Andragar

Alice, an Introduction

Short story

Hey everyone, I have a little teaser short story to post since we won't be able to play for a few weeks, and I want to keep the hype fresh. This is actually my first attempt at writing a story in first-person viewpoint, so leave me some feedback on what I might be able to improve upon for my next attempt. Thanks!

            In front of me sprawls a beautiful landscape; Endless, rolling fields of trees and flowers stretching out as far as my eye can see. In disbelief, I stroll through this dreamscape, stopping to kneel in front of a patch of red and white colored flowers. Picking one from its home, I inhale deeply, experiencing an aroma of fruity scents. I feel a smile creep across my face, as I’ve dreamed this dream many times before, each time walking through the same location. Usually, old friends warmly greet me, collectively agreeing to walk with me across the fields. This time, however, something was wrong. My friends were missing, and the bright, summer sky slowly morphed into a pitch-black darkness.
            Feeling uneasy, I rose from my crouching position, noticing a light breaking through trees in the distance. Approaching this light, I look in horror towards the spectacle before me. Directly ahead are the remains of a burning village, flames roaring into the night sky. Scattered around the blazing buildings lie the bodies of its inhabitants, all of them charred to a crisp, faces twisted in agony. I feel sick, and I panic, but I begin to walk through the fire mechanically, unable to stop myself. One foot after the other, I reach the center of town, gazing towards a woman standing within a ring of fire. She is a tall elf, purple-skinned, with white hair and narrowed green eyes. Her gaze locks with mine, and a malefic smile stretches across her face. “Well, well, well.” she says, slowly. “If it isn’t the guest of honor. You’ve kept me waiting long enough, dear.” My panic turns to pure terror. Without hesitation, I sprint out of the village, running as fast as my legs will take me into the woods nearby.
            A knot forms and twists inside my stomach. Who is this lady and why do I feel like I’m in such danger? This is a dream, right? My breathing becomes ragged and my side pounds uncontrollably, every inch of my body begging me to stop. Suddenly, I feel my foot connect with a stray branch, sending me crashing onto the forest floor. Everything becomes dazed and blurry, making it difficult to concentrate. As my vision comes into focus, I freeze. In front of me, the elf advances forward, sword in hand. I try to get up, but without warning, my legs refuse to move; feeling as if someone placed weights upon them. I crawl backwards, but make little progress as I feel a hand grab my shoulder, forcibly turning me upright. The elf woman positions herself overtop of me, and brings her face close to mine, letting loose a hideous cackle. An exploding pain resonates throughout my abdomen, and I scream as I feel blood spilling out onto my dress. The world around me fades and I slowly lose consciousness, the elf’s jovial expression burning painfully in my mind.
            A dull pain washes over my body, waking me. The events of my dream flood into my thoughts, and I cry quietly, pulling the bed covers over my eyes. From the darkness, I hear a door open, followed by footsteps nearing my bed. Peeking from underneath my nest, relief washes over me as I spy a familiar individual now seated in a chair to my right. I know the features all too well. Though his tall, looming frame appeared intimidating to me at first, I am always put at ease by the deceptively young and angular features of his face, betraying a kind of softness. His coal black hair had grown, stopping just short of his shoulders, and I cannot help but once again be drawn into his strange eyes: ruby red, and slashed through, like a cat. He glances over my figure, stopping to meet my gaze. “Alice,” he said, his tone heavy with concern. “are you alright?” His voice snapped me out of my daydream, and I take stock of my surroundings, confused towards how strange he is acting. The area is large, every wall lined with a bookshelf and strange paintings. Along the back wall rests a large oak desk and a fireplace, crackling warmly and giving off a radiant amount of heat. The realization dawned on me that I was no longer in my bedroom where I had gone to sleep last night, but now resided in my father’s study, my bed haphazardly placed in the center of the room.
            “Dad—” I started, moving out from underneath the covers. I gasp; my stomach burning in pain at the movement, urging me to halt. “What… is going on? Why am I here?” The look on my father’s face briefly flashed into anger as he rose from his seated position. He began to pace the room, turning his back towards me. “Alice. You mean to tell me, that you have absolutely no recollection of the events that transpired last night…?” His voice trailed off into a whisper, which worried me. All I can remember of the night before was wishing my mother goodnight and heading off to bed. There is a long pause before I muster the courage to reply. “No, I don’t. I went straight to bed.” My father turned towards me, his hair morphing into a pale, white color, which is a trait that both my father and I possess when entering a highly emotional state. He walked towards the bed and seated himself once again, gazing deep into my eyes. “I want you to look into a mirror, and tell me what you see,” he said, expressionless. I was puzzled, and a familiar feeling of nervousness swelling inside of me, tightening my throat. I struggled against the pain of my stomach and forced my body out of its horizontal position, using Dad’s shoulder as a crutch. We walked to the nearest restroom, and I propped myself against the sink as I peered towards my reflection, searching for the disparity my father hinted at.
            My appearance, I thought, had always been lackluster. My skin is pale, my body small, and my blonde hair always too long and messy to do anything special with. My one redeeming quality lies in my eyes, large and blue, the pupils slightly vertical, like my father’s. It wasn’t long before I noticed what was different about me. The mirror did not show the girl I am most familiar with, instead reflecting an image of me with white hair and ruby-red eyes. I felt sick, my unease continuing to deepen. “I—I don’t understand,” I said, disbelief coursing through my body. “This has only ever happened when I use magic. Why now? What are you not telling me?” My father seemed to be fixated on something beyond the walls of the small bathroom, and it took a moment for him to reply. “Something very terrible happened to you last night. You were—” Before he could finish speaking, an enormous, thundering pain resonated throughout my body, causing me to cry out in agony. I felt my balance waver, and before I knew it, I was tumbling into the floor, my vision beginning to darken. “Alice?! ALICE!! WESTON, SEBASTIANANYBODY, PLEASE!” I could hear my father screaming out for help, but his voice sounded distant, as if he were far away. A low drumming sound beats in the back of my mind, growing louder as I slip into unconsciousness. I recognize it as the mad cackle of the elf from my dream, terrifying me as I fade into the darkness.  

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