A flash of white , deafening silence . Taika couldn't even process it before she emerged from the portal and skidded across the stone floor. Immediately after she landed, the portal shut and the room became eerily empty.
Taika lay there on her back for a while, checking that she still had all her belongings. The book was still faithfully attached to its slot on her belt . Feeling that she was missing her mask and mirror , Taika craned her neck around to look for them . Neither of them were far away so she reached for them and returned them to her person. Taika gathered both of her belongings , which were only slightly damaged and hooked them both onto the rough , intricately decorated fabric . Conveniently forgetting to properly buckle the mask loop. Taika checked herself for injuries . Her horns weren't cracked , her prosthetic arm was only slightly dented and she could see out of both eyes . Now dealing with bigger problems Taika finally let her mind drift elsewhere.Where was she?
She stood up slowly , groaning . Her landing was definitely gonna leave a mark . Taking in her surroundings , she noticed a door not far away from her , thinking this couldn't hurt , Taika walked towards it looking around as she did , this room looked like it used to hold portals but the broken emblems around each stone arch indicated whoever lived here shut it down .
Her train of thought was broken by a crash and roar sounded from the other side of the door. Taika got incredibly fearful before hearing someone say "good job today Draal, your father would be very proud of you ." So whoever was on the other side was only sparring but apparently were good at it.Pushing the heavy stone door slightly ajar Taika saw ,a troll? Didn't they all die out a couple 1000 years ago?
This troll had just finished sparring with one of his equally brutish buddies. The second troll left , effectively leaving Taika alone with troll number one. He was a sky blue , with crystalline formations emerging from his back. His horns were shaped and coloured like ginger. And he noticed her staring. Closing the door quickly , Taikas heart raced as she heard heavy , stone footsteps approach .
Two heavy knocks came at the door , nearly throwing Taika off her feet. This guy was strong. There was no way she'd be able to hold him off if necessary. "Who are you?" A gruff arrogant voice demanded , the doors pushed open and Taika saw the same blue troll up close.
"Who's asking? '' said Taika adjusting her posture to assess how much trouble she was in . The troll seemed surprised by her response and took a second to control the look of surprise on his face before answering
"I am Draal , son of kanjigar ." Taika smirked
"well if we're being formal than I am Taika , daughter of fulstro " . She replied doing a lazy curtsy . "I was just looking for a way out of this place ." Taika said .
Draal walked closer to her questioning her appearance , way of speaking ,and strange unearned confidence . The only reason he knew she wasn't an impure was due to her eyes . The only shared trait among changelings were their brightly colored cat like eyes , Taika however had empty silver eyes . No pupil in sight , just a wall of steel.
"The surface lands are accessible through those doors at the edges of trollmarket " . He said pointing beyond the forge doors and into a bustling cavern full of people.
"But I don't know why a troll like you would want to head there now of all times." Draal said while backing off slowly from Taika . What was this guy talking about ? 'a troll like me?' I'm not even a troll taika thought to herself
"Firstly I'm not a troll and why wouldn't I want to go to the surface , what's so bad about it?"she said slowly reaching for the mask on her belt in the building tension . "It's daytime," Draal replied "you'll get not even four feet before you turn to stone." Taika regarded him with a disapproving stare , did this guy listen to anyone ? She wasn't a troll so daylight wasn't an issue !
"Well , it was nice meeting you but I must go now ". Taika smiled coyly ducking under his arm and starting to run , out of desperation for answers. The pounding of her heart overpowered the sound of her mask clattering to the floor. Draal noticed the dropped item on the floor and picked it up. Beginning to chase after her to return it. He spots her in the crowd and calls out "Taika!" But she sees him and gets spooked , now running faster . Her whole body ached as she ducked and dodged through the crowd but her fear kept her at a steady pace , even after her rough landing.
She reaches the crystalline stairs and runs up the spiralling structure , looking behind her to see if he was still following her. She relaxed when she saw that he wasn't. Taika goes to the top step and cusses , a dead end. This wasn't an exit, it was a solid wall of concrete! She sighed , leaning onto the scratchy surface. Gently placing her prosthetic arm against the wall. She heard a crack and saw a glow of blue begin to come from the cement.
The door cracked and fell open . She slowly walked through , being startled when she heard it close loudly behind her .
She took one timid step forward . Out of nowhere something or someone dropped from the bridge into the sunlight , and shattered into stone pieces . There was a shiny blue and silver circle shaped object in the rubble . Taika brushed it off saying to herself "that won't be important" . She heard stone creaking above her and something very heavy land behind her . Taika froze and stood still , not wanting to aggravate whatever it was.
