The Book of Fawla – Episode 2
“But I’ve been gone for weeks. My family has no clue what happened to me.” Kate threw her hands in the air. “I didn’t ask for any of this. I just wanted a good book to read, not get sucked into one.”
“That may be the case, but we didn’t ask to be invaded either,” Kreelan spat back.
The crowd started gathering around them. She shook her head and shooed them. “Go away.” But, of course, while they deferred to her for anything else, not even elves could resist watching somebody having a meltdown.
“What do you want me to do, Kreelan? I don’t know how to fight. I don’t know how to control my power. I got lucky out there. Can I make the armor again? Will it do my fighting for me again?”
“I don’t know, princess.” He looked down.
“Oh, for crying out loud. Don’t go back to calling me that.” She shook her head. “My point is, I don’t know either. I can’t keep protecting you. I’ll get myself killed out there.” She pointed through the hole in the wall, visible from the wreckage of Regkor’s house.
“You will have to train, Kate. We provoked the goblins. If we stand down, how things were before will seem like a pleasant dream compared to the future we will face.”
“Who will train me?” She shook her hands in front of her, as if choking an invisible foe. Her voice started rising. Kate knew she was getting hysterical, but she didn’t care. Kreelan opened his mouth, but she wouldn’t let him talk. “Well, answer me.”
“You? What do you know about fighting? You never fought before yesterday. Somebody else? Who here in Zanor knows how to fight? Who in all of Fawla has been in any kind of battle before?”
“Kate.” Regkor spoke up from her right.
She spun around. “What?” She shouted.
He took a step back. He trembled from her outburst. “There is one.” He looked down.”
Kate softened. She hadn’t meant to scare him. She held her hand out and pulled his chin up. Softly, “There is one what?”
He looked her in the eye. She curled her lip into a faint smile as a way of apology. “There is one who’s fought. He fought in King Farrel’s army at the start of the war. He returned to Wanco a few years ago. Nobody really knows why. He’s been a bit of a recluse. Not terribly popular in peace-loving Fawla. Some say he even knows some magic. If anyone could help you, it would be him.”
Kate bit her lip. “I don’t know. Regkor what would you do if your found yourself in a strange land and over your head and presented with a chance to go home?”
The last traces of fear at Kate’s demeanor vanished. “Why, I’d want to learn everything there is to learn. Read everything there is to read. Know everything there is to know.” His smile stretched from ear to ear, showing the incredibly perfect teeth that all the elves seemed to have. Regkor said that the elves had innate healing and nature magic but few knew how to use it anymore. Kate thought their real power was perfect dental health.
Kate felt herself smiling more. Aside from his ridiculous grin, he had a point. She’s been reading about worlds like Fawla since she was a little girl. Why should she turn away from the opportunity to explore one with more than just her imagination?
“Where is Wanco?”
“To the East,” Kreelan answered. “About a week’s walk from here. Too far.”
She made a face. She squinted into the evening sunlight. The sun traveling backwards had been yet another thing to get used to. “You people really need to invent cars. Or at least horseback riding.”
Kreelan opened his mouth. Kate guessed he would ask her what those things were. Her plant magic translated words but not concepts. Times like that really brought home the fact that they spoke different languages.
“What would you have her do, Kreelan?” Regkor took up her defense. “We need her, but we need her trained more.”
“Then make this fighter come here.” Kreelan crossed his arms. This idea made sense to her. The elf would be used to walking. A week’s worth of walking was more than some humans she knew did in their entire life.
“From the scrolls I’ve received, I don’t think he’s left his home in years.”
Kreelan frowned. “It’s just too far. If goblins attacked, we’d be dead before Kate could come back to defend us.”
The crowd parted as Trippy came forward, licking blood from his chops. He came from the direction of the battlefield, where a few of the elves were still working on burning the dead. Their fallen had been collected but the goblins were being tossed in a mass grave. Kate didn’t want to think about what Trippy had been eating.
Trippy head-butted her thigh, nearly knocking her over. Kate still did a double-take whenever she saw her hair or the cat’s size, but he didn’t seem to realize that he was any larger than he had previously been.
Kate looked the feline over. He was almost the size of a pony. Kate wasn’t a particularly large woman. “Hmm.”
She patted Trippy’s side and she positioned him in front of her. As if intuiting what she wanted, the cat crouched down. She swung her leg over his back and lowered her weight onto him. She patted his back and he stood.
Kate grabbed onto his fur as she rocked side to side from the motion and her feet lifted off the ground. She would need to fasten some sort of saddle to ride for any length of time, but this could work.
Trippy purred between her legs. “How fast would it take if we rode?”