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The Land of Shadows [Original - PG-13] - Amortentia
Posts : 174
Join date : 2011-05-15
Age : 22
|Subject: The Land of Shadows [Original - PG-13] - Amortentia Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:03 pm|| |
Fic Title: The Land of Shadows
Genre: Fantasy/Action Adventure
Word Count: 3,648
Warnings: Fantasy violence
Characters: Mat, Elayne, Peter
Status: Not Finished
Summary: Mat moved to the far reaches of the Kingdom long ago to escape the dark struggles and protect his daughter. But what can be done now that the dark has not only found them, but those from his past come to ask for aid only he can give.
H U F F L E P U F F P R I D E
Last edited by Amortentia on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:47 am; edited 6 times in total
Posts : 174
Join date : 2011-05-15
Age : 22
|Subject: Re: The Land of Shadows [Original - PG-13] - Amortentia Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:04 pm|| |
There was once a village named Thorin in the outer regions of the Kingdom of Sangreal, so far from any connections to the great cities that many of the villagers often forgot they were part of any Kingdom at all. Located in the valleys of the Erethian Mountains, it was a pleasant country, sprawling grasses with trees of uncountable age, little streams running through small dips and curves in the land. Two miles from the central village, in the deeper places of the woods, lived a man called Mat, and his daughter, Elayne. Little was known about either’s past, the man had simply shown up at the village one day, looking weather-beaten, a small girl of no more than two dangling on his hip, inquiring to the availability of land. Not used to strangers, let alone those wishing to set up permanent residence, the villagers had been very surprised when he had settled down in the secluded areas of the woods. Those who had been brave enough to venture to ask the purpose for his move had been met with smooth answers of desiring to settle far away from his homeland following the ill-timed death of his wife. While many women in the village had attempted to court the tall, dark haired man, he had rejected each politely, and rarely left the woods except for festival days and the occasional outing for the tavern, The Dancing Creek, in the village, of which many in the town would flock to in the hopes of hearing some of his famed adventure stories, of which some claimed he knew more of than the traveling bards. Soft spoken and quiet though he was, when he deemed to join in conversation, there was a light in his eyes and strength to his speech that left none doubting his knowledge and wisdom. Though he’d now lived in Thorin for almost eighteen years, many still viewed him as a stranger.
His daughter, on the other hand, was well known and loved in the village. An astonishingly talented Healer, Elayne could often be found in the village tending the sick or injured, and her ability to look for the best in people, coupled with her long, curly dark hair and startling green eyes made her desirable for betrothal to many of the young men in the village, though she’d never once given away any feelings for them. Her father had told her little of her mother, or of whatever towns she used to live in, claiming they hurt too much to remember, and though she was curious, she was content to live out her life in the small village.
So it came to be that on a hot summer’s night, just as the sun was setting, Elayne was packing up the bandages she’d been using, instructing the young boy that he shouldn’t be up and about on his twisted ankle for at least four days. Smiling, and refusing the offer of food she received from the family, she walked out the door, surprised at how late it was. She frowned slightly, hoping her father would not be worried that she would likely be an hour later than usual coming home. She shouldered her bag and began heading toward the line of trees at the far end of the forest. She smiled and nodded at the villagers she passed, occasionally answering a few questions about her father’s health. As she reached the end of the street, she saws the lights in the blacksmith’s forge were already out, and was again reminded of how late she was, and began to walk faster.
She turned around at the sound of her name, and saw the blacksmith’s apprentice, Peter, trotting to catch up with her. He slowed to a walk as he matched her stride and smiled at her. She was surprised at how tall he was; it seemed every time she saw him he’d grown another foot, and his bulky blacksmith muscles made him intimidating to those who didn’t see the kindness behind the brown eyes and lanky hair; he now towered over her by at least a foot and a half.
“Hello, Peter. Is there something you need help with?”
“No, I just saw you walking. It’s a little late for returning home, are you sure you would not rather take a room at the inn for a night? It will take you an hour to walk home, and the woods are no place to be alone at night, especially after all the reports of the wolf packs growing bolder.”
“My father’s expecting me, he’ll worry if I don’t come home,” she replied, but she frowned. It was true the woods had grown more dangerous over the past few years, with strange disappearances here and there and more wolves roaming through them.
“At least allow me to accompany you home,” he said, interpreting her frown as fear.
“Oh, no, I do not wish to trouble you.”
