Stephanie (kallysti) wrote in fantasywriting,
Stephanie
kallysti
fantasywriting

A Sample

(I know where I think this one needs work.  It's actually still rather "raw", so to speak... but I wanna see what some of you all think first =D  Nothing offensive in this one.)


Strays

I'm too old to travel like this, he thought. Though that wasn't necessarily true, Alright, I'm just not accustomed to travelling this way... he sighed heavily, at least he'd never have the same reason to do this again...

He stepped off the boat and onto the Freeport docks, all the while keeping an eye on the two young men who unloaded the cargo. He narrowed his eyes, watching them, but they seemed to sense his scrutiny. For despite the heavy and awkward nature of the crate, he found no fault with their ministrations.

"We don't get a lot of wizards on the docks these days," and he glanced over his shoulder at the speaker, an older human man who was smiling expectantly, "When's the last time you took the boat, old man?"

He looked back to the plain, simple box that now sat untouched, "Not since long before you were born," he answered, "You're here for the delivery job? It'll take more than just one man to get that to the Nektulos in one piece."

"Aye, I've got my sons with me. And a cart to haul it in. May I ask what's in it, though?"

"My children," he whispered softly, still not taking his eyes from the crate.

"Pardon?"

He turned and fully faced the man. They were of a height, though the Tier'dal wizard was by far the thinner of the two. A barely concealed fire smoldered in his eyes as he reached into his robes. He pulled out two large bags and handed them to the man. One clinked heavily in his arms, the other was strangely light. "What is in that box is purely sentimental and of no value to any save myself. One of those bags is, of course, your payment. Or part of it. The other contains directions to my house in Nektulos forest, as well as more invisibility potions than you could possibly need. Use them if you have to, though if you follow my directions to the letter, they will not be necessary. Get that crate to my house in three days, untouched, and I will give you three times more money," the man's eyes had gone wide as he looked into the bag and found not gold or silver as he'd expected, but pure platinum. He tried to stammer something but the old dark elf held up a hand, "If you do not come in three days or if my cargo is altered in any way, retribution will be slow and painful. For both you and yours. Can you do this?"

"I... I'll have it there in two days, m'lord!"

He smiled humorlessly, "Three is more than sufficient. Now, if you'll excuse me, I do have things to tend to at home." And in a flash a gate appeared before him and he'd stepped through.

****************


'Things to tend to'. I hope that's not an understatement... he thought.

Eight and a half years he'd been gone from this forest and his home. For a little longer than the first eight years, she had written him almost faithfully every week. But recently, there had been nothing. So he worried. She was always a bit unpredictable, he thought, trying to justify it to himself as he jogged across the forest towards his old house near the edge of the Lavastorm mountains, she may just have had a change of heart. Or mood. Or something. She's so damnably unstable, so delicate. He had tried to keep the news of her husband a secret, not that too many people would care but those that did...

It was not just that he didn't want her to hear it from a stranger, he also cared deeply for the girl who was now his son's widow. He'd practically raised her along with his own children, after all!

He turned the last corner and abruptly he was facing the small stone house he'd left her in. His old house. Their old house. But as he stepped inside it was immediately apparant that the place had been abandoned for quite some time. Except... he looked down at the floor. He was no tracker, but a worn path, not very recently used, lead from the front door and in towards the back of the house. "The caves, of course," he muttered.

All these years, he'd forgotten they were there. A system of caves, accessible via a hidden entrance at the back of the house. He never went back there, even when he'd lived here but the children had loved playing there. He wondered if... no, he wondered how long she'd been hiding in there, using them. Obviously she'd have to have come out to send him letters but... alone back there? For so long? No other voice to keep her company save the ones in her head? He clicked the hidden latch and ducked through the openning that lead into the mountain, worry now gnawing even more painfully at him.

"Della?" he called into the tunnel as a small flame appeared at his fingertips. He looked around, it's flickering light enough for his still-sharp eyes. "Della, child, are you in here?" He strained his ears, listening for any sign of life. There was no answering voice, though he thought he heard something move, deeper inside. It could have been just the echo of his voice but he didn't think so.

He moved carefully down the tunnel, and remembered why it was he didn't like to come in here. The smell. Somewhere much deeper in, was another tunnel, from nearby Lavastorm. A mixture of the brimstone stench from it's lava pits, intensified along side the odor of creatures in different stages of decay. Things that had either been dragged in here by a predator, or more often, things that came here to die, away from the fires.

