of the Realm
William continued to look for an escape for hours. He
tried every part of the pit in search for a way out of it. He tried to climb
the entire inside of their new prison. The sides were slippery and muddy. Each time he would try to pull himself up he would slip in the mud until he was completely
covered with mud.
At last, after hours of
failure, William collapsed into a corner and began to think. His thoughts drifted
throughout his life and over many different subjects. He thought of his family
and the farm. Of the work that he used to do and of the cold, harsh winters. He thought back to when he was a boy and he would go out into the woods and pretend
to slay dragons and other terrible beasts. He would imagine that he fought with
his father and together they would save the land from the terrible plagues that fell upon them.
He thought to one trip
when he had gone to the village south of his home. It had been a long journey
that took several days. He was exited to see the thatch roofed houses in the
distance. His mother had brought many of the family’s possessions to sell
at the market along with any food that they could spare. The winter had been
one of the worst that any could remember and they were in desperate need of money.
After his father had left,
William and his family had to struggle to survive at all. Every waking hour was
spent with work, and up to that point, they had managed to stay alive. Yet that
winter had taken its toll and destroyed most of their crops. The family’s
only horse pulled a wagon was packed with tools and furniture that was now unneeded and would be sacrificed in order to buy
food and supplies.
The village was the largest
grouping of people that William had ever seen. All that he had ever known was
the lightly distributed farmhouses across the open landscape. Never had he seen
more than three or four houses together and could not imagine how they could all farm in such a small amount of land. When he asked his mother about this, she replied that they did not all need to farm. This confused him to no end and would continued to bother him until they neared the
center of town.
The town center was a boxy
building with two pavilions that came out from the adjacent sides. At the time,
it was the largest building William had ever heard of and remained the largest he had ever seen.
Yet the attraction to the
village was not the building itself, but what was around it. Sets up all around
the building were small shops in an open-air market. The vendors were yelling
to people as they walked by, trying to get them to stop and buy the merchandise. People
haggled and traded at the shops. There was no standard currency being used by
the people. As long as you had something that the other person wanted, you could
trade. Of that person did not like copper coin that you offered, you could go
elsewhere and find a vendor who highly valued these coins.
After walking for a short
ways in the market, William’s mother told him to go ahead to the inn, a plain, rectangular building, and to wait there. He did as he was told and waited in the main room on the inn. As he waited for his mother to come, he overheard many of the men talking.
Most of them talked about fighting to the north and spoke of many names and places that William had never heard of. One man was sitting at a round table with several others of various ages. He soon fell into his tails and listened intently on every word.
He told of the different races throughout the land. Of course there were
the humans, who were the most numerous by far, but also the most naturally week. There
were different types of humans with different skin colors and builds of bodies, but they were still human. They were the most diverse of all the races. They had the
most variation of any of the known intelligent creatures.
There were dwarves who lived in the southern mountains inside of their great halls in the mountains,
hidden away from all others. Their skill with axes and hammers was legendary. Dwarven made weapons and armor were a legend among themselves for they were known
to be the strongest of any weapon.
The terrible orgons who little was known about except for that they hated humans and they were terribly
ugly with large horns.
The harpies lived in the desert in a large rock formation and could fly for miles on their great, white
wings. They used maces and lances made of iron and their food, though not the
best for taste, was said to sustain one for days without anything else to eat.
The noble elves. The greatest of all the races who were
said to be hidden in a forest where they attempted to live out their days in peace without interruption from any of the other
races. They were the quickest, wisest, and most revered of all the races. A mere handful of humans had ever even seen an elf, and those who had, usually did
not spend much of their time with other humans. They generally used bows and
were said to be able to shoot something that a human could not even see it was so far away.
They had keen eyesight and it was believed that every elf could use magic.
There were other races such as goblins who lived in the land, but they were hardly worth mentioning
for they were so primitive and had kept out of trouble for several years. There
were also orcs who lived far to the north and to the east around the great mountain Valcina.
Trolls still inhabited the mountains, caves, and forests in the southlands. There
were only two note worthy things about trolls. First was that they were very
large, very strong, and very dumb. The second was that they stayed in their own
original environments. The forest trolls in the forest; the mountain trolls in
the mountains; the cave trolls in the caves.
The sun was setting when his mother arrived at the inn and they went to their room. Before William had finished telling his mother all that he had heard form the man, she told him that it
was all a bunch of stories made up by those who had had too much to drink and to not listen to anymore of such lies.
