It was the start of a normal day in the forest for Theriatis and Claira Xistrith. Theriatis is a tall skinny elf, with bright white skin and sparkling green eyes. His smile is quite remarkable, for he has shiny fine looking teeth. Like her brother Theriatis, Claira is a tall slim elf, has bright white skin, sparkling green eyes, and shiny teeth. In the closely packed trees, there was a rustle above. Theriatis signaled for Claira to stop, notched an arrow in his crossbow, and fired. The rustling stopped, but nothing fell out.
Theriatis said, “Stay down here, sister. I will investigate what is happening in the trees.”
Theriatis slowly but steadily managed to climb to the top of the tall thick elven trees. He then leaped to the spot in which there was a rustle, and discovered a squirrel, pierced with Theriatis’ arrow, slowly dying.
Theriatis yelled, “No worries, it was just a squirrel, half dead. On the bright side, this will be our lunch today.”
Claira yelled back, “You shot a squirrel, and it is half dead! I must heal it, immediately! You know what I have always said, brother! Shoot those who threaten the wilderness always! Shoot the wildlife never!”
Theriatis removed a shortsword from his pocket, swiftly cut the squirrel’s throat, and tossed its corpse to Claira, who began to shed tears. He swiftly shimmied down the tree he was standing on, and let out a wide grin.
Theristis said, “Seriously, ‘shoot the wildlife never’, what kind of rubbish is that? If we never shot the wildlife, we would be starving at this point.”
Claira responded, “But… but… but… we could eat the berries. Eating living things is off of my list.”
Theriatis replied, “Well, the thing is, we are not eating living things, but dead things.”
While weeping, Claira reached into her pocket, and pulled out several flavorful ripe blackberries, smiling after each bite. Theriatis took two small logs, rubbed them together, and created a small campfire. He then removed the squirrel’s guts, skinned it, and cooked it. Theriatis let out a grin while feasting on his delicious, savory lunch.
About thirty minutes later, there was the sound of running. However, there were hundreds of feet involved. Theriatis put a finger to his lips. He attempted to climb a tree thinner than the rest. Because of this, it could not support Theriatis’ weight. The branches he was holding onto snapped, and he fell nine feet. Then, the sound paused. After a few seconds, it came back and headed towards the duo. It looked like ten humanoid figures. At a closer glance, Theriatis and Claira noticed that these were not your everyday friendly humanoids. They were hobgoblins, a breed of goblins much stronger and smarter than the rest. They were also equipped with plate armor, longswords, and shields.
Theriatis whispered, “Run!” before rushing away from the hobgoblins.
Claira followed Theriatis’ course of action, and the hobgoblins chased after them. The chase went on for a good 10 minutes, before the hobgoblins were completely out of sight. By this moment, Claira and Theriatis were no longer in the elven forest, but in a lush grassland.
Theriatis exclaimed, “What happened, why was there a hobgoblin army in the forest?!”
Claira exclaimed, “I must ask you the same, brother!”
Theriatis said, “Well, I believe we should head back to Colkadi. I have a feeling those pesky hobgoblins are going to invade it.” Theriatis thought for a moment, and pointed to his right. “This way. Remember, I can tell which way is North.”
Claira exclaimed, “But Colkadi is about four hours from where we are now!”
Theriatis responded, “We have no choice. Head back with me, or abandon me.”
Claira said, “Fine, have it your way.”
It was a long hike through the elven forest. Theriatis held onto his hand crossbow the entire time. The only disturbances throughout the travel was an owl, a hawk, and a squirrel Theriatis nearly harvested. At the time Claira and Theriatis arrived, Colkaldi was a mess. The hobgoblins not only invaded, but managed to take over Colkaldi.
Theriatis whispered, “Run!”
When Theriatis and Claira made a break for it, a smaller troop of ten hobgoblins chased them. Occasionally, Theriatis would slow down to shoot his crossbow, but only one of the many times he shot, did an arrow manage to hit a hobgoblin. After an hour into the chase, the duo was completely out of it. Both the siblings and the hobgoblins had to take a short ten second rest before restarting the chase. Before the hobgoblins even got close to the group, Theriatis closed one eye, carefully aimed, and fired a crossbow bolt–which hit the same hobgoblin he shot before. This hobgoblin slipped when he was shot and started crying out in pain. Two stayed back to help him, while the rest continued to chase Theriatis and Claira.
Claira reluctantly slowed down a bit to create a flame in her hand, which she hurled at a hobgoblin, scorching its skin and setting its hair on fire. Three stayed back to help him put out the fire, while three continued to chase the duo. Theriatis looked at a thick tall tree, ran towards it, leaped in the air, landed a quarterway to the top of the tree, and began to climb to its top.
