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An Epic Fantasy
The Elven party rode hard through the night. Kiten was only a few hours away. Midnight was quickly approaching and by the time they got there, the town should be well asleep, perfect for sneaking in and out without too much excitement.
Alce couldn’t keep his thoughts and eyes off the Elven Prince though as they followed behind his Guards. What would the Young Lord of Ao'lean do once they got to Kiten? His mood had degraded to bare tolerance since they turned around. The young mage knew there was something …wrong? Maybe. Darec’s whole demeanor was disturbing.
--- Whaht is it, my lahve? --- Evergreen’s syrupy voice tickled through his mind, as they zigzagged their horses through the trees. Alce briefly remembered the pain it used to cause him when she spoke to him this way. It was an ancient way of communicating, one that all Elves used to use thousands of years ago, but no more. Now it was only the Ferine way of communicating.
--- The Brat. His mind isn’t right. I don’t think it’ll be long till he mimics his mother. ---
--- Meening? ---
--- His mother killed herself. --- Alce didn’t have to see the look of surprise on his mate’s face to know it was there. --- After killing ten others. ---
Evergreen pushed her horse faster to match that of her lover’s bay.
--- His mother wahs ah Furii? ---
It was a mental ailment that ignored the ability to tell right from wrong. It caused the sufferer to enjoy pain either for themselves but especially inflicting it onto others. Alce recalled the terror of the High Lady’s last days. How one of the most graceful of ladies, the most beautiful of souls quickly changed to easily rival the evil intent of a Core Devil. They had found the bodies of the missing servants when the eighth victim vanished. The ninth and tenth were killed on the spot when she was cornered and told what she was. Furii’s never liked hearing about what they were or how they used to be.
--- Yes. ---
--- You think thaht Dahrec will follow ahfter his mother? ---
Alce mentally sighed. --- I have no doubt. ---
Baelor watched the mental exchange between the young mage and his Ferine mate. His own mind racing as the horses they rode. What would she look like? How had her treatment been since he practically forced her into the hands of her kidnappers? Horrific images filled his head.
“Do not dwell, Sire.” Tyrus hissed from Baelor’s right side, his red mare, Talon, keeping pace easily. “It will not help.” He knew what the old Imperial was thinking as his own mind was dwelling on the same things. Wondering what tortures her captors have put her through once they realized she was a half-breed, a half-breed with magykal capabilities. With her stubborn streak he was sure she would make someone mad. His heart sank a little as he wondered if she had given up on rescue with all the time that had passed. He hoped not, he recalled the torture Baelor told him he was put through by humans…. Tirin was beautiful, delicate, and just as prideful as her father. Tyrus turned his attention to the race ahead. Suicide would not be a problem for her, he felt.
Kiten was closer now. ‘Tirin, we are coming…I am coming.’ He thought.
Darec stared blankly at Daynel’s back as the group continued to speed forward. The Desgjin’s were proud and Tirin would more than likely keep to herself what he had done to her so many years ago. But she could possibly mention the fact that he had thrown her from his horse. It was going to be torture when she rejoined them…if she rejoined them. He could always stir up trouble upon their arrival.
Prince Sayer came just as Murai said he would, the ruckus outside her cell told her that he didn’t come alone.
“Open the door.” The Prince’s words were slurred, full of alcohol, arrogance, and smoldering anger.
“Sire. She’s just a girl.” Murai pleaded with him pathetically. Tirin sat up holding her breath.
“Open. The. Door.” Sayer growled.
Tirin didn’t have to be there to know that the Prince’s steel blue eyes were narrowed with rage.
“Are you defying me?” Sayer’s voice was shrill.
She quickly stood up, pressing her back against the far wall of her cell as the sound of scuffling was heard at her cell door. She flinched at the sound of a sword being drawn and quickly covered her ears. Her eyes shut tightly till they ached. It took her a moment to realize that she was crying.
All of a sudden a ringed hand clapped over her mouth. Hit with a sudden flash of Darec planting that foul smelling rag over her face she screamed.
Her neck grew surprisingly warm and she knew that somehow she had activated her mother’s necklace.
“I still don’t see why we have to leave the horses.” Darec complained as he tied Necrom’s reins to a tree.
“They would call too much attention to us, not being like the horses of this region.” Zeph explained simply. “I think we look strange enough as it is to these…people.” He carefully worded his ending. Baelor nodded at him.
“But it’s dark, they won’t be looking at a bunch of cloaked travelers----.” Darec continued.
