When Magic Ruled The Worlds
For the first two days Vilmeid revealed just how sick and weary he was by his quiet demeanor and the amount of time he spent sleeping, despite being repeatedly jostled around in the arms of the Giantess as she navigated the difficult terrain. By the third day, however, this quickly changed. The Dwarf became more and more irritable with every step that Vidolf took, and began to complain about almost everything. After an especially long tirade, when she almost lost her grip on him, Vidolf had had enough and set him down on the next small outcropping of dry land that they came upon.
" If you do not appreciate what I am doing for you, then maybe it is time for you to make your own way through this evil place ! " she told him angrily.
Vilmeid was about to continue his complaining when he saw something odd up on the top of the mound near a misshapen tree. As he approached the object he quickly recognized that it was a skeleton of some kind.
" What is it ? What do you see ? " Svarthofdi yelled out to his friend, as he struggled out of the muddy water and up the slippery bank.
The Dwarf turned to the Elf and frowned.
" It is a skeleton,..., but like none I have ever seen. " he replied in a confused tone.
Vidolf, who was still on one knee from setting the Dwarf down, peered over his shoulder to see what he was talking about. When she saw the sun bleached skeleton she commented on what the Dwarf had missed while he had been sleeping.
" Over the past few days we have come across a number of these Aufhocker skeletons. Svarthofdi has surmised that when we killed the wolf it somehow destroyed all the creatures that it had turned into the living dead as well. " she explained.
" Does that mean that all of these creatures are dead ? " he asked with a hopeful hint in his voice, as he once again gazed upon the remains of the Aufhocker.
Svarthofdi, who had finally joined his companions, answered the question for the Giantess.
" I fear not ! For someone, or something, must have turned the Aufhocker we killed into the living dead. " he explained.
Vilmeid looked away from the bones of the creature and nodded to Vidolf.
" I thank you for carrying me, but I think we will travel much faster if I walk on my own ! " he told the Giantess nervously.
The next morning, after another sleepless night for the trio, they doused their fire, and broke camp to begin another long day of travel. Silence ruled their weary march as each kept their ears open for any sound which might be a portent of danger, and their eyes darting from side to side to check their surroundings just in case the next predator was lying quietly in wait for its prey.
When the Midgardian star reached its greatest height Vilmeid suddenly stopped and pointed a finger on his remaining hand at the eastern horizon.
" It looks as if we may be dealing with a storm shortly. " he told the others before he wiped the sweat from his brow.
Vidolf, who wanted to keep going, did not stop to see what the Dwarf was referring to, but she did comment on what she considered to be a trivial matter.
" With all we have been through a storm is the least of our worries ! " she told him.
Svarthofdi, who also stopped to take a look, had a different take on the image the Dwarf was seeing in the distance.
" Oh my ! Vidolf ! I do not believe that those dark objects are storm clouds. I think they are mountains ! " he shouted to the Giantess happily.
The moment Vidolf heard the word, " mountains ", she stopped, placed her hands over her eyes to block the sun's glare, and stared stoically at the eastern horizon. After a long moment she turned to her comrades, and with tears welling up in her eyes nodded.
" My friends we have almost reached our final destination. " she told them before turning and moving forward at a much increased pace.
Svarthofdi and Vilmeid had to nearly run to keep up with the Giantess, for the distant mountains seemed to be attracting her like metal to a magnet. The increased pace soon became well worth the extra effort when the trio began to notice that the marshlands were fading into dry meadows filled with tall grass and flowers which were blooming into every color of the rainbow. With the mountains now clearly within sight, and the horrors of the marshlands behind them, the change of scenery made each of the travelers feel almost giddy about the prospects of completing their mission successfully.
Then suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, the Giantess stopped and picked two beautiful flowers off of their stalks, from among the thousands that dotted the field they were traversing. When the Dwarf and the Elf finally caught up to the Giantess, Vidolf did something very much out of character for her. With a huge smile on her face she placed a flower in the hair, and just behind the ear, of both of her friends.
" What in the nine worlds is that for ? " The Dwarf asked in a tone that hinted of his annoyance.
Vidolf's demeanor changed instantly. Her eyes quickly narrowed, and she pursed her lips angrily as she replied to the Dwarf's reaction to her kind gesture.
" Well,...., maybe it will make you smell a bit better than you do usually ! " she shot back at Vilmeid.
Svarthofdi could not help himself and giggled.
" I, for one, thank you Vidolf ! " the Elf replied with a slight bow.
Vidolf was about to tell Svarthofdi that he was, " most welcome ", when she saw a look in his eyes that terrified her.
" What is it ?! " she yelled frantically.
Before the Elf could reply, and tell her that a giant shadow was moving across the landscape, he was grabbed by two large claws, which whisked him up off of the ground. By the time that Vilmeid and Vidolf, reacted it was far too late. The dragon, with just a few flaps of its massive wings, was then well out of reach.
As they watched the dragon fly away with their friend, Vilmeid shook his head as he asked :
" Now what do we do ? "
The Giantess stared at the image of the dragon, which was getting smaller by the moment, and shrugged her shoulders.
" I don't know,....., I just don't know. " she replied helplessly.
- End Chapter 18
- Next : Chapter 19 : In The Lair Of The Dragons
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.