Ch 13: The Forest Of Illusion

Ch 13: The Forest Of Illusion

A Chapter by Chaos Stone
"

Christian and Cohagen enter the Forest of Illusion.

"
    Despite clear skies, the boreal rainforest was dripping wet, with

moisture hanging in the air among the towering, ancient darkwood

trees. Night gripped its sodden depths, beyond the tangle of thick

foliage surrounding Christian and Cohagen in the clearing where they

camped. It was near the stream they had followed since entering the

Forest of Illusion, avoiding any serious travel in the dense undergrowth

beneath the soaring pines. Their needles were an almost black shade of

green, and they darkened the starlit sky like clouds of ink, with

expansive trunks covered in shaggy moss. Large ferns with lengthy

leaves and broad, bright flowers surrounded the glade, with an

enormous fallen tree across it, which they camped beside.

    It will be a chore to stay dry tonight, Christian thought sourly.

    It was also a chore for him to create the campfire which they

solemnly sat beside, the damp wood requiring intense heat to ignite.

The clearing beyond was a patchwork of tall, stalky grasses and broad-

leaved bushes, with juvenile darkwood trees reaching hungrily for the

open sky. The unicorns grazed selectively, silhouettes among the foliage

beyond the fire, keeping safely away from the edge of the glade.

    Christian sat on a log with a small red pillow beneath him, on the

fringe of the heat from the fire, sharpening his dagger.

    Cohagen sat across from him on a boulder, tending to a snowbush

hare cooking on a spit, appreciating the temperate conditions of the

forest compared to the windswept grasslands further north. After a

short while beside the fire, he was thankful Christian had magicked the

small pillow which padded him from the cold rock.

    “I don’t even know how you managed to get these out of that tiny pouch.”

    “I used vacuum to make the pillows small enough to remove them.

That’s why they went 'poof' when I pulled them out,” he replied,

scraping away at his dagger.

    “That’s a nasty looking blade you got there,” Cohagen remarked. “I

understand that’s the infamous murder weapon.”

    For a long moment only the crackle of the fire sounded, pierced

rhythmically by the harsh scrapes of flint on steel. “I was just smoothing

out a tiny chip near it’s tip, probably from one of Joroco’s ribs,” he

answered with a wicked smile, intent on his work.

    Cohagen felt a chill despite the warmth of the fire, “I’ve never killed

in cold-blood before.”

    “You've surely killed more than I,” Christian asserted.

    “On the battlefield.”

    Christian scowled from across the flames, “I fail to see the difference

between slaying an enemy in battle and executing a murderer.” He

returned to his work, “That b*****d died the moment he decided to

cause my wife harm. Let me ask you something I asked your wife,” the

scraping abruptly stopped, “what would you do if she were killed in cold

blood?”

    Cohagen only looked into the flames.

    “Exactly!” He resumed scraping away at the chip on his blade, as if

putting an end to any more debate with the strident noise. Cohagen

didn’t feel comfortable with Christian’s assertion, since revenge

contradicted the Way of the Paladin, yet he knew if he were in the

young man’s place, if it had been his unborn child… He distracted

himself from such thoughts by tending to the meat, taking a slice from

its flank with his hunting knife, guiding it to his mouth on the blade.

    “It’s done,” he breathed, cooling his food.

    “Finally,” Christian responded, eyeing the edge of his dagger.

Apparently satisfied, he sheathed it, then held out a small tin platter for

Cohagen to pile the meat upon. “Caught one of these on my way up

here,” he commented indifferently, “needs salt.”

    “Got a pinch in the saddlebag,” Cohagen spoke with his mouth full.

    “I’ll use the pouch.”

    “Thought your magic wasn’t fully recovered yet,” he chewed.

    “Table salt isn’t a rare commodity,” Christian stated, pulling the

wizard’s pouch from his robe. Despite his claim, though, the young Magi

conjured up bread, fruit, and a variety of seasonings and condiments to

enliven their bland meal.

    “You spoil me,” Cohagen said wryly as he ate.

    “Glad to be of service.”

