Chapter Six

Chapter Six

A Chapter by Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Chapter Six


 

          I hurried back to the inn and changed into my armor.  It was the first time that I had worn it since my Armoring.  This being my first official mission from the Castle, I figured it was a special enough occasion to wear my very best.

          I looked at myself in the full-length mirror.  Now, I looked like an Araelian warrioress.  With my silver armor, burgundy pants, rose-colored riding skirt, and my goldish-brown hair pulled back into a French braid, I looked like a figure out of a fairy tale.  And I felt that way too.  I smiled at my reflection before bending over to lace my boots.

          The door opened behind me.  I saw Sean’s reflection in the mirror.

          “Where are you off too?”  he asked.

          “I have a mission from the Castle.”  I said, sounding far too self-important than what suited me.

          Isaiah came up from behind Sean.  “A mission from the Castle? Already? Wow. I knew taking you to the city was a good idea.”

          I smiled and nodded before returning to lacing my boots.

          “Weeell, since Prince Sebastian isn’t in town,  I suppose our meeting tonight has been cancelled.”  said Isaiah indifferently.  He hit Sean’s shoulder to catch his attention.  “Hey, we should find Skylar and see if he wants to hang out tonight.”

          “Oh, joy.”  said Sean.  I thought the same thing, and was glad that I wouldn’t be hanging around for that.

          “See ya, Lissy.”  said Isaiah with a wink, “Good luck.”

          “Thanks, Isaiah.”  I replied.  Sean and I shared a wave before he shut the door.  Not a minute after the door opened again.  It was my father.

          “So,”  he said, after looking at me for a few moments, “I hear that you’re going on some big romantic adventure.”

          I rolled my eyes.  “Isaiah…hardly.  It’s a mission from Lord Jasper.  I have been asked to meet up with the Prince’s party in Marrowÿn and accompany them on their return journey.”

          “You were asked to do this?”

          “Ok.  I asked.”  I said with a slight laugh.  Father didn’t seem in good humor.  “What’s wrong, Father?”

          “Nothing.  I just know that you’re ready for anything.”  he said.  I knew entirely what he meant.  I went to him and embraced him affectionately.  It was hard, but I forced myself not to cry.

          “Well then, off you go.”  Father said.


~*~


After I was sure that I had packed everything and was a hundred percent ready to go, I left the inn and headed for the stables to get Talia.  It was a beautiful sunny day with clumps of pure white clouds in the sky.  People bustled about as usual, but without the cheerfulness and lively din like before.  Not having the Prince around was unnerving, as Ancantha’s crown ruler is also the lieutenant of the army.  I supposed that the people feared much more for their own lives than Sebastian’s.

          I entered the stables, oddly enough, there was nobody there.  I found Talia and stroked her.

          “Hello, girl.”  I whispered.  Somebody came up behind me, and I knew who it was.

          “Lady Felicity.”  said Skylar warmly, “Where are you off to this lovely day?  Has the Araelian warrioress found herself a mission?”

          “Yes.”  I said, adjusting Talia’s bridle.

          “Well, I do hope you enjoyed your stay in Epsilia, however brief it was.  You’ll have to come back.  There is so much more to see.”

          “I did very much, thank you.”  

There was an awkward minute of silence that followed.

          “Lady Felicity…you do intend to come back, yes?”  he asked.

          “Yes, I expect so.”   I looked at him then.  “I will most certainly be back.  Why?”

          “I was just wondering.  We need more people like you around here.”

          “That’s an interesting sort of compliment.”

          He laughed softly.  “It’s true.  You’re a special person.  I’ve never met anyone quite like you.”

          “Well, thank you, Skylar.”  I motioned to mount Talia, but Skylar grabbed my arm.  We looked at each other.  Something sank in his expression, and he dropped his eyes to the ground.  He took my hand and kissed it respectfully.

          “I’ll help you up.”  he said.  He linked his hands to make a step and I hopped on up.

