A Chapter by Eddie Davis

Gevin prepares to do battle with Lord Savel.



Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.’

--Shannon L. Alder


Uncertain if anything he was experiencing was real or just another illusion created by the magic of the forest, Gevin spent several hours isolated in the tourney tent trying to sort everything out to his satisfaction.    First he examined his armor and weapons - they seemed to be the same as those he’d acquired in the forest; the magic armor and sword taken from the animated tree.

But if this was an illusion or some sort of insane dream caused by the magic of the Great Forest, would they behave in a consistent manner and retain their true properties, or would they react in accordance to the ‘flow’ of this illusion?

He didn’t want a sword that would break or not function properly when needed, nor did he want the armor to resume independent animation when he was locked in battle with Lord Savel.

Was what Savel and the Drow woman told him actually the truth?  Did the magic of this place keep the last champion here forever, until he was defeated in single combat?   Was there any other way out?   Could he trust the Drow woman any more than he could a brutish Ogre?   Both of them were of legendary races that were no longer seen, at least in Greidour and most other parts of the world.   Could they just be shadows of greater fears (or desires) manifested by the ancient wizardry controlling the forest into something seeming material and real, just to test him for some unknown reason?

His entire time inside the Great Forest had the feel of something strange.   He wondered if even Applemint was really there, or was she yet another phantasm?

What could he do, though, but proceed as if it was real?

He had to assume that at least some of what he’d experienced was legitimate, and that meant that Applemint was probably trapped in this place with him.   She was the reason that he had to take this whole thing as deadly serious, for he was determined to get her safely back to her family.

After that, did it really matter?  

If he was destined to be stuck here by killing Lord Savel in battle, then that would be worse than the torment he’d endured for years living as an ageless Half-Elf in a mortal human world.    He did not want lost and frightened people who came to the tournament grounds the same way that he had to be forced to fight him in combat.   It was clear to him, at least, that if he did manage to kill the Ogre and send Applemint, Zaeya and the twenty three other women (that he had not seen yet) through the ‘Restoration Pool’ back into the real world, then he’d be free to finally walk through the Nihility Gate.

It had been his original plan, after all, and now he really had no other option, except to be killed by Savel (and eaten!) or else be killed by someone who was in his situation at a later date.

Either way, death was the only escape and he accepted that, feeling a bit melancholy for allowing himself a time of a glimmer of hope due to the encouragement of Applemint.

Now his decision to end his life at least could be argued to be for the greater good rather than for his selfish desire to end years of loneliness and pain.

Of course if this all was merely an illusion it all would be a moot point anyway, but he would proceed as if it was all real.


The armor and his sword were in perfect condition, so he had nothing left that he had to prepare but himself.   Gevin wondered about Applemint constantly, worried that she might be scared to death in this setting, but he reminded himself that she seemed to be made of much stronger stuff than her size would suggest.  

With nothing left to do, he removed the armor, simply ordering it to come off, using its magic that he’d discovered in the forest.   The armor complied, stacking itself in a neat pile in one corner.   He kept his sword with him.

As he was about to explore a large trunk next to the cot, he heard the sound of water and spun around, surprised to find that now there was a large washing tub in the middle of the room, filled with steaming hot water, a large bar of soap floating in it and several large towels folded neatly in a pile nearby.

The abrupt appearance didn’t surprise him much and he decided to bathe, as clearly it was there for that reason.

The water felt very real and welcome and he savored it for a long time, pleased that the heat did not diminish with time.

Finally, feeling quite refreshed and clean, he exited the tub and dried off.   As soon as he dropped the towel, the bath and accessories vanished in the blink of an eye and in their place, neatly folded on the bed was a soft tunic and pants and a woolen blanket and pillow.   It was like having an invisible squire.

Gevin dressed, confident the clothing would be a perfect fit (which it was) and he sprawled out on the military style ‘camp cot’, finding it unusually comfortable and solid.   Feeling very tired after the relaxing bath, he decided that he’d simply lay there and rest while he ironed out in his mind such things as what form of combat Lord Savel would choose and how best to win against him when he took the huge form of an Ogre.

But as soon as his head touched the feathery softness of the down pillow, he found himself drifting off into a deep sleep.




Trumpets brought him out of a dreamless slumber, confused and unsure for an instant where he was, but then it completely returned to him.  Gevin quickly leaped off the cot and seeing his enchanted armor, ordered it upon him.   In a moment he was fully attired and only then did he note a tray of breakfast placed on a camp chair by the flap of the tent.   Though he wasn’t particularly hungry, he walked over to examine what was offered and was only mildly surprised to find it was his favorite morning meal; biscuits with honey and thick pieces of bacon.    Speculating at the possibility that this could be his last meal if he lost in his combat with Lord Savel, he sampled the food and finding it incredibly delicious, hardily devoured it.   A flagon of light, but sweet honey mead washed it down.

As he was finishing the meal, the tent flap swung back and with a joyful squeal, Applemint rushed in and threw her arms around him.

“Thank Yesh, sir, I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again!” She said as she clung tightly to him.   He patted her shoulder, glancing up to see Lady Zaeya standing in the entrance looking mildly amused at their reunion.

