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Destiny's Marred Path

A Short Story

By TestPublished 2 years ago 10 min read
Photo by Ironika from Shutterstock

“What is it Severn?” Emery said while her dragon nudged her awake with his tail. She rubbed the sleepiness from her eyes and took in her green-grey dragon holding a large basket from his mouth. A sleeping toddler, wrapped in a dark blue blanket, was inside it. Upon closer inspection of the toddler, she noticed the almost non-existent pointed ears. The boy was a cross breed between elven and human. She didn’t know what to do. It was forbidden to mix races, and he would be killed if discovered by the elves.

“Damn it!”

She had been an orphan that was taken in by the royal family and trained as a recruit for the royal guard. She couldn’t leave the helpless toddler to the mercy of wolves and whatever else prowled the forest. She felt like he was her responsibility.

She rubbed her hand up and down Severn's neck and gave him a few gentle pats. She was glad he had woken her up, although she could have done without the toddler. She didn’t want to be in the forest, let alone after the sun set. No one came here. It was off limits and said to be haunted. Yet, she didn’t want to be mocked and beat up, again, by her teammates for failing to intercept the ball, twice. They’d chased her until she’d urged Severn to fly into the forest.

“You shouldn’t be here.” Alma said, coming out from behind a large, oak tree holding a lantern.

Emery’s hand flew to her heart when she heard the old elven woman’s voice.

“No worries dear. I mean no harm. Come.” she said, waving her hand as she walked past them.

Emery was at a loss for words. She couldn’t imagine why anyone would live in this forest. She wanted to know if evil lurked here, and whether Alma had witnessed it. Yet, she pushed down her curiosity and followed her silently. Alma was safer than the chilling howl that arose in the distance.

“I’m Emery and this is Severn.”

“Alma. I read many moons ago that a red-haired elf and a child would be found in these woods. The darkness grows nearer.”


“A war to end all wars.”

They came to a stone cottage and went inside. It was bare except for a wooden table with two chairs, and a coat rack standing next to the door with a grey, woolen shawl hanging on it. Alma set the lantern on the table then lit two more setting on the mantelpiece. Emery made herself comfortable in one of the chairs and set the hungry, restless toddler on the floor. He began to shakily walk around the big, open space. There was nothing to injure himself on or mischief to get into, so Emery’s attention turned to Alma, who was sitting across from her. The silence was too much for Emery, and she was relieved when Alma started the conversation.

“You need to get that child to the sorcerer.” Alma said, watching the toddler walking about.

“Me? I have duties at the palace.”

Emery knew that shirking her responsibilities and not appearing for morning training was impossible. She knew she would be scolded and given some unwanted tasks by the leaders for her disobedience. Just what she didn’t need. She didn’t blend in as it was because of her red hair and sketchy magic skills. It would be no good to stand out even more.

Alma stood up and went over to the fireplace and removed a silver box from the mantelpiece. She carried it over to the table and removed a crystal hanging from a silver chain.

“A power crystal.” Emery said as her eyes widened. She reached out to touch it then pulled back when the crystal glowed blue.

“Yes, one of the few that remain. And this one has chosen you.”

Emery felt special for the first time in her life. Not like a defective, cloned royal guard in training. She even entertained the idea of her and Severn delivering the toddler to the sorcerer. Could it be that her difference from the other recruits and slow progress learning to control magic had prepared her for this moment?

“The task ahead requires humility not hubris and blind ambition.” Alma said.

Despite Emery not wanting to be dismissed by the Queen from the only life she knew. Despite not wanting to disrespect those who took her in when she was an abandoned child, she knew she had to protect the kingdom of Evengrad from whatever darkness the future held. What good was she anyway to them like she was?

When the day broke, and the sun’s rays streamed through the tall, oak trees, Emery mounted Severn and strapped down the basket with the toddler inside in front of her. They took to the sky and soared high above the treetops. All that she could see in every direction were green, oak leaves. She felt like she was free from the chains of an outlier for the first time.

Emery was relieved when the Volgan Sea came into view. It was the balm she needed for her conflicting emotions over feeling free and being a caged outcast. Yet, the darkness of the sky over the sea warned her of upcoming challenges. Challenges that she wasn’t sure she could overcome. She could feel the wind from the storm and guided Severn to slow down. It was unwise to fly into the storm, but it was quickly making its way toward them. A light rain began, and the toddler became restless. She didn’t know what to do. It was the first time she’d been both outside Evengrad and in charge of someone so young.

She saw a ship not too far out on the sea. It belonged to the humans, and the white flag with a red cross symbol told her that there were religious people on board. The weather was getting worse. She didn’t want to go out to the ship. She knew nothing of the policies and treaties created between the elven council and humans. The elves and humans had been at peace for centuries, and although she had no experience with humans, she needed to get out of the weather.

She left Severn on the deck of the ship, picked up the toddler, and went into the living area. Several nuns were sitting around a table. All but one glanced up at her.

“I’m trying to get this toddler to the sorcerer.”

“The toddler is welcome. You must leave.” the nun that never looked her way said.

