Monday, November 25, 2013

Prid (Part 5)

   My world is over.
   My life is done.
   She was everything to me.
   I don't remember anything good without her.
   She was my soul.

   But I can't do this anymore.
   Anakis wouldn't want this.
   She'd want me to stop, be the warrior she knows I could be.

   When I look back on it now, I have been weak.
   Anakis was always the strong one.
   She was the one that was there for  me.
   I won't be like that anymore.

   I can't be like that anymore.

   I'm not going to be like I was before.
   Love is nothing to me now.

   I feel it hard to speak to anyone anymore.
   Lani feels horrible about it.
   I don't know what to tell her, what to say.
   Anything I would say would just confirm my darkest suspicions:

   Andromeda has taken not only Anakis, Nairi, and Kaymele, but our hearts as well.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kaymele (part 12)

    'Where am I?  Is this another vision or are these things taking place?' My thoughts are jumbled together, and my head aches.  There's a burning pain in my left shoulder, I carefully touch the area and feel a hole about three and a half inches across, and very deep.  Pulling my hand away into the dim light, it's covered with blood, it must be bleeding badly.  Somehow the dress I was wearing has been changed into a rough sack dress that comes past my knees. Though my vision is minimal, I can make out that I'm in a small room, possibly a cell, but there's a flight of stairs that lead up somewhere.  The only light comes from a tiny window far above me.  Standing is out of the question, if I attempt I feel certain I'll end up right back in the floor, and my ankle is chained to the wall a short distance away.
    The sound of approaching feet reach my ears from far above, and the jingling of a bunch of keys in a lock echoes from the top of the stairs.  The door creaks in protest as it moves open, the door closes with a loud boom.  Heavy footfalls of guards on the stairs nearly muffle the light clicking sound made by someone much lighter following.  Slowly I slide myself out of the light, that's when the shackle around my ankle pulls against the wall and glows red, not allowing me to move anything for a few seconds.
    'Sorry dear, trying to hide isn't going to help,' says a woman wearing a black dress and a blood red cape.  She laughs lightly, and comes down the last few steps, 'We haven't formally met, I am Lady Andromeda, it's good to see you're awake.  I'm feared my dragon had wounded you too badly, and I wouldn't get any use out of you.  But I think you'll live, for now.  What is your name?'
    I stare at her, as if she were talking to a statue.  To scared to speak, her eyes seemed to look straight into my soul, and she turned to face the guards.
    'Go back outside the door, I can handle this one,' she says in a commanding voice, both turned and marched up the stairs, 'What. Is. Your. Name?' she asks again insistently.
    'What a pretty name.  Tell me, Kaymele, what are you?  Are you dwarf?  Elf? I know you're not human, but definitely a mermaid.  My spies have assured me of that.  But you're very short for a mermaid, so not full blooded,'
    'I am what you choose to think I am,' I say indifferently.
    She narrows her eyes, and presses her lips together.  Slowly she begins to pace.
    'What do you know of The Starlight Cavern?' she asks slyly.  My heart skips a beat, wondering how on earth she could know of this sacred place, 'The less you say here, the more I can get out of you upstairs.'
    'What you could possibly have waiting there for little ol' me,' I say sarcastically.
    With one hand she grabs the fabric of my dress on my hurt shoulder, and yanks up hard, sending a horrific pain through my body.  I let out a small yelp of pain, and she smiles evilly.
    'Oh Kaymele, don't you know I have the power to inflict pain on you?  I wouldn't push your luck too much,' she releases my shoulder, 'Let this be a reminder. Guards!'
    The door unlocks and the guards hurry down the stairs.  They stop and salute her, she walks towards them.
    'Take her out of this cell and move her upstairs with the other prisoner,' she spins around, 'so we may talk better.'
    'Yes Lady Andromeda,' they say in unison.
    Without another word they unchain my ankle, and carry me up the stairs.  My shoulder objects to all the movement, it's all I can do not to moan.  When we are through the door at the top of the stairs, it turns out it's not the end to the stairs.  There is a door on the left and about 4 feet to the right there are hundreds of wide stairs leading up in a spiral.  But there's something funny about the stairs, they look like any other, but when Andromeda steps onto the left side, closest to the wall, she starts gliding up the stairs.  Almost as if they were moving for her.  The guards do the same, and slowly we begin moving up the stairs.  Not with rough steps like before, but the steps were moving for us, and at a quick pace too.  My shoulder is still bleeding heavily, and I think the guard on that side has changed his skin color several times from red, to green, and finally he's gone ghostly pale.
    This place must be full of magic, and all to soon we reach the doors at the top of the tower.  One door has bars across the window, and the other has no window at all.  I am led to the door with the window, and escorted inside.  Another figure is huddled in the corner, with his clothes torn and fresh whip marks on his shoulders and chest. I am slightly blinded by the abundance of light streaming through the window, but it's barred with thick iron rods.  We are so high off the ground I don't see how anyone could escape that way even if they wanted to.
    I'm led to the opposite wall and chained to it by both my ankles.  The other person moved slightly, and let out a soft moan.  The guards march out and lock the door.
    'Hello? Are... are you alright?'  I ask timidly.
    'Why do you ask, aren't you just here to hurt me more?' he pauses and stands up.  He is gigantic, at least 6 and half feet tall, and very muscular. His shirt is tattered and fresh whip wounds bleed on top of old ones.  He looks at me eyes wide and crazed, 'You work for her don't you?  And you're trying to get more information out of me.  I WON'T DO IT, DO YOU HEAR ME ANDROMEDA, I WON'T!!!' he shouts at the door.