“Enough.” Alce cut in. “Morning is coming fast, let’s get in and get out.”
“Right, but we have no idea where she’s been taken.” Darec continue to complain. “Tyrus, go and sniff her out.”
Tyrus growled loudly and surprisingly to the rest of them as he started for the Young Lord. Baelor put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, surprised at the Tyrus’ sudden eagerness to fight.
“Now is not the time for your childishness, Darec.” The older elf hissed. “We have to work together and carefully. Fortunately that means you have to stop acting like a spoiled brat!”
Evergreen silenced them with and shrill and eerie whistle. “Now is best time ta leeve, naht ahrgue…”
“Yes.” Baelor sighed almost ashamed. “Yes, we should be going.”
They started to head off when the sound of scratching is finally heard. The scratching forced them to look behind them to realize that the redhead wasn’t with them.
“Lady Daynel?” Rane called a little concerned.
She poked her head from behind a tree; her small blade quickly finding whatever hiding place it had appeared from in the folds of her dress.
Tirin’s eyes readjust as the light faded. She knew immediately she was no longer in her cell the sound of trickling water was no more. She was now in the armory.
She fell to her knees the feeling of misery overtaking her. She had no idea what to do with her new circumstances, but the fact that she knew that poor Murai…she knew he was dead. She fought off the tears that threatened and forced herself to stand up. She looked about and paused as she noticed her reflection in the high polished surface of a suit of armor. Touching her necklace she moved closer to inspect it, nodding as she saw that two of the once bright stones were dull now. The Earth’s pearl and the star rock. Something told her that Sayer had been punished.
Tirin bent down and picked up her clinking chain as she moved to the door. The sound of rushed footsteps bringing her back to her predicament.
“---demon girl escaped!”
“---turned the Prince to stone!”
She quickly pulled back as a group of guards rushed past the door. She pushed her creeping fear back and urged herself to calm down.
“What now?” She looked around the large room, weapons of all types glinting at her coldly. She didn’t know how to use any of them. A long length of chain caused her to relax a little. She rushed over to a rack of hatchets and took one, recalling a spell she memorized from the many notes that littered Gar’s private quarters.
“Let’s see if I can do this.” She sat upon the cold stone floor, spreading her legs apart as far as the chain would allow. Holding the weapon with both hands she raised it above her head.
Silently she invoked the spell wincing as the chain began to quickly transform. She lowers the hatchet sharply.
The Elves entered Kiten with no problem. The gate was left unmanned. As they made their way further into town they realized that something was happening. Torches could be seen darting here and there; guards were searching fervently for something…or someone.
“She’s escaped.” Baelor whispered more to himself, but knew that Tyrus had heard him as the cloaked figure beside him turned to face him.
“What’s happening?” Daynel asked aloud wrapping her cloak tighter about her as guards brush past her rudely ignoring her.
“Tirin’s escaped.” Alce informs them in a rather far away voice. They all turned to him and see that his eyes are closed. “We need to find our way to the castle.” He opened his eyes quickly. “But be ready.”
Tirin ran full tilt up the now empty corridor, her bare feet making no sound against the cold stone. The chain had practically exploded when the weapon smashed into it. Metal had changed to glass and she had underestimated her own strength. Shards of the glass had entered her legs, face, and hands, some of it changing back into metal, but she forced herself to ignore it. The sound had been louder than she thought and she had jumped up to hide burying larger shards into her bare feet. When no one came to investigate she tended to herself as quickly as she could, removing as much as she could before feeling the need to run. The cloth ripped from her ragged maid’s dress were already soaked with blood, small rivulets were coursing down her legs. Someone would find and follow the small bloody footprints eventually; she had to find an exit soon. She pressed herself against the wall as she neared a corner. The smell of her own blood nearly blocked everything else as she tried to use the abilities given her through Tyrus. As she inched to the corner she almost missed the smell of leather and metal from behind her. The two guards and Tirin stared at each other for a second before the taller of the guards yelled out.
“She’s here! We’ve found her!”
She took off around the corner hoping that there was no one on the adjoining hall only to nearly run into a handful of them answering the alert. They stopped at the center of the other hallway as they saw her.
Tirin growled when she was cornered into the elbow of the two corridors, without pause she turned and ran through the stain glass window behind her. A levitating spell ready as she has no idea how high she was from the ground. The glass cleared and her bare feet hit night-cooled stone of a vast balcony. She scanned the area the torch light enough for her to see clearly while she kept running, the guards were minutes behind her. She ran to the railing and quickly climbed over watching the guards pause as she nimbly made her way across a narrow ledge to the next balcony.
