Ashera: Chapter 13
A story by Writerial.
They stayed at their camp for a few days, recovering from their injuries and training. After seeing Ashera in combat, he decided that he didn’t need too much help with the sword. But, both he and Fox encouraged her to try to gain control of her light magic.
“If things continue the way that they’ve been we’re going to need some healing,” Fox said, gesturing to Ashera’s shoulder.
So, Ashera set to work. She made her way to an empty clearing, sat down on a log, and closed her eyes. She felt like an idiot-she didn’t even know what to do!
Nevertheless, she continued. She tried to drown out everything but herself. She felt the sunlight on her face, a warm breeze ruffled her hair. She thought of Fox’s laugh, of Ryan’s eyes, of Bear’s smile. A weird sensation ran down her arm-like the opposite of chills. She felt a warmth in her palm and opened her eyes.
A small ball of light rested in her palm. It was about the size of an acorn and shone like the sun above her. She laughed triumphantly, tossing it back and forth between her hands. It seemed to grow bigger the more she laughed.
“Uh, Ashera?” she heard Ryan ask. She turned towards him, the ball of light disappearing as she came back to reality.
“Fox has dinner ready,” he said, turning to head back to camp.
Ever since they had returned from Willansoc, Ryan been like this-cold, awkward, and uncomfortable. Ashera assumed it had something to do with what happened when she got drunk-she had a foggy memory of dancing with him. But he hadn’t told her what was bothering him, at least not yet. “Hey Ryan?” she asked.
“Yes?” he asked, turning around.
“What’s bothering you?”
“What’s bothering you? Ever since we got from Willansoc you’ve been like,” she gestured to him, “...this. What’s up?”
A hurt look entered Ryan’s eyes. “You seriously don’t remember?”
Ryan sighed. “I knew you were drunk but not that drunk,” he murmured so Ashera almost couldn’t hear him. He looked back up at her and said louder, “Find me after dinner. We’ll talk then.”
Ashera spent her dinner in anxiety, wondering what was going to happen after. “You okay?” Fox said quietly as she was finishing up.
“Yeah, Ryan’s just going to talk to me about something after dinner,” Ashera said.
Fox winced. “Good luck.”
“If this is what I think it’s about...just, good luck.”
Ashera was about to ask for more clarification when Ryan called her over. She followed him and they walked in silence until Ashera couldn’t take it anymore. “So?” she asked.
Ryan sighed. “Tell me what you remember from Willansoc.”
“Not much,” she said. “I remember getting there, a lot of drinking, I think we were talking or dancing or something...and then I woke up in jail.”
“Well, let me fill you in,” Ryan said. He explained everything, from the dance incident to when she had gotten into a street brawl with some guards and been dragged off to jail. When he finally finished, he looked at Ashera.
“That’s...something,” she said.
“Yeah,” he said. “Anyways, I wanted to talk to you about our...incident...because I didn’t want things to be awkward and I didn’t know if that’s how you really felt and I just wanted to make sure,” he trailed off, realizing that Ashera was looking at him worriedly. “Sorry.”
“It’s fine. That...that night...it wasn’t who I am. I mean, you don’t see me getting into street brawls all the time.”
“So it means nothing. Please, don’t take anything I did or said that night seriously.”
“Oh,” Ryan said, his voice betraying a slight hint of disappointment. “Okay. Well, uh, I’m glad I talked to you about it, then.”
“Me too,” Ashera said. “Is there anything else..?”
“No, no, nothing else,” Ryan said. “I’m going to head back to camp. Goodnight, Ashera.”
“Night Ryan.” Ashera watched him walk away. She watched him glance back over his shoulder at her every so often and, when he finally thought he was out of sight, she watched his shoulders slump with disappointment. Ashera sighed and made her way back to camp.
Ashera awoke to a panicked, “HELP!” She jumped to her feet, rushing out of the tent and unsheathing her sword. She took in the scene quickly-two scouts alongside a few Calidi. One of the scouts had her blade pointed at Ryan’s throat.