    “I could have used your services on many a night in the wilds,” he

paused to finish his bite, “troll meat tastes awful.”

    “You’ve eaten troll meat?!” Christian exclaimed in laughter.

    “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

    “I’m sure you’ve had plenty in these godforsaken lands you insist on

calling home,” he chuckled.

    “That’s the most I’ve heard you laugh.”

    Christian silently reached into his overcloak and pulled out a flask,

then held it up and shook it for the Prince to see.

    “Southern whiskey? Toss that over here,” Cohagen said after he

received a nod. He took a quick swig with a wince, “That’ll make a

broken leg seem funny.”

    “And I haven’t had the heart to laugh of late,” Christian admitted

solemnly after a moment.

    “I can imagine,” Cohagen replied, the levity in his voice gone.

    The remainder of their meal was finished in silence, with only the

crackle of the fire sounding in the hush of the glade. The unicorns made

their way back toward the light, tentatively nibbling at a fibrous

thornberry bush.

    Cohagen couldn’t stand the pervasive quiet any longer, strangely

unnerved by the still of the forest. “What drove Joroco to cause your

wife harm?” he asked hesitantly, gauging the young man's response.

    “Much like your wife, my Belle was a beauty which many men sought

after. She was a lady of status, with the grace of an angel… and she only

had eyes for me,” he smiled weakly. “King Cydonis offered me Joroco’s

position of Head Magus,” he continued after a moment, “when I killed a

rogue mage named Jephthah. He’d stalked Belle from Alstairia to Tyrsis,

and then challenged me to the death when he’d learned she was

betrothed to me. I toyed with him for his insolence,” he said darkly,

“but, had I known, I would have just killed him outright.”

    Again, Cohagen found himself ill-at-ease by Christian’s words, but

kept his thoughts to himself.

    “I refused the King’s offer, obviously, but it didn’t matter to that

arrogant b*****d Joroco. He saw me as a threat, and grew to hate me

because I was more powerful than him, an obstacle to his delusions of

grandeur.” When he spoke again, there was no spite to his words, only

sorrow, “I should have killed him then, but I was contented starting a

life with my wife, and I paid him so little mind that he might as well

have never existed. I’d never known such happiness for those few short

years, as the rest of my life was consumed with sorrow and loneliness. I

still don’t know what she saw in me,” he said wistfully, “I was such an

angry kid. I loathe to think of the man I’d have become if she hadn’t

shown me love…”

    Cohagen felt many of his misgivings about the young man absolve with

those words, as he thought the same about his Jeannia. He wouldn’t be

half the man he was now if it weren’t for her.

    Sorrow threatened to overwhelm Christian then, his words caught

hard behind a bitter lump in his throat, stinging at his eyes like a cold

wind. A feeling of helpless rage came on suddenly, and he wanted to

scream at Cohagen to keep his damned questions to himself. But, he

swallowed those words along with the lump in his throat, resigning

himself to confide this no matter how difficult it would be.

    “When Cydonis asked me to pursue the rumors of war in Ketema, it

infuriated Joroco. I heard tell he blew up at the King because of it, then

found himself suspended and disgraced by the ruling council, almost

certain to lose his office of Head Magus. I didn't want to leave my wife in

her condition, but I was curious about the events in Ketema,” he

paused, with an uncertain look exacerbating the fine features of his

youthful face. “Voices would call to me, and at night I would dream of

dark things, only to wake to a sense of foreboding. I needed to discover

the source of those things, and I knew it was linked to that cursed

fortress Dark Uniform. The memory of the illustration I'd seen of it

during my studies would inexplicably flash in my mind, and at times it

would come with the intensity to make me start.” He suddenly felt like

he was trying to justify himself, making excuses for the rationalization

behind his decisions, but he suppressed his regret like so much

swallowed pride. “And she wanted me to go.” Cohagen raised an

eyebrow at this, and Christian couldn’t ignore his inquisitive look, “She

had this remarkable ability to know when I was troubled. And, it’s

difficult to hide recurring nightmares from the person you sleep next to

every night.”