“It’s no trouble at all, let me just run and get my staff,” he said, and with a quick smile he ran back for the smithy. It would be nice for the company, she decided as she waited for him, and he could hold his own in the forest, skilled as he was with not only his bow, but quarterstaff as well. He always managed to win the festival competitions easily.
When he returned, staff in hand, they set off into the line of trees, following the small path that led back to the house. They talked of the rumors of fireworks at the upcoming festival and of small village matters as they walked, eyes adjusting slowly to the darkness of the woods as the leaves blocked out the cold light of the moon.
The leaves rustled as a cold wind blew through them, and Elayne shivered as she pulled her hood up to hide her face. Frowning, she wondered what had happened to the hot weather that had plagued them all day. As they crossed the bridge over one of the many streams, mist creeped out through the line of the trees, making it difficult to see more than five feet in front of them. Elayne glanced uneasily around them and saw Peter clutching his staff more tightly. She didn’t know whether to be comforted or frightened that Peter was uncomfortable too.
Their conversation lulled as they continued down the small path, Elayne’s uneasiness growing by the minute. She’s always loved the forest, but tonight it felt cold, dangerous, nothing like the friendly land of peace she was used to.
“It’s too quiet,” she heard Peter murmur to himself, and she realized he was right. There were no crickets chirping or owls searching for prey. The forest was utterly silent. Peter edged closer to Elayne, eyes searching left and right through the mist for signs of anything out of place.
With an intake of breath, Peter motioned for her to stop, and she stood still as a statue, eyes searching the fog where his eyes were focused. Suddenly, she saw two shadows shifting up ahead between the trees. Their gait seemed strange, an almost limping motion as whatever it was lumbered through the trees; it looked like no animal she had ever seen before. She felt overwhelming fear as she looked at the shadows, who appeared to be hunting something, heads always turning one way and the other. Suddenly, one lifted up it’s head and howled, a low, rumbling growl that echoed through the forest, causing the hairs on the back of Elayne’s neck to stand on end. The shadows sprinted off of the path and into the trees, and as they disappeared into the mist, the night noises slowly came back into hearing.
She jumped and let go of the breath she did not realize she was holding when Peter reached for her hand, forehead wrinkled in worry. She was intensely relievd that whatever the shadow was, it had seemed not to notice them.
“We should hurry,” he said softly. “I do not know what those shadows were, but they cannot bode anything but ill will.”
They quickened their pace as they walked through the path, constantly scanning the mist for any other signs of the shadows, remaining tense though they saw none. As they crested the top of a hill, the small wooden house came into view, light flickering in the window, and Elayne let out a sigh of relief, glad to be so near home. They hurried quickly towards the house, wanting only to reach the safety it presented them.
Elayne threw open the door and hurried Peter inside, both relaxing noticeably now that they were back in warmth and safety. Mat, who was sitting at the small, plain wooden table in the kitchen, leapt up as they walked through the door.
“Elayne, I was growing worried. You’re never this late, what kept you?” He greeted Peter warmly as he gestured for them both to sit down. Elayne quickly recounted the story of the forest, shuddering as she described the shadows. She thought she saw his eyes widen at the description, but when she looked again, they were back to the same, focused stare he always held. When she finished, he sat frowning at his hands before looking up at the two of them.
“Peter, it’d be best if you were to stay here tonight. The forest is no place to be traveling alone, not tonight.” Peter looked like he made to protest, but he took in Mat’s stern look and thought again of the shadows and agreed reluctantly that that was best.
“I’ll go fix up another bed for you,” Elayne said, and headed for the barn to find extra mattress padding, waving away Peter's offers to accompany her. She held the lamp high, hurrying uneasily in the outside until she reached the barn. The familiar smell of horses and straw relaxed her, but she couldn’t help but feel like someone eyes were following her movements. She held the lamp higher, scouting the room, but saw nothing. Chiding herself to stop acting foolishly, she began gathering the extra blankets and pads from the loft.
She turned uneasily when the horses suddenly began shifting and breathing restlessly and hurriedly gathered everything into her arms, the sooner to get back to the house. She heard a creak behind her and stiffened, whipping around just in time to see a hulking shadow, red eyes staring leap through the air towards her.
