Saturday, April 21, 2018

Autobiography of a Fantasy Character - A Refuge Disturbed

Three things before we begin! Number one, I apologize for disappearing last Saturday without warning. I hadn't meant to take an unplanned week off blogging, but school caught up with me and had other plans. Number two, I might be slow to reply to your comments this week as well because of final exams. And number three, please thank Blue @ To Be a Shennachie for reminding me that it's been much too long since we heard from our beloved Fantasy Character, aka Hero, aka Chosen One! I hope you enjoy the next leg of his journey.

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Fantasy is my favorite thing to read and write, but every genre comes with its own suitcase of tropes. In this blog series, we poke some fun at our beloved stories and at ourselves as fantasy lovers.

If you haven't yet read the first two instalments, check them out:

Origin Story (in which Hero grows up in Quaint Village, Mentor is mysterious, Incentive dies, Villain's backstory is disclosed, and Hero discovers his singular purpose: to save the world.)

The Journey Begins (in which Hero and Mentor set off to save the world, horses are invincible, Hero is wounded, Mentor is characteristically mysterious, and they take refuge with the elves.)

I scrambled up in bed, speechless at the sight before me. This elven girl was golden sunshine, icy rivers, and heaven itself personified.

"Who are you?" she demanded.

I scanned the room, casting my gaze from the mossy floor to the wooden walls to the fern-frond curtains as if I could find the answer there. At last I said, rather dumbly, "Hero."

"Well, it's about time you got here." She shoved a bundle of clothing at my chest. "Get dressed. The Feast is about to begin." With that, she flounced out of the room.

It occurred to me that I never got her name. Moving carefully, my shoulder still tender, I donned the outfit she'd left me: a green jerkin, brown breeches, soft leather boots, and a shimmering cloak the color of cobwebs. Every piece of clothing felt light as air, yet when the corner of my cloak caught on the bedframe, it didn't snag or rip. Perhaps it was stronger than it looked.

My bedroom's doorway opened onto the landing of a staircase, which spiraled down the inner core of a gigantic oak tree. Other landings carved into the wood led to doors and knothole windows. What marvelous people, to create such a home in the heart of nature. Eyes wide, I hurried down the stairs to the bottom and ventured out into the late afternoon sunlight.

"Ah, Hero!" A tall, willowy elf with hair down to his waist and a longbow strapped to his back beckoned me over. "Come and join the Great Feast. I have a seat for you. Mentor is already there." He guided me across a grassy lawn to a pavilion formed from slender saplings intertwined to create a leafy canopy. Beneath the flowers strung in their bows was a long table groaning under the weight of platters of food. Elves were seated all around, each looking solemn and noble, all with flawless skin, smooth hair in varying shades of gold and chestnut, and forest-colored clothes. Several elves with flutes and stringed instruments struck up a silvery aria in one corner of the pavilion.

The elf-man sat at the head of the table and gestured for me to sit on his left. Mentor was already there on my own left. And across from me sat the beautiful girl.

"Hello, Father," she murmured.

Good heavens, she was some kind of elf princess! And this elf-man was a king. I blushed.

"My people!" the Elf King shouted. "The prophesied Hero is in our midst at last! He is the one who will restore the keys to their rightful place and save the world!"

Cheers erupted--but not the raucous whooping and hollering I might hear at home in Quaint Village. No, these cheers were like music, like a chuckling brook, and I suddenly felt very clumsy and oaf-ish in the presence of such genteel folk.

The Elf King produced two pendants from within his cloak, each of them a brilliant blue gem on a golden chain. "To signify our support, I present Hero and Mentor with elven ward-gems." He hung them over our necks. "These ward-gems will guard you against poison and disease." He smiled and gestured to his daughter. "El'liaennwil will now sing the Ballad of the Hero."

