Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
We left with just the two wagons, mine and Dodson’s family. I walked beside my wagon in front carrying my silenced Super Long. Little One lay across my shoulders watching. The dwarf tunnels were only a week away but it was going to be over hills and across a lot of small streams. That night we made camp and settled in.
I was to take the middle watch and had just started thinking about crawling into the wagon since it looked like it would rain. The voice that came out of the night had everyone moving towards weapons. I used my night scope to look and saw five people standing just out of the fire light.
Dodson called for one to come forward and I got a surprise when a slim man walked to the fire. As I watched him, I realized he wasn’t a man. His hair was white and he had longer ears than a man and an almost delicate face. I cleared my throat, “Tell the others to come in.”
That brought his attention to me and his eyes narrowed. Even from where I knelt in the shadows, I saw the yellow cat slit pupils of his eyes. I looked into his eyes without looking away and he smiled before turning to call into the night. It was mix of French and Celtic and I smiled, “You’re right, they should watch the human.”
He looked at me quickly as the others came forward into the light. My world seemed to slow and then stop as I looked at Ellie. She was younger but I knew it was her. I felt the pain of losing her all over again. I started when Sam touched my shoulder, “Samuel?”
I looked at him and then the others. I turned away and moved into the darkness. I knew it wasn’t really my Ellie but she had looked so much like her, like the way she moved and gestured. I stood in the dark feeling lost and alone more then at anytime since I had come to this world. When Ellie had died my world had ended and I would have welcomed death.
I heard the soft step behind me and ignored it. The person stopped just behind me, “Tell me what you saw human.”
I glanced back at the manlike person that had walked into our camp, “Leave me to my pain.”
He sighed, “You are a crossover.”
I ignored him while he stood as if waiting. Finally he put a hand on my shoulder, “Sometimes those on your world die. They are reborn to live again somewhere else as someone else. Sometimes…rarely… very rarely, the gods step in and one is reborn here. They remember nothing of your world but vague dreams and shadows.”
I looked at him, “My Ellie only died five years ago.”
He smiled, “What is time to a god?”
I shook my head and looked into the night, “Go away whatever you are.”
He dropped his hand and walked back towards the camp. Little One clawed her way up my leg and body to crouch on my shoulder and purr. I reached up to touch her body, “Thank you but it doesn’t help.”
I didn’t even hear her until she cleared her throat, “What is your name?”
I closed my eyes and then opened them and slowly turned to face my angel. I looked into her eyes and knew I had been right when I first saw her, “Samuel.”
She nodded, “I dream of seeing you. I never knew your name…”
I looked away and whispered, “You died.”
She sat gracefully and looked at the ground, “Green Bow told me you were a crossover.”
She sighed, “I feel like I know you Samuel.”
I looked away, “We were married for twenty five years.”
She looked up, “You aren’t that old.”
I laughed as I felt my face. I had looked at myself just a couple of days before. She was right, I didn’t look my age. I looked maybe twenty five, “That is another story, El.”
She smiled, “El? That sounds… right.”
I smiled and took a breath before shaking myself. I held my hand down to her, “I’m Samuel Grey.”
She took my hand as she stood to face me, “Elizabeth… Grey. My friends call me Ellie.”
I nodded and gestured back to the camp before pulling Little One down into my arms where she purred loudly. Everyone looked up as we came into camp. The four that had been with her when they came to the camp sat by the fire and looked at me. I could see they were like that first… person.
A small shape scampered out of the dark and headed straight for Ellie. She barely paused as she knelt and scooped up a tabby cat that looked a little older then Little One. Little One lifted her head and I smiled as her eyes brightened. I bent and set her down, “Don’t stay up all night.”
I nodded to Dodson and headed to my wagon. I laid back thinking and fell asleep with the vision of Ellie. I woke to the slight shifting of the wagon and then rain. Even in the dark I knew it was Ellie. Little One purred by my head and from somewhere next to her an answering purr sounded.
The voice was a soft whisper, “Here.”
I reached to where I had the generating flashlight and wound it up as she sat on the bed. I turned the light on and her eyes widened. I sat up and turned to put my feet on the floor. Ellie looked from me to the flashlight and back before grinning. She looked at me with sparkling eyes, “The dwarf Dodson said you had mid watch. Would you mind if I stayed in your wagon?”
I shook my head, “Is it mid watch already?”
