Here is the original ending of what turned out to be the first book. I wrote this while going off the sketches for what Valtrak and Elthinor were going to be before they became who they are, so the vast majority of book one wasn’t written yet. Enjoy it. 🙂
“Mother! Get up!” I shouted desperately, shaking her shoulders.
“Filynora!” Elthinor exclaimed as he and Valtrak hurried over to me.
“She won’t get up, Elthinor! Tell her to get up!” I told him, tears burning down my cheeks.
“Filynora, stop shaking her,” the Elf said quietly.
“Tell her to get up!”
“She’s not getting up.”
“She has to! We have to go home!”
Valtrak grabbed my shoulders and tried to pull me away, but I fought him. I didn’t understand why mother wasn’t getting up. This was just a joke she was playing. It had to be. I shook her harder as thunder sounded in the grey sky. Elthinor grabbed me around my waist and gave a hard tug. Their combined strength finally pulled me away from my mother.
The truth hit me hard. She wasn’t getting up. She was gone. I froze for a moment that lasted forever as I stared at her bloody face then I began screaming. And screaming. And screaming.
Elthinor and Valtrak were covered in dirt. It was so thick in Elthinor’s hair that it almost looked like human hair. They were placing rocks on the fresh grave to keep the animals out. I stared at the churned earth that now held my mother’s body. There were no more tears left in me to cry and my throat was too raw for me to speak.
They were tired. That much was obvious. They’d had to hold me to keep me from hurting myself in my pain. Once I had calmed down, they dug the grave for my mother without my asking them to. Elthinor placed the last rock on the pile and stretched, grimacing from what I could only assume were muscle cramps. He walked over to me and sat down beside me, wrapping a comforting arm around my shoulders.
“Fily,” he started, gentle and soft, and for the first time in my life I didn’t hate that nickname. “I…I can’t imagine what you’re going through. To lose your mother like that, right in front of you. It must be devastating.”
“Stop,” I said quietly. “Don’t do this. I can’t handle it right now. I just want to sleep.”
Elthinor watched my face for a moment then nodded. “If that’s what you need. Ember, come here boy.”
The Kindle Wolf came quickly, whimpering and nuzzling at my face. I pet him slowly and he lay in my lap as Elthinor set up my bedroll. He led me over and pulled it snugly up to my chin. He and Valtrak bade me goodnight and I immediately fell asleep, emotionally exhausted.
I was sitting on a rock beside a stream, wearing a long sleeved black dress with red edging the sleeves and collar. A strong, gentle hand was placed on my shoulder. I refused to look at him, but it didn’t seem to bother him.
“I’m sorry,” he said quietly.
“She’s dead. She’s gone,” I said, my voice hollow.
“She said she knew you.”
“She did. Your father told her about me. She was a very brave and lovely woman.”
“She called you Jesiah.”
The man’s voice held a smile when he spoke. “That is what they know me as. I rather like the name.”
“Why did she have to die?”
“The same reason you all must die.”
“And what reason is that?”
“You shall learn that later, child.”
I was silent for a while, letting my misery overcome me. A question came to my lips without thought in my desperation.
“Is she alright?”
“She will be.”
That simple answer gave me a hope I’d never felt before. I finally looked up at him. He smiled lovingly at me.
“I want revenge, but that’s not the reason I have to go after them, is it?”
“I have to go after them because what they’re doing to humankind is wrong and somebody has to stop them. I have to go after them because they’re evil and they’ll keep doing this until somebody stops them. I have to go after them because they’re trying to get the Elves, Dwarves, and other races under their command, too.” I paused for a moment. “I know I have to, but I can’t,” I admitted. “I’m too scared.”
He watched my face for a moment. “You don’t have to. You could go home, rebuild your farm.”
I was immediately confused. I thought for sure he’s want me to go after them. If he was a part of my mind like Elthinor said he was, he was a part I had no control over.
“But I thought-” I began then cut off. “Why are you doing this?”
He just smiled.
I looked down and thought about the two options for a moment. “I don’t know. I’m still scared, but that won’t stop them. I can’t just go home,” I decided suddenly. “It wouldn’t help the problem. And the Aswangs will come back for me. I have to go after them.”
There was a look of pride and joy on Jesiah’s face that made me feel good. “Good choice, my child.”
I was staring up at the brightening sky. I sat up, feeling well rested and knowing what I had to do. I stood and packed up my things and waited for my friends to wake up. After about an hour Valtrak stirred. He sat up and looked at me worriedly.
“Filynora?” he asked hesitantly. “Are…are you alright?”
I smiled. “I will be. Get up and pack. We’re going after them.”
He looked worried, but did as I’d told him. His movements woke Elthinor, who gave me the same worried look before getting up and packing as well. I handed both of them some bread and we ate in silence. Both of them were still looking at me with nervous expressions on their faces.
“Fily,” Elthinor began, then caught himself. “I mean, Filynora-”
“You two can call me Fily,” I told him quietly. “It’s not insulting when you say it.”
“Oh…Alright then, Fily, are you sure about this? Revenge isn’t really the best idea, especially against such dark enemies.”
“It’s not just revenge. They’ll keep doing this to others. We have to stop them.”
“You’re not just talking about the Aswangs, are you?” Valtrak asked.
“No,” I said shaking my head. “We’re going after their leaders.”
“Their leaders,” he said blandly. “The ones that rule over the entire human race with an iron fist. The ones that easily defeated armies in combat. The ones whose servants can beat us.?”
“Yes,” I said resolutely. “That is exactly who we’re going after.”
“Did that man tell you to do it?” Valtrak asked uncertainly.
“His name is Jesiah, and he didn’t directly tell me to do it. He gave me a choice. He almost always gives me a choice. The one time he didn’t, he was warning me.”
I realized how true that statement was. No matter what I had done, he’d always given me a choice to go on or go back. And each time he had been proud of me when I went on.