    No more. Past tense. Unconscious reminders from the back of his

mind which ceaselessly tore at his soul.

    “What I found in Ketema was war. Sudden, brutal, and ruthless.

Towns and villages raided or razed, with remains that looked as if they

were left by creatures which no longer stalk the lands of Canaan. Things

that were unrecognizable, horrific even to the standards of our

conventional warfare. It wasn’t long after that I encountered the

Necrot, initially by the stench of rotting flesh, but soon I caught sight of

them. It was as I said to your Royal Advisors, Prince: like a tale from the

time of the last War Wizard, with the dead walking the earth.”

    His words chilled Cohagen to the bone. The thought of the undead

didn’t have the same impact during the formal Assembly meeting as it

did in the darkness of this invasive wilderness. Would they truly face the

living dead? “What did you see?”

    Christian gave him a grim look, made all the more ominous by his

strange eyes, “A jawless, rotting corpse of a man astride the emaciated

carcass of an Orc bear, with shrunken, tattered flesh dripping from their

bones. They were surrounded by six foul ghouls, grotesquely disfigured

half-men with bent and twisted forms. I wanted to expunge the world of

their existence, but that would only betray my presence to their

master. I told your Assembly about that encounter.” He shuddered

slightly from the memory of the Sceptre’s magic descending upon his

mind, and how it seemed to fall in on itself instinctually, as if recoiling

from the intrusive alien contact. Was this the moment that Joroco

believed he had died?

    Christian still remembered the terrible moment he realized he could

no longer sense Belle’s consciousness, the light of his life extinguished,

leaving him alone to the darkness of his thoughts. He'd refused to

believe she was gone until he returned home, and saw for himself...

    “Joroco believed I had died, when I shielded my mind against the

Sceptre, and then the Wythe sent by the Dark Lord. I hid my

consciousness from them for two days and nights as I fled those cursed

mountains! I still don’t fully understand how I accomplished this feat.”

    “How could Joroco have known such a thing?” Cohagen asked, then

immediately wished he hadn't.

    “He must have cast a familiarity spell upon me…” Christian absently

wiped away the single tear that rolled down his cheek. How could I not

have known? The stark realization came to him again, it's all my fault

she died... He went after her to get to me.

    “He confronted her in our home.” Where I left her, all alone… “I

don't know what all transpired, as I only empathized glimpses, but he

cornered her somehow,” stumbling drunk, slamming her frail body into

the wall. “She burnt his arm with magic defending herself, yet there

wasn’t much she could do to him in her fragile condition…”

    He saw her lifeless eyes again, looking to him for help that never

came.

    He clenched his jaw and spoke with stinging eyes, “His was the last

face she would ever see, so I made sure he saw mine as he died…” He

should have spilled his guts or boiled his blood, anything to prolong that

b*****d's pain. His wave of anger subsided, replaced by placid anguish as

his thoughts turned to her lifeless womb...

    “Why?” Cohagen asked simply, exasperated.

    Christian struggled to control his voice, “I ask myself that question

every waking moment.”

    The young Magi’s wife was senselessly murdered in cold blood by a

vengeful coward, and if their roles were reversed, Cohagen knew he’d

see to the b*****d’s death for stealing his beloved Jeannia from the

world. Despite the conflict with his oath of the Paladin, all he could feel

was anger over this woman’s death, someone he’d never met, making

him question his very beliefs. He was a Knight of the Light, and revenge

was against the code of ethics he swore to abide by when he inherited

his Birthright, the mystical sword Ragnarok. Could he really uphold

those morals when just a twist of fate could put him in Christian’s

place? He decided these were questions too difficult to answer on his

own, that he must seek guidance and wisdom, but he no longer faulted

Christian for his actions. The young man was true at heart and sought

repentance for his crimes.

    Cohagen fidgeted as the silence grew long, his mind restless with the

unease he felt in the suffocating unfamiliarity of his surroundings. The

dark of the forest seemed to loom over them like an ambush, waiting to

strike at any moment.

