|Cavern of The Fear|
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Cavern of The Fear is a fantasy novel written by Emily Rodda. It is the first book in the second series known as Deltora Quest 2 or Deltora Shadowlands, and it is the ninth book in the overall Deltora Quest series.
"The Shadow Lord's evil tyranny over Deltora has ended. He and the creatures of his sorcery have been driven back across the mountains. But thousands of Deltorans are still enslaved in the Shadowlands, the Enemy's own terrifying and mysterious domain.
To rescue them, Lief, Barda and Jasmine, heroes of the quest for the Belt of Deltora, must find a weapon powerful enough to combat the Shadow Lord's magic on his own ground.
According to legend, the only thing the Shadow Lord fears is the fabled Pirran Pipe. But does the mysterious Pipe still exist? And if it does, what dangers will the companions have to face to find it?"
In secret, Josef writes about the state of Deltora after the defeat of the Shadow Lord. He mentions that although Deltorans are now free, many others are still trapped in the Shadowlands, suffering, but Lief refuses to take action against the Shadow Lord. Josef longs to return to the palace so he can tell the king about The Deltora Annals and the story of the Pirran Pipe, the one thing that may help him free the slaves.
In his chamber in the palace, Lief retires near dawn after a long night of doing unknown business. Because the Ruby and the Emerald are pale and dull, Lief realises danger is present. He hears a small sound coming from near his pillow, and slits open the pillow to find a Plains scorpion. Alarmed, Lief cries out and smashes the scorpion. His shouts bring Doom and Jasmine to his door. Lief assures them that he is all right and tells them of his near encounter. Although his friends are still worried about him, Lief convinces them to leave and let him sleep, as the danger has passed. Doom leaves, but Jasmine demands to know where Lief has been all night. Lief refuses to tell her, and Jasmine leaves in a huff.
Fuming at Lief's secrecy, Jasmine goes outside, and finds Barda has returned from Noradz, where he had gone to free the people from the tyrannical rule of the Ra-Kacharz. She is horrified to learn Barda brings terrible tidings - the people of Noradz have been taken to the Shadowlands as slaves. During the following meeting Jasmine insists that Lief march to the Shadowlands to free the slaves. She is only further enraged when Lief refuses, claiming that they cannot do so until they have a magic that can combat the Shadow Lord in his own domain. Lief then announces his intention to leave for Tora with Doom the following morning. Jasmine is appalled, and does not understand why Lief should go when the people need him in Del. She accuses Lief of running away, before storming off. Dejected, Lief realises that Jasmine does not understand why he must go to Tora, and longs to tell her the truth. Doom stops him, telling the young king that the unknown task they are undertaking must remain a secret.
Jasmine runs to the great hall for solitude, only to find it occupied by Jinks and Glock gambling over their fighting spiders, Flash and Fury. In the following conversation, Glock complains of Lief's decision to flee to Tora rather than invade the Shadowlands and free his people. He boasts that he could lead an army into the Shadowlands if Lief would let him, for he is protected by his family's talisman—a bag containing an old piece of wood, a Gripper flower, and a stone from a Diamond Python's stomach, among other things. Jinks claims, to Jasmine's surprise, that Lief is going to Tora to find a bride. At first she refuses to believe it, for Lief is too young to be married, but Jinks' proof is convincing. Jinks says he discovered from 'a secret source' that Lief has been reading the family trees of the noble houses of Tora in secret, and that Jasmine's own father has been helping Lief procure palace gems for the Toran bride. Feeling shocked and betrayed, Jasmine leaves.
In a foul mood, she plans to abandon the palace and Del entirely - to go back to the Forests of Silence, the only place she believes she belongs. On a defiant impulse, she steals past the rope barrier blocking entry to the third floor of the palace, where the library is located. As she explores the forbidden floor, she comes across a bricked-up door labeled with the notice “SEALED BY ORDER OF THE KING.” From beyond the door comes a throbbing like a heartbeat, and a will which compels her to reach it. She makes a hole in the bricks and crawls through, into an eerie white room containing a small glass table, the source of the thrumming sound. Not knowing what it truly is, Jasmine looks into the crystal, and speaks with a girl named Faith. Faith claims to be Jasmine’s sister, born a slave in the Shadowlands. She beseeches Jasmine to come rescue her, before she and all the slaves are put to death. Faith says she spoke to Lief but he would not heed her, and he refused to mention her to Jasmine. This further incenses Jasmine, and she swears to find Faith and free her. Deeply shaken by the encounter, Jasmine flees from the palace to the forge, a place she knows will be safe and unoccupied.