H U F F L E P U F F P R I D E
Posts : 174
Join date : 2011-05-15
Age : 22
|Subject: Re: The Land of Shadows [Original - PG-13] - Amortentia Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:11 pm|| |
Peter was helping Mat set the table for dinner, taking the stew off the fire to bring to the table when he heard Elayne’s scream split the night. He dropped the pot, stew spilling out onto the floor and burning him, but he ignored the pain as he lunged for his quarterstaff and ran for the door. Before he could throw it open, the door shattered, pieces of wood flying through the air, and Peter went reeling onto the floor from the impact with the door. Dazed, he stirred feebly, hand searching for his quarterstaff. His head cleared just in time for him to swing the quarterstaff up in front of him, and he yelled in surprise when it made contact. A huge, black shaggy beast reeled above him, at least twice his size, howling in anger, its red, beady eyes glowing.
Peter quickly lunged to his feet, holding the staff at the ready, hand shaking as the beast snarled, showing huge white fangs, sharp as any knife. The beast suddenly lunged, aiming for Peter’s throat and he lashed out with his staff. The beast seemed unaffected as it continued towards him, fangs sinking into the arm he had pulled up to protect his face. He screamed in agony as he attempted to fend it off.
Suddenly, Mat was there, and Peter was startled to see he had a sword in hand, as it swung through the air and made a deep gash in the beasts shoulder; it released Peter and turned to face the new threat, a deep growl rumbling in his chest. Peter was still staring at the sword in Mat’s hand dumbly; no one owned a sword up here, and no one knew how to use one either. Swords were for the great lords and soldiers, not villagers who never need fear battle. The beast lunged for Mat, who quickly swung the sword, rewarding it with two new gashes for its trouble, his teeth gritted in concentration.
“Run, Peter! Find Elayne!” he snapped.
Peter snapped back to his senses. Elayne. Snatching up his quarterstaff, he sprinted for the door, praying to the spirits that Mat really did know how to use that thing.
“Elayne!” he shouted as he ran for the barn, hoping to hear a response of any kind. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a shadow stir, he gave a shout as he turned, staff whirling to block another one of the beasts. He aimed for the eye as he thrust out at the beast, and gave a grim smile when he connected and the beast cried out in pain and anger. His smile was quickly swept away when beast sprang again, tackling him to the ground, his staff rolling out of reach. As he looked up into the glowing eyes, teeth flashing above him, he flinched away, knowing it was the end and was surprised when the weight suddenly left him and the beast gave out another injured roar. His eyes flew open to see a sword flash at the beast.
So Mat did know how to use that sword, he thought to himself before he dimly realized that this man was too tall to be Mat, though not quite as tall as he, and his stance too professional for a mere villager. He watched in awe as the man skillfully swung his blade, making it look an extension of his arm as he fought, finally plunging the sword into the beast’s heart. It gave out one last rumbling groan before it collapsed to the ground.
The man spat on the ground and turned, offering a hand to help Peter to his feet; his grasp was strong, and he looked like he hadn’t broken a sweat fighting the beast.
“Elayne,” he gasped, “and Mat,” trying to get the man to understand they were in danger.
“They’re both fine, my lad,” he said gruffly. He looked Peter up and down, and he couldn’t help but feel like he was being measured. “That’s going to need to be looked at,” he finally said, gesturing to the puncture marks from the beasts fangs. The man sheathed his sword with a slight ringing sound, but his eyes never stopped sweeping the area and he gave out a lethal impression even without sword in hand.
The sound of footsteps approaching made Peter turn away from the man, and he found Mat running towards them, blood splattered on his clothes, sword still in hand. He stopped suddenly when he saw the tall man, and a look of shock and recognition crossed over his face.
“Talavon?” he asked, and there was a strange weariness to his voice. He shook his head, as if attempting to clear a vision. “Elayne? Where is she? Is she hurt?” he barked, returning to his old self.
“Ruan is seeing to her, my lord,” he said, and Peter started in shock, his mouth dropping open, when the man bowed. My lord? There were no lords in Thorin. When he realized his mouth was hanging open, he closed it quickly, making an audible snap that caused both men to look at him.
“Come, Peter, are you hurt?” Mat asked, an authority to his voice Peter had never heard before. He shook his head in disbelief as he followed the two men at a trot to the barn. The man, Talavon he thought Mat said, continued to peer around for any signs of danger. Mat gulped as he looked back at the dead shadow behind them.
“What was that thing?”
“We will speak of this later,” Mat said, as he threw open the barn door. Peter wrinkled his nose in disgust at the smell of blood, and his eyes swept across the room, taking in the three dark bodies lying on the floor. Elayne sat propped up against the wall away from the beast, blocked from view by another tall, dark haired stranger, who must have been his height, if not taller.
