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The Path to Gwethen Castle [TFTG]

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posted on May, 13 2012 @ 04:52 PM
His friend gave a barely perceptible growl, the hackles on it's back raising, as they walked down the path leading to the Gwethen Wood's Castle. The sun drifted slowly toward the horizon, the chill in the air magnified by the slight breeze blowing across foot path. The wolf spoke a thought into his head.

“Being followed.”

The companion looked back curiously, keeping pace, and spoke back.

“Who or what, my old friend?”

“A female. Alone.”

“Following us?” The druid chuckled slightly under his breath, knowing with the coming nightfall, there would be dozens of dangers in the thick woods between their location and the castle, nearly two days journey away.

“What do you want to do?” The dire wolf looked over, it's eyes glowing slightly, ready to act upon command.

“Ambush. It's the only way to discern friend or foe, and we both know a solitary traveler is no match for us.”

Baultimus murmured a few archaic words, and they both melted into the forest around them. They waited.

The person following them soon came into view, bow drawn, a young female ranger. She was obviously tracking them, but he wondered the purpose. He'd left on good account from the previous town, having averted a thunderstorm threatening to flood out their spring plantings. It was during his stay that the courier had delivered the letter from Gwethen Wood, urging his presence for an emergency Council meeting. Something was a stir, that he could feel, a flavor in the air that bode an ominous unbalance.

She didn't have time to see the vine whip forth from the ground, disarming her, and just as quickly she was entangled in a web of constricting vines. Helpless, she swore, and struggled against her bonds. Baultimus re-appeared, and walked onto the path from his spot a few feet away. The dire wolf stayed hidden, watching intently, waiting to attack.

When she saw the druid, her faced blushed, finally realizing he had trapped her. She quit struggling, and he recognized her as the girl from the previous town.

“Why are you following me?”

The girl stuttered a bit, her face fully red, then cast her face downwards to the ground. She mumbled.

With a flick of his wrist, the vines around her convulsed once, and she returned her gaze to his eyes, aghast at her predicament.


“I thought to help you, druid, sir.” She looked down shamefully once more.

“Well, it's that irony,” Baultimus said, a hint of humor in his tone, “it looks as if you need more help than I.” He took the time to look her over carefully. Indeed, she was not as young as he initially perceived, his guess was middle twenties, and he noticed she was very lithe and fit.

“Sir?” The girl spoke questioningly, “are you seeing it fit to keep me bound as such?” Her eyes softened him a bit.

“Well, Samantha, it seems you mean no harm.” With a gesture, then vines fell away from her and shrank back into the forest.

He watched as she retrieved her bow, and settle her garb again. Satisfied that she was ready to travel, he told her to go back to her town.

“But sir, I wish to accompany you on your trip.”

“I didn't ask for a companion.”

She looked at him deeply, posturing with her arms folded across her chest. “Then, good sir, what is to prevent me from following you all the way to the castle?”

“Nothing. Do as you will. Journey with us if you must. Your skills may become useful.”

“Us, kind sir? You stated you already have a companion?” Samantha looked around the woods, cautiously, as if expecting to spot his traveling companion.

“Storm and I. My trusty familiar. He's a dire wolf, and prone to tempers, so are you sure you wish to join us? It's quicker back to your town.”

Caution crept into her face, and she scrutinized the woods around her. Was that it there hiding? She could barely discern the wolf's presence.

“Storm, come!” The druid spoke firmly. As if materializing from the shadows, the wolf crept into view, it's head low, and a slight snarl caressed it's lips. Samantha took a step backwards once it emerged into view, taken back by the size of the formidable creature. She shivered involuntarily, chilled by it's presence.

“Storm, this is Samantha, Samantha, Storm. Sam, don't do anything to provoke him, or he may eat you.” At over eight hundred pounds, and a full nine feet long, she could see the sneer in it's eyes.

“Careful.” The thought arrived in her head, and she knew the wolf was telepathic, having herself been trained in several arcane arts. “I will,” she thought back, “and it's nice to meet you.” The wolf nodded in agreement, and meandered around the path, sniffing intensely.

“Staying, Samantha?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You may call me Bault, in private, and Baultimus or sir, in public. When traveling, I prefer to be on a first name basis. I think I shall call you Sam. Agreed?”

“Yes, uhm, Bault.” She did a mocking little curtsy, smiling.

“Good then, let's move along.”

They set out once more upon the path in front of them, trekking closer to the woods ahead, and the dangers that lie before them.

A few more hours of travel brought them to the edge of the Gwethen Woods. Tall cedars and pines rose before them, and between the setting sun and the canopy above, darkness soon settled in. Bault was more than aware of the dangers ahead, and he readied a few spells, his quarterstaff in hand. Sam notched an arrow, and Storm walked ahead, scouting the path.

Storm suddenly stopped walking, his hackles bristling. The other two caught up to him.

Storm stood watching the path. “Kobolds,” he thought with a low grumble, “seventeen of them. Waiting for us, for any travelers.”

“Continue,” Bault said, “and Sam, take out as many as you can when they rush the path. Storm, you defend, and take out the bravest ones. They'll scatter once they lose a few of their friends. Agreed?”

“Agreed.” Both Storm and Sam nodded in unison.

