The Tales of The Ganvadels

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Summary

A novel dictating the thrilling adventures of a group of adventurers, known as the Ganvadels.

Genre:
Fantasy / Adventure
Author:
Rylee
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
4
Rating:
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

~~{ADVENTURE 1: THE WANDERER}∽∽

~PROLOGUE~


Screech ran through the foliage as fast as his small legs could carry him. The orcs chasing him were far off now, he hoped; he'd been running for weeks, but he refused to stop for long.

He knew they'd been following him all this way.

He would spend the daylight hours on the run until he was either too tired, the weather turned to rain, or night fell. These days, he was getting tired earlier and earlier. He had always been small, as ravenfolk are, but now he was even smaller. The stress, constant exertion and lack of food made what little muscle and fat he had before melt off, leaving his already spindly, thin bird body thinner and weaker than ever before. His feathers were caked with grease and dirt, making them heavier. Or was that his weakening body just making them feel heavier?

The sun was setting now. He could tell from the sky reddening through the tree branches above. He hadn't stopped running at all that day, the first time in a week.

He finally stopped. The wave of exhaustion hit him right away and he had to sit as his vision turned black for a moment. It took everything in him not to pass out. This time the feeling was different, like he may close his eyes and never wake up. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad.

He shook the dark thought from his mind, only to have another take it's place. What if they were closer than he thought? Screech felt the panic welling up inside him but attempted to push it down, to no avail. He started to breathe heavily, trying to catch his breath, but no matter what it felt like there was a weight sitting on his chest and he could not get enough air.

Screech lifted his knees to his chest and held them there, rocking back and forth slightly, waiting for the feeling to pass.

He thought of his friends. Dew, the love of his life, and Knick, his best friend. He saw their faces, happy and without care, as he liked to remember them but the thought was quickly corrupted by the truth of the situation. They were dead now, butchered by 2 orcs.

The orcs had come for them in the night. The three were sitting at their fire, reading out the words from their books. The curse that afflicts our kind isn't so bad, Screech remembered thinking. It wasn't difficult to get around. His kind all had books of words, every word they wanted to remember. Every night before bed they'd read them, and the curse would be put at bay for another 2 weeks, the clock being reset every night. But that was almost a month ago, and not only was Screech completely alone now, the orcs had stolen his book. Now his mind was like a prison to him. He couldn't even say the names of his dead friends. He couldn't say anything. When he tried to speak, his body refused to obey, no matter how hard he tried.

Say something, he pleaded to himself, to his own body. Anything. No sound came out.

Screech sat under the tree for some time to gather his strength. He hoped he still had some to gather. He needed to pull himself together and forage for something he could eat, but his body felt like it was made of heavy metal.

As the sky began to darken, he managed to find the will to move again. He got on his hands and knees and began to crawl around in the dirt, scouring it for insects that he could consume. Just because he was a bird didn't mean he liked to eat like one. He had been eating insects for weeks now, and had made a hierarchy in his mind of which he preferred. Ants were good, he could hardly taste them when he ate them one at a time, but they hadn't given him much nutrition. Slugs were his least favourite. The texture, coupled with the taste, made them hard to stomach, but they had the most protein. Beetles were somewhere in the middle.

He found a couple slugs and caught a few beetles. The slugs tasted horrendous, and they felt like he was chewing on someone's tongue, but beggars can't be choosers. He needed the protein. After the slugs were down he ate the beetles. The crunch they made sickened him and he hated the feeling of their thick blood spreading across his tongue, but he could keep them down. Now that he'd eaten something, even small, he realized just how dry his mouth was.

Screech held onto the empty waterskin he had taken during the ambush. He had gotten by well enough with finding small streams and collecting rainwater in clearings, but it had been 2 days since he'd run out again.

He stopped crawling and, using a tree to help him stand again, he listened to the sounds of the forest. The different chirps and warbles of the birds in the trees, the light wind that made some branches sway above, the sounds of squirrels running around and chittering at each other. Screech thought it would be more beautiful if he wasn't still terrified for his life. Behind all the background noise he heard the one thing he needed; running water.

Pushing off the tree he began to trek to the sound. He felt weaker than ever before, his legs struggling to hold his body up, but he persisted. He'd get a drink, find someplace to hide for the night, and sleep until dawn. But the thought of sleep filled him with dread. He felt like he had one foot in the grave, and he worried that if he closed his eyes he might not be able to open them again. At least that would be better than them, he thought solemnly. Slip away in my sleep instead of cut to pieces.