“I brought her to see you; she can’t be on the field because she is a woman, regardless of whether she is really your squire or not.   I’d say she wasn’t, but that doesn’t matter now.    You’ve only got a few minutes - you’ll know when it’s time to head off to the field of battle when your speech returns to that silly sounding ‘thee’ and ‘ye’ flowery language of old books.    It’s part of the magic of this place for some insane reason and I can’t change it during a combat day, so you’ll have to deal with it.    I’ll leave you two alone; I will have to take her back to the grandstand before the battle begins.”

“Thanks for letting me see her, Lady Zaeya,” Gevin thanked the Drow woman.

“Well, I thought she might give you a morale boost - we all want you to win, Half-Elf, especially me, since I’ve been here longer than any of the other captives.   I’ll be nearby.”   She slipped out of the tent, leaving Applemint and Gevin alone.


“Apple, are you alright?” He asked after the Drow lady left.

“I’m okay, sir; they put me in with a lot of women that are trapped here!   Most of them have been here a long time, too!”

“Yeah, I know about that; we’re in a grim situation, Apple; I have to defeat Lord Savel in combat or you’ll be stuck here.”

“-And you’ll be eaten by him!”  She pulled back from him, desperation in her eyes, “Sir Gevin, the women told me that you may have just found the Nihility Gate after all.”

Gevin nodded, “Yes, but I can’t get to it without killing Savel.”

Applemint nodded, looking down at her feet.   She wore a beautiful white gown that made her look like a lovely princess, “There’s something else, sir, something you may not know.   It’s about what happens if you win…”

“I already know, Apple.”

The Halfling girl began crying, “There’s no way out for you, sir!”

“But there is for you, and the other women as well.   A portal through a pool that Zaeya called ‘The Restoration Pool’.   You can get home when I kill Savel!”

She slowly shook her head, “I don’t know…”

“You don’t know?”

“This whole thing is unfair!   If you beat Savel, you’re stuck here, but if he beats you, he’ll kill you and then eat you!”

“I don’t plan on letting him beat me, Apple.”

“Yes, but what happens if you do win, Sir?   You’ll be all alone in this horrible place, waiting for someone else to get trapped here that you’ll have to do battle with!”

“No, I don’t intend to become the next Lord Savel, Apple.”

“What choice do you have?”

Gevin didn’t respond, and Applemint once again seemed to read his mind.

“You’re going to go through the Nihility Gate,” she said with the dead voice of someone who had lost all hope.

“I have to, Apple.   Listen to me; if I don’t go through the gate, then other people will be trapped here.   Even if I let the first guy who comes here defeat me in battle, then he’ll be stuck here until the next man arrives.    The only way to put an end to this place is to simply walk through the gate and end the magic altogether.”

Applemint snorted, “You found a way to kill yourself after all, didn’t you, Sir Gevin?”

“Apple, that’s not fair at all!  I fully intended to find a way out of this damned forest and leave it with you.   Now that isn’t an option.”

“Well, how do you expect me to just jump into that pool or whatever it actually is, and leave, knowing you are going to kill yourself?”

“Either way, Apple, I’m more or less dead now anyway.    If I lose against the Ogre, I die, and if I win, I’m trapped here unless I do the right thing and sacrifice myself to keep anyone else from being trapped here.”

“It might not be that simple, Sir Gevin,” She replied, not looking at him as she spoke but staring bleakly at her feet.

“What do you mean?”

“One of the women who has been here almost as long as Zaeya told me last night that if anyone enters the forest where we did and is on the path coming toward the stream where we drank the water, then a Champion - that would be Lord Savel right now-- and you, if you defeat him, cannot use the Nihility Gate.   The path has to be empty before he can go through.”

“Well, hopefully there won’t be anyone on the path - few people come in here, so if I cross over quickly then methinks I shall prevail…”  Gevin blinked as his speech took on the formal court language.   Applemint looked up at him, her big green eyes wide with realization.

“Sir Gevin!  Alas, ‘tis time!”

“Indeed; Applemint, heed me:  Lady Zaeya hast sworn that she will escort thee to Whiteberry and restoreth thee to thy family.”

“I need not her help, m’lord!  I shant return unless ye accompanieth me!”

“Apple, thou hast not a choice in this matter.  Think of thy father and mother and forgeteth my fate.”

“I shall never forget!”  Apple cried, just as the tent flap swung open.

“Thy fate awaiteth, Sir Gevin,” Lady Zaeya said somberly, dodging out of the way in surprise as Applemint ran from the tent, weeping.

“What did thou sayeth to the girl?” She asked, watching her weave around the tents as she ran to the women’s viewing box.

“I told her the direness of the situation and bid her farewell.   She doest not accept my decision.  Remember thy sworn oath to me, Lady Zaeya; take care of her.”

“Take care of Lord Savel, Sir Knight, and verily, I will do as I promised thee.   Thou must go unto the tourney ground.   Lord Savel will await thee there.   Fare thee well, Sir Gevin, remembereth that thou art our only hope of redemption.”

“Indeed, this I knoweth very well.”

Zaeya gave him a slight bow and slipped out of the tent, leaving Gevin to steel himself for the upcoming challenge.


© 2020 Eddie Davis

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Added on November 18, 2020
Last Updated on November 18, 2020
Tags: Synomenia, Nihility_Gate, fantasy, elf, sword_and_sorcery, magic, knights, Halflings, Drow


Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO

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..

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A Chapter by Eddie Davis

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A Chapter by Eddie Davis