Vista

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
An unlikely meeting between two very similar people... who are worlds apart.

Submitted: January 10, 2008

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Submitted: January 10, 2008

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The wind swept through the trees, leaving in its wake tinkles of green and whispers of movement as it passed. Down the path it blew, never growing nor waning but staying a steady yet invisible presence free of consequence. The path it followed was faded red brick, which wound its way through the Burne forest, a light streak of reddish brown cutting through a sea of vivid green.

Soon the wind moved lower, before suddenly it encountered a pair of booted feet. These boots, and indeed these feet belonged to a young man, who strode with confidence down the path. Although the boy was of reasonable height, the wind continued right pass the fellow’s lean frame before disappearing into the blue sky never to be seen again.

Feeling the wind, Charon lifted his face slightly, enjoying the sensation of movement and grace. Spreading his arms wide he breathed in a deep breath of fresh air. “Ah the beauty of this earth!” he exclaimed to no one in particular. Continuing down the pathway, our young protagonist hefted his backpack and shifted his sword belt while idly meandering towards his destination.

Maintaining his lazy pace, the boy still managed to cover a large distance by mid afternoon, decided to take a break near a stream that bubbled conveniently nearby. Sitting down, he reached into his pack to extract some bread and some cheese, which he happily began to eat. At a glance, an observer would hard pressed to notice this inconspicuous young hunter, dressed in dark green pants and a rusty brown tunic. Even looking hard, he was only barely visible against the tree he was leaning on.

It wasn’t until several minutes later, after his food was safely in his stomach when Charon heard the unmistakable sound of another human across the stream. To the trained hunter, the noise was surely that of a person running from something in great haste.

Rising swiftly to his feet, Charon checked his sword before he strung his long bow. A crafty and talented archer since childhood, his bow had been crafted on the day of his birth and he could draw it at the age of eight. Patting his left shoulder twice to check his throwing knives, the hunter notched an arrow from his quiver and moved silently towards the commotion. All in the space of seconds.

As he drew nearer to the source of that sound, he perceived that the person in question was being chased by three creatures. While he couldn’t sense which animals they were, there were few predators in this forest and only wolves could move so silently while chasing their prey. Swearing silently he continued to run, himself a noiseless entity of green and brown that converged on the focus of everyone’s chase. ‘Wolves’ he though, ‘I hate dealing with wolves.’

Suddenly the trees ended and the hunter stopped just as quickly. Placing his back to a large oak tree that was on the edge of the clearing, he peered around the side. He knew that the person being chased would cross this area soon and so would the wolves following her.

Up to that point he hadn’t realized anything about the one being chased, yet even as he was watching, a beautiful young girl broke through the tree line and stumbled into the clearing. As she glanced behind her, Charon was startled to realize that she wasn’t actually afraid of the wolves that would surely rip her to shreds. While she was still running, she literally had an aura of calmness and strength that Charon had only seen in very few. Immediately his heart warmed to this strong and mystical creature. Protect her he would.

Climbing the tree he was leaning against, he watched as the poor girl sank to her knees with exhaustion. As she knelt in the clearing, breathing hard, her face grew set with the resolution to face death with dignity. Even as the two humans waited, the three wolves padded slowly into the area, eyes locked on their quarry. The young girl didn’t move, but the three beasts still surrounded her, cutting off any escape.

Now Charon knew he had to act. Perched on a sturdy branch, he drew his bow.

“Stop”

The hunter stopped, eyes narrowing. Down below, the girl had spoken, in a voice barely above a whisper. Only his extremely sharp ears had caught the sound, an ability that few would possess. However what had troubled him was that a mere human had both noticed his presence AND the action that he was about to take.

The poor boy probably shouldn’t have been thinking so much, because even as he reflected on the impossibility of anyone spotting him, one of the wolves attacked. Watching with dread and a strange sense of helplessness, he sat still as the grey animal hurtled towards the kneeling princess, its mouth open wide. Charon knew how wolves hunted. Even as the first wolf would attack, the others would watch for openings and only move in if a weakness was found.

Everything happened so fast, but the first wolf stopped short, hitting an invisible barrier with surrounded the girl. Whelping in surprise, the beast retreated.
“Ahh… a sorceress” breathed Charon, even as he realized that he had been holding his breath. As he watched and listened, a reply came to his ears.
“Yes, and while I thank you for your offer, I don’t want to risk any injury or pain to you.”

The wolves were now circling, occasionally lunging at the girl’s shield. At first nothing changed and they were pushed harmlessly aside. However as the young hunter watched and waited, he perceived that the shield was slowly beginning to shrink. He knew that sorcery would take a toll, and that she couldn’t hold the shield forever.
“You don’t need to do this alone.” He whispered, heart aching at the girl’s plight and her inner resolve.
“I need to be strong for those around me,” was the reply.

However even as she said that, the shrinking became faster. Now the wolves had noticed it and they howled in triumph. The sound wailed throughout the forest, and Charon knew that he had to do something.

“You know, watching you suffer by yourself brings me more pain then anything that could happen if I helped you. Sometimes being strong involves letting others be strong for you.”

With that the hunter pulled back on his bow and released an arrow at an incredible speed. With a sickening crunch, the bolt pierced one of the wolves squarely in the eye, causing blood to spurt from the wound. Yowling in agony, the animal turned and ran into the woods, yet even as it ran suddenly the barrier failed.

“I can’t hold them anymore hunter, I bid you farewell.”

Her voice was filled with resolve but a touch of regret and it spurred Charon into action. Launching himself from the branch he somersaulted to the ground, rolling into a crouch even as he drew back a second time. He stood up, releasing an arrow as he began to run towards the wolves who were now gearing up to pounce. A streak of silver ended in the heart of a wolf causing it to roll over dead immediately, but even as Charon closed the gap the last wolf lunged at the girl.

Charon dropped his bow, eyes focusing on the enemy. Drawing his sword, the young hero covered the last few feet in a split second before running his sword over the shoulder of the girl, straight into the approaching wolf’s throat. Impaling the wolf on the blade, the hunter strained to the keep the weight of the beast from falling on his fragile charge. The animal’s eye bulged and then closed as it slid from the sword.

Breathing deep, Charon knelt to wipe the blood from his weapon. Sheathing his sword, he turned to face the girl. Seeing her for the first time, his heart fluttered as he noticed clearly her beauty and grace. Smiling then, he gave a small bow, “at your service my lady.”

Even as he did so, the young woman’s face revealed a small smile, one so pure it reached to his soul. Inclining her head briefly, she replied simply. “Thank you. My name is Lyssa.”
Charon smiled at her dignity and introduced himself. “You can call me Charon, Char for short” he paused before breaking into a bigger smile. “Perhaps I should walk with you, you know, in case you meet any other malicious creatures.”
The girl also smiled wider, “I would like that.”
The chivalrous youth offered her his arm, which she demurely took before they began to walk.

She looked up at him, “do you live in this forest?” she asked with the hint of a mischief.
“No, I’m just here to save damsels in distress….”


© Copyright 2017 Joseph Knight. All rights reserved.

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