I’m filling in the empty parts of Book One of The Story of Jasmine:
Original Story of Jasmine title from 1981
The Group flees White Throne Mountain:
The temple ruins were tucked snugly within the folds of the mountain. The ancient road–now overgrown into a trail–leading to it was shaped like a giant horseshoe. Both sides ran up the mountainside from the main road, both lead equally to and away from a once-glorious Temple, situated at the top point where both trail ends met to become one.
Gazing down from the temple ruins, Glynn pointed out they had arrived using the trail’s eastern entrance – the one closest to Norram. Pointing to the trail in front of them, Glynn recommended they not go back the way they came, “We’d be some twenty miles further west along the main road if we take this side down to the main road instead.”
“And just how do you know this?” Ahearn asked.
“Common knowledge.” Glynn countered, “This place has existed since the beginning of time. We once knew it as ‘Fool’s Hope.’ Like all old places, it is considered to be haunted by the old spirits of people who used to live there. In this case, the spirits of ladies dressed in white… All but the curious know to stay away.”
“Haunted? Ahhh… What? Is that what they meant!?” Rogan said thoughtfully and tried to explain, “I could not understand why the local tavern folk were all snickering about the soldiers who left to spend the night here. In the tavern, the bar keeper had been regaling everyone with his local folk stories and accounts of people who claimed to have seen one or more white-haired ladies dancing near The White Throne. That’s when the soldiers perked up and demanded to know where this place is. Naturally, the bartender explained to the commander that these stories were just very old tales.
Nevertheless, the soldiers were still ordered to leave at once for the landmark. The soldiers were warned, several times not to stay here after nightfall, especially not at the full moon. Then the commander sez, ‘sounds like you don’t want us to go there and that’s reason enough…” When they left, the inn people kept repeating, ‘they was warned about them spirit maidens,’ as, indeed, they were. And now, look at ’em…” Rogan gestured towards the newly formed statues all frozen in different attitudes of terror, “this is now their new story. This is what happens to the disrespectful … being turned to stone because they did not heed a warning. This new tale will put a permanent crown on the old stories. People will really avoid this place!”
“No,” Glynn disagreed, “People would probably flock here to gloat. The Inn Keeper will have a great increase in customers. Has anybody checked if any of the statuary can be moved? Or are they fused to the bedrock?”
Before anyone could check, Thorne interjected loudly, “So, can we p-p-please leave – now!” Everyone agreed, it was indeed time to go. But they were waiting on Jasmine. Before she disappeared, Jasmine told Glynn, she needed to retrieve some woven materials to properly wrap the staff for safe travel. He let her go, bidding her to return promptly, but she had not yet emerged.
The men were antsy to get off the mountain and decided to go on ahead, down the western side of the path. They noticed that this used to be a very fine, well-groomed road. But for the exuberance of nature, long ago the road had shrunk into a trail. Glynn followed the horsemen on foot. The trail was easy to move along, even at the steep downward angle. The wideness of the trail was just one of the many indications, the trail had been recently traveled by many on horseback.
At first, Thorne started after them, then decided to stay behind to carry whatever Jasmine collected. Her tingling senses bade her to leave. She was angry at Glynn. Why did he allow Jasmine to disappear underground and become inaccessible within the temple? Thorne became uneasy whenever she glanced at the frozen positions of the stone men. She stood, stiff and unmoving, like another statue among the stone ones speckling the grounds. She shifted her stance, trying hard not to stare at the last looks of terror etched upon their stony faces. She could only imagine what Rogan and Glynn had gone through, actually witnessing the spectacle. She had never seen Rogan so unnerved. He had heard their cries.
© 2018 DARLENE
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