Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Quests E-books for Sale

Hello readers! I wanted to let you know that the e-book version of Quests is now up for sale for those who would like to buy a copy. You can find it for Kindle here and for Nook here. The story will also remain available for free in the blog archives. As I have been seeing better sales from my e-books than my print books in recent years, I am not planning to make Quests available in print at this time unless I receive an overwhelming number of requests for print books. For this reason, if you want a print copy of the book please say so. I plan to take some time off from writing and will most likely not announce a new writing project for some time. Until I return, please enjoy my old stories which as always will remain available on the blog and for sale on Kindle and Nook. Happy reading and take care!


Friday, June 17, 2016

Quests Episode Twenty-three: Rise of a Sleeping Power

I am proud to announce that this is the final episode of the Quests Series. After this I will be taking a long break from blogging and story writing. Enjoy!

Read the series prologue here.

Read episode twenty-two here.

Episode Twenty-three: Rise of a Sleeping Power

Just as night took hold of the land, Fedrick's division reached the leafy depths of the forest. The woods seemed eerily quiet; there was very little activity in them. Several goblins stopped and glanced nervously over their shoulders.

“Keep marching, cave slime!” snarled their captain.

The goblin warriors resumed marching, still uneasy. They slowly crept through the tangled undergrowth, expecting to be attacked by elvin and fairy warriors at every turn. They came to a small clearing where they stopped short in surprise. The elvin princess sat on a rock in the center of the grassy area. Her sword lay across her knees but her eyes were closed. Fedrick wondered if she was sleeping. He took a small step forward to get a better look. Though he made almost no noise when he moved, the elf opened her eyes, and turned her head to look directly at him. In her eyes was a look of terrible wild power which filled Fedrick with dread.

The Fairy Queen herself stepped out from the shadows behind the princess and uttered a terrible cry full of words Fedrick could not understand. No sooner had she stopped speaking then a biting cold wind came from all directions, ripping through the goblin ranks, while large sleety raindrops spattered them. Branches whipped at them, vines twined around their feet and flames danced to life like wildfire come to purge the forest.

At the same moment the elf princess leaped to her feet and raised her sword. Elvish warriors charged from every side. The goblins screamed in terror and fled as the elements and elves closed in on them. As Fedrick ran, he noticed other goblins falling all around him, overwhelmed by one or more of the natural forces. Others were cut down by the pursuing elves. Fedrick didn’t dare stop, sure that if he did he would never make it out of the woods.

Only a small ragged group of goblins stumbled out of Fairy Wood and up the mountain path. High above the forest Fedrick stopped to catch his breath and finally dared to look back. The edge of the woodlands shimmered as though it were not quite solid.

Fedrick heard cries from farther up the path, and looked to see that the remains of the goblin company had joined a division of trolls. The goblins urged the trolls back toward the underground city and away from the enchanted forest. Goblins and trolls tripped over each other trying to make it back to the city first. When Fedrick finally staggered into the city’s entrance, he found himself standing next to Felnar.

“What happened?” panted the troll.

“We were defeated by the combined magic of the Fairy Queen and the elf princess,” said Fedrick. The full weight of the Dark’s army’s loss hit him. “What’s worse, whatever they did seemed to have repaired the forest’s defense spells. They’ve made it unsafe for our kind to enter Fairy Wood again.”

“I thought you hated that forest anyway,” said Felnar.

“It holds prime hunting ground that is now lost,” Fedrick replied. “What’s more Wilderlah is cut off from us as well. If we try to enter it we will be hunted down by that cursed elf princess! Only the mountains are safe to Dark creatures now. We have lost.”


Fate paused to look at the swirling colors on her tapestry. She fingered the beautiful pattern at the bottom, a band of black held in place by silver on one side and gold on the other. The Lord of Light was right, this had become a fine tapestry indeed. She sighed in contentment and continued her work.

The End

Monday, April 25, 2016

Quests Episode Twenty-two: Forest Whispers

Read the series prologue here.

Read episode twenty-one here.

Episode Twenty-two: Forest Whispers

Beritta grabbed a handful of Mist's mane and swung her sword at the goblin hordes. Mist lowered her horn, using it to toss enemies as she advanced. The elvin warriors moved forward to assist and protect Beritta. Lilac, Lilly and Reuben flew up from lower on the peak and dropped rocks on the heads of the goblins surrounding the elves. As the goblins dodged these missiles, Lilac hovered in front of Beritta and cried, “Oakley's been wounded by a strellogroth. We have to get him to a healer!”

“Did you say a strellogroth?” asked Beritta, hoping she had heard wrong.

Lilac pointed at the sky. Beritta looked where she was indicating and saw the great bat monster with Faralasa pursuing it. Lasa jumped, then kicking off from the strellogroth’s head, launched herself into a flip and regained her balance midair behind the monster, facing its back. She whipped her sword through the air, making noises to intimidate it into flying higher. The strellogroth tried to retreat to the underground city but Lasa blocked it and slashed the monster's wings. Screeching, the strellogroth flapped her tattered wings wildly, trying to stay aloft. The edge of a wing caught Lasa under her chin, throwing her onto the clouds.

Beritta turned to two warriors standing beside her and ordered, “Follow the fairy and get her and her companions, especially the wounded elf, to safety.”

As Lilac and the warriors moved to obey, Beritta turned to another group of warriors and cried, “Cover me!”

