The Nestals (Chapter One)
The night had an unusual chill. A man sat on the doorstep to the entrance of a huge fortress. He could hear sounds made by creatures unknown on the opposite side of the river bank, but other than that there was complete silence. He was troubled. They had been guarding this tower for the past one week, but tonight felt different. Unable to contain his worries, he stood up and spoke to a man patrolling a long corridor inside,
“Hey you! Guard here for some time. I need to see Garen.”
“Aye sir”, said the man, and he came over to the doorway.
And so, the first man went inside the tower and entered the room at the far end of the corridor. As he entered, he looked at the orange circular band around his right wrist. He might need it soon.
“Ah Fromir!”, exclaimed the man sitting in the room. “I thought you were guarding outside tonight”.
“I was. But I had to see you. There is something bothering me Garen.”
Garen raised his eyebrows, “And what might that be dear friend?”
“I don’t know exactly, but I get the feeling that something bad is going to happen soon”, said Fromir.
“Oh, common Fromir! In my opinion, this whole guard duty is a waste of time. We have been here for more than a week now, and nothing, I mean, absolutely NOTHING has happened. It is getting really boring. And why does Marvellin think that he will attack this tower of all.”
“Marvellin never gets anything wrong”, retorted Fromir. “And who knows, maybe Stelminthas is trying to lull us into a false sense of security, and strike at an unexpected time.”
“Whatever you say, I won’t stay here for another week”, said Garen. “And even if he strikes, we won’t give this away without a fight right.”
“Well you can say that”, said Fromir. “After all, you have the red band”, he added, taking a look at the red circular band around Garen’s right wrist.
“Please don’t tell me that the BRAVE Fromir is scared because he only has an orange band”, said Garen. “My dear friend, it will only be a matter of time before your band turns red. And if Stelminthas himself comes here, I don’t think this red band is going to be of much help”.
“Enough of this”, added Garen. “Let’s talk about something else. Don’t you miss Riwana and sweet little Goldor?”
“You don’t even need to ask that Garen”, said Fromir. “You know how much I love them. I never wanted to leave her and my one-year old son and stay here, but as Marvellin says, duty comes first.”
“But what about me Fromir? This is the time she needs me the most, and I would have given anything to be with her ”, said Garen.
“Hmm...how is Veila?”, asked Fromir.
Garen gave a broad smile. "Well…you know...she...at this time...you can expect Garen junior any moment now!"
“O! So you are sure it’s a boy huh”, said Fromir with a chuckle.
“Yes I am. And I would like to be there when he opens his eyes”, said Garen.
At that moment, the door to the room was thrown open, and a guard ran in.
“What is the matter?”, asked Garen.
When the guard spoke, there was fear and panic in his voice, “We are under attack sir!”
Both Garen and Fromir sprang to their feet.
"How many are there?", asked Fromir.
"Ab…about 20, sir", replied the guard.
“We’ll make them pay for what they have done. None of them should leave this place alive”, said Garen fiercely. There was no smile on his face now, but sheer determination. He quickly ran across the room to the corridor where the fight had already begun. Fromir followed him with the guard.
Around twenty people wearing dark brown robes were attacking them from everywhere. All of them had an orange circular band around their right wrist, and they kept shooting orange jets of light from those bands.
Garen looked at his soldiers. Most of them had yellow bands, only one or two had an orange, and they were clearly struggling to keep away the attackers. Garen realised that it was now upto him and Fromir to save this great fortress and the treasure that they were guarding. He raised his right arm and aimed it at one of the attackers. A red jet of light shot out from it and hit that soldier on the chest, and he fell to the floor, unconscious. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Fromir shooting orange beams of light at their enemies. The intensity of the fight increased with time and it continued for another 20 minutes. Garen noticed that except for him, Fromir and two soldiers, all their men were down, either dead or unconscious. Around eight enemies still remained. Garen shot another light beam at one of them.
At that moment, the main door of the fortress was thrown out of its hinges, and in walked a man. His mere presence seemed to have taken away all the happiness in the world. He was well-built, and his body was covered with a metal armour thick black in colour. He also had a black cape that made him look even more dangerous. On his face was a black mask, which covered his entire face except his eyes, mouth and nostrils, and he had shoulder-length hair, which was also pitch black. Around his right wrist was a black circular band. He looked at his enemies and laughed mercilessly. And when he spoke, it sent shivers down everyone’s spines,
“I value bravery, but I don’t think you will be able to resist much now. Surrender this place to me and flee, and your lives will be spared.”
Both the remaining soldiers ran away without looking back. But Garen and Fromir stood without fear.
“You’ll never take control of this great fortress Stelminthas!”, shouted Garen ferociously. “We will guard it with all we have got, or die trying!!!”
A wicked smile curled around Stelminthas’s lips. “So be it! You have sealed your fate”. And he sent a black jet of light from the circular band on his right wrist, which hit Garen, and he flinched in pain.
“YOU DARE!!!”, shouted Fromir, and shot an orange jet of light at Stelminthas, who deflected it with another black jet of light.
“You are no match for me you fool!!”, shouted Stelminthas, and his voice echoed everywhere. Stelminthas sent a jet of black light at Fromir, which hit him on the forehead, and he fell to the floor, unconscious.
“FROMIR!!!”, cried Garen, and sent a red jet of light at Stelminthas with all his might. This one hit Stelminthas on the stomach, and he moved two steps backwards clutching his stomach. But he reacted so swiftly that Garen barely had time to move. The black jet of light hit Garen near the heart and he fell to his knees.
“You’ve become much stronger than I expected Garen, but this is the end of the road for you”, barked Stelminthas. “Time to end this”, saying so he directed another black jet of light at Garen. This one was so powerful and intense that everyone had to close their eyes. The light hit Garen fully on the face and he fell backwards, dead.
“GAREN!!! NO!!!”, Fromir had gotten to his feet.
Stelminthas started laughing, a laughter which was filled with madness.
“So Fromir, shall I sent you with your brave friend?”, saying this he sent a black jet of light at Fromir’s right leg. Fromir roared with pain, and fell to the floor clutching his right leg, which seemed to have gone numb.
“Kill him too master!” said one of Stelminthas’s soldiers.
“No!”, shouted Stelminthas. "He should live to tell Marvellin how I killed his most powerful warrior, and took his heavily-guarded treasure”.
Fromir had gone unconscious by now. “Take him and his dead friend, and lay them on the other side of river Arder. They will be my gifts to Marvellin”, said Stelminthas, running his fingers over his mask.
Four of his soldiers bowed, and carried the two bodies out of the room.
“The Jewel of Gebrion...is MINE!!”, shouted Stelminthas triumphantly, and his soldiers roared with delight.
© 2018 Rick Jones