He wanted to do some daring to start the new year off with. So, he jumped out of plane with nothing on his back.
He wanted to do some daring to start the new year off with. So, he jumped out of plane with nothing on his back.
Enar looked up at the sky, searching the star dotted blackness for any signs. As of yet he couldn’t see any lights, but he knew it must be soon. His breath misted before him, rising in puffy little clouds. It was bitterly cold, way below freezing, but he barely felt it in his long reindeer fur coat, gloves and boots.
In the background, he could hear the wind gently playing with the loose snow and his team of husky sled dogs barking. They had been on edge since seeing that polar bear and her cub. It had been a tense situation, saved only by him firing his gun. Enar hadn’t wanted to, especially after hearing the story of another man who was attacked by a male polar bear the other week. Still though as the bullet had shattered through all the growling, the mother had taken fright and run off, her cub in tow.
Enar came back to the now and looked more closely. There was green light growing in the distance. From his pocket, he took his camera and begin setting it up to take photos. He was clicking away before he knew it, watching more through the lens then anything else as the lights danced across the sky.
The dogs stopped barking almost as if they knew this mysterious force was now surrounding them. Silence fell, well beside from the snow shifting, Enar’s camera clicking and his deep breathing. His lungs were already burning the cold and he knew he’d have to start moving again soon.
He took a last photo, even though the light display was far from over. Rising his head, Enar admired the view above. Even though he knew the scientific reasoning behind it all he couldn’t help but think of the multi-coloured lights as being pure magic. He knew his ancestors had thought the lights to be departed souls and even further back in Norse myth, the lights were believed to be Valkyries and a bridge to Valhalla.
Enar put his camera away, having to fumble with it due to the thickness of his gloves and coat. He turned and walked back down to the dogs. They started barking at him, welcoming him back and seeming eager to be off again. He patted the first dog and made his way to the sled. He hadn’t bothered tying the dogs up. Shouting out, ‘mush,’ he gve the dogs some help then they were cutting their way through the snow once more, the aurora borealis dancing above them.
Today, I found the most wonderful, magic place in the whole of this forest. It made me feel better about not getting any bear photos! I think I’m going to give up there and just carry on taking whatever else I find. I know what my editor really wants, but who actually wants to see someone getting mauled by a bear?
This place is just, wow. The river has been drawing me for ages now and today I followed it and found some awesome waterfalls and large pools. The fall is just making it feel more magical. The colorful leaves that everywhere just add this brightness and like clothes to the forest. That sounds kinda silly, but you get it right?
I wish you could be here with me. You’d love seeing all the little critters getting ready to sleep and having birds wake you every morning. I know the nights seem scary, but they’re not really. Once, I shut the door of the cabin, I sit by the window and just look outside for ages. Last night, it felt like I was the only man left on earth and I so wanted you there so we could experience that together.
I’ve only a week left now. And yeah I know my editor’s not going to get his photos, but he’s going to get something at lest! And we’ll be back together and I can tell you more about my adventures.
Love, Tate. x
They had been travelling for two years when the wood elf spotted one of the last beacons. He dismounted from his bay horse and on long legs ran up the hill. The adventuring party watched him go, wondering what he had seen before realising themselves. Three of them dismounted from their horses; the two human fighters and the half-elf wizard. Whilst the dwarf healer and halfling thief stayed on their stout ponies.
The elf came to a stop before the burnt ruins. He nudged an untouched wooden plank with his deer hide boots, flipping it over and staring at it. His hand rested on the jewelled pommel of his magic sword, ready for a possible ambush. He could hear the wind howling through the long moor grass and the small valleys of the hills.
His companions came to join him, but he ignored their whispers for something had caught his sharp eyes. On another hill, higher then this one and a good few miles away he could see another beacon raising. It appeared unlit. He frowned and looked farther around, but he could see nothing other then the moors and the coming storm clouds.
‘Can you see the other beacon? Is that it?’ the half-elf asked at his side.
‘I think so,’ the elf replied.
The two men came to stand beside them and the elf saw they had drawn their swords.
‘What’s going on?’ a voice yelled up to them.
‘It is definitely one of Abacros beacons,’ one of the men yelled back.
The elf heard the dwarf and halfling dismount and trudge up the hill. the rest of the party began moving around again. Their boots crunching on burnt wood and dry grass. The elf kept his eyes firmly fixed on the other beacon in the distance. Something didn’t feel right. The more he looked the more his eyes confirmed that the wood had not been lit.