    'I...I... d,don't work for her.  She captured me.  I don't exactly know why I was captured but I am.  Who are you, and where are we?'
    He crouches down and puts his head in his hands for a long while.  Slowly his hands slide off his face.
    'I am Thalion Uaine, and I too was captured for reasons unknown,' he pauses and double checks my face, probably still unsure whether I'm friend or foe, 'We are in a tower that was built long ago, for Wizards and Scholars to learn and grow in knowledge.  It's hidden deep in the South Marshes, and it has a tall, dome like, shield the makes you think there's nothing there so it's almost impossible to spot.  When Felix took over, Andromeda broke the shield and attacked the tower slaughtering everyone that crossed her path, until they surrendered.  All remaining wizards and scholars have been on her side ever since,' he turns, 'Thanks for offering to help me earlier, trust me I've been in worse pain than this before.'  
    In the afternoon light his face seemed hollowed out, tired, and filled with grief.  His shackles are shorter than mine, but still clamped on at the ankles.  I try to call out to Florentide, but some deep magic is preventing any message from getting through, and with every try I feel weaker. After a while I'm so tired I can't feel anything.  With the last remnants of my strength I scoot closer to get a better look at Thalion's wounds.  Upon closer inspection his wounds are more gruesome than anticipated.  I tried to whisper a few words Anakis had taught me, but they didn't work.
    'Maybe I should be asking who you are, and what you are trying to do,' he says stretching.  He stands and leans against the bars in the window, waiting for my answer.
    'Where do I begin...' I start.
    'Your name would be a good start,'
    'No need to be sarcastic.  My name is Kaymele, and I'm a rebel against Felix and Andromeda.  I don't know how many days ago I was taken, but the rebel base was attacked.  I have had, and still am having medical training.  That's what I was trying to do to your wounds, but for some reason my healing skills aren't working here.  Really it's Anitar who supplies the healing, but that's another story,' I have to pause to catch my breath, he's staring at me, studying my face closely, then turning away, 'Anyway, I was captured and brought here for something.  Though I don't know what besides the fact that she mentioned the Starlight Cavern.'
    At the name of the Starlight Cavern he whips his head around.  'You know of the Starlight Cavern?' he asked.  I looked out the window, and took a deep breath.
    'I only know what my Father has told me, and that's not much.  He's very secretive because he's the key bearer.  If anything was to happen to him I don't know what I'd do.  Far too many of my family members have been killed, and that is more that anyone should ever know.  To have that empty void inside yourself, is unlike any pain known to anyone, and I do not wish to feel that pain once again,' I say quietly.
    'It's probably best not to say that to Andromeda, she can and will do whatever is possible to get inside.  I don't know what for but I've been here tortured long enough to figure that out,' he says looking back out the window.
    'Where are you from? I know you're an Elf, but are you from the mountains?' I ask cautiously.
    'I am from Voronwë the glorious Elfin city.  And you, you must be from the seaside.  I can tell by your accent,' he says.
    'Yes, I do.  Well I did... but that's ancient history.  Do you have family in Voronwë?'
    He turns his head as if to say "Why are you asking?".
    'I don't mean to pry, but...' I drop my voice to a whisper, 'since we're both here together and I thought we might start talking about nonsense, so they don't get suspicious,' I pause, and bring my voice back to it's original volume, 'You're just so tall, I was wondering if you had a family would they all have dark hair and be close to the same height?'
    He nods his head, and sits down with one leg stretched out. 'Well, actually no my family looks nothing like me.  I have a brother, Lithônien and a sister, Bly.  Now my brother is chief scholar...'
    'You have a sister named Bly?' I ask cutting him short.
    'Yes, she is one of the Diplomats of Voronwë, she and her teacher tried to reason with Felix, but he only pretended to agree with the terms of lawful kingship.  After they had left he sent soldier to bring them back alive, but her teacher put up a fight, and was killed for his attempts.  Bly was taken to the castle...'
    'And locked in the dungeons. Later to escape with Xander,' I finish for him, 'I think I know your sister, she has long blonde hair right and blushes a good deal.'
    'Yes, that's Bly,' he laughs, 'how did you meet?'
    'We ran into each other in the Tawarthion.  I was already with group when Bly, Xander, Nairi, and Adonis joined us on our journey to Revelin.'
    'Well it truly is a small world that we live in, but now we have a danger facing both of us.  Named Andromeda, she's the so called king's right hand, and does most of his dirty work.  She hasn't been able to torture me as much lately because she was off getting you.  Now that she has you there's no telling what all she has planned for us.
    The minutes slowly pass by, and neither of us feels like talking after that.  We are either too weak from hunger, or our wounds.  The sun starts setting outside our window, I lie on my side away from it because it hurts my eyes, and my heart.  Thinking of the sunsets that I may have left, and how many I was suppose to have with Nithron.  Knowing that I truly have feelings for Nithron, and he for me is so unbearable.  The thought that we may never see each other again until death is heart wrenching.  
    'This was not how I had imagined death, I thought it would come softly like a gentle breeze.  But no, it's so much darker than that, I've seen death.  On the faces of men, women and children.  People I've loved and lost in so many ways, and for what?  I know there's no true answer, everyone dies of something.  Some may be more gruesome than others, but we have to forget the bad and remember only the good, that's just how we deal with life.  As an immortal I've never known death and never should, but if I do die.  My soul will go to Anitar.'  There is now nothing to do until morning, and until then I have purposed not to say anything more as the tears steadily flow down my cheeks.

