Image by Epona Schweer
This fantasy fiction is one that has been plaguing my thoughts with continued ideas and visions for weeks, soon to be months. It is a story inspired by my niece, Pony, who is an exceptional artist. I found her drawings on Flickr, and she has graciously allowed me the use of them to help illustrate this story. I am deeply indebted to her, for her amazing artistry that spurred my dormant imagination into action.
The story deals with Elves, Druids, Dwarves, Man, and who knows what other creatures will be developed within my imagination. Some I already have figured out, simply because I have seen the drawings, and just have to create a character to match the art. The drawing to the left is Tirashar minus her thieves cloak. If you read the first part, tell me did I do her justice.
You can catch up by reading the first chapter posted on my first ever Friday Fantasy here. I hope to make it a weekly series. Please feel free to comment and critique.
The strangers rode quickly from the village, just recently met, yet not one knew the other nor anything about them. A silent competent trust had been felt from the moment of acquaintance. Tirashar could not understand why she trusted this Elf, she didn’t even know his name. She had no idea why he had helped her. This was a time when people minded their own business, and avoided getting involved in another's troubles. Tirashar for that mater could not understand what had come over her. She should not have gotten involved with the troubles between Tabitha and that pig of a pub keeper. She decided that it must have been her destiny pushing her along from the depths of her subconscious mind. She could not stand men who mistreated women as that foolish, greedy, pig had.
As they rounded a curve in the cart path, the Elf raced up beside Tirashar on his large white stallion. “I saw them all running out of the pub. There will be a pursuit, it’s just a mater of time. There’s a clearing ahead, I’m going to drop into the trees there, and set a few traps for our pursuers. Keep going past the clearing to the next curve in the road. Just after it, you will find a faint trail to the right. Take it, and I will catch up as as quickly as I can. If I don’t, keep riding that trail, my village is two days ride, high on the mountain. When you get there, tell them Darfrain sent you to talk with Cloemillia, one of the elders.” Darfrain then turned his mount, and rode into the trees.
Tirashar urged her mare on a little faster. What in the name of the Gods am I doing, why do I trust him, I don’t even know him. She thought to herself, trying to reason through her options and decide what to do. Before she knew it, she was through the clearing and rounding the next curve in the road. Her eyes traced along the side of the road, spotting the trail almost immediately. That trail is nearly invisible, how is it possible I saw it so easily. Her thoughts were a jumble, thing were simply happening too fast. Without thinking, she turned the mare down the hidden trail. Stopping, she jumped off and went back to the edge of the road. Using a branch from an evergreen tree, she swept away all trace of her passing. She arranged the rocks and branches of bushes at the trail entrance to help obscure it from the casual observer.
Tabitha was sitting on the back of the mare when she returned, hunched over, arms wrapped around herself, shivering, trying to find warmth from within. Tirashar finally realizing Tabitha had no cloak or shoes, reached into her pack behind the saddle, withdrew another cloak and a pair of moccasin style boots. “Tabitha, put these on, it’s all I have but they should keep you warm for a while until we can get something else.” Tabitha gratefully took the cloak and wrapped it around herself, then put on the boots, taking the time to tie them properly before closing and tying the cloak then pulling the hood over her head. “I wish you would have said something before, we could have taken something from the pub to help keep you warm.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t want you to leave me behind.” Tabitha said, a look of shame mixed with fear crossed her face, showing what a timid person she had become.
“It’s all right Tabitha, I just didn’t know you had no cloak or even shoes. No wonder you had never left before this.” Tirashar said with compassion. Mounting once again, Tirashar headed up the trail into the unknown.
Before the edge of the clearing, Darfrain stayed back in the trees busying himself with the surprises he was preparing for their pursuers. From his pack he took a light weight, very strong rope. It was very thin, and had a silver color to it when rolled up. Stretched out though it was nearly invisible, a special rope given to him by Cloemillia. It was made of a special fiber from a spiders web, woven carefully by the Elves. The rope had a strength equal to a normal hemp line five times it’s size, yet was nearly impossible to see. Darfrain tied it to a tree, and stretched it across the trail being sure it was high enough a horse could walk underneath, but a rider would be caught by it. Moving a little farther along, he set a few snares with the same kind of rope. They would slow down the pursuers, but should not hurt anyone, just make them cautious.
Moving up the road a little, he found a group of rocks that provided some cover and concealment. Picketing his horse back in the trees out of site, Darfrain settled down amongst the boulders, laying out four arrows. Notching another in his bow, readying it for action. Removing his cloak so as not to hamper his movements, he sat back watching and waiting.
Darfrain didn’t have to wait long. There was a series of shouts and curses and three horses came running into the clearing rider less. A short time later, he heard more curses and exclamations from the men on foot that were caught by the snares. Before long, five men came into the clearing, two were walking beside their mounts, looking at the ground in front of them, moving slowly and cautiously. One was the mercenary from the pub, one was the pub keeper, Faroje, and three other men, Darfrain had not seen before. He wondered if this was all, waiting a little longer, letting them close the distance just a little bit.
Aiming for the ground in front of the horses, Darfrain leg go one, then another arrow, spooking the horses, causing them to rear up and pull free of their masters. The horses ran off, joining the other three in the clearing. Darfrain notched another arrow, and shot the pack of one of the newcomers. Notching yet another arrow, Darfrain stood, “You can turn around and return to your little pub and treacherous lives, or you can advance and perish one by one.”
The men on the trail saw a tall muscular looking Elf wearing an armored suit unlike anything they had ever seen. It had a serpentine appearance, complete with scales, and conjured up subconscious fears of dragons and other creatures. The armor served more purpose than protection, it was designed to instill fear. It’s design was working to it’s secondary purpose. Two of the unknown men backed up and started moving toward the road, away from Darfrain.
“You can’t get us all.” The mercenary said with confidence.
“I can take three of you before you get to me… and you will be the first. Besides look behind you, you’re already losing your support.” Darfrain said in a spiteful voice.
“Faroje, is she really worth this trouble, I think not.” Said the mercenary as he turned to Faroje.
“Who are you and why do you care about this lone woman?” Faroje asked.
“My name if Darfrain, and I only just met your woman, or is it slave, and her companion. I care only that they are treated well, and free of your tyrannous grip.”
The mercenary, calculating his chances, and not liking them one bit, turned and strode to the clearing. collecting his horse he headed back to the comfort and warmth of the pub. There wasn’t enough profit in it for him, and far to high a potential cost. Seeing this the last man left Faroje’s side, catching up his horse and headed back also. “Cowards, he’s just one man, not even a man, an Elf.” Faroje said with impudence.
“Faroje is it? You seem to have lost all of your help. Surely you don’t think you have a chance against me. You have been too lazy for too long, and are sorely out of shape. Think long and hard before you attempt to follow again, for this Elf will have your stinking filthy hide stretched over an ant hill before it’s over.” Darfrain said, his voice dripping with disdain.
“I'll find a way to get you, I’ll find a way. You had better watch your back Darfrain, for when you expect it least, you’ll receive your due compensation.” Faroje spat as he turned and headed back to his pub, grabbing his horse along the way.
Darfrain collected his arrows, and cloak, moving to his horse, he mounted and continued on. At the curve in the road, he took the trail, and glanced appreciatively at the efforts of Tirashar to hide her passing. This girl is smart and strong. he thought to himself. He wanted to catch up with them quickly, hopefully before they stopped to make camp.
Friday Fantasy - Tirashar's Story by Eric K. Schweer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at smalltownmountainboy.blogspot.com.
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