Remnants of an Un-concluded War- Inspired by a tale of a character living in the world I am slowly creating.
The road was well worn, the mud having been baked in the sun. Imprints of previous horse hooves and footprints forever cut into its surface. Coran could see how it cut through the grass and bent towards the forest where it forked into two paths. The path into the trees was well lit and it looked like a serene ride but he knew it would add at least a day to their journey. The other path led in almost a straight line to the village of Arlin where they needed to be.
“Why are we not taking the direct path?” Coran asked as his guide rode on ahead with his donkey. The guide flicked his head up and looked down the direct path and Coran could see the man shudder.
“No one goes that way.” He said and Coran furrowed his brow.
“That’s absurd, why not?” Coran asked in amused disbelief. The guide pulled his donkey to a halt so Coran stopped his own steed, a rather more impressive grey stallion with a flowing black mane and tail and feathers that covered the horse’s large hooves.
“We would have to travel through the night on that path,” The guide glanced over his shoulder. “It’s dangerous, m’Lord.”
“Is this more local superstitions?” Coran raised a thick eyebrow at the man who looked at Coran as though he was the one being ridiculous!
“At night a thick fog envelopes that road, you can’t see your own hand before your face.” He held up his hand as though to further his point. “And you don’t wanna get lost down there. The ghosts will get you.”
Coran’s nostrils flared as he restrained his annoyance. “Ghosts?”
“You must know about the battle, m’Lord.” The guide said with wide eyes. “Centuries ago one of them wizard folk stumbled into the forest. There he was found by the Queen of the Moon elves. The two, they say, fell in love and ran away together. The King of the elves was furious to lose his wife, as well any man ought to be.” The guide snickered and Coran held back a roll of his eyes. “And you knows how them wizards and Moon elves hate each other anyway. So he gathered an army and went after the wizards. But they, with all their magic, was hardly defenceless. The battle lasted five months until the Queen and her wizard lover returned. They wanted to stop the fighting but the King and the Wizard leader was just looking for an excuse to fight. So they kept fighting until the Queen was killed in the crossfire.” The guide’s eyes seemed to fill with sympathy for the Queen’s plight. Coran was unmoved. “Her wizard lover exploded with rage and he cursed the Moon elves and wizards who had caused her death.” The guide pointed to the path. “It’s them that haunts the road, their hatred living forever in the mists that rise at night, never finishing their war.”
There was a long silence as the guide seemed to wait for Coran’s response.
“Oh, fine.” Coran groaned as he let out a long sigh. “We will take the path through the forest.”
“Thank you, m’Lord.” The guide said in a relieved tone. Coran nodded his head, the superstitions of the common folk being but silly tales to him.
Yet as they rode towards the trees Coran felt someone watching him. He looked over his shoulder and caught his breath. There was nothing on the road now but for just a second he thought he’d seen…
No, no! Coran shook his head of the thought. There had been no one.