Thursday, November 28, 2013

Quests Episode Fifteen: “They’re in the Woods!”

Just a couple news items and reminders before I proceed to today's story:

After this post I will be taking a break to prepare for and celebrate the Christmas season. When I return to blogging I will begin posting part 2 of Quests.

Also, when I resume the story after New Year's I will be switching to a new episode every month rather than every week, though I may have an additional post every few months.

This is the last episode of Quests part 1. I hope you have enjoyed reading it here on the blog.

Now back to the story...

Read the series prologue.

Read episode fourteen.

Episode Fifteen: “They’re in the Woods!”

“Lilac, wake up.”

It was late at night with only the smallest sliver of the moon casting light on the sleeping depths of Fairy Wood but someone was shaking Lilac’s shoulder. She woke and turned to look into a freckled face.

“Reuben!” she cried in a loud whisper. “What are you doing here?”

“I was out flying and I saw something,” Reuben replied. “I wanted to tell you.”

“Come back in the morning,” Lilac growled, rolling over.

“It can’t wait ’till the morning. It’s really important.”

“Well then hurry up and tell me!” snapped Lilac, impatient to get back to sleep.

“An army of goblins and trolls is marching into the woods.”

“What!” cried Lilac pulling herself into a sitting position. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I saw them.”

“Do you remember where they were? Could you show me?”

“I think so,” Reuben replied.

“Then let’s go,” said Lilac jumping to her feet.

“Right now?”

“Yes,” she said turning to face him. “You were right. This can’t wait for morning.”

A little later, Lilac and Reuben perched on a tree branch overlooking a large group of marching goblins and trolls.

“How many do you think there are?” Lilac whispered.

“I can’t tell,” Reuben whispered back.

“This isn’t good,” said Lilac. “They must have found out that we know they were the ones who poisoned the water.”

They watched in silence for a minute before Lilac added, “They’ll have to camp somewhere out of the sun during the day. They have trolls with them.”

“Yeah,” agreed Reuben. “I hadn’t thought about that.”

“I’m sure they did. Come on, let’s see if we can find out where they’re going.”

They flew out of the tree and moved toward the front of the army. Suddenly a goblin cried out, “Look there, it’s a pixie!”

His captain cried, “Quick, catch it!”

Lilac looked at Reuben in alarm, wondering why the goblins hadn’t seen her also. Suddenly she understood.

“Reuben they can see your light!” she cried. “We have to get out of here, fast! Take my hand. I don’t want us getting separated.”

Obedient for once, Reuben grabbed the hand Lilac held out to him. They flew into the thicker parts the woods as fast as they could. Behind them, goblins crashed through the trees and undergrowth trying to find the fairy spies. As they passed a hollow log Lilac tugged on Reuben’s arm, pulling him inside the small space with her. They landed at the bottom of the log, hiding Rueben’s tell-tale light.

Lilac waited until the sounds of shouting and stomping faded into the distance before whispering, “So long as they don’t find us we’ll wait here until morning. They should make camp when the sun comes up, so it will be safe to go out then.”

Reuben nodded. He glanced at the opening in the log as if he expected a goblin to reach in and grab him. With a shudder he pulled his legs to his chest trying to hide the fact that he was trembling. Lilac regarded him for a minute, taking note of all this.

“When the light comes,” she said at last, “we have to fly as fast as we can to find the fairy queen. A Dark army in the woods means only one thing.”

“What?” asked Reuben with a mixture of fear and fascination.

“War,” Lilac replied.

End of Part 1

Continue to episode sixteen.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quests Episode Fourteen: The Giant Bat and Odd Friends

Read the series prologue.

Read episode thirteen.

Episode Fourteen: The Giant Bat and Odd Friends

Fedrick sat tense, clutching a crossbow and waiting in the moonlight outside the entrance to a large cave. A few days earlier goblin scouts had reported that deep within this cave was a creature which looked like a giant bat. This creature was called a strellogroth. The goblin council thought that if they could catch a strellogroth and keep it in the city they might be able to use it as a secret weapon against the fairies and elves. They chose a small group of goblins warriors to carry out their plan.

Fedrick was part of this group. The other warriors were spread out on the mountainside, crouching in bushes and behind rocks, also waiting. Finally, the great bat monster emerged to hunt.

The strellogroth opened its mouth and let out a call too high pitched for Fedrick’s ears to catch. As the sound bounced off the surrounding objects, the monster discovered their presence. The strellogroth wheeled in a tight circle over their heads then began to descend. It opened its mouth, showing large fangs. Fedrick jumped up and taking a deep breath to steady his aim, shot a tranquillizer dart into the strellogroth’s neck. For a moment the creature continued on its course, then the drug took effect. The strellogroth’s wings locked and it dropped harmlessly into some bushes.

