Hope as a Candle (Short Story, part 1)

Have you got a game, book or movie you'd like to make a story out of? Want to expand on a story or plot that stopped? Have an original idea for a story that you want to post somewhere? Here's where to do it. Basically an RPG where one player controls ALL characters in the story.

Hope as a Candle (Short Story, part 1)

Postby Freeflier181 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:37 am

A deep slumber, dark and velvety, surrounds her.
For the most part, she lies still. Only the slight pulse of her heart, slow and gentle, betrays her silence.
Then she floats up, up, and skims the surface of awareness. It is at these times that she moves restlessly, a quick jerk of her leg here, a flex of her wing there.
These spells only last for a short time, and she lapses back into sleep. But they give me hope for her future, and mine.

I'm not sure what I'm doing here. I still can't believe that I'm holding her in my lap. Her heat burns me, but I need the reassurance that she's real. My thoughts brush back, to when I found her...

* * *

"Daenna!" The booming voice echoed through the large, polished house. "Slave!"
I jumped, hitting my head on the bedframe.
"Ouch!" I momentarily forgot my Master as I leaned back and rubbed my head.
Suddenly, he burst through the door. His squinty eyes widened in rage, and his neck turned red, as it too often did.
"Slave! What are you doing sitting on my floor! I'll have your head for that!"
I scrambled up and away as he lunged for me. He caught my arm and pulled me out of the room.
"No--wait--it's not what it looks like!" I protested, pulling back from him. It was no use, though; my Master is twice my size, and though he looks fat, he's ferociously strong. "I was cleaning under the bed, and hit my head! That's why I was sitting down!"
He pulled me out of the house, growling as we went. "No excuses from you, slave! A lazy slave is a dead slave, so long as he's mine to punish!"
Panicking, I struggled to get free of his grasp. His giant hand only tightened around my arm, though, and I fell to my knees at the pain, blinking away tears at the injustice of it.
My Master pulled me to my feet and dragged me to the slaveshed. Slaves and hired guards were all around, watching. There was a burly bearded man here, too, with a string of my Master's horses and a wagon. Three men accompanied him, two guards and one slave driver. He watched dispassionately as my Master dragged me near, idly twirling a trinket around his finger.
My fellow slaves were watching me, too, their eyes wide with horror. I caught my mother's eyes just before my Master threw my down before the stranger.
"This is it?" he asked. He tucked the trinket in his pocket. "I thought you were bringing me a profitable one, not this underbred...wench."
"In a few years she'll breed plenty of slaves for you," my Master protested. I blinked up at him in shock and confusion. A few moments ago he was leading me to my death, now he's...selling me? As a breeder?
The stranger frowned down at me for a moment. Then he snapped his eyes to my Master--my old Master.
"Yes, well, very well, it'll do," he said brusquely. He snapped his fingers at one of his guards. "Put her in the back of the wagon, then."
It was then that it clicked. I was being sold as a brood mare. They were going to take me away from my mother, from my friends--from everything that was familiar to me.
I scrambled to my feet and threw myself at my mother. A guard caught me and kept me from her.
"No!" The cry ripped from my throat. My mother stared at me silently. There was a resigned look in her eyes, as if she had been expecting this. A single tear ran down her cheek. The guard pushed me towards the wagon, and I stumbled backwards. "No! You can't do this!" I yelled at him. He backhanded me, and the force of it spun me around. He caught my arm and pushed me to the wagon before I could fall.
"You don't have a choice. Don't make me do something I'll regret, filthy elf."
He pushed me again to the wagon. Dazed, I let him herd me onto the back of it, where bags of grain lay. I let him tie me there, as if I was no more important than a bag of grain; regrettable if I died, but only in the sense that they'd have to buy another.
My new Master made his final deals with my old Master and we slowly rolled off of the homestead, taking with us five newly-bought horses, as well. As the wagon trundled away, I looked back at my old home with fear and trepidation, and made a silent oath. Someday, I would return. Someday, I would free my mother, and steady Sanirnon, and little Tenae, and good old Trivan, along with the rest of the slaves.

