Release

Release

A Story by Eowyn Doyle
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Short high fantasy story Moved from Figment

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Chapter 1

Below you, a forest filled the land, stretching from one end of the valley to the other. Cliffs ring the valley, their peaks shrouded in clouds and mist. Floating on the breeze, you watch a large, brown hawk swoop by, its sharp talons tightly gripping a dead squirrel as the hawk carried it back to its nest.

Footsteps, the sound of boots crunching on snow echo through the trees. Interested, you float downwards. A young woman with pale skin and long black hair braided almost to her waist stepped into view. She is clothed in silver and black furs over a grey tunic and has a long knife strapped to her thigh. Following the trail, she jumps over a fallen log. In the distance, the sun begins to set beyond the snow-capped mountains in the west. The woman called out in a strange language, one that you don't understand. She sounded…scared.

The snowy forest around her grew heavy with shadows as the light fades into the west. The woman begins to run. Swooping downwards. Soaring just above the tallest branches of the trees, you follow her.

 The path she follows winds haphazardly through the trees and boulders. It leads her out into a small clearing. The clearing was ringed on three sides by steep cliffs, reaching up into the darkening sky. Pounding down a cliff face to your right, a waterfall pours down from above, spilling into a small lake. 

She cries out in what sounds like joy as she spots a small hut, nestled in one corner of the clearing against the cliff. Reaching the hut, she pulls open the door, stiff and warped by wind, rain, and time.

You follow her inside. The small space inside holds a bed, a chair, a desk, and an empty fireplace carved out of the cliff that made the far wall of the hut. In the wall of the building was a small window through which the final light of the day streamed. You watch silently from a dark corner as she explores the contents of the room. When it becomes too dark to see, she curls up on the bed, mumbling softly to herself.

Will she be the one? You wonder to yourself, gazing out the window. The stars shine brightly down upon the forest and the cabin, tiny pinpricks of light in the dark, cloudless heavens. You sigh, gazing longingly up at them. Memories, dulled and faded by the ravages of time, fill your mind. Memories of your past, soaring through the stars, free and unchained to this world.

 


 

Chapter 2

Time passes, minutes feeling like hours and hours an eternity. The stars finally fade away and light returns to the world.

The woman, seeming to have only gotten a bit of rest from her sleep, rises from the bed and exits the hut. You follow her as she wanders the snowy clearing. The sky today is bright, sun glinting off the white snow.

She sits for a while in the snow at the edge of the small lake of mountain water. The woman holds her head in her hands and makes short, muffled, hiccuping noises. After an hour, she gets up, her face wet and eyes red.

Splashing her face with icy mountain water, the woman stands, stretching. She walks back to the hut and continues exploring it. You stand in a corner, watching with interest.

Getting on her knees, she looks under the bed. She gasps with delight as she sees something. Reaching underneath, she pulls out a long, curved, cloth-wrapped object, covered in dust. Carefully unwrapping it, she cries out in joy as a dark brown hunting bow is revealed.

Moving to look over her shoulder, you get a better view of the unstrung bow. It looks well made, with carved strands of ivy curling around it. Setting it off to the side, she reaches back underneath and pulls out a leather quiver, stiff and dry from age, coated in dust. A dozen arrows stick out the opening, and a string with a loop at each end hangs out. 

She slowly strings the bow, careful so she doesn't accidentally break it. Moving away black hair that has escaped her braid and fallen into her face, she stands, pulling lightly on the string. Reaching back down, she picks up the quiver, slinging it over her shoulder. She walks out the door, and you slip out behind her before it closes

 Now in the sunlit clearing, you let yourself rise above the snow-covered ground. The wind ruffles your hair as you watch as she passes the lake and heads into the woods.

Three hours later, she returns. She drags a small deer through the snow back to the hut, bow and quiver slung over one shoulder. You are a bit surprised, but not by much. She had looked like a hunter by her stance and by how excited she was to find the bow. 

Running back inside, you watch in amusement as she quickly searches the cabin for something. Pulling open the desk drawer, she grins in accomplishment. Grabbing the flint and steel out of the drawer, she goes and kneels in front of the fireplace. 

Re-stacking the old, dry logs, she runs back outside, into the forest. Ten minutes later, she dashes back across the clearing and into the hut, a handful of kindling clutched triumphantly in her hand. Arranging the kindling, she begins to use the flint and steel. On the fourth try, a spark lands on one of the dry leaves she is using for kindling and begins to smolder.