A hobgoblin stopped, pulled out a javelin, and threw it at Theriatis. He was just able to dodge the blow. Then, once Theriatis was atop the tree, he released an arrow, and it hit the hobgoblin. When it sheathed and put away its weapons to climb up the tree, Theriatis shot and hit the hobgoblin with another arrow. When it finally reached the top of the tree, in a tough struggle, Theriatis pushed it off. Once the hobgoblin fell back, Theriatis shot another arrow at it, which pierced the hobgoblin’s throat, killing it.
While this happened, the remaining two hobgoblins chased Claira. She stopped to throw another ball of fire, which made contact with a hobgoblin’s face, and it cried out in pain. Despite this, he continued the chase and caught up to her. From its position, the hobgoblin drew his longsword and cut Claira in the back of her neck with amazing accuracy and precision.
With this very cut, Claira screamed in pain, before falling to the ground half dead. When the two hobgoblins stopped, Theriatis jumped off the tree, shot one in the back of the neck, and ended up hurt by his 20 foot fall. He continued to shoot the hobgoblins until they died. Suddenly, another hobgoblin came from behind Theriatis, knocked his crossbow out of his hands, and grappled Theriatis. Then, it began to choke Theriatis to death.
The next few moments were a blur for him. He saw something which looked like a hobgoblin strike the one which was choking him, but it was too late for Theriatis to see if anything else happened. He fell unconscious.
An hour later, when Theriatis woke up, he was tied to a tree with thick hempen rope. The sky was dark with several glittering stars. As he regained his vision, Theriatis realized that the figure was not a hobgoblin. Firstly, its skin was purple, instead of red. Secondly, it had devil’s horns. Finally, it was too short and not as bulky as the average hobgoblin. It was wearing shiny chainmail armor, had a bag, and a glaive strapped to its back.
It looked at Theriatis and said, “Well now, you are finally awake. ARE YOU GOOD OR EVIL, ELF?”
He responded, “Wait a minute. You must be a devil, are you not? I am on the side of good for all you care.”
The devil unsheathed a glaive and put its point on Theriatis’ throat. Unexpectedly, it cut the rope with its glaive.
It said, “That is what I expected and wanted to hear. Also, I am no devil, but a tiefling. The name is Forcas, Forcas Pain.”
Theriatis said, “The name is Theriatis Xistrith, the other elf you have over there is my sister. Can we have our belongings back?”
Forcas cut the rope off of Claira, softly put her on the ground, and pulled out their bags. He handed a bag to Theriatis and said, “Here are your belongings Theriatis. I must ask, why are you wandering the forest, or were you chased out of Colkaldi?”
Theriatis lied, “I was chased out of Colkaldi of course. Why would I wander around the forest?”
Forcas said, “True. Why would you wander the forest?”
Claira regained consciousness, and after seeing Forcas she immediately stood up, a ball of fire appeared in her hand, and she yelled, “LEAVE MY BROTHER AND I ALONE YOU SON OF A DEVIL!”
Theriatis responded, “Wait Claira, Forcas is not trying to harm us!” before interposing himself between Forcas and Claira. “Also, he is a tiefling, not a devil.”
Forcas said, “Calm down, I do not wish to harm you. Must I mention, I am the son of two tieflings.”
Claira yelled, “THEN GET OUT OF HERE YOU GRANDSON OF A DEVIL!”
Forcas whispered to Theriatis, “Is she always like that?”
Theriatis yelled, “STOP THIS NONSENSE NOW CLAIRA, OR ELSE!”
Claira immediately began to whimper after she heard Theriatis’ threat.
Theriatis said, “Sorry Claira, I had to get you to calm down, and you also triggered me.”
Forcas tossed Claira her belongings and said, “Here are your belongings, Claira. Also, for your concern, I am not the unholy image which you see. I am taking the steps of my father, to become a holy warrior, a paladin. You might be wondering if my father is a paladin. There was a prophecy, in which hell would break loose in a few years. Demons, devils, and the like would return and attempt to take over the world. However, there would be five heroes, braver and more powerful than the strongest of the strongest, who would have an army ready to combat the fiends. The prophecy also stated one of my family members would be one of the heroes. Father thought he would be one of the heroes. He even built up an army, but he died too soon. Now, mother believes it is my duty. So anyway, I only have to return to Hope so I will be known as a true paladin.”
Theriatis said, “Wait Forcas, I think Claira and I can be of assistance to your army.”
Forcas said, “You really want to possibly sacrifice your own lives?”
Theriatis said, “If it saves the world, then it will be worth it.”
Claira said, “I will not be joining any armies of yours you grandson of a devil.”