They were distracted by my sudden appearance and turned to me. This gave Ryan time to jump to his feet and unsheathe his sword.
Ashera charged at a Calidi, brandishing her sword high above her head. She could feel warmth spread through her body and she brought the sword down on the wolf’s head with a deafening thud. It shrieked in pain and fell to the ground, charred to a crisp.
Ryan had managed to get away from the scouts and were fighting them off. Ashera saw a flicker of movement through the shadows-a flash of red hair. “Keep the scouts alive,” she told Ryan, loud enough to make sure Fox could hear her.
Ashera turned on the Calidi. They stood around her, snapping and snarling, but they didn’t seem to want to come close to her. She swung her sword and they jumped out of the way. She held a glowing hand out towards one of them and it whined and jumped away. “Leave so I won’t have to kill you,” she told them, and they did. They scampered off into the woods, the way rats might scutter away from a broom.
Now, she turned to the captives, who Ryan had backed into a corner. One had a dagger through his thigh. They both brandished their weapons, looking fearful.
“Drop your weapons if you want to live.” They both obeyed the order, dropping their blades to the ground. Ashera turned to Ryan. “Tie them up. I’d like to learn more about The Alpha.”
So, Ryan, Fox, and Ashera sat before the two tied-up captives. The man-who had been unfortunate enough to get the dagger through his calf-looked fearful. The woman still seemed stubborn enough to not corporate, but she’d have to in this circumstance.
“I see you’ve found our humble abode,” Ryan said mildly. Both captives turned to him, fear filling their eyes. “Jeez, relax. We’re not going to kill you. Tough crowd.”
“Knock it off Ryan,” Fox said.
“We need you to answer a few questions for us,” Ashera said. “It’s about The Alpha.”
“Oh yeah? What do you have to offer us?” the woman said. “The Alpha has promised us luxury that you could never fathom. What about you?”
“I offer you your lives,” Ashera said. “Is that good enough of a deal to you?”
“B-But he said you-you weren’t g-gonna kill us,” the man said, his voice shaking.
Ashera smirked. “I didn’t ask what he said.” In her heart, Ashera knew that she wouldn’t kill these captives no matter what they said. She didn’t want to kill more people. But the more threatening she came off as, the more they’d tell her.
“Now,” she began. “We’ll start off pretty easy, what are your names?”
“Why should we-”
“Ah, ah, ah,” Ashera said, putting the point of her sword underneath the woman’s chin. “I think I’ve made myself pretty clear.” She didn’t want to kill the captives, but she had no trouble harming them-especially when she could heal them so easily with her light magic.
“I’m Glenn. Glenn Hernandez,” the man said. He looked at the woman, a pleading look in his eyes.
“Jill Haywood,” she said under her breath.
“Perfect,” Ashera said. “Now, Glenn, Jill, who do you work for?”
“The Alpha,” they said in unison.
They glanced at each other. “He’ll kill us if we say,” Jill said.
“I’ll kill you if you don’t.”
“No, you don’t understand. He’ll track us down-you have no idea the amount of power he holds. Hundreds of Calidi-at his command. He’d find us.”
“We’ll protect you,” Ashera said. “We’ve fought them off before, we can do it again.”
They glanced at each other again. “You swear it?”
“On my life.”
Glenn sighed. “We don’t know much,” he confessed. “He doesn’t tell us much. But we do hear him talking to a captive. A young elven girl-”
“What’s her name?”
“What’s her name?” Ashera repeated with more urgency.
“Sar-Saria, I think,” Glenn said. Elation coursed through Ashera. Saria...she was alive. The Alpha had her but she was alive.
“Well, we hear him talking every so often. They seem to know each other. He begs for forgiveness but she just yells at him. She doesn’t call him The Alpha, she calls him something else.”
Previous chapter here!
Next chapter here!
Leave a Reply.