She then sheathed her sword, signaled Mist to turn slightly and summoned a flame to hover over her right palm. The flame grew for a minute until, satisfied it was large enough, Beritta formed it into a fireball and shot it a the strellogroth. She then summoned a second flame and repeated the process. The creature's torn wings caught fire just as Faralasa dove out of the clouds. With a great yell Lasa stabbed her sword with all her might into the strellogroth’s chest. The monster’s scream was earsplitting. Grasping the hilt firmly with both hands, Lasa kicked the strellogroth, freeing her sword.

The once frightening monster fell from the sky like a giant fire-ball surrounded by tattered batwings. Beritta used one last fireball to redirect the strellogroth’s body so that it crashed into the thick of the goblin army pouring out of the mountain.

In the confusion that followed she ordered, “Retreat to Fairy Wood!”

As the elves scrambled down the rocky path, she glanced over her shoulder several times to see if they were being pursued. The fall of the strellogroth had created enough confusion to allow the elves a head start, but it was only a matter of time before the goblins organized their forces enough to give chase. There was still no sign of the goblins on the path behind them when they passed beneath first trees of the forest. Beritta noted that the sky in front of her to the east was lightening, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Once they were well into the forest she ordered her warriors to halt.

“We will make camp here and rest during the day. The Dark army will not attack again until nightfall.”

She then dismounted Mist and rushed through the camp until she found the healer who was tending Oakley. Faralasa and the fairies were also gathered watching as the healer, a red haired elf woman, cleaned and bound the gashes on Oakley's chest.

“Is he going to be alright?” Beritta asked.

“His chest may scar a little but otherwise he should recover,” the healer answered.

Relief washed over Beritta. She noticed a scowl on Faralasa's face and said, “I'm sorry. I was reckless and made some horrible mistakes.”

“I just hope those mistakes don't cost us Fairy Wood!” Lasa snapped. “Come on everyone, let's get some rest while we can.”

Beritta felt heat rise in her face, but followed the others without further comment. She found a mossy spot to lie down and soon fell asleep.

As she slept she once again felt the strange tug of the earth, only this time it was far stronger. The natural sounds of the forest formed a pattern which seemed liked a language. It was the language of bird song, animal sounds and wind whispering through leaves. Suddenly, the sounds formed words and Beritta understood them. She felt as though the forest had been speaking to her all along, but only now did she understand. The urgency of the forest’s message woke Beritta. She felt a rush of energy and leaped to her feet, running through the cool shadows of the woods until she came to a sun drenched meadow. In this meadow stood the dark haired, silver winged fairy queen.

“Your majesty,” Beritta cried. As the queen turned she continued, “I know how to rebuild Fairy Wood's defense spells and drive out the Dark army. The forest simply awaits a command from you.”

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quests Episode Twenty-one: Dark Wings

Sorry for my long unexplained absence. I have been busy with some real-life adventures which took me away from my writing. Shortly after having my second baby, my husband and I chose to move across the country to be closer to his family and begin learning the skills for what you might call "backyard homesteading". As interesting as all of that is, I will not be telling those stories here as this blog is dedicated to fantasy stories. The way these lifestyle changes will effect this blog and my writing in general is that I plan to spend much of the year gardening and will probably make writing more of winter project in the future. For now I will wrap up the Quests series in a couple more posts. I'm hoping for another episode at the end of April and the final episode some time in May. After that I will take a break from writing and blogging until the late fall or winter.

Now without further ado, on to Quests!

Read the series prologue here.

Read episode twenty here.

Episode Twenty-one: Dark Wings

Tap, tap, tap! The knocker’s noises led into a wide cave then died away. Oakley slipped inside and whispered, “Lilac, are you alone?”

“Oakley!” Lilac cried. “I heard you were here. The goblin said the guards were going to kill you and then he and the troll went to look for intruders…”

“Shh!” Oakley warned. “I’m all right. We made it passed the guards. Lasa and the others are waiting for us on the mountain.”

He moved closer to the cage and inspected it.

“You’re hurt!” Lilac exclaimed pointing to the scratch on Oakley’s neck.

“It’s nothing,” he said touching it briefly with his left hand. Then he asked, “Where’s the key to this cage?”

“The troll took it with her when she left.”

Oakley tugged at one of the bars with a finger then bent to look at it closer. He looked back at Lilac and spoke slowly, “I might be able to break the gate open, but it’s a bit risky. I’m not sure I can do it without hurting you.”

“I want to get out of here. Now tell me what I need to do.”

“Okay,” said Oakley. “Go to the far side of the cage and hold on as tight as you can.”

Lilac obeyed. Oakley lifted the sword he had taken from the goblin guard and slammed it against the lock. Lilac held on even tighter. Oakley alternated between trying to snap the lock and pry the on gate itself, until he got the cage open.

“Hurry, they might have heard that,” he said as he pulled away the last piece of the ruined door. Lilac shot out of the cage. The two friends hurried out the entrance which led to the outdoors. The fresh mountain air filled their lungs. They breathed in deeply. It was easy to find the path even in the dim moonlight. They hurried along it, stopping when they came to the place where Oakley had left his winged horse.

“Lilac, fly a little higher,” said Oakley. “See if you can spot Lasa and the others but don’t let any enemies see you. I have to find my winged horse then we’ll leave.”

“All right,” said Lilac and flew into the air.

As soon as she was gone Oakley turned and softly called the horse's name. There was no response. The animal must have wandered. Oakley called again more urgently but still there was no sign of the winged horse. Slowly the elf moved onto the rocks near the path, continuing to look for his mount and watching for enemies. He became more worried with every passing minute.

