My daughter had to write a story for her coursework, she was limited to a tight word count but this is what she came up with. I promised her I would post it on her so that she could get some feedback from you, my lovely readers 😉 so here you go. I hope you enjoy, if you do please leave a comment and/or a like either here or on FB.
Much love and thanks,
Almaria by C.M Warner
Moonlight bled through the heavy dark clouds. A thick, cold fog surrounded Almaria making it practically impossible for the young woman to navigate the uneven ground. Thorns from thick, overgrown brambles tore at her legs, seeming as if something was biting and clawing at her. Every twist and turn in the Wayward Forest looked the same, everfree trees loomed high over her making her feel small. The more she ran, the more panicked she became, the more she knew she had to escape. Escape the face that had been haunting her nightmares since she was twelve. The face of a creature so ancient, a being from a dark dimension, that went by the name Dolemore.
Twigs and leaves tangled in her long, jet black curls as dirt and debris stained the hem of her ankle length, white nightgown. Tears of fear welled in her dark blue eyes as she continued to run; her breath appearing before her in the frigid air in short, ragged puffs.
Due to the fog covering the ground Almaria failed to notice a log lying across her path, her foot slipped under the log as she ran forward. Pain shot through her left leg as she fell. She tried to stand but the pain made it almost impossible. Realising she could run no more she began to crawl as quickly as she could, dragging her injured leg behind her, yet still the fog made it impossible to see what was in front of her. The pain she felt was excruciating forcing her to stop crawling, leaning against a nearby everfree tree the world began to fade before her eyes. Tears of pain, fear and exhaustion blurring what little vision she had as she resigned herself to her fate being sealed, her escape now impossible. Dolemore had simply been waiting for her to exhaust herself, or worse injure herself in her attempt to escape his clutches.
‘I won’t fall asleep’ the young woman thought adamantly ‘I, Almaria Morlei, the last apprentice of the great and powerful Selsaf will not…’ She jerked her head in a poor attempt to wake herself up. ‘Will not… fall… asleep…’ Feeling her strength ebb away from her she gave in to her body’s demand, closing her eyes and drifting into the welcoming darkness, forgetting her fears of capture as the light faded from her eyes.
When she woke she found herself staring up at a heavily decorated ceiling. Panic engulfed her body like a wave pulling her under. She sat up quickly and began to take in her surroundings. She was lying on a huge mahogany bed that was covered with red silk sheets; opposite the bed there stood a large, hand carved wardrobe. In the centre of the room there hung a beautiful crystal covered chandelier and in the corner of the room she saw something that startled and confused her… a small elfin girl.
The girl has silvery blonde hair that fell to the floor, she was a dainty thing with the largest green eyes Almaria had ever seen and when she spoke her words came out in a flurry, “You are awake.” Although the words were spoken quickly the voice had a musical quality, twinkling and harmonious, as beautiful as the girl the words had fallen from.
“Where am I? What is going on? Who are you?” Almaria hadn’t wanted all her questions to come pouring out at once and it appeared she had intimidated the girl before her for a brief moment. “You are in the castle of the late elf king Culard” her voice gained a cautious edge to it “You were brought here by the castle’s new lord and master, Dolemore.” The mention of his name caused a shiver to travel up Almaria’s spine. “And I am Lotia, I am gifted with The Sight” as she finished speaking Lotia smiled, showing a set of perfect, white teeth.
Realising that the elfin girl meant no harm Almaria beckoned her closer. “Lotia you said…” taking a deep breath she choked out the rest of her sentence “Dolemore, when he brought me here what happened? Did you see?” The beautiful girl stared at her blankly for a few moments before answering. “He sat at your side brushing the twigs and leaves from your hair, humming the lullaby for the moon softly.” She felt her cheeks heat as she heard this but if the young girl noticed she didn’t mention it much to her relief.
“I must go Dolemore will be eager to hear you have woken.” She stated before walking towards the door. Just as she was about to open it she turned and looked at the dark haired woman on the bed, her green eyes staring almost into her soul. “I have seen what will happen and I’m sorry.” Giving a sad smile the elfin girl left the room closing the door softly behind her.
