Rough start to a short story

Rough start to a short story

A Story by Jay Ghar
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Am I on the right track?

"
   The smell of an rejuvenated forest was the only pleasant thing about all the rain. It had stopped hours ago but large drops continued to drip from the leaves above. Sounds of the drops splattering the ground blended with the sounds of hooves. It was wet and chilly and Elm sat on the back a small pony huddled under his damp, wool cloak. Jostling of the little horse made reading near impossible, even so he was hunched over a book to protect it from the drops of water. He hated the aches and pains of riding and walked when he could but keeping up with the others on their horses wasn't always possible.

   Elm wanted, dreamed, to be a master of the arcane but he wasn’t even an apprentice. He had spent most of his life reading and studying on his own, unable to find a master to train him. All he was capable of was a few cantrips. He did have a familiar, something most young mages didn't have. Because either they are incapable or some guild apprentices aren't allowed to possess one. On cue something stirred within his robes and wiggled its way up until a furry head popped out of the top of his robe where it had been warm and dry. It was an eccentric little weasel that had no respect for personal space. It had taken him some time to find a creature weak enough for him to take as a familiar. The process is more of a ritual than a spell, requiring a certain amount of ability and will power but he had pulled it off and now they were inseparable. Although he often wondered if that was a good thing.

   They were nearing their destination and should arrive in time for supper. After three wet days on the road all he could think about was dry clothes, a hot meal, and a real bed. They had never discussed how long they would stay in Fostoria; he was hoping they weren't in a hurry because he was in no hurry to be back in the saddle. What brought them this way was a rumor of some villages being raided, mostly in the night. It’s those kinds of rumors that kept gold in their pockets. They show up as heroes, save the harried, and get paid.
His pony came to a sudden halt. Elm looked up from his book to see trees had fallen trees were blocking the road. The forester had already dismounted and was having a look. “Recently chopped…surrounding mud full of tracks, humanoid.” He concluded.

   “It's a trap.” Said Rowley.

   “Clearly.” Said Derek.

   “We can try clearing the road or turn around but we only have a few hours of light left.” Said Salomon.

   “Theres nothing behind us to run to.” Replied Otto.

   “Yes, but we could at least choose where to fight. Right now we’re on their terms, we stumbled into their plan.” Said Salomon.

   “Whose plan are we talking about?” Inquired the young mage.

   They all looked to Otto who was staring into the woods, still knelt near the tracks. “Goblins.”

   “Cannot be, since when are goblins smart enough to plan anything?” Said Salomon.

   “Its goblins and they're watching us.”

   In the fading light shadows were fluttering between the trees. One would have thought them merely tricks of the eye if it wasn't for the sound of forest floor crunching under foot. They seemed to stay on the edge of the twilight, following the night as it closed in around them. Never has Elm wanted to hold on to the last bit of daylight so dearly. It terrified him. 

   “Try to keep our backs to each other and talk, whistle, make some kind of noise so we always know where everyone is!” Said Salomon.

   “We will remove as many as we can from this land before they take us!”

   “Take us?!” Cried, Elm.

   “Yes, Little Wizzer, prepare to defend yourself.” Warned Rowley.

   He reached a hand into his pocket and found a dried glow worm, withdrew it, closed his fist around it, and brought it to his lips and began muttering. The night swallowed them and the forest filled with howls that chilled Elm’s spine. The black forest erupted with a staccato of running feet.

   “Wizard! What in the Hell are you doing?! Make yourself useful!”

   He paid them no attention only continued to whisper into his fist. Light seemed to leak out of the seams of his clenched hand. The enemy was only feet away, and the warriors of the group were bracing themselves when the young mage tossed an object up into the air. It blasted away the dark with a bright white light and remained suspended above their heads.

   What skidded and stumbled to a stop, inches from their blades was goblins, shielding their eyes. With the glowing orb at their backs the party wasted not a moment and tore into their blinded foes.They dispatched the front line without a fight, leaving pieces of goblin littering the ground. The rest, had more time to react but the orb of light shone straight into their eyes and they only seen glints of steel before their dark goblin blood soaked into the soil.

   Elm could only watch. He wasn’t a fighter like them. He watched the twins fight with one always knowing where the other was and maybe even what each other was thinking. The brothers had trained together since they were whelps and because of that they fought like a clock works. Leading with his shield, Derek took a strong step forward into an opponent knocking it off balance then thrust his blade into the creatures gut, jerked it free and quickly stepped back into line. He seemed to do all this in one smooth motion. Rowley mimicked him, dropping a goblin of his own. Their personalities couldn't be any different but in battle they were one.

   Brom’s size gave him quite the reach and with his long axe the enemy struggled to get close enough. He had just removed a head from a goblin and his next swing bit into a shoulder of another and nearly cleaved it in two. 
The axe was hung-up and his attempt to pull it free only dragged the body with it. Stepping down on the corpse and with a two handed jerk the weapon came free along with chunks of meat and shards of bone.
 
   Dripping axe in hand he stood there daring another to get close enough. They wanted nothing to do with the human who was baring his teeth covered in the dark blood of their race, and snarling like a dire wolf. This was where Brom belonged.

