Ending Eternity

Ending Eternity

A Chapter by KibaxChan

The midnight air was warm, the insects made the night come to life; the forest was buzzing. The wizard was dreaming. Far below the stars, a swirling mass of stone and leaves, an ethereal forest was painted in his mind. Muhlsaan often dreamt of this place, though he had never visited this particular locale in the waking world. He was gliding through the night, tree after tree passing by. His focus was drawn to the forest floor where he saw lights gently glowing. At first he believed these lights to be pollen or possibly glowing insects but as he drew closer he saw them to be people, strange misshapen people; the likes of which he had never seen before. He recalled instantly in his slumber the tales of forest sprites and beast men of the forest and how they were to be feared. He felt no darkness from these creatures, to the contrary he felt a... comfort? He felt something he had long forgotten, a sense of home or of belonging. He felt a draw to the lights dancing below him in beautiful rhythm, an unintended yet gorgeous rhythm flowing in a symbiosis with the local plantlife. He knew these were the creatures he had heard of and he knew somewhere deep inside the stories were all wrong.


Muhlsaan had lost himself in the beauty of this forest and had forgotten the passage of time, the strongest urge to stay; remain in the forest forever compelled him to focus harder on the lights. The peace was short-lived and his focus was broken by a dark energy approaching, a malaise and sorrow had begun to pass through the forest and the lights began to dim. He saw the source of the darkness though he could scarcely believe his eyes- it was the nameless one and he was injured.


The dreaming wizard could see the boy was injured, gravely. He was clutching his eye and trailing erratically through the forest calling out a name the spellcaster couldn't quite hear or understand. Muhlsaan followed, unseen- the Felecetii appeared to be a phantom. They were in separate realms at the very least and the feline was too preoccupied to notice either way. In a moment of lucidity he wondered if he was viewing the past, the cat was clutching the side of his face that bore his vacant eye socket, though fresh blood trickled down. Something was peculiar about the blood as well, it was glowing a peculiar hue, a color very similar to that of the spirits of the forest. From the droplets of blood that had trailed down the path, life thus sprang. The grass grew thicker and coursed with energy and life. The wizard was torn from his dreams and from the forest as if he took flight unwillingly. He longed to stay in the forest, to understand further the meaning of his visions but he was plucked away into the night sky and was thrust back into the waking world. As he awoke a name passed from his lips and a question grew in his mind. Who was Ellie?


The Felecetii, who slept curled up on the wooden floor of the hut, hadn't awoken yet. He was breathing erratically, his leg twitched in his sleep. He mumbled, incoherently. Suddenly, he was shocked out of his nightmare. He sat up on the floorboards abruptly, inhaling a deep breath of air, and he reached immediately for his injured eye. The one that shouldn't have an organ in it's socket. He seemed to calm down as he glanced around and he realized where he was. Once again, it was the wizard's floor. He wasn't in the tavern, he wasn't stumbling around in the woods during the darkest of hours, he was... whatever this place was to him. It was in the morning. The sun shone in, coming up over the horizon.


He did glance at the wizard, but first, his eyes swept to gaze out of the window. He remembered it all too clearly and, everywhere, it haunted him. The nightmares left him feeling as drained as he could possibly feel after sleep. But it was bittersweet, only because he remembered her. Ellie.


He hadn't spoken to Ellie in years, he didn't know if he could even find the hut if he tried; when that was where he spent most of his time during his childhood. They drifted apart a time ago, a while after the nameless one lost his eye. She healed him that night, kept him awake, kept him alive. She had used a potion of sorts, a concoction of whatever berries and various things the Nymphs of the Forest used. He remembered her face as she smiled at him, the way her beauty captivated all who were fortunate enough to gaze upon her.


He allowed himself this moment before he turned to look at the wizard, who was surely looking at him. He was.


“What?” The nameless one asked, somewhat defensively.


“You were tossing in your sleep, dreaming I see? I've always been a dreamer, myself...” Muhlsaan said, his eyes focused on the boy's. “I dreamed of a forest, much like this one. Very pleasant, very mysterious. I saw you there, boy. I think you know which forest I'm speaking of, I don't receive these dreams pointlessly. I would very much like to see this place for myself, care to share?” Muhlsaan didn't intend to take no for an answer and his tone, while friendly, belied intent.


