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Aurei of Westmark -- Book 1 Chronicles of Aurei

Novel By: ecdavis
Fantasy



Duke Gamel Bugley took a big chance when he found the Drow baby in the wreckage of the Elven coach, floating in Westmark's millpond. Now, 73 years later, the Duke is near death and lacking an heir. Will Aurei, now a blossoming young woman working in Gamel's tavern, 'The Muddy Boot', be able to survive without the Duke's protection, as the town is threatened by the shadowy minions of the Necromancer's Guild? View table of contents...


Submitted:Feb 26, 2013    Reads: 37    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


27.

A New Life

For a long while he wasn't sure he was free of the demon or even alive. He was on damp earth and finally, weakly, he had turned his head and found that he was outside, on the surface world and it was evening. He was terrified, never having been on the surface world, but having heard horror stories of the dangers. But there he had laid, his body extremely weak from weeks without food. The supernatural healing he had received during his possession had taken care of the major portion of his many injuries, but plenty remained in partial stages of healing and now they further weakened his battered form. Scared and shaking from pain, he had crawled across the broken ground until he collapsed at the doorway of a stone building.

***

With a start, Eleazar came awake, blinking back the vivid dream and looking around at the peaceful night as he calmed himself. Wiping the sweat from his brow, his conscious mind briefly reflected on what had happened after his arrival on the surface.

The building had been the Shrine of John Silvus, an early leader and martyr of Yesh, guarded by the Knights of the Blood Cross or Blood Knights as they were commonly called. Surprised to find a half-elf/half-Drow youth on their doorstep with moderate injuries and half-starved, they took the scared boy and healed him, then sent him off with the elders of the order, to be raised as an orphan by the knights of the order until he began his training as a squire.

Since that time he had lived and served among the Blood Knights rising in rank until he was one of their captains. He had encountered Drow in Aeropolis and though they were certainly believers in Yesh, their women - and especially Matron Zeatt- had the air that was typical of Drow females - the confident, flirtatious sense of femininity that reminded him so much of the Grumet women. He had no other option but to leave the city. So he had led four crusades into the Underdark to destroy the power of the Drow that lurked nearest the surface communities and free their slaves.

But now he had encountered a different Drow woman. Or more accurately, a Drow girl, for though he was only 90 years old and by Drow standards still a 'teenager', she had just reached her time as a young woman. She was certainly a daughter of a noble family, for her beauty and form was not that of the common Drow. Yet that only made him remember the torture of his mother more vividly, and while he knew it was not logical to be filled with rage at the young Drow woman, when he saw her, he felt the emotions flow over him.

This was what alarmed him the most, for when he had seen her standing over the guardsman with her sword seemingly ready to strike off his head, it was almost as if the same surge of power that had filled him years before had filled him again, causing him to rage again. This greatly concerned him, for he had no desire to be brought into submission by emotions and certainly not by an otherworldly force.

Still, he had wronged the girl and she was certainly not an Underdark Drow in her mannerisms. Could he overcome his hatred of the Drow to run a branch of the Order in her duchy?

Eleazar sighed, sitting up and then getting to his feet to try to occupy his mind with something else so he could once again find sleep. He was about to check on his horse when he sensed something was nearby. The crickets suddenly stopped chirping and his horse began to snort and paw at the ground, feeling it too. The Knight quickly drew his sword, scanning the darkness for what was out there. He saw it only at the last minute, something large charging up from a small copse of trees near where he had set up camp. It was large and at first he thought it might be a small dragon, until its form blasted into the campfire light. He recognized the form, though he had never encountered one before. The tales told to him by those that had fought it, made his blood run cold with dread of the upcoming fight. For the creature leaping now as it tried to knock down his horse was none other then one of the legendary Ah'ndengin-mat.

Eleazar quickly slashed the tied reins of his horse and his steed at once bolted, avoiding the crashing attack of the monster by an instant. The monstrosity didn't pause, though, and completely ignoring the Paladin, sprang forward, knocking him to the ground as it plowed past him. He rolled to avoid the clawed feet of the beast as it passed over him and mercifully he was uninjured. By the time he leapt to his feet, his horse was galloping toward the Elven forest, with the Ah'ndengin-mat fairly close behind the fleet-footed steed.

Cursing his luck, he quickly donned his plate armor, hurrying as fast as possible, but it took time to buckle everything on, and he watched in frustration as his mount ran into the thick woods, to be followed a few moments later by the determined, but stupid monster.

Long minutes later he was running across the expanse between his camp and the edge of the old forest, his Drow eyesight seeing clearly in the bright moonlit night as a human would at noontime on a sunny day. He absolutely did not want to enter the Faesidhe forest, knowing with complete certainty the reception he would receive when he was intercepted by the Faesidhe scouts patrolling the forest. But his horse was far too valuable and important to give him up, and Eleazar had an equally strong desire to destroy the extremely dangerous Ah'ndengin-mat before more were killed and eaten by the beast. So without a moment's pause, but with a breathed prayer to Yesh for protection, he raced into the forest, easily following the large path the monster had made as it plowed dumbly along, hunting the horse.





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