A/N: This is my first story on this site and I hope you all enjoy it! I hope to someday turn this story into an actual book that's been published so any feedback/advice you have for me is seriously appreciated! :)
When I woke up this morning, I had no intentions of running for my life from an angry faery; but there we were, Dylan, Kari and I, barreling down the streets of the local village, Owenduff, with an angry pooka on our tails. Pedestrians shrieked as they leapt out of the way of our thundering parade. The pooka had taken on the shape of a large shaggy dog, it's massive paws the size of dinner plates that shook the ground with every step.
Beside me, Kari laughed in amusement, her bushy red hair bouncing around her face as she ran.
"What is so funny about this situation?" Dylan demanded angrily, in-between puffs of air. "It's your fault he's angry. Haven't you ever heard the phrase, 'let sleeping dogs lie'?"
"Heard of it. Never really understood it," Kari shouted back with a grin, "besides, how was I supposed to know that thing was a pooka? It just looked like a dog to me."
"Yeah, a dog the size of a Buick, sleeping inside a dark, damp cave. How is that not suspicious?" Dylan's bright green eyes narrowed angrily at the girl.
"Oh, like you've never mistaken a pooka for a dog before."
"Why don't you both shut up?" I interrupted, "We need to find a way to get this thing out of town. We can't let him hurt anyone. Our job here is to protect the people."
"You don't think I know that?" Dylan shot a glance behind us and cursed. "He's catching up. Why is he chasing us in the first place? I know Kari woke him up but what made him chase us all the way down town? Pooka's aren't usually a faery who will go for a chase."
"I think I know why." Kari sheepishly held up a golden, jewel encrusted watch. The jewels shone brilliantly in the morning sunlight. Dylan and I stared at her incredulously. "What? It was shiny."
"And it belongs to the pooka!"
"You have got to be kidding me." I said.
Kari shrugged. "I didn't think he'd miss one watch."
"Why does Jarleth even let you go on missions?"
"It's too early in the morning for this." I grumbled as the two of them continued to bicker. "I don't care whose fault it is," I cut in, "we just need to get him out of here. He's starting to get distracted and lose interest in us. We can't let that happen."
Dylan sighed wistfully. "This started off as such a simple mission."
"Quit whining, Dylan, and think!"
"Remind me when we get back to kill the both you."
I shot a glance over my should and my heart dropped. No longer interested in us, the Pooka's full attention had been drawn to the terrified pedestrians. The massive dog shook his shaggy head and lifted it into a howl before springing on the nearest prey. The lady screamed and scrambled back but the pooka was too quick for her. With one powerful chomp, the lady was gone, leaving only an orange handbag to lie forgotten on the street.
Dylan cursed under his breath and Kari nearly passed out.
"Pookas don't normally eat humans, do they?" Kari asked, trying to steady her shaking hands. Dylan shook his head as he stared at the creature in horror.
"Alright that's it," anger boiled up inside me at the sight of the savage faery, blood dripping from his chin, "this needs to end now." I wasn't about to watch anyone else get eaten, not when I knew that all of this could have been avoided if we had just been able to stick to our mission instead of trailing off and causing this chaos.
"What exactly are you planning on doing?" Dylan eyed me warily.
I ignored him and snatched the bejeweled watch away from Kari who shouted in surprise and tried to grab it back. With a racing heart, I approached the man-eating dog who was happily swatting at the terrified humans running around him in a panic. Truthfully, I had no idea what I was doing. Knowing that pookas could understand and speak our language, I was hoping to offer up his watch in exchange for him leaving, but I also knew that they were trickster faeries that liked to wreck havoc among the humans. There was a good chance this wasn't going to work, but I had to try.
"Hey, fur ball, down here," I shouted up at the faery, drawing his attention down to me.
His big red eyes were full of furry as they darted between my face and the watch in my hand.
"You irritating little humans," it growled murderously, "return what is mine or I shall be forced to devour another one of your own." As if to prove his point, he trapped a passing man under his massive claws, pinning him to the ground.
Obligingly, I held out the watch and took a few steps forward. The pooka's eyes shown greedily as I approached, and in a flash, he'd morphed back into a human form, well as human as he could get. He resembled more of a goblin than a human. His hideous snarl was replaced by a sinister sneer that made my stomach do several nervous flips. He was a squat little thing that barely came up to my shoulders, and his face looked like he'd been hit it with a boulder one too many times. Long, pointed ears twitched in anticipation as a slimy grey tongue raked across his lips, his beady little black eyes trained on the watch.
"I will teach you, idiot praeditus, what happens when you mess with my property." The faery snarled.
Before anyone could react, the pooka darted over and swept me up over his shoulder, surprisingly strong for such a little guy, and tore off down the street in the opposite direction. Dylan and Kari shouted in surprise and took off in pursuit, though they quickly fell behind, unable to match the faeries speed.
I struggled against his iron hold, his strength doubled that of any human, and he only laughed at my weak efforts to escape.
"Put me down you stupid faery!"
"No!" He shouted back gleefully, "You are my new prize. I do not let my treasure escape so easily."
"And here I thought pookas weren't obsessed with treasure." I grunted, still struggling to loosen his hold on me.
"I am not obsessed with it," he replied indignantly, "I am simply smart enough to take it when it has been so willingly handed over."
"That wasn't an open invitation to take me. I was only returning your stupid watch."
The pooka laughed. "It is alright, human. I like this prize much better anyway."
