The Burning of Peringath
Writing prompt: The story must start and end with something in flames.
Keatoph traverses Felhind woods for a few days, searching always for the kalinbind orcs. He experiences little in the way of success. That is, until today, when finally he finds some remnants of their campground. No one is present. In fact, by the looks of the way things were left, no one is coming back either.
“Stupid creatures,” Keatoph thinks to himself. He explores the site, gathering information. There are miscellaneous bones scattered throughout the scene. Beside the fire there is a long stocking hat. It looks familiar to Keatoph. Perhaps it belonged to one of the dwarves he camped with a few nights ago. He shutters at the thought.
The entire perimeter wreaks of death. Even the trees look like their life has been sucked out of them. He has seen this kind of rotting of the forest once before. Keatoph peers up into the sky. There is a stream of black smoke coming from the east.
“That’s not good.” He frowns. Sorrow is in his eyes, as if he has been reminded of a painful memory.
“It seems we agree,” a voice answers from behind him. An elf woman dressed in the blues of the river gazes at him. Her eyes match her apparel.
“And who, may I ask, are you?” Keatoph wonders.
“Let us trade that information,” she answers.
“Very well. My name is Keatoph.” He stretches out his hand to greet her. She shakes it with both firmness and elegance.
“I am Ophni.”
“It is nice to meet you, Ophni,” Keatoph tells her, turning his attention back to the woods. “But I need to get going. There was an orc pack here not long ago. They’ve been burning down villages and ransacking cities. I’ve been given rights by King Hesfall to end their rampage, and so I will.”
“I know,” she explains, “and I’ve come to help you. By the order of King Oknelia.”
“Interesting. Normally, I would decline,” he informs. “That being said, you did manage to sneak up on me, and there are quite a few of them. Not to mention, I recognize the seal on your bracer. You are of the saraphinee?” Ophni nods. “So you can operate from the shadows?”
“It is my specialty,” she smiles at him, raising her arms. She twists them in the air, waving her fingers together. A miniature nebula appears in a flash and drops a staff in her hands. Keatoph is impressed. She does not seem to notice.
“Let us see where that smoke originates from,” she declares. Keatoph agrees.
The young warrior begins running at a fast but controlled pace. He is interrupted as Ophni taps the bottom of her stave on the ground. A ripple shoots out from it into the forest. Keatoph stares at her quizzically.
“What are you doing?” He inquires.
“Getting us there faster,” she answers.
Two mighty elk, with antlers like treetops, step from out of the brush. They step nobly over to the two warriors.
Ophni wastes no time getting on hers. Keatoph observes her mounting process and replicates it with a bit less grace. She says something elvish to the creatures. They answer by turning their heads toward the place of smoke and running towards it.
Soon they pass through the treeline into the plains of Iskol. From there, they can see it. The Citadel of Peringath is burning.
Read chapter one here.