The wind seemed to turn colder as it brushed against his cheek. The sky darkened momentarily. Oakley glanced up and gasped in surprise when he saw huge bat wings blocking the moon. A new fear filled him as his mind registered what it was seeing. The strellogroth dove at him just as he started to run. His foot bumped a jagged place on the rock and he fell. The strellogroth flew toward him, claws extended. Oakley twisted and slashed upward with the sword. He sliced open one of the creature’s claws. The strellogroth let out a high pitched cry which made Oakley’s ears ring. The monster wrenched the sword out of the elf’s hands before he could react.

While the strellogroth was distracted by the sword, Oakley crawled away from its scrabbling claws. He stood, and was about to run again when he heard the sound of something whistling through the air. He ducked as the sword flew over his head and clattered over the rocky edge of the mountain. Another high pitched screech told him the strellogroth was still chasing him. He noticed a small depression in a boulder in front of him. He dropped and rolled into it.

The monster dropped a few feet to be in a better attack position, but Oakley was ready for it. He gathered up bits of loose rock and hurled them at the creature’s face yelling, “Get back you big bat!”

He was too frightened to care who else heard him. With a few mighty beats of its wings the strellogroth flew higher to avoid the stones Oakley was throwing. Oakley waited a few minutes, listening for the beast's return but he heard nothing. Slowly and cautiously, he came out of his hiding place. When nothing happened, he picked his way across the rocks.

He was halfway to the path when he heard the noise of wind rushing under giant wings. He froze in fear, but the sound continued to grow. He dropped to all fours slamming his hands against the hard stone. Huge bat-like wings passed inches above his head before the monster returned to the air. It was clearly toying with him. Oakley pushed himself into a kneeling position.

“Stop!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. “Leave me alone!”

Out of the corner of his eye Oakley saw the strellogroth turn to circle back toward him. Something about the way the creature moved made it clear that it had become serious. It was coming in for the kill. Oakley scrambled to his feet as panic made his heart beat faster. The strellogroth slammed into his back, knocking him to the ground. He screamed as wave of pain shot through him. As the monster attempted to wrap its claws around him, Oakley reached out blindly, grasping for something to keep him sane. His hand closed around a jagged rock and his mind snapped back into focus. He twisted and stabbed the rock into its leg. The creature gave a sharp noise that was almost a scream and pulled back to dislodge the makeshift weapon. The strellogroth charged him and slashed his chest with its claws, leaving a set of deep scratches. Before he could even attempt to retaliate, the beast pushed him backwards and pinned him to the ground. The monster’s great wings seemed to block out all light. It opened her mouth showing large fangs. Oakley realized he was hyperventilating. This was it, the strellogroth would kill him now. He hoped that his quest had been successful and the others had escaped. He shut his eyes and prayed it would end quickly.

Thwack! This new sound rang through the darkness and was followed by a sharp voice.

“Let him go, bat-brain!”

Lasa, it was Faralasa’s voice! There was another thwack, and the strellogroth shrieked. Oakley opened his eyes to see Lasa hovering near the great bat’s head. She brought down her stolen goblin sword once more on the monster’s already bleeding ear. The strellogroth forgot Oakley. It took to the air to battle Faralasa. Oakley dragged himself away from the fight.

“Over here!” someone hissed.

Oakley turned to see the fairies crouching on the rocky slope above him. Removing the tattered remains of his party shirt, he used it to bind his bloody chest. He then pulled himself into a hiding place beside the fairies, grunting as the effort caused pain to spread from the wounds. “You made it,” he whispered turning to Lilac. “I was afraid it might have got you.”

“I found Lasa and the others before it came,” Lilac replied. “We heard you scream came back to help.”

Oakley nodded and turned to watch as strellogroth and airwalker circled each other. Faralasa somersaulted to avoid the monster’s snapping jaws, then sliced off the strellogroth’s bleeding left ear. The strellogroth screeched and flapped its wings wildly in front of it.

Lilac flew a little higher then suddenly shouted, “Lasa, there’s a group of elvin warriors below us.”

“Is Beritta with them?” asked Faralasa while still slashing at the strellogroth.

“I can’t… wait yes! She's at their head riding Mist!”

Oakley turned in time to see a number of goblin and troll warriors pour out the front gate of the underground city.

“Beritta, look out!” he shouted.

He jumped to his feet, intending to launched himself into the path between the elvin princess and the enemy warriors, but a wave of pain and dizziness washed over him, forcing him to his knees.

Continue to episode twenty-two.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quests Episode Twenty: Intruders

I'm back! After starting edits on the next few episodes, I've decided to try to wrap up the Quests series in the next few months. I'm still working on the ending, but I estimate there are about 3 episodes left. Please enjoy this month's episode and check back in the coming months for the conclusion.

Read the series prologue here.

Read episode nineteen here.

Episode Twenty: Intruders

Fedrick stopped outside the entrance to Felnar’s cave and watched as the troll approached a small bird cage containing a purple winged fairy. Felnar tapped lightly on the cage door with one claw.

“I brought you some food little fairy,” she said. “It’s fairy food, I made sure.”

She opened the cage door just enough to push a small bowl inside it.

“You have a nice cave,” the fairy said.

Fedrick rolled his eyes, hoping such flattery would not make Felnar consider releasing her pet.

“Why thank you!” said Felnar grinning.

“You’re not a bad troll either,” the fairy girl added. “Maybe we could be friends.”

“Okay,” said Felnar, grinning. “I’m really glad I get to keep you.”

“Since we’re friends you could let me out of this cage sometimes. If you let me come outside with you I could show you good places to hunt.” Felnar shook her head. “Fedrick said you might say something like that. He said I’m not to let you out for any reason. Sorry.”

Fedrick smirked as the fairy crossed her arms over her chest and pouted.

