Jessica looked around nervously. Nobody had followed her so far. Good. She hoped she'd lost them-but deep down she knew that They wouldn't give up that easily. Not when They were after her. Behind her, she heard the sound of voices. Taking a deep breath, she plunged into the bramble thicket, oblivious to thorns. Running away may have seemed like a good idea to her at the time-but now They were all after her and she was only too aware of what They wanted. She vividly remembered the last time she let Them catch her. No, there was no way she wanted to go through that again.
Suddenly she broke through into a clearing. Looking around her, she saw that she'd stumbled across the stonering. She desperately tried to work out how this could help her escape Them, if it could. There had to be some way!
She stepped up to the long-abandoned circle of stones. There were thirty- four of them and all of them were covered in moss and ivy until they were almost unrecognisable. She absently rubbed at an itch on her arm and winced at her temporarily forgotten scratches obtained through pushing through a bramble thicket, as well as assorted other injuries. Whoever built these stones didn't want them to be discovered by anyone.
Without noticing the almost painful itching on her arms caused by the poison ivy, Jessica started to pull the foliage away from the stones. She was soon rewarded with a simple carving of a dragon and underneath the word 'Ozafor'. Tentatively, she reached out and touch the carving.
hey did you feel that
there's something at the stones trying to get in
you've lost it saelohka now let me get back to sleep
i'm telling you there's something and
The voices in her head stopped abruptly and looking down, she realised she'd taken her hand away from the carving. She wandered almost absently around to another stone and started carefully removing the ivy and moss from that one.
Ten minutes later she was rewarded with a simple carving of another, different dragon and the word 'Aryan'. Preparing herself for the voices again, she reached out and touched the dragon, more cautiously this time.
aryan hey aryan
listen did you hear it
it's one of them an outsider at the portal to wiztliow
then shut up before you give too much away and tell it how to get in
pardon me for breathing i'm sure i just
Once again, Jessica looked down and discovered her hand had removed itself from the carving. What's 'wiztliow?' she wondered. 'Portal'? What portal?
Maybe some of the other stones could reveal more. She went over to the largest stone and tried to work her way through it.
Two hours later, she'd cleared most of the stones with the exception of one and although she'd overheard several 'conversations', she was none the wiser about 'wiztliow' or any 'portal'. She started to clear the final stone...
...and as soon as she'd cleared the last remnant of the plants, there was a brilliant flash of light! The centre of the circle seemed to open out and there was an area in the middle that seemed to...shimmer.
Jessica heard voices behind her and whipped round-but there was nobody in sight. However, They'd obviously found out where she'd gone. Briefly she weighed up the prospect of certain pain in the near future against the prospect of possible pain in the near future and made her decision. She glanced once over her shoulder, took a deep breath and jumped into the middle of the circle...