The Last PagesA Story by Bruce Grimes
The Last Pages
With a sudden flash of light an aging blonde elf appeared in the mud filled street of Jettan. She looked around for a moment and wondered how this wretched fly speck on the map could have ever acquired the status of a city; with its Saud huts and wooden shacks. As the down pouring rain started to drench her clothing her eyes came to rest on what appeared to be the only sturdy building on the city's one street; it was a well-built log cabin. This was an oddity in itself considering there wasn’t a tree within 40 miles. Just as she started wading through the ankle-deep mud, dragging her robes through the muck making her way towards the boardwalk. The door abruptly swung open and out came stumbling a drunk; falling to his hands and knees in front of her he promptly spewed vomit in all directions.
“What are you looking at?” The man asked as he rollover and passed out. Glancing up at the sign above the door that read; Pub of the Chilled Brew.
“This looks like the place,” she said in a soft voice as she walked on past the drunk and inside the pub; stopping at the door to stomp her feet to remove the muck from the Street.
Slowly she scanned the room taking in everything that was there. There were two patrons watching her curiously from the corner off to her left. There were three long tables that ran down the middle of the room with their benches polished smooth from years of use. A huge stone fireplace that set in the center of the sidewall and a long curved bar that ran the length of the opposite side of the room. A large portly man stood behind the bars polishing it as he watched the blonde elf. With the wave of her hand the door shut behind her as she walked over to the bar tender. The portly man vigorously started scrubbing at a nonexistent spot on the bar.
“Do you know who I am?” The elf woman asked in a soft voice as she started tracing the grain of the wooden bar. Nervously the bartender stopped scrubbing, and looked up at her
“Yes, I knows who you are. I sees you once, years ago during the war. You're the Gatekeeper,” The man said with a fearful look in his eyes.
“In weeks past there was an old woman here that never left. I wish to know what became of her body and her belongings,” The blonde elf said as she looked up from the bar top at the man's eyes.
“Yes, yes, well I buried her just down the side of the hill. I still have her sword and boots and there was a ring but that was everything of value,” the man said with an almost painful look at the thought of having to give up these items.
“The sword, I want back, it will need to be returned to her covenant. There should have been a book as well. A journal of sorts"",” The elf said as she looked at the man intently. Suddenly the man's eyes got wide and his whole body started to shake with fear.
“No, like I said already; I don't know anything about no spell books!” He said raising his voice as he backed away from the bar. Seeing this she turned to see the two in the corner, standing and moving towards her.
“Well I see Shamonah's old enemies are still three steps to slow, even when she's dead,” the blonde elf said as she cracked her knuckles.
“Who might you be to say such a thing about us?” One of the men asked as he moved over by the bar.
“I am Nattalass the Gatekeeper,” She said dropping her hands to her sides as they became encompassed by red glowing orbs of energy. The two young mages glanced at each other and then both casts at the same time. Small balls of energy shot out from their hands streaking towards Nattalass, hitting her square in the chest. A Ruby amulet she was wearing suddenly sparked and glowed a bright blue for a moment before fading.
“Nice try boys,” Nattalass said as she made a motion like she was throwing something at the young mages standing next to the bar. He was suddenly lifted off the ground and slammed back against the wall next to the door and then he just hung there slumped over what appeared to be a spear of force energy sticking through him. His partner looked at him hanging there with a stunned look on his face as Nattalass quickly cast another spell thrusting her hand out towards the mage. A large hand of force appeared in front of her shooting towards him and grabbing the young mage, lifting him off the ground and carrying him over to where Nattalass was standing.
“I'm going to ask you some questions and you will answer, or I’ll snap your spine like a twig! You understand that right?” Nattalass said as she stood there looking up at the young mage with her cold gray eyes.
“I won't, ow ow!” He said as the hand of force squeezed him “I can't talk he'll kill me! Ahh""!” He screamed as the hand squeezed.
“What do you think I'll do if you don't? Who do you work for and what are you after?” Nattalass ask as she pulled up a stool from the bar and sat down.
“I can't"" Ahh,” screamed the mage as blood started appearing around the edges of his mouth. “All right, I work” cough “for Dranreb"",” cough “he sent us to retrieve” cough “the spell book of the Demon Witch.” The young mage said gasping for breath as he spat some blood from his mouth.
“I take it you did not find her spell book, or else you would have left by now,” Nattalass said as she sat there on the stool.
“No it was not"",” cough “among her stuff. We were going” cough “to search the grave” cough “but you came,” The young mage said as blood ran down his chin.