    The night was unnaturally chilly, and there was almost nothing to keep warm with. I lay on the stone floor trying to ignore the pain of my shoulder, and the cold, by thinking of home.  The deep waters in the rivers, the mossy caverns, and the sweet air that would blow gently through the house when the windows were open. 
    When dawn approached it's no better than the night, it's cold with the changing of the seasons.  My skin is blue with the cold, and just looking at Thalion I can guess the cold is nothing new to him.  The only thing setting off the color of my skin are the smears of blood that I attempted to use as warmth in the night. 
    A door somewhere far off creeks open and slams shut again.  Though there are no footsteps we both know someone or something is coming.  The guards outside the door jump to attention, rattling their armor.  The door opens and both of us have bags pulled over our heads, and we're unchained from the wall.  They pick me up, but my legs don't want to cooperate and I fall flat on my face.
    'Don't break her!' hisses Andromeda, 'She is still needed... Carry her fool!'
    He doesn't hesitate, and hefts me over his shoulder.  We are taken down a long corridor, and at some point go through a door into a room that must be very large, by the echoing sounds of the soldiers heavy foot steps.  The bags are taken off our heads, and with horror we both look around the room.  It's apparent that neither of us have seen the room.  With it's high, blood streaked, walls even the ceiling has blood splattered on it.  But the blood is not what makes us gasp in horror, it's the impressive array of knives, whips, needles, a helmet with needles sticking in it with the blood of the last person still on the tips, and other terrible small objects.  Other things like a rack, and a coffin with a lock on it, a Garrote, and a small cage hanging from the ceiling were everywhere you looked.  Hooks were everywhere along the walls, to hold the chains of the victims, and posts were set up side by side with ropes to tie down the wrists for whipping.  There were no windows anywhere, not even a crack.  At first it was much warmer than the cell, but the heat seemed to increase the longer we stayed in the room.  On the far wall there were 5 words that made everything we've just seen a thousand times worse.  It said "I wish I could die." it looked as if the writer had written it with his fingernails.
    The evil smile on Andromeda's face, was a sure sign that she knew, just the sight of this place would be the first affliction she would give us.  She pointed a long finger at the guard that was holding my chains.  
    'Put her in the cage, so she can watch,' she said with a slight purr.
    Thalion is chained down to a table, and left there so the guards can lower the cage.  My shackles are removed only for a moment, then they tied my hands above my head with rope, and close the door.  The cage is so small that I can't move my legs out from underneath myself into a more comfortable position.  Both guards hoist the cage 10 feet in the air, and I am forced to watch as Thalion is beaten, burned, stuck with needles, and stretched in the Rack.  Finally she ties his hands behind his back, and forces him on his knees.  By now he's too weak to even consider trying to escape, and she circles him, her long fingernails running across his shoulder.  She had been asking him questions on and off the whole time, about whether or not he knew rebel secrets.  If he did, then he was not very well informed, most were things she already knew, but it didn't matter she just wanted to make me watch.  Suddenly she spun around and walked towards me.
    'Tell me Kaymele, aren't you enjoying this,' she asks smugly, she knows I've done a good deal of crying.  I haven't even known him for a day, and still I can't bear to watch him be tortured for secrets that he obviously doesn't know. 
    'If I answer yes, would it make a difference in your resolve to torture him?' I snip.
    Her face reddens, and she motions for the cage to be lowered, and she grabs my neck and digs her fingernails into my skin.  The nails themselves are not what truly hurts, it's the white hot heat radiating through them into my blood.
    'Don't you realize I have complete power over your life and his!  I could kill him in an instant and you could do nothing, and do you want to know why?' she releases her iron grip and walks around to my back, 'the dragon who pierced your shoulder injected you with, oh how shall I put this, a power drainer.  It invades your mind and body removing all powers you may poses.  Of course I had no true knowledge of Mermaids so I decided not to take any risks.' she hisses.
    'Is that what she's done to me?  No wonder I can't get in contact with Florentide!'
    'And now your options are this; I can kill your friend Thalion here, or you can take me to the Starlight Cavern and he can go free.  Your choice,' she bargains.
    I look over at Thalion's bruised and bloody face, he shakes his head and mouths "no".  Andromeda's violet eyes flash with anticipation.
    'I don't want any more blood shed, and yet how do I know you're telling the truth?' I say question.
    'Oh dear me, I guess you'll just have to find out.  Now quickly my dear, my patience is wearing thin,'
    'I.... well I,' I take a deep breath, 'I'll take you to the Cavern, just promise you won't hurt him,'  Thalion's head drops as if he's been hit, but the blow was much worse than bodily damage.  
    Andromeda's lips spread into a smile, 'Oh I won't hurt him... much,' she walks past Thalion to a bench with dozens of knives.  She lingers over them, waving her hand gingerly until she passes over one of the larger knives.  It's a wicked looking thing, serrated on both sides, and a slim, bright blue tip.  She faces him, pulls him in plain view, and stands just off to the side so I can see his face.  I bite my lip to stop the words, but it doesn't help.
    'What are you doing?! You promised no harm would come to him!' I shout.
    'Oh did I?' she sneers.  
    She doesn't even wait for my response, she whips around blindingly fast, and slashes the knife through Thalion's throat.  His eyes widen and his pupils dilate.  Blood starts flowing out of his mouth, and gushing from his neck.  Andromeda kicks him square in his chest, and he falls to the floor gasping like a fish out of water, but worse, the only air he will get from this moment forward is his own blood as he slowly chokes to death.  
    'THALION!' I scream.
    Andromeda only laughs, 'As you can see, I don't bargain with life.  It far too easy to destroy,' she hisses.
    'You killed him... YOU KILLED HIM!' I bang my hands on the bars, and the cage shakes dramatically 'Why did you kill him?!  He was innocent, and was promised life!' I say choking on tears.
    'To reinforce my power over your life.  You see, I have total control, and there's nothing you can possibly do about it!  And now the only distraction in your life is me.  Bring her down,' she commands.
    The guards quickly obey, not wanting to be the next victim of Andromeda's wrath.  They let the cage down entirely too fast, and it hits the floor with a loud bang.  My arms have been over my head for so long that I've lost all feeling in them, and my legs have been numb from the beginning.  Andromeda is screaming at the guards to be careful, and to get rid of Thalion's body.  One grabs his legs and the other his arms.  I try not to look but I looked away too late, his head falls back, and the cut is so deep I can see the bone.  His death is something I know I don't want to tell his family, and yet something I must.
    'Tell the other guard outside to get in here and move the prisoner to the rack,' she orders.
    He clicks his heals, salutes, and walks out.  No sooner he walked out then the other walks right in.  He unties my arms, and they drop like a rag doll's.  My arms are on fire with the fresh new blood pumping through them.  He hefts my body over his shoulder, and surprisingly, gently places me on the rack. He clamps the ankle shackles but leaves the ones for my wrists alone, and just stands there.  Under his helmet I can see his kind brown eyes, that look down at my bruised face.  All his eyes can say is "I'm so sorry.", and that's more than anyone could ever have done for me in that moment.
    'Use the lower wrist restraint fool!' Andromeda orders.
    Our moment has passed, and he bolts my wrists down without saying a word.  She walks slowly over with a triumphant smile playing on her lips, and takes her time walking around the Rack.  In her hand she still holds the dagger, dripping with Thalion's blood.
    'I must say, I'm quite impressed.   You have now been branded as weak.  That's right, weak!' she slaps my face, and points at the guard.  He nods and starts cranking a wheel, slowly the rack starts to lean up, until it's straight upright, 'But now there's nothing slowing us down from going to the Starlight Cavern.'
    'I will never help you with anything but finding your death witch!' I shout.
    'Oh, I see we are going to have to do this the hard way,' she shakes her head, and without warning she grabs my face and slams my head back against the table hard, nearly blacking me out.  She takes the very tip of the knife and slits my lip 5 times.  I can taste my blood slowly oozing from the slits, but my first taste was Thalion's innocent blood on my lips.  She quickly walks to a shelf filled with multiple bottles with labels in a different language, and picks out 3 different vials.  She starts chanting something and fills a wooden bowl with a mixture of the 3, and splashes the purple mix on my face, hands and legs.  Then she dips her entire hand into it and smears in on my lips and face.  The sensation of the mixture on my open wounds and flesh is horrific, then she opens my mouth and forces me to swallow.  It burns like salt in an open wound, and going down my throat it's like drinking sticky fire, anywhere it touched it burned, I'm sure this is how I am to die.  But no, after that she has a huge man come in, he looked about 10 times the size of Thalion, and beats me with a giant wooden rod.  Someone's hand runs endlessly over my face smearing the blood until I blackout entirely from the pain. I know nothing more accept that I was carried back to my empty cell with Andromeda saying 'Tomorrow is the day,'

