The Faerie Blade: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: Kaelyn’s Oath

Kaelyn was just trying to fill her belly, but she got a lot more than she bargained for when she decided to save the life of a Faerie.

 

My hand shook as I gripped the blade, and I winced it bit into my flesh and drew blood, which flowed along the edge of the blade to mix with Sharai’s. “I s-swear by blood, blade, and magic to bind myself to Neva’kul and to see its will done,” I repeated tremulously.

 


 
Author's Note: Here's chapter 2 of The Faerie Blade. Further chapters are available on Patreon.~Amethyst.
 


 Chapter 2: Kaelyn’s Oath

The Faerie, whose name I learned was Sharai, spent over an hour leading me southward toward their destination as I supported her weight. She did not have to do much leading for half of that time though, once I began to feel a source of magic radiating from the direction that we were travelling. The magic was strangely familiar and comforting and I tried to keep up as fast a pace as Sharai could manage on her injured ankle.

I was thankful that our destination did not seem to be far. If this was to be a long journey, I would have preferred to return to my hunting shack for supplies, what money I had, and my mothers… no, my instruments. I had promised to help this Faerie though, she needed proper medical care, and I did not dare turn back while a Demon might be on our trail.

Still, this was further south than I had ever ventured before and Sharai seemed to know the area, so I let her lead the way until we arrived at our destination. Not only did it give the Faerie something to focus on other than her injuries but also, with her determining our direction, I could focus on keeping my senses peeled for danger. I did not want to run into a pack of wolves, a bear, or something while half-carrying an injured person. Even if the Faerie might have some way to calm any beasts we might encounter, I was worried about Sharai pushing herself too hard in her current state.

I was also wary of pursuit, keeping my magic sense alert for any signs of that sickening Demon magic following us. The Church of One was relentless when it came to hunting down the Touched or those who followed the Old Gods and I had a feeling that that would prove doubly true for the Fae. I did not think that it was a coincidence that the one chasing Sharai had been a Demon either.

That sickening magic that I had felt from the Demon-possessed man who had killed my parents was the same that I had felt from the cathedral in Greendell, and the various members of their clergy that I had painstakingly avoided whenever inside the city walls. The church was obviously responsible for these Demons but that just brought other questions to my mind. Were the Demons possessing these people against their will, or were the people aware and in control?

The thought of either possibility made me sick to my stomach. As horrible as it sounded to not be in control of one’s own body, it was the second possibility that disturbed me far more. Who would willingly give up their bodies to such creatures? What did they get out of it? Would such a person do it for power or something far more sinister? It was not hard to picture the latter with the church’s campaign against those who had magic.

With my mind occupied and Sharai conserving her strength, our conversations were limited as we made our way southward through the forest paths. While I had many questions that I wanted to ask the Faerie woman, I felt it better to wait with my senses focused on avoiding danger and my thoughts straying toward the Demons and the Church of One. My questions could be answered once we arrived at our destination and Sharai was recovering from her injuries.

The thick scrub and pines that we had been traveling through on the straightest possible route to our destination began to thin and we emerged from the tree line atop an embankment overlooking more of the forest below. Not far ahead, I could see a large clearing with a massive oak tree at its center. “That is our destination,” Sharai said tiredly, pointing to the clearing with a trembling hand.

I had been expecting a city of some sort, so I was surprised at this turn of events. Pleasantly surprised since it would allow Sharai to see a healer or doctor soon. “Let’s find a safe way down for you then. We’re almost there, Sharai,” I told her encouragingly.

It took a while longer than I would have preferred to find a relatively safe path down the embankment and, even then, I had Sharai wrap her arms around my neck as I carried the injured Fae downward. It was not easy, given my small stature, and I had to stop a couple of times to rest. Once we made it to the bottom though, it was only a short walk to a copse of hawthorn and ash trees that surrounded the clearing.

“This is Tarin’dol?” I inquired dubiously as we stepped into the clearing and I found myself gazing at the massive oak tree before me that was as large in girth as a small cottage. It stood in the center of the clearing, which in turn stood at the center of the circular grove of hawthorn and ash trees. It was also brimming with that comforting, soothing, and familiar magic that I had sensed getting closer with each step for the last quarter of our journey through the woods.

