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Lakewood Times

Perspective Story



 POV #1

“Watch out!” I yelled, panting. 

My heart beat heavily against my chest as I braced herself, crouching to the floor and covering my head. I winced as the sounds of crumbling rock and stone filled my ears, momentarily deafening me. Shards of severed boulders ricocheted off the cold earth around me, and I knew I had to do something to protect my fellow travelers. 

Shutting my eyes tight, I muttered an incantation beneath my shaking breath. “Andu-falah-dor!” Bright flashes of familiar purple light pierced my eyelids, and I felt an almost electric surge pass through my body before radiating out into the space around me. 

I lifted my head to check my surroundings. As I had hoped, my spell worked–a massive forcefield of pure arcane energy stood tall around me and my guildmates. I began to stand carefully, hoping not to cause the entire cave to collapse this time. 

Colossal rocks crashed into the barrier, causing visual ripples throughout, though my magic proved effective enough to withstand the immense pressure. I puffed my chest in pride and felt a grin creep onto my face. 

Knew I could do it.

“What the hell are you smiling about?” A husky voice from my right grumbled–Ardwin, a brazen assassin with a notoriously bad temper. 

I groaned and rolled my eyes. “We’re alive, isn’t that enough?” I replied, scoffing. 

Thank you, oh great Arcanist, Fairan! I imagined him praising me, as I well deserved.

“That would be great,” he started, his voice raising to a frustrated yell. “If we weren’t stuck in a cave system with no way out!” 

“Woah, woah,” another participant spoke, his voice like honey next to the venom of Ardwin’s. “What are we yelling for now?” 

I turned my head to greet Drogeth, a self-appointed knight. “I’m so glad you’re okay,” I exhaled, hoping Ardwin would taste the poison within my words. 

I heard him mock me from the side, and I reveled in the jealousy I knew he felt in that moment. 

“I know you’re desperate,” he called. “But even that’s a little low.” 

Desperate?! I breathed in deeply, hoping to erase the offense I took from that statement. 

Drogeth laughed, his armor clanking with the rise and fall of his chest. “All in good fun,” he commented before clearing his throat. “So, what are we going to do about this?” 

“You could tell your little pet to open a portal back to safety,” Ardwin suggested, looking directly at me.

My mouth opened slightly. Did he just call me his pet..? I wondered, my heart aching gently.

“I’m not his pet!” I argued, crossing my arms. 

“Right, you just follow him around, and you always side with him, and you mope when he’s not paying attention to you,” he snickered. 

Tears welled up in my eyes as I took in his words. As much as I tried to deny it, I couldn’t just ignore my feelings–the same ones that tell me the only reason I long for Drogeth’s attention is because I know I won’t get Ardwin’s. 

Drogeth cleared his throat one more time, diverting our attention. “If we could all just calm down,” he pleaded. “We might be able to come up with a reasonable solution without hurting anyone’s feelings.”
I smirked at the lanky man who stood across from me, defeated. He knew he stood no chance against Drogeth, whether verbally or physically. “Fine. Dearest Fairan, why don’t you conjure up a nice portal to town?” He battered his lashes. 

My lips nearly curled into a smile in response, but I maintained composure. “Because, Ardwin,” I began. “I used the last of my energy on this barrier.” 

“Oh, great!” He shouted, lifting his arms in the air and beginning to pace. “The mage can’t cast spells!” 

“And what can you do?” I asked, my tone severe. “All you do is sit back and watch as Drogeth and I keep you safe!” I gestured towards him and started to walk forward. “If only you would actually pay attention, we might not even be in this situation!” 

“What do you mean?” Drogeth questioned. He sounded much quieter than before, and his head tilted slightly at the end of his inquiry. 

Ardwin stopped in his tracks and brought his wary gaze to the knight. I watched him begin to fiddle with the sheathed dagger on his hip, a sure sign of anxiety. 

I began to laugh, wondering if I might be hysterical by nightfall. “Oh, you didn’t tell him?”

“Tell me what?” He interrogated further, his grim stare planted directly on the unmoving assassin. 

I knew that I shouldn’t cause an argument, but the excitement of it all was too intoxicating not to. “Oh, just that he got so distracted by your coin purse, he walked right into a trap trying to steal it.” I peered at my painted nails, feigning indifference. 

Silence bounced off the arcane fortress’s walls to an almost deafening degree as each of us tried to figure out how to respond or react. Drogeth was the first; for a moment, he stood completely still until he began walking towards Ardwin and lifted him from the ground by the neck of his shirt. 

“You tried to steal my coin?” He growled through his plate helm. His grip tightened, and I noticed Ardwin began to breathe heavier. 

“Let’s calm down..” he muttered, his head turned to the side to avoid Drogeth’s tormenting stare. 

“I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you!” He exclaimed, tossing Ardwin to the ground.

Ardwin opened his mouth to speak, his eyes wide, but nothing seemed to come out. 

“What are you doing?” I whispered, my heart racing with each second he was left petrified on the ground. 

He continued looking forward, the perfect image of horror on his face. I turned around to face the direction he was gazing in and felt my blood run cold before a shriek escaped from my throat. A horde of what looked to be gigantic horned bats was swarming towards us, and they showed no signs of stopping. 


POV #2


“Watch out!” I heard the screeching voice of a banshee call out, my ears ringing in response. 

Before I could process what I’d heard, the abrasive noise of crumbling earth shattered my senses. Instinctively, I bent down into a bracing position and covered my head. Why am I even covering my head? I’m wearing a helmet, I thought to myself, smirking at my mistake. Without more than five seconds unprotected, Fairan was on the move. 


