TITLE: Fated Lovers
By C.E. Johnson
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The wailing of the sirens filled the whole town. Everyone in the tavern stood still too afraid to move.
“Jack…” Tala says. Her long blond bangs nearly hide the tears that are welling up in her azure eyes.
Jack’s head is bent down in sadness. Tears flow from his hazel eyes. As he shakes his head his black hair wisps upward trying to capture any moment of solace it can get.
He walks over to her and gives her a big hug. “I love you…”He then steps away from her. “Remember,” he says. “We are trained for this.” He then rushes out of the tavern, and heads toward the guard tower.
“Alright,” says the captain, “remember aim for the fleshy part of the beast, and when you see it coming toward us-which it will- brace yourself for impact! And remember we have to save the town at all cost!”
Jack runs into his position and takes out a crossbow and knocks an arrow in it.
Within seconds, the guard tower starts to shake. A huge scaly monster tears through their village. Its monstrous form is similar to that of Komodo dragon. From its massive maw, it spews its vile breath into the town. The fumes head toward the livestock. Within minutes all the animals fall over and start convulsing.
A shower of arrows assails the beast, and it rears in anger. Its large feet sends holes in the cobble roads as it charges toward the tower and rams its steel tipped horns into the towers. It shakes it head and tears off the top of the building.
Jack watches in terror as some of his friends plummet from the tower to their doom. Swallowing his grief, he aims his arrow at the beast’s eye and lets it fly.
The beast screams in pain, and tries to dislodge the arrow from its eye. In a last attempt to stop the mad beast, the guards in the collapsing tower shoot as many arrows as they can at the monster. The creature rears back, surprised by the last ditch effort of the guards. Stumbling backward, its massive paws flatten a few houses and scrape the streets. After regaining its poise, and exhales its deadly breath into the guard towers. The guards stagger out of the towers, trying to escape the fumes.
As they flee the towers, the monster blocks their way and growls.
That look… Jack thinks, paralyzed by fear. I’ve seen it before....that time with the Cavera!
“It’s going to eat us!” Jack shouted. “Run!”
Scattering in terror, the guards look for an escape, but with the recent destruction they soon realize that all but one of the escape routes have been blocked off. The only route out of the town is being blocked by the fiend.
It bends its neck back, readying itself for a fatal strike.
Just then a shadowy figure emerges out of the smoldering remains of a once popular tavern. The person’s cloak sways in the smoke filled breeze as the brave soul charges at the beast. After deftly jumping up on its back, the person takes out an enormous blade and plunges it into the creature’s scaly hide.
The beast shrieks in agony, and tries to buck the person off.
When it realizes that its strategy isn’t working, it turns its head toward the valiant warrior and emits its poisonous breath directly at the cloaked person. The hero jumps up as the noxious fumes are exhaled. Landing on the creatures head, the person runs down the beast’s long thick neck and then stops in the middle of it and slices through the foul demon’s neck in one clear blow. The monster’s neck falls down by its collapsing body. The impact of the fall takes down five of the nearby buildings and they crumble onto the body of the beast.
As the guards stand there in a stupor, the captain runs in front of them.
“Alright everybody,” he says. “We have a lot to do. Jack, Ragil, and Xafd, I want you to see if you can find that hero! If you do, I want you to alert me about it as soon as possible!”
They hurried over to the corpse of the monster, hoping to locate their new hero.
“Do you think anyone was able to survive such crash?” asks Ragil, who wore battered guard with blood stained armor.
“You kidding?” asks a Xafd. His bronze armor glimers in the various fires that have broken out around the town. “From where the person was at? Probably ended up being crushed by the fiend’s massive bulk.”
“I think I found him!” exclaims Jack. “I see someone leaning against the well!”
The soldiers dash over to their fallen champion.
From how he’s leaning against the well, Jack thinks, it looks like he is close to dying…
They come to a screeching halt as they see who their hero really is. Their courageous fighter is a sixteen year old girl. Her long blond hair lies limply on her back and they can barely see her azure eyes. With her back leaning against the shattered stone well, she desperately tries to breathe in the air around her.
The soldiers are so surprised that they are struck motionless at their discovery.
