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Goddesses are Off Limit (A Fantasy Short) - Part 1 of 2
This story takes place in the same magical kingdom as my last Sci-Fi / Fantasy short ("The Forbidden Vase") but is written in another character's point of view (Jasper is Sapphire's younger brother). I thought it would be too long to pile into one Hub so I split the story into two parts.
Part 1 of 2-
I seem to have a hex of some sort on me. A hex that inhibits my better judgment and blinds me to things that are probably so obvious. A hex that causes me to fall in love with the wrong women all the time. My first love was Nehka su, the daughter of the leader of the Suam Sisters (a tribe of warrior women in the Tiamoaz Jungle). My older sister, younger brother and I had the honour to meet them last year while my sister was on some mission.
That was an adventure I would never forget. Nehka is the girl who possesses my heart. It’s been a year and I haven’t been able to get her out of my head yet. Suam Sister customs are strange and to make a long story short, I’m forbidden to ever see my love again. If my fellow Warriors of Sorcery are ever to find out the deep sorrow in my heart because of a woman, I’ll be the laughing stock of the entire Wryemrak Academy of Gallantry. *Sigh*
My mentor, Willamene of Farre (Willa) says that because I’m only 17 I’m not ready for a serious relationship anyway. She said boys are immature that way. I beg to differ but as her squire, I can’t argue with her.
A few months ago, Willa gave me a few weapons, a sleeping bag, a backpack of essentials and then she said, “Go venture into the wilderness and do not return without something extraordinary.”
At that point, I was holding all the things she had piled into my arms and I was speechless. “I don’t understand,” I said.
“What is so difficult to understand, Squire Jasper?” Willa asked me. I match her 5 foot 9 stature but her powerful, intimidating aura makes her seem like a foot taller than me. She has a temper too. There is no arguing with Willa. Not only does she have the authority over me but although she doesn’t have any magical powers, she can easily defeat me. Once a rogue-warrior, she is now the second-in-command of the Wryemrak army, not to mention the only female knight.
“Squire Jasper,” Willa called, snapping in front of my face. “Are you listening to me?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said, accidently dropping all the things she had placed into my arms. I looked down at the backpack, sword belt, dagger sheath and sleeping bag now lying in the dirt.
“Now go and don’t return to the royal premises until you have something extraordinary to show.”
I knelt and began gathering the items again. Tying the sleeping bag to my backpack, I thrust it onto my shoulder before tucking the dagger sheath into one of my boots and standing. I began fastening the sword belt around my waist, looking at Willa questionably but not knowing what to say.
“Why are you so surprised?” she asked as she slipped a rolled up map into my backpack. “You knew this day was coming.”
“But not so soon,” I protested.
She gave me a warning look and I immediately corrected my tone. “Where do I go?” I asked her.
“Wherever you please, Squire Jasper,” she said. She gave her regular cool, sideways smile, turned from me and began walking away. Waving over her shoulder at me she said, “If you venture into any forests or mountains west of Wryemrak, beware chimeras.”
Chimeras? I gulped. That refers to any monstrous animal-thing, right? Oh great. Until recently, monstrous animals and legendary creatures were thought to be extinct in this realm but there’s been sightings lately.
Remembering something, I quickly turned back to Willa, who was disappearing down her grand corridor. “Master Willa!” I called. “Can I take my horse?”
“Do what you wish,” she said.
With that, I made sure my backpack was on both my shoulders and I walked out of Willa’s home on the royal premises. I guessed Willa’s instructions left no room for me to run over to the palace and bid my sister farewell, or walk to the other side of the royal premises and say goodbye to my parents and to my brother. Oh well. They knew this day was coming too.
Within ten minutes, my horse, Bullet, and I were heading West. Why would I head west when Willa mentioned chimeras? I don’t know. I told you. I think I’ve had a hex put on me. A hex that makes me hard-headed and at times, pretty dumb. I thought that maybe because Willa mentioned west, there was something extraordinary to be found in the west.
Who was I kidding? For one: Willa doesn’t give hints. Secondly, Is there anything not extraordinary in this magical realm? Coming from the non-magical realm about 6 years back, I was still amazed on a daily basis, even by my own powers.
I guess it had to be something even more extraordinary than the powers of the magical beings of this realm.
For two months I rode west. The farther west I travelled, the harder it was to find food. Half the time I was sitting beside a campfire, my stomach turning inside out, hunger pangs keeping me awake. Then I made it to the Province of Sauoen. It’s pronounced Saw-en but when the natives here pronounce it, it sounds more like “Song.”
Anyway, Sauoen is a pretty mountainous state. Which, immediately reminded me of chimeras. I’m supposed to be training to be a knight but I was out of my mind scared to run into one of the legendary creatures. As I hiked up the mountain, pulling Bullet along with me since riding him would be too much of a burden, I thought: I wonder what type of chimera I’ll run into.
Studying mythology, mostly greek and roman—some Mayan—I knew of the sphinx, the nemean lion, the lernaean hydra… thinking about the monsters were only making me more nervous.
The sky was quickly darkening and I knew I needed to find shelter soon or at least a semi-comfortable place to camp for the night but, looking around, there was no where. I didn’t want to end up falling off the edge of a cliff, or lying on pointed rocks or remaining open to chimeras and risk being eaten in my sleep!
