An elf gets stranded in a dangerous cavern
December 18, 2018
"The portal closed suddenly"
Word count: 3273
The portal closed suddenly. There he was, stuck in the things lair. All of his companions gone, the portal, gone. He was alone; his stomach muscles tightened causing him pain at the thought of being left there alone, especially after what they had just been through, he just wanted to get home into his nice cozy house. He looked around, happy that he hadn't extinguished his lantern yet; he had to find a way out. There must be a way because the creature got out every night to devastate the villages throughout the kingdom, so there must be away. "But wait." He quietly says to himself, "what if there are more treasures to be found, but then what if the one they had slain wasn't the only one? I killed the first one," Serith argues. "I can do it again," thinking to himself for a moment he says, "yeah, time for more exploring." After all, he IS the greatest elven swordsman in the kingdom; he could easily kill another creature if it came down to that.
But why would they just leave him? He wasn't a nuisance, he wasn't a burden, and they all liked him. It had to be a mistake. They wouldn't just leave him there, would they? Why hadn't they just opened the portal back up? They could do that, or was there a problem? Did Henry, (The Mage), die? So many questions are going through his mind right now.
Right. First things first, he must check his pack for supplies. His two brand new swords were attached to the outside of his pack. He held one up and could feel the pulse of magic ripple throughout his body, but what did it do? He put the swords against a boulder that was in the narrow passage. He would have time to play with them later, provided he didn't get attacked before then, but then, that might be the only way to tell what they did. Moving on he found his rations and knew he could only eat them when he absolutely needed too. He wasn't too disciplined when it came to food, but his metabolism was so fast that he always needed to eat to keep his strength up.
Next, he pulled out his bedroll and rolled it up tying it to the bottom of his pack. Then he found some of his loot. He might as well check some of it out while he was waiting for the portal to, hopefully, open back up. He found a ring that, when he put it on, made his hunger go away and he felt stronger than he was. Oh, he liked this feeling! The ring stayed on his finger for now. He had swiped many gold and silver coins when the others weren't looking, 'no harm in helping yourself just a little', he thought, when he knew damn well that the others were doing the same thing. There was an amulet of some kind; he couldn't sense any magic coming from it at all. He had been able to sense magic ever since he was but a child. He put that back in the pack it could be worth some coin, but another, shinier amulet caught his eye and he picked that one up to look at it. It didn't seem like an amulet at all. There was a plain cloth pouch hanging on the chain offside from the amulet. It seemed to be a pretty delicate belt as far as he could see, maybe for a woman shaman, or a sorceress. He opened the bag and put his hand in it and found something that felt like a book. Confused because the bag was so small, he pulled the book higher to the small opening, it got wide enough to pull the book out.
"Holy crap!" He yelled. "It's a bag of holding!" He has only heard of these, and then only in ancient texts. He thought these to be but a myth. Upon opening the book he discovered that, indeed, it was some kind of spell book. He put the book down and looked inside the bag for more things. The only other thing in the bag of any interest was a piece of forearm armor. He did feel magic emanating from this piece. He put it on and didn't really feel any different. He looked closer at the piece and found that it looked and felt just like silver but upon further inspection, he realized that this was not made of any kind of metal that he was aware of. This had etchings on it too and in a language, he had never seen before, and still, he didn't feel anything but magic emanating from it. He wondered what new power it would give him. Gods! What would the others find in their packs, these treasures were indeed ancient. What kind of powerful artifacts might they have found and what new abilities would they give them. He put the book back in the pouch and found that it fit perfectly when it stretched to fit the book. The opening was only as wide as the palm of his hand; the whole bag could easily fit in a pocket. But he decided that the chain was probably made of some magic that he couldn't detect, as well as the amulet that hung at the other end of the chain. He put the belt on and it shrunk to fit him snuggly, yep, he wasn't all powerful after all. He chuckled at that thought. The only other thing in the pouch was a number of old coins, they were all soft metal gold coins.
He decided to pack everything away, well except for his new swords. There were two of them and after everything else was packed away he decided to play around with them. One felt light and airy, a good balance but light enough that he could barely tell he was holding it. 'how could this, toothpick, do any real damage to something?' He wondered. He flipped it around in his hand and practiced some basic moves, it felt so good in his hands that he chose one of his "normal" swords to put in his little magic bag, hoping that it wouldn't puncture the bag, but then he thought, 'Duhh, it's a magic bag!'. The other sword, in contrast, felt heavier than either one of his swords, first thoughts, 'This one's going in the bag.' But he did the same basic maneuvers that he did with the other sword and just couldn't figure out what type of magic this sword held.
