Day 40

Prompt: Write an entry inspired by what you can’t see.

 

My lungs burn as I run, chest white hot with pain, legs screaming in protest; if I don’t find a shelter soon, I will die. I catch a glimpse, a flicker, a slipping shadow to my right between the trees. They’re almost upon me.

I push harder, body and mind working in perfect symmetry as I leap and dodge the fallen trunks and rocks that litter the forest floor. The chittering around me crescendos as I feel them pressing closer in the darkness. Ahead, there is a light. Light means hope.

The light seems to waver and flicker like an illusion, sweat pouring into my eyes and making them sting. I don’t stop, ignoring the excruciating pain of pushing my body too far. Almost there. Almost safe.

I burst into the lit circle, crossing over carved stones and collapsing. Behind me they screech, anger and pain as they are stopped at the border. I don’t turn, knowing that to look upon their visage is certain death. I huddle in the light, the stones humming, eyes clenched shut against the monsters in the dark. They eventually leave, slinking like shadows, angry at having been denied a meal.

Fifteen minutes pass before I am breathing normally, my whole body aching. I roll over, looking up at the floating light, the light that saved me, head cocked as I take in its floating form. Magic? Behind me sits a small cabin, lit inside with the warm glow of firelight. Pulling myself up, I limp to the door and knock, not sure if I want someone to be home.

The door creaks open seemingly on its own, and I hesitate.

“Need I invite you in?” a deep voice asks, echoing strangely in the small room.

“Who are you?”

A chuckle reverberates, seeming to wrap itself around me, caressing my mind.

“I’m much more interested in who you are.”

A flood of pain through my skull as the voice attacks my mind. I scream, clutching my head and fighting it back, mentally building a wall. The presence presses harder, a crushing weight that brings me to my knees, but my wall holds. In a flash, the pain is gone.

“Well, aren’t you gifted,” the voice says, and I feel scaled arms wrap around me.

I look up into a face half dragon, half human. Shit.

“Don’t worry,” the dragonborn says. “I don’t bite.”

He pulls me to my feet and dusts off his… apron? I shake my head, sure that I’m hallucinating. He chuckles, wiping the apron.

“Yes, you’ll have to excuse my attire. You see, I was in the middle of baking when you stumbled into my circle. Quite a narrow escape by the looks of it. Well done!”

I stare blankly, jaw slack. He sighs.

“Please, young Keledry, do not be frightened. That is your name, yes? I managed to read that much before you blocked me from your mind. Quite a nice defense you built there. Where did you train?”

I swallow, running my hands down the sides of my pants. “Um, at home, mostly.”

What approximates for his eyebrows raise. “No formal training?! My word! And you outran those beasts. You coming here isn’t an accident.”

Confused, I blink at him.

“Right! How rude of me. My name is Tylryss Stormborn. And you are?”

He offers a clawed hand and I take it tentatively. “Keledry of House Josatra.”

“Josatra you say! They’re quite renowned for their mental abilities where I come from. No wonder you blocked me with such ease. Tell me, do you know Illithor?”

I nod slowly, processing that this is Tylryss whom I was sent to find, the “man” that is supposed to heal my father.

“Illithor is my father, Tylryss, and he will die without your aid.”

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