This week’s assignment: write a morality tale based on forgiveness but written with the fantasy genre in mind……..
I decided to add on to a short story I wrote for a Writer’s Workshop assignment, which you can find here.
I cannot do this. I am too young. There are so many others who are braver, fiercer, better fighters than I. Why me? Why not one of the Guild Knights or Prince Aletalian? Surely they are more equipped to fight this battle than I am. I am merely River of Holcaste, son of Haldaol the blacksmith. I only own a sword because my father made one for me. I can barely hold it, let alone wield it. And I’m destined to be the savior of the world? The world is in trouble then.
Beware the Drtuaug. Their wings bring fiery death and they will devour your knowledge. Ravengale’s words ring in my head. He came to me in the stealth of the dark, the Drtuaug hot on his heels. It was my first encounter with the acursed Scions of Darkness. These are the creatures of prophecy, created by the blood of twenty necromancers. Their skeletal body is shaped like an eagle and their wings bring a rush of heat that makes your blood boil. The strange white light that surrounds them is misleading from a distance. I only knew them from their smell. The smell defies the imagination, smelling of decaying beast and molten lava. I do not desire to have them around me ever again.
With the task that has been handed to me, though, I realize with a sharp clarity that I will encounter them again. I must get moving or that will become a quick reality. I briefly wonder if the trolls, with their keen sense of smell for the human blood, have been dispatched yet. I am only a fortnight away from Holcaste; Ravengale’s magic stones and a cloak of invisibility hiding me from my predators. The magic is running out though. I must reach the next village before sunrise or all is lost. I must find the village shaman, Brandlance, and recharge the stones.
I am exhausted, having been on my feet for the better part of the last 72 hours, resting in spurts to put as much distance between me, Ravengale, and Holcaste as possible. The Drtuaug followed Ravengale out of Holcaste but I could hear the march of goblins in the hills. I am cold, having never lit a fire for fear of attracting a Rtharo spy. I am hungry, the beef strips gone, the bread gone moldy, using on the cheese and mead from my flask for nourishment, and the berries I picked from the woods outside Holcaste disappearing too quickly. My arm is tired from carrying my sword, though it is small. It is a work of art, really, my father melting a ruby amulet into the handle of the sword, with the rubies displayed promonitely above the blade itself. They glow like red eyes when unsheathed.
Suddenly, I find myself glad of the sword fighting lessons Ravengale gave me before we separated. Out of the darkness, a small cinder appeared, and I heard the clank of metal on the ground. It is an orc, and he is obstructing my path. My stones begin humming, something Ravengale warned me they would do when evil is around. Since I have yet to identify friend from foe, I have to believe that the orc is a pawn of Rtharo, and I silently prepare for the battle that is bound to happen. I grip my sword to my side, hiding the rubies against my thigh and begin silently creeping towards the orc.
A twig snaps, and the battle is on. Sword clangs against sword, and I draw first blood. The orc snarls in pain, and steps back, grasping his shoulder. “I cannot fight you and I have no wish to die tonight,” he says “Kub Gasshadow at your service. Any friend of Ravengale is a friend of mine.” I am literally taken aback as he seems to just move past the fact that I was the cause of the attack, and the source of his wound.
“Do you know what you are getting yourself into?” I can’t help but ask. It is a suicide mission, one I don’t expect to survive myself. “Why didn’t you announce yourself?”
“I have a good idea. The better question is do you know what you are getting yourself into by taking me on? I am one of a very small clan that has rebelled against Rtharo, and is listed as an outlaw, punishable by death. You risk the same fate traveling with me.” His response makes me laugh. I already face imminent death just by accepting the mission. “You needed to be tested. I did not expect you to get the upperhand so quickly. I’m sorry. It had to be done this way.”
“I think I can handle that.” I take his proffered hand and we seal the friendship with a handshake.
The fire he has started has caught and I begin to feel the warmth of it seeping through my clothes. By the light of the fire I can see that his wound is superficial, and I am glad that I had not done any real damage, yet disheartened at the same time. How would I ever defend myself if the best I can do against an orc is a superficial shoulder wound? I watch as he applies a salve to his shoulder then puts some meat over the fire. My stomach gurgles in appreciation.
“We are not far from Ithagar. You will be able to rest soon. It’s been several moons since I last saw any foes. We must still be cautious and make haste. I should not have been able to sense you there. The magic in the stones you were given are fading fast.” Kub’s voice holds warning. “Ravengale sends you his thanks and asked me to let you know that he is okay. He had planned to come to you sooner, but he is not going to be able to do that. You are stuck with me for now.”
Such an unlikely party, a boy and an orc. Can we really fulfill the prophecy?