          “Thank you.  Farewell, Skylar.”  I said, and before he could say or do anything else, I spurred Talia on.  I, of course, only had room in my heart for one lover, and I longed to be with him so desperately.

          Don’t look back.  Don’t look back.  I kept telling myself.  But for some reason, I did.  Skylar waved.


~*~


I followed the road across Ancantha’s vast field, which was comprised of a couple hundred miles of grasslands and flower-covered hills.  It was quite lovely in the spring and summer.

          The weather was just perfect.  The air was clean and cool.  When I reached the top of Olarn’s Hill, I felt like I was on top of the world.  I could see Epsilia behind me, and before me, the forests below.  The White Forest Rellasmïr; the vast forest of Kellereth; and the forest of Derenai’ie, which practically shimmered in the sunlight due to all the faerie dust.  I saw the port city Marrowÿn, and the aqualline Southern sea in the distance.  It was truly a spectacular sight, unlike anything I had ever seen in Araelia.

          I took in the scene for a while as I ate my lunch, a thick slice of bread with ham, some cheese, and a small apple.  I sat under the lone willow tree of Olarn’s Hill.  I thought to myself of Olarn, one of the oldest Otherkind in history.  He was nearly forty years of age when he passed through the void.  He found himself thrown into the midst of the Raven’s War.  He joined the army, and King Rautor made him second-in-command.

          On the sixteenth day of the eighth month of that year, the Battle of Rain took place, at the very spot where I was now sitting.  As the name suggests, it was pouring down rain that day.  The fledglings used this to their advantage, and due to an elaborate spell, they poisoned the falling water.  It fell like acid, killing many Ancanthian soldiers.  Olarn fell with his men that day.

          In his honor, the King named the hill on which the battle took place Olarn’s Hill.

          I loved history.  The stories of the past make up our futures, just as our life makes up our death--or so my professor always told me.

          After I had finished eating, I forced myself to saddle up and continue on my journey.  By midnight, I reached the edge of the forest, the archway of Mira Pass.  I wanted to keep going, but I was getting tired, and Talia was exhausted.  I decided to make camp for the night.

          Suprisingly, I slept rather well that night, but woke before sunrise.  I ate a small breakfast.  Talia and I then began the silver path of Mira Pass.  The pass separated Rellismïr from Kellereth.  It was kind of eerie, having a white forest to my left and a green one to my right.  It was like I was travelling between two very different worlds.

          I went on for hours until I reached a large clearing.  I ate lunch.  Before I had finished, I began hearing odd noises coming from within the White Forest.  It didn’t sound like an animal, but it didn’t sound like a person, either.  I got up and put my things away.  I decided to ignore the noises for now.

          That didn’t last long, however.  I kept hearing the same sort of noises as I continued on my way.  After a while I stopped and tied Talia’s reins to a tree.

“Stay here.”  I whispered to her.  She whinnied at me, an odd sound, really, for a horse.  It was almost as if she was worried, which made me feel nervous.  I unsheathed my dagger and wandered into Rellasmïr.  The noises continued.  They almost sounded like a shriek of some sort.  I suddenly thought of the Spektors back at the Mistlands. 

No.  There weren’t any Spektors in this part of the country.

…Were there?

I was alert and ready to fight, but I could see nothing.  I stopped for a moment and listened.  The sounds had subsided.

“Hmm.  Perhaps they have gone, then?”  I said.  My voice sounded loud and echoing.  So much that a shiver shot down my spine.  The forest’s curse was infecting me.  I started to sweat, and my vision was going strange.  All I could hear in my ears was my heart thumping and my shallow breaths.

I heard a voice off in the distance, and I quickly ducked behind a large bush.

“Less and less of the wolves are returning.” said the thick, gravelly voice, “They’re all dying out because there is nothing for them to eat here.”

