Chapter 7 - Desperation
The dark woods were so overgrown that Fiera had to struggle to make her way along the path that Gaunt had told her about. It was only due to her experience of living in forests her entire life tat she was able to discern any such path at all. Conjuring a small ball of light within her open palm, Fiera made use of her natural magick she possessed but rarely used (preferring her physical strength) to light her way through the blackness. All around her were the rustles and small noises of the animals around her, and if it weren’t for these sounds, the thick silence of the night would have surrounded Fiera and suffocated her.
I hope you’re happy, Zanzibar! Fiera huffed, annoyed at this wild goose chase he had sent her on. I don’t even know if that raving lunatic was telling the truth! For all I know, he could be leading me into a trap! Of course, nothing answered her. She hadn’t expected Zanzibar’s disembodied to miraculously resound throughout the forest. Perhaps years of isolation had caused her to lose her mind. In any case, she could not turn back. She had come too far to back out and forget about this legend.
Now that she thought of it, Fiera was struck with the profound realization that she had spent the better part of a century, nearly her entire life, looking for the Mystic Forest. It had become the purpose for her being, the quest that had given her life a meaning and Fiera had the strangest feeling that if she were to fail in fulfilling that purpose, the meaning her life held as she now knew it would come to an end. This thought chilled Fiera’s very heart and taking a deep, steadying breath, she pressed on.
Hours passed in much the same manner, Fiera becoming more and more overwhelmed by the very thoughts attacking her own mind. Despite her incredible physical endurance, trekking through the dense woods all night was taking its toll upon her. Her movements were becoming slower and more lethargic, her vision becoming less sharp. Her own mind became her worst enemy last night. Her lack of sleep diminished her magick and she was now stumbling along weakly through the dark, the thoughts in her head turning into voices, becoming louder and louder until Fiera had to cover her ears and cry out in an unsuccessful effort to drown them out.
Fiera! Run, sweetheart! her father’s voice echoed in her mind.
“Father! Father, where are you?” she shrieked, not understanding that the voice she was hearing was only in her head. It sounded as real to her as if her father were standing merely a few feet away, just out of her grasp. “Father, I’m not leaving you this time!” she wept, crashing blindly through the darkness.
Fiera? Fiera, come to me, dear friend... There was no mistaking the calm, soothing tone of this voice and the elegant fluidity of the words spoken. It was Zanzibar calling out to her. Fiera’s heart ached with grief and she fell to her knees weeping and screaming at the voices to stop their torment.
“YOU’RE DEAD!” she screamed. “YOU’RE ALL DEAD! YOU CAN’T BE TALKING TO ME!” No matter how many times she screamed this the voices would not cease and only became louder and more insistent until they were a deafening, thunderous roar.
As the dawn began to peak over the tip of the woods, Fiera’s consciousness began to fade. Her throat swelled and shut itself, and the air supply to her lungs diminished. Collapsing into a convulsive heap, her pain slowly began to fade away, even the voices gradually became less discernable as though their owners were moving away from her.
Looking down at her abdomen, which unexpectedly sent a searing pain throughout her body, she saw a large thorn protruding from the flesh, covered with a filmy, acidic substance. Venom. She had gotten careless in her weakened state and must have come into contact with a poisonous plant without realizing what had happened. There was only one thing that could surely kill an elf within minutes, and that one thing was poison. Elves feared it more than almost anything, because it was their only crippling weakness. Even the smallest scratch of venom or a single glass of overly-strong liquor would send an elf into a hallucinating, feverish state and close off their airways, which was exactly what was happening to Fiera.
All her years of searching had come to this end. The dragon attack, her rape, Zanzibar’s death... it had not lead her to the Mystic Forest but had only brought her to her own demise. She was terribly afraid. She was to die alone.
Not so, Fiera. the same fluid voice of Zanzibar echoed, but rather than only hearing the voice, Zanzibar was there kneeling beside her as solid and as real as he was in life. His kind eyes looked deeply into her frightened ones and he brushed his snow white muzzle against her damp cheek.
Zanzibar... she thought weakly.
I’m here. he told her gently. She weakly lifted a shaking hand and rested it on his gleaming golden mane, stroking it softly. To be able to touch him and feel his beautiful mane beneath her fingers after so many decades bathed her heart in a bitter-sweet jubilation. Fresh tears cascaded freely down her cheeks.