They continued walking, but soon the path started filling with ugly yipping creatures, slightly over four feet tall, brandishing swords and a few clubs.

Ten or so blocked the path, noisily complaining about the three travelers.

“Let us pass,” Bault yelled loudly in Draconic, “and it will bare well with you. We wish to pass, not fight.”

“Want your gold! Give to us! Then Pass!” The response came from one of the more elaborately adorned kobold.

“We can't do that.”

A squeal arose from the group blocking the path, and they surged forward. The leader went down with an arrow in the neck, followed quickly by four others. Storm braced to leap forward, but the rest of the group turned and ran in fear. Storm looked at Bault.

“Finish them.”

The dire wolf leaped forward, and overtook the fearful creatures in just a few leaps, jaws crunching bone, flesh tearing, with bodies being hurled lifeless through the air. Sam and Bault kept walking, listening to the occasional scream coming from the woods, and soon the wolf was walking beside them again, it's jowls coated with blood. You could have seen it smile with satisfaction if you had looked closely enough. Samantha kept her eyes on the path ahead.

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 05:08 PM
This is another fine story,that will be hard to top Druid.Just like Templar's story,I do wish to hear more,and would love to hear of Baultimus's origin,and how he became who he is now. I love the details provided. ALL the details ! (Yes,I am greedy for more)


posted on May, 13 2012 @ 05:14 PM
reply to post by sonnny1

Thanks for the kind words. I am planning on following the same theme, each entry being a "chapter" in the main character's life.

Fantasy writing is sooooo hard to condense. It's not easy for me to write unless I get to develop the character a bit more. Onward.

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 05:22 PM
reply to post by Druid42

Heck,I was going to write something,I started last night actually,but I really am enjoying what those on ATS are putting out. This is a great contest actually. The way you are doing it,my anticipation of the next chapter,is about writing it now??

That's in all seriousness. I am starved for some good ol' fashion fantasy ,right now !

Like a Wraith.............

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 05:38 PM
Absolutely spellbinding!
I felt like I watched the scene with my own eyes. I can imagine what Sam was thinking when she saw Storm return satisfied, jaws dripping with blood. lol. Well done OP.

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 06:39 PM
reply to post by Siberbat

Glad you are enjoying it. Thanks for the SnF.

it's like I said earlier, it's hard to condense so much information in such a small space. I'm trying to bring out the details I see in the story, and I'm working on another chapter. Stay tuned.

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 06:45 PM
reply to post by sonnny1

True, the Kobold encounter was just a display of the fighting ability of our little group. Now, you are wanting a challenge for them? Coming up. Next chapter is titled "Danger on the Path". Really nasty bad guys. You may get your wraith.....this is writing made to order, for me.

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 06:49 PM
reply to post by Druid42

Cant wait Druid !

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 10:04 PM
Like like like. Not much else to say. Flagged.

I have been enjoying this contest so far, it's fun to be writing fantasy fiction again.

Keep going by all means, I see a cross-over in the not-to-distant-future

Looking forward to more soon

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 10:12 PM

Fantasy writing is sooooo hard to condense. It's not easy for me to write unless I get to develop the character a bit more. Onward.

Same problem. It's difficult making it fit within the character limit. I tend to go nuts with detail in fantasy. The original cut was almost twice the length.

Guess it just makes for better writers at the end of the day...

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 01:05 AM
reply to post by 74Templar

Yes, those mods can be sneaky, challenging us like this.

Cross-over? Isn't that what collaborative writing is all about?

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 03:21 AM
reply to post by Druid42

Well, never let it be said there is a challenge that will not be accepted

The other is sadly out of reach for me atm. Hopefully not for too much longer
A collabrative effort with some of the ATS greats here would be both a challenge and an honour. However, if our characters just "happened" to cross paths at some point in their collective journeys, I would not be adverse to the idea

Going to retire to the dungeon now chip my next great idea into the stone walls.... Hopefully will be returning with greatness...

posted on May, 15 2012 @ 03:33 PM

Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by sonnny1

Thanks for the kind words. I am planning on following the same theme, each entry being a "chapter" in the main character's life.

Fantasy writing is sooooo hard to condense. It's not easy for me to write unless I get to develop the character a bit more. Onward.

S&F LOVE Direwolves!

You are so right about condensing. I always think my stories come out choppy, but I didn't feel that in your story at all.

posted on May, 24 2012 @ 10:08 AM
Ok... now I think I'm a little bit scared of the wolf in your avatar.

Great story Druid, I don't think I've read anything by you before.

posted on May, 24 2012 @ 09:55 PM
reply to post by ChaoticOrder

Thanks for the kind words.

Even though the contest is in the fantasy genre, my avatar precedes it. Thus, I find it easy to write a fantasy story about it. However, fantasy is not one of my strong points, so I find myself a bit challenged by writing as defined by this particular contest's rules.

My avatar is quite harmless. I had to dig VERY deep into many manga sites to find it. I also have a backup avatar, in case someone deems my current one to violate the T&Cs, which state posting an avatar which is displaying blood and gore is a violation thereof. Many mods and even the site owners have seen it, so I think I'm safe.

On the other hand, noone really gets your Discordia theme. All hail Eris.

Might as well, sometimes, have a Pastafarian related avatar.

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