Or just go to 600 Second Saga
I heard a rustling in the trees behind me. Without making a sound, I nocked an arrow, twisting my body around to let the arrow fly. The arrow soared through the air, embedding itself in the wrinkly trunk of the tall oakspire tree. Narrowing my eyes, I scanned the trees and scrubs.
Hoblins were known to infest the forest, and earlier today I had come across a spot where a small band had brought down one of the long leg bounders who lived in the forest. I, Lyandriah Eveningstar, renowned ranger and protector of the meek, would hunt these creatures down. It was my duty.
Another sound and my second arrow was aimed higher. A brown-tailed squirrel scampered up the tree, startled by my movement. Frowning, I lowered my bow. Besides, Hoblins don’t climb trees.
Shouldering my bow, I approached the tree, reaching to pull the arrow from the hardened oakspire bark. I carefully studied the arrowhead to make sure it wasn’t damaged – my bow was a gift from the elvenkin of the deep forests, and had kept me safe through numerous adventures.
Satisfied, I stowed the arrow in the quiver over my shoulder, tossed my cloak back, and reached up to tuck my hair behind my ear. I imagined that if someone had been watching me, the magic of the cloak would have keep me nearly invisible.
I moved carefully through the forest looking for more signs of the Hoblins. I paused, examining the carelessly broken branches; knee-height. Hoblin level. The band of Hoblins had been raiding the nearby villages. I couldn’t let that continue. I followed the path, until their trail lead to a small babbling brook.
It was maybe twenty feet across, but fast flowing and about waist deep. I scanned the far banks, and could make out where the underbrush had been broken – no doubt where the Hoblins had crossed and continued.
I lifted the hem of my cloak up, wrapping it around my arm to keep it dry, and stepped carefully into the water, cautious about my steps, feeling the cool water flow around and into my leather boots. A splash right beside me as a startled Bullywart jumped into the water pulled my attention from the river bed. I twisted, the current surging and sweeping my feet from under me.
Falling forward, my cloak tangled up into arms, with a splash I came down hard on the shore, my head smacking against one of the rocks.
It was a miracle I didn’t drown. Cold water lapped at my face, and my head throbbed as if a bard was using it to play a harvest dance. I reached up, and my hand came away warm and sticky – my head was oozing blood from a gash. I groaned and took stock of my surroundings.
The small game I had caught earlier had been swept away by the current, and my cloak had dragged me downstream several feet before becoming tangled in the rocks and branches at the side. Above me, the sky was lit by the pale light of the Omen-moon. The larger warm yellow of the Watchful-moon was no-where to be seen. Only three times a year would there be a night without the brighter eye of the Watchful-moon – they were the nights when people barred their doors shut, as evil spirits were said to walk the fields. If you believed in such stuff.
It wasn’t evil spirits, but my own fault that I slipped. I scowled, tugging on my cloak, but it was stuck fast, and torn in several places. With a sigh, I untied the cloak and let the river claim its prize. It was only pure luck that I still had my bow and quiver.
The woods were dark, and strange sounds echoed. I thought I heard them whisper to me… “Lia… Lia…” but that must have just been the ringing in my ears.
Sloshing out of the water, I was thankful not to have broken anything. That would not do for the renowned ranger and protector of the meek. Unfortunately I didn’t have the means to build a fire; and I didn’t want to risk adding freezing cold to my bleeding head. I stripped off my soaking wet tunic and hunting pants, wringing them out and hanging them up – at least to get most of the moisture out.
“Lia… Lia…” the forest called out again. Stupid forest. Stupid river. Stupid Hoblins…
I had been pointedly ignoring the forest when a rustling brought my attention. My instincts took over and an arrow was nocked and ready to fly as I whirled around.
The underbrush danced with a dim light, and a small boy pushed his way out – holding a covered lantern. “Woah! Lia.. don’t shoot. It’s Herman!”
He brushed himself off and then stopped, pointing. He nearly dropped the lantern.
“LIA! Your clothes!” He gasped.
I should have shot him. Instead I turned bright red, dropping my bow and covered myself, hiding behind the branches where my dripping clothing hung. “Well don’t stand there staring at me.” I blushed even deeper.
He lifted the lantern higher, and gasped, “You’re bleeding.. Are you okay?” This only made me blush more, my failures pointed out at me. I was a ranger!
“I slipped in the river, hit my head.” I lowered my voice, still hiding behind the branches. I didn’t feel brave and adventurous anymore.
“Everyone is worried back in the village. No one wanted to go out because of the Omen-moon, but I snuck out.” Herman said, with pride in his voice. I felt a new well-spring of respect for the boy growing inside of me. I must have blushed further, because he finally turned his attention to the side.
“Let’s build a fire to dry out your clothing. Here, wear my cloak.” He took his cloak off, handing it to me before turning to gather some kindling from the wood. The candle inside his lantern lit the wood which soon was providing ample light and heat.
“Hey, Herman,” I asked. “Did you ever wanna go on any adventures?” Up until now I had only snuck out to adventure on my own. But Herman, no…
Sir Herman Willowbent, dashing knight of the Oaken-Forest. That sounded much better.