“It doesn’t matter.”  said a clearer, lofty voice, “When she returns, Lady Clemenstra--“

Silence!” ordered another, “You know not to speak of these things.”

I put a hand over my mouth, trying to swallow the sentence When she returns.  There was no if.  It was when.

“There is an outsider nearby.”  said the lofty voice.  “A foreigner, rather.  She does not have the typical Ancanthian aura.”

What?  Surely they could not be talking about me?  They were.  I heard them come closer, but the stopped abruptly at the sound of a wolf’s howl.

“There!”  they shouted, and they were gone.  The wolf continued to howl.  I wondered why they were in such a hurry to find the wolf.  Then I heard Talia, and I immediately got up and ran.  I had that horribly terrifying feeling within me that someone was chasing me, and that only made me run faster.  When I reached the clearing, I saw Talia rearing.  A wolf stood before her, ready to attack.  I threw my dagger, and it struck the wolf, perfect aim.  At least I knew that my training had paid off.

“Shh, calm down, girl.”  I said, stroking Talia’s mane.  She breathed out sharply through her nose.  I retrieved my dagger.  The wolf was not an ordinary one.  I could tell because of the markings on its--his--face, legs, and back.  He was a lycan.

Despite the differences and past conflicts between the lycans and the fledglings, they had fought alongside each other during the Raven’s War.  The Queen of the lycans, however, realized half-way through the war that her people were on the wrong side.  Clemenstra, angered, cast a spell on the lycan race.  They would never again assume their human forms, nor would they leave the White Forest.  They would remain wolves for the rest of their lives, searching for food within the cursed forest.

I ran my fingers over the wolf’s eyebrow.  He had probably been starving.  He didn’t care that Talia was my horse.  He needed to eat to survive.  I wondered how much of his human sense he still had, if any at all.

I prayed then that Rellasmïr’s curse would be lifted someday.

I mounted Talia and returned to the road.


~*~


I made camp along Mira Pass on the Kellereth side that night.  All day I had been dreading to go to sleep.  I had never slept within a forest before, and something about the whole atmosphere made me very nervous.  I was glad that I was not sleeping in Rellasmïr, however.  Kellereth, at the very least, wasn’t too quiet and there were fireflies dancing in the night air.  Watching them was calming.

          After a while I drifted into the mindlessness that preludes sleep, but was woken by wolves howling.  It was an utterly terrible sound, coming from the White Forest off in the distance.  The wolves sounded like they were in deep pain, as if they were being tortured.

          Surely I was imagining things.  I covered my head with my pillow and tried to ignore them, but to no avail.  The wolves’ muffled groans echoed in my mind.  It became so bothersome to me that I got up; hurriedly packed my things, and woke Talia.

          “Sorry to wake you.”  I said to my horse.  “But we need to get away from here.”  She almost seemed to agree.

          I mounted, and we rode along the edge of Mira Pass, staying on the Kellereth side.  I felt that the pass was too open, and I didn’t want to be an easy target for a famished fledgling--or lycan.

          “Cursed branches.”  I muttered when one sliced open my cheek.

          Keep your voice in your mind.  Said a deep girl’s voice.  I knew not who it was, and it startled me.  I pulled Talia to a halt and looked around.  Nobody.  I couldn’t sense anybody around, either.

          It’s me, Talia.

          I looked down at my horse, utterly surprised.  Talia?

          Yes?

          You can speak?

          Only like this.

          How come you didn’t tell me?

          In order for there to be answers, there must be questions first.

          Can all horses talk?

          Not all of them.  Some of us can.  We are called the Soirses, the ones gifted with telepathy.

          Wow, I--

          Let us continue on our way, my lady.  They come.

          I nodded, and she returned to a brisk pace.

Not long after, I sensed that someone was indeed following me.  Talia quickened her pace, sensing my thoughts.  I liked this connection between my horse and I.  It was quite convenient.

Whoever it was wasn’t just following us, he was chasing us.  My heart started to pound.