“Don’t be sad,” Felnar pleaded.

She opened her mouth to say something else but, unable to stand such nonsense any longer, Fedrick interrupted. “What are you doing you foolish fairy lover?”

Felnar turned to face him.

“I was getting my fairy some food.”

“We have more important things to worry about!” Fedrick snapped. “There are intruders in the city. There was an elf boy in the dungeons. He was trying to rescue the prisoners. The guards are taking care of him. There are probably more of them. We should join the search.”

“Trouble makers!” Felnar snarled turning to follow Fedrick.

“Hey!” the fairy yelled slamming her fist against the bars to get their attention. “I’ll never forgive you if you hurt them!”

Felnar hesitated but Fedrick just snorted.

“Don’t listen to her,” he said. “She’s just a stupid fairy. Come on, let’s go.”

In one of the smooth stone passageways leading to the goblin portion of the city, Fedrick and Felnar met a group of other goblins and trolls who were searching for the intruders.

“Did you hear? The prisoners escaped,” said one of the goblins. “They left the guards chained up in the dungeon.” Fedrick gave a small laugh then became serious.

“They can't have gotten far. Come on, we don’t have time to waste.”

They spread out to search every corner of the city, Fedrick in one group and Felnar in another. After several minutes of searching, Fedrick heard a faint sound in the distance. He signaled those behind him to be quiet as they crept down the passage. In a few minutes Fedrick saw the faint shadow of a moving figure. He turned the corner, drew his sword and stopped short in surprise.

A small orange haired hobgoblin was bouncing a rubber ball up and down the tunnel. It took the creature a minute to notice the newcomers. When he did he simply said, “Oh, hello,” and kept bouncing his ball. Fedrick watched in silence for a minute until the hobgoblin came near him. As the ball bounced past, Fedrick caught it.

“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked.

Just then the ball turned into a hornet and bit Fedrick’s hand.

“Ouch!” cried Fedrick letting it go.

The hornet flew to the hobgoblin’s shoulder and landed there.

“I’m playing with Bubble,” said the hobgoblin as though nothing had happened.

He pointed to the hornet. It flew off his shoulder, turned into a little man and stood grinning at them.

“Oh right, our boggart,” said Fedrick. Suddenly his temper flared. “If you idiots had any sense you’d be helping search for the fairies and elves who escaped from our prison!”

“I guess we can do that,” said Bubble, exchanging a look with Glibbin.

“What do you mean you guess?” cried Fedrick. “Start looking, NOW!”

In their surprise, Glibbin and Bubble turned and bumped into each other. They fell, got back up and ran down the passage away from Fedrick. The goblins and trolls resumed their search. Before long they came across Glibbin and Bubble again. They were sitting in the middle of the passage but it was unclear what they were doing there.

“Did you find anything?” asked Fedrick.

“Were we looking for something?” Glibbin asked Bubble. The boggart shrugged.

Fedrick reminded them of the search which was taking place.

“We can help look,” said Bubble. “Come on Glibbin, let’s go.”

They set off again, leaving Fedrick wondering how they could have forgotten their task in so short a time.

About five minutes later, Fedrick once more found them lounging in the center of a tunnel. He grabbed Glibbin and demanded, “Do you think this is funny? Keep searching and quit your nonsense!”

Just then Felnar’s group approached.

“The leaders are releasing the strellogroth to hunt down the prisoners,” Felnar told Fedrick. “They want everyone but her trainers to clear the passages until she passes.”

Fedrick smiled and let go of Glibbin, all thoughts of the two fools slipping from his mind.

“I want to see the beast in action,” he said. “Where’s she going to start?”

“The prison so she can catch their scent,” Felnar replied. “You can’t go close, she’s too dangerous.”

“We won’t get too close, we'll just follow her to see what happens,” Fedrick promised.


“Come on,” Fedrick retorted. “You helped us catch her. You must be curious to see what she can do.”

Felnar gulped as Fedrick grabbed her hand and pulled her down the passage behind him, leaving Glibbin and Bubble to their forgetful ways.

The strellogroth was already in the dungeons with one of her trainers when Fedrick and Felnar arrived in the company of a few other bold and curious goblins and trolls. Someone had freed the guards from the chains. The group watched from a safe distance as the trainer released the monster with a seeking command. The great bat took off, flying through twisting tunnels which had been cleared for her. Fedrick, Felnar, and the rest of the group followed at a distance. The strellogroth seemed sure of the scent; she never hesitated at an intersection of the tunnels. Near the entrance, she stopped briefly and clawed at a thin crevice which She could not fit inside. Seeming to catch a new scent she headed toward the troll caves.

“What’s she doing?” asked Felnar in alarm. “She just went inside my cave!”

“Maybe she wants to eat your fairy as a snack,” Fedrick teased.

“Oh no!” cried Felnar throwing up her hands in alarm.

“I was joking. Let’s see if she found one of the escaped prisoners in there.”

When they reached Felnar’s cave, the strellogroth had flown out the entrance which led to the mountainside. The gate of the bird cage was a smashed wreck and the fairy gone.

“She did eat my fairy!” Felnar wailed.

“Felnar, I don’t think it was the strellogroth who broke the cage,” said Fedrick.

“You think the intruders took my fairy?”

Fedrick nodded.

“Then I hope the strellogroth gets them!” Felnar snarled.

“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” Fedrick reassured her.

As if to confirm his words, a scream rang through the night.

Continue to episode twenty-one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Quests Episode Nineteen: Into the Depths

Just a quick note before I continue to May's episode: I will most likely be taking a short break after this as my baby is due next month and the rest of the story is going to need some work. Please enjoy this episode and watch for an announcement letting you know when I will resume the story. Sorry that I'm going to leave you with a bit of cliff-hanger!