    “I like the little tassels on these pillows,” Cohagen quipped,

lightening his tension.

    Christian grinned despite himself as he examined his dagger with

tired eyes, when his expression changed and his smile suddenly

withered. The tingle of nearby magic flickered in his mind, and sent a

shiver down his spine at its implications.

    Without warning, the unicorns bolted, charging wildly away towards

the stream. Cohagen leapt to his feet, seizing Ragnarok, hoping it would

protect him from whatever danger they'd sensed with their magic. He

instinctively turned in the direction opposite to where the unicorns

fled, peering deeply into the darkness between the towering darkwood

trees, and stillness quickly returned to the night.

    At the same time, Christian swiftly wheeled as he rose to his feet,

and slashed into the air, blurred with motion much faster than mere

human reflexes could achieve. He struck at what appeared to be

nothing, yet a dark stream splattered onto the ground, followed by a

deathly scream. Stalks of grass broke as something fell, conforming to a

crumpled shape, and the form of a man appeared. His bared, bronze

chest was bloodied from a gash through his neck, which nearly severed

his head. His lower half was covered in thin hide trousers and intricately

beaded moccasins, beside which lay a slender, curved blade of

iridescent dragonscale.

    Cohagen instantly recognized the traditional sword of the NahiMana

warrior, identical to the centuries old blade on display in castle Jidoor.

The legends were true, the ghost clan of the NahiMana still existed.

    Christian saw their human forms as crimson shapes against the dark

hues of the cold forest, catching their careful movements through the

undergrowth with his odd-colored eyes. Their bodies radiated a reddish

aura, and Christian knew it was their magic which betrayed their

presence. He centered himself to face the three approaching magic-

users, when his vision was suddenly obscured with redness.

    Cohagen caught motion from the corner of his eye as Christian

suddenly ducked, then sprang to his feet with blinding speed and

plunged his dagger downward, which disappeared into thin air. Yet,

there came a muffled crack, the distinctive sound of his blade piercing

flesh and bone, which was punctuated with a deadly scream that quickly

faded into a death rattle. Another body fell to the damp grass, and

Cohagen suddenly felt very exposed.

    It was then he felt a sharp stab in his right collar, followed by the

warm trickle of blood running down his back. He peeked down at his

shoulder and saw small, brightly colored feathers protruding from a

wooden shaft stuck deep in the muscle, and tried not to panic as he

envisioned an unknown toxin spreading throughout his bloodstream. He

worked to slow his quickly rising pulse, hoping that his aura could

protect him from this poison as he pulled the dart from his flesh.

    Meanwhile, Christian released a spell of electricity, letting it conduct

through the dampness to reach his opponents, testing their magic

barriers. All five were of disciplined minds, but the centermost was by

far the most powerful, and he tried to fool Christian by defending

himself in the manner of his companions, but the young Magi saw

through the façade. Sensing his Tacitness, it became clear his signature

was that of a wizard, but there was something more to his magic,

ancient and arcane. As Christian peeled away the wizard’s elaborate veil

of secrets, laying his identity bare, his aura deepened into dark violets,

brightening in the mage’s eyes, and he knew who presented the worst

threat.

    “Christian, I think I’ve been poisoned,” Cohagen spoke evenly, trying

to control the edge of panic that crept into his voice.

    Christian turned at the Prince’s words, and immediately saw three

other magic-users moving stealthily within the forest beyond. They

were surrounded, and their only means of escape had fled at Christian’s

realization of danger, having empathized his emotions. He centered his

thoughts and willed the unicorns to return, conveying to them

confidence in his ability to protect them despite the dangers. He had to

reach beyond their instincts and touch their sense of compassion, to

express the dire situation their master Cohagen was in, and how only

they could save him from certain death. Christian could only hope he’d

reached them as his mind was suddenly assailed by the wizard, who

invaded his thoughts like the keen edge of a surgeon’s blade, extracting

what information he could before Christian slammed his mind shut,

recoiling the wizard’s magic like a taut cord snapping in two. The young

Magi smiled inwardly at the pain this had surely caused his foe, but his

amusement would only be fleeting.

