An Archdruid’s Origin

#ShortStory #Fiction #IndieAuthor

“Run, Lucas!” The Archdruid yelled to me as the black-cloaked figure emerged from the treeline into the village. “Don’t look back!”

I watched, frozen in fear, as the Archdruid, my mentor of the forest rushed forward to fight the figure. It had single-handedly slaughtered everyone in the village save the Archdruid and myself, barely an acolyte of the druidic order.

The Archdruid lifted his arms and the roots of the trees erupted from the ground, lashing out at the figure. In response to the attack, the figure simply moved side to side, while swinging his thin sword almost lazily.

“You can’t win, druid.” The figure said. His voice alone made me feel cold. It was without emotion, as though it were some form of death incarnate. “No one can beat me.”

“You will leave this hallowed place and never return!” The Archdruid cried as he once again waves his arms. The trees bent this time, five foot in diameter, bending as though they were made of rubber. They slammed into the ground all around the figure who stepped around them like they were simply in his way and of no concern of his.

The Archdruid moved to cast another spell, but the figure darted forward with a sudden burst of unnatural speed and drove his blade through the man who had trained me for the last three years.

“No!” I cried out.

The figure pulled his blade from him and let his body fall to the ground before turning to me.

“You’re all that’s left.” It said as it began walking toward me. “Then my mission is complete.”

My legs suddenly found their strength as I turned and fled into the forest behind me. Tears traveled across my cheeks as I ran faster than I ever had before. I couldn’t stop, I knew that much. I knew it would likely catch me, and as the thought crossed my mind, it stepped out from behind a tree in my path.

“Why do you run, druid?” It asked, walking toward me, “You brought this on the village. You should know that. This is your fault.”

The figure raised its weapon as there was a sudden flash of light from between two trees on its left side. The figure was blasted backwards suddenly, slamming hard into another tree.

“You will leave the boy alone.” A feminine voice called from the light, “He must survive.”

“You wretched spirit!” The figure growled back at the light, “I must finish my mission or never be able to rest! I can’t spare him. I won’t spare him!”

The figure darted toward me as it had the Archdruid previously. I stepped back but caught my foot on a root and fell backward as the figure swooped over me.

Another sudden burst of light filled everything I could see, blinding me. I heard the figure cry out in pain as the light did not recede this time, it stayed constant for what seemed like hours as I lay there covering my eyes.

“Rise, young one. The dark one has fled.” The feminine voice said, seemingly from right next to me, barely above a whisper.

I opened my eyes to find that the forest looked normal once more. As promised, the figure was gone.

“Thank you, spirit, but who are you?” I asked.

“I am Aria, guardian of this forest. As you are the only member of the druidic order remaining, it falls to you to be my emissary.” Aria replied.

“I can’t protect myself though!” I replied, “I am just barely a druid. How am I supposed to protect the forest?”

“I will send a warrior to accompany you through your training to become the new Archdruid.” Aria replied and the light faded.

“Wait! What if the dark one returns!?” I called out.

As if in response another light erupted from between the trees, but this one quickly faded leaving what appeared to be a vertical pond suspended between them. It shimmered and moved as though it were alive as I watched it.

At first I saw only the surface, but then I saw the outline of a face, followed by the finer details as the entire body was outlined and polished. The figure in the liquid glowed an ice blue with white hair that flowed around her. I was caught in the beauty of it when she opened her eyes and stepped forward toward me and out of the liquid.

“Hello, Lucas. I am the first Archdruid of the order, Ariel. We have work to do. Follow me.” She said as she walked back toward the village.

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