El'liaennwil rose from her place without looking at me and began to sing with the voice of a lark. She sang and sang many sweeping, somber lines that told of a darkness under the earth and an orphaned boy destined to conquer it. I suppose she meant me, but I wished with all of my heart that she would look my way at least once. She did not, though the ballad lasted an hour. When at last she sat down again and we began to eat, the food had gone cold. Which was just as well, since everything was either bread or fruit, with nary a nip of protein to be seen. Yet even this light fare filled my belly with warmth.

Throughout the proceedings, Mentor said very little, but seemed to be thinking quite pensively.

By the time we had finished the Great Feast, twilight was dressing the forest clearing in dusky shadows. El'liaennwil finally looked at me. "Come, Hero," she whispered. "There is something I must show you."

She whisked away into the darkness, and I hurried after her. Down a winding path through the trees she led me, her golden hair muted in emerging starlight. I thought in that moment I might follow her anywhere. We stopped at the bank of a narrow brook. El'liaennwil took my hand, causing my heartrate to trip. "Look."

I followed her gaze to the ferns growing by the water. But rather than gleaming green and lush, they were blackened and curled with rot. "What's wrong with them?"

"The keys," she said. "Ever since they were ripped from their resting place, the forest has been dying. I fear even the great oak in which we live could topple before long."

Looking into her shining, solemn eyes, I vowed then and there to ensure that never happened.

The next day, Mentor was the one to rouse me from my slumber. "How is your shoulder?" he asked.

"It feels great," I replied. And it did. Something about the fresh air and elven food--and perhaps the effects of my elven ward-gem--had completely healed my wound.

"Then we will train. The Elf King can teach you things that I cannot."

So Mentor and I joined the Elf King in another round clearing not far from the oak, where we spent hours upon hours discussing philosophy, nature, the wind, heroism, the significance of insects, and how to get in touch with the power running through my veins. The Elf King taught me how to find it and harness it, and soon I could release blasts of power so large, they shook the highest trees.

"But beware you do not let it get out of control," the Elf King said soberly. "For it is your uncontrolled powers that catch the attention of Villain's dark warriors, and they will be able to track the echoes of that power straight to you. They seek to destroy you before you can return the keys to where they belong."

I nodded. "Yes, sir."

I still had much to learn, so after another long night of feasting and ballads, we trained the next day, and the next. The Elf King had other business to attend to, so El'liaennwil took over my training alongside Mentor. Together they taught me much. With every swipe of my sword and blinding blast of light, I felt more and more ready to take on a whole army of dark soldiers. Especially with El'liaennwil sending me tiny nods of approval when she thought I wasn't looking.

"Careful, Hero," Mentor cautioned. "That last strike was nearly too much."

"Don't worry, Mentor," I replied. El'liaennwil and I were facing off with swords in the middle of our circular training ground in the woods. "I have everything under control." I twirled my blade and reached for the power thrumming through my bloodstream--reached deeper than ever before and felt it swarming under my skin, building like a tidal wave. Light surged from my sword, my eyes, my hands, and I brought my weapon crashing against El'liaennwil's sword with a resounding CRACK!

A cylinder of white light shot up all around me, sending a beacon soaring into the sky.

El'liaennwil stumbled back, her blade cloven in two. "Hero, stop!"

But try as I might, I couldn't close the floodgates and turn off the pure energy beaming through me like a miniature sun.

"Hero!" Mentor yelled.

The grass at our feet shrivelled to brown, then just as quickly sprung up again with spring green. The trees lost their leaves in a dry rattle, then put forth fresh buds. Black slime oozed out of the ground. Sparks of light bounced from my sword and set fire to the sludge. I shook with the force of power, every bone vibrating. "Help!" I shouted. "I can't stop it!"

That's when the dark soldiers streamed in on every side. Dozens of them. El'liaennwil drew knives from the folds of her tunic and slashed her way into the fray. Mentor swung his staff. "GHAOWOUSHAL!" he shouted, just like last time. And just like last time, light shot from his staff and sent enemies bowling over.

But I continued to quake in the middle of my own firestorm of light.