He looked around and saw that there was only soft volcanic rock in this passageway. He decided to hit a rock with the sword, testing its strength and then maybe he'll even get to see if a power of some kind will show up. He swung the heavy blade above his head, twirled it with one hand and drove it into the rock. A bright light ensued . . . a very bright light. It blinded him for several seconds. When he was finally able to see again he looked around and saw that the entire passageway and even the giant cavern behind him was lit up loud and clear. He even saw some coinage that they managed to miss the first time. He grabbed his pack and his other sword and rushed into the cavern while he could still see the coinage and what now looked like a war hammer and a crossbow. He traversed the boulders and knew that if it should go dark again he could just cut another rock to gain more light, and indeed he needed to do just that, but right before it went dark again he noticed a narrow passageway that they hadn't noticed the first time they were looting the lair.
He looked back at the passageway he had just come from and saw that it was lit up. "Dammit!" he exclaimed, the lantern was still burning bright in the tunnel. He would have to go back for it before going into the other passageway. He got to the place with the other loot; picked up the coin, and there was much of it, mostly silver though, and put them in his, now, new bag of holding. He thought he would have a problem with the war hammer and the crossbow, but just like the book and the sword, the bag opened up just enough to accommodate the items. He also found a couple of scrolls that he couldn't read. 'What would this creature want with scrolls?' He wondered. Yep, in the bag, they went. He also noted to himself that the bag didn't seem to weigh any more than it had when he first picked it up.
He took his final swipe on the rock with the sword and holstered it to his side along with his other new sword, putting the old sword in the bag. He headed up to retrieve his lantern, but when he got there he had to immediately put it out due to a loud screech coming from the back of the cavern somewhere. It almost sounded human-ish. He heard the scream again and realized that it was a girl of some kind, be it elf, dwarf, or human he did not know. He sat there for a minute wondering whether he should help her or not. Then when the third, blood-curdling scream came from her, he decided that he had no choice. He was of the order of the high command once, how could he live knowing that he didn't help someone in need. Grumbling, he put all his gear away and headed out to find the source of the screams. He searched until the screams stopped. Then he heard the howl of the creature that he and his friends had just put down. The screams stopped suddenly. He feared the worst, that she was dead. He would avenge her death, solo, just him! He knew he could do it, after all, what business did an obviously superior creature have torturing a young helpless woman. This got his gourd. He would find this creature and put an end to it! This is the only trait that his friends hated about him, they always teased that he was a paladin, but he didn't believe in a god, not one in particular anyway.
He waited until his eyes adjusted to the dark, there was always light coming from somewhere and his elven eyes could adapt to almost any lighting condition. It's a genetic trait, all elves can do it. Especially the fabled 'Dark Elves' of Gornowick. He started towards the narrow passageway that he saw on his way to the loot. He was having some trouble traversing the boulders, but then he heard her scream in pain once more and he knew there was still a chance to save her. His heart beat just a little faster now and he pushed forward. He was both anxious and excited to face off with this beast to free the girl. 'Great, I'm now a knight in shining armor. I AM a paladin' He chuckled, 'what a cliche' But he had to keep his eye on the prize, as it were. If this were the same black creature with gold markings on its back and wings then he knew exactly how to kill it.
He finally made it to the passageway's entrance after much navigating through large boulders and loose gravel. He lit his lantern again so he could more fully see the passage in front of him. He could see the opening to the cavern a couple of yards in front of him. He put out the lantern and let his eyes adjust to the darkness again. It was harder this time, less light. But the luminescent cave slugs on the cavern's ceiling allowed for just enough light for him. Then he thought that the creature only needs that much light as well. An idea brewed in his brain. He crouched low and let his eyes adjust. He could now make out the girl in full view. She was tied to a stake in the middle of the cavern. Worse than that there were, what looked like thousands of skeletons in her general area. This creature was nowhere to be seen. His eyes could make out no escape routes for this creature to leave either, which was rather odd. He knew this was the master creature. He heard something stir behind him, at the other end of the passageway. It was no immediate threat, he had just come from that direction and there was nothing to be afraid of, possibly just some loose gravel falling free; it was in the previous cavern but he kept that in the back of his mind nevertheless. He had one concern and that was to get the girl over here, next to him, into this passageway. He was a little concerned that he couldn't see the creature anywhere. He knew he couldn't make a move without knowing where the creature was.
It looked akin to a dragon, but with a snakes head. It had small wings, too small to carry it into the air, but yet they did, suggesting some kind of magical abilities within the creature. It also seemed to enjoy the magical shiny things, just as a dragon would. He could not even guess what this creature was but he knew he had to put an end to it, tonight and fast.
He was a patient man though, as long as this creature was hidden it wasn't harming this girl and allowing her to regain the strength he knew she would need to get away from this foul beast. He studied her across the room and he thinks he can make out the pointed ears of an elf; he just hopes that she is as perceptive as he and can see the hope were there was once none.