He would find these woods, powerful magics would be found there and he was drawn like a moth to flame. His dreams showed him his next steps, now to ensure he could get there; he needed directions, or a map, but he had the next best thing. He had the boy. The next step would be to extract the information. “In this place I saw lights crawling on the soil and plantlife like bugs. Or light coursing through the trees like blood through my veins. You were there, quite injured by the looks of it. The forest sang to me and gave me a name...” He paused, “Who is Ellie? I must meet her.”


His breath caught in his throat. He almost choked, he'd been in the throes of the nightmare of which Muhlsaan spoke. He didn't know how it happened, he didn't see the wizard there. But it seemed that he didn't know either. They were both in the dark. There had to be a reason, didn't there? Perhaps it was Ellie, calling them to her. Perhaps it was something else with power beyond imagination. All he knew was that it had something to do with the enigmatic orb in his eye socket. 


The Felecetii weighed his options for a moment. He could bring Muhlsaan to Ellie and endanger her, though he knew she could fend for herself. On the other hand, he could withhold the information and throw off whatever power wished them both to Ellie's hut. The choice was obvious.


“Yes, I was dreaming...” He began as he sat on the wizard's floor, his snowy tail twitching as he spoke. His crimson eyes bore into Muhlsaan's with a heat, a warning. The nameless one shared this information begrudgingly, feeling the pointless need to protect the Nymph, “I was in the nightmare you're speaking. I do know the forest, but to be honest, I haven't seen Ellie in half a century. Around the time I lost my eye. She's a Nymph of the Forest... which even you should be wary around, old man. I can take you to her, I think. Though we may be a bit directionless.”


The cat-man rose from the floor and pulled his hood over his head. His scarlet orbs glowing in the shadow that fell over his face, he glared from underneath the cloth at the mystic. “I will warn you once again, Muhlsaan. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”


“A forest nymph? I would very much like to meet her. If I recall correctly they live in some of the most dangerous forests. I know the humans believe they lure men into the forest with their incredible beauty, only to feast on their bones as soon as they let their guard down.” Muhlsaan paused, "Maybe they just have a taste for human flesh, why else would she tend your wounds?"


“Those stories might be true, I wouldn't know. As you said, I'm not a human--thankfully. I may be a shunned mutant but I'm still a Felecetii, and that's leagues above a human...” the boy said hastily, forgetting his present company was a human, or was he? No one could be sure with sorcerers, especially old ones like him. He had heard stories of sorcerers and they were always wicked shapeshifters and enchanters. Maybe he had taken on this form to appear inconspicuous? Harmless?


Humans weren't in high regard these days and hadn't been for some time. After facing self-imposed extinction the humans that were left as no more than tribals or roving nomads. The human mage stood out, but wasn't imposing in the slightest. He had the appearance of an old man for the most part, an old man with a neatly trimmed goatee of hair. Flowing, salt-and-pepper hair hung down to his back though it was often hidden behind the wizards cowl. Not imposing. His eyes were even... friendly almost, they were a welcoming blue; not cold, but inviting. Maybe that was the purpose, to appear as non-threatening as possible. It was working. If he hadn't been exposed to Muhlsaan's power, he'd have underestimated him. He never would again.


“Come, let's get going before we're stuck on the road during night time. Wouldn't want a nymph chewing on your bones, now would we?” The ivory feline regarded Muhlsaan with suspicion this time, attempting to subtly hint at his musings.


“They wouldn't want my old bones anyway.” Muhlsaan dismissed the cat and began to prepare for the journey. The Felecetii watched him for a moment before he stepped outside of the hut and took a look around. He recognized the path from his adventures when he was younger, when he'd leave the barn and travel all over the forest. Wherever his paws would take him, he would go. He was almost certain he knew how to reach Ellie, but what would happen when he finds her was another matter entirely. He took a deep breath in and turned his crimson eyes up to the sky.


He stood there for what seemed like an eternity before Muhlsaan emerged from his hut. He turned around to regard him, glancing up and down at the old wizard.


“Let's go.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *


There was a crack of lightning that boomed behind her as she ran, the electric tendrils nipping at her heels. She glanced behind her, her breath coming in a shudder that racked her ribcage. She didn't know where she was going, but her pursuers seemed to be guiding her through the forest. Wherever she hid within, they had sniffed her out. Her cerulean eyes were wide as the adrenaline pumped through her veins; she swung back around as she darted around trees. Over fallen logs and overgrown roots, around boulders and tree trunks. Everything was a blur.


She could hear their horses' hoofs pounding into the dirt as they chased her; it always seemed like they were a few tail-lengths behind her. She dared to glance back rarely, lest she let her guard down and trip up.


