The Quest by Jasmine McCallum
The mist coats Azariah’s skin as she dashes through the trees, avoiding the raven twins’ daggers, her bow and arrow in hand. She looks briefly behind her as she gets through a section of dense trees to see how far they are. She sees Huginn right behind her crashing through the trees, catching up quickly.
Muninn mustn’t be too far behind then…
As if Muninn heard her, he dashes in front of her from behind one of the tall, luscious trees, his dagger pointed forward, only centimeters away from her body.
Azariah moves to the side, Muninn’s dagger skimming past her ribs, heading straight for Huginn. Luckily, (or not so luckily for Azariah) Huginn ducks down quickly.
“Watch where you’re pointin’ that thing!” Huginn stands up straight, his eyes narrowed at Muninn. Azariah uses this to her advantage, lining up her bow and arrow and shooting it straight at Huginn’s shin. The arrow shoots him and a loud high-pitched shriek fills the forest.
“You bloody idiot!” Huginn’s hand shoots to his shin and he growls.
His piercing emerald eyes glare at her. If looks could kill, Azariah would definitely be dead by now.
Her mouth turns into an evil grin.
“Oh sorry… did that hurt?” her voice is laced with a fake sickly sweetness.
The left side of the crowd surrounding the outer barriers of the ‘arena’ cheer for Azariah whilst the right side boo’s.
Her eyes briefly skim over the front, searching for her best friend Thaev. She sees the only head of teal tipped black hair in amongst the array of blonde and brown. You couldn’t miss him. She catches his eye and gives him a fleeting smile, getting a grin in return before turning her attention back to the fight.
“You’re gonna pay for that,” Huginn slowly rises with a dangerous look sparkling in his eyes.
Huginn dashes forward, but Azariah dashes to the left, causing Huginn to stagger, landing face-first into a puddle of thick mud.
Whilst Azariah is distracted, Muninn is quick on his feet, his fist colliding with her stomach. She doubles over, dry heaving for a moment before swiping her foot under Muninn’s, making him lose his balance, joining Huginn in the mud.
Azariah can’t help but let out a snicker as their mud covered faces give her identical death glares. These death glares she can’t take seriously and just causes her to laugh even more. She uses this to her advantage, taking the bow that is strapped to her side and lining up an arrow. She pulls the arrow back, aiming for Muninn’s upper arm. The arrow flies towards him and pierces the skin exactly where Azariah was aiming. Muninn lets a pained breath out of his teeth, creating a hissing noise. Blood trickles from his upper arm and into the mud.
“Yeesh… that’s gotta hurt” Azariah says unsympathetically.
Huginn tries to get out of the mud but gets immediately sucked back in. He tries again, but to no avail. He fails and let’s out a growl of frustration.
“I can’t get out of this damn mud. Muninn you try,” Huginn tells him with a slight snarl in his voice.
“As you can see, I am injured and probably can’t do any better than you,” Muninn replies in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Do you need a hand boys?” Azariah laughs, grinning down at their furious faces.
“How could you have been so stupid?” Huginn hisses at Muninn who gives him a sour disbelieving look in return.
“Me? Me?! You’re the one who fell into the mud first! If you hadn’t of been so careless I wouldn’t have gotten distracted, fallen in the mud while doing so and we probably would have won this stupid fight,” Muninn snarls back.
“I don’t think you would be calling this fight stupid if you had won it,” Azariah points out, causing the two boys to stop and glare daggers at her.
“Who says we’ve lost?” Huginn questions her, narrowing his bloodshot eyes in her direction.
“Well, if you don’t get out of that mud in—” Azariah pauses to think for a brief moment before continuing, “—ten seconds then the rules are that you’ve lost the fight, I win and get the prize money,” she puts her hands on her hips as if challenging them to get out of the mud once again.
Huginn and Muninn stop to think for a moment and exchange a quick glance, knowing that they have no hope of winning.
“Okay, fine, we give up. This mud is so incredibly thick, and we can barely move,” Huginn begs.
“It’s starting to get really uncomfortable,” Muninn adds sheepishly.
“You heard the boys! The fight is over!” the burly ginger bearded judge bellows from the sidelines, causing commotions from both sides of the ‘arena’ just opposite reactions. The left side cheers in triumph for Azariah whereas the right side boos loudly whilst yelling profanities that would make anyone cringe in disgust.
“The winner of the fight is the one and only Azariah Gleinzberg!” The judge’s loud voice carries across the Forgotten Woods.
Cheers and boos fill the arena once again, Azariah smiling lightly and the twins scowling, still stuck in the mud.
Azariah pushes through the crowd, her eyes skimming the bodies surrounding her, looking for the bright blue hair that is her friend Thaev. She almost misses him as her eyes scan quickly over a group of people far away, of which Thaev is trying to push through, but he sees her and breaks into a light jog.
“Azariah!” his voice carries over the crowd and causes her head to turn quickly in the direction of his voice.
“Thaev!” she yells back, grinning from ear to ear as he gets closer.
Azariah and Thaev stand opposite each other before Thaev envelops her in a big bear hug. He was always good at those.
Azariah happily lets herself become wrapped in his arms and sighs in contentment, his signature smell filling her nose. Pine, iron and something sweet, which no one can ever seem to put their finger on. The iron and sweet smell always clinging to him from the cave in which he lives in and spends most of his time creating new tools and creations.
“It’s been too long! It’s so good to see you!” Thaev says and Azariah feels him smile against her shoulder.
Thaev loosens his grip and Azariah pulls back, filled to the brim with joy.
“How have you been? How’s life?” Azariah asks, leaning on the arena’s wooden fence post beside her.
“Yeah, good though it was getting kind of lonely, so it’s good to socialise and get out,” Thaev replies.
“How long has it been since you last left your cave?” Azariah asks with a hint of accusation in her tone, knowing well that Thaev’s answer will be something like ‘a month or so’.
“Mmmm… let me think… maybe a month or so?” he grimaces slightly.
I knew it.
“Thaev! I know you hate socialising, but you NEED to get out of the house more,” Azariah’s voice gets an octave higher as she becomes annoyed at Thaev.
“Trust me, I will now,” he laughs lightly, and Azariah rolls her eyes.
“What’s been going on with you?” Thaev asks.
“Ahhh… not a lot.. I was going to ask you something, though. I’ve been wanting to go on a quest to find my mother and was wondering if you wanted to come. It would be nice to have the company and I feel like I would find her faster if I had another person helping.”
“I mean I don’t have much to do and there’s not much point in sticking around. It’s so boring here, and it would do me good to get out,” Thaev replies.
“I agree,” Azariah laughs and nudges Thaev playfully in the shoulder.
He grumbles a bit, but a grin breaks across his face and he can’t stay mad for long.
“So? Whaddya say??”
“Why not? Let’s do it,” Thaev gives Azariah a mischievous smile, puts an arm around her shoulder and the two of them begin to walk away from the arena to Azariah’s house in the Raven Woods.