* * *

I shake my head, returning to the present, and wipe away a tear with the back of my hand. I wince; I'd had my hands on her, and she's hot, and getting hotter. I don't know whether that's good or bad.
For the time being, I gently place her on the quickly woven branch floor. Gingerly I make my way down the tree. I'm hungry, and if I'm to care for her, I must care for myself.
It only takes a few minutes to find some Terope trees and take their fruit. Bundling it together in my woven tunic, I make my way back to our tree. It's only been a few minutes, but as I climb the tree I worry--should I have left her?
But she's still there, still hot, still quiet. I settle down thankfully and begin to eat the filling fruit. We used to eat this, back when we were slaves, when we weren't fed enough. It was hard to find though, and harder after my old Master expanded his fields in the Terope grove. He cut the trees down to make way for his horses. Many an elf cried that night.
Yes, we are elves, enslaved to humans. A funny turn of events, no? The humans prize us for our longevity and endurance. As much as my old Master scared me when he threatened to kill me, I should have known better--he would never kill an elven slave.
I don't know how it happened, or why--no one would ever mention how the elves were enslaved. I heard bits of our history from the humans, but only enough to know that it's only been a few decades since we were enslaved, and there's not so many of us anymore. I'm only twenty years old--too young to remember it. I was born to slavery.
I sigh, and finish my second Terope. I put the rest away, so if something happens, I won't have to leave the tree-nest. I pull her back into my lap and relax. Her heat and the gentle pulse of her heart lull me into a gentle sleep.

