Fantasy Fiction Adventure

Fianna heard a haunted cry, almost like a wolf's cry, but she couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Could it be in the-the Shadows? She quickly dismissed the thought, thoroughly alarmed at it. No one was ever, ever allowed in the Shadows. 

The sobs came again, much more distant this time. Fianna’s curiosity now turned into a sickening fear. If anyone ventured into the Shadows’ land, they would die. It wasn’t a possibility,  it was reality. A shiver quaked her body as she thought about what would happen if someone did decide to enter into that dreaded territory.

The weeping turned into a high-pitched shriek which then turned into a low, menacing hiss. The Shadows were speaking, but Fianna couldn’t understand what they were saying. 


Almost involuntarily, Fianna took a step back. She had never heard of the Shadows making noises, not even in tales. She tried to take another step back, but this time fear gripped her stronger than before, and she wasn’t able to move, only clench her clammy hands on her skirt.


She trembled at the sound. The ruthlessness kept her still. She didn’t dare think of running. 

“No! Have mercy!” Fianna cried. 

There was silence, then the deadly whisper came again. “Chosssennnnnn…..Ssssssscared!” 

Fianna fell on her knees. They want me! They’re coming for me! She thought frantically. She heard the moaning again, followed by the sobs. She hated the crying. It broke her heart, even though she knew it came from something cruel and evil. She shakily rose to feet. She wouldn’t, couldn’t let them get her. She would come to them. Without another thought, she leaped into their territory. 

> > > > > > > 

Fianna woke up. Glancing beside her, she saw a pond she had never seen before. It was crystal clear, and a mother duck with her five chicklings waded into it. Something significant had happened. She knew it, and furrowed her brows, trying to think. Then she remembered. She had jumped into the Shadows.

A smile lit her face. “I’m not dead!” She exclaimed joyfully as she stood up.

A voice interrupted her. “Of course you're not dead. Now would you stop the racket you're making? Look, you’ve disturbed the ducks.” The speaker was a short, stocky little man, with a long bushy beard and eyebrows. 

“Why, you’re a dwarf!” Fianna peered at the little man, as she crouched down. “What’s your name honey?” This time she spoke in a baby voice. 

“I suppose humans think they're much older than dwarves simply because they're taller. And yes, if you had to know, I am a dwarf. I suppose you thought I was a unicorn? And again, if you had to know I am,” now he stopped counting on his fingers, “474. And I’m considered a young dwarf. Now, honey, how old are you?” 

“Uh, 11.” Fianna stood up, feeling a little foolish. 

“That’s what I thought. My name is Balor and you are in Orindoth. King Thodin, our ruler, needs your help.”

“Wait, what? Why does your King Thod need my help? Where am I?” The last part was uttered with a desperate cry. 

Balor huffed impatiently. “His name is King Thodin. Come with me.”

“But-” Fianna got no farther, for Balor grabbed her wrist and pulled her along. 

“Come on, girl! We haven’t got all day.”

One tear fell down Fianna’s face, but she quickly wiped it away and walked along with Balor. “How far do we have to go?” 

The answer was a curt, “We’ll get there when we get there.” 


“You’ll see.” 

They walked for several hours across a large empty plain. The pond Fianna had found herself by seemed to be the only water source for miles and miles around. And as for the couple trees that had been around Fianna; they also seemed to be the only green substance for hours as well. By the time Balor finally jerked Fianna to a halt, she was tired, dry, and covered with dust from head to toe. And besides that, dusk was falling; the sky was a brilliant red with streaks of orange and yellow.

“I’m hungry.” She whimpered softly. 

Balor gave her a brusque look but said nothing. He then strode over to a large, bumpy rock that was nearby and turned one of the large bumps. The rock creaked open like a door, and Balor turned back to Fianna. “Get in, quickly.” His voice was urgent and his eyes kept scanning the empty plains rapidly. Fianna hesitated a moment, then walked over to the hidden hole in the ground. A rather unstable looking rope ladder hung there, and she hesitantly slid in and grabbed the first rung. Balor was right behind her and he climbed in and closed the rock with the handle which hung from the bottom of it.  