That would explain it, he thought, if the chain had been broken, the city of Abacros had been doomed from the start.
‘This is beacon forty-two,’ the half-elf announced.
‘We have to go over there,’ the elf cut in.
He turned and saw his companions gathered around a tatty map and a large rock. Without saying anything else, the elf went down the hill and back to the horses. He mounted his bay mare and headed in the direction of the other beacon. Disgruntled words tickled his ears, but the growing wind swept them away.
He glanced up at the sky and saw the storm clouds were rolling in fast. This was really not the place to be caught in bad weather. He urged his horse on, knowing the others had joined him. However, the soft, sinking ground was hard going and it took awhile to reach the tall hill. The rain had started falling as the elf dropped from the saddle and walked to the beacon.
The pile of wood towered above him. It was built in a large square with a cone at the top. His eyes had not lied. The thing had never been lit. He looked down and saw something in the grass. Poking it with the toe of his boot, he saw it was a dirt covered dagger. Just above it and still reaching out for the blade was a dead hand.
‘He’s been here years,’ the voice of the dwarf rumbled, ‘crude arrows Outlanders, maybe.
‘So the guards were attacked then?’ the first man said whilst the other just shook his head.
‘That would explain it,’ the elf answered, ‘and after all these years we now know what happened. The guards were slay before they could lit the beacon. The line was broken and that’s why help was too late.’
‘And Abacros fell,’ the halfling whispered.
Thunder rumbled, drawing their attention away. The horses whined, a few stamped their feet and shook there heads. The elf took a last look around and knew they should be on their way. At last they had an answer for the king.
Photo prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2016/09/22/thursday-photo-prompt-beacon-writephoto/
I want to take you away with me. Not just in your imagination but in your heart and soul too. I want to take you to lands that don’t existed and perhaps they never did and lands that will existed in the future, but even your children will never know them. There’s no need to be afraid or to pack your suitcases, in fact all you need is a comfy seat and some light.
I want you to meet people who have never been and yet always have been. They will tell you stories you won’t believe and take you on adventures which will always stay with you. I want you to feel every emotion to the core of your being and know that your tears are not wasted. For each bout of sadness keeps our heroes and heroine live for longer.
I want you to remember that even as you close the covers, the end doesn’t happen. You can visit these places and those people as many times as you like. For they are always going to be with us because they and their stories have been immortalized.
So what are you wanting for? Go and pick up a book right now and travel where ever it takes you too.
I want to go back to the beginning and change everything. I want to be more brave, more strong, to take all those risks. I’m going to say yes to everything, even things I should and did say no to. I’m going to throw it all to the wind and see what happens. I’ll live how I want to, not how society tells me to.
I’m going to go up that mountain and down the other side. Swim in the deep seas and walk the longest desert. Feel all kinds of weather against my skin, meet all different people to learn their cultures. I want to connect with nature, be one with the trees and animals.
I don’t want to be trapped in this wheelchair any more, watching the world going around, I want a restart.
The day was here at last! Finally after weeks of planning I was standing by the gates, ticket in hand, ready for my day viewing the animals. The sun was shinning and a child was already crying, but nothing was going to stop me, today was all for me.
The bus sat alone in the desert. The sun beating endless down and warming everything metal during the day. At night though the cold moon turned everything chilly. Slowly, the bus began to rust away.
If the hat fits why bother taking it off? If it doesn’t fit throw it away and move on. Why pretend to be someone you are not? Yes, it might be fun to start with but soon it’ll make you and everyone else miserable. Why go down that road when you could just go and buy a different hat?
Beck opened his eyes and looked up at the flat, plain wooden ceiling above him. His back was aching from sleeping at an odd angle and his fingers still felt numb. He went to ease himself, but found that Olwyan was using his stomach as a pillow. She was curled into a ball within her cloak and blanket which was covering them both.
‘We have to get up,’ Beck said gently, ‘Olwyan?’
She moaned softly, but did not full awake.
Beck pulled his part of the blanket off his chest and made it into a ball. He slipped it under Olwyan’s head then lower both the floor. Standing up, he stretched then went downstairs to check on Nightstorm. A cold wind blew around the steps and he hurried down them as the wind whistled lonely to itself. He found Nightstorm laying on the ground, dozing in a corner.
Beck approached slowly, giving the horse time to wake and get up. He patted Nightstorm, arranged the woollen blanket over the warhorses back then slipped the bridle and reins on.
He gave Nightstorm some oats then carried on with the rest of the tack, whispering softly to him.