"I am not a prize!" I slammed my fist into his back but all that got out of him was a small grunt.
"Was that supposed to make me drop you? Humans truly are pathetic. You will be quite entertaining to keep around, I can already tell."
"No one will be keeping her anywhere."
The pooka skidded to a halt and I cringed at the sudden sound of Ronan's voice. We were in so much trouble. I would rather take on the pooka than an angry Ronan with a sword.
The faery blinked wide, curious eyes at the new intruder sauntering toward him. "Who might you be, young knight?"
Ronan scoffed. "Being a knight would imply that I take direct orders from any one person; I am no knight. I follow no one."
"That is true," I twisted around to look at the faery with a shrug, "he doesn't listen to any body."
"You may address me as 'warrior' if you must," he continued on without paying any heed to my interruption, "although soon enough, you will not be able to address me at all if you do not hand over the girl."
With his beady red eyes, the pooka leered at him, tightening his hold on me. "I am fey. A wild pooka that has been around far longer than you have been alive, little warrior. Do you honestly believe that a mere mortal like yourself could best me?"
"Why don't we find out?"
"Is that a challenge?"
"Ready yourself, Pooka, for I will be holding nothing back when it comes to saving a comrade in need."
The pooka growled and shifted back into his dog form. I dropped from his arms only to be trapped underneath one of his massive front paws. "I would have it no other way." His voice had returned to the deep growl, his fangs bared at his new opponent. "If you are going to insist on fighting me for this girl, than give it everything you have. A little entertainment would be nice."
Without another word, Ronan leapt forward with such speed it caught the faery off guard, making his reaction time slow. A massive paw shot up to block Ronan's blow, catching his blade between to giant claws. Ronan expertly leapt away before the dog could snap the sword. The blade came away covered in thick, black ichor, the blood of the fey, but the pooka barely winced.
"Was that the best you could do?" It mocked him with another swipe of it's paw which Ronan easily side-stepped.
Ronan grit his teeth and sprang forward again, leaping at the beast, all the while being careful to avoid nearing me with his blade. He swiftly slashed through the dog's shoulder and danced back out of his reach, avoiding the returning blow. Again and again he attacked. Each strike landing a perfect blow. The pooka seemed to forget I was there. With each attack of Ronan's sword, the heavier the weight of his paw became as he fought to steady himself. He was quickly learning just how strong of a threat his opponent was.
Ronan's eyes remained narrowed and focused. The pooka would crush me and he knew it. This fight couldn't drag out much longer. My vision began to tunnel as my breathing became much more labored. I was vaguely aware of Kari and Dylan arriving on the scene from behind us, but Ronan remained focused on the fight through it all, though his attacks had become much more urgent. Panic began to build as the pooka shifted his weight again to counter another of Ronan's attacks, crushing all of the air from my lungs. There was a sound of several bones cracking under the pressure as a sharp pain exploded throughout my entire body. It was not long before the darkness consumed me and I knew nothing.
I felt nothing. I couldn't move. An empty void consumed me, and for a moment, I wondered if I were dead. The memories of the accident seemed so distant and blurry. Had I died? Was this what the afterworld was like? What about Dylan and Ronan? Kari, Luca, Jarleth and everyone else at the Caislean? Would they be alright?
My feet came to rest gently on some sort of foundation, stopping my descent and allowing me to stand. Once I was firmly planted on solid ground, the temperature plummeted, raising goosebumps across my entire body.
A flash of brilliant light illuminated the darkness and did a fine job of blinding me. Even with my eyes closed, the intensity of the light was enough to burn them.
Gradually, the light began to dim. I blinked my eyes open, allowing them to adjust to the darkness once again. What was that?
I nearly screamed once I was able to see again. A tall figure stood before me. The hood of his brown capote covered his face and he kept his hands folded behind his back. A strange aura radiated off the man, one that said he wasn't quite human, but something told me he wasn't a threat, that I wasn't in any danger standing before him.
Slowly, he raised his head and I scrambled back in a shock, biting down another scream. Where the man's eyes should have been...where they should have been, blue flames shot to life, and when he spoke, his voice ricocheted off the walls, bouncing around the darkness like a five year old with a can of Red Bull, making it hard to concentrate on what he was saying.
"An té a bhfuil an fhís a fheiceáil, An mbeidh
bheith ar an duine a shocrú dúinn saor in aisce.
Shines Sí s solas geal taobh istigh.
Beidh bronntanas an eochair a bhuachan.
Cuirfear caoin amháin deireadh a chuid laethanta .
I gcás gach a fheiceáil go mbeidh an marbh a ardú."
Perfect, I grumbled to myself, Why can't people just speak in good 'ole fashioned English? I went over his words carefully. The man had spoken in Gaelic, or as the Irish liked to call it, Irish. Very original.
"The one who has the vision to see," I began slowly, watching the mystery man closely, looking for any signs that would tell me I was wrong, "will be the one to set us free." I paused for a moment, mulling over the next couple lines, "A faery's light shines bright within. A gift shall be the key to win?" The man nodded in approval and I continued. "A single cry shall end his days. For all to see the dead will raise."
Mystery guy bobbed his head in approval once more and then vanished, taking his light with him. I was left alone in the darkness once again, with the lines of the riddle still running through my head. "A single cry shall end his days. For all to see the dead will raise." I wasn't sure what any of it meant, but I had a feeling I wasn't going to like it once I found out.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my work :) the next chapter will be up soon, and it'll explain more about what's going on. I'm planning on updating once a week.