It can’t be….Jack thinks. It just can’t be.
“Tala!” Jack cries as he rushes over to her. He kneels down beside her. “What’s wrong?”
“Poison…” is the only word Tala can manage to get out. Her body shakes violently as she tries desperately to breathe.
“Someone, get a healer, quick!” Jack cries.
Ragil dashes off to find a healer. Mintues later, he returns with a healer. He kneels beside her in order to examine her.
“This is the most severe case I have seen so far,” he says, concerned about the girls condition. He quickly takes a flask of liquid and hands it to her. “Drink this.”
She takes it but because she is hardly able to breathe she almost chokes on it. She tries it again, and this time she manages to drink the tonic. Her body relaxes and she falls upon Jack. Taken by surprise, he falls back but still manages to catch her before she falls to the ground.
“What did you give her?!” he demands angrily.
“It’s a quick fix,” replies the healer. “I hastily made it while the town was still being attacked by the beast. The tonic temporarily takes away the affects of the toxins.”
“So what’s wrong with her then?” Jack asks. “Why did she pass out?”
“When she drank the potion, it released the effects of the poison,” the young healer explains. “Going from complete misery to no suffering at all must’ve have been too much of a shock to her system.”
“Thank goodness she is alright,” Jack sighs with relief.
“For now she is,” the healer sadly says. “Its affects will only last a week. It was the best I could do on such short notice. The beast’s breath was so deadly that there is no complete cure that I can make. The symptoms will reoccur and she will eventually die from them…”
“There must be something we can do for her!” exclaims Jack. “After all that she did for us!”
“The only thing that I know of that could counter such a poison and save her from its grasp is a unicorn’s horn. However there are none around these parts…such a journey could takes months or even years…and by then it would be too late for her.” The healer thought for a moment. “If you do not want to chase unicorns there is one more option…you can go the Capitol Kingdom. The wise men there might be able to offer a solution…but that would take a few months to reach…” he sighs. “It seems that all the options are no good…Both take up too much time, and there are no guarantees with either of them.”
“What if you make enough of those quick fixes for her until we find a horn or go to the Capitol Kingdom?” asks Jack. “Couldn’t you make her some?”
“I do not have enough ingredients to make that many potions,” replies the healer. “One of the larger towns may have enough ingredients for a few weeks… You might be able to make it before her symptoms reoccur, but you would have to leave today.”
“I’ll get her to the city before it’s too late,” Jack says. ”If you have any of the potions you can spare it would be greatly appreciated.”
The healer shakes his head. “I can’t spare any…others are suffering as well. Although it will not cure them, they should have some time with their loved ones…” The healer says. Saddened at the fate of the townspeople. “However I can give you the recipe for the quick fix.” He hands the young man the list. “I’m sorry, but I must go to aide the others…”
“I understand,” Jack says sadly. He faces his comrades. “Tell the captain I’m leaving. I have other matters to attend to now.”
“Are you sure you want to leave, Jack?” Xafd asks.
“Yes,” replies Jack, as he lays Tala gently down beside the well. “I’m going to go home and see if it’s still intact. If it is, then I’ll pack for my journey and come back for her.” Jack pockets the recipe. “Please watch over her until I get back…”
“Alright, lad,” says Ragil. “We’ll watch over her.”
Rushing over to his house, Jack finds it half collapsed and on the brink of caving in. He carefully goes inside and quickly rummages around his broken house and stuffs some essential things in his rucksack. Once he is done packing, he dashes over to where he left the girl. His heart plummets as he sees his fellow comrades sprawled on the ground. His eyes quickly dart over to where he put the girl, but she is gone.
He quickly runs over to Ragil who is coming to.
“What happened here?” exclaims Jack, kneeling beside him. “What happened to you? And where is Tala?”
“That girl is possessed or something, I tell ya,” he mutters. “When she came to, she asked where she was, and how she was feeling better. We told her that she was still by the well, and that the tonic temporary cured her, and that its affects would wear off in a week.”
