Another Doorway

The dwarves scuttled back across the cavern leaving Sinead alone once again. Why had they departed so suddenly, almost without a word? Was it the bridge that had frightened them? Or was it the waters over which it led?

Sinead stepped onto the bridge.

She held the Orb aloft, its soft bluish light glowed a little brighter with every step she took, while the inky waters lapped menacingly on either side. She quickened her pace knowing better than look down into their murky depths.

The bridge ended at a narrow jetty, but its moorings were empty of boats. A single domed archway in the towering stone wall ahead beckoned her, reminding her of the entrance to the Maze of Mandoran.

Courage, Sinead. The words echoed in her mind, just as they had before. So close, so close now.

Sinead placed her hand on the hilt of her sword and entered.


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Previous episodes of Sinead’s Final Quest an epic tale, unfolding in tiny 150 word increments.

The Key is the key

The Prophesy Book remained silent as to where Sinead might find the shackled Mother Earth. She and the two dwarves stood contemplating the key that lay in her hand. Then Dorrin spoke:

‘The key is the key! See the picture on the bow.’ He traced a calloused finger over the head of the key.

Alric nodded. ‘It’s the Cavern of Stalactites! Come, my lady.’

The dwarves each lit a torch from the dying flames of the forge and hurried down the passage next the spring. Sinead strode behind them. It was not long before it opened out into a broad cavern, the roof decorated with sharp stalactites. At the far end was a bridge leading across an inky lake.

The dwarves came to a halt.

‘We must leave you here, my lady,’ said Alric.

‘We may not cross,’ added Dorric.

They both bowed deeply and scurried off without another word.


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Previous episodes of Sinead’s Final Quest an epic tale, unfolding in tiny 150 word increments.

Forged from Fer

‘To the forge!’

The two dwarves hurried off while Sinead struggled to her feet. With renewed resolve she tucked the Prophesy Book into her cloak, fastened her sword and followed.

She found them stoking up the fire.

‘Which metal shall we use?’ Dorrin asked.

Alric turned to her. ‘My lady, can you guide us?’

Sinead turned to the final page of the Prophesy Book, where a new verse had appeared:

‘Forged in the Depths from Finest Fer, the Key to Free our Mother
wrought-well by the Sons Of Earth, Sinead must bring, no other.’

Alric caught Sinead’s puzzled look. ‘Tis iron to us Sons of Earth, my lady.’

‘And a fitting use for this,’ said Dorrin, holding up a glowing globe of iron.

They set to work, heating and hammering, until finally they placed a beautifully-crafted key in her hand.

If only she knew where Mother Earth was being held.


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Previous episodes of Sinead’s Final Quest an epic tale, unfolding in tiny 150 word increments.

The Freedom Key

A black and white drawing of a large ornate key with a butterfly motif.

A strong arm lifted Sinead’s shoulders and a black-bearded face came into view. A cup was brought to her lips and she took a sip of sweet water.

‘Where did you find the vessel, Alric?’ asked the black bearded dwarf.

‘It was next to the spring by the Forge,’ said another voice.

Sinead’s eyes focused on the cup. The Chalice of Earthly Liberation! She sat up, almost knocking the chalice from Dorrin’s hand.

Fumbling in her cloak, she brought out The Prophesy Book. The two dwarves crouched either side of her as she turned to the new Final Chapter. Under the title there was now a drawing of a key.

Alric gasped. ‘Dorrin, fetch the scroll!’

Dorrin scurried off, returning a few moments later. He crouched down and unrolled the yellowed parchment to reveal an identical image.

‘This is our Destiny,’ he announced. ‘We’re going to forge the Freedom Key!’


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Previous episodes of Sinead’s Final Quest an epic tale, unfolding in tiny 150 word increments.

The Dwarves’ Destiny

an image of a sword with a silver hilt

Sinead forced her eyes open. She was lying on a lumpy mattress wrapped in her cloak. A short, stout figure with a black beard, was crouching beside her.

Sorry for hitting you like that,’ he said gruffly. ‘Alric and me thought you were one of them witches.’

Another squat figure appeared out of the gloom. ‘It’s her, Dorril! Like it says in the Prophesy: ‘She will come bearing a Dwarfen sword’.’ He pointed to the Sword of Elshain, which lay beside Sinead. ‘That’s it! The Destiny we’ve been waiting for all these years.’

Sinead raised herself on her elbows, fighting back the dizziness.

‘We are the last Dwarves of the Deep Mines. It’s says in the Prophesy that we must help you,’ said Alric solemnly.

Sinead blinked. ‘Prophesy?’

‘My lady?’