She shook her head, “almost.”
I moved to the chest at the head of the bed, “Well, the bed is warm…”
She smiled and nodded, “I see Charles has charmed his way into your bond cat’s bed.”
I glanced at Little One to see the small young tabby cat lying next to her. I smiled and looked at Ellie as I reached for my boots, “Let me put my boots…”
She lay back with her feet off the edge, “I didn’t plan to kick you out.”
I grinned and finished lacing my boots before shutting the flashlight off so my eyes would adjust to the night. I could hear Ellie as she shifted and then I heard her boots drop. I smiled, “El? Who are those… people you came with?”
She shifted and I knew she was lying on my bed, “Elves. Well, that is what Green Bow said you would call them… or Sidhe.”
I grinned, “This has been a lot like Alice in wonderland. I fell down a hole and now I’m in a world of fantasy. I have spoken and made friends with a dragon, met Dwarves and Elves. The only thing left would be to meet a wizard.”
Ellie didn’t laugh, she shifted on my bed, “Well… you have met a mage. I guess that would be close to a wizard. Wizards are all stuffy old men anyway.”
I looked towards the bed trying to see her, “Mage?”
She laughed, “Me.”
I blinked thinking about what she had said and what came to mind was Ellie with her whizzing gadgets back home. I smiled, “We’ll have to talk about that.”
I heard the soft knock on the wagon and turned to face the rear, “I’m awake.”
I pulled my vest from the wall and put it on before standing and leaning over the bed to pick up the rifle. I moved to the back of the wagon and hesitated before looking back at the bed, “Are you leaving tomorrow El?”
“No. Green Bow talked Dodson into letting us travel with them.”
I smiled, “He talked to the wrong person El. I’m the one to decide that.”
I slipped out of the wagon and shivered as the rain started soaking through my clothes. I found Adalson by the horses and sent him to bed. I made a round using my thermal scope and stood under some trees by the horses. The sound of rain was loud but there was another sound that drew my attention.
I looked through my scope and saw what at first I thought was a small dragon. It glowed in the thermal image as if very hot. I followed its head as it looked to one side and saw a second one and then a third. The third was sideways and I sighted on a spot behind the ear and fired. The sound of the shot was muffled and not really that loud.
The eyes of the two other dragon creatures snapped to me and I knew they could see me, “ATTACK!”
The one I had shot was down and the other two charged. I shot the second straight through the throat and shifted to the last. It was almost on me as four arrows struck it and I fired. I put three rounds through its chest and then looked out at the second one. It was down and thrashing around like it was trying to breath.
I shot it through the head and it stilled. I looked at the four elves as they drifted out of the night. One said something to the others and headed out towards the bodies. I looked back as lanterns flared to life and the dwarves came towards us. The horses had stirred at my firing but had settled down.
When the elf that had gone out to check the small dragon things returned, he glanced at me, “The human killed them.”
They all looked at me as I turned to Dodson when he stomped up, “Some type of small dragon thing.”
He jerked, “Drakes?”
I shrugged, “Do drakes look like dragons?”
He shook his head, “They pass us by?”
I pointed out into the darkness and he raised the lantern before taking a step back, “Damn!”
I looked at the elves as they looked at me curiously, “Are there very many of these drake animals?”
Ellie slipped up next to me and I jerked. I grinned as she looked out and then spoke to Green Bow, “How many?”
He looked into the darkness, “three. A mating set.”
I looked from him to Ellie and she nodded before softly murmuring something that didn’t sound like a real language. The whole area lit up to show the three dead drakes. She looked at Green Bow, “Nested?”
He nodded and Ellie looked at Dodson, “It should be awhile before their hatchlings break shell. The hides should bring a high price in the tunnels.”
Dodson turned and gestured to the others and they headed out. Ellie shivered as she looked around in the light rain. She looked at me, “You are much more than you seem.”
She looked at Green Bow, “Much more.”
I smiled as I looked up at the glow that lit the area, “So are you El.”
She smiled and turned towards the wagon, “I think I’ll go dry off.”
I laughed and looked out at the busy dwarves as they skinned the three dead animals. The elves drifted away and I was left to keep watch. Almost as soon as the dwarves walked past me and into camp the glow that lit the area died. When I was relieved, I walked to the wagon and climbed in. I stripped out of my wet clothes and heard Ellie shifting on the bed.
