The early morning sun's brilliant rays pierced through, the dense clouds that crested the peaks of the Maderine Mountains.
Ontel carried all of his belongings in the oversized pack on his back, carefully following in the footsteps of the mighty wizard Dravendire.
Weeks had passed in this manner, chosen by the great cloaked man for the power he said he could sense in the boy.
His mother had rejoiced at the news her son had been chosen, she knew the gift was rare and if trained her son would become a man of great stature in Belan - she also knew she would never be able to give him the same opportunity Dravendire had offered.
The boy had often found himself thinking of his mother, it felt so long ago now - they had travelled by horse at first, then there was a massive ship for months at sea and then came the weeks of silent walking.
Dravendire had warned him, the forest they were traveling through was "A wild and dangerous place - We travel in silence and with speed"
Ontel followed dutifully and enjoyed soaking up the heat of the sun, before they again descended back into the filtered light beneath the canopy - for the first time Ontel saw just how far they must still had to travel.
The boy sighed "Dravendire when will we arrive at .." before he could finish the wizard turned with amazing speed silencing him with a glance, his eyes were wide as if scanning the trees for impending doom.
It was too late, the ground beneath them began to shake in time to a thunderous beat, his eyes narrowed with intense focus and determination as he turned to reach the small boy.
Dravendire grabbed the young boy by the arm and propelled him forward as fast as he was able, once back into the thick forest the wizard searched for the largest tree he could find - and positioned Ontel behind it.
Dravendire returned as if to meet the coming force head on, as Ontel peeked from behind the giant trunk of the tree he could see the forest was violently shaking.
He forced himself to keep watching in spite of his growing fear, he noticed that Dravendire seemed calm almost peaceful when the beast burst through the thick brush and into full view.
Immediately the end of Dravendires staff began to glow with a strange blue light, Ontel could feel the energy surging through the staff - how had he not felt it before? he questioned himself.
With a sudden burst of light the beast in front of him was forced back with vicious effect, causing the large body to smash into the trunk of large tree - the creature groaned in pain.
As Dravendire stepped forward to end the animals suffering another beast appeared directly to his left, it struck the wizard with such force his body appeared to fly across the track they had been following - his staff no longer in his familiar grasp.
Dravendire struggled as a horse whistle sounded with every laboured breath, Ontel watched on in horror as the beast meandered toward the stricken form.
Ontel panicked he knew he had to act now or Dravendire would die, slowly he crept out from behind the massive tree he was hiding behind.
As he passed from the cover he noticed the staff lying behind the giant creature, he edged closer as quick as he dared to move - fearful the beast would hear his approach.
He carefully inched closer and when finally in range he bent slowly to retrieve the wizards staff, the moment the staff made contact with the boy it began to shine with an intense brightness.
Unfortunately this alerted the beast that there was someone behind him, the creature turned with amazing speed for one of such size - it lashed out a razor clawed paw in Ontels direction.
He couldn't move out of the way in time, so shut his eyes ready to accept what was about to happen - but after a moment when nothing happened he hesitantly reopened them.
There in front of him the creature regarded him with apparent curiosity, the young boy backed away from the monstrous form.
He clutched the staff with both hands squeezing tighter as the giant beast launched itself toward him again, this time with speed.
Again the staff began to glow with intense light, the young boy held his ground certain the creature would crush him in an instant.
The monster took his final leap towards the small child, Dravendire could only watch on unable to move or even call out to his young ward.
Ontel screamed with all his might and stepped toward the giant form sailing through the air towards him, accepting this would be his final moments.
The staff exploded with light so bright Dravendire had to shield his eyes, as he blinked away the blinding effects he starred in the direction the young boy had been only moments ago.
As his vision cleared he saw Ontel rushing toward him, reaching his side the boy stared down at the crumpled body that lay before him - the beast lay motionless on the forest floor.
A proud smile forced it's presence on Dravendires face even though he fought for every laboured breath, his chest appeared like a shattered cavern - bloodsoaked with some bones protruding through his robes.
The wizard took the boy's hand "you must" he gasped for breath enough to continue "travel as fast as you can, get far from these woods." coughing the last, as he lost control of his breathing for a moment.
"Once out head towards the sunrise for 3 weeks, you will find Tethmoht the wizards city - there you will be safe" He forced air into his lungs and struggled to continue "Leave me now, more will come - you have to hurry."
The boy retrieved his pack from behind the tree and came back to his dying master and laid the staff by his side "The staff is yours now Ontel" said Dravendire coughing uncontrollably, the young boy hesitated unwilling to leave his master tears streaming down his pale face.
Dravendire fought for one last controlled breath "Ontel, keep the staff with you always - but now you must run!" the last was shouted revealing their location and drawing more creatures to them.
Ontel blinked away the tears that blurred his vision, he picked up the staff staring down at Dravendire.
"Go now Ontel - run" he whispered quietly smiling at the young boy, knowing he would never see him again - calmed by his sudden clarity he was now certain, he had found the most powerful wizard of this age and their people would prevail in the coming war.
Ontel wiped the tears from his face, gripped the staff with one hand and his pack with the other - one final look at his master revealed an almost blissful smile "Farewell my master" and was off running as fast as his legs could carry him.
What is a Flash Fiction?
Flash fiction is not a short story, short stories are completed tales with all the story there on the page.
Whereas flash fiction is like a snapshot of a story, it can be set during the beginning, middle or end of a story - but it isn't the whole picture just a short part of the text that can stand alone.
The goal here is to set the scene, establish characters and build a storyline - and hopefully leave the reader imagining what is going to happen next.
Each flash fiction piece is inspired by a picture or image that I will include in the post, and from that the story is built or at least a fragment or moment within the story.
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