Title: Legends of Windemere: The Spirit Well
Author: Charles E. Yallowitz
Genre: Sword & Sorcery, Epic Fantasy
Born from the light and darkness, Dariana can no longer avoid her fate.
The final corrupted temple stands between the champions and Baron Kernaghan having their great battle. Only one problem: the Compass Key refuses to work with Dariana, who long ago wiped all memories of the Spirit Well from her mind. Now, they are forced to follow a trail of clues that Dariana’s former self left behind centuries ago. It is a path that will lead the champions into a part of their friend’s past that could tear them all apart.
Will the bonds of friendship be stronger than the call of blood?
Luke forces himself to smirk, which disappears the moment his friends turn back to the path ahead. The half-elf kicks at a rock that turns out to be a crab, the animal catching his boot and clambering up his leg. Not wanting to hurt the creature, he carefully reaches down to remove it from his clothes. The pincers try to grab the half-elf’s fingers, but the crab is too slow to get anything more than a momentary pinch. Bending down at the edge of the path, Luke places the crustacean in the water and pauses at the sight of an orange blob. Unnoticed by the others, he watches more of them appear and pulsate as they get closer to the surface. Drawing his sabers and turning to check both sides, the half-elf refuses to move and keeps his blades ready at his sides. When his friends stop to talk to him, Luke hisses for silence and nudges his head at the thick swarm that is surrounding them.
Instead of exploding out of the swamp like the warrior expects, the orange blobs rise to reveal that they are large jellyfish. They remain bobbing on the surface while their stinging tentacles whip out of the dark water. Numbing pain rips through Luke’s veins, the creatures focusing entirely on the forest tracker. He can feel his skin begin to dry out as the jellyfish absorb the salt and water from his body. Spinning around, the half-elf manages to free himself from most of the tentacles, but he is already too weak to continue fighting. By the time Nyx launches her fire attack to burn several of their attackers, Luke’s vision is blurring and he tumbles into the water.
“I’ve got him!” Delvin shouts, diving into the swamp before Sari can move.
The former mercenary’s chainmail helps him sink quickly, its enchantment allowing him to breathe underwater. He is unnerved by the sight of thousands of jellyfish, which are rising to fight the other champions. A few catch Delvin in their tentacles, but he uses his potent aura to send a backlash that stuns the creatures. More of them drift toward the submerged warriors, but pay more attention to their defenseless brethren. Hungry and cannibalistic, the newcomers connect to the head of the unconscious jellyfish and steadily devour them. With violent shudders, the victorious predators bloat to twice their size and swim lower in an attempt to greet the champions as they sink. Unable to see through the murky water and tightly packed animals, Delvin searches for the faint spark of Luke’s aura.
He mutters a curse when he notices that his friend is above him and being held by three large jellyfish. Praying he is not too late, Delvin swims to the half-elf and stabs the nearest creature through what he thinks is the brain. The attack does not slow the predator down, so the warrior delivers a charge of magic to burst it like a balloon. Grabbing Luke’s wrist, he feels a dwindling pulse that is getting weaker by the second. Quickly popping the remaining jellyfish in rapid succession, Delvin starts swimming to the surface and tries to alter the saltwater so that it replenishes the half-elf’s body.
As the forest tracker’s eyes open, a jet of water catches the two warriors and rockets them toward the path. They assume it is Sari, so it is a surprise when they are sent hurtling into the sky above the swamp. Too weak to transform, Luke can only keep a tight hold of Delvin’s arm and try to access the griffin’s control over wind. Being high above the ground, they can see their friends holding their own against the jellyfish. Fizzle is darting through the swarm while trying to put them to sleep, but his rainbow breath is ineffective. The only ones that are having the most success are Nyx and Sari with their blasts of elemental magic. Many times the two women attack the same target, causing a small explosion due to the opposing energies. As they fall towards the swamp, another geyser erupts to engulf Luke and Delvin, sending them back into the air. The pair can barely tell up from down, so they close their eyes to avoid vertigo and try to get their bearings.
A loud sucking sound unnerves the falling champions, causing them to stare down at the beginnings of a powerful whirlpool. The less stable mangroves tumble into the churning water, which is dragging the jellyfish into its depths. From their vantage point, the warriors can see the orange blobs are getting carried in various directions like they have been pulled in a network of tunnels. With a loud groan, the path buckles beneath the champions’ feet and they struggle to remain standing. Luke and Delvin take some relief from seeing their friends clinging together, Sari’s immovability making certain they will stay together. Timoran is stretching toward the plummeting warriors, his fingers touching the updraft that has been slowing their fall. With the barbarian unable to reach them, Nyx does the next best thing and lassos the pair with a magical tether.
“Still think something is wrong with this temple?” Delvin asks as they watch the ground collapse beneath their friends.
Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. ‘Legends of Windemere’ is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.
Social Media Links: