Heritage Ch. 08bydonalde©
Thank everyone who takes their time to read, vote and /or comment on my story. Special thank you to Phoenixbreez her editing skills really make my story worth reading. Thank you Mokkelke, Fatality, and Resapoo for all of your help and suggestions.
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** Author's note everything spoken is in Fey unless indicated**
Melinda screamed and then started to cry. "You have to let me go back to him! He will die!"
Mordrick said pointedly. "I am sorry milady but he is already dead. I will not allow you make his sacrifice meaningless!" His tone came across a bit harsher then he had intended.
Melinda eyes burned with anger and she lashed out. "Do you not have any feeling? I thought Ferhew was your friend? You left him there wounded! You are more heartless then those who attacked us!"
Mordrick felt as if someone just kicked him in the balls. In fact, no blow would ever have affected him as badly as her words just did. His tone was level but angered as he said. "Lady you have no idea of the sense of loss I feel. However unlike you I understand that he willingly sacrificed his life to give us a chance to survive. I will not dishonor that by going back and dying a needless death. He was my friend and I loved him as my brother. So yes I do feel his loss in a way you could never understand."
Melinda's fury rose to an all-time high as she spat back. "I am sorry! Sorry I did not realize I should have finished you when I had the chance to. You do not deserve to live! You are callous and a coward! You let your friend and my parents die to save your own worthless hide! I have sentenced Arteria to life of hell being with you. The best thing that could happen for us all is if you die!"
Arteria had heard enough. She ripped Melinda from Mordrick shoulder by grabbing the back of her hair. She slammed her in to the ground before quickly grabbing her by her throat, lifting her up and off her feet. Holding Melinda steady Arteria said with as much venom as she could muster.
"You ungrateful child! Our friend gave his life protecting you! We are here; most likely going to die before this day is over, also protecting you! We will die willingly in order to keep you safe! How dare you treat us in this way! Wishing him dead! What of me? Do you wish me dead also? I agree with him whole-heartedly! Your father knew your only chance; was having us take you and run. How can you care so little for your father, to make his most noble act a useless gesture?"
Arteria dropped Melinda and started to move away again. Mordrick quickly scooped Melinda up and followed Arteria. Melinda sobbed as Arteria's accusations struck her to her very core.
Mordrick wondered how close the enemies were they lost a lot of valuable time having to deal with Melinda's hysterics. He had made a snap decision; he just hoped it was the right one. They were in real trouble now. All they had were the clothes on their backs, two swords, a dagger, and half-filled water skin.
"Arty I think it is time for a drastic action. I think we need to chance a short range teleport." He said.
"If you think it is for the best let's do it." She replied.
Mordrick grabbed Arteria around the waist and chanted the words needed. A semi opaque swirling disc engulfed them, the world seemed to lose it cohesion and dissolve around them. A flash of light followed a moment of darkness. Then the world seemed to re-solidify around them. All three of them took a couple seconds to regain their senses. They were now in a canyon, it was stark with no water in sight and not a whole lot of vegetation about.
Mordrick let go of Arteria and set Melinda down steadying her on her feet for a second before releasing her.
Arteria studied the sky for a couple of moments before saying to Mordrick. "Where did you take us?"
Mordrick answered. "I was going for the mountain range in the park."
Arteria chuckled slightly bemused. "I think you missed, and by quite a bit love! Judging by the sun we are no longer on the same continent."
Mordrick chuckled back at her. "You noticed that also? Well there is an upside to that; it will make it harder for Atonis to track us."
Melinda's mind was numb after she felt Mordrick place her on to the ground. She felt bad for lashing out at him; however he had deserved something for abandoning her father to die. She absent-mindedly grabbed at her pendant. She stared into it expecting to see the images of her long dead birth parents. She was shocked when all four of her parents appeared to be standing there. Had her father known they were going to die and added their images to her pendant? Her tear started to flow, like a river down her face.
Roshin, her birth father stepped forward and started to talk in her mind. "My darling child, how I have missed not being with you as you grew into the fine young women you are. Please know that both your mother and I love you more than life itself, and our biggest regret was not being able to raise you ourselves."