Friday, October 25, 2013

Greven {part 2}

"Is he dead?" 
the foggy parts of his mind were beginning to awaken again, and with the rise from their slumber came pain.
Every fiber of his being hurt and ached. 
In his state of painful subconscious, It was hard to tell where he was actually hurt from where his body was just aching in sympathy for him. 
He wanted to open his eyes, but his body told him that to return to the black void of sleep would ease his pain and be the best. 
But he was going to fight it. 
The flickering of a torch thrust near his face was the first sight he saw when he opened his eyes. 
"ah! no sir! he lives yet. Strong brute. Bet he put up quite the fight when caught" 
Beyond the torch was an unfamiliar face, but, in his current state, it could have been his mother and he wouldn't have recognized her. 
Though, the lady had died when he was five, so that also lent itself to that matter. 
"Hm. Bring him back to his cell then" standing in the doorway, the owner of the original speaker who had posed the question of whether he was dead or alive stood in the doorway, barely an outline in Greven's foggy vision. 
"I need this chamber cleared, as there is another with a will that needs breaking" 
The first man unhooked the metal cuffs around Greven's wrists, but without them holding him up, he found that his legs refused to have the strength to keep him upright, and the man was forced to support Greven. 
"Teacher, why?" the man spoke softly, barely a whisper, and Greven lifted his eyes to the face of the man whose shoulder he leaned on. 
His vision was getting better, and a snatch of memory...
"Joss" the same young man who had helped bring the elf in, as well as one of the boys he had taught archery to. 
Greven glanced towards the doorway, but the second man had left. 
"Because, Joss, I don't-" he was already out of breath, and he couldn't finish. 
"Come on, I need to get you back to the cell before Commander Malum returns" Joss shifted his weight and started walking with Greven. 
The going was slow, Joss having to half carry Greven's dead weight, and they had just left the torture chamber when the man... Malum? passed them, half dragging a young girl, she was tiny, looking more like a child than not, behind him. 
Greven looked back, but the door slammed shut, and Joss kept walking. 
"She's a Ceridwen. they captured her when they attacked Revelin this morning" 
Joss spoke hesitantly, as if worried that giving Greven this information might be dangerous. 
"Revelin..." Greven couldn't think straight, if they attacked Revelin...did Felix know about Xander? no, Xander was at Voronwë, and Felix knew it, so was he attacking blindly? hoping to strike the right person? 
But why capture a child? a Ceridwen at that? 
The walk to his cell felt as if it took hours, and the closer they got, Greven realized he could hear another feminine voice, a constant, low murmuring sound. 
Like a prayer. 
It wasn't until Joss set him down against the bars of Greven's cell while unlocking the door, that he realized. 
The cell opposite his held one other girl. 
She was blond, her hair hanging long, but perhaps not quite as long as the elvish ambassador, Bly's. She was sitting on her knees, her hands folded together, praying. 
"Everyone is saying she's a fairy" Joss whispered, half dragging Greven into his cell. 
The prayers ceased, but Greven was losing conscience again, he had lost more blood on the way here, and his head felt light now. 
The door to his cell shutting sounded like a bang, echoing around in his head while his eyes refused to stay open any longer. 
Voices were whispers, the sound of a door opening, and a cool hand touching his brow, and then he lost all and only hold he had on reality, sinking back into a black murky sleep. 


He woke when water was forced down his throat, and he sputtered, sitting upright, the action causing pain to sear through his shoulder. 
"I-I'm sorry" the water was drawn away, and he realized he wasn't alone. 
The same girl, Joss had said she was a fairy, had been moved to his cell for some reason, and now she had backed away into the corner, her eyes cast down at her twisting hands. 
He rubbed his face, and then realized that the open cuts had closed, now no more than jagged scars.  His muscles no longer felt like they were screaming for mercy, at least, not while he remained still, and from what he could tell, he wasn't actively bleeding anywhere.
"how" he cleared his throat, "how long have I been here, since being taken from the torture chambers?" 
She looked up, "almost 24 hours" fear was behind her eyes, was she worried that he would hurt her? 
"I healed that fast?" he felt his side, the bruising still was there, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. 
She shook her head, "N-no, I think you were dying. I begged to help you" 
Greven shifted his weight, scooting back against the wall, the cold, wet stone actually felt good against the welts that still crossed his back, even if they had been lessened. 
The gravity of that, dying.  He hadn't all that much to live for, he'd helped Xander escape, but he did have a rather strong wish, strengthened by the fact that Xander would someday take the throne, to see that idiot again.
And he almost hadn't.
"You...helped me?" 
She nodded quickly, "Actually, Deus did. I am merely the vessel he works through" she brushed her skirts, a pale pink material with her hands. Her face heated up, and she looked away, towards the hall way that led to the torture chambers. 
Greven sat in silence, letting this sink in...healed by a fairy, by Dues, was that what they called God? he hadn't ever been very good on learning the cultures of the other races, humans were enough of a job to memorize.  
"Then I thank you, and Dues" 
she colored, and looked back down, but her eyes still darted towards the hallway.
"Worried for your friend?" 
she nodded, apparently deciding to clam up. 
Great, did I say something offensive? 
Silence filled between them, and she sighed, "Nairi is such a hot head sometimes. why couldn't she just..." her eyes grew wide, as if alarmed, "I-I'm sorry. I...shouldn't speak so about others. it's wrong"
And then she looked back down, shame covering her features. 
"No, sometimes our friends need to be spoken about like that" Greven smiled, "I have a friend, Xander, he's a blooming idiot sometimes. Once, he-" 
"Xander?" her head perked up, "You know Xander?" 
Of course, all Revelin probably knows by now. 
"I'm proud to say, I'm his royal highness' best friend, in fact, I'm in here because I helped him and the Elf Lady escape" 
The fairy tilted her head, "His royal highness? is that a nickname for Captain Bolivar?" 
Greven stared at her, did Revelin not know yet? who all did know the true identity to Xander? 
"no....Xander don't know?" 
She shook her head. 
"Xander is the heir to the throne, I thought all the rebels knew" 
Her eyes grew wide, filled with apprehension. 
Wait, what if she thinks that Xander is...Felix's son? she might not know about Adan's lost which case, Xander now looks like a liar, and a threat...
"No, no, it's not like that...Xander is Felix's lost great nephew" 
He filled her in on what Thalion had told him, and she listened in complete silence, her eyes wide and almost unblinking. 
When he finished, she stared straight ahead, even her fingers frozen. 
"Xander is king, or, at least, he should be. He has to come and take the throne from his Grandfather's brother" 
She nodded, "he isn't fully human, then"
"nope. part elf. a tiny part, but still part. Though, the man had me fooled. he doesn't even look like an Elf" 
And she remained in shocked silence until Joss returned, and whispered that he had to return her to her own cell before someone found out. She nodded mutely and followed him. 
As Joss hurried steps faded away, Greven heard her whisper, ".....king. Captain Bolivar is, king..." 
And it then came to him, that perhaps he should have told her to not repeat it aloud for fear Felix would hear. 

