Author's Note: This story is specifically a one shot for a reason, so please don't ask me to add to this story. I wrote this as my final for a Fantasy & Suspense class I took, so I had to demonstrate different elements of fantasy that we were learning about. I got an A on this, so I thought it must be worthy to go on the internet. It will only ever be posted to FictionPress, so if you find it anywhere else, let me know because I don't want my work being plagiarized. This is the same for any of my other works.
Also, I have granted one of my good friends permission to use the main character Alexi in her story that I am help her with called MoonLost High, so don't worry if you read that story and think she stole that character, because she didn't.
Thank you. I hope you enjoy the one shot.
(For the parts that aren't in English, I used this site to translate them: traductor . abc . es )
When All Seems Lost
Imagine a lush field of grass filled with hundreds of different kinds of flowers all in full bloom. The wind gently guiding the grass and flowers in an almost hypnotic sort of dance as little faeries float around singing their melodious little tunes.
Now imagine a sunset that's a mixture of reds, oranges, pinks and violets with a dragon flying by in the horizon. He's just heading off to the Dragon's Market to sell some of his goods.
That paradise was destroyed a long time ago by some measly human being. (Though I guess he's not just "some measly human being" anymore since he rules over the entire realm of Terrania.) He turned the land into a barren wasteland where hardly any plant life, and just life in general, can even survive. Quite a few species of dragon have gone extinct or gone into hiding, which really hurts the economy because dragons had once helped us transport things (as long as you proved yourself to the dragon first). Some dragons even went mad!
Anyway, this man who caused all the destruction is known everywhere (by other humans, at least) as The Savior. He's more of a dictator to me, though (probably since I'm part elf and got shoved aside with everyone else). His actual name is Rolan Talem (but I'll just call him Talem) and he's the man who ruined the lives of the non-humans. He forced all of the different species to live in different closed off areas. (Actually, he just kept everyone else separate from the humans, but you get the point.) My dad was human, so when Talem took over, my mom and I were forced to leave him. This all happened when I was very young, though, so I don't really remember my dad.
Only a few months after my mom and I had settled into Elven Village, she got killed in a fire. I knew I had to learn to take care of myself or I'd die, so I started a life of thievery. I know that probably wasn't the best option at the time, but it's keeping me alive right now and that's all that really matters.
No one's ever caught me, and hopefully no one ever will. And since I'm part elf, I'm really good at sneaking past any beasts that may be guarding the items I steal. I'm pretty popular on the black market among traders who are looking for peculiar or mystical items. These vendors usually pay me for any interesting objects I can get them with supplies I need for survival, but they sometimes will let me stay with them for a bit for free, give me half the profit they make on the item, or they'll trade me one of their other gizmos. I've collected some pretty cool things over the years like an invisibility cloak and an enchanted sword.
By this point, you're probably wondering who I am. (Besides just some half elf who's also a thief and has no parents.) My name is Alexi Dentrough. I look pretty average with my long chocolate brown hair, pale skin (with a few freckles on my cheeks and nose), and dark blue eyes. I'm around five-foot-one (popular misconception: elves aren't midgets like folklore from other dimensions seems to think they are. Our average height is just shorter than the average human height by about half a foot.) and I have a very small body frame, which is perfect for sneaking around. I'm sixteen (even though I've been told I look twelve) and have a very average looking heart-shaped face (unless you count the whole "looking twelve" thing).
Now you know my name, how old I am, and what I look like. That's enough information about me to continue on with the story now, right?
I look down at the latest object I was asked to bring to a vendor at the black market and smile. The vendor who asked for me to find it pays exceptionally well. The item is some sort of mystical talisman that's meant to give you good luck or something. I don't really care, though, since I won't get to keep it anyway.
As soon as I step into the marketplace, though, someone pulls me off to the side and ducks under a table. I turn to this person, who actually doesn't look that much older than me, and I'm about to ask him what's going on when they hold their index finger up to their mouth and mouth the word "listen".
"We know that you all must have some sort of provider." A voice reverberates over the general din. Soldiers. "So why not you tell us who they all are, and maybe we'll consider letting you all get away with what you're doing."
"Why would we give you that kind of information!" Another voice shouts, and I recognize it to be the voice of my current client. "You're probably just going to lock us all up anyway!"
"Shut it, vermin!" Another soldier yells.
The guy sitting next to me tugs on my shirt sleeve and we lock eyes. 'I'm gonna find a way to get us out of here. Okay?' He tells me telepathically, which surprises me since he looks like he's just a half-elf like me (I'm just guessing he's part human because he doesn't have the heart-shaped face pure elves are most known for).
Maybe he's part wizard or something? I think to myself. Aren't wizards known for using telepathy?
