Darkest Star, Brightest Shadow

There are some times in life where even the brightest of stars can become so dark and corrupt, that they are unstoppable. It is at this time of peril that a nobody, an insignificant little shadow, must step up to face the enemy. Umbra. Umbra must step up, and become the brightest of all shadows...

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9. Forcefield trap

Aquila found himself flying backwards, thrown by some invisible force. And then he smashed hard against a tree, every bone in his body aching. Aquila's first thought was that goblins had caught up. That though filled him with dread. Goblins? With no Umbra to save him this time? Aquila almost screamed. Then, he realised that there were no goblins. Nothing that could have thrown him that far. Groaning in pain, Aquila picked himself up, Silver whining in concern. Aquila winced, then put a hand on Silver's back to reassure him. He walked forwards slowly, his hand out before him. Suddenly, a pain entered his hand, like the one that had hit his body before. Aquila jolted his hand back, realising that he could go no further. There was some sort of barrier preventing him from leaving the forrest. Looking closer, Aquila saw that there was a faint blue wall there, exactly where the barrier was. Aquila walked along the barrier, speeding up his pace. The woman needed help. She needed a healer. Aquila could heal, yes, but she was wounded so badly that Aquila knew she wouldn't survive if Aquila was the only healer in the forrest. Soon, Aquila was running. Searching for even a tiny break in the barrier. But the forrest was huge. Aquila could depend on Silver to make sure that he didn't get lost, but if the barrier circled the whole forrest, then it would take days to go round it. And there probably wasn't a break anyway. Aquila looked back along the barrier, wondering if he should just give up and go back. Or maybe...

"Silver, can you go around this barrier to see if you can find any gaps? If you find any goblins, do whatever you have to do. Lead them back to us if you can't escape. Howl for help. Okay?" Aquila asked his best friend, looking deep into the animal's beautiful blue eyes. There was trust in Silver's eyes. Trust, not much else. Nodding his head once, Silver bounded off along the barrier as Aquila headed back.

 

Aquila appeared without Silver, his eyes showing worry and anxiety.

"There's a forcefield surrounding us." Aquila said to Umbra. "I sent Silver to see if there's any breaks in the wall." Umbra paled.

"So... There's no healers for this girl?" Umbra asked. Aquila shook his head gravely.

"Just me." he replied, crouching at the assassin's side. Umbra came over, and stood behind Aquila.

"You can heal? I... I never knew. And the assassin... She's just a girl, about the same age as us. Much younger than I thought." Umbra told his friend. Aquila gasped, and looked closely at her face. He realised with surprise that it was indeed true: she was just a girl.

"Wow... She was so skilled for her age." Aquila murmured. His eyes were looking at her with awe. He couldn't believe that she was no older than eighteen. So young for a deadly assassin of her power and ability. Umbra nodded.

"So, do you think you can heal her?" he asked nervously, glancing at Aquila.

"I... I don't know. If I can find the right herbs, perhaps, but if I can't, then... then her chances are slim." Aquila admitted. "Stay with her to make sure that she doesn't get attacked by goblins, and I'll get the herbs? Make a bed for her out of fresh leaves, and make a little shelter for her. And gather all the dropped weapons you can find, then stash them under some more leaves. The goblins can't find their weapons. They might attack us again." Aquila instructed, taking charge all of a sudden. Umbra simply nodded, and watched as his friend got up swiftly, on the search for herbs. Soon, Aquila had disapeared from veiw. Umbra looked briefly at the assassin's face again, before starting his task. A little sunlight flittered down from the leaves, one patch lighting up half of the girl's face, making it look even more beautiful. Beautiful but deadly. Umbra searched the clearing, finally finding what he had been searching for. Soft, smooth leaves, perfect for the assassin. However, the best of these leaves were high up in the tree, too high for Umbra to climb. He glanced around, dark brown eyes scanning the clearing for a throwing axe. If he could just slice off a few branches, the assassin could heal in comfort. Umbra collected three of them. He aimed carefully, and then threw the axe with deadly accurucy. Umbra smiled in triumph as a branch came falling from the tree, filled with the leaves that Umbra needed. He aimed again, throwing another axe. This time, the axe only cut halfway into the branch, leaving it hanging loose. Cursing, Umbra threw again. This time, his aim was better, and the branch came tumbling down from the tree, freshly sliced. Umbra moved over to the axes that he'd thrown, picking each of them up and throwing them again. Another three branches, and Umbra decided that this many leaves should be enough for the top layer of the assassin's bedding. Umbra first took the axes back to the assassin, laying them by the oak tree. He then went back to the branches, and dragged them over to the girl. Dumping them by the old oak, Umbra left in search of some bracken. It would form the bottom layer of the assassin's bedding, due to the fact that it could keep her warm. The bracken seemed to be everywhere, and soon, Umbra had a huge pile of it. He intended to use some for her shelter. Taking a short break from finding natural resources for the assassin, Umbra sat beside her again, hoping for her to wake up and open her eyes. He checked for a pulse, luckily finding it. Umbra smiled in relief. The girl was still alive. Not wanting to spend too long resting, Umbra got up again, his chest hurting from the wound. He was in pain. Trying to ignore it, but not succeeding. He wouldn't give into his pains when the girl was still without shelter. Not in a million years.

 

An hour later, and the girl had a shelter made for her, created with logs, leaned up against the oak and tied to it with vines. There was bracken covering the shelter to keep out the rain, and a bedding of bracken and soft leaves. With Aquila still not back, Umbra had covered up the weapons with a huge pile of leaves. By this time, his chest was screaming with the effort of all the work. He was breathing deeply, and sitting beside the girl, the pain making his thoughts turn foggy. Umbra had only just realised how much blood there was on his shirt. He had tried to cover up his wound with a huge leaf, and tied it to his body with vines. Umbra had done the same to the girl's wounds, considering Aquila still wasn't back yet. Where was he? Umbra didn't think that Aquila would spend so much time collecting a few herbs. Could the goblins have got him? The thought caused a shiver to run down Umbra's spine. Still weak from all the work, Umbra let his head flop uselessly to the floor as sleep swallowed him.

 

I screech in pain once more. Does this cruel lava know no end? I feel it that I still have a way to go before the centre of the lava falls can be within my sight. This place is impossible to navigate! My tired wings are beating hard. Up ahead, I see another ledge to rest on. Relief washed over my exhausted body, rippling across me. Diving to the side, I fold my wings for a landing. I feel that Umbra has overcome a great danger, a danger which almost killed him. But he is still living. However, he is trapped. Trapped in an unbreachable dome. With my great power, I may be able to free him. But only if I can reach the portal...

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