Nairi (part 6)

I banged against the cell again. Who knows how long I had done so.
"You're going to hurt yourself.   Y-you should sit down," Anakis whispered, concern in her voice.
"But...I..."   I gave up and slumped against the wall, burying my face in my knees. I hope Adonis is okay. I remembered him tumbling out of the sky with the dragon who had taken me.
A door opening interrupted my thoughts. "So," a voice sneered in the darkness, "you're the little girl my nephew has feelings for." A torch was lit and a man with red hair and a swollen eye with a deep gash cut into it, the other piercing gold glared down at me.
"Do you know who I am?" he said.
I realized with a shock that this was the dragon Adonis had attacked. "You."   I stopped before I said any more realizing, that if he was alive, Adonis was most likely dead.
My horror must have shown on my face, for he grimaced "Sadly, my nephew isn't dead.   Though next time I get a chance, I will kill him.   Don't you worry."   I gasped.   The dragon was Adonis' uncle!
I suppressed my surprise "I wouldn't worry for him, I would worry for you," I told him.   "Next time I don't think you will be so lucky."
I must have struck a nerve because he grabbed the bars of the cell with such force that they nearly bent. I heard Anakis move farther back into the corners of the cell. "You insolent little," He took a deep breath and tried to calm down.   "I believe that that he wore his luck thin with our last battle, and I believe I will need none to win the next."
"Sure, keep telling yourself that scaly."
"Shut up, you idiotic child!"
"Maybe you should stop bothering him." Anakis mumbled from the corner
"Shut up you idiotic child." I mimicked, completely ignoring Anakis
He looked like he was about to blow "Mark my words girl, you will regret this." He stormed out of the dungeons.
"That probably wasn't a good idea." Anakis whispered.
"Yeah, well, I don't like him. Besides, seeing as they kidnapped us, they probably need us alive, so he can't kill me."
"No, b-but they can probably torture you."
The thought hit me like a rock, and my stomach had a fast sinking feeling "I didn't think about that." I croaked.
Anakis put her head to her knees and kind of curled up and stopped speaking. I never expected to get much talk out of her, anyway.  She never did much of it to begin with.
We sat in the prison for what felt like hours, with no way to judge time. The dungeon was dark, cold, and damp. All you could hear was the moaning of other prisoners, the occasional scream, and water dripping.
Suddenly I heard the loud screech of rusty metal on rusty metal that could only be associated with the dungeon door being opened.
I saw torch light slowly descending the hallway of stairs that were the only entrance and exit of the horrid place.
The light made it to the end, illuminating the cells and the face of it's holder. Adonis's uncle. He marched over to our cell with his lips curled up into a gruesome smile.
"Turns out the king does not care what I do with you as long as you don't die, so..."   He cracked open the cell door. "Do your best not to die." He grabbed me by the hair and drug me out of the cell. I let out a scream of pain and desperation as he yanked me up.
I pulled water from all around me and bombarded him with it. He grunted, threw me to the ground, and flung the cage door shut. "Big mistake girl." He slapped this weird bracelet on me and I felt my powers forced back. Like a massive river held back by a dam. I moaned and crumpled. I felt like all my strength had fled from my body. "Seems Andromeda's toys work nicely." The last thing I saw before I blacked out was Anakis at the bars of the cell, staring at me on the floor with horror.
I opened my eyes and my vision blurred. I let out a small grunt and tried to move my feet, but soon realized they weren't touching the ground. I kicked and tried to feel the ground but couldn't and every time I moved my arms felt like they would come out of there sockets.
"I see you're awake." I let my head fall for I did not want to look into the eyes, the cold gold eyes of this man. "If I recall we have not been properly introduced." I could here the humor in his voice. He was enjoying this. How could someone enjoy bringing pain to another, how could hurting someone bring you joy? "To start off my name is Malum, I know you know my little coward of a nephew."
"He isn't," I mumbled.
"Excuse me." The humor was gone.
I lifted my head and looked him in the eyes. "He isn't a coward, Adonis isn't.   He may be annoying and inconsiderate of others, but he has the kindest heart when it comes down to it. He is sympathetic when someone is hurting, and protects people when they need it. And I can assure you he is no coward.   You may be his uncle, but you of all people have absolutely no right to speak ill of him!"
"I see," He walked over to me "You have feelings for him as well." He laughed. "Well, if you like to talk him up so much where is he right now while you are strung up here, hmm? Probably sitting on a hospital bed wishing he had never opposed me." He smiled "And he will probably be to late to do anything to save y-"
I spit on him interrupting his stupid rant. "Why you little..." He smacked me so hard he cut my cheek, I felt the blood trickling down my jaw line. "If you are so eager for your punishment, why don't we begin."
He walked over to a wall full of so many terrible things, I was terrified of what he would choose. There where whips with glass woven throughout it, weird things that looked so grotesque I didn't even want to imagine what they did, and other various things I do not wish to describe.
His hand brushed over all the evil things before he settled on one. A knife. He meandered over to me sharpening the knife, which already looked sharp. "You know I heard that Ceridwen women don't cut there hair." He ran the knife across my jaw line and I sucked in my breath. It wasn't true. Ceridwen women cut there hair, my mother had short hair. Mine was just this long because I never bothered to cut it.
But seeing as he didn't know that I was willing to bluff if the situation called, "I hear it is a terrible thing to cut it. It means eternal shame." I have no idea how this rumor spread and I didn't care, because just as he said shame he grabbed all of my hair in his hands and hacked it off with the knife. I let out a scream, not because the hair was gone but because the pain of the knife tugging at my hair felt like every hair on my head was being yanked out.
He pulled away with a satisfied look on his face. I felt my hair brush my shoulders but not my back. I glanced at his hands as he dropped a huge pile of black hair onto the floor. "Now, I don't know if it was true or not, but that was a nice scream you let out there." He smiled "Now, shall we truly begin?"
I felt the tears prickle my eyes but I suppressed them. I would not let this man get the best of me.
"What?  No response?" He frowned. "Oh, I know, would you like to choose your next form of pain?" He gave a huge smile. I grunted at the pain of my arms being held up above me by the shackles made for the height of a grown man. He must have taken that for a no. "No.  I see." His hands hovered over the pile of torture devices with his eyes closed. "Let's leave it to chance, shall we?" He moved his hands over them with his eyes closed and his head facing up.
After about a minute his hand stopped over a whip, and to my utter horror, the one with the glass. "No, please." I begged before I could catch myself.
He whipped his head over to me with shock then smiled. Smiled so coldly I thought I might freeze from his gaze. "Oh yes, I do love it when they beg. Especially when they are as strong willed as you. It is so much fun to break them." He picked up the whip and I closed my eyes, it was better if I couldn't see it. That's what I thought...I was dead wrong.
I felt the searing pain of the whip and the glass tearing at my flesh and let out a scream of sure terror and pain. I had never screamed like that. I never thought something could hurt this bad. I couldn't keep them the tears ran down my face in streams, like the warm blood I felt running down my side. "Please," I breathed "Please no more, please."
I heard him laugh, though I couldn't see him through the tears. "Oh, the joy, she is begging. I think I win. But winning is never fun without an after party because this just hasn't been long enough for my tastes." He set the whip down dripping with blood. My blood. he picked up one thing after another and finally...didn't pick up anything. "You know," he walked over to me and held my chin up so he could look directly at me. "I wonder how you would fare if I just used my fire? Hmm, shall we try?" He lit his hands up, and for one terrible moment he looked just like Adonis. If it weren't for the huge scar running along his eye I probably would have thought it was him in my delirium.
My thoughts were yet again interrupted by a searing pain in my side. I let out another scream, and the pain didn't stop. Malum held his hand there until I fainted and everything went black.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Natia (Part 5)

