It’s time for another short story and this month is a fun fantasy piece I wrote a while back. I’m determined to one day write a longer novel length Medieval/fantasy piece but until then, I’ll keep writing these.
Read on for my latest story and feel free to leave a comment, like the story below, or share it with others. I do appreciate all the support!
The Gem and the Hide
Gerald approached the cave with his heart beating loudly in his chest. Lady Ygraine needed the gems from deep within the cave at the wizard Shonar’s request in order for her kingdom to be free of the dark Lord Mormet. As her champion, Gerald took his quest seriously. He was Lady Ygraine’s only hope. He’d not fail her now.
Lighting a torch, Gerald wiped his brow and stepped inside.
He wound his way through endless tunnels, following the map given to him by Lady Ygraine. He found the sparkling green and blue gems, encrusted in the surrounding walls. Reaching out to pry a strikingly bright green gem from the cave’s wall, the room started spinning. The floor disappeared from under him and he fell for a long time only to land safely on soft ground.
Gerald found himself surrounded by thousands of blinking lights, twinkling their song at him. He shielded his eyes from the visual onslaught.
“What pray tell are ye that flashes this infernal device! Yield. I yield!” he shouted to the lights. A strange series of clicking sounds enveloped him. With a flash, everything turned bright white then all stopped.
He felt solid ground underneath and stood. He couldn’t see a thing.
“I must leave this cursed cave before anything more vile and hideous befalls me,” he said out loud. He reached around with his hands in the blinding whiteness but found no walls nor gems which to hold. He looked around searching for anything to get him back outside.
He walked straight ahead, arms outstretched, searching for a wall or any surface with which to guide himself.
He stepped on a soft, squishy substance and stopped. Bending down, he nudged the viscous material. It was warm to the touch and gave just the slightest. Surprised, Gerald stood up and continued his cautious walk forward.
Ferocious hot air fueled by enormous flames whooshed past him, singeing his beard.
“By the gods, what hell am I in?” he said.
“You my pretty, you are in my home. My sanctuary. You are an intruder.”
“Who’s there?” Gerald called out to the voice. Thin tendrils of smoke whisped from his mustache and eyebrows. He patted them down, hoping to extinguish whatever small flame caused it.
“I do not answer to mortals of the fifth realm. You are in my home, you answer to me.”
The voice was harsh, raspy, and male.
“I am Gerald of the Moors, champion of Lady Ygraine, the keeper of the Valley. I kneel to no one!” he replied.
The voice cackled. “Then why did you yield so quickly…champion?” Gerald bent his head low.
“That’s what I thought. You are nothing. You are in my home Gerald. Why do you bother me in the seventh realm. You don’t belong here.”
“I’m on a quest to retrieve the jewels in this cave. My lady needs them to save her kingdom. Will you help me?”
Another loud, long laugh from the voice. “I told you Gerald, you don’t belong here. You are much to far from home now. You are my champion now. You do what I want.”
Gerald’s heart sank low. His beloved Ygraine, the only Lady he’d ever truly loved was lost to him. All he had was this formless voice to command him.
The voice spoke out again. “If you do my bidding, I might be kind enough to send you back to your dimension. Fail me, and your soul is mine. Forever!”
Gerald wrung his hands, thinking over the proposal.
“Spirit, my life is yours to command. I give to you all I am, only so I may return to my Lady Ygraine,” Gerald replied. A soft cackle answered him.
“You will bring me the hide of a boar. It needs be white in color and red of eye. Bring it back within a fortnight and your realm I will send you. Now go!”
Before Gerald could reply, the scene shifted again like a veil removed from his eyes. He stood in an old forest full of large trees unfamiliar to him. He spun around searching for the cave. Light twinkled from a knot in the nearest tree. He stepped towards it.
“I said go! Come back when you have the hide or your soul is mine,” a voice said to him from the twinkling knot. Gerald marked the tree with his sword and took off in search of his quarry.
After seven days of fruitless searching, Gerald lost hope. He saw no boar. And a white one would be even harder to find. Late that afternoon as he sat under a tall tree enjoying the comforts of the shade, he spotted it.
Across from him about fifty paces away was the beast. It was larger than any man and whiter than snow. It snorted and rooted in the dirt, covering its snout with brown and black.
Gerald’s eyes lit up. Hope burst through his veins. He crouched low and made his way towards the boar as silent as possible. When he was within ten paces, he drew his sword and lunged. The beast jerked its head up at the sound but it was too late. Gerald thrust his blade deep within its heart, killing it. He skinned it and hurried back to the knot in the tree.
A brilliant light shone from the knot and Gerald again found himself inside the white nothingness though this time holding the hide of the slain boar.
“I have your treasure, now grant my request as promised,” Gerald said to the nothingness. Silence. “Spirit, listen! I have your bounty, now grant me my boon!” To his right, Gerald heard the soft familiar cackle.
“So, you’ve slain the beast, eh? My what a diligent knight you are. Well, a promise is a promise.”
The hide disappeared and Gerald fell once again into a deep void until he landed on hard ground. He pushed himself off the ground and recognized the cave instantly. He reached out, grabbed a green and blue gem, and ran out as fast as he could.
Upon his return to the castle, Lady Ygraine marveled at his success.
“You’ve been gone so long! I feared Lord Mormet would gain the kingdom. You truly are my hero!” She kissed him, causing his face to turn a pinkish color.
“Well, you have done a wonderful thing here Gerald. Fortunately for you and the kingdom, Lord Mormet could not attain the sacred hide from the seventh realm,” Lady Ygraine said.
Gerald’s face lost all color. He spun around to face the wizard Shonar.
“What sorcery are you about Shonar? Tell me!” Gerald shouted. Shonar shrugged.
“Nothing. But luckily for you, Lord Mormet didn’t get that hide. If he had, these gems would have no power. This kingdom would be under his rule and we’d be helpless to stop him,” Shonar replied.
“But how do you know?” Gerald asked.
Shonar waved a hand in the air. “Wizards know much Gerald, it’s what we do.”
Shonar turned to walk away and Gerald swore he heard a familiar soft cackle as the wizard strode down the walkway, a faint glow surrounding his body.