Tuesday, September 05, 2017

I Love Dialogue - Alton and Velda

A twig snapping nearby caught Alton's attention and he swiveled slightly toward the sound. A man stood a few yards away. For him to be that close, he must have incredible woodcraft. It wasn't something that most humans were capable of. In fact, he didn't know of any, in all his wide travels, would could accomplish that feat—sneaking up on a wood sprite in the woods.
"Who are you?" he said, rising slowly, glad his sword was near to hand. He drew it, slowly, holding it casually in his left hand.
"I let you hear me, Sprite. Do I look like a fool to you?"
Alton tipped his head, nodding. "Yes. But I'm willing to cast aside first impressions."
"The more fool you for engaging me when my friends come up behind you."
"You mean the burly fellow with fetid breath to my right behind and the slow one with the club foot who's trying to sneak up quietly to my left? Or do you mean the idiot in the tree with a longbow? Awkward choice."
"A lone wood sprite thinks he can take on four of us?"
"Four to one? The odds aren't evenly stacked, are they?"
"Surrender now, and we'll leave your ears—maybe."
"I meant," Alton snickered, weaving an intricate pattern with his sword. "Not evenly stacked—for you."
His foot shot out, kicking the club footed man like a mule. The oaf to his right got a fist to his balls. Alton grabbed the man in front of him, swinging around before the bowman could get off his shot. The bow snagged in the branches and he dropped his arrow. The quiet man struggled, all feet and elbows as he tried to free himself.
Alton chuckled. "Boy, you picked the wrong man to attack." He shook his head. He shoved the young man from him, tripping him so he fell on his knees. "Go home, child. And next time, send a man to ambush me."
"I'm not a boy! I have lain with women...."
"One, perhaps—paid in full, was she? Just because you can use your pecker doesn't make a man of you."
The young man rushed him, coming in low and fast, quicker than most humans. Alton braced himself, lowering his center of gravity and met him. The boy impacted with Alton's firm abdomen. Gasping for breath, he tried to topple the wood sprite. Rather than wasting anymore time, Alton brought his elbow down on the boy's back, knocking him to his knees once more.
"I can do this all night," the wood sprite bragged.
The boy struggled to his feet and rushed the wood sprite once more. A knee to the face bloodied him, but didn't stop him. The third pass, Alton held out his hand and held the boy by the forehead as he swung useless fists at the wood sprite's midsection. With another blow to the back, Alton dropped the boy. Stepping carelessly, he put his foot on the young man's neck and pressed his face into the dirt. He gave a glance at the friends, but they had run away somewhere early on in the skirmish.
"Do you have a death wish?"
The boy squirmed. Alton increased pressure and the wiggling stopped.
"Do you have a death wish?" he repeated very slowly.
"No!" the boy roared. Getting a mouthful of dirt, he coughed and sneezed.
"Didn't anyone tell you that attacking a well armed wood sprite was a sure way to die? Or did you think your fae blood would save you? Even three quarters, or half, you are no match for a full blooded fae, especially one who's lived as long as I."
"You're just a kid, barely my age!"
The words were blurred and muffled by the loose dirt, but Alton made them out well enough. Laughing caustically, he let the boy go.
"Son, you're an idiot as well as pathetic. Don't you know that fae don't age like humans? I'm far older than I look. How old are you?"
"Sixteen."
Alton chuckled. "I am nearly ten times that. Can you count that high?"
Rubbing the dirt from his face with his sleeve, the boy blushed.
"Thought not. Never assume you have the advantage."
"You did."
"Because I didn't assume, I knew. Now, had you and your friends been as well trained as me, I might be the one bleeding and covered in dirt. A man traveling this road may seem an easy target, but would I be traveling with only one companion if I weren't fully capable of taking care of myself?"
"Companion? I see no companion." The young face hardened, his aspect changed slightly. "While my friends and I distracted you, Old Man, someone's made off with your friend."
Alton's eyes narrowed and the hair rose on the back of his neck.
"Do you think that even an ignorant farm boy wouldn't have more sense than to attack a full fae, even with four to one odds? Never assume you have the advantage."
Alton spared a quick glance for Revanth. His bedroll was there, tumbled around. A scuffle had ensued. While the boy distracted Alton, someone had made off with his companion.
"Gods balls! Who sent you?"
"Who do you think? My mother says hello." In a blink, he was gone, disappearing into the woods as if he'd never been.
"You haven't won, Rialtia!" he bellowed into the darkness. "You will never win!"
A mocking laugh echoed around him, melting into the darkness.
As he gathered up their scattered belongings, Alton tried to make contact with Revanth. He could only assume his friend was unconscious, because each time he met with only silence. Leading Revanth's steed, he followed the unique, lingering scent of his formerly horsey friend. Distinctive, it stood out like a beacon among all the other smells.
"I'm coming, brother," he cast out to the shadows of the night. "I'm coming."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes


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