Natia and Percy
   I sat next to Percy and sobbed until I gasped for breath.   "My dearest  friend, taken!  I don't know what I can do!  She's such a feeble little thing, and she can't heal herself if she gets hurt!"   The cool night air should have helped my burning face, but it only made it worse.
   Percy patted my hand, but I pushed it away.   "It'll be alright, Natia.   We'll do something.   It's okay."
   "No, it's not okay!"   I sprung up in a passion of tears.   "She'll not know what to do!   She's so very scared and timid.   It'll harm her forever!   Why couldn't Andromeda taken me?   I would have bared it cheerfully for her sake.   As long as they didn't take my sweet dear Anakis.   I wish I had known!"
   Percy kept a steady eye on all of my actions, not speaking.   I knew he had no words to make me calm down.   I finally sat down with only a sniff.   "Andromeda will surely kill her, Percy.   I can't save her."
   I then had a sudden thought.   What must Prid be feeling right now?   "Oh, my heavens, Percy.   Think of Prid.   He's so sensitive about everything.   I must go see him."
   Percy stood and helped me to my feet.   "Would you like me to come as well?" he asked.
   I shook my head, brushing the dew off my face, for when fairies cry, we do not cry the salty tears of humans.    We cry the fresh dew of mourning.   "No." said I.   "This is not your pain."
   I went off to the tent that Prid shared with Adonis.   When I came in, Adonis was not there, and Prid was sitting on the bed, holding in his hand something that glittered in the low lantern light.   It was a tiny piece of Anakis' wing, soft pink and more perfect than the moon.   Just the sight of it made me start on another flaming passion, swearing that I'd kill Andromeda and that drunkard of a ruler Felix, too.   Prid's eye's glinted a bit, looking both tearful and angry.   I wondered if I'd be in for a lion companion soon.
   At length he spoke.   "Anger doesn't solve anything."   His voice, indeed, sounded as if he had been crying, yet now he was calm and composed.   "I miss her, but we cannot do..."   He paused for a shuddering breath.   "We cannot do anything.   She's probably dead by now."
   "But surely, Prid, you do believe we must avenge her, if she is-"   My mouth refused to form the word.
   "Yes.   But I can't.   Not today.   I feel like I must bury this."   Just then, he took out a thin golden ring, so pure and beautiful.   It had a tiny speck of coal in it.   "This is a magic ring, made by the only real people in Afriki, a part-lion tribe," he explained.   "When wedding vows are said, the coal turns into a diamond.   It was my mother's.
   "I had planned-" here his voice began to be choked with tears, "-that I might win her hand with this very ring.   I think that now-"   Prid stopped to take a breath as a tear rolled down his cheek.   " I think now it'd be best if I just buried it with her bit of wing."
   I nodded.   Prid's speech had made the tears flow even more.   There was a horrid ache in my throat where the sobs should be.   "I think...I think I'll go now," said I.   I walked over to my tent where Percy no longer was.   I sat on what used to be Anakis' cot...
   And I let it all go.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Felix {part 6}

he didn't understand it. 
Curse the Archery captain. 

the clatter of the wine filled goblet filled the throne room as Felix stood from his throne to begin another pacing regimen. 
"the man I seek, is the man I- no, that was wrong, The man for whom I hunt is always the man I...." his head was swimming with too much wine, a bad choice when trying to unpuzzle a riddle. 
He couldn't think straight, and Andromeda had left, left with that mermaid captive, and he hadnt gotten the chance to so much as discuss this with her. 
He sat back down in the throne, and took a deep breath. he had to concentrate, focus his thoughts. 
Closing his eyes, he raised his face towards the roof, but only swirling darkness came. No thoughts would come. 
It was as if his mind was gone. 
Blast it all. 
he repositioned his crown as two of his soldiers left their posts outside the door, and rushed forward, their hands on their swords, searching for an enemy. 
"At ease" Felix waved his hand, and cringed inwardly at the slurring of his voice. 
The looked at each other uncomfortably and bowed, "My king?" 
They were just boys, had to be nearer fifteen than twenty, How long had it been since he was that age? 
With his mind all foggy, he couldn't remember exactly how old he was...Maybe Andromeda- oh. right. she wasn't here. 
He realized they were still bowing on one knee, looking towards him expectantly and he motioned for them to stand. 
"You, on the...right? yes, right. tell me, who do I hunt?" 
"Tell me! it's a simple question, list everyone I hunt" Felix slumped in his throne like a discontented child and mumbled about simpletons. 
"w-well....Y-your enemies, your h-highness...are, uh, many...." The guard looked to his companion who nodded. 
"my enemies are many...true. there are many people I hunt, and that's the problem!" Felix slammed his fist into the arm rest, causing both boy guards to jump. 
"And I hunt whom I hunt, and I seek those I seek, so it makes no sense whatsoever" With a sigh and a flick of his hand, his dismissed them, and they both scuttled out as if relieved. 
He heaved a deeper, sob tinted sigh and lowered his crowned head into his hands. 
Why didn't that Greven man have any relations he could torture to prompt the man to speak? An orphan who had been found in the stables, He had seemed a good, unattached ally at that time. 
but unattatchment was proving to be a double edged blade. 
Felix reached for the bottle of wine, his third, but found it swiped away from his fingers. 
He looked up expectantly, thinking of his Andromeda, but found himself looking into another face. 
"Oh, Malum, it's you. I did not hear your entry announcement" 
The dragon lifted the bottle, peering at the red liquid through the green glass with his good eye. 
"I came in while you were making an oaf of yourself in front of your guards" 
If he wasn't so drunk, he'd had the dragon thrashed for that talk, but, perhaps it was best he was drunk and wouldn't have to excite the wrath of the Dragon Ruler. 
"Glad to know your feelings, Malum. are you any good at riddles, by chance?" 
Dragons lived a long time, surely this particular foul mannered one had gained done super deriddling powers through his years. 
"No" Malum set the wine bottle down, but out of Felix's reach, while simultaneously dashing the drunken king's hopes 
"than what good are you doing, standing there, you overgrown lizard?" 
Felix again lowered his head, and therefore didn't see the rage in the dragon's eyes at being called a lizard. and an overgrown one at that. 
And Malum did a decent job at keeping his voice level, despite the fact that he'd live nothing more than to strangle this human right now. 
He only worked with him because Andromeda, he feared her, what soul in their right mind didn't? 
"The Ceridwen girl is being troublesome" 
"oh, really? well, thank you for alerting me Malum" Felix looked up just slightly, "I don't care" 
"Than, you give me leave to bring her to her knees in humility before you?" Malum leaned forward, setting hus hand on the throne's armrest, close enough for Felix to smell the smoke scent wafting off of him. 
Andromeda smelled like smoke too, but more of the smoke of burned incense instead of the woodsy, choking smell of the dragons. 
"I said I did not care, do as you please, just don't kill her. We need her alive" 
Felix waved his hand at the dragon, who smiled. 
it wasn't much of an improvement, but oh well. 
"Thank you, good king" 
Malum left, and Felix had to wonder if the tone had implied sarcasm on the 'good king' part. 
No, not another blasted riddle. 
"I hate riddles, I should have outlawed them" he groaned as his head, which was beginning to throb, was lowered back into his hands.

