Thursday, August 2, 2012

Nora Falreach

Dust escaped the ground as stampeding horses raced inches away from her head.  If she huddled any closer to the side of her house she would have been considered a wall. Screams emanated from all around her and some she recognized as friends.  Her tears soaked her knees but her own cries could not be heard.   She couldn’t find her parents when this all started.  They had gone to market as they always did this time of day.  The hoof beats began to lessen.  Slowly lifted her head up hoping the shadows would keep her hidden from the hideous raiders.

Her heart stopped dead; she could feel the gaze pierce her soul as she made eye contact with the beast in front of her.  The ugly thing’s gaze held her there frozen.  A twig cracking brought through the silence. Thrown out of her frozen state she ran out of her hiding place as a loud grunt blasted out from right behind her.  Nora stumbling forward as the callused hand of her attacker slid off her ankle. 
She ran out of town as fast as her tired legs would carry her.  She knew the route to the river.  She had taken it so many times with her father; it didn’t matter that her tears were obscuring her vision she could make it.  Dodging rocks, ducking through low branches there were not more noises from her assailant.  Heavy breathing was filling her ears.  She could feel her heart starting to beat again as the river came into view.  A memory pushed through her fright of her father teaching her how to swim in the river. 

Don’t look back she could hear herself beg.  She couldn’t stop; so close to the water. A sudden jolt of her body and she could no longer feel the ground beneath her feet.  Immediate panic filled her body, her body starts to flail out fear trying to hurt whatever has her. 

“Stop it!” A gruff voice demands.

She stopped allowing her body to go limp as if she was dead.  Her tears had stopped; her body just didn’t have any more to give.  She looked up to see it was the same ugly raider with who had found her in hiding.  Suddenly another raider stepped up next to her captor.  She glanced back and could see the edge of the river only a few feet away.  As she glanced back at the raiders talking she saw his quiver full of arrows.  Immediately she pulled one out and as hard as she could she thrust it into the eye of her holder.  The most horrific scream bellowed forth as she was thrown to the ground. Not wasting any time she jetted right for the river’s edge and dove in.  She swam with the current as her father taught her.  She let it take her deep into the middle hoping they would not come in after her.  She didn’t look back; she knew she could never look back if she was lucky enough to get away.  She prayed to Jaspree as her mother and father often did as they plowed the fields.  She didn’t have anyone else to pray to for help.  She begged Jaspree for help.  The strain from all her running had now drained her body as she was slower and slower to push down river.  She couldn’t stop; they must be coming for her.  She wouldn’t look back; only push forward….

Her lungs burned as liquid was pushed out of her mouth.  Slowly opening her eyes she saw strange lizard like faces looking at her.  She had seen people like this only once during the last harvest festival.  Her father had talked to a few and wouldn’t let her out to see them; but she had disobeyed him and snuck out the back to watch.  She suddenly remembered running from the village and not knowing where her parents where.  Her tears rapidly returned.  Her chest burned and her heart felt as if it was the heaviest thing in the world holding her down.  She could hear a female voice over all the jabbering of heads above her telling her that it will be okay and to come with her.  She turned her head to see another lizard face wearing a hat and clothes like what her mother would wear during the festival.  She gently picked Nora up and led her off the middle of the deck near the railing on the edge of the boat.  She put out her hand motioning for Nora to have a seat in her chair.  It was the most beautiful chair Nora had ever seen with lush pillows that look softer then the clouds themselves.  She didn’t want to get them dirty.  The lady gently picked her up and placed her in the chair.    

“If you stop crying I’ll let you have any one of those pillows you like.”

Nora could tell she was smiling at her though the beak didn’t really move; but she could tell.

“Thank you.” Nora whispered.
“Now my dear can you tell me why you were out in the middle of a very dangerous river?” She kneeled next to the chair placing her hand on Nora’s.

“Sound the alarm, raiders!” A voice bellowed from behind them.

Nora froze as the lady quickly picked her up and held her tight as if to shield her from what was coming. 

“Lady Skarla, get off the bridge now!”