The man looked up briefly as they entered, long enough to reveal blue eyes, hardened in concentration, and though he looked younger than Talavon, there was a knowingness to his eyes that spoke of hardships. He paused just long enough to bow his head briefly at Mat, before returning his attention on Elayne. He shifted slightly to the side as they all approached, and Peter quickly crouched down next to her. Ruan, who could only be the stranger, was muttering under his breath as his fingers searched along her scalp; her hair was matted with what could only be blood and she had a deep gash down her thigh. Her eyes were closed as she winced in pain when he found the source of the bleeding.
She opened her eyes at the sound of the others and when she saw Peter’s arm she gasped.
“That’s going to need stitches,” she said, her voice taking on the tone she used whenever she was Healing. “I need to get my bag,” she said and made to get up. Ruan pushed her gently but forcefully back against the wall.
“You need to stay still until I’m done,” he said, not unkindly, but with a force that made it clear he would have his way.
Mat took one of her hands in his own. “Are you okay? What happened?”
“I’m fine, really,” she said, but the gasp of pain she let out when Ruan began putting some type of salve on her scalp said otherwise. “They came out of nowhere. If I hadn’t tripped off the edge of the loft by accident I wouldn’t even have this. It was stupid of me.”
“That might have been what kept you alive, my lady,” Talavon broke in, and then turned to Mat to explain. “We were approaching the house when we heard a scream, so naturally we headed towards the source, and came in just in time to see her tumble off the loft; I feared the fall itself might have killed her at first but the Snargrot would have taken her head off if she hadn’t disappeared over the side, but she was stirring so we let her be. Ruan was taking care of the first when the second came and got her thigh. Once I finished it off I hurried to the house, knowing there must be more, which is when I found this boy about to be finished off himself—” Peter bristled at being called a boy, “and by the time I killed that one, there was no sign any were left.” He spat on the ground again, in the general direction of the beasts.
“Come Talavon, Peter, we need to clear the bodies. Ruan, take her into the house.” Both men nodded once, and immediately did as he bid. Talavon strode away with that lethal looking stride and gestured for Peter to help him. Peter glanced one last time at Elayne, who smiled feebly at him, and watch Ruan scoop her up as if she weighed no more than a feather and walk her towards the house, before heading over to help Talavon. He looked down in disgust and tried to touch as little as possible of the monster as he helped drag it away from the house. Mat and Talavon went to retrieve the last body from the house, instructing Peter to find kindling to start a fire—the bodies would need to be burned.
His mind still could not understand what had happened. One second he was walking Elayne home, and the next he was fighting off some type of monster? And what in the world did the man call Mat a lord for? And if it was even possible, Ruan looked even more deadly than Talavon, and Mat appeared to know them both, but from where? And that bloody sword Mat wielding was surely to fine a weapon for anyone in this region of the world to own.
The men returned just as Mat was putting the last of the wood together, and they appeared to be arguing over something, though their voices were too low to hear anything. They cut off as they approached, but Mat looked weary, and Talavon aggravated. They set the bodies alight and headed back towards the house, Peter throwing one last look over his shoulder at the flames, casting shadows around the ground as it flickered and pulsed.
When they entered the house, Ruan was binding up the gash on Elayne’s leg, who was sitting on a chair, with her leg propped up on his legs as he worked. They all sat down at the table, and Talavon opened his mouth to speak, but one look from Mat sent him back into silence. When Ruan finished with Elayne, he gently placed her leg back on the ground and turned to Peter.
“Blacksmith,” he barked, “That arm needs bound.”
Peter looked down in surprise; he’d all but forgotten the deep gash, but now that he’d been reminded it throbbed in pain, as if to ask him how he could possible have forgotten it. With deft fingers, Ruan placed salve on the wound ignoring Peter’s intake of breath at the stinging, and binding it tightly.
“Thank you,” he said, as Ruan finished and turned back to face Talavon and Mat, looking expectantly between the two. Elayne looked like she wanted to ask just as many questions as Peter himself did, and when everyone continued to stare at Mat, an anger he didn’t know he felt sprang up inside him.
“Will someone tell me what’s bloody going on here?”
H U F F L E P U F F P R I D E
|Subject: Re: The Land of Shadows [Original - PG-13] - Amortentia Today at 12:57 am|| |