Read the series prologue here.

Read episode eighteen here.

Episode Nineteen: Into the Depths

The wings of Oakley's mount beat against the air with a loud whooshing sound. Oakley strained his eyes in search of the path he had walked with Beritta not long ago. Wind whipped his face causing his eyes to water, but still he forced himself to concentrate on the dark landscape below him. Oakley urged the winged horse to fly even lower over the looming mountains, lower than was truly safe. He was grateful that he had trained the animal to trust him so completely. The clouds moved even faster now than they had earlier in the night. The shadows they cast made it harder to see the landscape below.

A gap appeared in the cloud cover for a moment, allowing the moon to briefly illuminate the mountains. In that instant, Oakley caught a glimpse of the trail for which he was looking. He signaled his horse who circled before descending to land lightly on a rocky patch near the place Oakley indicated. Once the animal tucked in his wings, Oakley dismounted and took in his surroundings. He was above the tree line in the area covered by short grass and large rocks. He spotted the worn pathway cutting through the rocks on his right. The winged horse snorted softly in irritation.

“I’ve got to go, but I’ll be back soon,” said Oakley softly. “Stay in the area and don’t follow me.”

The horse bobbed his head and trotted off to graze. After watching for a minute, Oakley turned with a resolute step and started up the path. Driven by anxiety, Oakley moved from one switchback to the next at a hurried pace. A huge nearly vertical rock face loomed over the lower parts of the mountain. The higher Oakley went, the more menacing these cliffs seemed. The path took one last sharp turn and ended at the dark entrance of the underground city.

Oakley stopped short behind the last bend, staring out from behind it at the gaping hole. He scanned the darkness, trying in vain to locate the guards patrolling there. A sudden wave of fear swept over him and he felt as though he were frozen in place. What are you thinking? asked a small voice in his head, You can’t go in there alone! Wait for the rest of the warriors from Wilderlah. Do you want to be killed in the darkness of an evil city? That’s what will happen if you go in there by yourself.

Oakley took a deep breath and closed his eyes. It didn’t help. He thought of his friends trapped somewhere inside the mountain. An image of Faralasa saluting as she rose into the air came to mind. He thought of Beritta’s reckless leadership and was convinced all over again that this was a trap.

I have to try and save them, he argued with himself. I can’t leave them in the dark. If I die I will return to the Kingdom of Light, but I have to do what I can for my friends first.

He opened his eyes and stared again at the front gate. He repeated to himself that he was here to save his friends. Still, his fear was so great that he couldn’t force himself to move. He shut his eyes again and prayed for the Lord of Light to give him strength. A cold breeze swept over the mountain. Oakley shivered, pressed his eyelids tighter and made his prayer more pleading. A sudden unexpected peace came over him and he felt the presence of the Lord of Light. The wind brushed against his cheek.

Oakley slowly opened his eyes, this time keeping them open. A shaft of moonlight pierced the cloud cover, landing on a small cave high on the rock face to the right of the main gate. He realized that the Lord of Light was showing him a safer way into the underground city. He sighed and muttered a grateful prayer. Crouching to avoid drawing the attention of goblin and troll guards, Oakley moved off the path and over the rocks in the direction of the cave. He realized as he got closer that it was higher on the cliff then he had first thought. He scanned the rocks for a minute until he found several small cracks and ledges which he used to climb. There was barely any ledge in front of the cave but Oakley managed to pull himself up and inside the crack.

The passage was narrow and the roof low. Oakley ducked and trailed his right hand against the rough stone wall. Cold air blew up from somewhere below, chilling him as he made his way down the sloping cavern into the city in the mountain. Before long, Oakley’s passage joined a wider tunnel which was dimly lit by an unknown source. Oakley stopped for a minute to take in the high smooth walls. The roof of the tunnel was lost in darkness. Doubt crept into Oakley’s mind again. He had no idea where to look for his friends, and a wrong turn could be disastrous. He heard a soft tapping noise in front of him. At the sound Oakley realized The Lord of Light had sent a Tommy-knocker to help him. Tommy-knockers were a kind of spirit who lived in caves and mines. They knocked on the walls, usually to warn of coming danger such as cave-ins but in this case the Tommy-knocker was tapping to guide him through the city.

With a cautious glance to either side, Oakley stepped into the tunnel. The soft sounds of the knocker led him a short distance down the passage before the tapping switched to another tunnel on his left. He turned in that direction. The tapping noises continued in this way, leading him through the maze-like corridors of the subterranean city.

Once, as Oakley came to a branch in the passages, the knocker made a series of loud quick taps on the wall beside him. Oakley stopped for a minute in confusion. Then he heard footsteps coming in his direction. He flattened himself against the wall and waited with a pounding heart as a troll passed a few feet from him. Thankfully, the troll seemed absorbed in thought and paid little attention to the tunnel around him. When he could no longer hear footsteps, Oakley relaxed. He started breathing again, realizing with surprise that he had been holding his breath. A soft tapping came from a nearby passage ahead and to the right. He turned down that corridor and continued on his way. This routine continued until Oakley was deep in the heart of the mountain city. He had a few more close calls with goblins and trolls, but each time managed to get safely past them. At last Oakley came to a part of the city which seemed darker and more menacing. The knocker led him down a tunnel lined with caves covered in thick metal bars. Three slow taps drew Oakley’s eyes to a larger cave covered by a gate which spanned the entrance like a giant metal spider web.

