lived. His family had remained a secret because he wanted them protected, kept safe from the people that hunted him. In the end, there was no place safe enough for the man she called father and the world called Bartholomew Roberts.
Terra carefully opened the rucksack and removed one skull at a time, placing them carefully on the table facing her. The skulls were made of silver, with small horns that curled down and extended outward on both ends. The emerald eyes, made from some kind of jewel Terra had never seen, were set deep in the sockets.
The Vendelli were afraid that the Orb of Time would be used to change the outcome of battles, thereby changing the fate of the world. Being a pirate, Terra had different plans. Once she had stolen the Orb of Time, time, as it were, would be on her side. She would need funding for her quest, and that meant stealing a little something here and there. She liked treasure in general, but she loved the rare, one-of-a-kind treasures the most. What woman doesn’t like to collect a little something for herself? she thought. Terra planned to become the richest woman in the world while at the same time seeking out her mother’s killer. She would like to have taken credit for that brilliant plan, but it was in fact her father’s idea. “A quest needs funding,” he liked to say, and funding they would have. They would also find the answers they were looking for if it was the last thing Terra ever did.
Terra reached for the chair near the map desk and pulled it over to the table. She slowly sat back in the chair, her gaze fixed on the pair of emerald eyes staring back at her.
She found their penetrating stare more than a little creepy. It was as if they were staring into her soul.
Her father had told her that not only did she need both skulls to unlock the Gate of Monticule, but she would need both skulls to even find Mount Aries. According to her father, inscribed at the base of each skull was one piece of the incantation. When read aloud together they would activate the skulls, displaying a secret map that would reveal the location of Mount Aries.
**I will post one Chapter each week, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can the complete book at Amazon for FREE.
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Tags: adventure, Fantasy stories, female hero, female heroes, ghoul, ghouls, girl pirates, magic, monster, monsters, piracy, pirate stories, pirate story, pirates, sorcery, swords, teen pirates, teenage pirate, teenage pirates, vampire pirate, vampires, woman hero, woman heroes, women, women fighting, women hero, women heroes
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