The band of elves knew they were nearing the castle as the number of guards gradually increased. Darec found himself becoming more and more anxious. If he was going to do something he had to do it now. Something to make them retreat or get chased out. They were traveling in a tight line, following the shadows so as not to become the new subjects of the searching guards. Darec sped up just enough to catch Daynel’s cloak underfoot. She squeaked before falling into Rane.
A small group of guards turned their way, one of them trying to peer into the shadows that hid them.
“You! Over there! Come out!”
“Alce.” Evergreen whispered, her lover reached out and touched her still sheathed blade. They all hear a strange hum.
The guards started to cross the street when someone yelled out of sight. “---they’ve found her and she’s trying to make a run for it! Back to the castle!” The guards quickly forget the shadow-hidden group.
“Follow them.” Baelor whispered.
Thirty-feet. Thirty-feet. Tirin was beginning to hate that approximate measurement. Every drop she came to was too far for her to take safely. She wanted to be able to run to her freedom not hobble away and get caught again. Not that she could do that either. Her legs were numb and the slivers had wreaked havoc she hadn’t counted on. She was dizzy, tired, and lost. Tirin fought back the tears, again. She had found a moment of peace away from the chase after cutting through a large ballroom. It took her clear across the castle from her guess.
The scent of hay suddenly hit her.
“Horses.” She whispered the word to herself her breath hitching. The stables were in a separate building. She could jump from the balcony to the lower roof of the stables. She peeked from her hiding place, should she dare to head toward there? She winced as she forced herself to stand, her legs weren’t going to take too much more of this. Tirin took a shuddery breath, if she couldn’t make it to the stables, she just wouldn’t make it.
“Move.” She growled at herself. She does stiffly at first but then she hears yelling as she reached another window. They had found her again. She moved quickly to the narrow ledge that seemed to connect every balcony this castle had, adrenaline racing through her again the throbbing pain of her feet and legs faded as she saw moving torches. She inched her way over the ledge and clambered over a small balcony when she heard a sound that froze her blood. She spun uncontrollably and hit the ground, hellfire ripping through her upper arm. She looked at her left arm unable to fight the tears that filled her eyes now. An arrow had carved its way across her arm just above her elbow. Anger rose in her chest quickly and she regretted it, but allowed it to fill her. The thudding of feet filled the adjoining room to the balcony, before they made it to the window, Tirin pulled herself up by the banister and met the faces of ten guards. Hate filled all of their eyes. One of them started to open the ornamental doors.
With a shrill scream she flung her hands from her and the doors along with the guards vanished in a large cloud of smoke and electricity. Stone and mortar exploded throwing her over to the next balcony. As gracefully as she could she rolled with the fall returning to her feet quickly and running for the edge of the new balcony. Another scream tore free of her, this time filled with searing pain before she fell to the ground again. The pain was mind numbing as the shaft of an arrow protruded from her right thigh. They were toying with her, she growled feeling her strength fade fast, and she was losing it. She made herself get up. They needed her, probably thinking that she knew of a way to return their Prince to flesh. She fell against the railing and turned to face the guards that dared to come near her. She had wanted to get out of here without the use of magyk, as her abilities were never tested in situations like this. With her emotions volleying from fear to anger and back she knew she couldn’t control the amount of energy taken from her. She would pass out either way now, from blood loss or from the drain of energy. She hugged the mental image of her father one last time and apologized to Tyrus for the way things played out.
“Hsseaf.” She whispered, the spell lifted her to standing with a stiff wind that left her to quickly turn into a gale of destructive force as she directed it into her unwanted company. She watched as most of them were blown off the balcony; its ornate structuring no longer impressive as chunks of it was pulled away from the main body.
“O~arreal!” She screamed holding her hands out in front of her. A disc of spinning fire quickly grew from hand-sized to about five feet across as it flew through the dispersing group of guards and into the castle itself setting things aflame.
Tirin struggled to turn away from the now flaming gaping hole in the side of the castle, her energy was spent. Fire was always the worse energy drain of all spells. She dragged herself over the railing then went still as the smell of horses was close but…
Her eyes opened wide as not ten feet away from her a strange and ominous shadow moved quickly up the side of the stable wall scaring the horses within with its presence. It moved toward her, its limbs disjointed and wrong. She swallowed, fear brushing away her earlier anger. Then the wind changed and her eyes widen largely.