Mentor dashed to my side and grabbed my shoulders. "FALKSOWFALLEN!" With that magic word, my power stopped.

I crumpled to the ground, deflated. The world swam before my eyes, fading in and out. In the haze, I thought I saw Mentor as I had in my vision--mysterious and powerful and full of secrets. He repeated the word, but instead of "falksowfallen," I heard, "May the prince of light be contained."

Then the vision left and my eyes cleared.

"Get up." Mentor hauled me to my feet. "They're recovering!"

The dark soldiers were rising to their feet again, weapons in hand and murder in their eyes.

El'liaennwil downed two of them with expert slashes before running to us. "To the Falls! Hurry!" She tore into the woods, and Mentor yanked me after her. We blazed through the trees, the sound of crashing pursuit growing closer behind us.

"We can't lead them to the oak!" I panted. "Your home--your people will die!"

"That's why we're going to the Falls," El'liaennwil snapped back. She leaped over a fallen log and led us ever deeper into the forest.

At last, when my lungs felt they were about to burst, we broke out onto a rocky cliff. A roaring waterfall gushed over the side, the bottom wreathed in white spray. "What?" I yelled. "Do you want us to jump?"

Behind us, the dark soldiers reached the treeline.

El'liaennwil peered over the edge of the cliff and loosed a piercing whistle. Then she tipped over the side.

"El'liaennwil!" I screamed.

Just then, a flash of red with wings zoomed past, El'liaennwil on its back. A dragon! "Jump!" she called.

The dark soldiers charged closer. In a second, their swords and clubs would be upon us.

Mentor and I inhaled deeply, nodded at each other, and took a flying leap off the cliff into empty air.

To be continued . . .


  1. Ooh, dragons!! I still can't decide which part of this has been my favorite - each one is amazing! The elves, though . . . this is perfect. XD How do they get up and train every morning after feasting and singing through the entire night, anyway? :D


    1. Can't have a cliché fantasy without 'em! (But honestly, I want ALL my fantasies to have dragons. XD) I guess those elves just have superb metabolisms? LOL. Glad you're enjoying this series, Brianna! <3

  2. Oh I love these, parts of it are a lot like my first book. Good times.

    1. A lot like mine too, Skye! XD I guess we all start by imitation.

  3. THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!! I love this!!!!!!

  4. This is great! Always need that moment of shock when you find out your new crush is a princess. . . Also, why don't elves eat meat?? I know most of the elf-tropes came from Tolkien, but this one bothers me especially. . . Maybe because I think it came from the movies, not the books, haha. =) (There's reference to elves hunting in The Hobbit book.)
    And oh look, Mentor can do anything, as long as it's convenient to the plot. Very helpful.

    P.S. Congrats on being a finalist for Five Poisoned Apples!!

    1. Never would have guessed, right? XD I honestly don't know! There's a whole hippie/tree-hugging/vegan trope going on with elves. I honestly don't remember if Tolkien's elves eat meat...

      Mentor has to be good for something other than wise witticisms, right? ;)

      P.S. Awww, thank you! <333

    2. Well, it appears to me that Tolkien came pretty close the tree-hugger line, to be honest (one of few places I disagree with my favorite author =) ), so maybe it did come from him? I don't know.
      Also, El'liaennwil? Seriously, some fantasy names feel that crazy to me!

    3. That's true. XD I really love his elves even so. Legolas forever!

      Haha, that's what I was going for! All the apostrophes and unnecessary letters... *shakes head*

    4. Yes, Legolas is my spirit animal. <3 And I love Treebeard without having anything against people who cut down trees. ;)

      Haha, honestly I'm guilty of this one. . .

    5. <3 Yep, I love Treebeard too! (And also don't have a problem with using paper.)

      I've been there, done that too. XD Maybe not the apostrophes as much, since I was largely unaware of that trend when I first started writing fantasy, but definitely the keyboard smash names!