I had been helping to support Sharai’s weight for the entire journey since her ankle was not in any condition to carry her weight, as were her wings for flying. Even if either wings or ankle had been in any shape to carry her, she likely would not have gotten far on her own. But even with my help, the Faerie was now pale, shaking, and far too warm to the touch. I was not even sure how she had managed to travel this far with her strength so spent.

Sharai shook her head slowly at my question, a pained expression on her face. “No, it is much further, in Nightglade Forest, far beyond the borders of Evalis. This is one of our old Woodwarden outposts in the center of one of Hespira’s sacred groves, perhaps one of the last remaining in the Dukedom of Caspia. You should be safe here, for now, while you do what is needed.”

My eyes widened as the Faerie urged me toward the tree. Hespira was the Goddess of Nature, Love, and Compassion. She was rumored to be one of the oldest of the Old Gods and the Fae were her chosen people. Still, the other part of what the Faerie had said concerned me most.

“And what is it that I need to do? I thought that you wanted me to get you to this Tarin’dol place?” I asked tentatively. I knew better than to make deals with the Fae without knowing all of the details beforehand. Even getting her to that far-off destination was seeming like a more difficult prospect with each passing moment though. The Faerie was weakening with every assisted step that she took and I had never left Evalis before, I had not even left the Dukedom of Caspia and this was the furthest that I had ever ventured from the city of my birth.

“We both know that I will not make it that far in this condition, young Kaelyn. This outpost should have everything that we will need for the task ahead of you,” the Faerie countered as she put her shaking hand upon the bark of the tree. Then I felt my companion using her magic as she said, “Naevus’ta kosa.

The bark of the tree split open, the gap growing ever larger until it was large enough for us to step through. I gaped in wonder at the sight and feel of what had just happened. This was not a Touched gift, this was true magic and I was seeing and sensing it for the first time. “Wha…”

My awed exclamation was cut off, as Sharai seemed to lose all of her remaining strength and collapsed into my arms. “Quickly… inside. The opening… will close in… a moment.” Hearing that, and seeing that the Faerie had no strength to use such magic again, I gritted my teeth and picked Sharai up in my arms for long enough to carry her through the temporary doorway that began to close almost as soon as we were through. Sharai was so light, and she was burning up with fever.

The interior of the great oak came alight with a half dozen ghostly silver faerie fires as I stepped inside, giving me a good look at the inside of the shelter. The interior of the tree had been hollowed out into a comfortable living space and the wood of the walls and floors looked so smooth that I was sure that the place must have been formed by magic. Stone steps to my left led downward but I ignored that for the moment.

Of more immediate concern to me were the four small wood-framed beds that were piled high with rushes, with woolen blankets atop for comfort. I quickly placed the weakened Faerie atop one of them to rest, cut off her soaked clothes with my hunting knife, checked the bandages, and covered her up with blankets to keep her warm. Then I shed my own sopping wet, torn, and filthy clothes and wrapped a blanket around myself in hopes to cease my shivering.

It seemed warm inside our current shelter but I needed to ensure that Sharai was taken care of, and I did not want to get sick in the process. If that happened, I would not be able to be of much help to either the Faerie woman or myself. The faerie fires seemed to be providing heat as well as light and I felt myself beginning to warm up under my blanket as I frantically searched for anything that might be useful. My eyes darted around the large living space, taking in cupboards filled with clay pots, bows, quivers of arrows, and what looked like clothes.

Surely the pots must contain healing salves and the like, or at least ingredients to make them, so I quickly headed for those. Some of the dried herbs I recognized as healing herbs; vervain, comfrey, mint, anise, basil, and feverfew. There were also a few that contained contents that were more questionable, deadly ones such as belladonna, and some things that I could not even identify. “You need me to make some sort of healing salve or infusion, right?” I guessed as I looked toward the Faerie in concern and hoped that she had not fainted from exhaustion.

“No, it is too late for that,” Sharai responded with a strained voice and a weak shake of her head. “I have lost too much blood, and the cold iron was inside me for too long and too close to my heart. I am dying; I can feel it. There are more important matters to take care of than fruitless attempts to save my life. If you wish to save my spirit, then please do exactly as I tell you. I am sorry, young one, but I must ask you to travel to Tarin’dol in my place, they must be warned of what evil has taken root in Evalis before it spreads further. If you do as I say and all goes well, I will remain in spirit to guide you.”

