Ashera: Chapter 7
A story by Writerial.
NOTE: Hey guys sorry this chapter took a little while, I was kinda burnt out from writing for a bit. I'm sorry to say that for the next couple of weeks stories may not be as frequent as ever, as I'll be busy on the weekends. You'll still get Writing Prompt Wednesdays, but I don't know how much more than that so sorry. Anyways, I hope you enjoy Chapter 7!
Ashera rose at sunrise the next morning. She stretched and grabbed her sword, unsure why she was feeling uneasy, until she realized that it was the first night that she’d ever been away from camp since she was brought in. She frowned, realizing just how far she was from the people who had raised her. She steeled herself, trying to shake it off. A voice from behind her said, “Morning. You’re up early, aren’t you?”
”It's an elf thing," Ashera told Ryan, who was sitting against a tree. "I'll bet Fox is already out hunting."
Ryan laughed. "Us humans have a thing, too. It's called rest."
Ashera smiled and rolled her eyes. "You'll get plenty of rest once we're at your uncle's," she said, helping him up. "For now, help me take down camp."
Together, they set to work-breaking down shelters and scattering the wood. Ashera didn't think that they were being followed, but, as Ryan said, "It's better safe than sorry."
When they were finally done taking the camp down, a dark-haired elf walked through the bushes. "Look who decided to show up," Ashera said. "Where have you been?"
"Hunting," Fox said, holding up a skinned rabbit. "This'll make a great morning meal. Can we rebuild that fire?"
"We have to go."
"It's okay. I'm not in a rush."
"Well I am," Ashera told Ryan. "We need to keep moving."
"The rabbit won't keep long. We have to cook it now. It'll only take a few minutes," Fox said, already beginning to make a fire. Ashera was furious, but she had to help out. The quicker they were out of there, the better. As they cooked, she sat nearby, willing it to go faster.
"Done," Fox said after a while, lifting the rabbit off the fire.
"That looks perfect."
"Thank you. I-"
"Okay, let's go now," Ashera said hurriedly, snuffing out the fire. She turned to Ryan. "How far away does your uncle live?"
"Not too far. Only about half a day's walk."
"Perfect, we've got time. Let's go."
Fox caught up to Ashera as they were walking. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Ashera said, immediately tripping on a large tree root. She caught herself on Fox's shoulder.
"No you're not. Can you try to calm down?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"I know that you're in a hurry to find Saria and all, but what difference does a couple of hours make?"
"All the difference," Ashera said. Her voice deepened and her face turned grim. "I should've gone after Saria as soon as she was kidnapped, but I didn't. Everyday, she's sat in whatever hell she's in and hoped that someone-anyone-would come to save her. But no one did. The longer that she stays there, the more hope she loses. I know you think she's dead, but if there's a chance-even a small one-that she's alive, I have to get to her as quickly as possible."
Fox sighed. "I-I get your point. If I had a sister I'd probably feel the same way. But...you have a team now. We can't all go at your pace. So, it's either you move forward by yourself or we all move forward together."
"Yeah, what she said," Ryan said.
Fox smacked him on the back of the head. "Oh shut up and stop eavesdropping. You're supposed to be keeping watch."
"Fine," Ryan groaned.
Fox turned back to Ashera, rolling her eyes. "Anyways, do you understand that? I want to come with you, but I can't if you're going to ignore our needs."
"I get that," Ashera sighed. "I know I'm being irrational. I just need to get to her."
"I know," Fox said, patting Ashera's shoulder. "And we will. In time."
They continued through the forest as the sun began to set. Ashera was worried that they'd have to set up camp before they reached Wizzbee, but Ryan said it was only half a day's journey, so there couldn't be too much longer left to go. Still, it was beginning to grow dark. Ashera lit a branch with fire, making a makeshift torch.
"Ah!" said a voice, startling her. She fumbled-dropping the torch and sprawling to the ground. The fire almost lit her cloak on fire, including the rough patch of bear fur on her shoulder.
"Don't do that!" she yelled angrily, grabbing the torch again and standing up to face a chuckling Ryan.
"Don't. Do. That," she repeated, brushing off her shoulder. "You almost burnt my cloak!"
"Aw what does it matter? It's just a cloak."
"It's not just a cloak," she fumed. Fox was shaking her head at Ryan, too, and he seemed to get the memo that this was a lot more serious than a piece of fur. "It was something that a...friend gave me."
"It was that guy, wasn't it?" Ryan asked through gritted teeth. He had no right to be angry, he was the one who almost ruined one of her prized possessions. "Bear, was it?"
