Message from the author-

I hope you enjoy the story. I am 13 and I have been writing a really long time and got especially interested in fantasy when I was about 10. I am currently writing a story that I am planning to send into a publisher that is already 150 pages long. This piece may just been something out of mind that I put down on paper in my spare time, but that doesn't mean the story can't be good.

1 Man, 1 Creature, 1 War, and One Betrayal

My hands began to shake as three Handrusian guards approached my mother's door. We all knew what they wanted—taxes. It was the first of the month. I had to come to my mother's house the day the tax collectors come, I thought. My troops were passing through my old home town marching towards the capital of Handrus: Capilary.

So in the morning of that gruesome Monday, I decided to visit my mother and comfort her because of the loss she had just recently endured. Personally I didn't care for my mother's new husband that died of cholera. He was never nice to me anyway. She married him when I was fourteen; three years after my real father had died in the war. I would soon turn sixteen next month and I was to be especially happy because I was supposed to get advanced to a higher ranking squad that month, also.

The guards in their dark blue armor knocked on the door. I went in the back room. Even when I was a young child my mother would weep when she had to—yet again—give the whole month's profits from her tavern or a family piece of jewelry to the tax collectors.

I sat down next to the small pile of clothes that I carry when I am traveling with my troops. The generals told us that we would receive much praise when we reached Capilary because of the tasks that we completed in the dark wood.

"Any minute know," I said to myself. I was waiting for a warrior or knight or a guard out of my troop to come and call for me. There was much to be done before we reached Handrus's capital.

To explain things, there is much to be told and so little time to tell it. Handrus and the wood creatures have had their share of difficulties. Well, if you are wondering, a wood creature is basically any creature that lives in the dark and light woods of Handrus. They talk, think, eat and drink humanely, and some even fight. Actually a correction of that last statement would be that most of them fight—these days.

Now, back to the reasons why the humans of Handrus and the wood creatures don't get along very well. There are many rumors about why these two races (I shouldn't really call them just 2 races because the wood creatures are made up of thousands of different animals) are currently in war. To just put it plainly, Handrusians hate wood creatures and wood creatures hate Handrusians.

But to get back to myself, in the dead of night one of my comrades Slinton whispered through the window, "Psst…Seek, wake up!" I opened my eyes. "Seek, come on! General Abith wants us. We're moving out."

As you noticed, they called me "Seek" because that was a nickname I had for years. Every time we did something it seemed that I was just seeking for trouble.

Well, the next day we left the little town where I grew up and headed out for Capilary. It was around midday when things got a little out of hand.

Slinton and I were in charge of a small wagon full of spare clothes. Since Slinton was older and I was lighter, he sat on the horse and I got to sit in the wagon.

Slinton's and my own armor were sitting in the back of the wagon. The armor was made of dark blue gauntlets with gold rims, hard metal shoulder scales, steel mesh arm and torso shirts, dark blue metal chaps with gold rims, shining steel boots, and two blue metal helms with gold designs. As you will find out, we were thankful that we had them close at hand.

Both our swords hung at our waists and my blue steel shield with gold markings was slung over my back. Suddenly General Abith came out from behind the wagon with a horn in his hands.

He looked at me. "Seek, I need a favor. Could you run west of the trail and see if you can find any interesting or unusual activity?"

I nodded and got out of the wagon. I was always willing to do extra missions to improve my reputation. For a little information, the general mentioned west because they were now only a couple miles of the way to the light wood. The human part of Handrus was to the east (so the wood creatures called them the Eastern Men) and the wood part of Handrus is to the west. They were currently heading north in order to get to Capilary.

So I grabbed the horn that General Abith had and jogged a little bit out of the trail, going up and down small hills. I stopped when he got to a line of great trees.

As he turned around, I noticed something that I saw. It seemed that the line of trees were thick because there was blackness behind the first line. But then I suggested in my mind that there was only one line of trees and there was something else behind it.

I snuck closer very quietly, looking right on the branches to see if there were any feet or hooves. Then, whatever was behind those trees, made a mistake. They moved, and I noticed. It was a hoof that I noticed move, but it was bigger than normal. When a hoof was bigger than normal, that only meant one creature: Centaurs.

I sprinted backwards. My troops were in sight on the trail when I noticed Centaur that had just ran over a hill that I just came down, was chancing me.

So I blew the horn as loud as I could, and fortunately my camp to action. The archers slung their bows, warriors and knights put their helms and mesh on and drew their swords, and horsemen took out their spears and shields. The Centaur was just about to shoot me with a arrow, but one of out own archers took him down first.

I ran to the wagon. In a short few seconds Centaurs, wolves, tigers, hellhounds, hippogriffs, wood elves, and many other wood creatures were attacking the front of our troop. Slinton and I jumped into the back of the wagon and slipped out armor on.

One day when our General had nothing else for us to do, he made us have armor preparing lessons. That made us able to slip on and off the armor in a few short seconds. In the end it turned out to be a boring day.

But it was a useful day, though. The moment Slinton and I jumped out of the wagon, it was bombarded with arrows. We looked up. Centaurs, with their bendable brass bows, were rushing towards us. They fired a second volley and I was just saved when I put up my shield.

But that wasn't the case for Slinton. He didn't get his shield up fast enough and was hit with two long arrows.

"No!" I yelled.

To be Continued

Ooohhh…. Cliffhanger…..Nice, right? I promise that the beginning of the next chapter won't be as boring as the beginning of this one was. And plus there is a lot more to the story than fighting and dying, trust me. (R&R)—I will return the favor to your newest story.