'They are, but I'm part sorcerer.' He explains telepathically, smirking at me. 'Wizards are respected by Talem, so why would one get kicked out of human territory?'
'Stay out of my head!' I mentally scream, glaring at him.
'So you don't want to get out of here?' He asks, still smirking at me.
'Do you know a way out?' If this guy doesn't know a way out and he's just trolling me, I'll probably kill him.
'Well, I could teleport us out–'
'Could?' I narrow my eyes at him.
'You just have to agree to help me on a quest.' He finishes. My curiosity increases with the use of the word "quest". 'I could use someone with your skills.'
'Deal.' I agree without hesitation and before I know it, I'm back in the outdoors with the guy who just helped me. Now that we're out in the natural light, I can actually see what he looks like. He looks like he's around five-foot-nine (sorcerers are known for being taller than the average human height in this region, so the fact that he's also part elf probably cancels that out) and he has medium brown hair, green eyes with gold flecks, and pale skin. He also has an athletic build.
"So, what's your name?" I ask him, wanting to know who I'll be working with for this quest before I just leave with him. For all I know, he could be a rapist or something. So I gotta do a background check.
"Kristof, but you can call me Kris." He holds a hand out to me, but I just stare at it until he drops it.
"I'm Alexi. So, what exactly are we questing for?" I ask. Kris pulls out a map from his satchel and hands it over to me.
"What if I told you there's a way to bring back the equality we all had before Talem took over?" Kris gives me a smile filled with an unusual amount of hope for someone who hangs out in the black market.
"Depends… Will Talem pay dearly?" I muse almost diabolically, looking over the map that seems like it leads to some kind of cave.
"I'm not entirely sure, actually." Kris admits. "I just found this map and read the elven description on it that says it will bring back the equality of our world or something."
"Well," I look back up at Kris, "you're lucky I love quests, because anyone else you would've asked would say no to this suicidal quest of yours."
"Why did I agree to this again?" I ask, glaring at Kris as he continues to laugh at me. I got snagged in one of those really overused rope and tree trap things. Do you know what I'm talking about? The ones where you get your feet tied up and you end up hanging upside down? I really should have noticed before I stepped right on top of it.
"Because you hate Talem?" Kris offers, but I continue to glare at him.
"Just get me down already." I practically growl at him.
"Alright! Just give me a second." Kris surrenders, waving his right hand, freeing me, and sending me face-first into the dirt (because I was upside down, and he didn't bother to catch me). I groan in pain and Kris laughs again. Once I get up, I walk right up to Kris and punch him in the gut. He hunches over and even falls to his knees, but he doesn't stop laughing.
I snatch the map from him and start walking away.
"C'mon, Alexi." Kris calls, catching up with me. "You've gotta admit it was pretty funny."
"I could have broken my neck and died." I point out angrily, jogging ahead of him.
"Okay, I'm sorry." He apologizes, grabbing my arm and forcing me to stop. "I should have helped you down in a less life threatening way."
I yank my arm out of his grasp and pull out my enchanted sword, pointing it towards Kris' throat. "Touch me again, and you'll feel the wrath of Eryn's sword." Kris holds his hands up in surrender backs away from me, nodding.
We continue walking, and Kris keeps giving me curious glances. After a few minutes, I turn to him with a look of annoyance on my face. "What?"
"Where'd you get a sword like that?" He asks, inspecting the sword from a distance. He's probably scared I'll attack him now.
"It was payment for a job I took in the black market." I tell him in a very 'duh' way. Kris nods at that and we continue walking.
So far, this quest has been pretty bland. The only somewhat exciting thing that's happened is we ran into a small tribe of goblins a few miles back who tried to sell us some illegal drugs for my invisibility cloak.
We're currently walking through a maze and I'm pretty sure some of the goblins followed us in here.
A few facts about goblins, they are shorter than elves and over the years of Talem being in charge have become known for their obsession with illegal drugs and attacking those who won't buy from them. So yeah. Me and Kris are probably going to be attacked by goblins any minute now.
The deranged, blood thirsty scream that I hear a few minutes later confirms my suspicions and I quickly activate my invisibility cloak and pull out my sword as Kris mutters some sort of invisibility spell. We continue to look for the way out of the maze, silently walking so that the goblins don't hear us (goblins have really good hearing). We almost make it all the way through the maze without running into a goblin, but Kris accidentally trips over a root that's on the ground, sending the goblins into a sort of frenzy as they all start leaping over the walls of the maze to get to us.
"Got any weapons, klutz?" I ask Kris as I start fighting off the goblins with my sword.
"No, but I can summon a small dragon." Kris then proceeds to let out a shrill whistle and just a few minutes later, a small (about the size of a mammoth, actually) dragon appears and the goblins go running. Goblins are terrified of dragons, after all. The dragon almost seems to laugh at the goblins as they run and I smirk at Kris.