In Tora, Lief and Doom speak with Zeean, Marilen, who is a girl around Lief's age, and Marilen’s father. Marilen prepares to journey back to Del with Lief and Doom. In private, Lief asks Zeean if Toran magic is strong enough to combat the Shadow Lord and free the Deltoran slaves. She informs him that it is not, but there may be one thing powerful enough - the Pirran Pipe. Full of ancient magic, the Pipe existed before the time of the Shadow Lord. The Legend of the Pirran Pipe, one of the Jalis' Tenna Birdsong Tales, was written in the Deltora Annals, but the Annals were burned in the time of King Alton. Zeean cautions that the Pirran Pipe is merely a Jalis folk tale, and pursuing it is folly. Despite Zeean's view of the matter, Lief and Doom plan to find as much information as they can about the Pipe. They intend to seek out Glock, the last of the Jalis, as soon as they return to Del, in order to hear the tale from the only person who may know it well.
Back in Del, Jasmine reaches the forge and finds that it shows signs of recent use. The iron is slightly warm, and the layer of dust on a chair appears to have been disturbed by a cloak or jacket. A crumpled note lies on the ground, written in a code she cannot decipher, but she recognises the handwriting as Lief’s. Frustrated, she tosses the note to the ground, and is startled to hear an amused remark from someone behind her. In her fraught state of mind, she failed to notice the dark-skinned man who had followed her from the palace to the forge. The man introduces himself as Ranesh, and claims he was bidden to show her a great treasure that his friend has been keeping safe for the king. Though wary and suspicious of him and his claim, Jasmine agrees to see this treasure. Ranesh leads Jasmine to the pottery, where an old man is waiting with a trunk full of blue books labeled The Deltora Annals. The excited old man, Josef, shows Jasmine the books but does not see her confusion about the matter. Jasmine does not believe books are so great a treasure, and she is certain Lief would not find them valuable either. Not wanting to disappoint Josef, Jasmine agrees to accompany him, Ranesh, and the Annals to the palace.
Jasmine is very surprised at the excitement caused in the palace by the return of Josef and the Annals. When Ranesh mentions that many of Doran the Dragonlover's maps are contained within the Annals, Jasmine purposes to find them and look for the fastest, most secret way to the Shadowlands. Sharn, Ranesh, and Josef go down to the kitchens, leaving Jasmine alone in the library with the books. She spends hours researching Doran's works and reading the Tenna Birdsong Tales. With all the information she needs written on a paper in her pocket, she gathers her belongings and leaves the palace in secret. As she climbs out her bedroom window, Glock stops her and asks where she is going. He accompanies Jasmine out of Del, bringing along the fighting spider Flash.
Lief, Doom, and Marilen arrive in Del very late that night. Doom heads off to find Glock, while Sharn welcomes Marilen before telling Lief that someone broke into the sealed room on the third floor. He is dismayed to hear it, but when she tells him the Annals were rediscovered, safe and intact, he is overjoyed. Doom returns to announce Glock is nowhere to be found, to which Lief cheerfully replies they do not need him any longer, for a much more reliable source has been found. They hurry to the library, where Josef shows Lief the Tale of the Pirran Pipe and a map of the Pirran Islands. Doom goes to wake Barda and Jasmine, to tell them to prepare for the voyage they plan to undertake. Lief is shocked to hear from Josef that Jasmine was reading the Annals earlier, and when he reads her notes and the story from which she took them, he feels very uneasy. The story, The Girl with the Golden Hair, tells of a dragon and a girl with golden hair, who fled deep into underground caverns where goblins dwelled. Doom returns with Barda, angry that Jasmine is nowhere to be found. Lief deduces from his reading that she has left for the Os-Mine Hills to find a secret way to the Shadowlands, accompanied by Glock. In a hurry to be gone, Lief instructs Marilen to keep her presence in Del and her identity secret. He assures her that he will return soon, but he must find and retrieve Jasmine, for he believes she ran off because he offended her.
Barda finds Jinks sneaking jam from the pantry, and roughly questions him. Jinks reveals that Glock and Jasmine did indeed leave for the Os-Mine Hills, Glock's spider with them. This gives Barda an idea. Fury, Jinks' spider, lost the last match against Flash, and would rage until she could fight a rematch. Fury could track down Flash and lead them to Jasmine and Glock much faster than they could on their own. Lief and Barda set out for the Os-Mine Hills with Jinks and his spider in tow. No sooner do they reach the hills than they are attacked by Granous. The Granous bind the travelers and force them to play a game of twenty riddles. If the riddles are answered correctly, no penalty is taken, but the Granous will bite off a finger for each incorrect answer. While Lief solves the first two riddles, Jinks escapes his bonds. Thinking Jinks would also set him and Barda free, Lief is shocked to see Jinks running away over the hills. All the Granous give chase, leaving Lief and Barda alone, still bound and tied. To their surprise, a vine-weaver bird loosens the knots holding Barda, who then frees Lief. The vine-weaver leads them to Fury, who is caught fast in a bush, disturbing the birds. As soon as she is freed, Fury continues to follow Flash's trail, which takes them deeper into the hill forests. She pauses briefly before entering a hole in the ground, Lief following quickly and Barda following reluctantly.
