Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Battle mounds|
Two weeks later I gave Silver a kiss goodbye and slapped Gilbert’s shoulder, “good luck with the children.”
We left all the worg pelts with them to use on the floors. We walked north through the forest wearing long white rabbit fur cloaks. I was a little surprised Aveline was returning with me but I wasn’t going to complain. She had walked the pattern in Green Heart everyday and seemed to have more poise and grace.
They had been a little surprised when I walked the pattern and stayed inside and with the ghostly image. During the two weeks we learned that not only were orcs raiding into the Green Heart but a few dark brother raiding parties. I hadn’t told anyone that I could still see and feel the lines to the other elf stones.
I was following one now, the feel was green. It was a week before I paused and caught Aveline and looked around. I lifted my bow as I shrugged my pack off and Aveline hissed, “goblins.”
They came out of the bushes and rushed towards us as I put an arrow into one. They were short and a greenish color with large bat like ears. Their mouths were very large with sharp pointed teeth. The snow wasn’t deep so they were moving rapidly. I killed four before I tossed my bow and pulled the two short swords.
I cut across to kill one as I stepped forward into the pattern. I was mostly flicking the blades out in stabs or piercing lunges to sink the swords into the almost mindless goblins. My steps went back and forth as Aveline moved behind me in a scissor like dance. I cut the throat of one while stabbing another in the stomach and ripping it out.
I moved towards Aveline as the last few seemed to crowd her. She whirled and her swords kept lashing out until the last goblin fell. I looked around before kneeling to clean my swords, “they were hunting.”
She nodded as she knelt to clean her swords. I stood and went to get my bow and pack, “we sleep in trees.”
She sighed, “to bad, you are a good bed warmer.”
I grinned as I put the pack on and started walking. She joined me and we moved carefully until we stopped for dinner and then we moved again to find a tree to climb and sleep in. During the night another large band of goblins went passed. I frowned as we watched, if goblins were in these numbers I hoped the elves would be aware and moving this way.
As the sun began to rise another band went past headed in the direction we would be going. We climbed down and followed in the wide path they left. We would be leaving the Green Heart later that day for the wide elven highlands. That was a place called the Battle mounds, during the first millennium a great battle had been fought here.
There had been so many dead they had been piled together in earth and stone mounds. Since that time other battles have been fought almost every millennium and the mounds had grown in number. We walked out of the forest and started across the ancient battle grounds before entering the snow swept area between the rows of mounds.
The ground was trampled and covered with thousands of tracks coming and going into the Green Heart. We were in the middle of the mounds when I heard the goblins. I looked around before shrugging out of my pack. There was nowhere to hide or run so I nocked an arrow and got ready. It wasn’t long before the goblins appeared and yelled as they rushed towards us.
I put my arrows into the chest of those in the led and so did Aveline. I finally threw my bow and pulled the short swords as I stepped into the pattern. I cut across into the throat of one while stabbing another and ripping its guts out. I stepped and slashed or stabbed and flicked a sword out to slap an arrow away.
I continued to follow the pattern as three dark brothers joined the goblins. I knocked another arrow away and killed another goblin as two more bands attacked. The first dark brother to reach me blocked my sword and stabbed through the pattern and I barely knocked it down. The point went into my right thigh and I slashed across as I changed the pattern.
I lunged out but the dark brother brushed it aside and his other short sword slammed into my arm. If I had not been wearing star silver scale sleeves it would have taken my arm. I shifted as I growled and slashed across to the left and then the right before lunging. I was not following the pattern and the dark brother had managed to block the first two strikes.
He missed the lunge and the point of my right sword slipped into his neck before I ripped it out and to the side. I stepped into the pattern as I ignored the pain to cut the throats of two goblins before another of the other dark brothers attacked. Again I slashed and my sword was blocked before he stabbed, I knocked it away before slashing out.
I followed it with the other as I stepped out of the pattern and his eyes widened. I lunged with my right sword and the blade slipped into his gut before I ripped it out the side. I moved after the third who had been closing with Aveline. He turned to push his way out and screamed as the claws of a goblin ripped his stomach open and others pulled him down.
I slashed out and stabbed another goblin while stepping back into the pattern. The dark brothers had taught me a lesson and if I survived I would make a change. I slid around Aveline and began to circle her as she continued to move and kill the goblins. I sliced and stabbed as I became a counter to her and it became a living rhythm until the last dozen turned to flee.
I watched before kneeling and cleaning my weapons, “rabid things.”