* * *

The wagon seemed determined to make me feel every bump and jolt of that road. By the time we set up camp every night, I was exhausted, and fell into sleep thankfully.
But not tonight. Tonight was different.
In the middle of the day we had passed out of the forest and into desert. We were in territory I'd never been in before. My skin was burnt from laying in the sun all day, with no trees, no shrubs, nothing to shade me from the burning, blazing, hateful sun. This land was dead and dry; I'd never seen the like of it before. I knew we were close to a desert, but never in all my dreams had I thought I'd actually be in it.
I had to leave now, tonight, or I'd die out here.
I waited in the back of the wagon, as I always did at night. The humans stayed up late, celebrating their crossing into the desert; I ground my teeth settled in for a long wait.
Their conversation drifted in and out of my attention. I kept my eyes closed, my breathing normal, so they'd think I slept. To keep myself awake, I thought of my family, of the persecuted elves, of my oath to save them. But the day had taken a toll on me, and I found myself drifting in and out of sleep.
It was the cold that woke me, hours later. The desert, burning hot in the day, turned cold as ice at night. Exposed to the elements as I was, the slight breeze felt like an icy gale on my sensitive, sunburned skin. I jerked, shivering, and rubbed my hands over my skin, trying to warm it up. It was no use, though; the woven tunic I had worn all summer was built for light forest summer.
I sat up and looked long at my new master and his two guards. They had set up a tent by the fireplace. The old slave, who drove the wagon, was asleep with the horses. No one stirred.
Slowly I pushed myself off the wagon. My most immediate problem was the rope, which bound my wrists to the wagon. Luckily, I had about two feet of slack, just enough to relieve myself during rest stops. My feet firmly on the ground, even on this dead ground, and I felt more like myself.
I knelt on the ground, thus grounding myself, put my bound wrists up to my face, and closed my eyes. I imagined myself going out to the land immediately surrounding the campsite. To my surprise, I found a significant amount of life--cacti, foxes, small lizards. Nothing was enough, though; no amount of life here would sustain me for what I had to do.
I was about to give up, when I suddenly felt this enormous burst of life. Even compared to the life in the forest, it was huge--I had never felt anything like it before. It was like a sudden storm, a gale of wind, a shattering shock of lightning--and I grabbed it, greedily, and harnessed it for what I needed.
I opened my eyes and focused on the knot in front of me. Softly, I whispered to the rope, "Angry rope, you hurt my wrists. Twisted plant, you cut my hands. Plied fiber, loosen your grip. Let me go." Almost immediately the know loosened, and I was able to pull my hands free. I turned and examined the camp again.
My new Master and his guards still slept. But the old elf, by the horses, watched me from his place by the horses. He glanced at the humans, then stood and came over to me. I braced myself, ready to run, but he held up his hand.
"Wait," he said softly. "I have not felt that much power for a century. That you dared to harness it, and came away unscathed--you are either the greatest Tasenna that I have ever seen, or very foolhardy. Either way, you are powerful, young elf."
"What do you mean, Tasenna?" I asked, confused. "What are you talking about?" I glanced at the tent. I wanted to run for it. I wanted to take a horse and go back to the forest, where I belonged.
"Tasenna, the weaving of Life itself. The energy you feel--that is called Taen. You have called on the Taen of a great creature, or several great creatures. We must go now, or they will be upon us. If I have felt you draw Taen from them and I wasn't even involved in the connection, then they will surely have felt it, being the creatures of which you drew it from. Come, let us go."
He started walking away. I looked from him to the horses.
"Why don't we use horses? It'll be faster."
"Some horses are fit for use on the desert, it is true," he conceded. "But these were bred in the forest. They will not go fast in the desert. Now, come! We must hurry. If you are lucky the creatures will find the humans at the camp."
We started running out into the desert. Despite his age, the old elf was just as quick as I. It was a few hours into the run that his endurance failed him.
"Go," he said. "I can care for myself from here. Keep the moon to your right. You'll soon find the forest."
Despite my protests, I couldn't budge him. And he was right; I couldn't stay with him. What if the creatures felt a lingering presence of their Taen on me, and caught me with him? If they were as big as their energy suggested, then he'd have little chance against them. I moved on.
The moon was setting and the sun was beginning to rise when I found a single rocky overhang. I was tired after moving all night, and went to sit under it. All the running that night had warmed me, and the rock felt cool against my back. I relaxed.
Now that I had stopped running, I focused more on my surroundings. Then I realized that, even though I wasn't searching for it, the Taen in this area was so strong I could feel it in my bones. Knowing I had ventured upon the very lair of the huge creatures I had drawn energy--Taen--from before, I jumped up.
The sudden movement caused the sand around my feet to stir. The sand slid down a hole, and dragged me with it. I caught the side of the rock overhang and lay there, over the hole, for a split second--then my hands, sweaty from the run, slipped.
The sand carried me down a short, smooth tunnel, and a moment later, I fell in a dark cave, lit only by the hole I had created and a few round, glowing stones. I landed on my knees, and stilled, hoping to garner as little attention as possible. But it didn't matter; the cave--or at least this part of it--was empty.
While I caught my breath--still tired from the run, and shocked by the brief slide--I examined the glowing stones that surrounded me. There were actually quite a few of them, but not all were glowing. They were all uniformly round, although they were all different in one way or another. I realized what they were--eggs, some as small as a rabbit, others as large as a full grown horse's head, and many different sizes between.
A few caught my eye--one glowing egg, a heavy egg that felt like rock, another with bright markings on it--but it was hers which I absolutely had to have.
Her egg was translucent. I could see her sleeping in it. It didn't occur to me whether the thin egg shell might endanger her life or well-being--I just knew that I had to have her. It was her egg that actually informed me of what I was looking at--dragon's eggs. A whole clutch of dragons eggs--left alone.
It made sense that it was dragons which I had drawn energy from, but to think that I angered them so much that they left their eggs alone and flew to find me informed me of just how much danger I was in. I quickly gathered her in my arms and gingerly walked out of the nest. The hole I had fallen through was too slick for me to attempt with her in my arms, and there was no way I was going to use Taen again, especially not in their lair. Instead, I took a tunnel out of the cavern.
I followed the dark tunnel for half an hour before I smelled fresh air. It was another five minutes before I saw light. This light wasn't as glaring as it should've been--it was still early morning, but the sun would still be high in the sky. Why wasn't it as bright as I expected it to be?
It was when I emerged from the tunnel five minutes later that I saw. The tunnel had taken me out of the desert. I was in the forest again.

* * *

It's been two days now. When is she going to hatch?

Hi guys, thanks for reading my short story! This is just the beginning, just a little something to put out the word for my dragonet. Take a look at the link in my signature, the more clicks she gets, the closer she'll be to hatching!
I think the way it goes is I have a little more than three days to hatch. I've had her for about two now. If she hatches, I'll continue the story!

If you liked this, why don't you try my book, too? Look up "The Beginning of the Prophecy of the New Age" at Amazon or www2.xlibris.com. I'd really appreciate it!
Image Awww, if you look close you can see her through the translucent shell! But she only has a few days before she dies, so please help my dragon hatch!
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