This must be where the goblins and trolls had brought their prisoners. Still, Oakley wanted to be sure. He grabbed the bars of the gate and stared into the darkness within.

“Lasa,” he called in a loud whisper. “Faralasa, can you hear me?”

“Oakley!” Faralasa’s voice was high pitched with relief. “Is that you? We’re here!”

“Not so loud!” Oakley warned glancing over his shoulder. “Let’s try not to alert the guards. Where’s the key to this gate?”

“One of the guards has it,” Faralasa replied this time also speaking in a loud whisper.

Before Oakley could say anything else, he heard footsteps behind him. He turned to see a large goblin approaching. A ring of keys jingled as the goblin moved.

“What’s all this noise?” the goblin demanded. “Quiet in there!”

The guard moved so that the gate was in plain sight and noticed Oakley. Oakley tackled him before he had time to react. He slammed the goblin’s head against the wall until the creature crumpled and slumped to the floor, unconscious. Quickly, Oakley slipped the keys off the goblin’s belt, unlocked the gate and slipped inside the prison.

For a moment Oakley stood still, taking in a million details. The cavern where he now stood was large but dimly lit and had a strange rancid odor. Chains hung from all the walls. Faralasa was kneeling near the far wall and Oakley realized that her legs were chained to it. Dark objects hung from the ceiling. Oakley glanced up to see what looked like tiny wire bird cages hung throughout the room. Rueben and Wispen were in two of these cages. Rueben pulled himself up, clutching the bars of his cage. He was about to say something when the group heard more footsteps and voices in the tunnel.

“It’s the guards,” Faralasa whispered.

Oakley turned back to the gate just as three armed goblins came into view.

“What’s going on, Felix?” asked one of the goblins.

Then he saw the unconscious guard, the open gate and Oakley standing in the middle of the prison holding the keys.

“Sound the alarm,” said the goblin. “Tell them to search the city for intruders. Terrance and I will handle this.”

One of his companions nodded and ran down the passage. In a moment of panic Oakley wondered if Beritta and the warriors had reached the city yet. If so, he realized he had just alerted the goblins to their presence. He moved toward the guards as though to stop them. Just then the goblin called Terrance moved inside the gate, pushed Oakley roughly backward and drew his sword. The first goblin also drew his weapon and followed his companion into the prison, pulling the gate shut behind him with an ominous clang.

“This should be fun,” said Terrance with a nasty grin. “I’ve been wanting to spill some elf blood. It was disappointing when the leaders told us not to kill the prisoners.”

“Yeah,” agreed the first goblin. “Thankfully we don’t have any orders about the new one.”

They shared an evil laugh then closed in on the elf. Oakley retreated to the far wall with a pounding heart. Snarling, the goblins ran at him, one from the right while the other blocked him from the left. In desperation, Oakley glanced between them trying to find an escape. Faralasa crawled in front of Oakley, chain rattling as it dragged behind her.

“Stay away from him!” she cried.

The goblins just laughed and the one on the right lunged at Oakley. Faralasa jumped in front of him pulling the chain tight across his path. The goblin tripped, fell flat on his face and dropped his sword. Lasa gritted her teeth as the chain yanked at her legs. The goblin got to his feet and hit Faralasa, making her head ring. Oakley picked up the goblin’s sword and ran to aid her.

“Look out!” Wispen yelled just as the other goblin slammed Oakley against the wall, knocking the wind out of him. The goblin wrapped a hand around the elf boy’s throat, choking him.

“Drop the sword!” the goblin ordered.

When Oakley hesitated the goblin squeezed harder against his neck, nearly strangling him. Oakley let the weapon clatter to the floor. The goblin’s companion moved away from Lasa and stood watching.

“Hand over the keys!” said the first goblin.

Oakley’s eyes darted to the side. He took in the terrified expressions on Faralasa and the fairies’ faces. Oakley gasped as the goblin continued to press his hand against his throat.

“Lasa,” he managed to choke out.

He flung the keys in her direction. She caught them as they skidded across the floor. The goblin holding Oakley cursed, gave the elf’s throat one last squeeze and threw him to the floor. Oakley lay there gasping and coughing until the goblin grabbed him again, this time pinning his arms behind his back.

The goblin turned Oakley so he was facing Faralasa. Keeping the elf’s arms pinned with one hand the goblin sheathed his weapon and grasped a fistful of Oakley’s hair, pulling his head back. The other goblin picked up his sword and held it level with Oakley’s exposed neck.

“Give us the keys,” said the goblin with the sword, addressing Lasa, “or we’ll kill him.”

“You said you were going to kill him anyway!” cried Faralasa trying hard to be brave.

“If you give us the keys we’ll leave him here with you alive,” the goblin replied.

“Why should I believe you?” Lasa cried clutching the keys tighter. “You’re rotten liars! If I give you the keys you’ll probably kill him anyway!”

“If you don’t hand them over his death will be your fault,” said the goblin moving the sword even closer to Oakley.

“Don't listen to them!” Oakley called struggling fruitlessly against his captors. “You have the keys. Free yourself.”

“Shut up!” yelled the goblins.

The second goblin placed the tip of his sword against Oakley’s jaw, making it impossible for him to talk. He turned pleading eyes to Faralasa. She was sure she was the only one who noticed his anger. He wasn’t giving up yet. She felt as though she had to fight with him, defying Darkness, even if it meant the death of them both.

“Light help us,” she whispered.

The goblins looked angry. A spark of hope appeared in Oakley’s eyes and he silently repeated the prayer. Both elves felt a surge of strength. With shaking hands Lasa lowered a key to the chains on her legs.

