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Chapter 8

Jon Wood Posted:
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Editor's Introduction: After a long hiatus, we bring you another chapter of Jon Wood's Neverdie. This is an original work of fantasy fiction and is not set in an MMORPG world. Today, we bring you chapter eight. If you're just getting started, or if you need a refresher, you can go back and catch up:

"Neverdie" (Chapter 8), an original fantasy story by Jon Wood

Rowan stirred back to consciousness slowly. Her head ached, and her arms and legs steadfastly refused to obey her commands, instead, remaining still and unmoving on the bed that she was laying in. She tried to speak, just a word to let someone know that she was awake, but it seemed as though her vocal chords were as traitorous as her limbs. Slowly, the one thing she had left, her faint sliver of consciousness, slipped away, and she returned to the darkness that had covering her since her battle with the insect-beast.

For Ash, the last two days had been both relieving, and extremely frustrating. When he had come across the scene of Rowan’s climactic battle, he had been both shocked and confused. What had been left of the “creature” was enough to tell the well-trained knight that whatever it was, it wasn’t a beast that was native to the area, or indeed to their own reality. His devout nature allowed him to identify the beast immediately as having come from the Hells. The thought, and the connotations, had sent chills down his spine. Ash had hoped that the small sage had been referring to the villagers when he warned that the elven woman was in danger. Instead, the appearance of this creature tells him that the danger is not only larger, but that it effects everyone.

It was as the Knight was contemplating his danger, that he learned that he was not alone in the small clearing. He wasn’t alerted to the new danger until he saw the feathered arrow that had embedded itself into the ground just in front of his feet. Looking up into the treeline, he saw that he was indeed surrounded. Nearly a dozen elven faces had stared down at him. He had stood straight, knowing that, with the reputation of elven archers, if they had been trying to kill him, he would be laying in the grass. No, this shot was meant as a warning. He had no choice but to heed that warning.

Sure enough, as he stood, arms out to the sides in a gesture of surrender, a single elf strode out of the treeline. This elf was larger than any other that he had ever met. Around his waist, he wore a large sword. His body was covered in a shimmering suit of the chainmail armor for which his people were famous. None of that gave the young Knight pause. He had seen beautiful equipment before, it was the look in the elf’s dark eyes that made the hair stand up on the back of Ash’s neck.

“Do not move, and we will not end your life.” The elf said, his voice grating as he spoke the broken common tongue.

“The woman, she’s hurt. I can help her,” Ash had said, gesturing toward the fallen elf maid. The large elf whirled back around on him, and moved in close to the Knight. Even Ash had to admit that the mere sight of this man was intimidating, with his tall stature, dangerous-looking sward and coal-black hair.

“We are here for her, Human. We take care of our own.” The elf then turned and barked something in the elven tongue into the treeline. From the trees, emerged three more elves. Two, were dressed in a similar fashion to their larger counterpart. Ash assumed that it was some kind of uniform, much like his own. The third of the figures, however, was different. He was shorter that the first, but still stood markedly above the others. His hair was a vibrant blonde color that reminded Ash of the sun. Rather than the fine, steel swords carried by the others, this man carried only a knotted, wooden staff. Replacing the chainmail suits were long, flowing white robes, trimmed in a deep, forest green.

The robed figure replied to the behemoth elf in their own language, with which Ash was not familiar. He was fairly sure though, from what he could tell, that the tall and imposing elf’s name was Taith. Ash watched as the blonde elf knelt beside Rowan’s prone form, and placed a hand on her forehead. There was a bright flash of light, and when the Knight’s eyes adjusted once more, he saw that while the woman’s injuries remained, her breathing had become more regular, and if he was not entirely mistaking, her face seemed more relaxed, and less in pain than it had a moment before. The blonde elf was most certainly a cleric, and judging by the potency of the spell, one that was in the highest favor of his God.

Satisfied that his magic had accomplished all that it could for the young woman, the elf-priest started to move toward the captured Knight. The cry of one of the other elves seemed to distract the priest, as he shouted a command to Ash’s captor, and dashed off into the woods. The last thing that he saw before he was blindfolded and led roughly away, was another bright flash of light, very similar to the first.

So far, it had been two days since Ash had seen another face. He had been led on quite the trip by the elves. A trip that, because he was certain that magic had been used, Ash had no way of knowing the distance or direction of. When the journey had ended, the behemoth-elf known as Taith had placed him in this room and instructed him that he was not, under any circumstances, to attempt to leave. He had, of course, immediately tried to escape, but found that the door, which appeared to be wooden and rather fragile, was as strong as any metal that he had ever known. He was fed, twice a day, but that was all. He was beginning to grow restless with unanswered questions. Where was he? Who were these elves? And most importantly, what had become of Rowan?

Finally, as Ash’s frustrations were reaching a peak, the door swung open. The human warrior braced himself to attack. He had expected to see the face of Taith staring in at him. He had already decided that he would attempt to escape, and if he had to go through the enormous elf to do so, then that would be what was done. What he hadn’t been expecting to see was the kinder, softer face of the blonde priest.

“Greetings, Knight of Rah,” The priest spoke, smiling. “I apologize for the length of your wait, but we have been quite busy, and my security advisor insisted that you be detained until things could be properly explained to you.”

“I see…” Ash replied, not knowing what else to say.

“My name is Rondar Tallfelter. I am the High Priest of Oberon, and you are a guest in my Temple.” Even Ash with his limited knowledge of the elves knew that if this man were indeed the high priest of the elven god, Oberon, was located deep at the heart of the Forests of Oberon. Whatever had happened it seemed as though the couple’s, Ash’s and Rowan’s, trip was at a surprising and sudden end. Rowan had reached her homeland.

You can commet on this chapter here.


Jon Wood