She snorted as she looked at me, “one of the dark ones stabbed you.”
I nodded, “he moved in a counter to the pattern.”
She looked at me and frowned as I stood and walked through the bodies to my pack. I pulled out a shirt as I sat and began trying to stanch the flow of blood. Aveline knelt, “stubborn man.”
I grinned as she carefully cut my pants before wiping the blood away. She poured a tiny vial that stung on the wound and sprinkled it with a powder and then covered it with the sleeve of the shirt. She carefully cut the shirt into strips before securing the sleeve. She helped me up and I pulled my pack on before accepting my bow.
I limped towards the three dark brothers and broke their weapons and took the throwing spikes. I looked at Aveline before turning slightly and following the green line only I could see or feel. It went to the east side of the mounds and I finally stood looking at a larger and older mound. I slipped my pack off and set my bow and quiver with it.
I pulled out a tiny candle and lit it before moving to the heavy door. It took a lot to force it open before I stepped in. Aveline followed me and I could feel a presence. I handed the candle to her as I pulled my long knives. There was one narrow isle with stacks of bones and old bodies on each side. I was halfway down the isle when the cold wind began.
I shifted slightly but kept moving slowly. The huge rainbow serpent hissed as it began emerging out of the bones and bodies on the right side. I growled and moved even as it started to coil. I lunged and brought a knife up and the other down. Both plunged into the head and it whipped around as I tried to roll away and move back while pulling my short swords.
The Basilisk continued to thrash and wrap coils around itself. I stood and watched as it convulsed and slowly died. I took a deep breath and glanced at a white faced Aveline. We backed out and waited awhile before going back in. The creature was still as I approached and checked it. I used a short sword and hacked the head off before pulling the forty foot body out.
I returned and worked my long knives out of the head and tossed it out. I looked towards the dark end and began moving again. I stopped in front of two ancient chests before ignoring them and looking to the left. I knelt and started shifting bodies and bones. The leather pouch crumble under my touch and the large emerald sparkled with a life of its own.
It was as long as my hand and as thick as three fingers. I hesitated before reaching out to pick it up, I stiffened and tried to scream. The world seemed to stop as every muscle in my body tore and stretched and changed. It seemed to go on and on and then it a was over and I was holding the glowing stone in my hand as I knelt.
Aveline cleared her throat, “are you okay?”
I glanced at her before slipping the stone into my shirt. I turned to look at the ancient chests and knew if I tried to move them they would fall apart. I lifted the lid on the one on top and looked in at the glittering of gold and jewelry. I shook my head and moved to let Aveline look. We went out and returned with rags we made into pouches.
We emptied the top chest and I moved it before opening the bottom. This one was almost empty and only held a small folded chain and scale shirt that was star silver but shown brightly in the dark. It was almost as if it had a power of its own. I pulled it out and unfolded it before holding it up to Aveline, “it looks like it would fit.”
She nodded and glanced around before we moved everything out. I began skinning the Basilisk and rolled the skin when I finished. Aveline made a sled from a long shield she had found and we piled everything on it and that was when the elves arrived. There were a hundred of them and they appeared out of the forest.
They walked through the mounds as if they owned the world. Aveline had seen them first as I checked my leg wound. I straightened as several turned and headed towards us. One glanced towards the huge party of dead goblins through the mounds before looking at us. I smiled, “we are rangers.”
They grinned and I glanced at the sled before sighing, “but I need you to return something to your queen.”
I knelt and opened my pack to find my last undershirt. I was careful as I removed the emerald and wrapped it. I stood and held it out, “it is to be protected at all costs. Tell her majesty it is the Elf’s Strength.”
They gasped and one knelt and carefully slipped it into his coat and tunic. He looked at me and bowed when he stood, “I will protect it with my life.”
I glanced at the sun high in the sky before shouldering my pack, “we have a little time before we need to stop.”
Two elves moved forward and took arrows from their own quivers to replace the ones we had used. I took the cord and start pulling the shield as we start walking. We crossed the highlands and the wide highland pass before heading east. We went passed the ruined elf fortress of Glimmer a week later.
It was further back in the mountains with a winding road that led towards it. Nothing had traveled that road for many decades. The forest thickened as we continued moving, each afternoon we ate before moving to sleep in a tree or some other hidden spot. It was a month before we reached Blue Pass.
The snow was melting, making travel even more uncomfortable. Few people were out when we walked into the fortress and came home.
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