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THE LEGEND OF THE CHOSEN ONE:
BOOK I: HOPE WITHIN
written by Aelyva
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Chapter 4: The Archer Beskytter

Beneath the candle bed
Two souls with everything yet to be said

'Two For Tragedy' - Nightwish

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They had been walking for four hours and still the forest didn’t seem to end. Allison wanted to ask Valaki if he knew where he was going, or if they were lost, but she didn’t dare. He probably wouldn’t appreciate her doubts over his ability to lead. In general, men hated having their sense of direction doubted. Maybe it was a rule applicable also with non-human.

Still, Allison couldn’t wait to get out of the forest. They hadn’t met any animals, but that didn’t mean there weren’t any. Being surrounded by trees all around her made her jumpy. At every little sound, including the wind whistling on the leaves, her heart started beating faster, no matter how many times she told herself it was just the wind. Besides, her feet hurt. She had never walked so much in her entire life.

When I’ll be back, I’ll never complain again about having to take the bus and the metro…

A sound behind them made Allison jump, a different sound than the ones she had gotten used to hear – she was beginning to get good at recognizing forest sounds - and she was about to warn Valaki when she realized it wasn’t necessary. He had heard it too. He already had his sword in his hand and stood in a fighting stance.

There must have some nasty animals for Valaki to get ready that quick. She at least learned that for the past hours. And right now, Allison wished she had some sort of weapon too. Just to feel more secure since she had no experience with any kind of weapons. A sword would be useless to her, but she’d feel better with one.

But you don’t spend money on a sword just to make someone feel better. So all she had was her fists. Not very encouraging. And not very useful against some giant bear or worst.

A figure appeared from the bushes but it wasn’t any kind of animal. It was a man. Human, from what Allison could see. He had dark brown hair cut short and chocolate brown eyes. A three days beard covered his cheeks and chin, and seemed to be taller than Valaki. He was wearing a long, dark green cloak that covered everything he might wear under it. He was holding a long bow in his hand, a quiver full of arrows strapped on his back.

Valaki relaxed his stance but didn’t let go of his sword. The man didn’t look hostile but it seemed he wasn’t taking any chances.

“It’s not every day I see travelers in this part of the forest,” the man finally said after a long inspection of the two travelers.

“We’re on our way to Wolke,” Valaki answered lightly. “You’re often in the forest?”

The man shrugged. “I live here, in a small cabin not far.”

Allison grimaced at the thought of anyone living in this forest. She didn’t understand how someone could like living here!

He chuckled at he read the expression on her face. “I’m an Archer. I don’t like towns much. By the way, I’m Beskytter,” he presented himself with a smile. He seemed to have decided they were safe.

“I am named Valaki and this is Allison.”

“Allison, eh? Strange name.”

Allison frowned, feeling insulted.

Beskytter smiled. “Didn’t want to insult you, but it’s not a common name ‘round here. But it’s original, I’ll give you that. But anyway…the two of you look tired and hungry. It’ll be my pleasure to share the deer I caught earlier with you.”

Valaki and Allison accepted, and Beskytter leaded them to his small cabin that was his home. They settled down outside, close to the cabin. Beskytter made a small fire, the deer he killed suspended over by a rope hanging from the nearest tree. The three sat around the fire, Allison and Valaki on one side and Beskytter on the other, facing them.

Allison was surprised – and happy – to find out it tasted good. She never ate deer on her world, so she couldn’t compare the tastes, but it was good. It wasn’t steak, but Allison didn’t complain. They didn’t talk much, but it was a pleasant silent. Allison felt good for the first time since she took a step into the forest.

In the middle of dinner, the food in Beskytter’s hand was suddenly replaced by his bow without any warning. Allison first thought he was turning against them, that he waited for them to be relaxed around him to kill them, but his eyes weren’t on them, but on something behind them.

In union, Allison and Valaki jumped on their feet and turned around.

“U-Ubel,” Allison said, eyes widening. The Hobgoblin that started this mess stood in front of them, grinning. She had never thought she would see him again, but now that he stood in front of her, she felt a sort of rage inside her. First, he tried to kill her. Then, he tried to trick her by asking for a bit of her blood. Maybe it was just as good that she didn’t have a sword because if she did, she would have probably done something foolish. Something she never thought herself capable to do.

“Hello, Chosen One. You seem surprised to see me. I did say that we would meet again soon.”

Valaki growled and took a step forward, pushing Allison behind him. “Who are you working for?”

