Ashera: Chapter 1
A story by Writerial
In our world, we know not of magic. In fact, the majority of our kind doubts its very existence; the few who do believe don't know how to control, manipulate, or even recognize it. But, there are worlds where there are people who do know. Where towns are built upon the very essence of magic. Where it flows through the veins of some and the minds of others.
It is in one of these worlds that we start our story. The land of Golivun. More specifically, we start our story with a baby girl. She was born out of wedlock-the daughter of a common man and a whore who could not afford to raise her.
This girl had been abandoned by her father-who didn't know that she even existed-and left to her mother, who was starving, living in a squalid environment, and could barely make enough money to live herself, much less take care of a new baby. The mother-clueless on what to do with the child-walked into the woods surrounding her town and left her there, without so much as a glance behind her.
But the girl didn't die. No, that would make for a very bad story. Luckily, someone found her before the wolves did.
An elf by the name of Eye of Hawk found the babe. He took her back to his tribe, hoping that something would be done.
The tribal elder was not happy. The last thing he wanted to do was let a foreigner-especially a human-into the tribe. But, he decided to consult the tribe's gods and goddesses for further assistance. A vision came to him and the gods told him to let the child stay; to raise her as one of their own. So, he did.
The ceremony for all of the new elven children was held just a few days later, and the girl was welcomed into the tribe with open arms-given the name Ashera.
Ashera grew up alongside other elves in her tribe. As she was human, she excelled at tests that required strength. She had an aptitude for climbing, swimming, and running long distances. However, she could not keep up with the elves' agility. She wasn't graceful and quick like them, her aim was atrocious, and she was extremely clumsy-even for a human.
Despite shortcomings in her training, she worked very hard to keep up with the other elves, and, eventually, she did. She gained many friends and was respected among her tribe-though she was still an outcast. However, Ashera was still unhappy. She felt as though she needed to do something else with her life-something extraordinary. And that is where we start our story.
Ashera leaped down from the tree, swinging her hand up on a branch to slow her fall as she did so. Nevertheless, her foot hit the ground at an odd angle, sending her face-first into the mud. She heard soft chuckling behind her as she pulled herself to her feet.
"You need a little help?” Strength of Bear-an elf and one of Ashera’s best friends-asked, riding up on a Drupriki. It was a glorious beast that resembled a white horse except for the antlers-well, branches-protruding from its forehead.
Strength of Bear reached out a hand to Ashera, which she slapped away. “What?” he asked, laughing.
“I don’t need your help, Bear.”
“You sure look like you do,” Bear laughed. “I’d bet that you’re the clumsiest person in the whole tribe.”
“And I'd bet that you’re the weakest.”
“You are! I could beat you with my eyes closed.”
“Prove it,” Bear challenged. He dismounted the Drupriki, laying flat on his stomach in the foliage below. He rested one elbow on the ground, cocking an eyebrow up at Ashera. She hesitated. “What? You scared?” he taunted.
“Never,” Ashera said, laying down opposite of him. She gripped his hand and prepared herself. "One. Two. Three. Go."
She felt the force of Bear's arm, trying to push hers down, but Ashera's arm held steady. "I said go," Ashera said, mocking sincerity.
"I know," Bear grunted.
"Are you deaf? I said go," she said, smirking.
"Oh shut up."
"Well, if you're not going to start, I will," Ashera said, now exerting force on his arm. Within seconds, his arm was on the ground, being pushed into the mud by Ashera. She held it there for a few seconds, running it back and forth-covering it in muck.
"Oh come on! You've won already!" Bear protested, though he was laughing too. "Let go."
"Aw lemme have some fun, Bear." Eventually, Ashera pulled herself up off the ground, extending a hand to Bear. She hefted him to his feet. "Aw, look what you’ve done! You got my tunic dirty!"
"Oh, yes, I apologize," Bear said sarcastically, looking at his arm-which now had about an inch thick of mud plastered onto it. "We ought to head back. Jagged Cliff will be upset if we're not back by sundown."
"Well, we would've been back by now if someone hadn't challenged me." Ashera caught Bear's grin.
"You could've declined."
"You know I can't turn down a challenge."
"Yes, yes. I would just hope that when you're scouting you take a bit more precaution," Bear said.
“You abandoned your position too!”
“Yes, but an evil temptress pushed me into the mud and mocked me for my weakness,” Bear said in an over dramatic voice. “You can hardly blame me for trying to defend myself.”
Ashera rolled her eyes. "What do we even have to scout for, anyway? Nothing has tried to hurt the Great Tree Tribe in years."
"I don't know. Better safe than sorry, I guess."
All was silent for a minute as Bear helped Ashera mount the Drupriki. She watched in awe as the mud touched the animal's alabaster coat and vanished as if it'd never been there to begin with. "They're so amazing."
"Definitely. Kaleedki is especially great," Bear said, patting the steed's head. She nickered appreciatively, nuzzling Bear’s hand. Ashera had always envied the bond that a Drupriki had with its master. Unfortunately, that was a privilege only for those with titles.
Bear squeezed Kaleedki's torso with his knees and she started trotting back towards the camp.
"You can drop me off at Fox's house," Ashera said. "She wanted me to come by after scouting duty."
"Got it," Strength of Bear said, coming to a stop outside of the little hut. Ashera dismounted, stumbling as she did so. It was always difficult to dismount the tall Drupriki without falling. "Watch your step," Bear laughed, catching her arm.
Ashera nodded, "I will. Thanks for the ride."
"It was no problem," Bear said, bowing his head. "I have hunting duty late tonight, but feel free to stop by my house at any other time."
"Good. I'll be waiting," Bear sent her a grin as he rode off. When he was out of her sight, Ashera sighed heavily, her shoulders sagging.
A silvery voice behind her said, "So how was your date with Strength of Bear?"
Ashera spun around angrily, though an embarrassed flush had already begun to cover her cheeks. "It was not a date."
"Sure. You and Bear alone in the woods-"
"We were on scouting duty!"
"Yes, yes, and it looks like you did loads of that," Sneaky Fox-another one of Ashera's good friends-said sarcastically, nodding to Ashera's tunic. Her face got redder.
"We were arm wrestling."
"Ah, yes, that kind of wrestling of course," Fox said. She caught Ashera's glare and said, "I'm only joking. You don't need to be so angry all the time."
Ashera rolled her eyes, but she was smiling, too. "Is there anything that you actually need to talk to about or did you just want to waste my time?"
"I don't think talking about Bear is a waste of time, do you?"
"No, wait. I do have something semi-important to tell you," Fox said, her voice suddenly turning serious. Ashera turned, concerned. "Ray of Sun has fell ill."
"Ray of Sun? But she's our best healer!"
"Do you know what it is?"
"Nope. Could be as simple as a common cold. Anyways, could you take this to her?" Fox reached into her pocket and pulled out a bundle of different supplies. Most of them looked like the ingredients for a standard healing potion.
"So now you're having me run errands for you?" Ashera joked.
"I'm not a messenger."
"You're a human. That's basically the same thing," Fox joked. Ashera pretended to look offended, but comments like that really didn't bother her anymore. She’d gotten more than her fair share of them from her time at the tribe.
She rolled her eyes and walked off, flipping a bird back at Fox.
"Thank you!" Fox called.
Ashera stuck her tongue out at the elf, but continued onward towards Ray of Sun's cabin.
Next chapter here!
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