We are about halfway into the story, so I thought it was time to share another scene with you. Main characters are always running into obstacles, it’s what we do to them, but when that obstacle is a fear the we force our characters to grow. Keep in mind, this is first draft work.
Rika padded toward the river, head low and ears alert.
“Let’s just find someplace else to cross.” Tova’s voice was shaky.
“Where’s the courage I saw last year?” Keysa asked her.
Rika had slowed and was sniffing the ground in front of her, creeping forward slowly. Her nose was just about to the rock that Tova had been sure moved. Rika suddenly jumped back and both elves gasped as spindly legs started to unfold from the rock.
“tortanak…” Tova whispered.
“What?” Keysa was just staring at the rivers edge as the creature pushed itself up off the ground.
“River spiders. They come to the river to lay eggs and will protect them with their lives, oh, and they’re poisonous too.”
“Spiders.” Keysa stood frozen as she watched more of them unfold and stand. There were six of them standing along the shore now.
Tova nodded again. “What’s wrong Keysa?”
Keysa actually took a step backward. “I hate spiders. I would rather see Nahhir again.”
“As long as you don’t get bitten by one you’re fine.” Tova drew her sword. “We can do this.”
Keysa stared at the tortanak as the started to move, frozen to the spot, a distant look on her face. Rika was slowly backing away from the creatures unsure what to do and not getting any direction from Keysa.
“Keysa!” Tova yelled, taking a fighting stance but looking worried about being the only one.
Keysa’s fists were clenched into tight balls and her heart thumped in her chest. She took another step backward. She wasn’t doing nothing though. She was feeling the wind, but she was too much of a wreck to draw in any magic.
“Keysa!” Tova hollered one more time before moving between her friend and the spiders. The first one came in range and Tova swung, the blade grazing over the hard shell over the abdomen. Rika too had decided to help keep Keysa safe and was engaged in an exchange of blows with one of the spiders. All this Keysa saw but didn’t see.
Spiders. They could have been anything, but they were spiders. A scene played in Keysa’s mind, a scene that kept her from helping her friends. She was remembering the day as a child she had climbed into a hollowed out log and crawled through a nest of spiders. They had scurried all over her body, she had been covered in them. All she had been able to do was curl up and cry as the spiders explored the invader to their home. An immeasurable amount of time had passed as she screamed for help until her brother had come to pull her out. Even then he was there for her. Where was her brother now, where was level headed Kalin?
A scream from Tova shattered the scene in her head. Keysa blinked her eyes and took in what was going on around her. One of the tortanak had it’s fangs in Tova’s leg and she had fallen backwards, desperately whomping the thing with her sword. Rika, who sported several scrapes from the pointed ends of the spindly legs, leaped into the thing, at least managing to dislodge it from Tova’s leg. Tova tried to stand again and whimpered in pain at the attempt.
Her friends were hurt. She had done nothing.
Keysa backed away from the scene a few more steps, then stopped. She planted her feet and threw her arms out to the sides. Her eyes narrowed as she looked over each of the creatures, each one advancing on her and her friends.
This had to stop now.
It was time for her to be the strong one.
For the second time she reached into the wind. She had seen Kalin do it, she had felt him do it. Little by little her fingers began to tingle, then her arms and it slowly spread through her. She knew the tingle, she was drawing in magic. She tilted her head back and looked to the sky, opening herself to the power.
The torrent of it flowed into her and if she had thought the earth had been a well of magic the wind was even more so. She was filled with it now and struggled to maintain control, to not be swept away by it. She could understand now why her brother, who had never used magic before, had such difficulty with it.
Now, what to do with it. She swung her arms out in front of her and pushed the wind out. A new wind blew, a wind created by her and it flowed out in front of her. Rika had already felt what she was doing and had limped over to stand beside her, but her friend was still in the path of the wind, still trying to fend off the tortanak. Keysa drew her arms closer together, and with that action narrowed the blast of wind that flowed out of her. She had created a focused lance of air and now picked of the spiders one by one. Tova pulled herself out of the path and slowly started to make her way to Keysa.
Keysa moved the air lance to the nearest of the tortanak. At first it only slowed the creature and Keysa pushed more magic into it. The force slammed into the creature lifting it off the ground and throwing it into the river itself. She drew back on the power and aimed for the next one, opening herself up once again and blasting that one too. She picked off each of the spider creatures this way, leaving them to struggle in the river’s current and be taken away.