She had forgotten what she had come here to forget, whiskey upon whiskey.
The door opened. Three men stormed in.
“You must help us!” they cried.
“Go back home, I can’t even help myself. I’m just a miserable drunk!”
One of them pointed to her silver ring, gift from her dead mother.
“You’re the one we’re looking for. If you do not come willingly, we will take you by force.”
He gripped her arm as she staggered to her feet, cursing and thrashing and telling them to leave her in peace. But his grip was strong, and the two others helped, and soon they had dragged her out to their horses. They threw her over the biggest one and sped off without a word.
Many sick and bumpy hours later, the riders stopped. She fell to the ground in a heap, blinking and bewildered.
“Forgive our manners,” said one of the men. Her head felt of lead. “But our affairs here are of utmost importance, and we could not wait to convince you. My brothers have gone ahead, we must now follow them.”
“Not until you tell me what you want from me.”
“You are the fourth key. But time is running out, we must hurry now!”
As he grabbed her wrist to lead her through the woods, she noticed he was wearing the same silver ring. Still in a half-drunken daze, she stumbled along until they reached a clearing. The two brothers had been busy removing moss and branches from a huge stony door, half-open in the cliff.
He showed her the four pairs of hand-prints in the stone. If the door was not closed by sunset, great evil would come through it.
The four took position, and the door creaked tightly shut. Just in time.
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