Sinead sank back onto the mattress.

Dorril crouched down again. ‘Quickly, fetch some water, Alric! Our Destiny depends on her.’


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Centaur Forest

A centaur emerging from a forest

The sweet scent of meadow flowers filled the air. From her vantage point, mounted on Moonsprite’s back, Sinead allowed her eyes to wander over the welcoming landscape. Her unicorn stepped softly now, filling her nostrils with the captivating fragrance and shaking her silver mane.

Floral notes from a lute and a pipe filled the warm, scented air and suddenly the woodland came alive. Birds swooped among the trees and small furry creatures scampered over the forest floor. Sinead longed to cast off her boots and run barefoot with them.

She leant over Moonsprite’s neck indicating that they should stop. The unicorn came to a halt, turning her head towards the far edge of the clearing where a magnificent centaur, with the upper body of a beautiful bronzed youth, appeared.

Following her gaze, Sinead slid from Moonsprite’s back. The bronzed youth raised his hand in greeting as he advanced towards them.


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Crossing the Bridge

a picture of a foggy pathway

Sinead wrapped her arms around Moonsprite’s neck, resting her cheek on her unicorn’s silver mane. Moonsprite cantered swiftly through thick shrouds of morning mist. Beneath her hooves was the shimmering Bridge to the End of the World, suspended in a ghostly void.

Images tugged and twisted in Sinead’s mind as Moonsprite pressed onward. Ghostly faces formed from the fog. She cowered beneath a vision of Last of the Oppressors. It reached for her and she tried to scream, but no sound came. Its huge arm swiped at her. Moonsprite veered, breaking into a gallop, sparks flying from her hooves. The monster Sinead had once destroyed melted into the mist.

The day wore on. Beams of sunlight pooled around them. Green tendrils sprouted along their path, flowers bloomed and sweet perfume filled the air. A lush woodland paradise unfurled beside the bridge; temptation beyond the imagination. Moonsprite slowed to a walk.


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The Bridge to the End of the World

Sinead's Final Quest - the bridge to the end of the world

Sinead shivered in the pre-dawn blackness. Moonsprite stamped her hooves on the cold stone of the castle battlements. They waited, as Tarron had commanded.

As the lip of the sun appeared on the horizon, Tarron raised his staff. Out of the darkness, a golden pathway shimmered into view. The eyes of the elderly elf fixed unwaveringly on the pathway as he spoke. ‘The Bridge to the Edge of the World appears only on this, the longest day of the year. You must travel swiftly. Do not look over the edge. Do not stop for anything.’

Tarron whispered in Moonsprite’s ear and the silver unicorn lowered her neck. She whinnied gently, encouraging her mistress to mount.

‘Go now,’ Tarron commanded. ‘Remember, you have only until nightfall.’

Moonsprite sprang onto the Bridge and set off at a canter. Sinead glanced over her shoulder. Tarron stood, staff raised, a ghostly Hound beside him.


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The End of the Beginning

empty corridors seen from above

‘The Chalice!’ the words echoed inside Sinead’s head. She’d dropped it when she’d retrieved her sword. The Hound stirred as she leapt to her feet and scurried along the passageway. Tarron, the elderly elf, stood in the archway where she and the Hound had first entered the Great Maze. He smiled. The Chalice of Earthly Liberation was in his hand and Moonsprite, her unicorn, stood beside him.

‘The Hound…’ Sinead began. Tarron shook his head, pulling her urgently through the archway. She turned and looked back. There was just an empty room. The Hound, the monster and the maze were gone.

‘Grieve not, Sinead, it was the Hound’s destiny.’ Moonsprite edged forward and nuzzled Sinead’s neck.

Tarron placed the Chalice into Moonsprite’s saddle bag. ‘Hurry now, I will lead you to the Bridge to the Edge of the World. You must cross while you still can, then gather the Sisterhood.’


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Slaying the beast

an image of a sword with a silver hilt

Glancing back as she ran, Sinead saw the bull-headed monster about strike the Hound again. Her foot struck an object sending it skittering before her. She looked down. It was her sword; the Sword of Elshain! However it came to be here, now was her chance.

Sinead snatched it up and wheeled around. The battling beasts were still locked together. She thundered back down the passageway, then raised the blade above her head and plunged it into the back of the monster’s neck with all the might she could muster. The monster staggered and fell to the floor. She retrieved the weapon ready to strike again, but the Sword of Elshain had done its work and the monster breathed no more.

The Hound was splayed on the ground, bloodied and panting, but still alive. Sinead knelt down and stroked his head. He’d saved her, but at what cost to him?


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Previous episodes of Sinead’s Final Quest