Once they were sure the strellogroth was unconscious, the other goblins came out of hiding. A few of them pulled out a cart which had a cage on it. The captain of the group clapped Fedrick on the back as he passed him and commented, “Nice shot.”

The warriors gathered around the body of the strellogroth and each grabbed some part of the huge body. Then the captain cried, “All together, now!” Staggering, grunting and by the end of the task sweating they heaved the monster into the cage. They then took positions around the cart, some pulling it from the front some pushing the wheels, and slowly rolled it toward the underground city.

As he heaved and puffed his way home, Fedrick thought how pleased the goblin council would be with his night’s work. He imagined how terrified the fairies would be when they discovered this secret weapon of the underground army. A malicious grin spread across his face.


Bubble, the boggart, became bored with Fairy Wood. He decided to take a short vacation. He turned into a bird and flew to the plains of Wilderlah. Far below him, he saw a strange man with green skin and orange hair. Bubble hadn’t scared anyone in a long time. He decided to see if he could scare this person.

Glibbin was also bored. The elves were busy and could not play with him. He wandered out of the protective hills of the lake capital and into the fields beyond. The guards were used to Glibbin coming and going by that time, so they made no attempt to stop him. Glibbin was so busy watching a beetle climb a stem of grass that he hardly noticed when a bird landed nearby him. He turned away before he could see the bird change into something else. A minute later Glibbin heard something buzzing in his ear and turned to see a very large bumble bee hovering at his elbow.

He screamed and began running in circles crying, “A bee, a bee! It’s going to sting me!”

Bubble was so pleased that he had actually scared someone that he turned into a little man and laughed. “Got ya!” he shouted. “That was a good one. No one has been that scared of me in a long time.” He laughed again.

“That’s not fair!” cried Glibbin. “I didn’t know you weren’t a real bee. You could have warned me.”

“No way!” said Bubble. “That would spoil the fun.”

“It still isn’t fair!” Glibbin whined.

“Okay, I’ll give you another chance. Now that you know that I can change into things you’ll be prepared.”

“Like a game?” asked Glibbin.

“Sure,” Bubble replied.

“You mean you’ll play with me?”

“If you want me to.”

“Yippee!” shouted Glibbin. “I’ve been wanting someone to play with me for a long time.”

“You wanted someone to play with, I wanted someone to scare,” said Bubble happily, “It’s a good thing we met each other!”

They introduced themselves then proceeded to play. It turned out that knowing Bubble could turn into things didn’t help Glibbin much. Bubble was still able to scare Glibbin most of the time. Despite this, the two quickly became friends. They didn’t know that they were really supposed to be enemies. However, even if they had known, they probably wouldn’t have cared.

Continue to episode fifteen.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quests Episode Thirteen: New Orders

Read the series prologue.

Read episode 12.

Episode Thirteen: New Orders

Beritta woke early. Her mind was filled with thoughts of the day to come. The day before she and Faralasa had briefed the king and elders on all they knew about the situation in Fairy Wood. The council had spent the rest of the day debating the best course of action and had informed her that they would be summoning her and Faralasa sometime this morning to inform them of the decision which had been reached.

Beritta dressed quietly, grabbed a handful of nuts to munch and went outside, walking aimlessly down the hillside until she came to the southern lake. The sun had just risen. A reverent silence hung over the land as it always does at the times of the sun’s coming and going. An early morning mist hung over the lake, rising in ever thinning wisps to the heavens. Beritta stood still at the water’s edge letting the peace of the morning sweep over her. She continued to stand there even as the world around her began coming to life. Birds trilled happily in the trees, small animals moved through the grass, a few deer walked to the lake to drink.

As the deer moved into the woods, Beritta heard another animal coming up behind her. She turned and saw Mist.

“It’s a beautiful morning,” Mist’s words floated into her mind.

“Yes, it’s wonderful,” Beritta replied sighing with pleasure.

On the hillsides the elves were rising and starting their day. Before long Faralasa and Oakley appeared, trailed by Glibbin.

“I was informed late last night that I will be working as an animal handler for a group of scouts which will be using winged horses to patrol along the edge of Fairy Wood,” Oakley announced as the friends moved into a large meadow behind the southern lake.

“That’s wonderful!” said Beritta.

“Yeah, I’m glad you may finally be joining us on a quest in Fairy Wood,” agreed Lasa.

“Well, that all depends on what the elders tell us this morning,” Beritta warned.

