Sunday, November 16, 2008

RPGBloggers NaNoWriMo - Short Story (Part 2)

Last month, RPGCentric posted a call for RPGBloggers to create a short story as part of NaNoWriMo. The story is progessing nicely as there are now 2 parts up for you to read. The schedule is posted below as well as with part 1 on RPGCentric, so if you haven't ready the first part of the story do it now.

November 9th - Part 1 (posted on RPGCentric)
November 16th - Part 2 (posted here)
November 23rd - Part 3 (posted on RPGCentric)
November 30th - Part 4 (posted on Exchange of Realities)


Shalla had been in the forest for hours, avoiding chores was hard work and she had developed quite an appetite. She spent enough time in the forest to know the juiciest, tastiest apples grew higher up in the trees and climbed up to get her pick of the choicest fruits, the ones that are so big she had to use both of her small hands to hold them. Just thinking of such a treat made her mouth water.

She felt at home here, the sounds and smells of the forest gave her a sense peace and were as soothing as the songs her mother sang to her as a child. Here among the branches of the trees was as comforting to her as finding a seat next to a warm hearth on a cold night to anyone else. She couldn't resist the call of the forest. When she lay in her warm bed at night she longed to be sleeping out here, with the cool air on her face, a blanket of stars twinkling above her, and the forest creatures singing her to sleep with their nightly lullaby.

Her mother would be angry if she stayed gone much longer, but Shalla couldn’t resist. Finding a comfortable place in the tree she had climbed, Shalla laid back to enjoy one of the delicious morsels she had secured in her pouch. She had barely swallowed her first bite when her weariness set in and the Halfling began to dream.

She still sat in her tree in the forest, but nothing seemed familiar. There were no birds singing, no squirrels bounding from limb to limb; everything seemed so dark, lifeless. The apple she held in her hand, as well as those yet to be picked, had lost its color and become mottled. It was as if the spark had been removed from every living thing in the area, a deep shadow covered the land.

Despite the overcast sky filled with rolling, dark grey clouds, Shalla somehow knew it was late afternoon. She climbed down from the safety of her perch, noticing the chill that had crept into the bark of the tree, as if winter had overcome midsummer. Surely Inara, the Summer Queen, had not succumbed to her sister Nehal, the cold Winter Queen, while Shalla slept. Their battle for dominance had raged for millennia, both too evenly matched to ever allow one to defeat the other.

Shalla began to wander the forest, trying to puzzle out what had happened. After what seemed hours, she found herself standing on the edge of a clearing. In the center were two figures, they appeared to be talking though no sounds left their lips, at least none that she could hear from this distance.

Both seemed ethereal, out of focus, as if they did not truly exist. The male was blurry, his movements slow, as if he moved through thick syrup, but still she could see that he was an elf. The female that accompanied him was something else entirely.

The woman standing in the clearing moved seductively around the elf, her skin as grey and mottled as the fruit on the trees, she moved jaggedly and much more quickly than her companion. Each movement made her appear to be in two places at once, leaving a shadowy trail behind her. Shalla was only able to discern that she was in fact a female by her dress, and shape. There was something vile about her, evil like Shalla had never encountered.

Mesmerized, Shalla’s curiosity got the better of her and she stepped into the clearing, she had never seen real ghosts before. As she moved closer she could see that the couple was indeed speaking to one another, yet her ears still heard nothing.

“The silence of the grave,” Shalla whispered to herself, a chill creeping down her spine as she continued to move wearily towards the figures.

The male elf was oblivious to her approach, but the female had become aware of Shalla’s presence and glanced quickly in her direction. Shalla froze as the ghostly woman looked at her with a jagged toothed smile.

As every hair on her body stood on end, the voice in her head screamed for her to run, but she could not move. Shalla’s heart beat in her ears as panic over took her and the two figures abruptly turned away from her. Feeling her feet beneath her once more she took the opportunity to run, run as fast as her legs could carry her.

Shalla awoke to shouting in the distance and her heart skipped a beat. It had been just a dream. Everything was normal, alive once again. She turned her attention to the voice that came in the direction of the clearing from her dream.

As her feet touched solid ground, Shalla looked up to see that the light in the sky was growing dim. It was then she realized that her mother, in a worried panic, must have sent her brothers into the woods to find her. She was going to be weeding the garden for a month once her mother found out where she had been. Shalla was about to call out to her brothers, but held her tongue as the voice became clearer.

“You! You have done this? Durgin, it’s a trap! Leave at once!”

The voice did not belong to one of her brothers and the stranger sounded as if he were in trouble. Before she realized it, she was sprinting through the forest, heading towards the voice. The fact there might be danger didn’t register in her mind, just the fact that someone might need help.

Shalla raced through the forest, so focused on her goal that she didn’t see the dwarf barreling through the brush directly in her path. The two impacted with enough force to knock them both off their feet.

“C’mon lass! We need to keep moving,” the dwarf whispered as he shook her by the shoulders.

“What’s going on,” Shalla said as the haze lifted from her mind, “who are you?”

“Ne’er mind that, gotta keep movin', get ta safety,” the dwarf whispered as he began to pull her by the hand, watching fearfully in the direction he had been running from.

Getting to her feet the two took off through the woods. Shalla had no problem keeping up with the dwarf who was breathing heavily, adrenaline the only thing keeping his legs beneath him.

“What’s chasing us,” Shalla asked as they crossed the small creek, soaking their boots in the process.

“Not… sure...blacked out.... bad,” gasped Durgin, taking the time to glace fearfully over his shoulder.

Durgin's lungs felt as if they were filled with molten iron, he was beginning to wear down and would have to stop soon, or collapse.

“My village is that way,” Shalla said slowing to keep pace with the dwarf and pointing off to their right, “we’ll be safe and you can rest there.”

“Nowhere will be safe lass,” thought Durgin as he nodded and fell in behind the Halfling.

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