"So now you're also a dragon tamer?" I ask skeptically.
"Why not?" Kris shrugs. "Wanna ride him?"
Okay, so I've never ridden a dragon before, but it was the most fun I've ever had! It was even more fun than the last quest I went on!
We left the dragon behind to climb a mountain (what we're doing right now), but I really wish we didn't. My feet are killing me and I'm not really any good at mountain climbing anyway.
"How much longer?" I whine, causing Kris to laugh at me. How many times has he laughed at me now? Seriously!
"We're almost at the top." Kris calls down to me. "You know, I would've thought that this would be a breeze for you with all these quests you talk about to have done."
"Well sorry if elf feet aren't good at mountain climbing." I huff.
"Hey! I'm part elf too and I'm not complaining. So suck it up." Kris chastises.
"Why couldn't we have just ridden the dragon to the top?" I ask him.
After a moment passes, I hear something that sounds very similar to the sound of someone facepalming. "Why didn't I think of that?" Kris mutters and I laugh at him.
"Well, we're almost there, so we might as well keep climbing." I reason as I start climbing a little faster, eventually catching up with Kris. "Plus, doesn't the path on the map end there?"
"Yeah, I think it does." Kris says with a nod. Once the both of us have made it to the top, he turns to me with a curious smirk. "By the way, did I ever tell you that the map we're following now leads us to another map?"
"How many more of these demon gnomes are there?" I growl through my teeth as I stab another demon gnome. Funny thing about demon gnomes, they aren't actually possessed by demons, they just look freaking scary. Plus they only speak Romanian, so we can't understand what they're saying. But anyways, some clans of demon gnomes are actually quite friendly with elves and others who were cast away by Talem. This clan just happens to live in the cave the second map wants us to go through and are very territorial.
"I don't know. Would you like me to stop what I'm doing to count them all?" Kris suggests sarcastically as he shoots another one of the little monsters with his gun. Where did that gun come from, anyway?
A few minutes later, a huge gnome comes running at us from the back of the cave. "De ce sunt aceste bandiţi încă în viaţă? Ucide-le!" He chants, though I can't understand a word of what he's saying. This gnome is about double the size of the other gnomes and is the ugliest demon gnome I've ever seen. Must be the leader of this clan. I run fearlessly up to this leader and start fighting his as Kris continues to fight the other demon gnomes.
"What does the map say we have to do in this cave again?" I grunt as the leader punches me in the gut, but I quickly recover and swing my sword at him, slicing his arm (non fatally).
"I can't really check right now since I'm kinda busy, but I'm pretty sure we have to kill that leader guy you're fighting." Kris calls to me, almost seeming annoyed at me.
"Nu va ucide liderul nostru!" One of the follower gnomes screeches, undoubtedly running at me. I don't know what he said though. All I know is that Kris killed him before he could reach me.
It takes a while, but eventually all that's left is the leader who Kris helps me finish off by shooting him. He then pulls out the map so he can see what we're meant to do. "Oh, gross." He cringes. "You have to cut him open and remove a key from his stomach."
I shrug at this task, not really disgusted by it at all (probably because I used to help a butcher in the elven village cut apart the animals he prepared for extra cash…). "What's so gross about that?" Then I smirk up at Kris. "Or are you just a pansy?"
"I am not a pansy." Kris scowls at me, crossing his arms over his chest. "I just thought you would find it disgusting since you're a girl and–"
"Wow. Sexist much?" I mutter angrily, cutting him off. I kneel down by the deceased demon gnome leader and slice him open, find his stomach, cut that open, and pull out the key. All without hesitation. I turn to Kris to hand him the key and can't help but laugh at his wide-eyed expression. "You sure you aren't a pansy?"
"You aren't even the least bit grossed out by what you just did?" Kris asks, ignoring my question.
"You're asking me, the girl who pretty much dissected animals for extra money, if I'm disgusted by something I've done ever since I was a little kid." I tell him in a deadpan tone of voice. "I'm pretty sure I'm not grossed out by just removing a key from the stomach of a demon gnome. Now use one of your spells to sterilize my hands so that they don't get dissolved by stomach acid."
"Poika he cams." Kris murmurs this spell so quietly that I almost don't hear it, but I easily recognize that he's speaking the elven language. I notice that the key also gets cleaned as well (which is probably a good thing) and I stand up.
"Where to next?" I ask as we walk back out of the cave.
"You'll see when we get there." Kris promises, patting me on the shoulder before calling for the dragon from earlier.