“ENOLA! YOU CAN'T RUN AND YOU CAN'T HIDE!” One of them screeched above the commotion cheerily, ensuring the fox-woman heard him. His face was concealed by his hood, as was his companion's. They were cackling and jeering as they tailed her. “ENOLAAA! THEY'RE ALL DEAD!”


Enola ignored them, concentrating on fleeing, when she saw the road up ahead. Relief flooded her, she could follow it and enter the nearest town. They wouldn't kill her there, where the guard's had eyes. All she had to do was get there. Hide within the crowd for a few days and then set off on her own. She ran for it and, as soon as she came out onto the cobblestone, three more emerged from the woods on the other side. Their horses threw their heads, forcing air through their nostrils.


They had her surrounded. Enola's blood turned to ice in her veins and she froze. The fox glanced back to see if she had any chance of going back the way she came, but they were riding up to her as their hands crackled with the electricity coursing through their bodies. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Enola reached back, slowly, and drew her sword. There was no time for arrows, no time to draw her bow.


She held the sword in a vice grip as she lashed her three tails, her eyes an ice cold flurry, “If I'm going to die, I'm taking you with me.”


Laughter erupted from the gang who surrounded her. They began to close in; she lifted her sword a little higher.


“It's time for you to die, little fox. You've taught us much and we'll use it to bleed your kin for your betrayal, but your usefulness has reached it's end.” The leader spoke, his face concealed in shadow, as he perched on his midnight steed. “I knew I kept dreaming of you for a reason.”


Enola's face twitched, a low growl emitting from deep within her chest.


“I dare you to try, you incompetent sorry excuse for a human.”


Just as she said this, the two travelers were coming up the road. Enola saw them as their silhouettes emerged from the treeline, her sapphire eyes fixating on them for just a moment. The leader looked over his shoulder to take in what the vulpine woman was seeing. That's when she attacked and she did so mercilessly.


Enola moved with unnatural speed, her sword slashing through the air, and cut into the front leg of one of the horses. It bayed as it was forced to kneel and the rider was brought down to eye level with the fox. Her icy orbs burned into his skull as she grabbed him by his head, simultaneously unleashing a current of electricity from her fingertips. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as his body convulsed; his agonized screams echoed through the forest. When she released him from her grip, he slumped off his horse and hit the cobblestone.


When the ivory feline saw this, he grabbed Muhlsaan's shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. “Look,” he spoke as he pointed ahead of him with his clawed digit. His other hand clutched his hood, pulling it further over his head, as if he were afraid it was going to fall in their presence.


One of the gang threw his hand out as Enola whipped around with her sword, targeting him as her next victim. She attempted to dodge the flames that burst forth from his palm, but the beam of fire singed the fur on her shoulder and scorched the skin underneath it. She yelped in response, refusing to let herself stumble, swinging her sword to cut through the air. The horse whinnied as it rose up on it's hind legs, throwing the rider from it's back at the same time. Enola's sword sliced deep into the horse's belly, spilling it's contents out at her paws. The horse fell onto it's back, right onto the rider, who had been cowering on the cobblestone. He could be heard struggling underneath the corpse.


“KILL HER!” The leader commanded of his remaining two companions as his horse stepped back. Wavering, unsure, he spoke, “KILL HER AND BRING ME HER HEAD!”


Then, he turned on his steed and began to ride away. His horse ran past the Felecetii and Muhlsaan, side-swiping them as he fled the scene. The feline grunted as he stumbled, shoved off to the side of the road.


Enola regarded the two as her three tails began to lash, her teeth bared at them. She dropped her sword and it clanged on the ground. The fox-woman rose her hands up over her head instead, her eyes glinting maliciously in the leering shadows of the forest. They tried to rush her, forcing their horses forward, as they raised their own swords to strike her down. But they were stopped mid-attack as the end of their trousers began to catch on fire. The flames ate away at the cloth, climbing unnaturally quickly up their legs, and they began to scream. They dropped their swords, attempting to put themselves out. But it was fruitless, the fire had enveloped them. Their horses bucked them off and ran in either direction into the trees, leaving their riders to burn to death on the cobblestone.


Enola's fingers curled slowly, and as they did, the flames burned hotter. Brighter. Their screeching came to an end, their corpses burned to a crisp, and she finally let her hands fall. The fire died as she did. Enola came to her knees painfully as she attempted to catch her breath, slightly hunched over on the pathway. She clutched her chest while her lungs howled in their cage, gasping for air that had been stolen.