“I think you already know the answer, Guardian,” Ubel answered. “I was willing to let the girl live in exchange of some blood, but now that she’s here, it isn’t possible. She’ll have to die.”

“I think not.”

“I knew you’d say that.” He brought forward his weapon. Gone was his small axe. He now held a long sword. The blade seemed to be made of metal or some similar material and it ended with razor teeth. The handle was golden, with the picture of a dragon imprinted on it. It looked elegant and very dangerous at the same time. “Meet my new partner, the Sword of Nightmares. We’ll see how good you are against it.”

“You fool,” Beskytter said, his first words since Ubel’s appearance. His eyes were fixed on the sword, as if he’d seen it before. “It is not in everyone’s right to use that sword. Haven’t you heard the stories? It is a wonder someone as stupid as a Hobgoblin managed to get his hands on it…” He muttered the last part under his breath.

Ubel shrugged. “Who cares about some stupid stories? Now, are we gonna keep talking or are you ready to fight, Guardian?”

“I’m ready.” Valaki jumped forward, his red sword in hand. He blocked easily Ubel’s sword and immediately switched to offensive. The Sword of Nightmares blocked his attacks better than his axe had, but still, he was better than Ubel, no matter the weapon he used.

But Ubel seemed to have gain confidence from having such a legendary sword in his hands. He powerfully swung his sword toward Valaki who, surprised by the quickness of his opponent, barely managed to stop the sword from cutting his head off. With a grunt, Ubel pushed with all his Hobgobling force on the sword, making Valaki stumble back. He then thrusted his sword down, smirking.

Valaki easily evaded the attack and met Ubel’s sword with his. He had met and fought people much stronger than Ubel. He could admit that Ubel was stronger and smarter than most Hobgoblins, but an Hobgoblin remained an Hobgoblin in the end.

His sword connected with Ubel’s one another time. Ubel pushed once more on the sword, but this time, Valaki didn’t move at all. Soon, his sword started to glow. A red light suddenly illuminated the evening and blinded Ubel, who moved back from shock, trying to shade his eyes from the disturbing light.

A satisfied look on his face, Valaki took a small step back, to prepare for his next attack, but before he could move, an arrow flew pass him and hit Ubel in the chest. Ubel grunted and another arrow penetrated in his shoulder before he could move.

Not wasting any time, Valaki swung his sword, and plunged it in the Hobgoblin’s heart. Blood dropped on the ground from his three different wounds. Valaki withdrew his sword and at the same time, another arrow hit Ubel on his forehead. Ubel fell on the ground, his yellow eyes wide.

A moment later his eyes closed and life left his body.

Allison turned away from the body. Hobgoblin or human, a dead body was still a dead body. And besides seeing some on TV, it was the first real one she saw. And it was completely different from TV. She tried to breathe normally. She had never seen so much blood before. She concentrated on her breathing, not wanting to vomit in front of Valaki and Beskytter. She tried not to think about all the blood that splattered on the green grass.

Unable to hold it anymore, she went on her knees and threw up on the ground. It was the last arrow that did it. The way his mouth had twisted, the way his eyes had turned in their orbit…

Did they have to kill him? He was going to kill her, but that didn’t mean she wanted him dead. He did gave her the chance to live…that had to mean he wasn’t that bad, right? An evil guy would have killed her, no matter what. She had felt rage toward him, she even thought that if she had a sword, she would have attacked him herself. But she wasn’t sure she would’ve been able to now. She highly doubted she had what it took to kill a man…no matter the race. Maybe at the last moment, she would have backed away.

If they had been on her world, would they have gone in prison, even if it was self-defense? Would she’d be accused of murder complicity?

But you’re not on your world. Laws are different here. With different laws, you get different people.

Valaki came to stand next to Allison, his pale blue eyes on Beskytter who had another arrow ready. “Thank you for your help.”

Beskytter finally lowered his bow and put back the arrow with the others. “No problem. I never liked Hobgoblins…”

Valaki nodded and turned his attention to Allison. “Are you all right?” He handed her a handkerchief.

Allison took it gratefully and wiped her mouth. Her mouth was dry but she felt better. She hated the fact that she appeared weak in front of the two men and promised herself that it would be the last time. Never she would throw up again at the sight of a dead body.

“I’m fine. Just not used to witness people getting killed.” She took a deep breath and got up. The world didn’t blur and her legs supported her weight. Good. Enough weakness for one day.

“Don’t feel bad about it,” Beskytter said. “I did that too the first time I killed a deer.”