Xander {part 8}

Amongst the elvish corps of white and bay equine, Rudy and Ciar stuck out. 
but, aside from their colors, the horn and massive wings were enough to bring attention. 
Xander shifted in the saddle, it was an elvish made one, specially crafted to give Rudy use of his wings. The old one he had brought from Aragathia had been restricting and looked painful and so a new one had been commissioned. 
But, it took some getting used to a new saddle when he'd always used his own. 
"keep shifting like that, your highness, and you'll start hurting in an unpleasant place" Lithônien pulled his horse up next to Rudy, who flattened his ears at the scholar's white stallion. 
"Of course, thank you for reminding me, scholar. But, might I be of aid in notifying you that the way you are holding the reigns puts pressure on the bit, and should you relax yourself, the chances of being thrown are less prevalent?" 
three days, barely three days of traveling with this man, and Xander was growing weary of him.  Thank God it wasn't a family trait, as both Bly and Thalion seemed to have inherited the general kind heartedness of their people. 
But no, Xander sighed mentally, Lithônien had due reason for holding a grudge. 
"Elvish horses do not throw their riders, no matter how much they'd like to" 
Xander had to bite him tongue lest he make a comment that was not needed to be heard coming from a Prince's mouth. 
Things had become so different since his arrival, he had entered merely as an ex captain, an escort of the Ambassador, and he was leaving as a birthright king. 
Lithônien seemed defeated by Xander's silence; when your opponent doesn't make a counter attack, it's hard to continue the fight. 
The Elf scholar sighed and loosened his tight grip on the reigns before speaking, "pardon my tongue, Xander" 
Is apology?
Xander looked sidewise at the elf, first shocked that Lithônien had offered an apology. 
And then he had to smile. 
Behind Lithônien, spaced only a few feet 
from the white stallion was Bly and Alora, both looking simultaneously pleased with themselves and trying to remain inconspicuous. 
Turning back to Lithônien, Xander inclined his head, "Of course, it held no insult to begin with" 
The scholar nodded once, before moving his horse up through the ranks, his place replaced by his stunningly beautiful younger sister (At least, such is Xander's awed picture of her. The said younger sister would say she isn't stunning nor all that uncommonly beautiful) as her friend flanked Xander's right. 
"Lithônien doesn't apologise to very many, you should be honored" Bly held her face straight, but her eyes gave her away. 
"Why do I feel that your brother's apologies were more forced than heartfelt?" 
Ciar reached over, the brushed noses with Rudy while their riders conversed on how Alora might have possibly telepathically scolded Lithônien on his behavior. 
Xander gripped the soft leather reigns more tightly as he struggled to not laugh aloud, "Honestly, you two" 
Alora smiled politely and ducked her head, "His words should be more carefully guarded when speaking to the future ruler of Aragathia" 
"I honestly am not bothered by his frank speaking" The mood had changed slightly, reminding Xander that he no longer was the same person who used to be.  
"Perhaps you are not" Bly's gaze was locked on her brother, who was conversing with an Elvish commander, a slight smile on his face. "But he should not take his heartbreak over Rhiana out on you.  If he has words to spar with, then he should have taken them up with Adan or Rhianna, not their grandson. You cannot help that your grandmother did not love my brother" 
"You know, this is still just so odd" Xander leaned forward, "My grandmother, and your brother, that's so bizarre for me" 
Bly laughed, Alora grinning softly behind her hand that descreetly covered her mouth, "Xander, you had better get used to it. My years are enough, were I human, I could be your great great grandmother" 
"That's going to take some getting used to" 
Bly's face took a slight look of alarm, and Xander inwardly groaned, he had just insulted her, hadn't he. 
"B-but, in my experience, I'm only a bit younger than you, so, while I'm older, I...I'm actually younger..." 
Alora cleared her throat, "I believe we are about to stop for the evening, I think I'll go find Lithônien" 
Xander pulled his eyes away from Bly, but the moment he did, Bly moved Ciar aside, disappearing into the corps of Elvish riders surrounding them. 
Wonderful. I'm going to have to find her and apologies. 
They unsaddled their animals, allowing them a rest, but just when Xander started off to go find Bly, he was called aside from a commander who was going over the castle blueprints Xander had drawn from memory, posing questions about various matters. 
When he finally was able to free himself, camp fires were already lighting up the deeply shadowed clearing. 
He sought Bly amongst the various fires, but she wasn't with Lithônien or Alora's, nor the other fires. 
"She really shouldn't just wander around, it's dangerous, even Andromeda aside, we entered the Tawarthion yesterday, who knows what hunts these woods" he mumbled to himself while searching where the horses had been hobbled for the night. 
He found Ciar with Rudy, Bly had apparently returned her to the other horses. 
Bly, where are you? 
He nearly jumped at the voice in his head, before realizing it was Bly's. Did his imagination conjur up her voice? 
Xander, was that you? did you me like this? was her. But, how? he wasn't Elvish, or rather, he was more human than Elf, and she had said she possessed no such abilities. 
her voice in his head sounded worried. 
Oh good. She sighed, I was afraid it wasn't you. And if it wasn't, I did not want to think at who could be calling to me while using your voice. 
She didn't sound surprised at speaking in their heads to one another, had she expected this? 
Bly...why, I mean, how are we able to do this? I'm barely an elf, and you had said you couldn't communicate through telepathy. 
She was silent, and he wondered if he had insulted her even more so, and then her words came, tinged with pink, and it took him a moment to realize, she was blushing.'s like this when....when two with Elvish blood, even a little...feel, I mean, when...they...because me, and you...
She paused, and he again waited, wondering, for her to continue. 
I'm listening
She sighed. 
When two with even the tiniest drop of Elvish blood are in...when they care for each other deeply, they can speak like this. but only when together. Even pure humans and Elves can, as long as the elvish one opens the link first. 
Realization dawned. So, because I love her, and she, loves me, that sent thrills deep into Xander's heart, we can speak to each other without audible words.
But another thoughts nagged him. 
Can...the others hear us? 
perhaps that's why she had been bashful to actually say the word 'love'. To say they loved one another.  It made sense, if your older brother could be eavesdropping into your conversation.  
No. These words are ours alone. 
Ours alone. They could speak, without another soul knowing. 
He had to find her, to hold her. 
Bly, where are you? 
Her reply came back quickly, I'm north of where the horses are. I went for a walk, and got caught in a bramble bush. Xander, I can't get my dress free without ripping the hem.
He had to smile, the thought of her standing amongst a bush, hopelessly stuck, and yet patiently answering each of his questions. She was a jewel. 
Alright, I'm coming, try not to move around too much. 
She replied with a nod that he could somehow sense, and he felt her presence withdraw from his mind. waiting patiently for his arrival. 
He found her just as she had described, it appeared she had tried to walk through a narrow path through Dimeberry bushes, but, naturally they were the Tawarthion strain, and closed up around her like a trap. 
"I can't get free, each time I try, they attach in a new place, and if I try to just walk through them, even though it would rip my dress, they wrap around my ankles"  She sounded worried, the Tawarthion was huge, and even though they could see the camp fires from here, it was unlikely anyone would hear her if she shouted for help. 
"Hold on, I'll cut them from you" He waded through the bushes, feeling the almost finger like stems reach towards him, but the soft leather of his pants kept them from securing their thorns into the cloth. 
"I'm sorry to be so much trouble" Bly whispered as he stepped nearer her. 
"You aren't any trouble, Bly" He put him arm around her waist, pulling her up against him while he cut a feisty plant that had crept up to almost her waist. 
It fell away, shriveling up as it did. 
"But...I can't do anything, not even free myself from a bunch of plants" 
"Nonsense" he cut the rest of them away, "These aren't normal plants. If I'm correct, I'd say they are carnivorous. I'm sure you could free yourself from ordinary Dimeberries" 
He knelt in front of her, and she lifted the front of her skirt slightly so he could free her from the vines twisted around her ankles. 
Thankfully, the thick, rather unpretty, riding boots she wore kept the thorns from digging into her skin. 
"But Xander-" 
He stood suddenly, and put his knife back into the leather holder at his side. It seems the plants had gotten the idea, and had cleared the path for them to leave. You don't mess with a man with a knife. 
"No but Xander's. Bly, you are wonderful just how you are, I wouldn't change a single thing about you, even if I could" He picked her up, swinging her into his arms with ease, and walked down the path the plant carnivores had cleared for them. 
She colored, but wrapped her arms around his neck, "you mean, you wouldn't want me to be braver, or more talented, or able to fight with a sword?" 
He wanted to hug her to his heart, wrap her up in his arms and tell her just how much he loved everything about her. He'd be talking for days if he did. 
"If you could fight with a sword, then I wouldn't get to protect you" 
" protecting me?" 
He smiled, what a dear she was, did she not realize? "It's one of my greatest passions, protecting you. Because, when I rescue you, I get to hold you like this" 
She blushed, but leaned her head against his shoulder, one of her hands moving from around his neck to finger the embroidered stitches on his tunic. 
"say it again, Bly. please" his voice was soft, barely more than a whisper, but he needed to hear her say it again. 
"Hmm?" she looked up, confused. 
"You said it at Voronwë, Bly. why couldn't you say it when we were talking in our heads to one another?" 
"You mean..." she trailed off. 
"I love you Bly. I love you, I love you, I love you.  I loved you, past.  I love you, present. I will love you, future. I need to hear you say, that, you love me" 
Her blue eyes searched his face, moving, lighting up with a plethora of emotions. 
She touched his cheek with her gentle fingers, "I love you, Xander. I love your protective nature, I love how you are kind, and gentle. I love how you care about everyone. I love how you put up with Lithônien being annoying. I love how I feel safe around you, how I know you will take care of me no matter what. I love the color of your eyes. I love how you fell backwards when you realized that I was an elf" they both smiled at the memory, though, Xander's eyes were growing misty even through the smile. Bly continued, "I love your smile, I love how you smile so easily. I love the look on your face when you fight to protect those you care for, oh Xander" she lay her head on his shoulder, "I love you so very much, and could continue on speaking on all the ways that I do for centuries" 
His arms tightened around her, and he willed the tears to not come.  This little elvish lady, bringing him to tears, something told him Greven would probably laugh at that. 
"Bly, you are precious. never let me lose you" 
"I hope to never be lost from you" 