I smiled in her direction but only moved to the chest at the head of the bed. I took my time wiping down my rifle and cleaning it. The years had taught me that light wasn’t always needed to do things and I was comfortable sitting in the dark. I hesitated when I finished and set the rifle aside. I moved to the bed and wasn’t surprised that the covers were held up for me.
I slipped in and turned to face away as Ellie snuggled against my back and Little One crawled down into my arms purring. I woke to the hint of dawn and the warm feeling of my wife against my back. I slowly looked over my shoulder to see Ellie looking back and smiling. I slid out of bed and set Little One up with Charles before opening a chest.
I pulled a dry set of clothing out and Ellie chuckled softly, “At least you have clean dry clothes.”
I smiled, “I could offer you a warm shirt but I think the pants would be a little large.”
She smiled and sat up and held out her hand. I pulled a shirt out and finished dressing. I smiled to see Ellie wearing only the shirt as she followed me out. I watched as she headed to the elves and turned to go speak with Dodson. He apologized for accepting the elves but said they would be worthy companions.
I went to my horses and put their feed bags on while getting them ready. Unlike the plains, I had eight horses pulling the wagon with two following on long leads. I checked each horse and harnessed them. When I was finished and the feed bags were removed, it was time to go.
I had Ellie appear to walk beside me as I walked in front of our wagons. I glanced at the tall white staff she used and smiled, “Now you look more magical with your staff.”
She grinned and looked down at her bare legs, “And feel naked.”
I laughed, “If you were naked I might try something.”
She laughed and bumped against me like my Ellie used to. I sighed as I scanned the surrounding area, “So… what brings you and your elves to this wonderful place?”
She looked at me and then back at one of the elves walking to the side, “I was just traveling to my new home but they go to the Dwaven tunnels to speak with the counsel.”
I was curious, since I knew there were dragons… and drakes, dwarves and elves… I looked at Ellie, “El?”
She smiled as she looked at me, “Yes Samuel?”
I grinned and scanned the area again before looking at her, “Since there are elves and dwarves, does that mean there are orcs, trolls or goblins?”
She looked at me but didn’t say anything. When I looked at her she nodded solemnly, “Yes.”
It was in the late afternoon that I signaled to bring the wagons together for the night. We were beside a wide shallow stream and I was thinking of trying my luck. The wagons formed a vee with the horses inside. I dug out my rod and set my rifle on the bank before taking my boots off and wadding in.
The dwarves looked at me the same way Bris and the other dwarves had. The elves looked wary and curious and Ellie looked amused. It was the third cast that brought the first strike. I fought the fish and backed to the edge of the stream. The dwarves were all staring wide eyed and crowding around.
The elves looked surprise and Ellie had a huge grin. I landed the fish and headed back out for another. That first fish had to weight at least five pounds. The next cast brought a huge surge of water as the fish jumped and started fighting. When it was over I had two very large fish to clean. I was beside the stream gutting the fish when the bear came out.
It roared and everyone seemed to freeze in fear as the horses in camp screamed. The elves were slowly pulling theirs bows from their shoulders. I slowly stood and faced the huge bear from no more than a dozen feet. I was afraid for Ellie and dropped the knife I was using, “Move behind me.”
It was said quietly but she heard. The bear stood and roared again and I drew my pistol. It seems that moments of extreme stress only made my aim better. The bear was huge, easily twelve feet tall. I shot it five times rapidly under the jaw, angled up. The head snapped back and the bear seemed to stand there frozen before falling.
I moved forward as it spasmed and died. I put the hammer down before holstering the pistol and turning to everyone staring at me in shock. I smiled at Dodson’s wife, “Would you salt a haunch for me?”
She nodded and looked at her husband. I smiled as I headed back to the fish, “Let me finish cleaning the fish and then I’ll work on the bear.”
Ellie touched my shoulder, “the weapons you carry are very powerful.”
I shrugged, “you still need to hit what you aim at.”
She grinned and the elves chuckled. After cleaning and filleting the fish, I started skinning the bear and Ellie helped me. This was something she would never have done… I reminded myself this wasn’t exactly my Ellie. The Dwarves carved up the meat while I rolled up the hide. In camp I set the bear skin aside and pulled out my cooking utensils.
I used herbs with salt and pepper to cook the fish. Ellie sat beside me looking hungry and I put the first fillet on a wooden plate with some water crests and spicy rice. She looked at it and me while the elves and dwarves watched. They were all eating bear steaks but watched as Ellie tasted the fish.