Theriatis said, “Claira, I am leaving with Forcas. You either come along with us or stay behind alone.”
Claira shouted, “Fine!”
Forcas said, “After we rest, we will head back to my father’s army outpost.”
It was a peaceful night. Occasionally, the person currently on watch would hear the howl of a wolf or the hooting of an owl, but thankfully, nothing happened. The rest of the group awoke to a rainy miserable day. Clouds blocked the sun and made the morning even more dreary.
Forcas said, “Despite the terrible weather, we will have to trudge along. If you cannot endure it, you will endure it.”
The group groggily walked through wet, muddy, dirt for numerous hours. Their armor and clothing was ruined by the heavy, merciless rain.
Claira noticed three creatures ahead, but it was not long before one of them charged at the group and was hand to eye from Forcas. Theriatis recognized these creatures as ogres, which are large, strong, resistant, dumb brutes, whose instinct is to smash other things. These ogres were wearing no clothing and were armed with greatclubs and javelins.
Forcas had just enough time to draw his glaive and pierce the skin of the one in front of him. After letting out a grunt, the ogre hit Forcas so hard with its greatclub, that he was sent flying until he hit a tree, and blood began to gush out of his head. Claira rushed over to Forcas’ side, and reluctantly let healing energy flow from her hands to his body. However, this did not stop the blood from gushing out. Theriatis notched an arrow in his crossbow, shot the ogre who hit Forcas, and rushed backwards before shooting another arrow at the same ogre, causing it to bleed even more. An ogre rushed towards Forcas and Claira and swung its greatclub downwards, but both were able to roll out of the way. The third ogre ran towards Theriatis, and with a big swing, nearly hit him in the head. But it was too late. Theriatis swung right behind that ogre, aimed an arrow, and shot it into the ogre’s crack. A lot of blood spurted out, and it yelled in anger and embarrassment before going into a rage for blood.
Along with this, Claira threw a ball of fire at that same ogre, accidentally setting some of the grass on fire. The ogre looked at the closest living thing to it, Theriatis, and lunged forward and bit him in the neck in the fashion of a vampire. He howled in pain as a lot of blood left his body, and the ogre looked very delighted as it tasted Theriatis’ blood.
In response, Forcas gritted his teeth, yelled, and made a large slash with his glaive at the ogre. This strike connected with so much precision and power, it hit the ogre in the neck. Realizing this, Forcas channeled divine energy into the blow, causing its skin to fry. Thanks to this, the ogre’s body was launched into the distance, while leaving the head behind. Theriatis quickly unlatched the head, and his bloody neck was shown as a result. After this, he threw the head into the distance which left a blood trail as it began to roll. The remaining two ogres charged up to Forcas and Theriatis and hit Forcas with their greatclubs, causing him to fall unconscious. Thinking none about Forcas’ life, Claira threw a ball of fire at the grass on which the ogres were standing, setting grass and ogres on fire. This gave Theriatis the opportunity to back up and shoot an ogre, fortunately hitting it in the eye. Blood gushed out of the wound, and it yelled out in pain. The ogre, in retaliation, attempted to crush Theriatis with its greatclub, but he dodged out of the range of the brutal blow. While doing so, Theriatis loosened another arrow from his crossbow, connecting with the ogre’s other eye. It did not even have time to scream before it hit the ground with two bleeding eyes.
Suddenly, a man, wearing heavy chainmail armor jumped on the remaining ogre. He unsheathed a longsword and plunged it into the ogre, causing it to bleed out. After the man jumped off of the ogre’s body, Claira allowed healing energy to pass from her hands to Forcas’ body and threw water over the fire. When Forcas woke up, his face changed into a smile once he saw the man.
Forcas said, “Sir Hope! Is that really you?”
Hope is a tall human with a slight tan and blue eyes. On one hip is a sheath which contains his longsword, and strapped to his other hip, is a shield.
Hope said, “Yes Forcas, this is me. I heard screams up ahead, so I decided to check it out. Who are these people with you anyway?”
Forcas said, “These people want to be part of my army. They are amazing soldiers in battle, and without them, I would be dead by now. Now for introductions. Randall, meet Theriatis. Theriatis, meet Randall. Randall, meet Claira. Claira, meet Randall.”
Randall said, “Your army, your choice Forcas. Anyways, you have to head back to the castle. Then you shall become a paladin. Come on.”
After walking for a few minutes, the group arrived at the castle. It was made of glittering limestone and held several towers. The group was ushered to a chapel, where Theriatis and Claira were seated, but Forcas and Randall stepped forwards. It was then, after Forcas muttered a prayer and was knighted by Randall that Forcas became a paladin. Afterwards, Theriatis and Claira were nominated as captains of Forcas’ army.
To be Continued…