Yet that night, when she was fast asleep, William snuck out to the main room to find the man and hear
more of his stories. The man smiled broadly when the young William told him that
he wanted to hear more about the creatures of the realm. He proceeded to tell
him about the most interesting being that he had ever hear about.
He told him about dragons that were rumored to still exist somewhere, yet none new where. The only one that could be remembered in that land was slain years ago by the king, so giving authority
to his rule. The more mystical creatures such as unicorns, centaurs, and mermaids
had long ago disappeared to another land or into hiding and none seemed to know where they were.
After the man had finished he sent William to bed saying that it was very late and he needed to sleep
if he wanted to be able to find any of these amazing creatures. That night he
slipped back into the room and slept with dreams of mystical creatures of legend.
As he fell asleep in the mud, he hardly realized where he was, remembering that night at the inn and again fell asleep
and dreamt of magical creatures.
He awoke a short while later, again thinking of the past. It
was only two weeks after that trip that his mother had died. After returning
from the town she came down with a high fever. William had stayed by her side
as often as he could, even when it meant he had to sacrifice much of his own time. This
self-less act was not entirely without benefit though. It was during those two
weeks that he had learned almost everything that he knew about his father and his family.
During that time his mother was different from the woman he had known all of his life.
For as long as he could remember, she had always been stern and demanding. Yet while she was ill, she was gentle and calm. She told him
about their family, that they had moved south and settled in the farmlands. She
was never specific about where they were from or why they moved, but they did, and that was what mattered.
She also told him about his father. These were his favorite
of her stories. His father was strong, kind, and loving. He was a hard worker and did everything that needed to be done. There
did not seem to be anything he could not do. The only thing that he ever seemed
to do that had ever upset his mother was to go off to fight with the strange man named Leomare. It had taken him two whole days of solitary thought to finally come to the decision to leave. All that he knew of his father’s depart was that he took his armor and left.
He had never given this last statement much thought until now.
How did his father, a simple farmer, own a set of armor? Even a cheap
set would take a lifetime of savings. He did not find it likely that his family
would have owned one and brought it if they planned on being farmers. He thought
on this for a while before slipping off to sleep again.
He jolted up suddenly. Look up. Of course! Why had he not thought of it before? He quickly looked up towards the sky above him. He scanned
the skyline, but could not see anything that would help him to get out. Then
he saw a thick vine, hanging down from high above in the trees.
“Oslick,” he said excitedly. It took William
several tries to wake him up, but at last he awoke. “Oslick, is there any
magic for plants?”
“Magic for plants?”
“Yes, you know. A plant element, to give you control
“I fear that you misunderstood what I said about magic.
First of all, magic, at least good magic, does not give you the ability to ‘control’ anything. If I were to cast a spell on you, I could not ‘control’ you.
I may be able to force your body to move in a certain direction, but that is different.
Using dark magic you may be able to control someone or something, and make them do your will. Some good magicians have tried to do this, but it is a fine line to walk.
The second thing that you apparently do not understand is that the elements that I told you about are natural elements. This is by no means a limitation on magic or its power. It is merely a classification that humans have set up to help other humans to understand the concept. Magic is far more broad then that.
“Now, to answer what I believe your original question was.
Yes, one can cast a spell in order to pull that vine that has been hanging above our heads for the last several hours
down into arms reach.”
William stared at him blankly. “How long have you
known that we could get out that way?” he asked in a rather accusing manner.
“Since right before I went to sleep. And to answer
your next question, which I am sure you are going to ask, I did not tell you because I wanted you to figure it out and to
realize how important visions are. Now let me see…wydra.”
suddenly sprang to life and slipped down towards Oslick opened hand. He grasped
the vine and looked towards William. “That, my young friend, was not what
you would normally use for such a task. Normally you would say ‘vine come,’
but this vine is protected by a magical spell which will protect it from all but the correct spell, which happens to have
nothing to do with vines or coming.”
could not have grown that way naturally. Someone must have put a spell on it. But who would do that and why?”
very good questions that will soon be answered if you would kindly hand me my pack.
Thank you. After you,” Oslick said and held the vine out towards
a rather confused William.
