Chapter 1: Messages

Chapter 1: Messages

A Chapter by Syren Creates

A snap of a twig rang through the air.  Seconds later, a rustle from some nearby bushes.  Zerlinda fought the urge to whip her head around and seek out the intruder.  That is what an amateur would do and Zerlinda was no amateur.  Instead, she pulled the cowl of her cloak over her head, as if to block the early morning mist from her face and hair.  Beneath the folds of her cloak, the tips of her fingers brushed the hilt of one of her daggers that was sheathed on her belt.

There had to be somebody following her, she knew.  There had been no reason for that twig to snap and no wind to rustle those bushes.  And she was certain that she didn't make those sounds.  She listened more closely and was rewarded with the sound of a quiet thump as if a toe had been slammed into a solid piece of wood.  It wasn't her foot that was stumped on some wood �" which would surely be a tree trunk or log as she was deep within the forest �" so it must have been the stalker's.  However, Zerlinda did not show any physical signs of having heard nor noticed anything abnormal.  To the follower, she was oblivious to the presence of another.

Her eyes restlessly scanned the ground before her feet.  Listening even more closely, she could hear the sound of footsteps following her path, though not nearly as quietly.  She kept walking forward for a time before making a sharp turn to the left.  The turn was so sudden that she knew it would catch her follower off guard.  She also knew that whoever was following her would need to keep her within a fairly close distance at all times.  In these particular parts of the woods, the trees were as large as the forest was thick, making it confusing if one didn't know them well.  Zerlinda had traveled through these woods for many years though, and knew them quite well but was not oblivious to the fact that the woods still had their own secrets.

Being temporarily hidden from the view of her follower, she used the time to conceal herself among the branches of the nearest tree.  The follower would have reached the turning point by now and her blue eyes watched intently as a figure, cloaked in red, appeared through the trees.  The head turned from left to right, searching, as Zerlinda watched from above.

Whoever it was, was clearly a royal messenger or somebody disguised as one as all of the messengers of the castle in the nearby kingdom wore signature red cloaks.  It could be that the King, or somebody among close social ranking, had a message for her.  But Zerlinda was cautious.  So cautious that it was to the borderline of paranoia and she also considered the fact that it could be an assassin or spy sent to kill her.  Such an event would not surprise her as the King has tried to have her killed in the past.

Curling her toes, she purposefully threw herself off balance as she fell from the branch to pin the stranger onto the ground.  His face was so full of shock that Zerlinda might have laughed if the situation didn't have the potential to be so deadly for both of them.  Two brown eyes stared up at her, as wide as the moon underneath his long, tousled hair.

For her part, Zerlinda said nothing as she stared back as if the orbs would give her answers.  She has often found this to be much more intimidating and effective than yelling.  The stranger's breathing came out in heavy pants as a result of his pounding heart.

"I mean you no harm," he said.

Blue eyes narrowed at him in disbelief.  Zerlinda used her free hand to unsheathe one of her daggers and press its sharp blade against the skin above his pulse point.  A thin, red line of blood appeared as the blade barely broke into the soft skin.  It would be so simple, Zerlinda knew.  Just the slightest addition of pressure, a small flick of the blade, and he would be dead.  So easy, she knew, but she held the blade steady.

"Don't kill the messenger," he pleaded with a weak attempt at humor, swallowing thickly as he glanced down but was unable to seek the silver blade of the dagger against his neck.

"If you're the messenger," Zerlinda said, speaking in a hard voice and tightening her grip on the dagger's worn leather covered hilt. "Then what is the message and who is it from?"

The messenger's eyes flicked toward her hand momentarily before answering. "King Achan Thantos Vasil, Ruler of West Wood, requests your presence at the castle."

"And why does he request this?" Zerlinda asked.

"H-he wishes for you to provide your advice and assistance."

Zerlinda scoffed. "Tell your king that I refuse his wishes," she told the messenger, a sneer entering her voice at the word 'king.'  She removed her weight and dagger from the messenger's body, allowing him to move.  Immediately, he sat up and rubbed his neck where the dagger had been seconds before. Zerlinda turned on her heel to leave, but the messenger's voice stopped her as he scrambled to his feet.

"No, please!" he cried. "The orcs are planning to take Treewood."

"I am aware of that," Zerlinda acknowledge evenly.

"Then, won't you help us?"

"It is no longer my concern what threatens the safety of West Wood."

"You would dare turn your back on your own kin!" The messenger yelled, his courage seeming to have returned to him with the removal of the weapon.  His bravery was dashed away, however, when Zerlinda whipped around and backed him into a tree in a few long strides.

"Don't speak of things that you know nothing about," she growled quietly, dangerously. "I fought for my kin.  I have suffered and nearly died for my kin and this is how they repaid me.  They turned their backs on me." Watching him closely, she backed away. "If you go back the way you came, you'll find your way back to West Wood."

The messenger didn't move.  He only stood there and stared at her, his eyes wide with fear.  His hands, which were down at his sides, shook slightly and his eyes were trained on the glinting dagger that remained in Zerlinda's hand.  Zerlinda sighed as she watched him impatiently, tapping her foot as she crossed her arms over her chest and pursed her lips.  She might have felt sorry for the fellow if he hadn't been so quick to get on her bad side.  But he did, so she didn't and her patience soon wore out.

"Go!" she yelled.  The unexpected loudness of her command yanked him out of his paralyzed state and he took off running, taking care to put a great deal of distance between himself and Zerlinda as quickly as possible.

Zerlinda watched him go until he was out of sight �" which didn't take long in the thickness of the forest.  She remained there for several more moments just to be sure that the messenger didn't get another burst of foolish gallantry and decided to come back.  When she didn't see him, she sheathed her dagger and walked off, pulling her cloak around her body.  Things were about to get a lot more interesting.



© 2014 Syren Creates


Author's Note

Syren Creates
So, here is the rewrite of Chapter 1. I like in more, personally, because I feel like the dialog flows a lot better which is something that I realized didn't when I was reading this story. I always like a conversation that flows and many of mine didn't. Feel free to tell me what you think Please let me know if I have any spelling or grammar errors (since grammar was never my strong suite). And please feel free to review, but if you're going to criticize please give an explanation as to what I can do to make it better. Thanks!

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I dont critize because I know together we will make it work. I love the beggining. there are a couple over looked words. Tell King Achan (that). (breathing) deeply for a few moments to control her. Other than that I don't see anything wrong with this of course I am not the best editor. You should see all my miss-spelled words it is a train reck



This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Pretty good! In the first paragraph you might want to change the 'She; to 'Zerlinda' (haha love that name) so that people know who you're talking about right off the bat. Also, it is intruder not intrueder.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I dont critize because I know together we will make it work. I love the beggining. there are a couple over looked words. Tell King Achan (that). (breathing) deeply for a few moments to control her. Other than that I don't see anything wrong with this of course I am not the best editor. You should see all my miss-spelled words it is a train reck



This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I like this a lot, it makes me interested to read more. I didn't find any spelling or grammar errors at all.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


I really like this. It's new and interesting. On to the next chapter :)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago



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Added on May 7, 2012
Last Updated on July 2, 2014
Tags: Elves, betrayed, fight, orcs, traitor


Author

Syren Creates
Syren Creates

Rock Hill, SC



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Hobbies: Dancing (mostly jazz and lyrical, but I also do a ballet techniques class), writing, drawing, painting, reading, singing, doing puzzles, sudoku, word finds, fill ins Movies: Harry Potter, .. more..

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