Allison blinked. Somehow, she couldn’t imagine Beskytter doing that, but she doubted he said it just to make her feel better. He didn’t look like the type to embarrass himself for no good reason. She gave him a small smile.

“Now, I hope you won’t mind if I ask a few questions about what just happened.”

Valaki sighed. He didn’t want to involve anyone else, but he knew Allison and he couldn’t win by themselves. As good as he was, he still was only one man. Besides, he trusted the archer. Not only because he helped them defeat Ubel. It was more than that. His experience for judging people at first look. Every vibes in him screamed ‘good’. “I will answer them.”

“Explain why he called the girl ‘Chosen One’.”

“Because she is. Surely you heard of the famous legend of the Chosen One, the one destined to destroy Gevaar once and for all?”

“Of course I heard of those stories. But it’s been so long…To me, it was just a legend, nothing more.”

“It is much more than a legend. Gevaar is awakening once again; that is the reason behind her presence here.”

Beskytter glanced at Allison, who was uncomfortable by the topic. “You’re talking about her like…she isn’t from around here….Ah of course, the strange name…I should have known,” Beskytter realized.

“Yes, she is from another world,” Valaki answered as if it was a common thing.

“You said Gevaar is re-awakening…does that mean the war from 500 years ago could start all over again?”

“He’s sealed up. There are only two ways to free him. One, by gathering the five stones which are the keys to open up the cave, but they can’t remove the stones from their hideout, only the Chosen One can. Or two…by using the blood of the Chosen One to remove the spell.”

Allison choked, shock written on her face. So, that’s why Ubel wanted her blood. It all made sense now. “You never mentioned that!”

“It’s not going to happen.”

“That’s what you say!” Allison declared, anger rising. But it fell down the next moment. “I guess it doesn’t matter now…”

Beskytter gravely faced them, resolution in his eyes. “I would like to join you on your journey. I’m one of the best archer in the country and you could use my help.” He smiled slightly. “Maybe I’m a little tired of always being in the forest, doing the same routine every day. It could be an interesting adventure.”

Valaki looked at the man and his lips formed a smile. “Your help would be welcome.”

Allison smiled at the older man, happy to have another companion. Traveling with Valaki wasn’t bad, but she already felt better knowing they wouldn’t be alone anymore. Her eyes moved to Ubel’s body, a lump forming in her throat. Would there be more coming after her? After her blood?

Gathering her courage, she walked over the body, her eyes trying to avoid it. With determination, she took the sword he had been using in her hand. It was heavier than she thought. But maybe…

“Do you think you could teach me how to use this?” Allison asked Valaki innocently.

Valaki looked up at her and something passed in his eyes when he saw her holding the sword. Shock, surprised…fear? It was hard to read him, but she was sure of the shock. Beskytter had the same expression on his face.

“What?” She finally asked them, her foot taping impatiently on the ground.

“Foolish girl,” was all Beskytter could say as his eyes were fixed on the sword in her hands. “Foolish girl…”

“What’s the big deal with me holding a sword? I just want to learn how to use it, so I can defend myself better! Is that so bad?” she asked.

Valaki sighed. “That sword…isn’t an ordinary sword. Because of the stories behind it – stories that could be true – even the best swordsmen refuse to use it. Cursed, possessed…it is not for nothing that it is name Sword of Nightmares.”

Allison gulped and dropped the sword as if it had burned her hands. “I...it doesn’t count if I just held it for a moment…right?”

“It is even worst if you discard it. You are, I am sorry, stuck with it.”

Allison grumbled and picked it up. “Fine. Am I supposed to carry it like that?”

Beskytter sighed heavily. “I have shelter that might fit. You’ll be able to carry it on your back. I’ll go fetch it.”

Allison sat down next to Valaki and sighed as Beskytter entered his cabin. “Do you think the sword is going to curse me?”

“There are stories. No one knows for sure if they are true,” Valaki said, trying to comfort her, a thing he wasn’t very good at. “But the stories also say that a strong soul could manage to master the sword…”

“So…am I a strong soul?” Allison asked, doubtful.

Valaki shrugged. “Only you can answer that question.”

She looked at him, not knowing how to take what he just told her. What did it mean exactly? That only she knew her soul? Did she know her soul? She sighed, but she knew she wouldn’t get anything else from Valaki on the subject.

She caught his tail moving a moment with her eyes before it disappeared from her sight. It reminded her that she was far from home. But she just had to look at the moonless sky to know that.