Fianna looked down, and immediately wished she hadn’t. Everything around her was dark, and the only light that she saw was down, far, far down.  Farther than she wished to think. And besides, the light seemed to have strange colors. So instead, she focused on the ladder, moving one foot below the other. The flimsy rope ladder swung and swayed with every step.

“Are you sure this is safe?” She settled her pounding heart with closing her eyes. 


Fianna’s eyes flew open. “What?” She screeched, involuntarily looking down again, then feeling the sickening feeling in her stomach. 

“Keep climbing.” The gruff voice came again. 

Fianna took a deep breath then continued. Balor seemed impatient at her slow climbing, but seeing how he couldn’t get in front of her without pushing her off and killing her, he said nothing. 

By the time they reached the bottom of hole where the light was, and Fianna planted her feet on solid ground, at least a half an hour had passed, of, at least to Balor, a waste of time.

“Come on, girl.” 

Fianna turned around from the ladder, and, in surprise, saw an underground palace. “It’s beautiful.” She whispered, mesmerized at the beauty. The dirt walls had see-through sapphire cut out in slate patterns, all different colors. Dark blues, pinks, yellows, purples, and greens, made the otherwise dark cavern sparkle. The floor was coated with red topaz and lanterns hung from metal hooks on the walls.

“It should be. I designed it.” Balor was saying. 

You designed it?” Fianna turned to him in surprise. 

“What? Is it absolutely inconceivable that dwarves who have lived underground for the past 900 years or so, should learn how to make the underground look nice?” 

“No, no of course not. It’s just….wow. How’d you get all the gems?” 

Balor’s face turned a little wistful. “100 years ago when we weren’t fighting against the Shadows….these gems were considered common. But over time, the Shadows, who used to be just another species, mind you, turned cruel and ruthless. Power ruined them. It can ruin the best of people. Remember that.” Balor then looked away from her and led her straight ahead into another doorway. “This is an underground castle. The sapphire and topaz may look pretty but it serves another purpose. It is strong. Diamond is the strongest gem, yes, but you can’t meld diamond into different shapes easily. So we use the next two strongest: Sapphire and topaz. Come, the Throne Room is this way.” 

“The Throne Room? Why am I going into the Throne Room?” 

Balor huffed impatiently. “In case you have forgotten, our king needs your help. You are Chosen.” 

“What? Chosen for what?” 

“No, you are the Chosen. It is a title.” 

“I’m afraid I don’t understand.” Fianna said, completely bewildered. Chosen? She was just a common village girl. 

Balor shrugged indifferently. “Follow me.”

He turned left, and Fianna followed behind, confused and uncertain. As he opened a large wooden door studded with diamonds, Fianna caught a glimpse of the dazzling room inside. The throne itself, surprisingly, was made out of a cold iron with a single ruby on the top of it. But the rest of the room was a vision. Tapestries and silks hung from the ceilings and walls, while the ground was covered with a thick carpet. 

“Take your shoes off.” Balor muttered softly at her. 

Fianna looked up in surprise and seeing how Balor took his hardy, stocky leather boots off and put them beside the door, she similarly took  her flimsy sandals off and put them next to his. 

“Kneel.” Glad for an excuse to sit, or kneel as the situation called for, Fianna sank down into the soft carpet.

Footsteps came from behind them, and the great King Thodin entered. As he sat himself on the iron throne, he called out to Fianna and Balor, “Arise.” Thodin’s voice was deeper than Balor’s, and, as Fianna stood up, she saw that the king was also quite a bit shorter than Balor as well. Dark hair flopped from Thodin’s forehead, as if he hadn’t had time to brush it yet. A heavy looking iron crown sat on top of the mop of hair. His bushy dark beard almost covered completely his mouth and dark gray eyes completed the look. 

“Finished looking?” Thodin asked Fianna. 

“Oh! Ah, yes your Kingness.” 

“Your Highness.” Balor grumbled to Fianna. 

