Pursued

Pursued

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
"

As their pursuers close in on them, Aurei's group is told of a possible way to escape them.

"

12.

Pursued

 

They were gaining on them.   Aurei and the others were certain of that.   After riding for three hours after dark, their mounts were now barely shuffling along, and every member of the party could hear them riding down on them.   They were less than a mile behind them, a thundering noise mixed with strange metal clanking as if a company of knights were running in full plate armor.   They were not going to be able to outrun them.

Aurei glanced behind them as they crested a lightly wooded hill and her sensitive Drow eyes could see them clearly in the moon-lit night.   They were over a hundred in number, horsemen it appeared, but with armor clad foot soldiers running along side the horses.   She turned to Eleazar and Zeatt but said nothing, for they too shared her night vision and saw them.

"We're going to have to find a defensive location."   Eleazar told them few moments later.   “We are not going to make it.”

Suddenly there was a flash of light and in front of them a short distance away stood a man holding a huge book.   They pulled up to stop in front of him, wondering in apprehension who he was, and how he so suddenly appeared in front of them.

"Who are you?"   Eleazar demanded from the man, pulling his sword free from its scabbard as he neared the dark-haired figure.

"Did you know, Sir Eleazar, that this land used to be the eastern-most border of the Faesidhe Kingdom?   They used this region as a buffer zone to protect the forest from humans.   A half-mile behind me is Mount Kiee, which was a Faesidhe watch fort, though now it is in ruins."

Eleazar held the tip of his sword to the mysterious man's throat.  "Who are you, and how did you know who I was?"

The man seemed not concerned about the sword and ignored the knight's question, instead reading from the book he held.  

"The Faesidhe, it is said, constructed arcane devices that, when stepped upon, would teleport them to one of the other Faesidhe forts.   To activate the teleportation spell, all an Elf had to do was visualize where they wished to go and they would be transported to the nearest fort to that location."

"Who are you?!  We don't have time for games, stranger!"  Eleazar warned somewhat crossly.   The dark-haired man did not reply but stared the half-Drow squarely in the eyes.

"Sir Eleazar, did you know that Mount Kiee has on top of it the ruins of one of these forts, with the teleportation device still engaged?"

Eleazar leaned over, bringing the stranger's chin up with the tip of his sword, "I'm warning you, sir, you had better tell us who you are or-"

The man sighed, "Did you also know that at the edge of the Elven forest near Westmark, there is another functional teleportation device built into the ruins of that fort?"

Suddenly the man simply vanished, causing everyone in the party to cry out in alarm.

Everyone looked at each other for an instant in surprise and confusion, but a sound of clanging metal could be heard growing steadily louder in the distance and finally it was Zeatt who spoke up.

“I’d suggest we check out what the man said; those pursuing us are getting closer and it sounds as if they are many in number.”

After a few moments glancing off behind them where the shadowy patrol was racing toward them in the distance they all decided to hurriedly head for Mount Kiee.

 

Across the dark landscape they rode at nearly full gallop, for whoever - or whatever- was racing to catch them were closing the gap quickly.  

“If this doesn’t work we’ll be trapped.” Eleazar warned his party as they approached Mount Kiee.  

 

The ‘Mount’ was more of a large, steep hill, heavily wooded all the way to the top, where the stone ruins of the Elven fort stood.    One narrow dirt path wound around and around the hill, the thick grey trees concealing most of the movement of anyone making their way to the top.   As their band reached the foot of the mount, the sounds of their pursuers were nearly upon them, so without any hesitation they plunged into the tree-lined lane and rushed up the abandoned road toward the summit and the supposed teleportation device.   Around and around they rode, the trees silhouetted in the cold moonlight.   About halfway to the summit they heard the arrival of those who were attempting to intercept them.   It sounded like a large force and through gaps in the oaks they could see men spreading out, surrounding the hill as if planning a siege of a castle.  

 

“They’re not following us!”  Aurei said as she glanced through the trees.

“That worries me,” Captain Vinth replied, “I’ll bet they have wizards with them - we’ll be trapped like rats up there if we can’t get off this hill.”