    “Turn your back to mine!” he commanded, and Cohagen quickly

complied. Christian opened his consciousness to the Prince, sharing his

vision with him, projecting an image of their enemies onto his retinas.

    Three distant red shapes appeared before Cohagen’s eyes, and he

reacted with a start, instinctively raising his blade to meet them. He

instantly realized he’d given up an advantage and cursed his nerves,

certain by their responses that they now knew he could see them. His

enemies tensed their motions and started towards him. That was when

his vision suddenly blurred.

    Christian sensed Cohagen’s distress, but before he could respond,

there was a motion from one of his enemies. A knife appeared in the air

before Christian’s eyes, hurtling towards him at an inhuman speed,

giving him only an instant to react. With barely enough time to nod his

head, it ricocheted off his shield of sorcery, an inch away from his face.

Without his magic, the blade would have shorn through his cheek,

permanently disfiguring him.

    A red shape was upon him in an instant, and he swung his blade

reflexively, when it disappeared half way to the hilt, blood spraying in

its wake. The glowing crimson aura slumped to the ground beside them,

and a man’s guttural scream pierced the clearing, resounding with a

ghostly agony. Suddenly, the side of Cohagen’s blade came down upon

the shape’s head, and the shrieking stopped abruptly. The light-bending

magic which concealed their enemy ceased as he slipped into

unconsciousness, and his limp, blood-soaked body appeared at their

feet. That left six, along with the wizard.

    The Prince spoke first, “My sight is in-and-out; I don’t know how long

I can fight this stuff they hit me with!”

    Christian’s eyes returned to the violet shape, facing him from across

the clearing. There was something about this wizard’s magic that made

him uneasy, planting a seed of doubt about escaping. Why was it only

the two of them alone in these forsaken woods?

    It was then the rushing sound of splashing struck his ears, and the

unicorns burst into the clearing from the stream beyond. Cohagen’s

stallion Valfar reared up with a loud neigh, the mare Celeste on his

heels. Cohagen wondered as the NahiMana warriors withdrew from the

unicorns, taken aback by their presence.

    Christian knew why as he beheld them in all of their mystical

splendor, his other-sight almost overwhelmed by the brilliance of their

combined power. Only the Prince’s blade, Ragnarok, rivaled their

radiance. “Make haste, Prince!”

    He followed the young man’s advice without delay, sheathing his

sword and mounting his steed, while Christian turned to face the

remaining warriors before him. Suddenly, the clearing was engulfed in

flames, burning through the bushes between them like a firestorm.

Christian raised his arms and super-chilled the air before them,

dissipating the wall of flames into hissing bursts of steam, leaving them

unharmed. The wizard was not intimidated by the unicorns, and his

warriors rallied around him.

    Christian looked determinedly to the Prince, “Take them and go! I’ll

keep them from following you.”

    That was when Cohagen first noticed the purple shape, standing

before the charred clearing aside what was once their peaceful camp.

Then, the shapes vanished from his vision, so the Prince took Celeste’s

reigns and heeled Valfar on, bolting from the clearing and down the

stream. Yet, he was beginning to feel the effects of the poison, his

eyelids growing heavy as he disappeared into the darkness.


    A sudden gust ruffled Christian’s cloak, and he turned to face his

aggressors as they converged upon him from both sides, with the wizard

at the center. The air between them shimmered with radiant heat, and

winds swirled from the pressure it created, rushing to fill the vacuum

within the vortex of flame.