“Yes, Lord Balor?” King Thodin saved Fianna much embarrassment. 

“What? Oh, nothing, your Highness.”

“Okay then.” Thodin smiled pleasantly. “Balor, thank you for bringing Fianna all the way over here. I am in your debt. You are now dismissed.” Balor bowed his head slightly and left the room. 

“So, Fianna. I assume Balor didn’t explain at all why you are here. Correct?” 

“Yes, your Highness.” 

Thodin dismissed her with a wave of his hand. “Thodin will do, Fianna. I will explain it for him. When you were just a baby, in your human village, I visited you. I immediately knew there was something special about you, and a voice inside of my heart whispered to me, ‘She will save your nation when you are in your greatest trouble.’ Well, here I am in my greatest trouble. The Shadows are plotting to destroy us. The only thing they have to do is find our hideout. Which is why Balor took you the long way here. And every day, they become stronger. I know you don’t know what to do, so for now, I will assign you a quest. I believe somewhere on your way, you will find your purpose.”

“I’m sorry, your Highness, but I’m not ready to go on a quest.” 

“Nobody ever is. That is why I will have a companion go with you, who I will introduce to you later. About the Shadows though. They were not always bad. Power corrupted them. And, they live as long as we do, so, as you can imagine, they are quite old, but have just as many abilities as when they were young. I am surprised they did not kill you, since they too know you are Chosen.” 

“Oh yes! Now I remember! I was in the forest gathering berries when I neared close to their territory. I heard a cry, then they started speaking. And when I cried out for mercy from them, they said, ‘Choosssssssssen…. Ssssssssssscared.’ I didn’t understand then, but I knew they were coming to get me, so I instead came to them. And then everything went black and when I woke up I was at this little pond that had a duck with some chicklings in it, and a couple trees around it.” 

Thodin was thoughtful. “Yes, we saw them bring you there. We have a device we call the Seeing Eye. It can see from miles and miles away. We recognized you, and I sent Balor to get you. Why they did not kill you, or worse, hypnotize you, I do not know. They know something we do not know. Well, here comes your companion who will travel with you and teach you the art of the bow, sword, and healing. Here she is.” 

 In entered a tall, female elf, with red hair. A bow was slung over her back, a sword was at her waist. Her eyes were a dark blue and her ears were pointed. She bowed slightly to both Thodin and Fianna. “Hello.” Her voice was clear and bell-like. “My name is Aubree. I am honored to be your companion and guide.” 

“I don’t know if I’m ready to fight.” Fianna started hesitantly. 

“You will not fight. I will mainly teach you the art of healing, but for self-defense I will teach you the bow and sword. On our first quest we are simply trying to spy on them. You will have to learn how to speak with an elf or dwarf accent. They now recognize your own accent. I will also teach you the art of disguising yourself and of hiding in plain sight. You have much training to do.”  

“Thank you, Aubree. You may be dismissed.” Thodin waited until Aubree was out of the room, then turned back to Fianna. “Do you know why I have an uncomfortable iron throne and crown?” Fianna shook her head and he continued. “It is so that I will never get too comfortable with ruling. When you are uncomfortable doing something, you will think things over more carefully, you will make wiser decisions. But what often happens, and it happened with the Shadows, that once they were comfortable with ruling, they made choices that were easy to make. Choices that benefited them. And so now they are a hated nation.”

“I see.” Fianna said, although she didn’t know how this related to her. 

“You are not comfortable with spying on the Shadows, are you?” Fianna again shook her head. “Then you will more likely follow Aubree’s advice more carefully, and, when the time comes, make wiser decisions. Don’t ever get too comfortable doing something, or else you are at a disadvantage.” Thodin smiled to encourage Fianna, then waved her out. “Go get some supper. Aubree will show you where to eat.” 

Fianna left the room, most of her questions answered, totally not prepared to go on the journey, but thoroughly encouraged by the friendly King Thodin. She was hungry and tired, and for now, she was going to get some food. 

May 07, 2021 16:49

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