“I’m to…”

“He has fallen captive to the orc. We will ensure the child’s safety. Alma would approve.”

Emery bowed to the nuns then left. If they knew of Alma, she must have chosen correctly to leave the toddler with them. She was beginning to think that everyone knew whom she was. Everyone but herself.

She mounted Severn, and they took to the air. The wind had grown stronger, and flashes of lightening shot down to the sea. The rain stung her cheeks, and she cursed destiny for the lack of an invitation to wait out the storm on the ship. Large, balls of hail began to pelt her, and she grabbed the crystal and squeezed it when a large gale blew Severn off course. He was pushed against a rock cliff jutting up from the sea, and they both plummeted down into the storm churned water.

“Severn!” she said as she was pushed by the raging waves to a narrow rock ledge.

She couldn’t see him anywhere, and tears began to stream down her cheeks.


Severn had been her dragon for six years. She couldn’t believe he was gone. Although the wind and rain had lessened, she couldn’t go on. She would let the sea claim her too. She hated destiny and herself. Why had she allowed the crystal to persuade her to go on this journey? She’d been selfish. It was foolish, and she lost the most important thing in her life. She yanked at the crystal, but the chain refused to break. Small bolts of white electricity emanated from the crystal, and she let it drop against her chest. She laid down on the ledge and welcomed the cold waves that splashed up onto her. She surrendered to the empty numbness inside her.

A shadow fell across her and blocked the sparse rays of sunlight that were filtering through the rain clouds.

“Damn it!” she said when she saw the two headed sea monster with its red eyes locked on her. She scrambled to her feet and pressed herself up against the rock cliff behind her. The cliff parted open. And before she could steady herself, she fell backwards and landed on the ground. She scooted herself further back into the cavern when the monsters tried to get its head into the space. Its breath reeked and its long, rough tongue grazed her legs. She left out the breath she didn’t know she was holding when she realized that the monster couldn’t reach her. She almost praised destiny for the safe escape but bit her lip instead. She would never offer forgiveness for the loss of Severn.

There was just enough space for her to crawl through the narrow passageway behind her. She squeezed the crystal, and it again gave off small, white bolts of electricity. It was enough for her to see the large chamber she’d entered. In the center stood a large, wooden boat in a pool of water. There were elven symbols carved on it. The language was high magic and beyond her understanding. She’d neither seen nor heard of a boat like it.

There was no sense in wasting any more time staring at it. She allowed curiosity to take the reins, waded out into the pool of water, and swan to the ladder fixed to the side of the boat. Once in the boat, she went to the navigator station and placed her hand onto the crystal pedestal. To her amazement the symbols on the boat glowed, and the rock wall in front of the boat parted open to the sea. She wasn't completely inept with magic, but to be capable of navigating the boat mystified her. The boat had a course all its own and headed toward the shore.

As the boat sailed down the Volganian River, Emery found herself again in the forest at night. She stood at the front of the boat as the glow from the symbols reflected off the dark, calm water. She watched in horror as gossamer elves appeared along the banks of the river in attack formation. They were the ghosts of lore. Her heart began beating faster and her hands grew clammy. She dropped to the deck and covered her head when the ghosts aimed their arrows at her. When she realized she hadn’t been hit by the arrows, she peeked out over the edge of the boat and saw the ghosts running after them with arrows flying. The arrows bounced off an invisible shield around the boat. The ghosts continued to follow them, despite having no success.

When the boat reached the Great Falls at the edge of the forest, it sailed to the edge then slowly floated down the two hundred feet to the river below. Her return to Evengrad was bittersweet without Severn. Still, she worried over whether she’d be accepted back into the kingdom. Then she looked down at the boat she was in, and her worries were alleviated.

The royal guards on the top of the wall sounded their horns when they spotted the boat. The boat sailed into the moat, that went around the large, sprawling palace, and stopped. Emery gathered her courage, stepped from the boat onto the landing, and went up the stairs to the bridge. If she were dismissed from training or cast out from the kingdom, she had the feeling that she’d would be fine. The guards recognized her and allowed her to pass through the gate.

Emery waited in a large, white room outside the throne room. The boat that brought her back to Evengrad was the one that had transported the elven council, two hundred years ago, to meet with the humans on neutral territory, Ruzitica Island. However, when it didn't return, the royal elves blamed the humans, and war broke out. Yet, over time, both sides realized there was a darker foe that had pitted them against one another.

When the guard signaled for her, she stood up and walked to the grand, silver, double doors. She stepped into the long room, dropped down to one knee, and bowed her head.

“Come closer Emery.” The Queen said.

Emery looked at the Queen whose long, blonde hair was held back by a crystal and silver barrette and weaved into a braid. She held a gleaming sword with a bejeweled handle in her hand. Emery advanced past the line of white robed high priests and priestesses to the foot of the throne platform and dropped to the kneeling position.

The Queen placed the flat of the unsheathed sword on Emery’s right shoulder and then the left before telling her to stand. A high priestess draped a white, velvet cloak over Emery’s shoulders, and the Queen offered her the sheathed sword. Emery accepted the sword and with it the honors of a priestess.


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