“Dranreb you say, okay I will deal with him later. As for you"",” Nattalass said as she clenched her fists, suddenly the young mage screamed as the hand of force squeezed, crushing him in an instant. She sat there for a moment looking at the two young mages, whom had just failed at their quest. With the utterance of a single word the force spells vanished and the bodies of the young mages dropped to the ground. Nattalass turned around to face the bartender, who was standing there overcome with fear.
“Give me a whiskey and let's talk about the book you found with the old witch,” Nattalass said as she scooted the stool up close to the bar.
The bartender stood there for a moment still frozen with fear from what he had just seen. Slowly he moved over behind the bar, picking up the decanter and a glass he turned and pored the glass half-full, sitting it down in front of Nattalass. “I told you she had no spell book with her,” The portly man said as he clasped one hand over the others to stop it from physically shaking.
“I never said it was a spell book, I said it was a journal. I think you know what I'm talking about; I think you know exactly what I'm talking about, why else would you be so scared?” Nattalass said as she took a deep pull on her glass of whiskey. “So quit denying that you have it and let's start talking about what it's going to take for you to give it to me. I'll let you keep her boots and her ring, both of which are magical. So how much more is it going to take for me to get her journal?” Nattalass said as she pointed to her glass for the bartender to refill it.
“Well I did find"" a journal of some sort, but I can't read so I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for.” The bartender said as his shaking hand poured more whiskey into her glass.
“So what is it going to take for you to turn that book over to me?” Nattalass ask as she picked up the glass and drank some.
“That is a real pretty amulet you have on their, I think that would do the job nicely,” The bartender said as he went to pour some more whiskey into Nattalass’ glass. Raising an eyebrow at the bartender, she thought about his price for a moment; then she reached up and unhooked the clasp from around her neck and sat the amulet down on the bar.
“There I have paid your price now give me the book bartender,” Nattalass said as she slid the Ruby amulet a crossed to the bartender.
“I have it tucked way back here in the back,” The bartender said as he motioned for Nattalass to follow him. He led Nattalass into a back room at the end of the bar, where he slipped a crate to one side. Kneeling down he slid his finger into a knot hole in one of the boards, pulling it up to reveal a small compartment underneath the floor. Inside there was an assortment of things, one of which was a thin leather bound book. “Is this what you're looking for, my lady?” Pulling it out, he handed it to Nattalass.
“Yes that is Shamonah's Journal, thank you,” Nattalass said as she took the Journal, she turned to leave the room opening it’s to check and make sure it was what she was after. Taking up her stool again, she started reading through the Journal.
Nattalass sat there for most of the day reading through the daily entries of her old friend’s life. It talked of many things from the tragedy with her family that changed her life so greatly and of the strange and wondrous associations with the Pedrick Witches; and her everlasting loyalty to King Raylanty. Last but not least it spoke of her one true love Kallander and how she missed him. On the final page Nattalass found a note that was addressed to her.
Nattalass my dear friend, I feel that I will not last the day. My life is coming to an end at last in this drab and dreary place. I leave my life’s work to you, it is all here. You are the last of us; we have all been taken by war or by age, it is down to you now. The spells are hidden away on energy pages. The command word to reveal them; is that of my son's middle name. I leave this to you my most favorite friend for I am done here. I am old and I'm tired, and I miss Kallander so, so much. I could have lived forever but I found that after the loss of Kallander; life had less meaning with each passing day and now I’m to the point that I welcome death. So do not morn for me my friend for I shall see you after; and we will all have grand adventures again.
It was signed at the bottom (Shamonah BloodRaven). The tear ran down Nattalass face as she read this. She looked up at the bartender.
“How did she die,” Nattalass asks as she picked up the glass and drank some more of the whiskey.
“She was sitting at the table there and she slumped over. I thought she'd want to sleep. When I tried to wake her a few hours later she fell out of the chair, it wasn't until then that I realized she was dead,” The bartender said as he started to pour some more whiskey into the glass.
“No I am done here, thank you for your help,” Nattalass said as she picked up the spell book and Shamonah’s sword and walked out of the pub. The drunk was just starting to wake up and Nattalass tossed him a platinum piece as she stepped out into the street. Nattalass stood there looking around for a moment when suddenly it dawned on her; Shamonah had chosen this place die on purpose. Because it suited the way she lived. Then with a slight smile and bright flash, Nattalass was gone just as quickly as she had come. The drunk picking up the platinum piece and immediately turned to go into the pub.
“I need a drink,” he said. Then suddenly he got wide eyed as he saw the bodies lying on the floor.
“Maybe later,” he said as he abruptly turned and stumbled off down the boardwalk.
© 2013 Bruce Grimes
Added on December 4, 2011
Last Updated on March 25, 2013
AboutI had a rather unique childhood to say the least. This and the firm belief that I had a angel watching over me; made it to where I lead a rather eccentric young life. It also contributed greatly to my.. more..
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