5. New lives, New friends
I opened my eyes stareing at two sharp pointed leather boots. I heared a voice “Finnaly the Giant awaks” It was a soft but pointed voice. It was like a one note of a flute there then gone. I looked up and saw the owner of the boots a little boy. “Um what” I asked quite confused. “Ugh you elves always so slow to the up keep” said the boy. “Get up I said” the boy said kicking me with the pointed boots. “Okay okay just chill out little boy” I said getting up my neck hurt from lying on flat rock. I got another sharp kick by the boy and I heared him say “I’m not a boy you stupid elf I’m a girl” the boot rolled my head over and I stared up at a little woman. The woman had pointed ears and a pointed nose. She had nimble fingers and wore light leather. Her ears pointed out of her brown hair much like mine except her hair didn’t puff up it fell down but was kept short. She said sternly “Not nice to stare now get up Elf we’ve got work to do”. I pushed off the cold ground rasieing to my feet only then did I relize a crucial fact about this woman. She was up to my thigh. Her body was thin unlike a drawf and she also wasn’t a little human like a Halfling. “What are you” I asked brashly. “This comeing from an elf is surpriseing you know we live in the same forest, anyways I’m a brownie” she said gesturing towards herself with her hands. “So you’re a Gnome” I asked. “Nope Gnome’s don’t do forest they do hills there more like Elfy Dwarfs. “Wait you said we shared the same forest I know this forest why don’t I remember you?” I asked. “Well we just moved in a few years ago been almost a decade now that I think about it” She said, I saw she had a bow and a quiver but also a dagger at her side. “That explains it I’ve been gone for many years more than that” I said sticking out my hand “Names Rafel”. She grabed my hand and shook it once “Names Em, anyways what brings you here” she said. The thoughts of what I saw in the temple flooded my mind i looked at her “The Elves there all dead” I said weakly. “You are stupid aren’t you elf, I mean Ralf” she said. “What do you mean” I asked grabing her. “Twitchy elf aren’t you Ralph” she said in a way that made me blush “Some of the elves escaped I know a good portion ran to the east woods and a few others made there way down the tunnels” she said. I was stunned that she knew about the tunnels then something occurred to me “Wheres Lionday?” I asked. “What’s a Lionday” the brownie said as a loud snort came from the bushes and a feroucius beast jumped out sniffing the brownie. “Is this your mighty stead” Em laughed looking at the boar that was the same highet and a good ways thicker. “He’s a much better fighter than hunter” I laughed. “Here bud” I said reaching in my pocket and flicking him some beaf rations I had handy. “Now down to business” Em said sternly “We need to get to the cave of wonder”. “Why” I asked. “The woods are…..I’d better show you” she said jumping on Lionday “Comeon big lung where takeing a trip” she said pushing her boots into the boar it realed then ran off. “Wait” I yelled to no avail, I was running it I looked over my back a nightmare I’d have to look upon again someday.
The woods was quite normaly the west woods where buzzing with life. However it was quite like life just left the forest. “Where down stream elf I assume you know about the posion” she said not looking back as she rideing Lionday trudged along. “Yeah I know but how do you know” I said pushing a branch out of my way it had a few number of leaves for its kind. “Well its kinda obvious” she said. “What do you mean” we entred a clearing, it stood over a valley the river had cut. The place was dead. No trees no life no anything. The trees stood bare of leaves rotting on the ground was dead animals who had drunk the water, they to where rotting. Mushrooms poked through there bodies in a horrible mocking of nature. “That’s not all Elf this place is newly infected” she said her eyes pointing to a small lump in the death. I squinted trying to see it I saw a human face a small human face “One of my own” she said a small tear falling down her cheek. “The mushrooms are poision as well” she said “There spores get into your lungs and set them on fire splitting you lungs apart then it sprouts inside of you” she said stareing at the carnage. “How do we fix this” I said. “We don’t we hope we can get rid of the posion” she said the reflection of the dead on her wide eyes. “Then lets go” I said turning around “I’ve seen to many dead I don’t wish to see more” I said. “Where do we go next” she asked. “We go to the Sental” I said “It’s the fastest way to cross the river where the cave is” I said. In that moment her eye’s shot with more horror then one could think one word could cuase Sental.