Within moments, I felt a surge of buzzing energy flow through my body, instantly revitalizing me. I knew that it was surely one of her protective wards–most of her spells actually hurt when she slings them at you. This one isn’t meant to. Wonder if any elixirs can do this? I laughed to myself and clenched my fists, relishing in the sheer power I felt. 

Just as fast as it came, the feeling went. I felt disappointed, of course, but I was overall pleased that I got to experience it anyway. That sort of boost can make you take down a whole army, I thought, grinning at the prospects. I’ve got to ask her about that later. 

“What the hell are you smiling about?” Ardwin sputtered. 

Does he always have to ruin the mood? 

“We’re alive, isn’t that enough?” I heard Fairan argue.

Even though we’d been traveling for weeks, I could never quite get used to their constant bickering. I always wondered why they couldn’t just… Get along. Fairan was always going on about how she and Ardwin used to be childhood friends, and how he always felt inferior to her–whatever that meant. Ardwin, on the other hand, never wanted to talk about any of that. He seemed ashamed.

“That would be great if we weren’t stuck in a cave system with no way out!” 

Groaning, I began to stand from my protected position on the ground. Don’t need their whining any longer. I wondered when I had gotten so old that their young, unrequited love bothered me. 

“Woah, woah,” I spoke, approaching the two. “What are we yelling for now?” 

As Fairan turned to look at me, I felt a peculiar sharp sting in my temple. I wondered if she had placed some sort of spell on me, or if I was just conditioned to get a headache whenever I saw her.

 “I’m so glad you’re okay,” she murmured, an unusual feminine tone to her voice. 

I rolled my eyes, thankful that my helmet obscured her vision of me, and straightened my back. 

“I know you’re desperate, but even that’s a little low.” Ardwin quipped.

I exhaled from my nose, slightly humored by his response. 

“All in good fun,” I began before clearing my throat. “So, what are we going to do about this?”

“You could tell your little pet to open a portal back to safety,” Ardwin sneered. 

Why does he always have to act like this?

“I’m not his pet!” Fairan argued, sounding offended.

Why does she have to entertain it?!

I closed my eyes, exhausted from this conversation already. I might as well just wait for something to eat me. 

“Right, you just follow him around, and you always side with him, and you mope when he’s not paying attention to you.” 

I cleared my throat once more, louder this time, hoping to end the conflict before it really began. “If we could all just calm down, we might be able to come up with a reasonable solution without hurting anyone’s feelings.” 

Ardwin visibly sank at my command, seeming as though he thought I might side with him. Fairan, opposite side of the same coin, puffed her chest in pride. 

“Fine,” Ardwin exhaled. “Dearest Fairan, why don’t you conjure up a nice portal to town?” 

I nearly vomited at the sound of his pleading puppy voice. If it weren’t for my desire to leave this situation as soon as possible without too many complications, I might have. 

“Because, Ardwin,” Fairan spoke in an equally serpentine tone, causing my stomach to turn more. “I used the last of my energy on this barrier.”

Of COURSE you did! 

It took everything in me not to begin shouting in frustration. My body began to feel cramped in my armor, and I longed for the fresh air outside of this cave.

“Oh, great! The mage can’t cast spells!” Ardwin yelled, and I resonated with him. He ran his fingers through his hair once and began pacing through the arcane ward.

“And what can you do?” Fairan asked, her face contorting, as she slinked towards her part-time rival. “All you do is sit and watch as Drogeth and I keep you safe!” 

She’s not wrong.

“If only you would actually pay attention, we might not even be in this situation!” She shouted, an epic finale to her prior rant. 

I began to feel my annoyance twist to anger at the thought of Ardwin causing us to be stuck in a closed cave. How extremely convenient and likely. 

“What do you mean?” I asked, making a conscious effort to speak gently so as not to escalate the already dire situation. 

Fairan laughed, quietly at first, her demeanor shifting from petty to malicious. “Oh, you didn’t tell him?” 

I looked towards Ardwin, who had stopped walking around and turned his attention towards a gleaming knife at his side. 

He better not… I thought, clenching my jaw at the mere idea of an attempt to attack. 

“Tell me what?” I asked, approaching the assassin, my footsteps echoing throughout the cave walls.

He remained silent, though I couldn’t tell if it was from guilt or humiliation. 

“Oh, just that he got so distracted by your coin purse, he walked right into a trap trying to steal it.” 

Rage bubbled in my stomach. The only reason we came here is for the treasure, and you wish to take mine? I growled to myself at the thought, balling my fists. 

Without thinking, I launched myself towards him. My feet fell heavy on the rock beneath me, and I imagined a trail of flame in my wake. My breathing grew increasingly unsteady from the intense frustration I felt. As I approached the trembling Ardwin, I grabbed him by the neck of his shirt and lifted him to my eye level. 

“You tried to steal my coin?” I spat at him, my fist curling tighter by the second. 

I considered killing him in that moment, my anger getting the best of me in an unfortunate situation, though I knew it wouldn’t be worth it.

“Let’s calm down..” he pleaded, turning his gaze from me. 


“I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you!” I hissed before releasing him.

He fell to the ground with a significant thud, and I turned away before I could see the pain I inflicted in my moment of weakness. I shut my eyes tight, trying to come up with different strategies to escape this hell. 

Suddenly, I heard a shrill wail of terror behind me, and I whipped around only to be met with the ghostly sight of a fleet of massive Chiroptera. 

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