Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fantasy Revealed, VIII

Fantasy Revealed, Part VIII
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy


We were under the castle hill and just left of it. Fire was writhing from a tower and there were hundreds of men fighting on both sides as well as elves. The only dwarves I saw were short and thick and had the King’s colors upon them.

Horses lay dead here and there and the smell of blood was thick in the air. The moans and cries of wounded men were everywhere. I thought “men” because I didn’t have name for what mass of men were before me.

The king, in armor and raising Excalibur, shouted something I couldn’t understand and his forces poured from the castle and fortress. Peasant from below suddenly rushed in from behind to fight for their home and king. Cappa’s frightened mewing made me look for her. I didn’t see her at all for several seconds until Kolbar reappeared and in his vest, at his right vest, Cappa was tucked unceremoniously, and each time she tried to break for it, Kolbar’s large hand tucked her safely inside his vest again. I saw a trickle of red blood on his chest from where she had scratched him.

Kolbar whistled and horses came thundering from a thicket to our right. Kolbar climbed aboard one bareback and unbridled and motioned for Dremor, Fredrick and I to follow. Packs were slung unceremoniously over my saddle and Fredrick was seated in front of Dremor as our mad dash began away from Camelot, the ring and clash of metal on metal in our ears just before a blaring blast made our bones shudder inside our bodies.

“I need to go back! He has a wizard!” Fredrick screamed as he tried to get down from the galloping horse he was on. Dremor held him in place and reminded him the king knew what he was doing. I didn’t think Fredrick was as certain any more.

“Don’t look back!” Kolbar yelled from his place ahead of us. He bent low over the neck of his horse and the steed picked up speed. I leaned forward and to the right of the horse I was on and it too headed for Kolbar. It seemed our horses were rivals because they loved to run. Dremor, his horse encumbered with Fredrick but no packs, was lagging behind slightly, perhaps to help keep Fredrick seated where he was.

We rode like that until the sun was directly overhead. I had never known horses could run like that, and suspected plain earth horses from my time did not. Kolbar slid from the back of his mount and stretched. Cappa mewed weakly. I dismounted and went to retrieve her. She was damp from Kolbar’s perspiration and very unhappy. She didn’t want to be held, but I was afraid to let her go because if she ran away I was uncertain whether or not my guard would let me look for her until I found her.

With Cappa in my arms and Ella and Enyo roaming about close to me, I slowly came to see we were in the beginnings of a deep wood. In the distance, behind us, smoke rose from Camelot I presumed. How had the battle gone? Was King Arthur still alive? Sadness slowly crept through me, because I had not gotten to look through Camelot or meet more knights and see the truth behind the legend. Cappa mewed again and I stroked her damp fur lightly.

“Good, you have come. Here, let me assist you.” I jumped at the sound of the strange feminine voice who was addressing me and looked up to see a beautiful elven female with long silver hair that reached her feet swaying slightly in the breeze. She was taller than me by several inches, and, in fact, everything about her seemed silver: her eyes were a dark silver and her skin was very pale and had a silver glint to it. The flowing gown she wore was of silver and her hands, the ones that reached out to take Cappa from me, were long fingered and elegant. She looked truly angelic. I turned to say something to Dremor but he, Fredrick and Kolbar were also talking to several other silver elves. They did not act out of sorts so I tried to relax and pretend it was as normal as anything to be in the company of an angelic elven female. Finally I just gave up and gawked, which made the female before me smile and laugh such a tinkling laugh it sounded much like glass chimes in a soft breeze.

“My name is Elira. I am the Lady of Silver Wood.” She bowed low in her introduction, and I returned it as best I could. “You are the Keeper. Dremor said you would come to aide us.” Elira stroked Cappa and her fur became dry and fluffy, truly clean and beautiful. Cappa settled and began purring. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my dear kitty, but she had come and I needed to care for her.

“I don’t know what help I can give, but I will try,” I said. I could feel Elira’s silver eyes upon me but was suddenly very uncertain about meeting them.

“Our world is different from yours isn’t it.” I nodded. “Usually it is at peace. It is sad for you to witness it not at its best.” Sadness swam through Elira’s voice which made me look up at her. Her eyes were gazing past me to the smoke of Camelot. “The castle still stands. There has been much death on both sides I fear.”

“You can see it?”

Elira smiled down at me, “Yes, it isn’t out of our line of sight.” Elira, Cappa still in her arms, turned slightly and I found myself following. “We have prepared a meal for you. It is the least we can do upon your journey, Keeper.”

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