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Advent

By WrenSilmar All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

1

There is a saying that knowledge is power, and many have taken the path of knowledge in order to gain power. However, once a person has a taste of power, they can become corrupted,addicted to it. It is then that they become someone else entirely, shucking their former identities till even they themselves no longer recognize or remember who they once were. Often times they leave scars, or destruction in their wake. What no one realizes is that they all have power with in themselves, at their finger tips just waiting. We all have the ability to cause chaos around us, but we also have the ability to restore order.

Order,the word made her chuckle more out of disgust than humor. Just what exactly was order, besides one’s own opinion? Did not those who committed such atrocities believe that what they were doing was the right thing even to an extent? She sighed rolling her eyes as she munched on a few things from her knapsack. To many years seeing what no one should see, making her cynical. That, or the bad habit of hanging out with Orin to long as he mulled over life’s unattainable questions after a few tankards of mead. It was always mead with him, never ale. He claimed ale lacked the flavor and charm. She didn’t much care for either, but enjoyed his company. Good old Orin. To bad the mead got to him and he now chased skirts in the afterlife no doubt.

The breeze sang softly through the boughs of the tree in which she perched, and the forest seemed to shake itself awake in the early dawn light. She landed lightly on the ground, her leather boots barely making a sound as they touched the earth. Three more shadows descended from nearby trees after her. With a slight nod they became one with the forest and silently made their way to the camp in the valley below.

*********

Whoever conned the phrase “ It can’t get any worse than this” needed to be shot with a slow acting poisoned arrow, dunked in the river, and hung upside down over a fire to cook slowly. Then maybe they could come back and reconsider the silly phrase before their untimely death.

The situation was looking rather grim for himself, not to mention the fact that the whole world might implode on itself. Then again, when wasn’t the world in mortal danger? When was the last time that someone or something didn’t need saving? He had fought in to many battles and his old bones were now beginning to complain, especially when he was confined to this damp dark sad excuse for a cell. Seriously why did the Fae have to take pity on the human race? They were just a bunch of whiny troublemakers with little to no redeeming qualities. Literally.

Speaking of the Fae, a certain cousin to the Fae was rather late in getting here. He had been gone for over three days now and was getting stiff. Curses, those blasted elves were too attached to their forests to lend a helping hand to friends in need. Grumbling he scooted closer to the small crack in the wall that allowed him some fresh air from the outside world. Well one couldn’t call it fresh as he was in the middle of an Ogen campground, and they never smelled good.

Ogen were a cross between ogres and... He frowned not being able to recall at the moment what the stupid ogres were crossed with. All anyone could remember was that the Ogen had eradicated their predecessors and were not to be trifled with. The only one who truly knew anything about them where the elves, and they as usual remained silent on the matter. However any information on how to kill them they freely gave. Thinking about it made him frown. The elves weren’t ones to be open about most things they believed would be harmful to the balance of things, but when it came to known enemies they practically tripped over themselves giving what information they could. So why would they keep their origins a secret? His thoughts were interrupted by the grating of the cell door next to him.

The soldiers were jeering at their latest prisoner congratulating themselves on such a great catch and how they would soon be promoted. Locking the cell they left leaving their newest prisoner lying in a heap at the far corner. He studied his newest neighbor for awhile trying to determine what exactly they were, but the prisoner didn’t move for the longest time. Finally when they didn’t rouse for their dinner, he just gave up on any hope that he or she would awaken before dawn the next day. So much for conversation.

The sun had set over the land and soon a hush settled over the prison. It was your usual Ogen prison, only fortified by the earth as it was mostly underground. The earthen cells reinforced with steel bars, locks and the stench of the night watch. Torch light flickered over next to the few guards as they gambled away their money, talking about their own victories, the usual ego ridden crap. It was a usual night and he soon found himself begin to doze listening to the same ale driven stories that he knew would lead to a show of strength. It was best to keep your head down when it came to that part of the night. He had seen one too many a prisoner get the tar beat out of them for not acting the right way or simply watching them.

It was then that he noticed movement from their new arrival. Slow at first, the body stretching and testing to see where it had been injured. He quietly willed them to stay down and not cause a commotion, as if he could somehow communicate with them by will alone. The figure rose fully awake now the light to dim for him to really catch a good glimpse of who he or she was. Unfortunately the now drunken guards did notice. One of the larger Ogen stumbled over to the cell across from him belching into the prisoner’s face.

“You wanna join the fun?” he hiccuped, leaning into the cell door peering into it. The prisoner backed away slowly, before being grabbed by the Ogen guard. The prisoner struggled weakly against the grip making the Ogen guard laugh. The others called for some sport wanting their newest prisoner to come out and provide it for them. The cell door groaned at being unlocked and the newest arrival was dragged from behind its bars.

Like a lamb being brought to slaughter, the prisoner struggled weakly against the Ogen before being tossed at the feet of the table where the others sat leering down at them. Another Ogen guard rose kicking the prisoner in the gut, making the others laugh and cheer. The first Ogen had the second pick up the prisoner so that he could wail on them with out the prisoner falling to the ground. The Ogen went to swing at the prisoner but instead ended up hitting the second square in the jaw. Bewildered the Ogen looked around for the missing prisoner, only to fall to the ground as his knees buckled under the prisoner’s swift kicks to his knee caps.