“What if that man was one of those wizards, setting us up for a trap?” One of the Orc guards asked.

No one replied, but the question hung on the air as they raced around the bend.  Chanting began to be heard, drifting up from the bottom of the hill, the definite sounds of a group of men casting spells. 

 

“We’re running out of time,” Eioldth commented nervously upon hearing the chanting.  

“How are we going to activate the teleportation device?”  Aurei asked.

“Don’t worry,” The Queen reassured, “I have heard of such devices, though I wasn’t aware that they were still usable.  I have been told how it is activated.”

Somewhere below them, the chanting increased in tempo and intensity then suddenly stopped, followed immediately by a loud Whoosh!   Everyone in the party glanced up as a quartet of balls of fire arched up into the night sky with a bright orange glow.

“Fireballs!”  Several of them cried out at once as they began to descend down toward the hill.

“We’ve got to move faster!”  Eleazar yelled so all in his party could hear.   But their horses were exhausted and did not seem to increase their pace in spite of all of their prompting with their spurs.  

Suddenly the fireballs impacted into the trees on the hill, sending several loud explosions of fire all around them.

The trees burst into flames at once, and immediately an inferno raged on every side.   The raging fire terrified the tired horses to find their last bit of strength, and they rushed upward to the temporary safety of the summit of the hill.  

But over the roar of the fire that was itself rushing up the hill after them, they could hear a renewed series of chants coming from the spellcasters surrounding the mount.

 

As they raced through the burning forest of trees into the cleared patch on the very top of Mount Kiee that marked where the crumbled ruins of the Faesidhe fort once stood, a second volley of glowing orbs filled the sky.   They were aimed higher this time, but none in Aurei’s group paused to watch the trajectory of the fireballs, for they were struggling to breath in the stinging, smoky air of the burning hillside.  

“There!”  Queen Eioldth said through gasping coughs, pointing through the smoke to a large stone platform in the middle of the crumbled Elven watchtower.   It was ten feet square and covered with Elven symbols, but seemed to be supernaturally immune to the effects of time, unlike the other parts of the fort.    Barely able to breath, they all moved forward toward the platform.   Just as Aurei rode her horse onto the platform to join the Queen and Zeatt, the second wave of fireballs crashed down upon them.

There came a loud boom and from behind them, and Aurei spun around to catch the horrifying sight of four of the Orc guards and their horses thrown into the air; consumed in flames from a direct hit from a fireball.   Before anyone could do anything, a second fireball slammed into the ground behind them, knocking Aurei, Eleazar, Vinth and the remaining Orc Guards off of their mounts in the fiery explosion.  

Before she could get to her feet, she felt someone grab her around the waist and throw her forward onto the teleportation platform.

“GO!  GO!”   Vinth roared, now tossing Eleazar away from the flames onto the stone platform where Zeatt and Eioldth - both knocked to the floor by the blast- were just getting to their feet.

Chanting could again be heard, now nearly hidden from the roar of the forest fire, and they all knew what would soon be coming.

“GET OUT OF HERE!   HURRY!” Vinth screamed to them, turning back to the nightmare of his men covered in flames, who were screaming and rolling on the ground, trying to put out the flames.  

Eioldth screamed in horror, seeing her guards on fire, but Zeatt grabbed her arms, “Your Majesty, you have to get us out of here!”

“I’m not going to leave them!” She cried.

“Think of your child!   You carry a baby!”

Those words sobered the Queen, and with tears streaming from her eyes, she coughed twice and then in a shaky voice chanted a few words.

As this transpired, Aurei glanced back at the valiant Orc Captain, standing there in helpless anguish as his men died before his eyes, his sword drawn as he guarded their rear flank.

“Vinth!”  Aurei yelled to him, “Come on!”

He didn’t turn, only shaking his head.  

From the platform, a bright green glow began to form as the Queen’s chant ended.   In the sky above them, another series of fireballs were beginning their descent, this time aimed directly at the platform on the hilltop.

Without a moment of hesitation, as the green glow began to grow brighter, Aurei reached off of the platform and grabbed the singed edge of the Orc Captain’s cloak and with all of her strength, pulled backward.   The Orc, focused completely on his men’s plight, was taken off-guard and stumbled backwards, just as the fireballs impacted the platform.   