Melinda replied quietly. "I love and miss you both but how is this happening am I imaging this?" She had a sad smile now, even with her tears.
Roshin said with a small smile. "My dear you are not imagining this. There is much you do not know about yourself. I wish I had the time to explain it all myself but my time is limited. I added the image of your other parents so they can help to support you in what is to come. It is your destiny to face Weslin and it is fated that only one of you will live. I am sorry to have to burden you with this knowledge. My child, you must use everything Greagor has given you if you are to survive this. You must also trust in Gaia and your companions. Above all, of know all four of us love you and will watch over you. I am sorry my child, I must go now."
The image of Roshin stepped back to its normal place. Now all four of her parents stood there together, staring out at her. She kissed the pendant four times and said her goodbyes to them for now. Her grief seemed strangely lighter now. She knew she had to harden herself for what was to come.
She stood up and walked up to Mordrick, her expression hard, no more signs of the care free woman that had been there only an hour ago. "You two are tasked with protecting me?" She asked emotionless.
Arteria wary of her said "You know damn well we are. Why?"
Melinda looked right through her and said. "Simple, from now on you're going to earn your pay. I am heading out to find Weslin and kill him, along with any fucking one who tries to get in my way!"
Before either of them could say a word Melinda started walking out of the canyon they were in. She said without looking back. "If you are coming with me, then come on. Even if you're right about it taking longer for them to find us, they still will. This place is not suitable to confront them. It would give them too much advantage here."
Arteria looked after her in disbelief and then turned towards Mordrick with a look of utter confusion. Mordrick returned her look and shrugged.
Mordrick asked. "Ok since you are taking command, what is your plan?"
Melinda said. "I don't care who is in command. I'm just informing you, of what I am doing. If you wish to help me fine; if not stay out of my way."
Mordrick and Arteria caught up to Melinda. Arteria took over the lead. Once they were out of the canyon, a thick dense jungle started to enclose them. Arteria expertly moved them through the jungle, trying to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the point where they teleported in. Melinda was constantly assaulted by flies and mosquitoes, but never once complained. Arteria was being bothered just as much but she was used to it. She kept a look out for a plant she knew had a natural repellent action to insects. Arteria was envious of Mordrick bugs never bothered him. He claimed that his scent repelled them.
Arteria found the plant she was looking for and digging the roots out she squeezed the thick liquid seeping out of the root and began rubbing it on her visible skin. Melinda watched Arteria and she asked. "Why are you smearing that gunk on yourself?"
Arteria laughed as she said. "Because I hate getting bitten by bugs. Would you like some too?"
"Please." Melinda said. "I would like apologize to you for my earlier behavior, also to you Mordrick. Not just for the way I behaved, but also for what I had said."
Arteria said, "Apology accepted, actually I do understand why you did it."
Mordrick smiled and said, "There is nothing to forgive you for; you were upset and I quite understand your reaction."
They resumed walking and Mordrick said to Arteria. "We need to find a source of water soon and also some food would be nice."
She stopped and pointing up to some bananas trees said, "I can get you food right now." She climbed the tree until she reached a ripe bunch of the fruit; Arteria used her sword to cut them down. Mordrick collected them up from where they lay as he waited for Arteria to climb down out of the tree. They sat down and ate feeling better for the rest and the food, Mordrick all of sudden felt a tugging in his mind and announced. "It would seem our guests have arrived.
Melinda looked confused and asked. "Guests? What guests are we expecting?"
Mordrick and Arteria chuckled before Mordrick explained. "I have the ability to sense when a dimensional tear happens from teleports and such. I usually know how close and the general direction along with the size of the tear. I would venture to say they came in right around the same area we did. I am hoping that the forces had to split up to go check all of possible exits that were created when my teleport screwed up."
Melinda asked. "What do you mean check all the possibilities?"
