Short Stories

Grove’s Daughter – Chapter 1: Power

So much had happened.

One day in her travels, she happened upon a large man with greyish skin. She was curious about him, how he looked, and how he spoke. He had a pleasant voice and a way with his words. He was shrouded in heavy, formidable armor, and given his height, she had to look up quite a bit to see his eyes, barely covered by the neckpiece of his garb.

They began adventuring together, and she found herself enjoying his company. She had been alone so long and was okay with that. She had conversed with many whose company she enjoyed, but their presence wasn’t better than her solitude. This man, Drazken, was different. Eventually, she relented to his suggestions to move in with his group and now found herself along the large southern river of the lands.

She stood barefoot in the water as the warm breeze blew against her skin. The chill around her heart was melting in the presence of all the people she had met, especially Drazken, but this opened her up to more thoughts of her husband. She let out a soft sigh and closed her eyes, pushing away the tears that were beginning to build. She glanced down at her hands again, the red stains in her palms, before looking back at the landscape. She hadn’t let Evan go. How could she?

She wasn’t sure about the others in the group anymore. At a masquerade ball one night, she had overheard Nedar complaining to Aertymis about the lack of soundproofing in the home. She had felt the little voice of power urging her to find him in the dark and give him a piece of her mind, but her calmer self had prevailed and she simply shouted out a sarcastic “SORRY” as she passed. Aertymis hadn’t spoken up to defend her either. The next evening, she had overheard Aertymis’ and Kaz’s plans to leave as soon as everything was done. It was her fault that she and Draz offered protection to Kaz and the two couldn’t contain their sexual activity to such an extent that it traumatized Taryn?

She scoffed, feeling the voice rise in her. They just use you. You offered hospitality and protection and they spat on it. You gave them a home and it wasn’t enough. They don’t speak to you when they pass, only when they need something, and they do it to Drazken too. You told them of Masca’s willingness to hand over people to the Drow, yet they run around with her, and ignore their own “friends”. Why are you still here? Vesper frowned, wanting to push the voice away, but she believed it. People only came around when they needed something. She glanced down at her hands again, staring at the red stains as they were enveloped by a blue glow of her magic, which had grown stronger every day, along with her testiness. The blood magic hadn’t been the problem. Power itself had been. She knew this, but she no longer cared.

They’ve proven that they don’t want or need you. You should do the same. Vesper clenched her fists as she gazed out over the beach, not noticing the streams of water coming from her hands. Take Drazken and find a new home away from these ingrates. Nedar can take care of Taryn. He acts like he has her best interests in mind anyway. Aertymis and Kaz obviously have each other, not many others even wake. None of them have any room to complain if you leave. They ignored you when you were around, why would it matter if you were gone? So they can use you more? Leave them to it and see how they fare.

“Enough,” Vesper said aloud, the voice disappearing from her mind. The glow faded from her hands and she looked back at their cabin, where Drazken was awake and moving around. She turned and walked to it, throwing open the door. Drazken looked at her and smiled, and she found herself saying, “Can we talk?”

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