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Morning came with deep shadows. The triplets broke camp and descended Yggamay. They repacked the twine and discovered a mass of wild blackberries. Breakfast was sweet and juicy.
Tor extended his arm out, palm up. "Lead the way, Miss Goddess of the Terra-Firma."
"Ha, ha." But Terk took the lead.
"I believe the forest is getting thicker," whispered Tae an hour in. "I don't like all the shadows."
Tor took her hand and pulled her along as they followed Terk.
Tae continued to worry. "It's so dark in here the Danooks could be about."
"Sh," Tor warned. "The quieter the better."
"Too late!" yelled Terk as a large humanoid with elongated canines crashed through the undergrowth.
"Run!" Tor ordered, pulling out his long sword.
The girls raced toward an area ahead that looked brighter.
With one swift swing of the sword, the Danook's head left its shoulders, but three more creatures appeared on each side of the path from the darkness.
"By the gods!" bellowed Tor, and he took flight behind his sisters.
Far enough away to take a breath, Tae and Terk turned. Seeing their brother being pursued by half a dozen Danooks, Terk fitted a stone into her sling, and Tae nocked a broadhead arrow rather than the dart-like projectiles she used for small game.
Both fired, taking down a foe. Another arrow and another stone felled two more Danooks.
"Run! Damn it! Run!" Tor screamed.
The girls took off just as low growling started behind them. They flew into a canyon filled with light down the center, but with overhangs, which allowed shade and cover for Danooks unnumbered. The outcroppings sheltered a steep slope.
"Underground! They live underground," Terk said standing back-to-back with her sister and the two of them rotating a full three hundred sixty degrees. The stench of rot assailed them, and the fetid pant of the Danooks almost took their breath away.
Tor made it to the light. "Great! Just great!" he barked, seeing the gauntlet of Danooks. "Stay in the light and keep moving."
The ground beneath their feet became sandier.
The ground beneath their feet became squishy with sucking sounds on their moccasin-covered feet.
The ground beneath their feet became a bog.
They began to struggle to move, sinking to their knees in sticky muck. The canyon sides closed in. One misstep and a Danook could grab them and pull them into the deep trenches on each side.
Her siblings plowed into her back.
"Move!" Tor belted.
"Look!" Terk cried, pointing up. "There it is! The Mound of the Obelisk."
On the canyon rim atop a dozen cylindrical boulders, stood a gleaming white obelisk.
"How does that save us?" shrieked Tae as a Danook's fingertips grazed her.
Tor roared, "Terra-Firma Goddess! Seal them off!"
Terk stretched her arms out to her sides, hands up with palms flat toward each canyon wall. Danooks clawed at her hands.
At first, tiny pebbles trickled down the walls. Then some sand. Followed by a trembling.
The triplets froze, watching the boulders on which the obelisk stood begin to sway, fall, tumble down.
"Move! Move! Move!" Tor commanded as rocks peppered them.
Forcing feet free of the quagmire, they managed five, six, seven steps as the first boulder crashed where they had stood.
The ground swallowed them.