Chapter 21 - A Failed Trap


“The Kalands are going to come through here soon?” Sarby looked toward the entrance. Light trickled in from the long passage.


“Yeah, won’t be long now. Say, I’ll let you ‘capture’ me, but you gotta split the Crystals with me.” The Thornal nodded at the contraption on the wall. “I can’t believe they actually thought this would work.”


“Are you sure?”


“Yeah, if things get too bad and you don’t get the crystals in time, I’ll just let myself escape. Not a problem.”


Sarby’s face contorted in a confused gesture. “If you’re sure. First let me go collect the food they said would be at the entrance.”


“Kaland cuisine is quite great.” The Thornal licked his lips. “Yeah let’s get this started when we finish eating, we’ve got enough time.”


Sarby marched back outside, the sun beaming on his face. Bowls of delicious plants and fresh water sat as promised. As soon as Sarby grabbed hold of the bowls, a group of Kalands walked out.


“You must have captured the beast if you can walk freely out,” the one from earlier said.


“I-uh, yeah. They’re caught. I just figured I’d eat inside and examine them before handing them over. You know, I’ve never seen a Thornal before. I wish you would have warned me how strong they were.”


The other Kalands cheered in excitement, and the one Sarby knew smiled. “Perfect, well, mind if we come in and join you?”


He froze. “Yeah, could you give me a moment though? I need to tighten the knots in the rope, I let them feel as if I might change my mind when I came back and free them so they wouldn’t grow too restless.”


The Kalands agreed and Sarby rushed back inside, spilling drops of water from the bowl as he ran.


“We’ve got a problem. I lied and told the Kalands I captured you, and they want to check you out.”


The Thornal cackled. “Okay, so we eat fast. Then you set the trap on me.” They dove their head into the bowl, gnawing and moaning. “Go on, eat some.”


“So, you’re a Thornal, but what is your name?” Sarby asked while grabbing food.


“Thatch, and you, small Elnoa?”


“Sarby.” The two ate together until they finished the food and drink. 


Thatch sat under the mess of ropes that hung from above. “I assume they asked you to do this because you are an Awakened Elnoa, no?”


“Probably. They claimed to have seen Awakened Elnoas before, are they really that common?”


“No. The last Awakened this village has seen was from the time of the First Thornal Peacekeeper. These Kalands do not know what an Awakened Elnoa can do, and to be honest, neither do I. We can use that to our advantage. You can act like you are controlling me with your mind.” The Thornal looked deeply at Sarby. “You can’t actually do that can you?”


“No, of course not. I don’t think any species has such crazy abilities.”


“Ah, to be shut off from the rest of the world…”




“Nothing. Here, how does this look?” Thatch contorted his body in a way that made even Sarby feel uncomfortable. His four legs bent and splayed in all different directions, and they moved their vines in crooked positions, as if someone had attempted to yank them out.


“That… looks painful. Isn’t that going too far? You don’t need to make yourself that uncomfortable.”


“It’s not a problem, we Thornals can contort our bodies in ways that most would find unimaginable. See, I can even move the vines on my back in all directions and feel no discomfort.  It’s lucky I’m male, the females’ vines aren’t as strong, but they make up more in other things. Now hurry and pull the lever.”


Sarby nodded and pulled. For how intricate the layout of the trap looked, it sure didn’t work too well. Ropes tightened and spread around, loosely tying Thatch in place.


“Figures,” Thatch said. “They can’t do much on their own.” The vines from their body began tying them tighter around. “Never did I think I would help fix a trap made for me.”


As the Thornal played with the rope, a sound came from the ceiling. A wet muddy substance rained upon both of them.


“This part isn’t too bad, they have an idea of my weakness. But, this mud doesn’t contain enough tar in it. This makes it easier to act though.” He coughed while explaining.


“Are you sure you’re okay?” Sarby asked.


“Yes, see? I am a great actor! Now go bring the Kalands inside.”


Sarby headed back outside. When he arrived outside of the hut, a large gathering had formed. Kalands jumped up and down within the crowd shouting, wanting to see what kind of species had captured the Thornal that had been bothering their village for so long. The Kaland that Sarby knew waved off the crowd after providing a heartfelt speech, then followed Sarby down the dark corridor of the hut, scared.


“It wasn’t easy,” Sarby said. “The Thornal put up an even fight, to be honest I wasn’t sure myself if I was going to be able to subdue him, but I pinned him up against the wall.” Sarby brightened his glow providing light to pierce every inch of the perimeter. And in the corner Thatch lay in the same pattern as before, tied up.


“We’ve finally done it!” The Chief Kaland said. “After so many years of this beast roaming our lands, and taking up our space as they please. Perhaps if we teach them all a lesson, there will never be another Thornal that even dares exist within our boundaries. Now we can finally slaughter him.”


“…Slaughter? I thought we only needed to capture the Thornal so you could speak with him.” Sarby locked eyes with Thatch, who smirked.