“Stop!” shouted the goblin with the sword.

His weapon slipped a little lower. Knowing this was the best opportunity he would get, Oakley thrust his foot into the leg of the goblin behind him. The goblin’s hand on his hair slipped. With an unexpected quick movement Oakley flipped the goblin over his head and into the armed guard in front of him. The tip of the blade barley nicked Oakley’s throat as the goblins fell in a tangled heap. Oakley grabbed the sword as the goblin dropped it. He smacked the guards over their heads with it, knocking them out. By this time Faralasa had freed herself from the chains. She stumbled to Oakley’s side. He held out a hand to support her.

“You’ll have to finish them off you know,” said Lasa glancing at the goblins at her feet.

“I have a better plan,” Oakley replied. “Why don’t we give them a taste of their own medicine?”

He gestured to the room around them.

Faralasa smiled. “I like that idea.”

They dragged the two goblins to one of the walls and clapped chains on their wrists.

Oakley relieved the second goblin of his sword then said, “Now let’s free the fairies and get out of here.”

As Lasa unlocked Wispen’s cage, Reuben pressed his face against the bars and called, “Oakley, a troll took Lilac to her cave to be a pet. We have to get her back!”

Oakley turned a questioning gaze on Faralasa. She nodded grimly.

“I still don’t understand,” said Oakley. “Where is Lilac exactly?”

“Somewhere in the troll caves,” Lasa replied as Wispen jumped onto her shoulder. “I think they’re near the entrance to the city.”

“Then we’ll look for her on our way out,” said Oakley.

A frenzied tapping from the walls caught his attention.

“More enemies are coming,” said Oakley. “We need to go.”

Faralasa unlocked Reuben’s cage and he flew out of it. As they opened the gate and made their way out, Oakley held one of the goblin swords out to Lasa.

“Here,” he said. “You might need this.”

They made their way back toward the surface following the guidance of the Tommy-knocker. Groups of goblins and trolls passed in their search for intruders, forcing the group to hide in side caverns. Faralasa dropped the keys in a small cave which seemed to be a supply room. Near the front gate the knocker again warned of danger. Oakley ushered the group into the thin passageway through which he had entered as more goblins passed.

Once they were gone he turned to Faralasa and whispered, “Lasa, I think you should get the fairies out now. This way leads onto the mountainside. It’s easier than trying to slip out the main gate. There’s a bit of a drop, though, so be prepared.” “What about Lilac?” Lasa whispered back. “We can’t just leave her.”

“I’ll go to the troll caves and find her then meet you lower on the slopes.”

“I don’t think we should split up,” said Faralasa. “Isn’t that what got us into this mess?”

“Yes, I know,” Oakley snapped, “but I want us to make it out of here alive. It’s easier for the soldiers to spot a group of us than one or two. Please go with Reuben and Wispen. I promise I’ll meet you somewhere farther down the mountain once I find Lilac.”

Lasa was silent for a minute, thinking it through. At last she nodded and turned to explain the new plan to Reuben and Wispen. Oakley heard a soft tapping across from the gate and knew it was time to move. He turned to look at Faralasa one last time.

“Light go with you,” she whispered not even trying to hide her fear. Oakley took a deep breath to control his own dread.

“Light be with you too,” he said and headed toward the troll caves.

Continue to episode twenty.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Quests Episode Eighteen: Disastrous News

Sorry for the lack of post in March, I got busy planning an Easter trip which was awesome in case you were wondering. I will be posting this episode for April as well as the next in May. In June I will be having a baby and plan to see how I'm feeling and how much editing I can really get done with a newborn before deciding whether to proceed with the story or take a little time off. At any rate I may not post a new episode in June. In the meantime please enjoy the next two episodes.

Read the series prologue here.

Read episode seventeen here.

Episode Eighteen: Disastrous News

Beritta, Oakley and Mist reached the elvin capital by sunset, just before the midsummer festival began. They entered the city from the south, skirting the edge of the Sapphire Lake, where the colors of the west were reflected in dark blue water. A small bat flew over their heads, moving across the lake to begin hunting for the night. Lights winked at the trio from among the trees and soft voices drifted on the cool breeze.

Beritta and Oakley changed into party clothes. Beritta wore a dress of silver and white while Oakley wore a shirt of purple silk, embroidered with gold. Once they were thus attired, they joined the celebrations taking place in the meadows between the Sapphire Lake and the Emerald Lake. Pale lanterns were strung from tree to tree, and here and there tables had been laden with the finest delicacies. Musicians played haunting melodies and everywhere elves wandered, laughing, talking and dancing.

“I’m going to find the elders,” Beritta told Oakley over the noise. “The sooner I talk to them the sooner we can get back to Fairy Wood and start our attack.”

“What do you want me to do?” Oakley asked.

“Just enjoy yourself while you have the chance!”

Beritta moved off and Oakley joined the party. He tried to enjoy the festival as Beritta had directed, but he had always liked the quiet peace of the woodlands and the company of animals over that of people. Before long, he was overwhelmed by the celebration and moved onto the nearby hillside for a few minutes of quiet.

On the hills sound seemed strangely muted after the noise of the party. There were only the sounds of the wind blowing through the trees and small animals moving in the undergrowth. A slight cloud cover moved in, partially obscuring the moon and making even its pale glow seem faint. Oakley sat on a rock, drinking it in. He felt a strange anticipation, as though the world were waiting for something to happen. He couldn’t shake the thought that he too was waiting, though he couldn’t say whether what he was waiting for was good or bad.

