Ashera: Chapter 6
The trio made their way through the woods-a rather dull hike through dense roots and foliage. Ashera talked to Ryan as they walked, while Fox scouted far ahead-looking out for danger. “So have you lived in Harle all of your life?” she asked. Ryan nodded. “What’s it like there?” “It’s...uneventful,” Ryan said. “To be honest, not much happened at all until this last year when those wolves started attacking.”
“It’s not that bad,” he said. “Everyone I work with are good people. They’re very set on defending the city.”
“And what are the other humans like?” Ashera asked. She could tell by Ryan’s face that it was an unexpected question. “I’m sorry. I’ve never met any of my own kind before and I am curious as to how my relatives behave.”
Ryan thought for a moment. “Well, you can find the good and bad in all of them. Some are greedy snobs who care about nothing but the hide on their own back. Others will go out of their way to help everyone.”
“What are they mostly? Good or bad?”
Ryan sighed. “I’d like to assume that most are good. Many do everything in their power to prove me wrong.” Ashera nodded as he paused. “What is it like for you? Living with elves?”
Ashera thought on that. “They’re great. It’s as close as I’ve ever had to a family.”
“Why do you say this with sadness?” Ryan asked.
Ashera frowned. “I do not.”
“You don’t have to lie to me, Ashera. We are allies now.”
“Allies,” Ashera repeated. She sighed, running a hand through her hair. “I don’t know. I-“
“I found a good spot to set up camp,” Fox said, appearing next to Ryan and Ashera silently, startling both of them. “It’s a bit dense but I think we can make it work.”
“Can’t we keep going?” Ashera said. “It’s not dark yet.”
“But it will be.”
“The longer we stay the longer it takes to find Saria!”
“And if we are attacked then no one will be left to find her,” Fox said strictly. “We will stay here.”
She glared at Ryan-daring him to say otherwise. He put his hands up in the air. “I’m not saying anything.”
“Good,” she said. “Now-“
The words had barely left her lips when the black wolf jumped at her, lunging at the back of her neck. Ashera jumped back in reaction and started to reach for an arrow, but realized that the wolves that had just approached were far too close to shoot at. She saw the short sword in her hand. Stealing herself, she took a swing at the wolf. It reeled back from the blow, giving Fox time to back off and shoot an arrow into its flesh. “How’d they find us so fast?!”
“They must’ve tracked us down!” Fox yelled, releasing another arrow. The wolf kept trying to run at her instead of Ashera, but Ashera made sure to keep it back with a series of swings from her sword. The wolf snapped at her angrily, taking a shred of her cloak as it did. “Oh no.”
“What?” Ashera said, not looking up from the wolf she was swinging at. “What is it?”
Ashera momentarily stopped swinging at the wolf, giving it time to run after Fox. But she soon lost focus on that, as what started as two wolves slowly became four, to six, to eight, as more of the wolves approached. Ashera’s spirits fell as she saw each of them. There was no way they could defeat all of them-not in an ambush like this.
The wolves charged, separating into three groups. Fox scaled a tree and was barely managing to fend them off with her arrows. Ashera could hear Ryan’s grunts of effort from behind her as he swung rapidly at the approaching pack. Ashera became focused on her own group of three wolves, who had approached with rapid speed.
The wolves were an army and had a humanoid intelligence about them, Ashera saw that right away. They’d wait until her weapon was occupied and then attack, so she couldn’t hit them. Ashera swung and swung away, but the wolves were cornering her now and there was no way she could fight all of them at once-there were just too many of them.
A wolf lunged at Ashera’s boot, tugging at it with all of its might. She’d winced as she felt teeth sink into her foot, but she brought a blow down on its neck, causing it to fall back and cry out in pain. A heavy force hit her back, knocking the air out of her lungs and sending her tumbling to the ground.
The wolves approached her, pinning her down on the blood covered ground. Ashera made a pitiful swipe with her sword, but it was no use, they were goners. Fox and Ryan were busy with their own wolves-Ashera knew they’d be dead soon. She’d seen how they’d drained Wind’s blood that one fateful day a year ago-it was hard to believe it’d been that long; it seemed like it was only yesterday. She was just hoping that her death would be quick and painless when she heard Ryan’s shriek of pain from behind her.