I miss you so much. she whispered faintly. She knew she was dying and that was why Zanzibar was with her now. Her spirit was about to make its final passage to the Realm of the Dead. Fiera accepted this. She would have accepted an eternity of perpetual torture to be with her dearest friend again... her only friend. She wanted to stay with him even if it meant cutting her Astral life short.
No, Fiera. I am not here to take you with me. You have a truly great destiny and you must fulfill it... I must go now, but always remember that I love you, dear friend... he spoke to her as his solidity melted away into nothingness and Fiera screamed out in her anguish.
Now she truly was going to die alone here, and she wasn’t sure whether she would see Zanzibar again. In one last desperate plea to everyone and yet no one simultaneously, Fiera mustered up the last remaining strand of life in her body to choke out two words. “Help me...” she moaned, her voice fading away to a sigh.
The sweetest laugh Fiera had ever heard resounded throughout the forest and a milky white finger gently turned her chin so that she was staring into the face of an astoundingly beautiful human, even surpassing Fiera’s own elven beauty which was quite impossible. The Woman’s skin was a creamy white and seemed to glow in the darkness as Her waist-length, ebony black strands of hair fell elegantly around Her shoulders, artfully covering most of Her body which was completely bare. Her eyes were a sparkling emerald green and held all the secrets of the Realms. Her only adornment was a circlet of blooming vines woven intricately into Her shining hair.
I was beginning to worry that you would never ask. She said in a voice indescribable by such crude things as words and languages. It was a song and yet not a song at all. It filled Fiera’s body with strength and sharpened her mind. It filled her screaming lungs with fresh cool air and rid her body of all sickness. This was the Lady. The eternal Goddess of all life and existence. Fiera found she was able to sit up and could only gape in awe at the absolute perfection of Her. Even though She had appeared in a human form, She was still perfect in every way imaginable. Fiera did not dare try to touch a Being so pure.
“Why?” was all she could whisper. Why had the Lady Herself come to Fiera’s aid? Why had She chosen to save her? Why had She appeared to her?
Fiera, I chose you. From the moment you were conceived, I chose you. She replied simply.
“Chose me for what?” Fiera demanded, becoming angry at the lack of answers she was receiving. The Lady smiled and shook Her head.
You will know. She said as she stood up and walked away from whence She came, the morning wind blowing Her hair and revealing Her perfect form, fitting of a Goddess.
Although some of Fiera’s strength had returned, it was only enough to keep her a comfortable length away from death, because she could not stand up. “How brilliant!” she growled through gritted teeth. A wave of dizziness washed over her and she gasped, placing a hand to her forehead. She could hear voices coming from the trees that surrounded her on all sides, but these were most definitely voices belonging to physically existent people, because she could also hear them walking through the woods towards her. Fiera desperately tried to scramble to her feet and grab her weapon to protect herself but only cried out in pain and collapsed once more. Before she had a chance to catch her breath, a broad, muscular man came into view, seemingly alarmed at the sight of Fiera. It wasn’t until he helped her to her feet that Fiera noticed his fluttering wings protruding from the hollow of his back. He must be a faerie.
“‘Vess! ‘Vess, come here!” he shouted, supporting Fiera. A female voice answered him as another faerie stepped into view.
“Pierce, for the last time, DO NOT call me that! It’s Duvessa!” she snarled moodily but became curious as her eyes rested upon Fiera. “An outsider? We haven’t had one for centuries! How did she get past the barriers?” The faerie named Pierce shrugged.
“I haven’t the faintest notion, but she’s injured.” he replied. Fiera had had enough. She would not allow these two strangers to talk about her as if she were a pet or drag her around like a sack of grain. She was a person, not a plaything!
“I am well enough, thank you very much and if you don’t unhand me, I will slit your throats and bathe in your blood!” she hissed murderously as Duvessa laughed with amusement.
“I like her!” she exclaimed to Pierce. Pierce released Fiera, sending her to her knees once again as he sighed and shook his head.
“Of course you do.” he told her, rolling his eyes. “Help me get her to Granny Oak.”
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The Writings of Briar Rosethorn
I enjoy writing. Plain and simple. I plan to make it my career so this journal will hold anything I write, whether good or bad. A scrapbook of both rough and final work, if you will. I will try to keep is as organized as possible.