This is the first chapter of my current work, Legacy. Please let me know what you think
IA maelstrom of images cascaded before him, yet somehow he managed to ride out the storm. Much of what he saw confused him; short bursts of color and light that swirled behind his eyelids, dizzying him and denying his mind’s attempts to register the few discernable images that mingled in-between. Sounds soon accompanied their visual brethren, the noises of armed men marching and the breath of the sea. Someone called to him but the words were lost amid the chaos that followed, hundreds of voices that shouted to be heard where a relative silence had existed only moments before. The assault continued, a barrage of sensory attacks that pierced him as arrows would their prey, raking the battlefield of his mind and clearing away all semblance of what had once been. His world was washed apart by a wave of darkness, his only memories like the seashells that remain upon the shore after the tide has receded.
Then even those were lost, a titan wave of nothingness that dwarfed the former engulfing him and bearing away his soul. A listless current carried him, the ebb and flow calming, but eventually even that subtle motion ceased, leaving him with nothing, unable to focus on what wasn’t there or comprehend his ability to do so. On occasion the lone voice would call to him, but at that point the sound became his entire world, seeming to him the only thing that had ever been.
Then came the pain.
He felt his skull crush into pieces that pierced his brain, and experienced an agony he wouldn’t have believed possible. It rent his whole body and constricted his frantic heart. His lungs screamed for air, but he couldn’t breathe life back into them. He wished for death. He wished to never breathe again. The pain burned through him, overwhelming and excruciating. It was then that he knew he’d found Hell. The torment he endured could make a proud general turn tail on battle and strip lesser men of their principles and all they held dear, yet somehow he wasn’t graced by death.
Somehow he survived.
The pain ended, air exploded into him, and hot blood began pumping from his furious heart once more. The veil of darkness that he thought had surely come to claim him shifted, the black becoming gray, becoming white, until he knew there was light on the other side of his closed eyelids. He heard himself breathe, felt the pounding in his chest, yet refused to believe he was alive. It wasn’t until he forced his eyes open that reality fell upon him like a mountain’s weight of stone.
The sunlight pouring in through the solitary window to his left nearly blinded him, despite being fairly diminished by the trees outside. His vision spun and it took a considerable effort for him to center it. When he did, he found himself just as confused as before. He was in a soft bed, but didn’t recognize the room, nor had he seen any like it in all his thirty years of travel. The entire chamber, some twenty paces wide and half that long, was within a living tree. The wooden walls weren’t carved, but seemed to have grown around the room. Not even the perfectly level floor, grown over with a soft carpet of moss, showed any sign of man’s tools. He understood why a moment later, when a beautiful woman walked in through the sole doorway that his bed was facing.
She was an Elf.
That fact alone convinced him he was still unconscious, dreaming within a dream. No human had ever seen an Elf. Only a handful of liars and madmen had claimed to in the last thousand years. They weren’t real. None of this was real. Yet as his shadowed brown eyes met hers—depthless emerald orbs that shined with innocent light from behind strands of golden hair—he knew it all to be true.
She appeared just as startled to see him as he was to see her. She’d stopped at the foot of his bed, seemingly content to stand there and stare, those brilliant green eyes as wide as his own surely were. She was a head short of his six feet, thin and delicate in a silken gown the color of blood that hugged each of her gentle curves. Her glowing blonde hair fell past her shoulders in waves, all but the two spiraling locks that framed her angled face. Even without the telltale pointed ears and the high arch of her brow, he would’ve known she was no mere mortal.
When the silence grew awkward he attempted to prop himself up. The first inch of movement sent boulders back into his skull and lightning down his spine. She was beside him in a heartbeat, a reassuring hand on his shoulder as she eased him back into the cushioned mattress. He was more than happy to comply. Her alarming smile took his breath away, childlike and playful, yet wise and knowing as well. He swallowed and managed to curl one side of his lips into a slanted grin.
“Selvá trin aosto,” she said, her voice like music. The words were Elven but somehow he understood. Welcome back to the world of light.
“Iz tay meric vo?” he asked, but knew not how. The language was hers, but the words he’d spoken were ‘who are you?’ He clamped his mouth shut and glanced down towards it as if expecting an explanation. This elicited another beaming smile from the mysterious Elf and a soft laugh that filled him with warmth.
“Do not be alarmed. We gave you our words, but I will speak in yours if it makes you more comfortable. I am Alyana,” she explained, using the tongue of men.
“How did you—where—why am I—” She stopped him by pressing two fingers over his lips.
“Believe me when I say that we have just as many questions for you as you do for us.” He didn’t, but remained silent as she slid her fingers away. “All of that will come soon enough. For now you need rest.”
With that she turned and walked gracefully to the entryway where she stopped, glancing back to flash him another transfixing smile through her veil of golden blonde hair. Then she was gone, lost to the shadows of the hall beyond, leaving him with her voice in his ears, her lingering scent, and an encounter he knew he’d remember forever.
His dreams were filled with memories of who he was and shadows of who he might have been. Eventually they combined to become an odd parody of a life he thought was his, but wasn’t sure. He saw Alyana, a living breathing Elf, and basked in the light of her image and the youth in her glistening eyes. He felt young again, yet knew from the look on her wise and serene face as she’d studied him that her years had started before his own. Then his dreams ended and he found a deep and motionless sleep that filled him with strength, bringing peace to a beleaguered soul who hadn’t known it in years.
When he awoke, another, sterner looking Elf sat on a stool beside his bed, her back to the window and her hands dabbing a cloth against his forehead. The sun outside burned red, though he couldn’t tell whether it was dawn or dusk. She didn’t seem to pay any notice to the awakening of her patient, so he simply relaxed and held still, studying her as she worked. Her auburn hair captured the glow of the sun. Her skin was fair, her face taut with concentration, drawn in sharp angles. She looked down into his eyes and smirked, then continued what she was doing and began to hum a low and melodic tune.
“Your sleep was short for someone who came so very close to death.” It wasn’t the healer who spoke, but Alyana, who’d silently appeared within the doorway.
She came to stand at his side, dismissing the nameless Elf who’d finished her work. He rose a hand up to brush against the fresh bandage on his head, noticing another wrapped around a wound on his arm as he did so. Both had already begun to bleed through, despite being expertly tended to.
“Is it too much to ask for your name,” came her whispered question. She leaned forward, her soft hair falling forward over her shoulder to brush against his other arm.
He sat up in bed—with much more success this time—and gazed at her as if for the first time, not the second. She smiled and pushed aside a few strands of his dark hair that had fallen over his face. Her fingers traced the line of his brow as she did so and he fought to control his breathing. She withdrew her hand and sat upon the now vacant stool. He relaxed visibly.
“Will,” he said.
If you wish to read on I have attatched a very old copy of the first 100pages or so. It's rough, since the copy I'm working on now is in microsoft works format and I can't post it, but the old one is much the same once you look past the errors. COMMENT, LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
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