Episode 11 - The forest fight
Trolling says we should stay and fight… but why not run? Surely all hope is lost? I hope that my trust in him is not misguided.
We shall fight the undead animals and those Shadow-Crawlers. Though my staff has no magical power left, I make use of it by swinging it into each Skvader as they attack, knocking them back with the help of a little green wind magic each time.
I glance up to the sky briefly, searching for an escape from the situation. I only see the Blue Bird in my bubble of white magic, too far for me to reach. I shout, pointing upwards…
“There are too many, Meow!” Trolling replies and as I raise my eyes my breath catches in my throat. Hundreds of yellow eyes blink back from the trees, glaring threateningly. I begin to search through my belt of elixirs, dodging and keeping a careful distance from the Skvaders. White with blue stripes. Invisibility. But… only enough left for one dose. I throw it to Trolling, beginning to give him instructions. However, as I throw it, a Skvader knocks into me and another steals the elixir from the air. That is not good. I am about to chase the Skvader when a heavy impact knocks me to the floor, tail spinning to land me on all fours. As I fell from Taur’s back my staff rolled, landing by Ken’s feet. Too far away to help me now. I search for my attacker, hearing a thud as it rolls across the ground. A Crawler. A chunk of my hair is caught in the sharp blades of its tail.
We are two souls. One good, one lost… but fighting. I extend my claws, letting them scratch the dirt. Cautious of the Crawler’s tail, I charge towards it. The creature raises its tail, carefully placing it where I cannot trap it onto the ground. But I won’t jump on the tail. Instead, I run close to the ground, aiming under the Crawler. As I see it’s hind legs tense, I throw myself low to the ground, raising my arm to scratch across the belly of the beast. Blood soaks my paw, gushing out onto the soil. But I have won. I search for Trolling, surprised when Ken throws me, my staff.
Another Shadow-Crawler emerges, launching itself at Taur. Reflexes kick in. I swing my staff against the creature forcefully…
… sending it flying away from us. More and more Skvaders appear around us. The Deer’s black magic is changing. I reach down for all the white magic that I can gather, fully charging, slamming the staff into the ground and summoning a shield just in time for a wave of the undead animals. I have too little power to help my Kentaurs, barely able to fight off my own attackers. Turning, I watch as an undead deer jumps at the neck of Taur, magic ready between its antlers. Panicked, I shout as loudly as I can.
Just as I think it is too late, Taur shoots an arrow of Yellow Magic between the deer’s antlers. The Black Magic explodes, taking the deer with it. How did Taur get a magic bow like that? With Yellow Magic just like the Furless’ sword? I shift my eyes to Ken, whose sword is in mid swing, slicing through a Shadow-Crawler. His sword also has Yellow Magic. My Kentaurs were created through Blue Magic… perhaps that affected them in some way? As I ponder, a thud against my shield alerts me to another Crawler, which jumps at me again, landing atop the shield and rolling around. But then as its tail scrapes the shield, it slips through, almost hitting me. I suck in a sharp breath, heart pounding. My shield isn’t able to protect me against Black Magic… and Red Magic always broke it. It’s time to try something new.
The deer begins to shoot Black Magic at me, absorbing my shield. As it disappears, I swing myself up on Taur's back and command her to run, swinging my staff as I pour my replenished magic into a spell.
Thin white fog is formed from the staff, surrounding us like a new shield. Black Magic follows us as we run, the army of undead barely able to keep up. Shadow-Crawlers are fast, running beside us and flying out from bushes to attack. As I raise my staff in caution, I feel my Kentaurs making yet another sudden stop. Ahead of us, an army of wolves has appeared. And, upon the back of the pack’s Alpha… is that… Trolling? I grin as I hear his chuckle, along with the flutter of wings as he shouts…
“Taur! Turn around,” I say, watching the Skvaders in the trees, Deer on the road and Crawlers on the hills. Coming to stand proudly beside me, the Alpha Wolf expresses his willingness to help.
“Thank you, Alpha. We are short on time. My Kentaurs will deal with the Deer, I can take on the Skvaders. I will leave the Crawlers to you.”
The Alpha smiled at me in a way we knowing each other,
"Leave them to us, my Princess."
Leaving the Alpha with my commands, I focus on my staff and speak to it.
Feeling it heat up as I’m speaking the command, it has enough power to knock back all of the Skvaders, the top of my staff glowing. As the Skvaders begin to attack, I search for the one that took my elixir, growing more worried as I struggle to find it. I turn at a new sound falling from Trolling’s mouth, watching what appeared to be something invisible attacking him. I take a deep breath and cross my claws before shouting out to him.
“Trolling! You’re not funny!”
Not looking for the results of my call, I turn to my own fight and swing my staff as Skvader after Skvader throws themselves at me. Behind me, even as yet another Skvader turns to dust under my staff, I can hear vicious growling and barking from Trolling.
The Deer are falling as Taur shoots them, while Ken is working with the wolves against the Crawlers. I can see the wolves biting into the necks of the Crawlers over the hills. I have never seen such fast animals. I duck instinctively as a sharp tail sliced the air in front of me. Where is the rest? Out of the corner of my eye, I watch as Ken takes down the tailless Crawler. Of both Skvaders and Deer: enemy numbers are dwindling. Hope courses through my veins as I watch my allies take down the undead. I look up as the forest darkens drastically. A thick fog of black shadow floating over the trees, flowing down to the leftover Deer. We still stand. The alpha wolf comes to stand beside me once more, bringing Trolling back.
“You are funny,” I say to him while watching the shadow spread.
“Sorry we are late.”
The wolf surprises me with speech, odd for a wild animal to exhibit. The wolf’s pack begins to join us, signalling the death of all the Crawlers. As the pack gathers beside us, the dark mass of shadow begins to form a tornado-like structure in its centre. No Deer have been left alive after the appearance of the shadow, which is beginning to form more eyes within.
“This isn’t a fight you can win. Not today.”
I nod at the Alpha in thanks, sensing danger intuitively. I raise my hand at my allies, signalling that we should run. And, as we leave, I can see white Skeletons emerging from the depths of black fog.
“Please follow us to our camp.” The Alpha says as he takes the lead. As we move, I point my staff to the Blue Bird and carefully aim, catching the bubble with a stream of white magic and encompassing it, allowing me to drag it above us.
We follow the pack down a worn path, past a lake of gentle waters. The fishing lake. From the memories returned to me, I can recall travelling this path to the lake and setting up to catch my dinner. But now… it is muddy. Swamp-like. I also remember there being a small town a little south of here. Beside the ocean. I turn to the wolf closest to us.
“You, Wolf? Are you living in the town to the south?”
With that short answer, it runs faster, clearly not wishing to speak with me. I remember that the town was of Catmen and Tigormen, known for being the fastest place to cross the sea to the land of Tigormen. But there, ships with commodities go all the way to the big city, Scratch.
After a while, curiosity takes over again, and I address my question this time to the Alpha.
“Where are you leading us?”
“We live at the scratching-post outside town. We need to save our strength. Save your questions for when we arrive.” The Alpha replies shortly after, having slowed to run beside us in answering.
I watch wearily as the wolf takes the lead of the pack once again. It has been a tiring day… I wonder how long I was almost dead before the forest came back? Had it all been burnt down?… or had I seen a future beyond the time shield? I certainly do not remember the undead and the skeletons having inhabited the forest before… as I ponder, the trees open into a clearing, and we run out to the scratching-post. The ruins of what was once an outpost emerge in my vision.
Inside the book:
That will by chapters art by Azifri and character pictures by Sarah.Mørch