Zachery Matthews

THE GROVE (PART 1) by Zachery Matthews

Moonlight shone down on the lake sporadically broken by the branches overhead. It was perfectly clear and still though a gentle breeze ruffled nearby branches making leaves whisper to one another in the night.
Two figures silently rose from the middle of the lake and made their way to the bank. Not a drop of water rolled off of them, instead it glowed with the glimmer of moonlight and a pale blue light as it slowly penetrated their bodies. Neither was frightened by this as they made their way up the sandy bank.
Zalor listened to the sounds of his home, noting that everything sounded peaceful and harmonious. He nodded in satisfaction. He’d been gone for over a month and sometimes things could bother the creatures of his little kingdom but had that been the case one of his animal friends would’ve been there to tell him if something had been wrong, that is if he didn’t sense it first. This was after all his grove, built, grown, and nourished over the years by him and his goddess as he grew in strength, wisdom and power.
His companion bumped against his side with a snuffle. He grunted looking over.
“You are most certainly not hungry.” His voice held wry amusement.
Chaca resembled a brown bear only twice as big with opposable thumbs on his sharply clawed pads which made riding him silent and fighting him deadly. His white eyes glowed with an intelligence far beyond that of a normal animal.
Chaca snuffled again. “Ahh, now that makes sense.”
One of the many secrets he’d learned over the years was how to properly maintain a pool. With the right knowledge one could travel great distances, be fully healed, scry for some hidden object or person and any number of other useful skills. Assuming that one was a Druid or possessed the proper knowledge. So it was that he knew Chaca wasn’t hungry for before they traveled he’d paid the token price to the foreign dryad that guarded the distant pool they had used to heal and feed them during their journey.
Zalor looked over at his companion. They’d been together since they were both young. But where he’d been left in the care of great parents Chaca was a rare beast one didn’t often find just roaming around. There were no other latiranes in his grove, nor should there have been as they were extremely aggressive and territorial, which suggested that this female had traveled far indeed looking for a mate. And now his friend was looking to woo her?
“Well, go head then, don’t let me stop you.”
Chaca licked his cheeked and loped to the wooden house hidden in the trees before shrinking down in size enough to clear himself of the gear strapped to his back. He left it laying there then sauntered off to fade into the darkness of the forest.
Zalor smiled into the night, gave a silent prayer of thanks to his goddes then took care of their gear before heading off to bed for a well earned rest.
xxxx
Zalor’s head shot up as the feeling of intrusion hit him. Someone uninvited had just crossed over the latter limits of his grove. He quickly dressed in a motley of leather and moccasins with an assortment of bags on a belt pouch before saying a spell which covered him with a layer of bark-like armor. A magically enhanced bow and quiver went across his back, a scimitar hung at his hip and two daggers hid perfectly in the armor at his wrist hilt first.
A groundhog met him when he stepped outside. He listened carefully as it chittered in distress. He spoke another spell and his form flowed into that of a groundhog. Together they took off towards the disturbance at a run he would not have been able to match as they shot down into a burrow.
He mentally contacted Chaca but found him sleeping and peaceful. Chaca would come if summoned but for now Zalor wanted to figure out the problem for himself.
Bibbity stopped at the opening of a burrow but chittered his refusal to go any further. Zalor questioned him quickly trying to ascertain the danger but could only learn that it wasn’t a predator but man size. Zalor carefully made his way out into the forest around the entrance. In the distance he heard what sounded like battle. Transforming into a hawk he flew towards the disturbance. This part of his grove was the newest addition and thus didn’t share all of the protection that the older parts did.
He landed in a tree a the edge of his territory. Outside two figures fought an amazing magical battle. His anger was peaked immediately, though, due to their lack of respect for the amount of nature around them. One sorcerer threw a fire ball which the second deflected with some type of screaming missiles that shattered and burned the nearby foliage.
They were on a beach not far from the sea of Caridigan but he could tell they had no idea they were harming the land around them. He looked closer. One was a female with the features of a fairy while the other wore scales and sharpened teeth of something lizard-like in a humanoid form.
He hesitated to intervene, not knowing who was right or wrong, but he refused to watch while the land was damaged anymore so he cast a heavy spell which made the waves crash and the sky darken with the threat of rain. He focused. Soon clouds were pouring rain down on the scattered flames.
But his spell proved distracting for as the sky darkened the lizard was able to blast a spell past the blue fairy’s defenses. He heard her cry out as she was thrown back further into the forest. Now she was fully in his territory with Lizard stalking slowly towards her. She scrambled to her feet and he noticed one of her gossamer wings was broken in several places. He wanted to help but caution kept him hidden. A sorcerer, let alone a lizard sorcerer, wasn’t an opponent he could take on lightly…

Zachery Matthews #209462
970 Pickett St.
Bayport, Mn 55071
email Zachery Matthews #209462 @jpay.com

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