For a moment, I stared uncertainly at the silver-haired Fae. I had only gotten involved to save Sharai’s life. I was ill prepared for a journey into the unknown and although Sharai seemed to have good intentions, I had the feeling that she was being deliberately vague about what was needed. Which meant that she might be worried that I would refuse her. But it could also be that she did not have enough time left for explanations.

I hesitated, and Sharai could see it in my expression. “Please, I have little time left, Kaelyn,” she pleaded with a desperate expression on her face. “You helped me at great risk to yourself, now I ask you to help countless others, human and Fae alike. You are Touched, a descendant of a union between a human and a Fae. So, I ask you as kin, do as I ask and I will tell you everything that you wish to know when the task is complete.”

My eyes went wide at her revelation. The Touched were part Fae? A flash of memory came to mind from when I was a small child. A glimpse of my mother’s slightly pointed ears as she had taken my father and me to a grove, very like the one that I recently entered. We had gone to pay homage to Hespira, though few humans who still worshipped the Old Gods ever did so. Was that why this place felt comfortable and familiar? I had so many questions, and now it seemed that the only way that I was going to get answers was to help Sharai. “What do I need to do?” I asked.

I followed Sharai’s instructions as quickly and accurately as I was capable of while Sharai became weaker and her voice more strained with each passing moment. I took a mortar and pestle to the bed where Sharai laid and measured out ingredients under her supervision. Belladonna, vervain, wormwood, mint, feverfew, and comfrey were followed by a golden powder that Sharai claimed to be from the ground horn of a dragon. Sharai told me that the last was supposed to serve as a magical binding agent for what I was making.

Once all the ingredients were thoroughly ground and mixed, Sharai instructed, “Now you must add nine drops of my blood. From a fresh cut, my wounds were caused by cold iron and that could make the magic far less effective. Nine drops, no more or less, and then mix it all well into a thick paste.”

I pricked the Faerie’s left hand with the tip of my bronze hunting knife, followed the instructions carefully, and once I had a thick muddy-looking paste I looked again to Sharai. “What do I do with it now?”

“I must… infuse it with mana,” Sharai replied weakly. I placed the mortar with the paste into the Faerie’s hands and could sense a brief and very weak pulse of magic from the Faerie, who barely managed to hand the mortar back to me before collapsing back onto the bed several shades paler and covered in a sheen of perspiration.

“Now what?” I pressed, not wanting to waste words while Sharai seemed to be weakening further by the minute. I could sense a faint aura of magic from the mixture in my hands but I had no idea what its purpose was, much less what to do with it. For all I knew, I could have been required to rub it all over my body and dance around the room naked while chanting something in the Fae language.

“Swallow it… all of it.” When I heard those words, I hesitated. That mixture could very well be poisonous, given the belladonna that it contained and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to swallow someone else’s blood either. Sharai weakly insisted, “You must. Your magic is too weak; this will… bring out your true potential. Neva’kul will only submit to one with Fae blood, a strong will, and powerful magic… and there is no time… to find another. Please.”

The Faerie’s face was pale, her lips were turning blue and her breathing was haggard. Frowning, I scooped up the paste with my fingers, quickly took it all in my mouth, and swallowed. It was the worst thing that I had ever tasted and my stomach immediately attempted to reject it. I shuddered and had to fight against an overwhelming urge to vomit.

Then I felt a warmth flowing through me, a warmth that turned to a heat that threatened to consume me from the inside out as the embers of my magic were fanned into a roaring blaze. The discomfort in my stomach was briefly forgotten in that sudden inferno and I was only vaguely aware that Sharai had removed her sword from its sheath, was gripping the blade hard enough to draw blood, and was speaking haltingly in her own language. Her gaze then settled on me before speaking once again. “T-take… my sword… grip the blade… and swear… by blood, blade, and magic… to bind yourself to Neva’kul and… see its will done.”