As she turned to make her escape Nora felt herself being thrust to the floor.  She scurried back up onto her feet and saw more ugly monsters like the ones at her village.  This time the creature wasn’t paying attention to her but was holding a giant mace up over the prone lady.  Rage filled Nora; she had to protect the nice lady.  She looked around to find something to throw at him, something to distract him away from her.  Nora spotted a bow next to a fallen shipmate with the arrow still notched.  Without a second thought she picked it up; aimed right for monsters head and released it with all the anger inside her.  The air flew true and embedded deeply into its temple dropping the monster to the ground.  Nora ran over and helped her get up.
“I won’t let anything bad happen to you lady.”

Twenty Years Later
She knew her way to Bartertown; she and Lady Skarla had traveled it yearly for her required attendance at a very special conference.  This time Nora was walking alone, along the road, neither without Lady Skarla nor with the rest of the caravan.  A group had attacked their caravan that morning and had knocked her out and kidnapped Lady Skarla.  Nora couldn’t figure out why they didn’t kill her; but she was thankful they didn’t.  She would thank them for that when she found them.  All of her things were taken from her; luckily she had her hidden quiver which the attackers who took her belongings didn’t notice.  She knew she could make it to Bartertown and had enough for a meal to replenish her strength before setting out to find some aid in her rescue mission. She was always hearing tails of the adventurers that would hang out at the bars around town.  Therefore she knew where to aim.

She headed from bar to bar; it seemed that all the adventurers were incredibly lazy today.  Nora continued her walk down a bar filled street eyeing each group of gentleman she passed.  She was not having the best of luck with each passing group.  Bums seemed to line the streets and alleyways.  They would receive no looks or glances from her, they are obviously too weak to even fend for themselves let alone help on such a quest.  Finally, as she rounded the bend there was a group of six guys standing in the street in front of a well-established bar.  They were a bit loud but she could see that their gear and weapons were that of seasoned adventurers.  Those gentlemen are who I need; now to hire them so we can be on our way.
“Good evening fine travelers.  My name is Nora and I am in search of a group of adventurers that would aid me in rescuing my mistress from her capture.  Once she is back to safety a reward will be offered along with great praise from the House of V’Strimon. I wish to leave in the morning to start our journey.”

The men stood almost dumbfounded by her arrogance.  As Nora stood there proudly awaiting for confirmation so they could be on their way, they all let out a boisterous laugh.  The men started to slowly circle around her. 
“Look boys we have a little lady here that needs our help. “

“She’s all alone in this big city and needs us, fine gentleman to help her.” More chuckles emerged as they moved closer in with each round they made.

God how she hated men like these.  She preferred the adventurer who just ignored her over rotten scumbags that try to prey on young girls. Well today they get taught a lesson that’s for sure and then on with her search.  She can’t allow these drunkards to waste her valuable time. Suddenly she felt a hand gripping onto her arm. Just the moment she was waiting for.
“Unhand her you filthy brigands.”

A voice out of nowhere pierced the circle as she stepped back to release the man’s grip.  The man stood dumb founded as the other men in his group ignored what had happened to him.  They were all laughing at the man who was attempting to rescue her.

“Look a valiant sob with a stolen sword!” The biggest of the gang mocked.

Nora could see this drunkard making his way to where they were on the street.  She rolled her eyes; this man is only going to get hurt.  She better deal with this group before they go after him too.  She grabbed the arm of the man who had initially grabbed her and flipped him over onto the ground. As she turned back to throw another of the gang she saw this drunkard trip over his own feet, she sighed, though surprisingly he tucked in and rolled through one of the attacker’s legs.  They were all stunned, including Nora.  As he stood up he knocked over one guy and then fell into another pushing him onto the ground.  Nora snapped out of her stare.  She looked around and the man she had initially disposed of had dropped his bow on the ground.  She leaned over and picked up the bow, notched it and pointed it straight at the last guy standing.  Pulling all the way back to almost releasing the arrow suddenly the drunkard’s head entered right in the middle of her shot.
“MOVE!” Nora sternly instructed the man.

She continued to stare right through him waiting for her shot to clear. The man just stood there as the assailants picked themselves up and quickly scampered away.
Nora sighed and un-notched the bow.

Before she could finish her comment the man passed out in front of her.

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