William had begun his way up and he had placed his pack squarely on his shoulders, Oslick began to climb up behind William. They climbed up and up. When William
paused for a moment, he realized that he was hardly tired. When he asked Oslick
about it, he was told that the vine was giving him stored energy.
that, the vine is moving up towards the treetops.”
something that William had not realized. When he looked around, he found that
even when he was not climbing, he was still moving up. The vine was somehow pulling
them both up.
stop,” Oslick said. “We want to reach the top as soon as possible.”
minutes later, and hundreds of feet above the ground, William could see a wooden platform built onto a branch above him. He continued to make his way upwards towards it.
When he reached it he realized that there was a hole in the platform, just where the vine reached. He looked back at Oslick who told him to go through it.
his hands up onto the wood and suddenly realized that, even with the vine’s help, he was extremely tired. He pulled himself up, through the hole and saw one of the most beautiful cities he would ever see in his
“Welcome to Tonra,
the city in the trees.” William did not even notice the man who stood before
him who had said this. He was far too fascinated with the city around him. It was the most amazing thing he had ever seen, and many years later, there were still
few things that could compare.
The entire city was built
into and on the canopy of trees. Doors led into the great trunks of the trees. Other buildings were built outside on the branches.
These were usually hut like structures with a thatched roof. Instead of
the roof being died though, it all seemed to be alive. In fact, everything in
the city appeared to be alive. Leaves, branches, and vines seemed to connect
the city and hold it together. All of the buildings were connected by paths made
out of planks. Each of these catwalks were four feet wide, just wide enough that
two people could squeeze past each other.
“Yes, it is quite
beautiful isn’t it,” said the same man. This time William pried his
eyes off of the scenery around him to look at the man. He appeared to be in his
early twenties and was clearly a warrior. He had a small short sword on his right
side. The two men that stood behind him on the platform both had an identical
sword on their left. They all wore a green sash with a buckle suspended from
their left shoulder.
“My name is Brian. I am to take you to Osgard.”
“He is still alive
then?” asked Oslick.
“Yes, he is. Why else would I bring you to him? He
asked that I bring you to him right away.” Brian and another warrior began
down the planks and William and Oslick followed them, followed by the final soldier.
“How did they know
we were coming?” William asked Oslick in a low whisper. “They must
have been following us in the forest.”
“We did not follow
you. Osgard foresaw your coming,” Brian said. “I do not believe I know your name young sire.”
“I am William Cathridge, sir.”
“And you, sir. What is your name?” Oslick stopped, and gave Brian a cold look before continuing.
As the group walked down the planks, William saw many different people going about their daily activities. There were many vines that connected the buildings that appeared to be used for everything form carry food
to dirty clothing. They watched him as he passed, some stopping to openly stare. He could not figure why they would like at him so.
He did not look much different than they did.
Looking back, Brian noticed William’s quizzical expression, he explained, “There have not been any outsiders
in Tonra for many, many years. So many dark creatures inhabit these forests that
they are not safe for travel. Even if someone did want to find our city though, it would be very difficult for them to. The many enchantments placed on the city make it nearly impossible for those who do
not know how to find it to get here. It works well for protection from enemies. And obviously the dark creatures that roam the earth cannot get up here. The only problem is that there is no trade and no new company. Ah,
here we are.”
The building that now stood before them was a large hut like structure, not much different form the other dwellings. This one though, rested on top of a tree that was about thirty feet higher than all
the others. The only other difference, besides that it was notably larger than
most, was that it was guarded. Two guards stood at the base of a ladder and two
to more stood guard where the ladder met the small platform outside of the hut. Brian
signaled and the two guards moved away from the ladder to let them up. Oslick
was the first to being the climb, followed shortly by William. When Brian began
to follow, Oslick said, “Thank you, but we will no longer need your guidance.
I do believe we can find it form here.” Then he whispered to William,
“Just follow my lead.”
When they reached the top, one of the guards was about to speak when a voice from inside said, “Your presence
is not necessary. Go guard something else.”
“Yes, sir,” said both guards before climbing down the ladder.
“Enter,” came the voice.
The two travelers stepped through the heavy clothe used as doors and entered the dimly lit room. At first William could not see anything, but slowly his eyes adjusted and he could make out the figure
of a man standing in front of him. Oslick.
Then there was something else that he could not quite see.
Suddenly, Oslick kneeled before the object and so William followed his example.
“Lord Osgard,” said Oslick, “it is on honor to be with you again after all these years. It has been far too long.”
“Yes,” came the voice. “Yes it has, my son.”