Oakley stood, trying to shake this strange feeling. He was about to head back to the meadows when out of the corner of his eye he saw something fly toward him from his right. It landed on the rock where he had been sitting. He turned to see a scaly-skinned sprite girl panting as though she had flown very far very fast.

“Lilly?” Oakley called as he recognizing her. “What are you doing here? Did something happen?”

Lilly let out a cold laugh.

“Yes something happened,” she replied once she caught her breath. “Several members of our group were captured by goblin and troll soldiers. Wispen found the army, but then a troll caught him. Lilac, Reuben and I tried to free him but…” she sobbed. Oakley waited until she calmed down enough to continue. “Lasa tried to help, but they got her too. They said something about taking us to an underground city. I managed to escape and flew here as fast as I could to find help.”

“Did they say what would happen to you once you were inside the city?” asked Oakley kneeling so that he could look into Lilly’s eyes.

“No,” Lilly replied meeting his eyes with a helpless expression. “The only thing I heard was that a troll wanted to keep Lilac as a pet.”

Oakley wrinkled his brow in confusion. “That’s weird. They didn’t say anything about the others?”

Lilly shook her head.

Oakley stood and ran a hand over his face. He didn’t want to say so, but it didn’t seem likely that the goblins and trolls would keep their prisoners alive very long. He paced, thinking about this. If the goblins and trolls wanted to kill the fairies and Lasa they surely could have done it, so why hadn’t they? What point was there in taking them to the city? Unless they had learned that the princess of Wilderlah was leading the group and had discovered the location of that city. Maybe they took the fairies and Lasa so that Beritta would come to rescue them. She would too, it was her responsibility. The thought filled him with dread. He stopped pacing, thinking fast. He turned back to Lilly who was watching him in silence.

“Fly through the meadows and find the elders,” Oakley told her. “Beritta should be with them. They’ll know what to do.”

Lilly took a deep breath to calm herself and flew off again. Oakley watched her for a minute before turning and running down the hill in a different direction. He knew what he had to do but that didn’t make it easy. The elders must learn about this new development. Still, they would most likely send Beritta to the rescue and if she entered the underground city she would fall into the trap. In order to save his friends, Oakley would have to be fast. He had to get the prisoners out of the enemy city before Beritta reached it. That didn’t give him much time. Beritta would set out for the city as soon as she learned what had happened. There was only one way Oakley could get to the mountains in time to stop this disaster from getting worse. He flung open the door to the stables where the winged horses were housed and walked to the stall of an animal he had recently trained.

“Come on, boy,” he coaxed. “We’ve got a job to do.”

The brown and white paint snorted, but obediently followed the elf out of the barn. Oakley mounted and took off, flying over the festivities in the capital, toward the mountains and almost certain doom.


It was hard for Beritta not to let her anger show. Not only had the elders denied her request to send warriors to attack the underground city, but they had also accused her of recklessness in splitting up the group and then journeying to the capital.

“You must return to Fairy Wood with all haste and rendezvous with your scouting party,” one of the elders lectured. “The sole job of your advance team is to find the location of that Dark army. It is not your place, nor would it benefit our mission to protect the forest to mount an offensive against the Dark city now.”

Beritta opened her mouth to protest but the elder waved his hand dismissively.

“I will not hear another word on this matter. Rest in the city tonight and calm yourself. At dawn you must begin your return journey to Fairy Wood.”

Beritta balled her hands into fists.

A strong gust of wind pushed against her back, setting the dangling lanterns dancing and whipping locks of her hair around her face. The wind carried a mournful, pleading cry to her ears.

“Princess Beritta, are you here?”

Beritta turned along with the elders to see Lilly the sprite hovering in the dim lantern light.

“Lilly!” Beritta cried. “What are you doing here?”

The sprite flew toward the princess and poured out her terrible news while the elders moved closer to hear over the breeze.

When Lilly finished, one of the elders said, “There is only one thing to be done. Princess Beritta must mount a rescue at once.”

“She cannot go alone and she is still in party clothes,” said another elder trying to sound calm. “Beritta, change quickly. We will gather a few warriors to accompany you.”

“Yes, of course,” said Beritta attempting to clear her racing thoughts. “Find Oakley!” she added as she spend toward the royal hut.

It took her only a few minutes to change and grab her weapons. As she dashed back to the meadows she mentally called, “Mist, our friends are in trouble. I have to rescue them. Will you come with me?”

In her mind she heard the unicorn reply, “Of course I’m coming with you!”

“Then I’ll meet you in the meadows,” Beritta concluded.

Mist reached the elders before Beritta did. As the princess skidded to a stop, the group turned to her, concern on their faces.

“Have you gathered the warriors?” asked Beritta.

“They are on their on their way,” the elders assured her. “Princess Beritta, no one can find Oakley. The sprite says she spoke to him before she came to us. No one seems to have seen him since.”

“Light help us! I hope he’s not doing something stupid,” said Beritta in alarm.

Just then the warriors arrived and Beritta’s attention was taken by organizing them. She had just finished giving her orders and was mounting Mist when a stable hand approached her.

“Excuse me, Princess Beritta, but I heard you were looking for Oakley,” he said.

“Yes, have you seen him?” Beritta asked.

“He came to the stables not long ago. I saw him take off on a winged horse. I thought it was strange that he was riding at this time of night. What was even stranger was that he was still in his party clothes. Then I heard you were looking for him so I thought I should tell you.”

Beritta felt her heart speed up a few paces. Oh Oakley, what are you doing? She thought. Out loud she thanked the stable hand and called to the warriors, “Come on, we don’t have time to waste!”

She urged Mist forward at a run, not even checking to be sure the others followed.

Continue to episode nineteen.