Up ahead, I saw smoke trailing into the darkening sky. It wasn’t too far up ahead. I wondered: should I keep walking? On one hand, I could probably camp with some friendly travellers. On the other hand, I could be walking right into a trap.
I heard a scream and I was already on edge so that did absolutely nothing to help my nerves. I could hear the laughter of men and the sound of horse hooves. Then there was the sound of a whip. Quickly putting all the sounds together, I knew exactly what I was up against or what I was approaching.
Willa despises drudels, as she was once a victim of the horrible rogue men. Drudels like to prey on beautiful young women for one reason and one reason only. If they don’t get what they want, they beat the women with their whips.
That scream I head heard had definitely belonged to a woman. I was going to be a knight in the Wryemrak army someday soon. I refused to stand by and let another innocent young woman be victimized by Drudels. Not if I could help it.
I hopped onto Bullet’s back, apologizing to the horse for the burden I was about to put on him. Bullet neighed as though he understood me and immediately dove into a fast gallop. As I neared the fire that was trailing into the sky, I could hear the commotion getting louder.
Then I can see the silhouette of the men who were bothering the woman… make that two women. One of the men grabbed one of the women and was dragging her towards his horse but she was putting up a fight.
For a moment, I saw a small glow between the drudel and the woman he was dragging away. Then the other woman looked in her friend’s direction and yelled, “NO!”
Immediately, the glow subsided. That was strange…
“Get your hands off her!” I yelled as I brought Bullet to a halt and hopped down off his back. Drawing my sword from the belt around my waist, I didn’t even have to intentionally summon my warrior of sorcery powers. With my anger, my endowment automatically activated and I felt the heat of my powers rush into my weapon.
The metal hummed in my hand and turned red with the heat of my endowment. When my weapons were activated by my powers, I had to be extremely careful of injuring those in my vicinity.
I held the vibrating sword in both my hands as I neared the drudels and I quickly captured their attention. There were only three men. Usually, there were more. Well… easier for me. “Get your grubbly hands off her!” I repeated.
Seeing my glowing sword, the drudels realized that I was a warrior of sorcery and they immediately backed off. It would have been really stupid of them to even try to cross blades with me. One hit of my sword could shatter all their weapons and their bones.
The three drudels hopped back onto their horses and began riding away, running for their lives. I remained in a swordfighting stance until the drudels had completely ridden out of sight. Slowly, my sword stopped glowing bright red and became cool in my grip again. My anger was gone and I let out a sigh.
Out loud, I said, “That was too easy.” But what I was really thinking was, Thank goodness they know a Warrior of Sorcery when they see one.”
I now looked at the two damsels of distress in front of me. Both were still sitting on the ground, far apart from each other. The one that was close to being captured had dark blond hair (well, everything looks dark in the dark, doesn’t it?). The other one, who had yelled NO had black hair. Both wore travellers clothes, from what I could see in the dark. There were differences in their attire but I couldn’t really see the details. There wasn’t enough moonlight.
The blonde jumped to her feet, panting angrily and staring at me. Both of her fists were balled up and she had some kind of weapon on her back. It was a bow. Her quiver lay near the fireplace, all the arrows scattered.
The other woman stood to her feet and said in a soothing tone, “There’s no need for anger.”
“We didn’t need any help!” the blonde yelled. She turned away from me and marched to the campfire to begin gathering her arrows back into the quiver. The brunette picked up a backpack and began walking towards the fire as well.
I wanted to say: that’s the thanks I get for saving your lives!? Instead, I apologized.
The blonde began laughing loudly but I could sense the sarcasm. “Oh, oh, priceless!” she exclaimed. “The strong little knight has rescued the damsels in distress and saved the day!”
How did she get into my mind? I was definitely just thinking damsels in distress the moment before. I began thinking: don’t tell me I’ve run into another telepath like my sister. I sighed on the inside.
“Go away, little boy. We were doing just fine until you came along.”
“That’s not what it looked like to me,” I muttered under my breath.
“EXCUSE ME!?” the blonde shrieked. She was on her feet again and in my face within seconds. I think I blinked and there she was. I was a little confused by how quickly she had gotten to me.
Then I was surprised by how quickly the brunette got to me. The brunette placed her hand on the blonde’s shoulder and said, “Pardon my sister, she has a temper.”
“I have a temper?” the blonde loudly asked. “Speak for yourself!”
The brunette gave a tense smile. I could tell her sister was embarrassing her and she was trying not so show it.
I decided to show some courtesy in hope that it would help the situation. I extended my hand and said, “I’m Squire Jasper.”
The blonde began laughing again. “You’re still just a squire?” she chucked.
The brunette nudged her sister. “My name is Sage and my sister is—”
“Diana,” the blonde interrupted, spite and contempt leaking into her voice.
Sage winced—from embarassment it looked like. “Yes, Diana,” she said between clenched teeth. She seemed upset that her sister had mentioned her name. Why? I had no idea.
Out of the blue, I heard a creepy sound. Diana threw her head back and mimicked the sound, “AROOOOOOO!” It was the howl of a wolf.
Sage closed her eyes and bowed her head in shame while I stared at Diana. Could this woman get any stranger? I looked down just in time to see Sage obscurely kick Diana in her shin. Diana turned to Sage and growled at her, baring straight white teeth.
What, was she an animal now?
“Excuse us,” said Sage, grasping her sister’s upper arm and pulling her away.