The others nodded.

A noise behind them caught their attention and they turned to look. Mist was absently running her horn through a stream which ran through the center of the meadow. Beyond the unicorn Glibbin had moved into the woods where he was playing, which explained the noise.

“You okay Glibbin?” Beritta called.

His smiling green face appeared between the trees.

“There’s a little animal with a big fury tail,” said Glibbin.

“It’s called a squirrel,” said Beritta.

“I’m going to catch it so it can play with me.” cried Glibbin and ran back into the trees.

Lasa snorted.

Just then a young golden-haired elf boy in a green tunic trimmed with gold appeared at the end of the meadow. He bowed and said, “The council of elders wishes to speak to Lady Faralasa.”

With an excited glance at her friends, Lasa followed the messenger out of the meadow and around one edge of the southern lake. On the far side of the water they entered the woods and followed a well-worn path. They continued on this trail until they came to the place where the elders sat on chairs of exposed roots around a table of melded stumps beneath a canopy of short leafy trees. A cool breeze drifted to them off the lakes, setting the leaves rustling.

After formally greeting Faralasa one of the elders said, “In reviewing the happenings in Fairy Wood we have received reports of a few strange and amazing acts you performed. We would like you to do something for us. Jump into the air. See how long it takes you to come back down.”

With an uncertain glance at the faces surrounding her, Lasa leapt into the air. To her surprise, she hung there for three minutes. It was as though gravity had lost its hold on her.

Intimidated by this strange new ability Faralasa dropped back to the ground.

“Excellent,” said the elder who had made the suggestion. “Now I want you to do one more thing. Jump into the air again but this time, instead of hovering, see if you can move.”

“Move, you mean in the air?” Faralasa clarified wondering if she had heard him correctly.

“That’s right.”

Lasa jumped into the air again, this time moving slightly to the right. Suddenly she found that she was floating, moving easily through the air as though some unseen force lifted her. She dropped to the ground once more staring in confusion at the elders.

“It is as we thought,” one of them said. “She’s been showing signs of it for months.”

“They always do,” murmured another.

“Showing signs of what?” asked Faralasa in frustration. None of this made any sense to her.

“You’ve been showing signs that you are light enough to walk on air,” one of the elders explained. “You have graduated to the level of Airwalker. Barely anyone ever does.”

“I’m an Airwalker, really?” Lasa asked in excitement.

“Yes indeed. You will have to be trained by one of the older Airwalkers in aerial fighting and how to get airborne without jumping, but there is plenty of time for that. To begin with you will train for the following week after which you will join a scouting group heading to Fairy Wood. However, whenever you are not engaged in scouting operations you should use all your time to learn from the older Airwalkers and hone your new skills.”

“This is amazing!” cried Lasa. “I can’t wait to tell my friends!” she stopped and looked uncertainly at the elders. “I can tell them can’t I?”

“By all means,” the elders replied. “May Light bless you as you discover how to use your new ability. You may go.”

“Thank you,” said Lasa and dashed to rejoin Oakley and Beritta.

“I’m going to be part of the group that will be scouting to find the goblins,” she said, “and I’m an Airwalker!”

She hovered in the air above them just to prove she could. Beritta and Oakley were still congratulating her when the messenger reappeared.

“The council now wishes to speak to Princess Beritta,” he announced.

When Beritta came before them the elders proceeded to tell her, “We have heard how you acquitted yourself in Fairy Wood. You have shown great leadership potential. However, we cannot forget that some of your recent actions here in Wilderlah have been reckless and irresponsible. You see, we would like to assign you leadership of the scouting group which will be sent to find the goblins invading Fairy Wood but we need to know we can trust you. Can we?”

Beritta took a deep breath and let it out before speaking.

“I understand how important this quest is. I’ll do my best to act the part of a responsible leader and live up to your expectations.”

“So be it,” said an elder. “You will lead your scouting group to Fairy Wood in a week. Use the intervening time to make all necessary preparations.”

Continue to episode fourteen.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Quick News Update

Yes, I know I have fallen behind in my posts again. I have a lot of other projects I'm working on at home and sometimes blogging gets pushed lower on the list. For that reason I have decided to switch my blogging schedule to one story post a month with an addition news post every once in a while when I have announcements and such to share. I will begin writing on this new schedule in January of 2014 at which time I hope to begin posting part 2 of the Quests series. In the meantime I still have 2, possibly 3 episodes from Quests part 1 which I will edit then post in the next couple weeks before Thanksgiving. The next episode is not quite ready to make its appearance today, but you can expect to see it either late this week or early next week, so stay tuned!