   A deep growl came from the woods behind the score of goblins. The goblins became uneasy and backed off, maybe clearing the way for whatever made the noise. Something heavy was crunching through the woods, “I will wear your skin.” Came a harsh, deep voice. The forest went wild with shrieks and howls.
 
   What stepped into the glow was a monster of an orc, taller than Brom with amber colored eyes and lengthy course hair in braids. It wore thick hides and mismatched plates of steel for armor and wielded a large sword like a toy in the right hand and a black shield on its left arm. The armor and the chain of ears around its neck were both made of trophies of its kills.

   With his adrenalin-powered legs pumping and his axe raised he charged the brute. This is when Brom felt alive. But the ring of ears around the orc’s neck was proof of his experience and he already knew what the human would do. Brom‘s poised axe was up over his right shoulder ready to place all his strength into the swing. The orc was ready for him. With its stout shield ready to turn Brom’s axe aside and sword ready to remove his vulnerable head the orc took a few powerful bounds forward to meet the humans charge. Brom swung as predicted and the confident orc raised its shield and had then brought its neck seeking blade around. For a split second of confusion the orc wondered why the axe never connected with it shield and its blade only whistled through the air. Brom had stepped left and went low, under the orcs weapon and his own weapon connected at the orcs knee, severing it. The monster went down growling but before he could roll over Brom’s axe struck the back of its skull with a wet thwack, like striking a water logged stump. And the forest went silent.

   Under the glow of the orb floating above their heads they struggled to hold the line against the increasing number of goblins. Only the mage seen the goblins flanking them. His one and only combat spell wouldn't be enough against the score of them. He could at least try to buy them some time and grabbed a handful of charcoal dust with one hand and crushed mirror with the other than combined them into one hand. He ran forward a few steps and swept his hand in an arc, scattering the spell components while speaking one word and an curved wall of fire formed, higher than his pointy hat. This stopped the goblins in their tracks. The heat-less illusion would only buy him a few seconds. He scooped up his poor, ignorant weasel, hit him with a dash of powdered mirror and threw him through the fire towards the enemy. What appeared on the other side of the fire was not a snuggly little weasel but what looked like a three-hundred pound snarling weasel. The goblins lost their nerve. All but one took a step back. The bravest of them raised his battered shield and readied his rusted, jagged sword. The enlarged weasel still moved with the speed of its standard self and lunged causing the goblin to panic and swing wildly but the weasel avoided the blade. The others found some gall and flanked the giant weasel, some taking half-hearted swings or thrusts but always missing.

   Elm took advantage of the distraction and frantically thrust his hands into every pouch and pocket on his person until he found the (etched?) glass beads. Four was all he had, and those were scarce enough. After saying the necessary words he threw the glass beads. As soon as they left his hand, they took on a blue hue and zipped towards the goblins. The little orbs never missed and four goblins, lay writhing in the dirt with a smoking wound in each.

   The weasel monster could no longer contain itself and leaped onto a goblin but instead of taking it to the ground with its size the illusion failed as soon as it came in contact with its foe. The weasels courage was still giant sized, and it clung to the goblins face, clawing and biting with its needle teeth. Its victim dropped its weapon to tear the weasel from its face and throw it aside. Its face was bleeding from dozens of little wounds and one eye was unusable. It snarled while retrieving its blade. It and the remaining goblins closed on him.

   The charade was up and he was out of tricks. Elm eyed the jagged blades held in ugly knotty fists. He knew he had no business being out here on some fantasy adventure but he thought he could rely on the others to keep him safe. His trembling hands clutched his staff. He closed his eyes and swung but without feeling his stave connect he heard a wet crack and when he opened his eyes, he found the goblin had a sword sunk into its skull. The remaining goblins were already fleeing except one who fell with an arrow in its back.
 
   Even though the rest of the night ended up being uneventful, no one could sleep despite taking turns keeping watch and come morning they were battered and exhausted. They were on the road before the sun had awoken, pushing the horses. The pace brought them to the outskirts of a village in a few hours. Farmers stopped what they were doing to stare at the rough-looking riders. They were tired, dirty, and wounded. Hell, they probably looked undead to them. 

© 2019 Jay Ghar


Author's Note

Jay Ghar
Just looking for some honest reviews. Wondering if I'm on the right track. I'm currently working on breaking it up into scenes to hep it mesh.

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I that this was an awesome story loved the battle and the characters how they came to life on the page. Loved the weasel. he was unexpected friend and enemy to watch out for... I would also add more paragraphs spaces to help the story breathe a bit more. this story has a lot of potential of becoming a novel. Please come by and check out my novels I need reviews badly

Posted 7 Months Ago


This has serious potential. Keep up the good work. This kind of reminded me of a scene Brandon Mull would write. Grammar might need some work, but overall-a great start.

Posted 8 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Kathryn Eddy

7 Months Ago

Please check out my works
Jay Ghar

7 Months Ago

Of course I will
Kathryn Eddy

7 Months Ago

😉good luck with your story

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Added on February 9, 2019
Last Updated on February 15, 2019

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