Olwyan soon joined them, bring some items down with her. Beck thank her and began packing them away. He then went up for the rest and when they were ready, he led Nightstorm outside with Olwyan in a safe distance behind. Beck’s feet slipped through the icy snow, the sound echoing through the forest. He patted Nightstorm and they headed back to the road.
‘How’s the wrist?’ Beck asked.
‘A lot better, thank you. That mixture seems to have worked,’ Olwyan replied.
Beck nodded, ‘there will be healers in Erwood. Hopefully it’ll mend correctly.’
‘Me too,’ she spoke, ‘how far do you think it is?’
‘We should be there by the evening as long as nothing else happens,’ Beck tacked on.
‘Let’s pray it does not.’
There was a pause then Beck pointed out the road and they hurried on. Once there, Beck let Olwyan ride Nightstorm again and they journeyed on. Thankfully, nothing else crossed their path, even though they had a few rest stops. The gloomy grey sky, which thankfully did not shower down more snow, changed darker as the late afternoon arrived.
Olwyan noticed the trees moving back from the road and thinning out more. A upright stone came into view on their left and Beck, dropping the reins, hurried over to it. Patting Nightstorm, Olwyan got him to carry on walking and soon came along Beck. He had scrapped the frozen snow off the snow and was tracing the written upon it.
‘Can you read it?’ she called.
‘It’s the marker for Erwood,’ Beck answered back, ‘a few more miles and we should be there.’
Olwyan smiled, ‘good.’
Beck stepped back and took the reins again. He looked up at Olwyan.
‘What?’ she asked after a few seconds.
‘Nothing,’ he replied with shake of his head.
He led Nightstorm on, allowing the silence to cover up the words that had stuck in his throat.
Twenty minutes later, Olwyan pointed out the lights in the distance, ‘look.’
‘Erwood,’ Beck breathed.
‘We made it!’
‘Of course, we did.’
‘Good boy, Nightstorm,’ Olwyan added as she patted the horse’s neck.
Beck looked at her, slowly down, but she did not say anything further. He fixed his eyes back to the road and the lights head. The heaviness that had been growing in his chest seemed to be reaching a peak. Glancing down, Beck saw the snow becoming more disturbed around them. People, horse, carts and other animals had all been walking and digging the snow. He focused on that for a few minutes, chasing his thoughts and feelings back down.
A gate house loomed before them and all too soon, Beck was stopping Nightstorm before it.
The soft sounds of laughter and voices different over to them. Somewhere a door inside the town a door banged shut and a dog started barking. Nightstorm shifted and Beck stroked his face.
‘Who goes there?’ a loud voice disembodied shouted.
‘Seekers of shelter,’ Beck shouted back.
The light in the doorway was covered as a large man walked in front of it and came out to them. He carried a lantern and was wearing a grey cloak which was tossed back. His huge stomach hung over cloth pants which his shirt was barely tucked into. The lower half of his face was completely covered by a long black beard which mingled with his even longer hair.
Olwyan blinked away the bright light and clutched the saddle tighter. She thought about saying who she was and what had happened, but Beck spoke out before she could.
‘We are travellers. We had a run in with some Treomun and a forest ogre.’
‘Where are you going to?’ the guard asked.
‘To Breland. Yes, I know it’s in the other direction. This poor woman’s party was attack and she is the only survivor. I rescued her and are now trying to help her home,’ Beck explained.
The guard brought the lantern closer, leaving the warmth and safety of the gatehouse.
‘The Wanderer. I thought it was you,’ he muttered after a few moments, ‘welcome. Please go through.’
‘Thank you,’ Beck said.
The guard turned and going back inside, he opened the wooden gates and waved them through. Once inside the gates closed behind them and Beck head for an inn. Olwyan looked around at the town which was settling down for the night. The air smelt of burning wood and rich food. Light poured from a few windows and the dog finally stopped barking.
A sign for The eyed Ogre, creaked above them and Beck led Nightstorm around the back.
‘You have been here before?’ Olwyan asking, seeing how familiar he was with the town.
‘A few times,’ Beck replied.
At the back of the inn was a large stable. The doors were open and spilling light out on to a small courtyard. Beck led Nightstorm in then helped Olwyan down. As her feet touched the floor the sound of hurried footsteps came over and she looked down the stable to see two young teenage boys running down.
‘I shall take your horse, sir!’ the first one cried.