Aurei closed her eyes at that instant; there was the sensation of falling, then with a jump, she opened her eyes, stunned to find not the top of the burning hill but a snowy view.   She glanced around in amazement - they were sprawled out on another stone platform, this one on the very edge of the Great Elven forest - she’d seen the structure from the edge of the forest several times as it was located only a few yards inside the Faesidhe kingdom.

“It worked!” she exclaimed, but then she saw the crumpled body of Captain Vinth behind her and rushed to him.

 

The Orc’s plate armor had absorbed much of the fiery blast, but it was red hot and Vinth had been seriously burned, though he had teleported with them.   Eleazar and Zeatt raced over to him, with the nearly hysterical Queen behind them. 

“We’ve got to get his armor off, quick!”   Eleazar said, and wrapping his cloak around his hands, he hurriedly pulled each hot piece of armor from the Orc.   Zeatt began chanting a healing spell, while Aurei ran over and scooped up handfuls of snow to cool the armor down and enable the half-Drow to remove each piece.   The Orc was unconscious and barely breathing.   Both Aurei and Eleazar laid hands upon him and that seemed to help some, for his breathing grew stronger.   As soon as Eleazar and Aurei had pulled the Orc’s chainmail undersuit off of him, Zeatt cast her healing spell.   For nearly a minute, a deep blue glow covered Vinth and then faded.   Eioldth stood there nervously wringing her hands, hollow eyed as she waited.   When the spell ended, Vinth opened his yellow eyes, took a deep breath and sat up.  

“They’re all dead, aren’t they?” he asked the Queen when he saw her standing nearby.   She could not answer him verbally; instead she just nodded, crying.

He closed his eyes for a moment, sighed, and looked over at Aurei, “You pulled me back on the platform, didn’t you?   I should have died with my men.”

Aurei shook her head and then gestured toward Eioldth, “Your duty is to your Queen.”

The Orc nodded stoically.

“Where are we?”   Zeatt asked, as she went over to Eioldth and put her arms around the Elf woman to comfort her.

“Westmark is just over the hill, this is the edge of the Elven forest, and we really need to get out of here before the Faesidhe arrive.”   Aurei answered, getting to her feet.

“Couldn’t our adversaries follow us through the teleportation portal?”   Eleazar asked as he picked up the various pieces of Vinth’s armor.

“Not unless they have a Faesidhe Elf with them.”   Eioldth said through her tears.    “It only works when a Faesidhe chants the runes to activate it.  My people were Faesidhe until they were cast out.”

“Still, we need to get out of here; they won’t be too happy to see Zeatt, Eleazar or me, not to mention Vinth.”

Without further debate, they quickly scooped up the cooled pieces of Vinth’s plate armor and trudged through the ankle deep snow out of the forest and up the hill, until the walls of the Westmark came in view.   A cold west wind howled around them as they quietly made their way toward the gate.  

“Stop!” Finally came a voice from the battlements, “Who goes there?   Identify yourself.”

Aurei smiled somewhat sadly, recognizing the voice of the Captain of her ducal guard, “Hello, Pectros, it’s Aurei; I have Sir Eleazar with me and three others that will surprise you.”

Of course her voice caused the whole watch to stir into excited motion, and less than a minute later Aurei and her party were ushered inside.  

In spite of the terrible experience of that evening, Aurei could not help but feel overjoyed to be home. 

 

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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"We don't have times for games, stranger." You've the plural, rather than singular...time.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

Another good find. If you keep this up, writers are going to be seeking you out, paying you to pro.. read more
Elina

10 Years Ago

Haha! Thank you! Hmm...perhaps that is my calling; getting paid to read books...how delightful!

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Added on November 8, 2013
Last Updated on May 29, 2014
Tags: pursuit, Drow, Elf, Wizard, Undead, Vampires, Orc, fantasy, adventure, magic, sorcery

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 2: The Knights of Northmarch


Author

Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

Writing
One One

A Chapter by Eddie Davis


Two Two

A Chapter by Eddie Davis