The sky was turning purple now, the final remnants of sunlight disappearing. Screech could see clouds rolling in overhead. There was likely to be another rain. The sound of water became louder as he walked closer, and soon Screech could tell it wasn't just a stream. He climbed one last small hill to find it there, a large river, splitting the forest with banks on either side. He silently celebrated, thankful that at least something had gone right. Screech was sure he could follow the river to some sort of settlement tomorrow. He hoped his plight would soon be over.

He walked down to the river. It wasn't moving very quickly, but the moving of so many tons of water was still a worry to him. Once he was on the bank, Screech didn't hesitate and dumped his head into the cool water. It sent a shock through his body. He took some mouthfuls before he came up for air. Drinking unclean water like this could be dangerous, he knew, but he also knew without it he'd be dead for sure. He'd take his chances.

Lifting his head from the water he took handfuls and began to wipe dirt from his feathers. He didn't submerge himself, afraid he'd be swept into the river and swept away, without the strength to pull himself out. The thought of drowning terrified him nearly as much as the thought of being found by the orcs.

He sat on the river's edge, watching the water flow by so smoothly. He felt at peace for a moment as he listened to the calming flow, more tranquil than he had felt since he'd been on his own. He closed his eyes, just for a moment, and . . .

A crack in the trees behind him. Screech nearly jumped into the water out of fear. There wasn't anywhere he could hide where he was sitting, and he heard another crack, followed by a curse in a deep, guttural voice. He knew the language. Orcish.

He was on his feet and running before he knew it. It was as if his body had taken control for him, the tiredness gone already, replaced with a pounding in his ears as the adrenaline filled his body.

"There!" He heard one of them shout in Orcish. "There's the bird!"

He heard them behind him, the rattling and clanging of their weapons and bags of supplies. Their breathing made them sound like monsters, deep breaths that sounded almost like feral growls. He ran as fast as he could. Suddenly the rain began to fall. Lightly at first, but within seconds it was a downpour. There was no sunlight left, and Screech couldn't see in the dark.

The orcs could.

Screech didn't need to look behind him to tell they were gaining. Taking a risk, he turned suddenly to his left and back into the thick foliage. He couldn't see in the dark, the orcs had that advantage, but he hoped the rain and uneven terrain would still slow them down and enable him to find a hiding spot.

They were still behind him, but less so. He was keeping low to the ground so he didn't trip or run into anything, but the clouds covering the moon meant that he was nearly completely blind. He heard a splash and the sound of something heavy falling, then an angry curse. Maybe this was the right plan after all.

No sooner had the words entered his mind did Screech's foot find a root in the dark. With all his momentum forward, he couldn't stop himself. With it wedged underneath the wood, he fell forward, feeling the bone in his ankle shattering. They were weak, being bird bones, but malnourishment had weakened them even further.

As he laid on the ground for a moment, listening to the orcs and their movement, he could tell his body was on quite a slant down now, with his foot bent the wrong way as it was still stuck under the root. Screech could tell he must've been on some sort of hill. There was no way he'd be able to run anymore, let alone crawl. There was only one thing to do if he didn't want them to catch him.

Screech sat up, the pain in his ankle reverberating through his entire body as he moved. He reached over and grabbed his foot, pulling it free from beneath the wood. The pain was so immense he nearly passed out then, but once his leg was free he slipped and began to roll down the hill.

He couldn't count the amount of things he hit on the way down. With every roll he gained more speed until he was bouncing to the bottom. His breath was knocked from him halfway down, leaving him gasping and whimpering for air when he finally came to a rest at the bottom of the hill. The adrenaline was still running, making his heart beat hard and fast, every single beat making his leg throb with incredible pain.

There was a flash of lightning, and for a brief moment the world was illuminated for him. He saw the orcs standing at the top of the hill, looking down toward him. Only they weren't looking at him. After a moment one of them began to yell wildly, but through the rain he couldn't understand what was being said. He just knew they were angry. The yelling turned into some sort of argument, but when the voices began to move away he knew he had escaped them.

Lying there, Screech's body began to ache with so many different pains that his ankle didn't matter as much anymore. The rain was beginning to sap the heat from his body, and he had no energy to move. It was very cold, but Screech found some sort of comfort in it.

He could feel himself going numb now.

He closed his eyes, and wondered one last time if he'd wake again, before the exhaustion consumed him and he fell unconscious.


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