"I'd disagree with that little lady" a deep husky voice said from somewhere behind Taika . "It's very important to me and I require it for something very special ." Taika turned around at that . A large black troll with curved horns and glowing orange eyes stood before her , snorting with anger when she looked him in the eye.
"Ok then want me to grab it for you?"
Taika said in a friendly manner. At this suggestion the troll stumbled back a bit and looked towards her in shock. "Do you not know who I am , and what I plan to do with that amulet?" Taika started walking towards the pile of rubble . "Nope , nor will it affect me . You see I don't live here." She arrived at the pile and stopped . "Not in troll market or on the surface , this planet is foreign to me."
"You see 'what's your name ' I am a klixen" .
After failing to find Taika ,Draal brought the mask to vendel , the trollmarket elder . If anyone could identify its origins it would be him.
"I haven't seen one of these masks in ages,"Remarked vendel as he studied the carved and painted wood Draal brought him. "Wherever did you get this Draal ?" Draal snapped out of his thoughts and said "uhh a lady I met at the forge dropped it after she ran off"
Vendel examined the mask closer. It was made of polished wood and had a snarling mouth perturbing from it , the sharp teeth made from smoothed over amethyst. "Well I know where it came from '' vendel said turning to Draal "Retax , an ancient place and home to the klixen". He handed the mask to Draal , "hold onto this and return it if you see her again ,and tell her to see me . For if klixen are in trollmarket again , there are truly unpredictable time ahead "
Draal nodded and returned to his home waiting for his father to return so they could laugh at this strange story.
"Weren't klixen wiped out thousands of years ago?" Bular yelled from the shadows as Taika turned to face him.
"That's exactly what we wanted you to think and apparently it worked." Taika said smirking,
"Now you said you needed this amulet so I'm going to get it for you , no more interruptions "
However there would be an interruption , immediately after Taika made contact with the smooth silver metal an angry blue flash blew her back under the bridge and onto the cold pavement .'
I have got to stop crashing like this or I will fracture a bone' Taika thought to herself as she slowly rose to her not so tall full height.
"well that didn't work, I guess I can't get you the amulet. So I suppose this is the part where you deem me unworthy to help and kill me, well go ahead mister."
Taika opened her arms giving Bular a clear target. He was lost in thought and not registering anything the dark haired woman was saying. If klixen were still alive that means tolk could still be reawoken and the gumm gumms could bring forth victory for their kind.
"You've only begun to become useful to me." Bular growled . Taika casually put her hands on her hips and realized the book she had worked so hard to write , was beside the pile of rubble. If she lost the book she would be doomed . Taika had no time to retrieve it because sounds of humans began approaching the pairs ears , something about being late and a shortcut through the canals. Without thinking twice Bular grabbed Taika in his arm and swung them up into the frame of the bridge.
Despite his hatred towards the changeling , and he'll never admit this aloud , but strickler was right . Humans could not discover their plans or there'd be mass hysteria and panic . Taika pushed his arm off of her and crouched on the metal work beside him , watching the two subjects of interest. Even though it wasn't her first time seeing humans they still fascinated Taika .
These particular humans weren't spectacular , one was tall and lean with dark hair , the other round and shirt with red hair . Taika expected them to up and disappear within a few seconds but , a deep male voice came out of the amulet . Saying "James lake " in a repeating fashion. The tall blue boy looked around and Taika ducked to avoid detection. Bulars dark form blended in with the shadow f the bridge but Taika was lighter and her eyes were very bright . The tall human continued walking towards the pile of rubble containing the amulet. He spoke, "Tobes did you hear that?" The panic in his voice indicating he was unaware of any events that transpired here earlier. "What is it jimbo?" The shirt one responded . He walked closer towards the pile of rock and tripped over taikas book. He picked it up and whispered, "what in the world ?"
The amulet called the name again. The boy , called jimbo turned over some of the rubble and picked up the amulet . From somewhere beyond the canal bed , a shrill noise sounded . It seemed imperative to the two boys as they said "fist bell! " and proceeded to bike away from the canal . The dark haired boy pocketed both the amulet and the book , before pedalling away as if his life depended on it.
Taika cursed in some language unknown to the troll standing next to her."Damn it ! I need that book back !".She turned on her heel to face Bular. "You need that weird amulet thing right? Well I need that book ,so what say you I help you find the amulet and you help me get the book? "
Bular smirked , usually it took a lot more threatening and force to keep people on his side , but to gain more aid by complete accident was a good omen. Of course , she had demanded aid in return and he must retain an advantage.
"And why should I help you ? What's in that book that benefits me ? "
Taika: well it's just everything ever recorded on Tolk the klixen goddess famous for betraying her mission and fighting alongside the gumm gumms in their war .
Bular: fine. But only if you use the book to help my cause
Taika: what exactly is your cause ?