Alone, her thoughts swam in her head. ‘What now? Could she escape?’ Before she could even begin to formulate answers for either of her questions the door once again opened with a soft click.
The light that shone from the corridor seemed to give the man in the doorway a halo but like him it was false. She could not deny that the man before her was handsome; he was tall and muscular with tanned skin. His hair was black and spiky and he had the deepest brown almost hypnotic eyes. Slowly he made his way across the room, his eyes drinking in the woman that lay before him. “You’re awake, good.” He sat down on the edge of the bed next to Almaria, as he placed his hand on her cheek she flinched away. Undeterred he leaned closer and whispered, “How’s that ankle, hmm?” As he spoke a golden light shot from his fingertips, threading its way towards her injured ankle before wrapping around the swollen joint. As the light faded so did the pain she felt. Turning her head away she refused to look him in the eye, if she did she knew she would never look away.
“Now, now Almaria” annoyance laced the demon’s words, “Is that anyway to repay my kindness?” His hand reached out to turn her face towards his.
“P-please let me go.” Almaria stuttered quietly, not out of fear but because he was so close to her.
“Go?” Dolemore laughed loudly, “Why go? You can be a queen, if you stay.”
“My queen” He breathed softly, placing his hand on her shoulder. Flushing a gentle pink she slowly and cautiously moved closer as he leaned in to her. A small voice resonated in her head, ‘Stupid girl, this is what he wants, you to fall under his spell. To corrupt you, this creature so foul he was banished from the nightmare realm. Cast out by The Nightmare lord, the most evil and feared demon of all. Wake up Almaria!’
The voice screamed at her, a voice that seemed familiar but she didn’t have time to dwell on why as she felt his lips skim across hers. She realised her time was almost up; the creature from her nightmares was pulling her under his control. Reacting instantly she shoved him away from her, clambering off the bed she rushed to the door.
“Such a shame” his eyes glistened maliciously “I tried to bring you to me willingly now I will force my control until you are mine!”
Twisting the door knob desperately she tried to escape but it was no use the door was locked. Casting her mind back to her lessons with Selsaf she remembered an opening spell, turning to face the door she blocked the vision of Dolemore transforming. The once handsome man was growing taller, almost appearing to fill the room, his deep brown eyes changing to become a lively, fiery red. Raising her hands she called out the incantation, “Frebos hecate ambiento noros!” With the spell cast she risked a glance back into the room, watching in horror as his back split releasing huge, black, bat-like wings that extended from his shoulder blades. Just as the wings stretched out engulfing the room in shadow the heavy door burst open allowing her chance of freedom.
Her dirtied, white nightgown rippled as she ran through the now dark, narrow corridors of the castle. However, despite her best effort to escape she seemed to get nowhere. Suddenly she heard a roar, a roar of certain death and no mercy, Dolemore’s battle cry. A surge of fear coursed through her, pushing her to run faster and harder. When he appeared in the corridor behind her he filled the narrow corridor, the look on his now demon face terrifying and merciless. With a wave of his taloned hand she was thrown by an invisible force into a suit of elfin armour, blood dripped down from a fresh cut to her head landing on a shiny elfin sword, as the east ran towards her the sword glowed with silver light. Feeling a sudden rush of courage she picked up the sword, staggering to her feet she pointed the weapon at the charging demon. He leapt forward as if not seeing the sword, knocking Almaria to the floor. His blood red eyes widened and he staggered backwards with the sword impaled deep in his chest.
An agonising roar tore from Dolemore, seeming to shake the castle’s very foundations as he pulled the sword from his vast chest. Blood poured from the wound as he collapsed to the floor, there his eyes searched for Almaria, eyes filled with pain and fear. Trembling she walked closer, watching as he once again transformed into a man. Kneeling down beside the once feared demon she ran her fingers through his hair, softly singing the final words of the lullaby he had hummed to her.
“And know not of heartache, fear nor gloom, when I dream I’ll, I’ll fly away to meet you soon, sleep, sleep, sleep.” With one last shuddering breath the man before her grew still. The demon she had feared yet loved was dead. With his death the sun would finally rise over the land of eternal darkness.