Short Story Sunday: Betrayal (Equiroth)

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[This is part one of “Equiroth“, a story set in a fantasy world. Part two can be found at SSS: Journey and part three can be found at SSS: Tranquility. Keep in mind that while the stories are related, they’re not necessarily continuous.]

She scurried back to the large rocks, making sure not to make any noise. In situations like this she was glad their armor made of wool and leather stayed quiet regardless of their movement pace.

“I count two of them, this one and there is one on the other side of the bridge.” Dalyne told her partner.

Thenael glanced from the side of the rock to get a better view of the surroundings. The first troll was standing a couple of feet away from them, likely guarding the bridge behind it. It was more of a massive chunk of stone that conveniently connected this side of the mountain to the otherwise inaccessible hill on the other side. There were wooden barricades on the other side that prevented him from viewing the second troll.

But the first troll was fully exposed. It was probably twice as tall as Thenael, and twice as big as well. A dark brown monster of extraordinary size and strength, it could easily crush anyone with a single blow. Yet, with large size came a large head and Thenael found those make for an easy target.

“You have a clear shot?” He asked Dalyne.

“I’m good to go whenever you are.”

“Set.” He whispered as he swiftly moved to the side of the rock.

“Ready.” He put up his longbow and positioned an arrow aimed at the troll.

“Go!” He fired the arrow and didn’t waste even a single second but rushed ahead, knowing well enough that they both did their job. As Thenael was running toward the bridge the troll was about to hit the ground, it being dead from the two arrows in its head. Instead of heading toward the bridge he went for the troll, quickly switching his bow for his sword. He used it to impale the troll on his way down, slowing its fall and preventing a hard hit to the ground.

It did the trick as their position wasn’t given out. Dalyne had managed to cross the bridge and jump at the second troll, slashing the back of its head with her sword. Thenael was making his way there when a third troll came out, waving a heavy wooden club in an attempt to hit Dalyne. She was escaping his swings, but had no space for an attack. Thenael grabbed his bow and fired a single shot at the troll. The troll being in movement, the arrow barely hit its left shoulder, yet it proved to be enough of a distraction to let Dalyne cut its stomach wide open.

Whether the roar or the battle sounds gave them away, one couldn’t know, but two more trolls were charging their way. Thenael managed to hit one in the left with an arrow before switching to his melee weapon, but Dalyne wasn’t that lucky. Caught by surprise, the troll managed to hit her with a club, throwing her back near the edge of the hill. Thenael moved forward to distract the troll, yet unable to manage a blow to it, the whole thing looked like dancing where the elf moved away just before the club hit him.

Dalyne managed to get up in time to avoid an attack from the limping troll, and him not being armed with anything she found it easy enough to manage a small slash in their own dancing routine. Soon enough the limping troll was tired and hurt enough to allow her a final slash. She grabbed her bow and shot an arrow at the back of the other troll, giving Thenael the chance to slide his sword inside the troll.

“Is that all of them?” He asked as he pulled his sword out of the troll’s chest.

Dalyne simply nodded. “We better get moving though,” she said and made her way inside the cave on the hill. It was a dark place, its only source of light being whatever came from the outside and it was clear trolls have no sense for organizing. Everything was throwing around, and that everything seemed to be whatever the trolls managed to get their hands on. There were weapons, but also furniture and pieces of furniture; there were barrels and boxes filled with food, rocks, coal, but also branches and other pieces of wood.

“I’m over here!” A voice yelled from the back of the cave. It was Rhissa, the sorceress tasked with providing counsel to their leader and magical aid to all within their city. She was wearing iron shackles and the chain was tied to the wall of the cave.

“Step back.” Dalyne told her, raising her sword to hit the shackles.

“No, don’t do that!” The sorceress stopped her. “These have been enchanted with a spell and cannot be broken with simple weapons. Only magic which does not belong to the wearer can break them.”

“Here, try with this,” said Thenael as he passed her a small crystal bottle with blue liquid, “it’s a healing potion but it might do the trick.”

As Dalyne poured the potion over the shackles, their silvery color turned darker and darker until they became fully black. At that point the sorceress easily broke them free with her magic. “Thank you, I am finally free.”

“Let’s go, we don’t have a lot of time to waste.” Thenael made his way out of the cave first, but the others were following right behind. But just as they made their way out, the rock acting as a bridge cracked and broke into many pieces which all fell down and left them with no way out of there.

Standing there shocked, Thenael and Dalyne both turned to the sorceress for an answer, only to find she’s no longer there. “What did just happen here?” Dalyne asked him, but received no answer from Thenael.

Instead, the answer came from the other side of where the bridge was. “In short, you’ve been played.” The sorceress could not be found behind them because she was in front of them. “Which is not to say I didn’t need your help, I am still grateful for that. It was your uncle who got me locked up here though.”

“No.” Dalyne responded, “My uncle would have no reason to lock you here and he left for the capitol this morning.”

“He did.” The sorceress nodded. “Except, I tried to stop him and in the process I revealed my true position and intensions. Unfortunately I underestimated the power of our troops, or well, the power of his troops. I was never one of you.”

“It’s a good thing you got away with betrayal then, my uncle does not take betrayal lightly.” Said Thenael.

“I didn’t get away with anything. He only locked me here temporarily; it was his intention to judge me only after he returns from his mission at the capitol. You see, with my plan revealed, there were far more pressing matters for him than my fate.”

“And what would that be?” asked Dalyne.

Rhissa looked at her for a moment, as if pondering what to tell her. “Nothing that concerns you, and it’s a story I have no time for. You fancy elves enjoy your time together, I’ll be back to have fun with you once I’ve handled your uncle.” And with a grin on her face, the sorceress disappeared into thin air. There was no puff of smoke to announce her disappearance; she simply faded away, becoming more and more transparent until there was no sign of her.

“That bitch!” yelled Thenael, while Dalyne just fired an arrow where the sorceress was standing, but the arrow hit a tree several feet further away.

“So what now?” she asked him.

He glanced at her with a worried look, “I guess now we pray someone finds us here.”


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