The king stood locked in combat with a shadow. The Shadow was a figure roughly six feet and held a glisting piece of cold metal. It waved in the air locking onto the kings Rapier. The Kings robe thrashed as he blocked the blow then he shoved the blade and slashed the rouge. The dark cloack he wore was torn open and pink flesh shown through. The rouge slashed with his blade but only chuaght air. The king easily dodged it and with that the battle was over. The rouge had left himself open to the waiting strike of the kings blade. The blade connected with the exposed flesh and brought the shadow down. He fell to his knees and the king pointed his sword at his covered throat. “WHO sent you” The king inquired his blade playfully tapping the mans cheacks. “I’ll never tell” the shadow said his voice weak and spineless. “Really you’d rather die then give some fool up” the king said. The king whipped his blade cuasing the mans hood that covred his face to fall away revealing a man with a beared face. His mouth was creased into a scornful look. He had black hair and a rough beared. His eyes darted about and he was sweating. The king pointed the tip of his rapier at the mans for head and said “Tell me”. The man gulped and said in one winded breath “I met a man down at the inn said he wanted me to do a job, Said he heard I was the best in the city, Course he’s wrong but he paied so much loot I figured it was worth a shot I’m sorry please don’t kill me, I’ve got a life full of beer and women ahead of me please don’t end it yet” the man said loseing all air of meancingness. He fell to the floor whimpering “Very well I guess I can’t kill you now, Your free to go” the king said “But you’d best to leave town” the king said “I’m giving you a one days head start out of the city if you make it to another town in that time you’re a free man” the king said. He then turned noticeing us “Oh hello there I guess you wanted something”. The whimpering man hastily staggered off likely to puke.
The king went back to his throne “Alright alright lets get this over with what do you want?” he said his arms waving lazily. I stepped up to him and bowed saying “Sir we ask a squad to be sent out to take care of a orc base”. “You want me to give up a part of my army to clean up some orcs” he king laughed “That’s insane”. “Please sir we think these Orcs might be working for a higher power” I said bowing. “Aye sir the Orcs are said to be working for someone of great evil and power” Algred said. The king said his eyes emphisising his point “Orcs are orcs clean them up yourself” then the message came.
The mouse ran past the guard barely noticed in the bustleing street. It seeked out its target the king. It climbed up the palace wall and leaped onto the castle structure. Stealthly it climbed into the kings chamber. It found the two big oak doors that held the king and squeezed its white coated body under the frame. It then using its agile tail slipped the piece of parchment on its back and droped it to the floor. In a flash it was gone.
“A message” the King said walking towards it. He picked it up and began to read “A message from the Elf council” he said happily, to us he said “He’s a good friend of mine”. He read some more then his face went white the letter droped from his hand and he limply crossed to his throne. “What is it king” I asked. He looked at us somberly “You’ll get your troops” he said bluntly. “Why the change of heart” I asked. “Things have changed” he said his face staring somewhere far off. Algred picked up the message and read it. Alegred’s normally red face turned a horrible pink “Lad you’d better read this” he said handing it to me. I began to read it.
The orcs have poisoned the woods. It is dying. We’ve tried every magic in our arsenal but none of it works. The orcs have also begun to raid our towns. They’ve grown to strong and the posion has weakened us to their attacks. They launched a raid today they made it to the front of the palace. Right now it’s quite but it’s getting dark, they like the dark. Where not going to make it. The Orcs seem to be following a leader.
They’ve broken the main gate there rushing in. We’ve evacuated the women or most of the ones would leave.