The other Ogen were on their feet instantly shouting for one another to get the prisoner or help the others up. The prisoner was light on their feet weaving in and out of the drunken Ogen, disabling them one by one till they lay unconscious on the floor. Just as swiftly as it had begun, it was now over. Taking a belt, the prisoner removed the keys from an Ogen guard and moved on to his cell. Once the light hit the stranger he couldn’t help but break out in a cheeky grin.

Once you met Saela, there was little chance that you would forget her. An elven hunter extraordinaire, she had quickly become one of his good friends, but he considered her to be one of his adopted children, race be damned. Saela had always shared a deep connection to nature, and was a prodigy for weaponry. She could pick up on things that others would miss, and could feel what she called a wrongness. Her greatest skill however was the uncanny knack for getting into places where she shouldn’t be able to without ever being noticed. She was tall with an athletic build, a testament to her profession, and intense deep blue eyes with silver flecks. It was odd to see her in her ranger garb with out all of her weapons.

“ Did you miss me?” she asked tucking her golden blonde hair behind a slender pointed ear. She flashed him a smile as she unlocked the cell door. If he hadn’t met her or seen her in action she would not appear to be a skilled fighter but rather a simple elven maiden.

“Don’t mock me missy. I am not the one who is late.” he growled low. She chuckled as she opened the door for him.

“Why must dwarves grumble and complain so much?” she said teasingly then grunted as he punched her playfully in the thigh.

He huffed. “Why must elves be so willy nilly? We grumble and complain so that something will get done around this place!” He glared up at her and she just smiled back at him till he smiled at her in return. “I am grateful that you came for me Little Wren, but did you honestly have to go about it the way you did?”

Saela smiled at the nickname he had given her a long time ago. “With the time I had it was the best option to get you, without getting more unwanted attention.” She handed him his weapon as she strapped on her own. “ That, and I was the only one in the area when I heard the news. Just what in Havern’s beard were you thinking poking about around here?” She looked at him intently before moving on ahead towards the exit.

He huffed dusting of his well worn forest clothes and trotted after her. “ Havern, the mighty god he is, had nothing to do with this wayward hullafuzz.” he grunted, stopping with her as they waited for a few more guards to clear out. He looked down at his once pitch black beard, now more gray than anything, and sighed at the mess. “It’s going to take me days to fix this.” Saela chuckled looking at him. Of all things, he would be worried about his beard. Though he was beginning to show his age, he was still stoutly built, and his muscles still tight and strong. What got her the most was his warm amber eyes that were alight with an inner fire, but would warm with those he loved. It was there that he had won her over. Leathery hands gripped the beloved long axe of his family line while his twin throwing axes were firmly strapped to his back.

“Once we get out of this prison, we might be able to sneak about before the residents themselves wake. Are you ready Haedien?” She didn’t need to look at him to know he was, but instead slipped away from the wall and down the alley way she had walked on hours before. Dawn was a few hours away and she wanted to be free and clear of the Ogen village before the guards changed their shifts and the village itself begins to wake. Getting out of the prison was pretty easy, as she had taken out the majority of them on their way to the armory. As they reached the door of the prison she could hear the sounds of boots scuffling down the stairs. Time was slipping. “We are going to have to run for the wall, just get to the outer ridge of it. There are others waiting.”

Haedien nodded. “I shouldn’t be surprised you had a plan. I thought you were the only one close by?”

She chuckled, “You forget that I have a team now old one.”

“You mean you work for the crown toting chauvinist.” he growled receiving a scowl from his counterpart. He just huffed, gripped his long axe and nodded that he was ready. Gingerly she opened the door and let him by first softly shutting it again behind them creating a barrier between them and where they used to be. As they began to move along the walls of houses, he could hear the shouting from the prisons below the ground. He broke out into a run, thankful he was only wearing his forest clothes and not his chain mail, for it would not only have slowed him down, but made noise as he ran.

Saela easily kept pace with him, her long elven legs eating up what little distance there was between them. She moved like the shadows her group was named for, quiet and deadly. Oh to be young again... Suddenly Saela came to an abrupt halt along the path beside him and motioned towards a fenced off area slightly taller than she.

“In what fantasy of yours do you think that I am able to scale that fence?” he snarled a her.

Saela rolled her eyes. “I’ll give you a boost, and my team will pull you up.” Haedin looked at her dubiously, but upon hearing the warning bells from the prison he decided he didn’t really have a choice. Saela knelt on the ground hooking her hands together and nodded at him. With a small grunt she heaved him up as far as she could, as soon as his foot hit her hands. Haedien reached up as a pair of elven hands reached down and grasped onto him pulling up. Saela wasn’t too far behind him landing softly next to him.

The sun had just begin to crest over the ridge, and by now the camp of Ogen was fully awake and beginning its search for them. One of the elves whistled softly and three horses came trotting out of the nearby woods.

Haedin groaned. “Saela, you know I hate horses.”

She chuckled, “You’ll get over it.”

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