She wondered how her grandmother was doing. She hadn’t been gone long, but she already missed her. She wondered if it was raining, if the weather was hot or cold, if her grandmother was all right, if Marian was pissed with her for not telling her on the phone she was leaving…

“You miss your world.”

It wasn’t a question. He could probably read it on her face. He seemed pretty good at reading her. She would have to work on it. She never liked being an open book.

“Yeah. It’s different here, there’s no moon…I miss that.”

Valaki followed her gaze to the sky. He had seen the moon on Earth, that rather small white sphere. He had also noticed how there was only a sun. He supposed he could understand, although he would never miss such small details.

But she wasn’t like him. She was different. Human, for starter. A human from another world. Maybe their moon was something important for them.

“You will see it again.”

Such a simple phrase, yet so comforting. Allison gratefully smiled at him and focused again on her observation of the sky.

I promise.

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The next morning, they woke up as the sun rose and quickly exited the forest, a new companion with them. Beskytter proved to be a wise, but quiet traveler. Allison soon learned that he didn’t like talking about his personal life and had to restrain her curiosity. Not a big improvement over Valaki, whom she knew absolutely nothing about expect his name. She didn’t even know his race, since he wasn’t human, as he liked to remind her. She didn’t dare ask him.

But Beskytter did. They had been walking silently for awhile when Beskytter asked the question that had been in Allison’s mind since she saw his tail.

“Tell me, Valaki, you aren’t a human, are you?” Beskytter blurted out of the blue, surprising Valaki with the question.

Maybe he just noticed the tail, Allison thought, dryly. Valaki had been right when he told her he could keep his tail out of sigh when he wanted to. When people didn’t know what to look for, they could easily miss it. But Beskytter seemed to possess piercing eyes that never missed anything. An Archer quality surely.

“…Yes, you are right. Is it important?”

Beskytter shrugged. “Not really. I am merely curious. I rarely had any contacts with other races, although I have read about many. If you don’t wish to answer the question, then do not. I will not hold it against you. It is your right to have secrets.”

Valaki gave him a smile. “It is not such a big secret. It would be an easy answer to search in a book. I am a Balans.”

Allison frowned at the name. That didn’t tell her much. It seemed that Beskytter was as much in the dark as she was.

“I don’t recognize the name,” Beskytter said, thoughtful.

“I am not surprised. We…always were very discreet, so very few books mention us.”

Beskytter nodded. “What about that red gem on your hand? What’s its purpose?”

Valaki held his hand in front of him, looking at the gem. “It is…a channel for my powers,” he explained in a low voice.

Beskytter nodded again and wisely decided to drop the subject.

They walked in silence toward Wolke. Allison, trailing behind them, kept going back to what Valaki said. She knew a bit more about him, but it confirmed what she thought: he didn’t like to talk about himself. Beskytter had been tactful to drop the subject. She realized that she wouldn’t have dropped it. Tact just wasn’t one of her qualities.

“We are here.”

Allison didn’t even realize it before Valaki stated it. She took a few moments to observe the town, the second one she visited since she arrived on Leven. Wolke was a much bigger town than Nerim, and the rural feeling of Nerim was gone. The houses were the same as Nerim, built in wood, but bigger and close to each other. They were perfectly aligned and looked all the same to Allison.

But no matter how bigger than Nerim this new town was, it still wasn’t Montreal. She missed Montreal. She never thought she would feel that way. After all, Key West was her hometown.

Refusing to think about anything related to Earth right now, she followed Valaki and Beskytter in the town.

After passing numerous streets of nothing but houses, they reached the small market square, which was crowded with people doing their shopping. Valaki took a step away from them. “I have something to take care of. It shouldn’t take more than an hour.”

“Fine. I’ll be at the tavern,” Beskytter replied, without asking any questions. “You coming?”

Allison shook her head. “I’d like to explore the town a bit.” Valaki remained silent a long moment and Allison, shifting weight from one leg to another, was starting to get nervous. “It’s not like something can happen to me! I’ll be surrounded by people and you’ll be gone just an hour.” She felt like a child asking her mother permission to go out to play.

Valaki sighed. “Very well. But be careful and if you see someone suspicious, you go to the tavern. Clear?”

Allison rolled her eyes but nodded. She watched them go in different directions and she suddenly felt nervous as she looked around. Since she got on Leven, Valaki had always been with her. It was the first time she was alone. But no matter how anxious or nervous she felt about that fact, she needed that time by herself.