    Christian charged into a sprint, rushing headlong toward the stream,

when the explosion came with a flash, consuming the clearing in

blinding white, like a lightning strike devoid of thunder. He ducked and

hunched down, minimizing the space he needed to cover with his shield

of sorcery. The wizard had split a miniscule amount of air molecules,

which detonated with amazing force. The shockwave came like a beam,

colliding against Christian’s magic barrier with the power of a solar

flare, and only his centered mind kept him from vaporizing to blackened

bones. The energy kept coming, which felt like pushing against the

raging waters of a flash flood, threatening to overwhelm his defenses,

when the light subsided in an instant. Darkness fell upon his eyes like a

blindfold, and he leapt to the ready, facing his enemies, perceiving their

magic with his ensorcelled vision. They continued to close in, stepping

tentatively across the smoldering strip of blackened ground, scoured to

bedrock, making their way toward the lone spot of green beneath

Christian’s feet. He left his attention on the wizard, who evidently

possessed an Adroits’ abilities, capable of focusing that much force away

from himself and his men. The wizard no doubt surmised the same of

Christian, who struggled to maintain his composure in his deteriorated

condition.

    How much of himself had that Chromite destroyed?

    Christian stood ready to face his long-awaited death at their hands.


    Alien eyes watched the scene unfold below, apathetic to the outcome

as they circled high above the point of light in a sea of black. They

seemed restless, flitting to and fro, discerning as much as they could for

their master, who would treat them with flesh if he were pleased, and

that was all they sought. Saliva wetted the blades of teeth which

protruded from their massive boney maw at the promise of sweet,

succulent meat. They descended with beats of vast membranous wings,

their quarry never straying from their overlapping field of vision, yet

they knew better than reveal their presence to those beneath. From

the oculus, like a third eye atop their head, they observed the exact

positions of the myriad guide-stars within the vast core, which, with the

time, revealed their precise coordinates. As soon as it was seen by

them, it was known to their master.

    Closing the oculus, they lost contact with their master, and they

looked away from the point of light to the dark wall of mountains

southward, and beyond. The skeletal mass of their body followed,

driven by lazy beats of enormous wings, thin and taut as any synthetic

polymer fabric used in airship cellbags. Their insectile legs hanged limply

against the hollow abdomen, pierced by thick ribs with tatters of

shriveled flesh clinging grimly, followed by a long tail of tendon and

bone tipped with spikes.

    The black dragon glided away unseen, a dark shape in the starry night

sky.


    The acrid stench of burnt vegetation stung at Christian’s nostrils, as

he watched his enemies approach across the smoldering ground, having

shed their cloaks of invisibility. They had him almost completely

surrounded, three to each side, their shining blades of dragonscale held

deftly as they slowly circled him. He took a step back, halting their

advance as they calculated the move, when he unsheathed his silver

sword from his back and held its gleaming length at the ready. It was

fortunate they hadn’t attacked when he and Cohagen slept, confident in

their magic of invisibility.

    Surely they hadn’t seen his like before.

    Suddenly, the nearest to his left broke ranks, and charged to meet

the challenge with a roar, swinging his curved sword wildly. Christian

blocked with his blade arm, deflecting the blow as he deftly withdrew

his dagger from its sheath hidden beneath the billowing sleeve of his

robe. Once the slender, curved blade glinted freely in the dim light, it

lunged in his hand, pulling him forward with such force that he nearly

lost his grip. It plunged up to the hilt into his enemy’s chest, gouging a

deadly wound with his momentum. The warrior fell to the ground and

writhed, grasping at his raked side, trying in vain to stem the flow of

bubbling blood. Christian twisted, expecting another attack, but his

enemies fell back at his display of prowess, and to bide time. With a

sideways glance, he noted the wizard steeped in concentration, signing

with his hands in smooth, concentric circles as he crafted a spell, its

excess energies leaving streaks of shimmering light fading in his wake.

Would he cast with his men in close-quarter combat, willing to sacrifice

them in order to defeat the young Magi, or work to protect them?

Christian wouldn’t give him the opportunity.

    Flames burst to life along the length of his silver blade, burning like

oil, thick and fuming. He swung in an arc, sending a broad swathe of

sticky fire in the wizard’s direction, who broke his spell casting and

shielded himself. The charred ground lit anew wherever the flames

touched, burning intensely without anything to combust, when Christian

stifled them as he withdrew his magic.

