The Magical Key

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Chapter One

Verdant summer grass softened his footsteps on the top of the hill. The man meditatively viewed a splendid midday panorama of blue mountains and started descending from the hillside, down to a glen overgrown with fir-trees. Dark hair, dark eyes, a broad good-natured face. A grey suit and a jacket, a black satchel hanging on the shoulder, a sheath, unpretentious clothes of a knight-errant.

Suddenly resonant clanging of steel and gruff spiteful snarling became heard from behind the thicket. His hand on the hilt of his sword, the man hurried in the direction of the rattle. On a glade he saw a half of a dozen of loathsome trolls surrounding a young lady, trying to thrust at her with their lances and daggers. Malicious ugly muzzles, gnarled paws, shaggy heads, they were prevailing despite their clumsiness.

Her slim fragile figure was spinning around among the hefty slow-witted assailants, the flaps of her beige chamois-leather caftan fluttering, graceful manners in each swift gesture, in each movement of the glittering saber parrying all attempts to stab her. Two plaits of her blond hair were swaying and lashing her cheeks. Dark-blue trousers, a black belt with a circular silver buckle, elegant purple high-boots. Accurate noble features, cold indignation and resoluteness in her large velvet-blue eyes.

Straightway the man unsheathed his sword and dashed to save the girl unhesitatingly. Slashing and shattering the primitive artless panoply, he began to hew his way through the trolls towards her, his impetuous onslaught making the enemy squeal hoarsely and drop dead on the spot.

Meanwhile the lady deviated from a hurled lance and hit the head of the last presumptuous detestable monster with her saber cleaving the crudely-riveted helmet, iron bits scattered. The assailant gave a fearful whine, cowardly rushed away and quickly evanesced between fir-trees.

"It would be unwise to stay here," the man remained imperturbable when the thicket resounded with distant crackling of boughs, rattling of weapon and hollow growling of an approaching fierce horde, "the hills are infested with trolls."

"Thanks for your help!" She was trying to recover the breath, her voice turned out to be pleasantly melodious.

Looking around warily, their swords in their hands on the alert, the girl and the man retreated into the hanging branches at the other side of the glade and walked away through the dense forest.

"My valiant guardians took to their heels at the sight of the danger," a disdainful irony hardly dissembled a shade of a grievous disappointment in her intonation, "if you wonder why I am alone in the wilderness..."

"Well, I'll be glad of your company," he pronounced lively, manifestly trying to hearten her up, "I am Andreas, entirely at your service!"

"I am Lynette," she calmed down a little, but coldness lingered in her eyes, "we have to reach the town, but not along the main road."

Round the nearest hill they heard a mountainous river roaring, came out of the forest and saw the wild waters foaming and lapping between grey polished boulders, sparkling in the sunlight. They crossed a lush meadow with blossoming yellow and white flowers. Lynette leant on the hand of Andreas not to lose balance when fording the splattering stream, jumping from stone to stone and trying not to wet the tops of the high-boots.

Then they stepped onto the pebble strip and were about to ascend the slant strewed with large cracked bits of rock, but at that very moment a loud sinister howl echoed over the river dell. A dozen of trolls emerged from the woods, tramping the meadow, brandishing lances and halberds, and rushed into the water, plopping and splashing, slipping off, trying to get to the opposite bank quickly.

Andreas didn't let the first brute climb out of the stream without hindrance, met him with the saber hewing the lance shaft in half, the sharp iron tip dropped off. The stupid monster perplexedly stopped staring at the useless splintered stump in his paws, then pulled a dagger out, but one more lightning-like movement of the sword glittered smashing his ugly head too, and the waves took the dead troll away.

Lynette picked up a big oval cobble, swung her arm and hurled the stone violently, and it thudded into the forehead of one more assailant, toppling him down.

Still the other impudent brutes kept on attacking them, baring their fangs menacingly, getting nearer wading through the water, outflanking them inevitably.

All of a sudden arrows started swishing in the air overhead, piercing the screaming monsters. Lynette and Andreas looked around and saw several archers in dark-green suits, long fair hair being arranged in tails, young faces. Swiftly flicking new missiles out of their quivers and bending the bows, they were shooting uninterruptedly over and over again from between the rocks.

"Elves!!!" the trolls hoarsely bawled in horror and shrank back, but well-aimed arrows gave them no faintest chance to escape. The stream dragged the dead beasts out of sight, cleaning the landscape.

Lynette and Andreas sheathed their swords. He helped her to ascend the cliff, holding her hand, chivalrously supporting her when stones crumbled underfoot, and they came up to the archers.

Фелис Моретти

#33 in Fantasy
#4 in Action fantasy

Story about: dwarfs, elves, knights

Edited: 11.08.2019

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