It wasn't long before it openned into the first area that could actually be called a room. And immediately he stumbled on something. He caught himself before he fell, however, and knelt down to investigate. Books. And on top of one of them, quills, ink, parchment. A whisper and the flame at his fingers intesified a little. Beside him was a low stool and a crude desk. On it was a stack of scrolls, rerolled and neatly arrayed. Each with his own personal seal on them.

He took a deep breath... and almost choked. He was certainly no stranger to the field of battle and the resulting aftermath but the smell in this enclosed room had nowhere to disperse. The source was close, the air so thick he could taste it. Might as well light the place up, he thought, it's not as if I'm trying to hide. And with no more than that thought, a bright, cold blue fire surrounded his head. This time he was certain he heard something move but his attention was completely taken up by what wasn't moving....

Refuse, rotten food, and... in the corner, something else. A pile of blankets, made up into a bed and on it... "Oh, gods, no," he whispered, falling to his knees beside her, "Della..."

She had clearly been dead for several weeks. A dirty, empty cup sat on the low table beside her. Next to it was a letter. And not one of his, he could tell that right away simply by the parchment. He reached out a hand to cover her with one of the blankets, So she already got the news. I should never have left her alone, I knew she was...

Something heavy struck the back of his shoulder suddenly, breaking his thoughts off in an instant. He sprung to his feet, and as he was turning around, looking for the source, another flung rock struck him in the knee. "Go away!" a high, trembling voice shouted, "Don't touch her! Leave us alone!"

Reflexively, he let loose with an area-of-effect root spell. Bright flame blossomed from his hands, blinding any who was not expecting it. There was a startled cry from his left and he turned to face his opponent. Though nothing could have prepared him for this...

Held to the ground by magical chains, eyes tightly shut, a tiny child flailed vainly at the empty air around him. The old wizard crouched down and reaching out, took both the boy's wrists and held them to his side. He was breathing heavily, clearly panicked beyond reason, and the old man waited patiently for the child's vision, and yes, his mind as well, to return to him. He was clearly Della's, though: the high cheek bones, the thin shoulders, and the strange violet eyes that were just now blinking open again.

The wrists in his hands were stick-thin, he noticed, as the surprising panic-born strength soon left the boy. Shock held the old man just as still, though. She never said anything about this! Did she really keep this child hidden all these years? It was easy enough to do the math, really. She and his son had only been married a month before he'd run off, but the boy was the right age... And odd as it was, hiding away like this did sound a lot like something she would do. Eccentric, paranoid Della... hiding herself and anything she loved, anything that could be used against her...

The boy was shaking violently now, tears filled his eyes and he looked at the ground. "I'm not going to hurt you," the old man said gently, "I only came to..."

"..know why you came," the boy said softly to the ground, "I know who you are, you're here for my mama. Why couldn't you just leave us alone?" his eyes raised at the end and almost met the old man's. Almost.

"And who am I?" he asked quietly.

"Mama had some wine before she went to sleep. She told me, don't touch her, she was going to sleep until the gods came to take her," he nodded to himself.

"So... I'm the Dark Prince, am I?"

The boy shook his head violently and silently pointed at the flames that now appeared to wreath the old man's head, then looked down at the cold, white fire that still surrounded the wizard's hands.

The old man almost smiled a little, despite the grim situation, "No, child," he kept his face serious, the boy would not understand the humor he found in this, "I am not Solusek Ro, merely his servant." A thought struck him suddenly, "I came for you, to take you out of here, so that my master may indeed come for your mother once we are gone." The child's eyes widened, "But it is important that he does this alone. Do you understand?" I'll have to come back and take care of her properly when the boy is asleep. My daughter, my son... and my son's wife. I'll send them to the gods together. What did I do to deserve this?

The tiny head nodded slightly in response as tears quickly filled his eyes and spilled down his cheeks, "I don't wanna leave mama," he whispered.

"We have to," the old man's voice was soft but final. He lifted the boy's chin with a finger and looked into his strange eyes, "but I can let you say good-bye."

The child shook his head and pulling his other hand free, ran off into the darkness of another tunnel. The old man sighed but before he could run after him, the child had returned. One hand now clutched a thick, worn book to his chest. The other hand reached up and took the old man's again. He looked up, and his tiny, solemn face now held nothing but trust, "Are you sure I'm allowed to leave?"

"I'm sure," he began to lead them back towards the house, not asking what book it was the boy held. But something suddenly occured to him, "Did your mother give you a name? Or should I make one up for you?"

"I have a name!" he said almost defensively, "It's from mama's favorite story. She called me 'Gedwilth'."

And neither of them spoke again for a very long time.
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