“We told her that you were going to help her find a cure for her,” says Xaft, sitting up. His eyes are wide with surprise. “When she heard that, she had this look in her eyes…it was something…something I’d never seen before…”
“She was trying to leave when we stopped her,” says Ragil. “We told her she wouldn’t make it far in her condition, but she didn’t care at all. We still insisted that she stay and wait for you, but she said she wasn’t going to. We encircled her to prevent her from leaving, but she grabbed her sword and then all went black.”
“Where did she go to?!” Jack frantically asks.
“She left toward the eastern woods,” replies Ragil. “I remember seeing her head that way before I lost consciousness. She’s still not fully recovered so you shouldn’t have trouble catching up with her…But if you do follow her beware her sword!”
Swallowing back his sadness, Jack dashes toward the eastern woods. He desperately searches for any clues as to which direction Tala has taken. He finds some broken foliage and limbs. He darts along the trail. “Tala! It’s me, Jack!” he calls, searching desperately for her. “I just want to help! Please! Let me know where you are!”
He searches along the trail that she left until it got too dark to see. After making a campfire, he leans back against a tree and hugs his knees to his chest.
Why won’t she answer me? He wonders, silently crying. Is she too far off, and not able to hear me? Or can she hear me, but refuses to answer? If so, why won’t she let me help her…I love her so much…ever since that incident…
As he remembers how they first met, his eyes fog over with memories of the past…It was two years ago…before he had became a soldier for the town…He was just a young man at the age of fifteen. He was out hunting for some food for his recently widowed mother and the rest of his family.
He was in the woods stalking a deer. As he drew his arrow and took aim, the deer started and darted off into the misty woods. He was about to go after it when he heard a bone-chilling sound. It was the sound of giant padded paws running in his direction. Before he could react, a lion-sized rat pounced on him. Its saber like fangs was an inch from Jack’s face and its talons were sinking into his skin.
His nerves left him as he was staring down the beast’s throat. He had never seen a cavera before, and he still hoped he hadn’t. Caveras were known for their stubbornness. They never once gave up on a prey, and no prey had ever escaped from them. They’ve been known to take down straying livestock as well as passing caravans.
Jack closed his eyes and expected its teeth to tear through his flesh….but he didn’t feel anything…He heard the scream of the cavera, and a thud. When he opened his eyes, he was next to the dead corpse of the giant vermin. Next to it was the blond haired woman that was pulling her sword from the beast. That was when he first met Tala.
After that incident they got to know each other a bit more. Even though she was a wanderer, she came to visit him every so often. With each visit, they grew closer and closer…The last visit was the one that was the hardest on him.
It was at the Dragon’s Eye Inn in his town; they were talking and enjoying each other’s company. Then their chatter dwindled to an awkward silence…he couldn’t stand it anymore…he had to act…
“Tala,” he said in a voice that was both serious and sincere. “I…I love you…I want to be with you…always… I’ve had felt this way for a while…I just haven’t had a chance to say it….But I love you with all my heart…”
Tala’s eyes widened in surprise, and then they grew watery. “Jack….that’s… so…sweet….” she said, her whole appearance softening. “I love you too…” She cast her head down, and tears rolled down her cheeks. “But…it just can’t be…”
Jack was absolutely crushed. Tears streamed down his face. “Why?” He finally managed to ask.
“There…are just some things about me…” she said, her voice became quieter and sadder. “Things…that I can’t get you dragged into…I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to you…”
“I don’t care what happens to me!” he declared. “Just as long as we can be together! Really! I don’t care what happens to me!!” He took her hands in his, and squeezed them lovingly. “Alls what I need is you.”
She smiled sadly at him. “I wish it could be that way…”
Suddenly sirens filled the air, and that’s when all the chaos started….the dreaded monster stormed their once peaceful town and nothing was ever the same again…
Jack’s mind wanders back to the present and remembers its misery. He decides he cannot wait till morning. He puts out the fire, and walks around the forest with the light of the full moon to guide him. Hours pass and the sun wakes to find Jack still searching for his beloved. Not long after, Jack collapses from severe lassitude. He struggles to get up, but only manages to get to his knees.
“Tala!” he cries out in between sobs. “Tala…Tala…”
The pain is too much for him to endure. His heart feels like it is forever shattered. He collapses to the ground and sobs. The love of his life is gone forever, never to be seen again.
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