The woman gently blows on it, and a tiny flame pops up and starts to burn the leaf. Soon, the rest of the kindling is burning. She waits and watches until she is sure the fire won't go out and heads back outside to the corpse of the deer. 

You watch and sit on top of the roof as she spends a good bit of the day cleaning the deer, its red blood staining the snow. Cutting off a part of one of the haunches, she heads back inside with it. A few minutes later, she exits the hut, bed-sheet in hand.

Cutting up the deer corpse, she wraps the pieces in the bed sheet and ties it up with a long rope she must have found inside. Floating down from the roof, you soar after her into the forest. Locating a tall tree with a long branch that reaches over part of the trail, she throws the now blood-soaked sack of deer over her shoulder and lugs it up the trunk of the tree. 

Reaching the tree limb, she carefully climbs out onto it and tie it off so it swings in the space between the trees, above the ground and below the tree limb. A smile of accomplishment on her face, she climbs back down and runs back to the hut, you flying after her. 

Back inside the hut, she tends the hot, cheery fire and the haunch roasting above it on a spit. Hours later, as the sky begins to darken, the haunch is ready. Its rich, juicy, meaty aroma fills the cabin as she cuts into it, devouring a quarter of it.

She wraps up the rest in a spare piece of bed-sheet and goes to bed, a contented smile remaining on her face as she drifts off into a peaceful sleep. 

 


 

Chapter 3

Today is dark and storm-like as the woman paces the clearing after a small breakfast of left-over deer. A puzzled, determined look is plastered on her face and she mumbles to herself as she walks.

Passing the lake, she pauses, noticing something she hadn't seen yesterday. Yesterday the sun was glinting off the lake, making it hard to stare at without being blinded, but not today. Today she spots a dark shape in the cliff face, just beneath the water. Curious, she steps the the water's edge, but still she can't make out what it was, but you do. Your heart beats a bit quicker and a small smile tugs at the corner of your mouth. 

Stripping down to a layer of just a tunic and pants, the woman dives into the lake, and you follow her beneath the surface. The water is freezing, it is winter after all, but it doesn't bother you. Goosebumps pop up on the woman's skin and her long black hair swirls around her face as she swims to the other side of the lake. A dark cave in the cliff face comes into view. 

Returning to the surface for a quick breath, she dives back down and swims into the cave. Under the water in the cave, light filters down from above. You both swim to the surface and she gasps at the sight of it. A large cavern surrounds you and thousands of glowworms adorn the ceiling and walls, filling it with a pale, green light. 

Swimming over to a pebble beach, the woman pulls herself out of the water, shivering. You float up out of the water, not wet in the slightest. Dripping on the small stones beneath her feet, she stumbles up the beach, still looking around in wonder. Her foot catches on a dark shape a ways up the beach, but she quickly regains her balance. Bending down, she picks up the shape and it unfurls into a rough, grey robe. 

Sighing with pleasure, she slides on the robe and continues up the beach to the entrance to a tunnel. You float above her, smiling in the green glow. The woman continues up the beach until she reaches an entrance to a tunnel. Cautiously, she enters the tunnel, eyes wide and muscles coiled in case she runs into any hostile beings. 

More glowworms light the way through the long, narrow, winding tunnel. Several times she was met with a crossroad, where another tunnel crossed this one, but she continued along the main one. Several times she stopped and looked back the way she had come, but each time she looked ahead and kept moving, propelled forwards by curiosity and determination. 

Finally, she stepped from the tunnel into a large cavern, lit also by thousands of glowworms. Stalactites and Stalagmites grew upwards from the rocky floor and down from the towering ceiling far above. Some had even joined together to create massive pillars that were scattered across the room. A bright green light emanates from the center of the room, to which both you and the woman are drawn. 

Rounding, a ginormous pillar, you see it and a sense of familiarity and longing rushes through you. At the center of a circle of craggy pillars was another pillar, different than the rest. It was formed entirely out of the purest diamond, as clear as glass. It wasn't solid gold, but was like a mural. Streams of gold ran between each piece of diamond. The gold threaded pillar reflected and refracted the light of the glowworms making it glow forest green. Encased within the shining pillar at about head level is a small, golden box. 

All around the pillar lay dozens of skeletons, scraps of cloth still clinging to the white bones, rusted and rotted tools still clutched in their hands. In a trance-like state, seemingly untroubled by the surrounding skeletons, the woman strides forward, eyes never leaving the gold box.