She noticed, as she walked around the market square, that no one was paying attention to her. To them, she was just another girl who was looking for something to buy. She was wearing the same cloths as them and her physical appearance was similar.

She crossed her arms close to her chest as she walked around. She wished Marian would be here. She’d probably joke about the cloths, complain about the size of the shops and look around for a souvenir.

It was really too bad that she couldn’t buy anything. She didn’t have any money. She never thought of asking Valaki to lend her some. But what was a little souvenir compared to save the world?

Allison was tired of walking. That was what they did today, and yesterday and the day before. Maybe she should have gone with Beskytter. Finally, she didn’t like being alone in this world. She felt…too lonely. With a sigh, she headed back to the point where they parted way, hands buried deep in the pockets of her shirt.

To them, she was just one of them. But she never felt more a stranger than now.

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Even during the middle of the day, the small tavern was full. Full of people, full of noises. Beskytter tried to ignore them all as he drank his ale in a dark corner. But it was all he could concentrate on. The noise. Even his drink couldn’t help. It usually did. Now it only put him in a bad mood.

He narrowed his eyes as a group of people at a nearby table roared with laugher. Fools. He was thankful that his new companions seemed to be comfortable to travel in silence.

His new companions.

He wasn’t sure what to think of them. He knew the reason he followed them. Too long he had remained in the forest, trying to ignore the past. But he only delayed the inevitable. They gave him a reason to leave. They would travel a lot, in search of these stones Valaki told him about the other night. He would never find a better occasion to search for him without being obvious.

Valaki intrigued him. He never heard of his race before and he had read countless of books in his youth. He said his race was discreet. He could believe that. A few other races remained discreet. But to the point that no books mentioned them…it bordered on suspicion.

It wasn’t all that important. Maybe Valaki lied. Beskytter didn’t really care. As long as they didn’t ask questions, he wouldn’t as well.

He took a long dip of his ale and brusquely put down his glass. The girl…that little girl was the Chosen One. To put such a task in the hand of a child…It was evident she had no idea what awaited her. It was also evident she was an innocent. No blood tainted her hands.

Sadly, Beskytter believed that it would change soon.

If on the way he could help them, he would. As long as it didn’t drifted him away from his objective. He would help them as long as he could but one day, he would leave when he’ll find his trace.

With a sigh, he got up. Leaving the girl alone in a town she didn’t know wasn’t a good idea. Even in the middle of the day danger lurked, no matter how peaceful the town was.

He realized he would feel guilty if something happened to the girl.

Once again.

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She wasn’t lost. No, of course. How could she get lost in such a town of that size? It was nothing compared to Montreal. Wolke could be a small neighborhood of Montreal. So, no, she wasn’t lost at all…

Everything looked alike. The houses, the streets, the people. She was never going to find the tavern like that. She probably passed in front of the same houses ten times already and she never noticed!

Taking a deep breath, she tried to remain calm. Panicking wouldn’t help. She had been lost before in Montreal. She always managed to find her way back. No reasons why she wouldn’t be able to here.

Looking around her, she noticed that there seemed to be less people on the streets now. How far away from the market was she? Allison finally spotted a woman with flaming red hair walking slightly in front of her. She ran to catch up with her before she went out of her.

“Excuse me. Can you tell me where the tavern is?” Allison asked in her most polite voice.

The woman first looked surprised, but then her dark blue eyes narrowed to slits and she made a hissing sound. “What the shit are you?”

Allison backed away, shocked. What happened? She merely asked for directions and the woman looked ready to kill her!

Never the thought of taking the sword strapped to her back crossed Allison’s mind.

“…you think I’m going to let you? You’re wrong! You’ll regret ever coming here!” The woman spitted.

She’d been talking and Allison hadn’t heard half of it. It became clear, though, that somehow, the woman knew she wasn’t from this world. What she didn’t know, was that Allison didn’t come here to cause harm, but to save it.

She wasn’t sure she’d believe her if she explained it.

“Listen, I-“

“Shut up! Name’s Belle. Remember it because I’m the last person you’ll ever see.” She smirked and raised her hand.

Allison went flying into a wall. Her head made a thudding noise as it hit the wall. The world blurred, but she remained conscious; she was going to have one hell of a bump though. The woman – Belle – hadn’t touched her. How the hell did she do that?

I’m in deep shit.

*~*END OF CHAPTER*~*

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Written: April 29, 2003
Last revised: November 01, 2004