"Now remember, this dragon hasn't talked with anyone in a really long time and will get off topic just about every five seconds, but you have to keep it on track and convince him to tell you where to find the chest that holds the answer to freeing everyone." Kris reminds me as we walk up to a hole in the side of a cliff that apparently leads to a cavern of some sort where a dragon has gotten trapped. "Got it?"
"Tell me again why you aren't following me into the hole." I demand Kris.
"Because the map says that the dragon can only take seeing one person at a time." Kris explains as we reach the tunnel. "Plus, I'm too big to get through there."
I roll my eyes at him before dropping to my knees to crawl through. "Whatever you say, Tubby."
When I exit the other side of the tunnel, a dragon the size of a large bear with rusty brown and gold scales runs almost excitedly up to me.
"Svečias? Aš niekada svečiai!" The dragon exclaims as I give him a skeptical look. "Oi, atsiprašau. Tikriausiai kalbate angliškai." The dragon then proceeds to slowly roll over onto his back. "Anglų... anglų..."
"What's your name?" I try asking, hoping that the dragon can understand me.
The dragon perks up at this. "Taip kalbate angliškai!" The dragon then shakes his head. "I mean…" The dragon starts trying to correct himself, but I cut him off.
"Your name?" I prompt him.
"Oh, yes!" The dragon walks to the back of the cavern and starts searching through books for some reason. "I am Drakonas. Now then," the dragon, or Drakonas, hands me a book, "would you like to look at some pictures? They're of… they're of…" Drakonas scratches his head and scrunches his face up in frustration.
I place the book down on the ground. "Drakonas?" He turns to look at me expectantly. "I need you to tell me something." I pull the key out of my pocket and hold it up for Drakonas to see. "I need you to tell me where I can find the chest that goes with this key." Drakonas takes a moment to inspect the key.
"I recognize the key!" Drakonas exclaims happily. "I have a nice collection of keys if you'd like some more to go with that one?" He starts to head off somewhere else in the cave.
"No. I need you to tell me where to find the matching chest." I demand, stopping him from wandering off topic.
Drakonas nods and inspects the key for a few more moments. "I think the chest was in a foresty area." Drakonas muses. "I had a friend once who lived in the forest. I always tried to invite him over, but he was always 'too busy protecting his chest'."
"He protected a chest?" I ask curiously. "Is that the chest that goes with this key?"
"Yeah. I tried to visit him once years ago, but a large group of trolls attacked me." Drakonas seems to shudder at the memory. "By the way, did you ever notice that trolls are always trolling others?"
"Where does your friend protect this chest?" I ignore his troll question (even though I totally agree with him).
"I think it's somewhere right along the north edge of Terrania?" Drakonas thinks this over for a few moments, looking up at the ceiling of the cave. "And I think it's near where the Laisvės River enters this realm. By the way, do you like swimming?"
"So that's where I'll find the chest that matches this key?" I (again) ignore his off topic question.
"Yes." Drakonas nods.
"Thank you." I put the key back in my pocket. "Now I really have to go."
"You aren't staying?" Drakonas whimpers. Then his face is consumed with rage. "Aš ne jums palikti mane." He suddenly reaches out to grab me, but I duck out of the way and run for the tunnel. Drakonas lets out a psychotic roar, fire spewing up and out of his mouth.
"Crap." I growl to myself as I quickly crawl through the tunnel. "Why'd he have to be the fire breathing kind?" Thankfully, I get out of the tunnel before Drakonas decides to breathe fire through it.
"Well that must have gone swimmingly." Kris laughs sarcastically and I glare at him. "Did you get him to tell you?"
"Yeah we have to go to where the… Laisvés River enters the Terranian realm." I explain to Kris. "I think I pronounced the name of the river correctly."
"I think he's talking about Freedom River." Kris jumps onto the dragon we rode on to get here and holds a hand out to me. "We better get going so we can get rid of Talem."
"Before we go, the dragon also told me that there were trolls there that had attacked him." I tell Kris as I climb onto the dragon and sit behind him."You know, before he got trapped in that cave."
"We've already fought with goblins and demon gnomes." Kris reminds me. "I'm sure we'll be fine fighting trolls."
As we get closer to where Drakonas said the chest was, no trolls jump out to attack us. In fact, there aren't even any signs of trolls once being here. All the trees look dead, grayish colored and no leaves. And the only sign of there once being a dragon here is the pile of bones resting next to an old, rotting, wooden chest.
As soon as we land, I run up to the chest and check to see if it's locked.
Inside the box is a small note. I quickly open it up and read it.
"What do you think happened?" Kris asks solemnly. I feel tears forming in my eyes as I turn to him and hand him the note. He reads the note and kicks the closest tree to him, letting out a yell of frustration.
"It's over…" I mumble to myself. "It's all over…"