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.”

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