"Aren't you supposed to be on guard duty?"
Ryan stuck out an arm, pointing in front of him. Ashera looked up. Bathed in the pale moonlight was a spiraling stone tower. Ashera's jaw dropped open at the sight of it, forgetting her anger. "Is that...?
"My uncle's house," Ryan said. "Come on, let's go."
The group walked toward the tower. A rickety wooden door hung loosely on its hinges, obviously more for privacy than protection.
Ashera noticed Fox starting to sneak off to the side. Ryan shook his head at her. "He can be trusted."
"And if there's someone in there that can't?" she asked. "It's better to be prepared." With that, Fox pulled her hood over her head and stood by the side of the door, nodding to Ryan. He sighed and knocked on the door.
Nothing happened for a few seconds. Ashera glanced at Ryan, confused. "Should we knock again?" she asked.
"I don't know. I-"
"Who goes there?" said a wheezing voice from inside, startling Ashera.
"Hi Uncle Wizzbee. It's me, Ryan Howe."
A set of amber eyes appeared at a crack in the door. "Ah, Ryan! You've grown so very much. How have you been?"
"I've been good," Ryan said, though he looked a bit uncomfortable. "We actually need your help with something."
"We?" Wizzbee asked, his eyes settling on Ashera. "Oh! You brought a friend. Well, come in, come in!"
Wizzbee opened the door. "Thank you, sir. I-Oh!" Ashera said as she walked in.
"What is it, dear?"
"Oh, it's, uh, nothing," Ashera said. Standing in front of her was an incredibly short old man-probably only about three feet tall. "I apologize. I've heard of gnomes but I've never actually seen one in person."
"Well now you have!" he said happily. "Come on, then. Follow me. We have a lot of talking to do."
They were lead through the stone tower. With each step, Ashera worried that the rickety wooden steps would fall out from beneath them, but Wizzbee didn't seem too concerned about it.
"You didn't tell me you were related to a gnome," Ashera murmured under her breath.
"I didn't think it mattered," Ryan quietly replied.
"It doesn't. It does explain why you're so short, though."
"Welcome to my home," Wizzbee said once they'd reached the top of the stairs.
They were looking at what appeared to be a huge lab. Bookshelves covered the walls-more than Ashera had ever seen in her life. Tools littered the floor-she couldn't even begin to guess what some of them were. She recognized an alchemy set in the corner, next to a bed that was raised above the ground. "Wow," Ashera exhaled.
"I apologize for the mess. I wasn't expecting visitors," Wizzbee said, quickly picking up some books from the floor.
Ryan said, "It's no problem."
"It's amazing here," Ashera said. "How did you come across such tools?"
"Lot's of hard work and study," Wizzbee said. "I'm glad you like them."
"I love them. They look so interesting," Ashera said, reaching a finger out to touch one-a spinning orb held above a pole. She tapped it and the ball clattered to the ground. "Whoops."
"Oh dear," Wizzbee said.
"I'm so sorry."
"It's no worry, let's just try to not touch things, shall we?" he asked. Ashera nodded. "Good. So, with what do you require my assistance?"
"It might take a while to explain..."
Wizzbee thought for a moment. "Well, if that's the case you could always stay here overnight."
Ashera stiffened. "It's as good an idea as any," Ryan told her. "We can't very well go outside at night with those wolves tracking us."
"You're right," Ashera sighed. She wished that they could keep going, but they didn't have another choice. It was dangerous out there, all alone... Her eyes widened. "Oh no.."
Ryan's eyes widened in realization. He swore loudly, jumping to his feet. "What is it?" Wizzbee asked. "What fox?"
"Our friend. We left her outside to keep watch and she's still out there."
"No I'm not," said a voice from the door. Ashera jumped back, knocking over another of Wizzbee's tools. He didn't notice though, as he was watching the hooded elf seemingly appear from nowhere. Fox pulled her hood down and nodded to the group. "I didn't know you guys cared about my well being that much," she laughed.
"How-How did you.."
"I snuck in before the doors closed," she said, turning to Wizzbee who looked both afraid and impressed. "Mr. Wizzbee, sir, it's an honor."
"The honor is mine," Wizzbee said, bowing. "I have not seen an elf in quite some time."
"Yes, my tribe can be very elusive. Minus Ashera, of course," she said, glancing at the object Ashera had knocked over. "Have you already broken something?"
Fox sighed heavily.
Wizzbee chuckled. "So? Shall I set up some sleeping quarters?"
"That'd be fantastic, Uncle. Thank you for all of your help."
Previous chapter here!
Next chapter here!
Leave a Reply.