Beck thank the boys, but then did most of the work himself, leaving Olwyan to sit on a bale of hay. He came back to her when he was ready and they walked into the inn together. The front room was middle size, with a large fire roaring in the fireplace and a scattering of chairs and tables. A handful of men were sat around, drinking and talking. Beck went straight up to the bar and the innkeeper.
Olwyan walked to the fire and stood before it, holding her good hand out to the flames. Beck called over a few minutes later and she saw the innkeeper slipping coins from the bar and moving away.
‘I got us rooms and a hot bath for you and some food,’ he said.
‘Thank you,’ Olwyan gushed and nearly threw her arms around him.
Beck led her upwards and they found their rooms. The rooms were small but clean and next door to each other. Beck put his things on the floor and went to the shuttered window. He opened it and peered out into the main street below. He breathed in the cold air then feeling Olwyan’s eyes on him turned.
‘Till the morning then?’ she asked.
Beck nodded, ‘Goodnight.’
She smiled and went to her room. Beck closed the door and began thinking about the trek to Breland, he would have to get Olwyan a horse. A soft knocking the door had him opening it again and one of the innkeeper’s daughters was there with a jug of water and flagon of beer. He took them and thanked her, feeling the tiredness sinking in. He drink the beer, washed and changed and enjoyed a warm bowl of stew.
He thought about checking on Olwyan, but the bed was too soft underneath him. He sprawled across it, feeling completely warm for the first time in weeks. Shutting his eyes Beck fell asleep before he even knew it.
In the morning dawned clear and bright coming through the coloured glass windows of the Inn. Beck sat in the corner, watching the town’s people going about their business. Before him on the wooden table were the empty pots of his breakfast. He’d asked some food to be sent up to Olwyan, thinking she would rather eat in her room.
The door opened, sending a breeze of cold air and a flurry of snowflakes into the inn. Beck watched the two tall men dressed in Ravenglass guard uniforms go up to the bar. He kept his head turned away, but listened to their conversation.
‘We are looking for a small party of people, they were meant to send word when they had arrived here,’ one of the men spoke.
The innkeeper shook his head and mumbled, ‘I have not seen any large group of people arrive.’
‘Any reports from the forest?’ the second asked.
‘Perhaps, you should talk to that man over there,’ the innkeeper said, ‘he’s known as the Wanderer.’
Beck felt eyes on him, but kept still as the guards came over.
‘Sorry to disturb you, but the inn keeper says you might be able to help us?’
Beck turned and looked at the men, they both seemed identical with their short beards and hair.
‘Depends,’ he muttered.
‘We are searching for a party that were traveling through the forest,’ the first spoke.
‘Two carriages and with twelve mounted guards?’
‘There was only one survivor, a woman. She said they had been attacked by bandits. She’s upstairs resting,’ Beck replied.
‘You should go and get her.’
Beck stood up and walked passed them. He went upstairs, knocked on Olwyan’s door and she opened it, told her about the guards. They went downstairs then muttering something, Beck went back up. He packed up his things and took a back door to the stables. He took his things to Nightstorm and began preparing to leave.
The soft running of footsteps made him look up as he was leading Nightstorm out of the stall.
‘Are you leaving?’ Olwyan cried.
‘You should be fine now. Those guards will take you home.’
‘No, they want to take me to Ravenglass! I don’t want to go.’
‘I don’t think there’s a lot I can do about that…’
‘Take me with you,’ Olwyan declared.
‘It’s best this way,’ Beck stated and brushed passed her.
He led Nightstorm into the courtyard and down the side of the inn without a backward glance. Though he found it hard to resisted, he could still hear Olwyan’s heavy breathing coming from behind him. He stepped out on the street and turned.
‘It’s not worth it,’ he muttered to himself.
‘Beck!’ Olwyan shouted.
He gave and turned, ‘come on then!’
Hi and thanks for reading this story. As you might have guessed if you’ve read the whole thing, I’ve had trouble keeping it short because it seems the characters were too interesting. I’ve had lots of ideas and other thoughts that just haven’t made it in. And unfortunately due to wanting to publish other stuff and not being able to come up with a better ending, I’ve left it open for more.
So, I was wondering if I wrote some more in the next few months or so, would anyone be interested in reading more of Beck’s and Owlyan’s story? Please let me in the comments and if you have any other feedback which will help me improve the story please let me know.
Micro fiction contest
Traveler, Foodie, Eclectic Unschooly Mama, Blogger, Outdoor-Seeker, Gardener, & Voracious Reader, sharing bits of my life at Bikurgurl.com