Motioning for them to follow Mordrick explained as they started to move off. "Since I had never been to my ending location I never established a, for lack of better word, connection to the location. I had to picture in my mind what the place looked like, and umm, how it felt to be there. Not exactly, the best choice of words but closest I can think to use. Well, since I did not get it right, we wound up at a random location, but every location on this world that closely matches where we wound up will have a portal open there. I hoped I have explained it close enough for you to understand the idea of it."
Melinda was still a little confused as she said. "I think I get it, but how many other portals are we talking about opening?"
Mordrick replied. "That depends on a lot of things, but the most I have heard of is sixteen. In case you were wondering, this is the reason I have everyone hold on to me when we teleport. In the event the other portals open, so I can ensure we all wind up at same spot."
Arteria said. "Don't feel bad, he has explained it to me a dozen times and I still get same look you have."
Mordrick asked Arteria. "Do you feel like doing a little reconnaissance for us honey? Could you please skip getting an arrow in you this time my dear?"
"I can go take a look see. I will do my very best not get spotted this time, my love!" she replied.
Melinda added. "We will go most of the way with you, just in case you need help. Just to be on the safe side."
Mordrick said. "No, this is what she does. Let her go by herself, safer for all of us. Honey, if you get hurt I will not be happy!" He swallowed nervously.
Arteria smiled as she said, slight sarcasm dripping from her tone. "Sheesh! And what do you think I will be? Ecstatic!?"
Arteria took off through the woods. She was quick, agile and almost silent. Her movements were as graceful as a gazelle. This was her element; she was stalking her prey with skill and grace of a leopard. It did not take her long to find them. She spotted them easily; their tracker was having trouble tracking them. She snickered to herself at how much trouble he was having following their path. They had not even attempted to hide it.
She circled around them to make sure she didn't miss anyone. It was Atonis, along with four others. She watched them for about twenty minutes as their tracker lost their path; he was leading them to where he would miss them entirely. Besides the tracker, she noted they had a priest, who from the symbol on his shield he followed the fallen one. She also spotted a wizard, from his dress he may have possible even been an arch-wizard. The last one with them carried himself as a knight or at the very least a high ranking officer in their army.
She began to withdraw from them in order to report to Mordrick. As she did, she thought how easy it would be for her to take out the entire group, if she only had her bow! She slipped away unnoticed and made her way back to her lover and commander. She entered the area where they were waiting, smiled to herself. She marched up to Mordrick came to attention before kissed him, catching him totally off guard. She said. "My commander..."
His voice was all business, no playful tones what so ever as Mordrick glared at her. "Cut the crap! Tell me what you saw now."
She realized he was now in commander mood, no doubt to make sure they all survived.
"Sorry Mord, their tracker is leading them away from this camp. It is Atonis and he has four others. The tracker seems to be a very inexperienced scout. There was a priest; whose shield bore the symbol of the fallen one. His wizard looked as though he could be an arch-wizard or damn close to it, if his dress was any indication. The last one is a knight like himself from the manner in which he carries himself."
Mordrick smiled at the information. "Are we ready for some major retribution? If we do this right we will not only kill the bastards but we also get their supplies." He thought for a moment. "Melinda, I know you are good with a bow so I need to know if your magic is geared only towards healing? What other abilities do you have? Are you any good with a sword?"
"I have a few abilities that work against evil. However I am not sure how well they will work here. I do not follow the gods of this realm, so sometimes they get finicky about what they will allow me to do. But I am good with a sword!" Melinda told him.
Mordrick handed over his sword outlining his plan. "Melinda the priest is yours, kill him as quickly as you can. Arty you take the tracker and the knight. I have special treat for our friend Atonis so he's mine and I will take the wizard. We will go when I launch my attack against the wizard. He must be the first to die, or he could call in reinforcements."
The women nodded their acceptance of the plan. Melinda said a silent prayer before she started to focus her mind. She knew a priest that wielded the dark divine power was a dangerous opponent. She felt honored for the faith Mordrick had shown in her. Stepping away from them she swung the sword for a few practice swings, testing the weight and the feel of it.