    That was when he was beset by the remaining warriors, and swung his

sword again, dousing the nearest two with flame. They threw up their

arms in a feeble attempt to protect themselves, when the sticky fire

splashed against unseen barriers and spilled harmlessly to the ground, as

though they wore invisible shields. They charged, and Christian loosed

his dagger, which swerved slightly before finding its mark, piercing his

chest from beneath his sternum and into his heart, felling him instantly.

Christian met the other with the edge of his blade, sending sparks into

the air, not from white-hot friction, but the flaring red of magic. He

twisted as their blades slid along lengthwise, ringing harshly in the silent

night, and once it slipped free he brought its edge down on the

warrior’s leather-padded back, with enough force to cut into flesh. He

collapsed with a scream as Christian spun, expecting the remaining

warriors to be baring down on him, but all he saw was brilliant

yellow-white fingers of flame reaching out to hungrily consume him,

then nothing at all. His shield of sorcery kept his flesh from the intensity of 

the flames, but the concussive force of the blast rattled his brain within his

cranial vault, like a brutal blow to the head that he never saw coming. It

was an explosion without the fire, and the compression wave tore

through his body, hurtling him violently to the ground, where he

remained, motionless.


    Cohagen’s stallion trotted through the stream, his nostrils flaring as

he scented the cold, dense air, eyeing the darkness of the unfamiliar

forest apprehensively. The mare followed close behind, even though her

reins dangled into the water. The Prince was only dimly aware of his

hands and arms, limp at his sides as he struggled to keep his balance, his

head bobbing up and down with the unicorn’s gait.

    He thought of the young Magi and what his fate may have been, with

only a passing concern for his own. He was such a fool! To think they

could defy the curse set upon these woods by its ancient inhabitants!

    He fought the sudden urge to retch as the poison racked his senses

with vertigo, and his mind reeled with the effort to stay upon his steed.

His body lurched with the unicorn’s every motion, and he struggled to

remain cognizant, shutting his eyes against his blurred, undulating

vision. His rapidly numbing legs lost their grip on the unicorn’s flanks,

and only his feet clinging lightly in the stirrups kept him from falling.

    Is this how I will die? He thought of his wife and her pristine smile

greeting him in the morning, as he slipped into unconsciousness.


    Valfar slowed for his master, who rode crookedly on his back now,

and felt the weight shift precariously with every step. He left the rocky

stream and entered the darkness of the forest, in search of better

ground to protect his master from the impending fall. Cohagen began

slowly slumping to one side, then finally collapsed into the undergrowth

near the trunk of a tree, the soft, mossy topsoil cushioning the impact.

Valfar's spiral horn effervesced with light as he bent down and licked

the wound on Cohagen's collar from the dart, sanitizing it.

    The mare suddenly turned her attention to the distance, and the

stallion lifted his head to follow her gaze. People appeared from out of

the air, at first almost reverent before the unicorns, exchanging glances

with each other, but, their demeanors changed with the appearance of

another, and the unicorns bolted, disappearing into the misty darkness

of the forest.


© 2011 Chaos Stone


Author's Note

Chaos Stone
Tell me what you think about the emotions I try to elicit, or something... anything!
Says I get 9 points for reviewing this, so should you, and if you make it long, thats pretty good points, b!

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Bud
Your imagery is Magnificent! It makes the reader feel very much like they are witnessing the story unfold live and in person! It captures the heart of fantasy providing the emotional escape from reality, that one seeks from the fantasy tale. You have an Outstanding imagination! Keep up the Excellent works of art!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




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Bud
Your imagery is Magnificent! It makes the reader feel very much like they are witnessing the story unfold live and in person! It captures the heart of fantasy providing the emotional escape from reality, that one seeks from the fantasy tale. You have an Outstanding imagination! Keep up the Excellent works of art!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 22, 2009
Last Updated on January 21, 2011
Tags: The beginnings of a beautiful fr
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Chaos Stone
Chaos Stone

Snoqualmie, WA



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I'm a self-taught, unpublished speculative literature writer. Dave Flegel | Create Your Badge Oakar and his opponent were evenly matched, their weapons held together fast, metal sc.. more..

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