A couple minutes later, they returned to the camp, hand in hand, looking both so perfectly contented with the world. 
But the atmosphere of the camp, which had suddenly turned into a frenzy, was very different. 
"Where were you?" Lithônien met them, his eyes accusing. 
"I went for a walk, and got caught in Dimeberry vines, Xander came to help me get free" 
"Surely all of this isn't for us" Xander glanced around the camp, which had been peaceful when he'd left it. 
"no. Though, we were becoming alarmed" Lithônien crossed his arms, "next time, alert me when you plan on taking a stroll with my sister, or better yet, have Alora or myself accompany you" 
It wasn't even worth arguing with him over. If he wanted to stick with them, let him. they didn't need to speak out loud. 
"Lithônien, if this frenzy isn't for us, whom is it for?" Bly tightened her grip on Xander's hand. 
"we received a messenger falcon, from Revelin" 
Xander felt his breath catch. Revelin wouldn't have sent a bird unless it was urgent. 
"Read it yourself" Lithônien pulled a rolled up paper from his sleeves, he had to have hidden pockets in those wide, loose things, and flung it towards Xander. 
They unrolled it, and read it together in perfect silence until Bly gasped. 
"No...not the girls" 
Lithônien took it back, "We've decided to skip going to Revelin and move on towards Aragathia, where we will hopefully meet their army already in the first wave of attack. but we will need to up our pace, so we are moving out tonight" 
Xander nodded, and the Elvish scholar walked away. 
And Bly began shaking as if a cold wind had touched her. 
"Xander...I'm frightened. Why are they capturing them? None of them are extremely important political figures*" 
It didn't make sense. Felix and Andromeda had to have a motive...
The conversation he had overheard surfaced his memory. 
Did it have something to do with that? 
"I don't know, Bly. I don't know. but we will free them, alright? If I know Adonis and Nithron at all, they won't rest until they get them back" 
Bly nodded and dried her eyes, "And Prid" 
While Xander hasn't seen much of the half lion, he nodded, "and Prid". 
But something inside him warned, something bad was about to happen. 
Something dark and evil. 

*Bly doesn't know who Kaymele is.