Their small frame belied their blistering strength and at once, he knew he was in for the fight of his life. His sword hit his opponent’s sword, the sound echoed in resolve for the hundredth time. The opponent was hidden in the darkness of the night in a cloak that flowed like the wind disguising the lithe form. Again and again, he could gain no advantage, his arms moved and his feet advanced then retreated. This was not how this was suppose to end.
He needed entry into Goddrick’s Haven, the Haven that sheltered thieves, murders and myths. His worth as a swordsman was on stage and if he failed, he’d be dead, but Emerick Farre of Lanshire did not travel the last year to be taken down at the gates by a wee boy. He’d fight to the death or win in honor for entry. The second wee boy stared in amusement by the gate lest tempting access. That is how it was done here. He’d find the dragon and bandits who massacred his village and take vengeance for all those whom where stolen from him inside of those gates, and his will would be done.
In mid swing of a defensive block his arm froze as did his opponent’s.
“Consisto somi pia voluntas?”
What magic was this? Emerick grunted, he could give no reply in his frozen state.
He could feel the slow release of his frozen form and kept his defensive stance while lowering his sword as did his worthy opponent. “I do not understand, ye query.”
The one at the bridge door entry laughed like a sing song bird, while his opponent’s voice cleared “I asked for, halt and your declaration of good will. Do you yield?”
“Aye, do you?”
The hood of the cloak of his opponent moved back to reveal not a wee boy, but woman! Not a plain woman, one with beauty and grace but one who illuminated with gentle features, full lips and determined eyes. Emerick stumbled on his feet.
“Admiratio.” The one at the gate continued laughing.
“Consisto!” The woman in front of him yelled back to the gate and they silenced. “I am skilled warrior. Do not worry of your pride or manners here, as I am not the weaker sex.”
He shook his head to clear it, he still could not find the words to speak. Shocked she went toe to toe with him at the sword, her strength and skill hidden under her womanly form. His thoughts interrupted by her again.
“What is your need of passage here?”
His speech was not as sure as it had been a day ago and left him unconvincing in passion, maybe he was tired from battle and this year long search. “I seek to find those who would parish a village and kill innocent by those of a dragon named Fafnir Ormr. My challenge to him and his companions is death, either his or mine.”
She smiled and shook her head in disappointment “I’m sure at Ormr’s peril of course, however he is not here.” She waved her hand to the wall built around Haven that protected and disguised it to the naked eye. “He is not a true dragon and not welcome here in Goddrick’s Haven. Your battle and trip are in vain, I’m afraid.”
His yell of frustration did not startle her, he walked in a circle brushing his hair with his hands. Rendering as much calmness as he could, “Do you know where I can find him?”
“Nye. I can not help you in your quest of vengeance, my code does not allow it.” Her pointed ears where beginning to show through her full raven hair, revealing her unique beauty further. His curiosity of her was calming him.
“Is there a place of rest this eve, until I may find my way?”
She did not answer right away but looked to her companion and nodded as if they spoke to each other without words. “My name Islia, you may rest this eve in my home. You sword will not enter but we will return it to you at your departure.”
“Thank you Islia.” He walked with her and handed his sword to the companion at the gate. “My name is Emerick.”
“Tis nice to meet you, outside of battle.” Her smile was bright and warm, but her eyes stayed determined and watchful. She led him through streets of a village that was not loud, but not quiet for the evening hour either. Each building of stone held light within and movement of occupants. It was a typical village with simple homes and shops.
The village faded as the road widen ahead toward a modest sized Castle. “Islia, are we going ahead?”
Nodding “Aye. To the Castle, it is my family home. My father Goddrick built his Haven for our revered people a long time ago.”
Emerick was stunned at her words, he didn’t think she held bad intentions for him, only kindness for his requested rest, although his doubt was getting the better of his tongue. “This is not what is being told outside the gates. The Haven harbors thieves, murders and myth.”
Unshaken by his disrespectful words, “There maybe a few who give bad intentions, but as so in any village. We are Fae and dragon protectors for those that remain, whereby the myth is the only truth outside the gates.” Stopping and looking directly at him, “I can sense you have honor and we too are very honorable. That dwarf Ormr who harbors Fafnir are ruined by black magic, he is not accepted here for his obsession with gold and jewels.”
Emerick was hearing her words but they did not connect, “Dwarf and harbor of a dragon? You speak as if they are connected by bond.” Her eyebrow raised to him as they entered the Castle archway. “Truly? As one?”
“Aye. As one, he was not born in this connection as with Fae. He stole the golden egg and placed an evil spell upon it, to break its birth destiny with another. Sadly it was successful.” Islia walked through the empty castle with a candle in hand and led Emerick to a room. For a Castle it lacked decoration of wealth, but he minded none only thankful not to rest on the ground for another night.
“There is a wash basin to the rear of the room.” She lit several candles for which to see the surroundings better. “Enjoy your rest, a meal will be ready not long after daylight.”
She moved toward the door to leave. Emerick quickly asked “Islia, what do you call the connection to a dragon? Is it common in your people?”
Smiling sadly, “Nye. It’s all extinct but for a few of our kind. We are DragonSwain.”
She was one.
“Thank you Islia for your kindness and honor.” She retreated silently.
Emerick was left alone, tired and wary of his new knowledge. He quickly found his peace in his dreams of the lovely raven haired Islia who bid him passage and found him worthy.
* * * *
I hope you enjoyed my Short Story. It’s written for entry in Featured Fiction #21 Fantasy (Sword & Sorcery) contest. I used the sentence starter and 2 featured words: Stone, Castle.
All comments welcome, likes adored and sharing is caring. Check out the other entries and vote! FF#21
All creative rights reserved to this story by Cassie Newell