She grinned after her first careful bite, “This is good!”
I smiled and slid a second fillet onto her plate before starting mine. I cleaned up after dinner and pulled out my pistol which made everyone stop what they were doing. I pulled my cleaning kit out of the wagon and sat down to unload the pistol and take it apart. I cleaned it and put a light coat of oil back on before putting it together and reloading it.
I sighed and pulled the bear skin out and unrolled it. I started scrapping it and Ellie silently began helping me again. She had been silent since dinner and now she started talking, “Trolls are only found in the forests or high in the mountains. They have very hard skin and arrows don’t penetrate.”
She looked up at me, “Luckily they are known to kill other trolls that come into their territory.”
She looked into the night, “Goblins are a subspecies, they are small grey skinned and breed like rabbits. They will not only kill other goblins but they eat them.”
She smiled at me, “Orcs… Orcs are very dangerous. They are five feet tall with greenish skin and no hair. They travel in huge packs and kill anything and everything they find.”
I nodded and she shuddered, “They have been known to destroy large cities.”
I looked at her and she nodded, “Then there are gnomes. They are a shy reclusive people. They also live in the heavy forests. Sometimes in even large dwarven communities.”
She looked at me, “You are the first I have heard about that have had a meeting with a dragon and still live.”
I grinned, “I guess he though an old human would be to tough to chew.”
The elves sputtered and the closest dwarf laughed. I grinned and sighed before looking at Dodson, “Guard shifts?”
He nodded to the elves, “They will take it tonight and we will do it tomorrow.”
I looked at the elves and then at Ellie before standing and digging through my pack at the back of the wagon. I pulled out my thermal monocular and turned it so Green Bow could see the switch, “Turn this to use it.”
I tossed it to him and then rolled the skin and tied it to the side of the wagon. I grabbed a large towel and turned for the river. Ellie touched my arm, “May I join you?”
I looked at her and nodded before turning to the river. At the edge I stripped and picked up the wash cloth and soap. Ellie stood in the water and smiled as she lifted her arms to murmur her made up language. I felt a tingle as if a current of electricity had passed through me. She held out her hand, “We are safe now Samuel.”
I chuckled as I wadded out, “one of us is safer then the other.”
Her throaty chuckle made me grin. Our bath was one of remembered touches and caresses. When we finished, I dressed and waited to walk to my wagon holding her hand. That night I held her against me afraid to sleep. When she whispered softly I felt my mind slipping and then I was blinking awake.
I looked at the soft body still in my arms in the dawn light, “You shouldn’t do that El.”
She stirred and lifted her head to look at me before smiling, “I’m not going anywhere Samuel and you needed to rest.”
I caressed her face and slid out of bed before I did something. We had only been walking a short time that day when I glimpsed something moving through the brush. I switched sides with Ellie, “We have company.”
I shifted the Super long and bent to pick up both Little One and Charles. I quickly tossed them onto the seat of my wagon, “Stay in the wagon.”
Ellie had made a sound and signaled to the elves. They spread out as I looked around and thumbed the safety off my riffle. When the little grey creatures attacked, I reacted and brought the rifle up. I fired rapidly into the large crowd of rushing creatures. By the time they reached me there were only a few left and arrows took them quickly.
I looked around when it was over and didn’t see anymore. I looked at one of the elves as he drew a sword and walked through the creatures and stabbed each one. I looked at Ellie, “Those were goblins?”
She nodded, “A small pack.”
I turned one over and looked at its open mouth and the only thing I could think of to describe it was sharks teeth. I looked around and nodded to Dodson to start moving again. The next attack came just before we stopped for the night. They came out of a brush choked gully and I spun as Ellie gestured and murmured something.
A jagged bolt of what looked like lightning jumped from her staff to strike one of the rushing goblins. It glowed and then the bolt jumped to another as the first dropped to the ground smoking. I ignored everything and started shooting the closest ones. When it was over the ground was littered with dead and smoking bodies.
We were careful about how and where we made camp. That night there was no fire, after we made dinner it was put out so it wouldn’t attract more goblins. I worked on the bear skin until it began to get dark. I had first watch and Ellie walked around the camp with me. When Adalson relieved me, she took my hand a led me to my wagon.