  5. THIS WAS HILARIOUS AND AWESOME XDD Elves though <333 You can't go wrong with that XDD

    1. Hahaha, thank you, Lisa! XD Elves are definitely a fantasy staple. And I do love them a lot, just not...the cliché kind. ;)


    These Elves though. *EYE ROLLS* Paaaaiinfull. *pulls hair* It's sad because it's true! Our fantasy fiction has been taken over by flawless and noble elves armed with bows and possessing amazing energy! I'd love to be able to feast all night then train like a Hero the next day. XD


      I really love Tolkien's elves, but soooo many elves since then are pretty much lookalikes, and nowhere near as epic! Man, what we could do with metabolism like theirs... XD


  7. '"Well, it's about time you got here." She shoved a bundle of clothing at my chest. "Get dressed. The Feast is about to begin." With that, she flounced out of the room.' A fitting welcome for a princess to a hero.
    Awesome how you combined dragons and the 'leap of faith' scene!

    1. Haha, what kind of princess would she be without some attitude to prop up her meager personality? ;)

      I hadn't even thought of the leap of faith! XD Too funny. I've, um, written one or two of those in some of my own stories. Heh.

  8. Absolutely noooo worries about not posting last week. Goodness knows you've got a lot on your plate. o.o I hope exams are going well!

    I was SO excited to see this next installment up! This story makes me grin every single time. This was so great. XD It's honestly just SAD how similar this is to my first Colors of a Dragon Scale book. Buuut I wrote that 8 years ago so I'm trying to not be TOO hard on myself. BUT THE ELVES. Yep, that's totally how I wrote mine. And it is such a weird stereotype that they're basically hippies. XD

    Also, naturally his insta-love interest has to be a princess. What else? XDDD Her super long, unpronounceable name made me laugh so hard.

    I loved the cliffhanger. DRAGONS!!! :D

    This is just the best. Can't wait for the next part!

    1. Thanks for understanding! Hopefully now I can get back to a regular posting schedule! XD And they did go well, thank you.

      Awww, that makes my heart happy! I had to sit down and actually figure out where to take this plot, because the beginning was just a cliché dump. XD There will be at least two or three more instalments--but you didn't hear that from me. ;) Awww, but I really love the sound of CoaDS! And most of these tropes are actually things I love reading, as long as they're... you know, given a fresh twist or a dose of realism. So I'm sure your first CoaDS book is redeemable! LOL, now I need to see if there's some kind of hippie Legolas meme floating around the internet...

      But of course. It's not a worthy love interest if she's not royal and out of the hero's league. >.> Haha, glad you liked her name! Just throw a bunch of vowels and an apostrophe in a blender with a few flowy consonants, and voila!

      Literal cliffhanger. XD YES! DRAGONNNNS! :D

      Thanks, Christine! Like I said, I'm so happy people are still enjoying it! (Because it's still fun to write, so yay!)

  9. This is literally the best, Tracey. XD

    "I have everything under control." <~ 'he said as he made a stupid mistake that would imply that he had most definitely not had everything under control.' XD

    1. Teehee, so happy you're enjoying it! ;D

      Well yes. XD All heroes regardless of genre are required to have that "pride comes before a fall" scene, right? *winces*

  10. *grins with delight* I'm so happy to be reunited with dear, brave Hero and wise old Mentor.

    The bits about the elves had me in absolute stitches... the clothing!!! The hour-long ballad! The food going cold!!! *dies laughing*

    "Don't lose control of your power."
    "Don't worry, I've got this pretty girl to impress, what could go wrong?" hahahaha

    Also, the Deus Ex Dragon is perfect!!!!

    1. Aww, yay! ^___^

      Why are you laughing?! DO YOU MOCK THE NOBLE ELVES? Everyone knows this is how they live! (Kidding, kidding. I tried to be as clichéd as I possibly could. XD)

      Pretty much the thought process of every young hero under 30 years of age. XD

      "Deus Ex Dragon." Bwahaha, this needs to be an official writing term now!