Into the Unknown

Submitted for Contest #51 in response to: Write about someone who has a superpower.... view prompt

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Jul 20, 2020

Fantasy

Erik looked toward the horizon. Again. He was leading a group of adventurers somewhere. The only reason he had been allowed to lead the party was because of a power that he considered rather useless. He could hear the soundtrack of the world. Sometimes boss music shocked him to wakefulness and the party would get ready to fight. But now, it felt like his powers were going haywire. It was calling him. Somewhere.

He didn't know where, but the music said that they should keep northwest for about six more miles. Erik pursed his lips, wondering why the music kept on repeating itself. It was a simple riff that had gotten annoying twelve miles ago when one of the horses stepped in quicksand. Everyone had dismounted and tried to get the horse out of the quicksand. All that Erik had heard was the freaking riff again. Goblins had attacked when they were all doing their best to get the horse out of the quicksand. Everyone blamed Erik. 

"Hey, Erik, is it cool if we set up camp?" the party's fighter had sneaked up on him. This was alarming because he had all the grace of a dizzy baby elephant in the middle of a frozen lake. 

"Or are we going to get attacked by an owlbear? Or something else that wants to kill us?" Aerin asked, a healthy dose of scathing in her voice. Erik wasn't as surprised that she had sneaked up on him. She was a rogue after all.

"No, I.. I don't know what happened back there, but I'm sorry." Erik jumped off his rock as he spoke, hearing the riff yet again. He was getting ready to stab a tree if he heard that riff one more time. 

The party was already setting up camp when Erik finally got back to the group. His lips thinned. You make one mistake. And this is what happens. 

The camp wasn't quite comfortable, but it was a place to sleep, and that was all that mattered to the party. Except for Erevan. But he knew real comfort, so he was a little choosier than everyone else. Erik found his tent and crawled inside, not bothering to apologize to everyone. They would be mad at him forever. Losing one of the horses was a big deal, and they didn't have time to go back to town and buy a new one.

And so Erik fell into an uneasy sleep. It had been dark for quite some time when he awoke. His ear was ringing and he heard it again. The riff. It was as though someone had screamed it into his ear. He gritted his teeth and stood up, well more like rose into a crouch, opened the tent flap, and looked out. 

He concentrated on the voice, listening as hard as he could. It sounded again; four notes, one voice, and all the confusion that Erik was capable of feeling. He crawled out of the tent and leaned back, sitting on his heels. Soft snoring sounded from one of the tents to his left, and he guessed that it was Seamus.

"I can hear you." Erik knew that this was the proper time for a musical sequence. He proceeded to make up a song as he walked, out of the campsite. As he reached the final note he could feel music explode from his body. A trail had appeared down the hill, marked by glowing blue musical notation. A branch cracked behind him and he turned to it. A young woman with the sharpest cheekbones he had ever seen was standing there.

"Hey, Lillith," he remarked, feeling awkward.

"What're you doing?" Lillith asked, her golden eyes flashing in the moonlight. Erik hesitated. She knew magic, but he didn't know whether to tell her about this. The riff sounded again, and Lillith's attention was on it instead of him.

"You can hear it too?" he asked, feeling rather stupid after saying so, after seeing her acknowledge it in front of him. She bit the inside of her cheek, and nodded, her attention now on the trail of glowing blue music notes.

"Yes. It's calling me somewhere, I don't know where, though. I haven't been able to sleep because of it. It wants me to go to a certain place. A place with new magic that no one in the entire world has thought of. This magic is of the humans, but it is magic nonetheless." her eyes had unfocused, and Erik felt like they should definitely tell the rest of the party.

So, he and Lillith went back to camp and woke everyone up, so that they could have a meeting about what to do next.

"Wait, so you're saying that you two have been hearing a song. Both of you. All the time. That's telling us where to go. And you didn't think to tell anyone about it." Aerin blinked several times as if their bad decision had gotten onto her eye and she was trying to get it out.

"Yeah, pretty much," Erik said, looking down the trail.

"So, we need to follow the trail of magic?" Erevan asked, speaking for the first time that day. He usually felt that speaking was a waste of time, so he listened a lot. He had a nice voice.

"Yep."

Later that morning Erik would feel his heart swell with gratitude for his teammates. But for now, he nodded, and everyone began packing up camp. Within thirty minutes, everyone was on a horse, even Erik, whose horse had been the one to fall in the quicksand. Seamus had thrown Erik onto the back of his giant horse and decided to walk. This was not a huge sacrifice, considering that Seamus could keep up with said horse at a gallop.

So, Erik clung to the saddle with every scrap of his being and followed behind Erevan. He noticed that Erevan had cut his hair recently, which was weird because elves didn't cut their hair. And yet, Erevan's light blond hair was close to his scalp. Erik summed it up to a religious thing.

They started down the trail.

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