Sunday, February 12, 2012

XII: The Pursuit of the Phinëal

This started off as a poem but it quickly became a vignette with a life of its own.

A girl in a crimson cloak ran through the forest clutching a bundled infant. She was pursued by a pack of wolves, their long tongues lolling out over vicious fangs.

The girl stumbled and fell. The wolves closed around, their eager eyes intent on their helpless prey. The girl huddled with the infant against a sprawling oak tree, and appeared to be whispering words rapidly to herself.

The largest of the wolves, a black sinister beast, growled low with dark pleasure as he approached. His snarling companions moved aside to let him draw nearer to the children. Jaina could smell his ghastly breath, but she continued, with head down, to pour forth her fervent invocations.

The black wolf raised his head proudly and spoke: "At last - the Phinëal of the World!"

Jaina looked up with sudden boldness into his evil yellow eyes: "Begone, foul devil - we have powerful friends!"

"Oh yes - and where are they now, my dear?" he said, grinning.

He moved his hideous fanged mouth down to snatch away the bundled babe from her arms.

The infant stirred and began to cry.

A jolt of terror passed through the lesser wolves and they backed away.

"Fools!" said Gurn the Black, for indeed it was he: chief lieutenant to Vorhist, the Scourge of Mankind. "Victory is ours this day!" His companions raised their snouts and began to howl with glee.

The haughty and fierce demeanor of Gurn as he savored the prize within his grasp was terrifying to behold.

But his expression quickly changed to that of terror when the immense oak tree behind the children was quickened to life. A cavernous maw suddenly opened in the truck and let forth a tremendous roar!

Some of the wolves immediately yelped and turned to flee, but they were caught up by thick oak-arms and hammered brutally to the hard earth.

Gurn, having recovered quickly from his surprise, stood resolute with a few of his bold comrades, and growled ferociously.

The oak opened two large furious eyes which held Gurn's gaze fast in spite of himself.

An expression of true fear passed onto Gurn's face and he was as if frozen, spellbound.

Jaina shut her eyes and pressed the infant close to her, as the forest was filled with a tumultuous noise of rushing tree limbs, twisting, yelping, breaking, howling, tearing, pounding - then silence.

She slowly opened her eyes. On the ground there was a multitude of scattered leaves and piles of fur and bone. The tree had straightened back up, and the limbs were gently swaying in the light breeze. She turned to see the tree-face, but it was gone.

She let out a sigh of relief and sat up. She looked down at her little brother, who now appeared as calm and contented as ever.

"Well, Ilanu, that was close - too close." The infant smiled up at her.

Jaina heard a soft clink behind her and turned to see a hinged door opening in the tree.

She backed up to see a small very wrinkled old man, about three feet tall, emerge. He was dressed in woven oak leaves and had small vines plaited in his grey hair and beard. He looked up at the children with bright brown eyes and then at what was left of the wolves. He chuckled to himself and said, “well, that’s that!”

He then looked again at Jaina and Ilanu with sudden solemnity. "You had better come inside now,” he said. “The Enemy has suffered a small setback here, but he will soon strike again - and much heavier this time, for we have injured his pride - we must hurry!"

The door closed behind them as they entered the tree. Any trace of the door vanished, as a deep rumbling could be heard far in the distance.


Theron Mathis said...

now that sounds like the start of something interesting

Todd said...

thanks Theron - I may end up continuing it, lots of great things come to my mind to bring into the tale.