Little One and Charlie looked up from the furs on the chest behind the wagon seat. Ellie stripped and pushed my hands away from my shirt to undress me. She looked into my face, “We were once husband and wife Samuel. I still feel that bond and I know you do also.”
I looked down, “Are you really…”
Ellie put her finger to my lips, “I am both the same and different than the Ellie in your heart. Just as you are both the same and different then the Samuel in my dreams. I have thought hard about this and have decided to accept my husband back into my life.”
I looked at her in the near darkness and slowly reached out to touch her face, “I’m afraid, El.”
She laughed and pulled me to the bed, “You won’t lose me Samuel.”
I woke to dawns light with Ellie was still snuggled against my back. Little One hopped onto the bed and lay down against my chest purring. I shifted and stroked her fur before sliding out of bed and dressing. When I dropped out of the wagon, Green Bow looked up from his bed beneath the wagon.
I glanced around and went to start a morning fire. I had just gotten the pot of water to boil when everyone began appearing. The first hint of something came with the snort of one horse. That snort rang bells that brought me to my feet with my rifle coming to my shoulder. I shifted and moved slowly towards the horses.
Green Bow and the other elves had stood and pulled their bows out. The dwarfs were looking around cautiously. The rush came suddenly, it was a huge band of goblins. I didn’t even hesitate before starting to shoot. The creatures dropped and still kept coming. I changed magazines six times and they still flooded out of the dawns light.
Ellie was throwing some type of fire balls that exploded and the elves were shooting arrows. The dwarfs were using compact crossbows but I was baring the brunt of the attack. When the bolt locked back on my last magazine I dropped the rifle and drew the sword Bris had given me. I moved into the rushing monsters as Ellie yelled.
It was like I was back in the jungles where my life began. I sliced and danced as I blocked or avoided goblins trying to swarm over me. It was a life time later that I stabbed through the throat of a rabid goblin and looked around. Everything was quiet, the ground around me was littered with dead goblins.
I glanced at the camp and everyone was looking back with wide eyes. I looked down at my blood soaked clothes and shook my head. I started back towards the camp, bending to retrieve my rifle. I smiled, “I think I’ll wash before we start off this morning.”
Dodson chuckled, “throw the clothes away. You’ll never get all that blood out.”
I was looking at Ellie and she smiled and shook her head. The stream I used ran red before my bath was over. I had to wash several times to get the stink off. I pulled a set of black combat utilities out and dressed before reloading all my magazines. I stayed in my wagon as we started and quickly cleaned my sword and rifle.
I dropped out and pulled Little One down and draped her across my shoulders. Ellie grinned at that and bent to pick up Charles as he meowed. Green Bow moved forward, “You are very good with the sword.”
I glanced at him, “I’ve been doing it long enough.”
He nodded and then looked at Ellie, “How is it you are so young?”
I thought about that question and how to answer. I looked at Ellie and smiled, “I led a life as a combat soldier and then I met my Ellie. She was a teacher for a university… a type of school. She was the one to introduce me to other teachers. Five years after she… died, I was dying. I was in a hospital and one of our friends came to me. He had created tiny robots…”
I looked at the elf and frowned as I thought. I smiled, “Like golems?”
I saw both him and Ellie nod but they weren’t happy. I smiled, “That is as close a description as I can think of. They aren’t good or bad, they are tiny machines that just do what they were told to do. In this case they were designed to destroy or remove… bad growths inside a human body. They remove diseases from the blood too. They also cause the body to regenerate.”
I reached up to pet Little One, “That last saved Little One.”
Ellie smiled and I looked at Green Bow, “When I first came here I looked my age. Since then I have slowly regain my health and look like I did when I was much younger.”
He nodded and drifted away. Ellie set Charles down and Little One perked up. I set her down too, “Don’t get lost.”
She meowed as she scampered after the other cat. I shook my head and Ellie moved closer, “You frightened me.”
I looked at her and she smiled, “I have never seen someone use a sword so well against such a feral… enemy.”
I smiled, “That part of my life was many years before we met.”
It was two more days before we reached the entrance to the dwarven tunnels. The rest of the journey was calm with no attacks. We did see signs of drakes a couple of times but none approach us. The evenings were cooler now that we were entering the edge of a mountain range. I had finished cleaning and tanning the large bear skin.
I measured it and wasn’t surprised at how big the bear had been. The entrance to the tunnels was walled of course but we weren’t challenged.
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