Studying his surroundings he notices a set of eye's on the far wall, the creature hangs on the wall of the cavern like a bat, staring right at him. It was then that he was able to make out the gold spots on his back. He can zero in on his eyes and can see that he wants him to come forth so he can catch him also. He knows better though, he won't give him the satisfaction. He needs to come up with a plan before he goes and kills the young girl in front of him just to spite him.
One sword causes extreme light; the other sword is just light and airy and feels like nothing in his hands. Does it have another power that he can't see? Maybe the people who used these weapons knew that they were the only things that could defeat him and just messed up? It's possible that this creature could get so blinded by the light that this other sword could penetrate his heart. The ring would allow him to penetrate into this Draco's heart even deeper. Yes, he would make sure this creature's death was permanent.
He sees the creature moving across the wall towards the girl out of the corner of his eye. Without looking directly at him he makes a move toward the Draco slowly and deliberately, he wanted to be near the wretched thing before making his move. If he planned this right he could easily slash the sword into a stone and create the bright light and take the other sword and stab at his heart. If he knew that his heart was in the same place as most Draco's hearts were then he would be able to strike it true. He was sure this was some type of rogue dragon race. Just as he was looking for his next ledge to leap to he heard her scream out in pain once again. He looked over and saw that he was still on the wall, a sort of heat effect coming off of the girl in the center of the room and it looked like she was in some serious agony. The Draco looked at him and seemed to smile. He had to make his stand and quickly. He was at least thirty feet away from the passage when he heard commotion in the tunnel. He looked to see who it was and discovered his friends had come back. Draco had disappeared when he looked back.
"PSST!" He said loudly, "Get back into the passageway now!" He said a little louder. Draco then pulled away from the wall and lunged for him; his elven eyes could see it happening in slow motion. It was now or never. In one swift and powerful motion, he struck a boulder with his sword as he was flying over it. It blinded everyone for a moment, including Draco. His friends hopefully got back in time and moved for cover. As he was in the air, his sight returned and he was directly where he needed to be to land the fatal strike. His sword rang true. He could hear the twang of metal hitting scale. The creature fell and took him down with it. He crawled his way out from underneath the Draco as it barely landed on his leg with a loud and painful snap. He got lucky. That's all. Had that Draco landed on him, he would've been a pancake. He knew he was lucky. But he still couldn't make it to the girl as his leg was broken. Suddenly, the behemoth moved and began to stir again, it moved away from him. He then heard a loud CRACK! And the Draco's head dropped right next to him as a battle-hardened dwarf smoothly rolled off the draco's skull.
"Who woulda thought dat it would be dat easy te drop one o' dees tings?" Garlmouth said as he comes strutting up to Serith. "Ye here te rescue da girl aint' ye?" He asked knowing full well the answer.
"Sorry, couldn't be helped, she was screaming in pain, I had to!" Sarith said as Garlmouth was helping him up.
"The doc'll be here soon's he patches up yer girl." He said with a smile. I's always did love hearin da crackin sound of a skull bein opened by me axe." He said with a grin looking back at his handy work. "Now, lets loot dis room too! An Serith be gittin half o' it all, er whate'er he wants," He turned to look at serith. "Up until it exceeds half o' dis treasure."
The girl pretty much collapsed into the docs arms like a sack of wheat after releasing her restraints, exhausted out of her mind. When the doc had her stabilized he went over to Serith who was leaning against Garlmouth.
"You're crazy! Do you know that? You're just crazy! You were to fight a Draco three times the size of one that we all had to bring down together?! You're just plain nuts! He worked on Serith's leg for a few minutes until he could stand on his own again. The girl was feeling a little better made her way to Serith while he was getting healed.
"Thank you!" She bellowed sobbing. "Thank you!" She said again. She was beginning to get hysterical. He noticed right away that she was a bit larger than most elves were. Most elves were slim and trim, she was, well, slightly larger. Not too big, but to elven standards, yeah. She had to have been half-elf in his eyes. "I saw you up on the ledge and I knew, I just knew, you were the one to put an end to this evil creature."
"Ehhem sweety, I's believing I's the one who put an axe through its ugly skull." Garlmouth said looking for some recognition.
You guys can grab all the loot for right now, I will look at it all when we get back to the keep, just don't leave me back this time please."
Henry looked back at Serith.
"You and the girl go through first this time. I'll go last to make sure the portal stays open for everyone, I'm so sorry Serith."
"I got to save a pretty little half-elf on my way home, so I'm happy." She just gazed upon him with loving eyes. He knew he would have her at his side no matter what he did. She just stared at him as they walked through the portal, and once again, he stood with the new girl in his arms, alone in his keep, then all of a sudden, they heard a loud roar. They both turned to each other and both knew for certain, "It's mate!" when they looked back to see through the doorway, the portal closed suddenly.