We were wrong. The caverns beneath the castle where not safe they had troops waiting that dragged the children and women back. They said that if we don’t surrender that they’ll kill them all. We have no choice.
What a fool I was. They didn’t even think about it once our weapons droped they dropped there heads. The rampage began they’ve killed us. John they’ve killed us. My wife she was dragged off to God’s knows where and they left me alive to watch them kill each other prisoner. There’s only one hope left My sons if they can restore the forest the elves will live on. They come for me my last hours on this world, I insist that you rally around my sons there strong both of them. The orc is coming close now I’ve cast a spell on a rat to find you. Till we meet in the afterlife.
I slowly put the message in my pocket then looked at the king “How long” I asked. “I can have the troops ready in a week” the king said. “How many will you have” I asked. “One for every life those Pig nose’s killed” he said branding his sword “you’ll also have me”. “I feel better already” Elacron said with a half hearted sneer.
They ran into the top of the tower. Her brown hair flowed perfectly down her shoulders. Her shinnying green eyes shown through the look of terror on her face. Those eyes where of a good woman. Her beautiful lips curled into a scream, as the door broke down. The orcs streamed in like a flood of swamp water. One metal weapon disconnected that perfect head of hair from her delicate shoulders.
I woke up screaming. I ripped off my shirt trying to dry the sweat that had appeared. I wipped my forehead with my shirt, trying to shake that image. “Its okay Rafel she’s okay” but I knew that was a lie. I creped towards the river and starred at my reflection. In the pale moonlight I saw my face cut up and rugged. My hair had gotten long and ragged since a few months since I last got it cut. My neck was hairless like all elfs. My fingers ran over it, I had my father’s chin. They always said that and I had my mothers eyes. My mother was a loving mom like any mom. She cooked, she cleaned and she took care of my cuts. But she whould do something else to. She’d take us into the woods and tell us stories, she was a great storie teller. She told us storys of how this village came to be how the forest came to be. How a forest giant was slashed in a war long ago and its blood spilled onto the land that used to be dead, but with the giant’s blood vegetation spreed like wild fire. So strange how now the infection seems to be spreading death like the giants blood spread life. I took a long sigh then I walked back to my mat. I layed down and stroked lionday’s gentle body. His heavy chest went up and down mechanicly as his mouth opened and closed. He would snore when he exhaled. His snores put me to sleep finally. My sleep had a single nightmare but I forgot it by mourning.
The sun shone through the dieing tree top as we started our journey. “To the Sental are you crazy Rafel” Em said. “Look its just a legend, I bet its not even true” I said not looking down at her. “They don’t make up stories like that” she said somely. The Sental was a legend that was told in the comfort of ones home. It was something to horrifying for someone to risk it hearing it outside. The Sental was said to be the guard of a bridge so terrible was it that it killed a god with its bare hands. It was always said to guard the bridge to the cave of wonders but no one dared to try to pass his bridge. Using the map i was able to find the bridge. We came out of the forest and starred out at a long drop. The drop was 20 feet or so into a rageing river that shot droplets of water off the rocks and the breeze lifted so it whould hit you standing 20 feet above it. It was called the Flying water bridge. It was old stone that was a deep yellow that had moss growing in the cracks. Ever few feet it had an arch in it. Halfway across was a statue of a solider that held a sword to the sky, it held a sword in its left hand pointed at the sky and a shield at its side. His long hair hanged on his sides his stoney weathered face covered his identity. I gulped i had heared the stories about this bridge the sental was said to be the soul of a great soilder trapped indside of stone. He guarded the bridge looking for a great warrior who could best him. To gain passage across you had to defeat him. Course no one dared to try in fear they whould be destroyed by this stone statue. “Look I’ll cross first if nothing happens then you have nothing to worry about” I said. Em nodded eyes focused on the statue. I pulled Lionday over “Listine keep an eye on Em okay” I said rubbing the boars head. With a deep breath I stepped onto the bridge and made my way to the greatest warrior of all time.