I attempted to ignore the increasingly uncomfortable cramps in my stomach as I took Sharai’s sword from the Faerie’s shaking hands. As I had thought, the blade was long and slender with a slight curve to it, but three glyphs that I did not recognize were engraved in the flat of the blade and glowed with an ethereal azure light. My hand shook as I gripped the blade, and I winced it bit into my flesh and drew blood, which flowed along the edge of the blade to mix with Sharai’s. “I s-swear by blood, blade, and magic to bind myself to Neva’kul and to see its will done,” I repeated tremulously.

Holding the sword, I could feel the magic coursing through it. The magic had a will and it threatened to overwhelm both my mind and my magic. I gritted my teeth and pushed back with all of the mental fortitude that I possessed, pushing my own magic into the blade in an attempt to fight back. For a time, my mind was lost to everything but that battle as I pushed every bit of the magical inferno that now burned within me into winning. Something deep inside told me that to lose would cost me far more than just my life.

I was uncertain how long that battle of wills lasted but finally, the will of the blade stopped fighting me and I could feel its approval in my mind. Then the presence in my mind faded. It was not gone completely, I could still feel it at the edges of my consciousness, but that was when my attention returned to the world around me. I was in agony, a burning pain unlike any that I had ever felt before in my life, and I could hear the sound of screaming. Then I realized that the one screaming was me.

The excruciating cramps in my stomach had spread and were now shooting through my entire body in wave after wave of agony. It was like my skin, muscles, bones, and everything else were being stabbed, burned, twisted, and stretched all at once. Eventually, it faded to a feeling that was more like millions of ants crawling just beneath the surface of my skin. I was barely aware that I was on my hands and knees on the floor beside Sharai’s bed, the sword laying on the floor forgotten as I panted and whimpered.

Was it over? The hypothetical ants moved away from my face and extremities, leaving numbness in their wake as they all decided to migrate toward my upper back. White hot and visceral agony returned, focused on those two spots on my back, the pain causing me to arch my back like an overextended bow as I screamed once more. Something burst and warm wetness cascaded down my back and when the pain finally faded, I felt a strange brief buzzing sensation.

I collapsed to the floor once more, spent and shaking in exhaustion. I ached everywhere and it seemed that I was lying in a small pool of blood, but at that moment, I just could not make myself care. I was spent and there were far more important matters to take care of at the moment, such as fainting.

© 2022 - 2023 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved

Further chapters are available to the public on my Patreon page.

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Comments

Not sure I'm liking this one.

Not sure I'm liking this one. Sharai apparently started out with an outright lie, a number of prevarications, and refusing to actually tell Kaelyn that awakening her blood to fight the sword will involve a full metamorphosis. This is NOT a way to encourage trust between the Kaelyn and those in Tarin'dol.


I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

Sharai

Amethyst's picture

She did what she felt she needed to, she was dying and more will be explained later. You are also assuming that she knew that the concoction would cause a full transformation, which wasn't the case. It had never been used on someone not fully Fae before, but there are also reasons that Kaelyn in particular was affected in this way, as we will discover later.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

It's still poor decision

It's still poor decision making. The road to hell, and everything.


I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

Definitely

Amethyst's picture

It was a bad decision, more than one, but her time was growing short, her options were few, and she needed someone to take up her sword.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

No turning back

Amethyst's picture

Yeah, she's made a vow and she's been bound to it.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

I'm betting

Wendy Jean's picture

That he has been changed into a she, and a true Faye.

lol

Amethyst's picture

Kaelyn might not have looked extremely feminine, and could pass as a boy when needed, but she was physically female. As for becoming a true Fae, she did have that heritage somewhere in her family line, so maybe it's just coming to the fore now that it's been triggered.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Nice Refresher

My5InchFMHeels's picture

Having read this on Patreon, this is a nice little refresher. Seen a fair bit of Kaelyn's journey, and the chapters are short enough that a refresher like this makes other bits of the story just kinda give that "ah ha" moment.

Edit: It's also nice to have an illustration of what Kaelyn looks like. Not sure that we've seen that on Patreon?

Thanks

Amethyst's picture

I'm glad that the refresher is helping. The chapters are a nice manageable length to write weekly without being too short, I think. Nope the image hasn't appeared on Patreon and it took forever to get something that I felt somewhat captured her looks.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3