Once through the tunnel, the companions and the spider find an underground forest. Over hundreds of years, the vine-weaver birds had woven their nests so thick that a new forest grew on top of the old trees, concealing the valley in which the old forest lies. Following two sets of footprints through the eerie, fungus-riddled forest, Lief and Barda enter a dark cave in the cliffy hillside. Inside the cave is a giant golden dragon, deep in an enchanted sleep. Hoping to avoid waking the dragon, the travelers try to sneak through a gap in the cave wall near its head. As Lief moves past, the dragon opens its eye and holds his transfixed gaze for a moment before closing its eye once more. Frightened by the encounter, Lief hastens through the gap, stumbles, and drops into a vast, flooded cavern, pulling Barda with him. They recognise the golden cavern as the one mentioned in The Girl with the Golden Hair. Lief begins to fear for Jasmine, knowing she came this way but cannot swim. Barda finds a floating log, which they use to keep themselves afloat. With Fury, who has miraculously survived, the companions set off to find a way out. After swimming for hours, Lief is overcome with exhaustion and falls into a deep sleep.
When Lief wakes, he finds that he and Barda are no longer floating in the golden cavern, but in a boat rowed by goblins through a red cavern. Large waves rock the boat as the goblins struggle to reach their island. Lief notes that though the goblins' intentions are unknown, he and Barda have been disarmed. The reach the island, which in a state of disarray from the waves, and are greeted by a village of goblins. Though they are greeted with excitement, the travelers are wary of the strange little people. Several of the goblins, including Clef and Azan, the ones who brought Lief and Barda to land, speak of something called the Giving. To the companions dismay, they see Jasmine and Glock bound and caged some distance away.
Lief and Barda attempt to fight off the goblins and reach their swords to free Jasmine and Glock. The scarlet light of the caverns suddenly flickers out, and they are rendered unable to move. The goblins bind Lief and Barda before the goblin leader releases them from the magic hold, returning light to the caverns. Lief and Barda are put in the cage to be part of the Giving with Jasmine and Glock. Jasmine is shocked and dismayed that they followed her. Glock and Jasmine tell Lief and Barda that they will be sacrificed to The Fear, a monstrous sea beast that demands a yearly sacrifice from the people. Nols, an old goblin woman, was to be the sacrifice before the Deltorans appeared. Lief reprimands Jasmine for heedlessly rushing into danger, but Jasmine says Doran did not believe the goblins were dangerous to Deltorans. In fact, he believed it was the other way around. The goblins begin singing to commence the Giving, but some of them express doubt over giving The Fear so many offerings, saying that if they give the beast four people at once, it will demand a larger sacrifice in years to come.
The goblins begin pulling the cage towards The Glimmer where The Fear lurks, but Lief tries to stop them by offering them a deal. He says that he and the other Deltorans can fight and defeat The Fear if the goblins will free them and give their weapons back. Most goblins do not believe him, but many, including Clef and Azan, are willing to let the Deltorans attempt to slay the beast. Barda swears that they will not harm the goblins, for they are companions to Lief, king of Deltora. Lief shows the goblins the Belt of Deltora to convince them that they speak the truth. Worron, the goblin leader, claims to see no magic in the belt. Nols voices her support of the Deltorans and convinces the goblins to free them, much to Worron’s fury. Nols threatens to remove Worron’s power if he continues to disregard the safety of his tribe. Clef opens the cage and releases the prisoners. Barda, Jasmine, and Glock try to convince Lief to remain behind and stay safe, but Lief refuses. He takes charge and climbs to the top of the cage, calling for them to follow him, and his companions have no choice but to follow his lead. With the Deltorans clinging to the cage, weapons at the ready, the goblins pull on the ropes again, moving the cage to the cave once more. As the cage moves towards The Glimmer, the four hear Nols dispossess Worron of his power and renounce his title as Piper of the Plumes.
Nols' words mean nothing to Jasmine and Glock, who do not know about the Pirran Pipe, but Lief and Barda are stunned. All along, the beings they thought were goblins were the lost people of Pirra. Lief figures that the Pirrans simply disappeared underground with the last of their magic when the sorcerer took over their land. Doran disguised his map of the Pirran caverns by placing it next to a map of another sea in The Deltora Annals. Jasmine's voice pulls Lief back to the task at hand. They cannot count on the Plumes' magic to light The Fear's cave, so Barda forms a plan of attack. When the cage reaches the cave, the Pirrans' magic lights the cavern and the four see that their plan would never have worked. The Fear is far larger than any of them anticipated. It grew through the centuries into a massive beast, so old that its shell became part of the cavern wall. Its tentacles slither everywhere, through the water, over the walls, and around the cage. Glock makes the first move of attack, but his sword snaps in half when he brings it down on The Fear's tentacle.