Reaching out her hand, she touches the pillar and circles it, her neither hand nor eyes drifting away from it. On the opposite side of the pillar, there is a flaw in the pillar. A vein of gold has been chipped and pounded at and the hole in the pillar nearly reached the box.. 

Bending down, the entranced woman seizes a pickax, its blade half covered in rust and the wood of its handle starting to rot and begins to pound the hole with it. The pick does little damage and soon splinters under the force of the strokes. You watch, a feeling of hope rising in you as she grabs another pick and continues her work.

After several hours, the woman tires and exits the cave, leaving you behind. You stay, gazing hungrily at the gold box. If you could just reach it... If you were just able to open the box, you would be free! Free from this prison! Free to return home to your home among the stars! But you must wait and hope til the woman returned.

Chaper 4

The next day, she returns. Hours turn into days and days into weeks as she works, chipping at the diamond. 

Finally, the pick breaks through the worn stream of gold. The woman cries out in delight, but it soon turns into a cry of fear. The cavern begins to shake, loose rocks skittering and falling to the ground with resounding crashes. A great crrrrackkk! echoes through the cavern as the diamond pillar splits in two and promptly shatters.

The woman falls to the ground, curling into a ball and covering her head with her arms. The shards of diamond rain down around her, but none hit her. After a minute, the rumbling stops and peace returns to the world. 

Peering out from under her arms, the woman sits up. Before her rest the gold box. Tentatively, she stretches out a hand and lightly touches it.

A shiver runs through your body as she picks up the box. The box, formed out of purest gold ore, weighs heavily in her hand as she sets it on her lap. Open it! You come down beside her. Anticipation floods you, as if you were about to explode from excitement. Open it, now!

Shaking slightly, she pulls open the lid. Darkness floods outwards from the box. The woman shrieks and throws it away from her as you dive into the dark cloud swirling upwards from the gold box. Your memories and power come rushing back as you bath in the darkness.

You soar through the sky, fleeing your enraged brethren. You had given the human a gift. A gift of mortality; a gift of death. This was not supposed to be so; the humans were meant to live forever beside you and your brethren. 

Diving, you cast a cloak of darkness around you as you enter a valley, ringed with mountains that tore at the sky. A dagger of light pierces the cloak as Kadirian, your oldest brother, tears away your disguise and throws you against one of the mighty cliffs. "Why did you do this? Why did you give them death?" He shouts at you as the other circle around.

Cold, angry eyes meet yours as you glance around pleadingly. "I was helping them! It was for their own good!" You plead, heart sinking and fear curling in your chest. "Please listen to me!"

"No." Kadirian replies, his tone as cold as ice. "What you have done can't be undone, and so can't be forgiven. You will be exiled, stripped of your powers and imprisoned here, in this valley."

"No! Please, no!" You shout, but it is to late. Your powers are torn from you and you fall to the ground. "Please! Don't do this!"

"I am sorry," Kadirian says, turning away from you. "But you brought this upon yourself." He leaves, soaring high into the sky after the rest of your brethren, leaving you imprisoned upon the earth. 

The memory of your betrayal at the hand of your brethren fades as your regained powers restore your to your original self.

I am free! You soar up through the mountain and rush upwards, out into the moonlight. A dark tendril of repressed hatred curls around your heart as you fly up through the atmosphere. Millennia you had been imprisoned, waiting to be released. Every so often, you had been able to store up enough power to bring a human into your prison in the hope that they may free you. Now that you are free, it is time to exact your revenge. 

A cruel, twisted smile splits your face as you cast a cloak of pure darkness around you. Your brethren had surely felt your return to power. They would soon come, but you would be ready for them. 

Far below you, the woman pulls herself up along the dark beach. Once you were finished dealing with your brethren, you would reward her. Reward her for her service; reward her for her role in your release.


© 2017 Eowyn Doyle



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Added on October 4, 2017
Last Updated on October 4, 2017
Tags: high fantasy, power, short story, moved from figment, adventure, snow, mountains, forest

Author

Eowyn Doyle
Eowyn Doyle

Dawnnia City-dome, Mars



About
Current favorite book: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card I enjoy fantasy, horror, science fiction, and dystopian stories. I dislike plain romance but don't mind it if it is subtle and part of a larg.. more..

Writing
Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Eowyn Doyle


Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by Eowyn Doyle