With great effort-a wolf was biting at her hair -Ashera turned her head. Ryan was being pummeled by three wolves. One had latched onto his leg and was tugging at it painfully, one had a grip on his tunic, and one had taken out a large chunk of flesh on his arm.
Ashera saw this and a warmth began to fill her body-starting at her chest and moving throughout. She felt a surge of power and hope and she knew-somehow-that they’d be okay. The wolves that were on top of her were blasted back with a beam of light as she pushed herself up off the ground and ran towards Ryan’s struggling form. She took a wild swing at one of the wolves, but she felt a guiding force hit her opponent. It was almost as if someone else was moving her blade, and Ashera knew there was no way she could miss.
As she swung at the wolf, Ashera noticed that the sword was brightly glowing gold as light shine off of it. The wolf was disintegrated into a pile of ash before it could even react. She prepared herself to take another swing, but the wolves had already disappeared into the forest.
Ashera knelt down by Ryan, who was now desperately clutching a large wound in his stomach that Ashera hadn’t noticed before. Ashera placed a hand-which was glowing with the same bright light that her sword had-on Ryan’s shoulder. She felt all of the heat in her body race to her hand and it flared up in pain-like she had a really bad sunburn on her palm. The heat slowly drained though, as it was sucked out of her body. Ashera felt weaker and weaker as the light left her, until there was none left at all. At this point, she saw her vision go black and she fell to the ground, unconscious.
When Ashera awoke, she saw two faces-Fox and Ryan-gaping down at her. Her head felt as if it was going to explode, and she winced as she touched a light finger to her temple. “What happened?”
“You have light magic,” Ryan said-as Fox was unable to.
“You have light magic,” Ryan repeated. “I don’t know how, but you do.”
“No I don’t. I don’t even know what that is,” she said.
“What do you know about magic?”
Ashera thought for a moment-which was difficult because her head was on fire. “It’s rare, it’s usually spread through bloodlines, and it allows you to do..other things. I don’t exactly know how to describe it.”
“Do you know what different types of magic there are?” Ashera shook her head. “Okay. Simply, there’s arcane, natural, light, and dark. I’m sure there’s more, but those are the main four. They can be learned in different ways, but you have light magic.”
“I’m telling you, I don’t,” Ashera said.
“Then why the hell was your sword glowing?!” Fox asked-speaking for the first time. “How did you heal Ryan’s wounds like they were never there?”
“What? No I-“ she trailed off as Ryan pulled his tunic up a few inches. The spot where a chunk of flesh had been missing was completely healed, except for a light scar across it. “How-How did that-“
“You have magic,” Ryan said. “It’s true. That’s why none of those wolves were attacking you. Evil creatures have a vulnerability to light magic.”
“But-But,” Ashera said. “I can’t-I’ve never..”
“It’s okay, Ashera. You’ll learn,” Fox said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“Actually, there’s a very good way for all of us to learn about this,” Ryan said. Fox and Ashera looked at him curiously. “I mean, it’d take time away from finding your sister, but knowing that you have light magic...well, we should go in there prepared. I have an uncle who’s a wizard-he lives in a tower somewhere in Owl Woods. We could find him and I’m sure that he’d help us out.”
Ashera frowned. “What do we need help with?”
“Well, first of all, I need to teach you how to use a sword,” Ryan said. “But he might have information that could help us. He’s very smart and he’s lived in these woods for a long time. He knows what’s unnatural about them.”
“Could he help us find Saria?”
“He might be able to,” Ryan shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve only met him a couple of times.”
Fox nodded. “I think it’s as good an idea as any. At least we’ll have some idea of what the hell we’re doing out here. I say we go for it.”
Ashera nodded. “Me too. What’s your uncle’s name?”
“It’s some long fancy name that I can’t remember. We just call him Wizzbee.”
“Wizzbee,” Ashera repeated. “Okay. Let’s camp here for the night and we’ll head towards him tomorrow morning.”
“Is it safe to stay here?” Fox asked.
“Yeah. If they come back, I’ll make them regret it,” Ashera said, getting a better grip on her sword. “I’ll keep watch for now. I’ll wake one of you guys up when I’m tired. Get some sleep. Tomorrow, we find Wizzbee.”
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