|Magic's Double Edge
Author: Derric Greene PM
Ellie's lover, the sorcerer Hortil, has been taken by the magic he wished to command and is now hunting her down. With what little resources she has, Ellie must find a way to escape him, or else.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,093 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 06-08-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2921880
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The flames that erupted from the fireplace as the bearded man roared in fury. His hands tingled with the flow of magic that rested in his blood stream. His tongue burned with the stuff and Ellie was unable to help. She felt as though her own magic had failed, and she understood the price of her insolence, though the bearded man, Hortil was his name, he felt totally different. The flaming pain would subside, and he would love it.
Ellie shook with fear, a leaf in the wind clinging to its tree for dear life. Hortil was grinning now, as his flesh shaded over, a green bleaching that ran in various shades as it reached his hair, eyes, lips, even his teeth. The sorcerer had been taken by the very powers he had sought to rule. Hortil seemed to be gone in all but his name. He turned to Ellie, bright green teeth flashing a dark smile, remembering the times he'd had with his now former lover. Remembering but not caring.
"Oh, gods," she whispered. He shook his head.
"No, not gods, Ellesmera," he said, voice vibrating like a horde of bees. "Magic is what you face now." Ellie was unable to speak now, not from the sorcerer himself as would have been sensible, but from what he had called her. He never called her by her whole name, only Ellie. She knew that she shouldn't have worried about that, but she did, and she accepted her fate, raising her head to reveal her bare throat.
Eight days later, Ellie held her cracked ribcage. She didn't know why Hortil had stopped but he had. She thought back, reviewing once more what had happened.
Hortil raised his green unarmed hand over his head, trembling like an arthritic man. He nearly sent that hand down, hooked fingers making a great claw. Nearly. As he did, the hand froze, twisting into a fist that smashed into his thigh. His eyes bulged, but not from the blow. A curious look crossed his face, one that was pondering what was happening, the magic was confused. Then he hunched over, gagging and vomiting all over the stone floor work.
He's fighting it, she realized. And he was. He was wrestling, not caring for his own life but that of Ellie. He looked at her, and for an instant, his old face was there, eyes full of love. Full of comfort and understanding and nurture. The look that had made her fall in love with him. But now that look was tainted with pain, he was unable to break the magic, that was obvious, but he could fight it.
"Go!" He shouted, voice no longer the swarm of bees. "Go! Run!" He repeated as she could only stare, dumbfounded. "Get out of here you foolish girl!" Ellie stood, and in a single step she was next to him, a hand resting on his bearded jaw.
"Goodbye, my love," she whispered in his ear, so close to his own face that she could have kissed him. She wanted to.
"Get out of here! Now!" He yelled forcefully once more. Then he hacked out a glob of phlegm, glowing green with magic. This time, Ellie heeded Hortil's orders, turning and fleeing without another word, eyes tearing so badly that she nearly crashed into a wall in her hurry.
Hortil was up, that menacing smile plastered once more on his face. He was laughing, one hand stretched to the lines of weapons on one wall. The weapons rattled on their holdings, one in particular, a long bladed spear, tore from its prop as the others simply fell to the floor as their own racks shattered into so many wooden splinters. Ellie didn't stop. She searched her mind for words, ones of protection, ones of powers that she didn't fear too much to use, words that Hortil had become too boastful and ambitious not to use. Those were the words that had turned him into the magic- caught sorcerer that he was now.
She was blank.
"Renlak!" Hortil shouted, and a wall to Ellie's left exploded into rubble. She screamed, it sounded like the squeal of a rat, and kept running. Hortil's footsteps were slow and full of leisure; he was walking confidently, arrogantly.
A dead end met Ellie as the gates of the castle fell, clanging and stopping her in her tracks, she'd almost been pierced through. She used the one word that she could currently grasp, the word that Hortil had just used.
"Renlak!" She barely waited for the gate to crumble before tearing through, closing in on the courtyard.
"You can't run too far from me, Ellesmera!" Hortil shouted into the air, into the very foundation of the castle itself. Ellie kept running, ignoring her knees as the clattered together and threatened to buckle beneath her. She would not allow fear alone to trap her. Even without Hortil, she wanted to live, no matter how horrid things could turn out to be, she didn't want to die. She wasn't ready. The air buzzed with magic once more, Hortil was speaking again, a spell that was weak enough for Ellie to control, but too confusing for her speak.
Horza Below, Corpus Nela vu Casanda! Pelathu Verathu!" The ground shook and rumbled, very air seeming to crack. Then, the castle fell, its sides crumbled and tumbled, falling over itself and piling on top of other stones.
"Hefa!" Ellie whispered, feeling the stones as they fell on top of her, but didn't hurt her. They hit the magic that surrounded her body, piling up as though nothing were amiss. She had to move, or if not, the stones would crush her, magic or no.
She tried to move, nearly unsuccessfully, and was able to reach the last bit of rubble that she used as a heavy blanket to protect herself from being seen. She was able to make a small peephole to see what was happening around her.
Hortil was still standing, the stones fell nowhere within fifteen feet of him. He was searching the rubble, but not for her, his attention was now elsewhere. He was moving the clutter, pulling out the weapons that had scattered when he took the spear from the wall. It was the last thing Ellie saw before going unconscious, the stones had done a work on her.
When she came to, there was only her and the nighttime. Hortil was gone. She stood wobbling on her legs feeling like she had just been on the inside of a tornado. The castle was wrecked, it was ironic. Hortil had been the one to build it up and he was the one to tear it down. All that was left was a cobblestone path that led down the hill, the path that entered the town of Hillsdale.