The two travelers had no idea what they had just seen. Unsure, they kept their distance. It was unclear what anyone's motivations were in the altercation. What they did know was this fox could defend herself, and had no qualms when it came to killing; at least in self-defense it would seem. Muhlsaan knew she was a powerful magic user, but which school of magic she studied he was unsure. He had seen her species before and knew all members of her race that he had encountered had an inborn affinity for magic. He stood gazing at her, whether she was unharmed was yet to be seen. The battle had been brutal, human remains lay scattered around the battlefield; the scent of burnt flesh thick in the air. The smell was acrid and the smoke was dense. The boy and Mulhsaan had let their guard down and before they could register the fox was gone.


“She's gone.” The nameless one sounded as if he were in awe as he uncurled his fingers from his hood. He didn't see her fleeing the scene. Actually, he wasn't certain he had seen her at all. The only evidence of her presence that was left behind were the bodies lying on the pathway. He glanced at Muhlsaan, who seemed to be deep in his thoughts.


“It appears so.” The mystic spoke, his tone bewildered, when he noticed that she had disappeared.


“Right.” The feline said as he turned his blood-colored irises up to the sky. It seemed that the day had been crawling during their journey, but it was already dusk. “Well, whatever it is, I don't want any part in it. We're losing daylight and we're almost to Ellie's hut, anyway. Come.”


Without waiting for a response from Muhlsaan, the Felecetii began again on the path.


* * * * * * * * * * *


The nameless one thought of Ellie as he walked along, his hood looming over his ivory features. The only thing that could be seen of him was the grimace on his lips. He had been remembering her fondly, but the memories of the night he lost his eye were hunting him. He remembered every little detail and intricacy despite his inebriation. He thought it a curse, rather than a blessing, and all he wanted was a single moment of tranquility.


He reluctantly saw himself as he howled her name; he walked the very same path his pawsteps were following, his hand was over the empty socket where his eye had been. His ebony blood stained his snowy fur and began to soak the sleeve of the robe he had stolen what seemed like centuries ago. He saw the hut in his mind's eye as it perched between three trees that towered over the rest. It blended in among the forest, as it was made of their overgrown roots. The nymph had created it from the earth with the power over nature she held, deforming the roots to form a structure that vaguely resembled a hut.


The feline remembered how he shambled up to it as Ellie emerged. He remembered her gentle touch when she guided him inside. He remembered the strange smell that had wafted from the cauldron boiling in the middle of the structure, the bitter taste of the liquid she poured down his throat as she promised that it would heal him. He remembered the way it took hold of his mind, the way she laid him down after a while and told him that it was safe to fall asleep.


He remembered the dream that followed when he let himself slip into unconsciousness. He was dreaming that he was lying on the floor of her hut, staring up at the roof in a daze, while Ellie stirred the pot. Then, suddenly, there was the unmistakable sound of massive wings as they flapped. Whatever it was, it was coming their way. Ellie stopped her stirring as she glanced out of one of her windows, her hand on the branch she had been using.


The Felecetii propped himself up on one of his elbows, his head spinning and his stomach lurching. But he managed to look out the hole as Ellie did. There was a sound of a creature taking a hard landing. Then, it's steps as it came up to the hut. It nearly shook the ground as it did and especially when it rested it's claws upon the hut's roots. The creature put it's eye up to the window, which shone a blood-red crimson, as it glanced around the inside of the structure. The surrounding skin around the eye was a glistening ivory, much like the nameless one's own fur. He didn't remember anything after that, he assumed he fell unconscious once again. But that dream seemed too tangible to be a dream, he'd always thought that. When he woke up with that ephemeral orb in his eye socket, it had become his reality.


He realized he was leading Muhlsaan up to the hut unceremoniously. He wasn't positive that the wizard hadn't spoken to him, but he was too far deep into his flashbacks to hear him if he did. The boy turned to Muhlsaan as he took down his hood to look him in the eye, the ghosts of his past swarming his iris.


“Here we are, old man.”



© 2016 KibaxChan


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Added on August 18, 2016
Last Updated on August 18, 2016
Tags: magic, wizard, sorceress, fantasy, cat-person, furry, furries, orb, lore, enigmatic, spellcasting, thriller, felecetii, satyr, centaur, nymph, aspect, secrets, prophecy, fox-people


Author

KibaxChan
KibaxChan

Farmington, NM



Writing