Short Stories

Grove’s Daughter – Chapter 4: War

War is an ugly business.

Vesper felt the adrenaline run through her body as the two sides slammed into each other. She watched as magical streaks of various colors zoomed through the air, heard the war cries, the shouts, the whoosh of arrows as they soared past, the clinks and clangs of metal upon metal, heavy thuds of wooden shields and leather armor, and felt the heat of battle, of rage and bloodlust, of a hundred heartbeats as former friends clashed, her own heart thudding steadily.


The world moved slowly as they pushed toward the gate, and she desperately kept her eyes on Drazken, who moved quickly from one target to another with either his katana or large sword. She noticed bloodfire zooming toward her and dodged it. She recognized the small goblin known as Sizzle on the other side firing magic toward her allies, and she felt her heart begin to race, pumping faster as her anger and power began to surge.


Her eyes left Drazken and she focused on Sizzle. She focused her energy, feeling the heat and darkness of blood magic move through her hands, and she took aim, sending bolt upon bolt of bloodfire in Sizzle’s direction, crying out in anger. The power was building in intensity and she fired more bolts of bloodfire from her hands as her allies pushed forward more, eventually overcoming the others and getting the large door to the keep open. The chaos grew and the people crowded together as they all pushed inside. A maniacal laugh sent a chill up her spine as the fight raged on.

thump thump thump thump thump

They had laid siege to the keep and pushed through any who stood in their way. The mask, the dangerous weapon used by the witch, wasn’t there, but word moved through the group that the last remaining seals that kept the door in the northern jungle locked were broken. Everyone quickly moved, desperate to get to the witch and stop her for good.

The jungle was quiet as they all squeezed through the door and suddenly found themselves in the grove, thick clouds of choking corruption enveloping them. The witch was there, wearing the mask, and they surrounded her.

“You want a fight? Let’s fight….” The witch growled.

The noise of battle echoed throughout and the grove was illuminated by lights of blue, red, purple and green as the mages and healers threw all of their magic toward her. Explosions rocked with the connection of fireballs with their targets, archers sent arrows through the air.

“Aim for the mask!” Vindya shouted as the warriors chased the witch around, attempting to slow or stop her with their large weapons, and every so often, the witch would suddenly levitate, and those in close proximity would find themselves thrown to the ground hard.

Vesper’s heart raced and pounded once more, and she felt the call she had felt so long ago on the night she had accidentally killed Evan. She knew her eyes had gone black, her vision clearer and brighter as her power intensified. Her mind battled this call as she threw her own magic toward the witch, refusing the urge to level everything around her. There is no point in having this fight if I kill everyone around me, she thought to herself. She opened her eyes and saw Vindya, Drazken, Moriko, and many others she respected and liked. She would not make the same mistake again. The only blood on her hands would be the witch’s.

A scream echoed through the grove as the mask fell from the witch’s face. Before any could move to take it, it had crumbled into nothing more than dust. The witch, refusing to believe her loss and failure despite some coaxing her to change and start anew, succumbed to her injuries. Vesper approached the pool of blood, long corrupted and tainted. VVendol shook her head, “It would take so much time, years maybe, to cleanse Jhebbal Sag’s pool of this muck.”

“If that’s what it takes, I will come here everyday,” Vesper responded quietly. She kneeled next to the pool, removed her gloves, and pulled the pendant of Jhebbal Sag from around her neck. She rested the pendant in the blood as the Druids joined her, and they all started to focus their magic toward cleansing the corrupted blood. All was quiet and after a while, there was a small gasp, and Vindya spoke up. “Look around….” Vesper looked up and felt tears well up in her eyes.

The area around the pool, once full of corruption in the air, was now clear. The grove was healing.

“That outfit again?” Vesper questioned in amusement. Drazken’s masquerade outfit looked good on him, but it also reminded her of the voice he used that night, and she was certain he would be using it again. She pulled at a part of the white gown she was wearing and heard a knock at the door. “Let’s see who it is, and we will head to Vindya’s to celebrate.” Arriving at the front door, Vesper abruptly stopped, and her eyes grew wide as she saw their visitor. “Zephyrin?”

“Vesper.” Zephyrin responded as the door opened. “I saw everything from the ridge in the grove. For someone who believes themselves so unworthy, you have proven yourself the opposite. You helped my father, and saved my home.” Vesper sniffled and wiped her eyes, which were still black. “I am glad that I could help.”

“I know you have a celebration to get to, but I wanted to thank you. Also, I believe I owe you a hunt.”
“Yes, you do.”
“How does tomorrow sound?”
“Sounds perfect.”

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