And now here she was, hobbling down that path with a cracked rib and a twisted ankle that was no getting any better by walking. But she had to; she couldn't just curl up until she was better. She had no food or water. And the fact that she had been unconscious for so long wasn't helping that.
The sky was dark and Hillsdale was locked up for the night, but there were a couple of guards on the roof of the wall. The torches they carried marked their locations.
"Help me out here!" She called as loud as she could, wincing at the pain of her rib. She tried again when she got no response, and had little more luck; one guard thought he heard something. She could yell no more and plopped down as gingerly as she could to sleep until morning.
Hurry up with those doors!" The shout woke Ellie from her nightmares and slumber. Several guards decked out in chain hauberks pushed at the large doors of the city, another was pressing his way through to get to the other side. Ellie opened her mouth and let out a useless, "help," as he did so. Then she was asleep again.
Warm cooking and the smell of seasoning filled the air when Ellie next woke. She was in a room, lying on a goose down mattress, with a sheep wool quilt over her body. From an open doorway she could see a plump little woman leaning over a fire place, smoke rising all around her.
"Water," Ellie whispered so quietly even a mouse couldn't hear. And yet the woman did, even over the crackling flames of the fire.
"Oh dear," she said, hustling towards her. She poured a small clay cup from a pitcher and tilted it to Ellie's lips. "Not too much now," she said as Ellie grabbed at the cup and tried to tip it back for more. "You've been asleep for quite a few hours now, nearly two days, starving and dehydrating to death by the looks of it. Am I right?" Ellie nodded her head.
"Foolish girl," The plump lady criticized, "you shouldn't go off half cocked like you probably did. Who's your husband? What's your name?"
"I don't have a husband!" Ellie snapped. "And my name is Ellesme... Ellie," She caught herself. It had been when only Hortil called her Ellie, but she didn't want to remember Ellesmera right now, not after seeing Hortil as that thing. "And I wasn't half cocked. I could do nothing else in that barren land, not until the food cart came up and I'd be dead by then. Besides, when the castle fell it buried the well."
The plump woman gasped. "Your father is a lord?" Ellie shook her head. The woman quickly grew a criticizing face. "Then you dallied with some young lord, unmarried and all is that it? The next thing you'll be telling me is that you're pregnant to this young lord and that you were only after a bit of fun and..."
"Shut up you old bag!" Ellie hissed, not feeling at all ashamed of insulting the woman that was caring for her. "You're as bad as my mother was when I left with Hortil ten years ago, only being fifteen and he nearly thirty." This got another gasp from the woman.
"The mistress!" She shrieked and fled, coming back around ten minutes later with a young fellow about sixteen. The guard that had headed towards her the day she had been brought into Hillsdale. "She's the mistress, alright! No doubt about it now!" The thick woman was squealing over and over again.
The young man smiled slightly, teeth appearing in a tiny grin. Ellie felt like she was the subject of some strange experiment.
"The infamous mistress, are you?" He whispered to her excitedly.
"Who?" She asked, beginning to feel rather miffed.
"The mistress of the sorcerer on the hill. The sorcerer was a great man, if a bit on the fearful side," The young man was squirming as he took a seat on the tiny chair next to the wall. "This is incredible! How is old Hortil, anyway?"
"That's why I'm here, sort of," Ellie was even more suspicious of this man now, but she shrugged to show a symbol of care free morale.
"How so, may I ask, did you come here, and why?" He leaned forward, eyes intense as he questioned her. "And how come you were thrown into such a problematic position when you came here?" Ellie's defenses broke, as though some worm had come into her mind and chewed through every barrier in her mind to keep herself in check.
"He's dead. The magic took him and he caused the castle to fall!" She shouted, tears suddenly streaming from her eyes. The young man stood quickly, eyes wide with shock. "Happy now?"
"Oh gods above," He muttered, raising his hand to his brow. "The fool finally did it. Woe is me."
"What?" Ellie pondered through her tears. The young man looked at her with aggressiveness in his eyes.
"I may have to kill you," He spoke flatly.
The fire in the place burned and flickered, completely unaware that the people that sat next to it while the stars shown through the window were speaking of such vicious ideas. All the while Ellie listened in, seemingly forgotten by the others that spoke of what to do with her. She sat impatiently as they spoke.
The conspirators, that was what she had now labeled them, were giving off insane ideas, mostly of murder, even though most of them knew that such thoughts were foolishness. She found no reason to worry about them however, her own magic was nothing to take lightly, even if she was too afraid to use most of the spells that she knew she feared becoming like Hortil had.
"We cannot let her stay here, that is for certain," The young man, she had still yet to learn his name, told the others. "She will be like a lure to him, and he will find her and destroy us to get to her. If she dies, he may be angry with us, if she leaves, he may still be angry with us, magic usually enjoys a chase, but Hortil didn't, and his attitude is still somewhere in that body." He began wringing his hands, like he was trying to expel the sweat from his palms.
"What if we tie her to the docks in the east, that way when he comes we can bring him right to her?" One man, a hairy ape of a person, suggested.
"He'd kill us anyway if we tried to interact with him, magic is very temperamental when inhabiting of a human body," The young man countered. Ellie shook her head in disbelief, she could have used magic to burn the ropes in half anyway, and it would have been no trouble whatsoever.
"When will Hortil be here?" Ellie questioned. The conspirators turned in shock; they really had forgotten that she was there. It nearly made her laugh in scorn.
"We don't know," The young man said sheepishly. "We don't know if he even will come, but if he does, he'll be searching for you." Ellie nodded her head, already working on a plan to get out of the town. She felt heartless after what these people had done for her, but she valued her own life more than all of theirs. After all, they were ready to throw her to the magic, just as she was ready to do the same to them.