Mordrick walked to Arteria, hugging her tightly he whispered to her. "Love, I need your help, watch her; let her fight; but try to be close, just in case she gets into difficulties." He kissed her cheek before saying in a normal voice. "Arty would you go leave a trail. One that even their tracker could follow. Try to have them enter this area from that direction." He pointed towards his left side.
She nibbled on his ear as she whispered back, "I will keep an eye on her." Turning away she headed off towards the last spot she had seen the others. Her back still facing him she told Mordrick in a sultry voice. "This goes beyond what my normal duties are commander. I expect a special reward for this!" She turned to look at him and winked. Her eyes seemed to glow with her desire.
Mordrick stifled a moan. "Keep your mind on what you are doing! We can't afford any more mistakes! We will discuss your special reward after we defeat Atonis and the others."
Arteria kept moving deeper into the trees. She loved being in the wilds, it reminded her of home. She missed the forest she grew up in around Dragon's Claw Lake. She quickly spotted the other group. She chuckled to herself as she realized the young tracker had managed to get ever farther off track and Atonis was getting impatient. He berated the tracker, threatening to cut his eyes out. Arteria circled to get ahead of the group, leaving what looked like a meandering trail to where she wanted them to go. She stayed ahead of them long enough to make sure they were following it and did not lose it again. "If he loses this trail I will probably have to go and take him by the hand before leading him to us... sheesh!" She thought.
Arteria returned to the camp informing the others. "They're about fifteen minutes behind me."
"How were they organized?" Mordrick probed.
Arteria thought for a second before telling him, "The tracker is in the lead about three yards ahead of Atonis and the other knight. Atonis was on the left, his knight to his right. The priest and the wizard were following five to seven yards back. The wizard was to the left, the priest on his right. The tracker is not much of a threat, love. He only has a dagger and a bow on him. He is very young, most likely a conscripted into their service."
Mordrick sighed, shaking his head bemused. "You do not have to kill him, can you eliminate him as a threat without endangering yourself or us further?"
"Yes!" Arteria smiled and kissed him saying. "Thank you my love. I hate to kill a boy that is not old enough to shave regularly, especially if I do not have to."
Mordrick was stern as he told her. "Arty! I mean it, take no chances love. He is young, but he is still armed and can injure or kill one of us. If he resists too much you may have to kill him!"
He turned to Melinda advising her. "Stay hidden until I attack, then kill that priest quickly. If you get in to any trouble, please let us know. Do not let your pride get you killed!"
"I will make sure if he gets the upper hand to yell for help. Please do not worry too much about me. I am perfectly able to defend myself. My dad insisted that I was prepared to keep myself safe."
Mordrick said. "I trust that you are worthy or I would not have asked you to handle the priest, but remember we do not know his skill or abilities. All I ask is you not put your need for revenge over common sense."
Melinda gripped Mordrick shoulder as she smiled. "You take care of yourself. Do not lose your focus; the wizard is also an unknown factor. Atonis is supposed to be extremely dangerous. Do not endanger yourself needlessly with worry over me. I fully expect to preside at the marriage my two valiant protectors once this is over." She then kissed him on the cheek before preparing herself to attack.
Mordrick walked over to his position looking over at Arteria. She smiled sweetly to him and then seemed to fade into the forest becoming invisible to him. By the gods, that woman was amazing! She could come up on you, kiss you on the cheek and you wouldn't even know she was there. He wondered how Melinda had spotted her that first night. He polymorph into his true form, crouching low to the ground. He glanced around and was impressed that even with his enhanced vision Melinda was not an easy target to spot. He knew better than trying to spot Arteria. As he heard the enemies approaching their position he smiled with anticipation.
Mordrick watched as the tracker walked in to the small clearing they had selected for the ambush. He was following the tracks that had left for him to follow. Mordrick knew that if it had been Arteria tracking them he would have spotted them for what they were, well before they entered the clearing. He heard the tracker talking to Atonis. "Sire they are less thirty minutes ahead of us." Antonis and the other three were now in a closer group, however they had not switched places. Mordrick waited until they were in the center of the clearing before chanting his spell, at the same time he sprung into a charge a line of grayish energy struck Atonis.