The Fear seizes Glock with a tentacle and hooks its white threads into his throat. Jasmine climbs the tentacle and cuts the threads, freeing Glock's body and dropping with him into the water below. The Fear, injured, beats at the water and the light goes out. Lief and Barda jump away just in time as The Fear smashes the cage to pieces. Lief hits his shoulder on a rock in the water and loses his sword in the tumultuous waves. The light returns as he crawls to a rocky outcrop above the water line and looks for any signs of his companions amid the thrashing tentacles. The Fear ceases its pounding and begins to probe the cavern, seeking its prey. Lief, having lost his sword, can do nothing to defend himself as a tentacle comes toward him. Barda emerges from a gap in the rock and cuts the white hooked threads from the tentacle that was approaching Lief, sending The Fear into another uproar. Barda returns to his hiding place and Lief makes his escape and crawls to the shell of the beast, as Barda instructed him. There he sees Jasmine, alive, and Kree standing watch over Glock's injured body. As Lief watches, Jasmine climbs The Fear's shell and stabs her dagger between its eyes. But her blade does not pierce its flesh, and The Fear snatches her into the air.
Kree attacks the tentacle holding Jasmine as Lief abandons his safety and throws bones at the tentacle tips with his unhurt arm, doing everything he can to try to save Jasmine. The Fear seizes Lief too, its crushing grip squeezing the breath from him. In the thick of all the tentacles, Lief sees Glock, badly wounded, challenging the beast. The Jalis man drives his broken sword down The Fear's throat, killing it singlehandedly. Lief slips from The Fear's grip into the water, desperate to find Jasmine and make sure she is unharmed. Barda helps Lief up and points out that Jasmine is safe. Jasmine warns them that The Fear's tentacles are about to fall, and Lief and Barda reach safety at the side of the cavern just as its massive tentacles come crashing down. When all is still, the companions reach Glock's side. The dying man is crushed beneath The Fear's body, but he has enough strength to speak one last time. He gives Jasmine his family's talisman and tells her she has "the heart of a Jalis." Glock is content that he died fighting for a great cause, and with his final breath he begs Lief to bring the Jalis people home and tell them of his courageous deeds.
Light begins to stream through The Glimmer, illuminating the beautiful rainbow caverns on the other side. The Plumes take the companions and Glock's body back to the Isle of Plume, singing a song of life. Nols thanks the companions for what they have done, and states that Glock will be buried in a place of honour beside the Plume Pipers. Almost afraid of the response he will receive, Lief asks for the mouthpiece of the Pirran Pipe. Nols responds that they cannot give him their piece of the Pipe, for it was lost to them long ago. Worron claims it was stolen by seven traitorous Plumes who were all killed when they went to the surface, and it will likely never be found again. To everyone's surprise, Jasmine pulls the old piece of wood from the bag of Glock's talisman. Recognising the lump of wood, Nols takes it and cleans it, revealing its true nature as the mouthpiece of the Pirran Pipe. Glock never knew what it was, and Jasmine did not suspect it until she heard the Plumes' story. Nols gives it to Lief as thanks for freeing them from The Fear.
The companions' way to the Isle of Auron is open, but Barda wishes to return to Del for supplies and fighters. Jasmine interjects that they do not have time, for the Shadowlands prisoners will be put to death soon. Realising she said too much, she claims a bird told her so. Lief insists the three must go on together, for even though he is Deltora's king, he feels a responsibility to take action. Jasmine feels uncertain about Lief's decision, even though he is choosing to do what she wants him to do. Lief asserts that he will not let himself become a prisoner like the kings of old. Azan interrupts, asking the companions to do something to control the fighting spiders that have taken over the dry sleeping quarters meant for them. As the companions go to the house, reluctant to face the spiders, Lief says they will succeed in their quest for the Pipe as they succeeded in the quest for the Belt. Barda voices concern, for their quest will take them to the Shadowlands, but Lief hears the voice of the Pirran Pipe and knows that it is waiting for them to find it.
- Doom (Jarred)
- Glock of the Jalis
- Jinks, former palace acrobat
- Flash, Glock's fighting spider
- Fury, Jinks' fighting spider
- Marilen of Tora
- Zeean of Tora
- Josef, the palace librarian
- Ranesh, Josef's apprentice
- The Granous
- Clef of Plume
- Azan of Plume
- Worron, the Piper of Plume
- Nols of Plume
- The Fear
- Worron refers to seven Plumes who left the underground with their piece of the Pirran Pipe as the Seven Traitors. Their story is told in the Tenna Birdsong Tale named The Seven Goblins.