My lady, he is a marksman.  Watch your back.  Warned Talia.

Sure enough, an arrow whizzed past my left ear.  Another nearly grazed the top of my head.  There were too many braches and bushes in our path, so I had to move out to the Pass.  I looked back.  My pursuer was now on the Pass as well.  He was dressed from head to toe in black.  He had long, silver hair and an impressively crafted bow in his hands.  I turned back around and focused on what was before me.

Who was this man? And why was he chasing me?

An arrow stuck my shoulder plate, ricocheting off and hitting a tree trunk.  I turned and held out my hand, reciting a spell under my breath.  A ball of lightning shot out of my palm, but the masked man sliced it in half with a dagger.  He literally sliced it in half, so that the two sides shot of in opposite directions.  I didn’t even know that was possible.

The man was obviously a bearer, too.

He ran up a tree and disappeared in the branches.  Great.  I gripped Talia’s reigns tight and closed my eyes.  I cleared my mind, focusing solely on the aura of my opponent. 

He was directly above me.

I was struck off my horse.  I got to my feet immediately and found myself engages in blade-to-blade combat with my pursuer.  I parried every move of his.  Horizontal, vertical, diagonal slice.  Spin strike.  He tried to footsweep me, but I jumped and did a backflip in midair, remembering the wind dance classes I had taken.  Using a tree behind me, I wall-kicked against it and struck horizontally.  My blade struck his hard; his arms quavered under the blow.  He broke the hold, and I took a few steps back, sword ready for the next move.  His fierce green eyes softened a bit before he spoke.

“Who are you?”  he asked, his voice muffled by his mask and scarf.  I could see elf ears poking out from his hair.

“Why do you want to know?”  I said steadily.

He paused.  “You are not who I seek.  Farewell.”  He turned and began to run away, but I stopped him, pressing the tip of an arrow to his neck.

“Who are you?”  I asked.

He was silent for a moment.  “Just a humble mercenary trying to complete his mission.  Which does not involve you, contrary to my original perceptions.”

I dropped my weapons.  We locked eyes for a moment before he ran.  I watched as he ran down the path until he was out of my sight, leaving me with many unanswered questions.

 

I was soon reunited with Talia.

          Are you alright, my lady?

          Yes.  And you can call me Felicity if you like.

          The wolves again.  I mounted Talia and continued onwards as ominous twilight fell over the forest.

 

We did not stop.  I could not stay in the forest.  Oh, how I wanted to see the sky, the stars, the moon.  Breathe the open air.

          My vision was clouding from exhaustion.  I knew I couldn’t stay awake for much longer.  Talia trotted along, utterly silent.  I tried to keep my eyes on the White Forest to my left, but everything just seemed to blur together.

          After a while, I could finally see the end of the Pass in the distance.  I breathed a heavy sigh of relief, but right after I did so, several wolves emerged from the forest.  Talia reared, startled, sending unsuspecting me tumbling to the ground.

          Talia!  I cried, but she was already galloping away.  My head was throbbing; my vision fading.  The last thing I saw was a scene of three soldiers fending off a dozen or so ravenous wolf lycans. 



© 2012 Aianarie (INACTIVE)


Author's Note

Aianarie (INACTIVE)
Ok, so I have mixed feelings about this chapter. I like it, but I think that I will change a few parts of it in the future. I was just so eager (as was a lot of readers xD) to get this finished, so here it is. Let me know what you think.

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Featured Review

Wow, just wow. I don't know what your "mixed feelings" are all about, but I really enjoyed this chapter. I found it to be exciting, thought provoking, and just as entertaining (if not more?) than your other chapters. Perhaps a little more organization of thoughts and ideas would be the only thing you could do to improve it. :)

As always, your grammar and spelling seem right on track. On a side note, your chapters are quite aesthetically pleasing. I don't know if it's just the font but everything just looks good to the eye.

Keep it up. I'm eager to to see how this story progresses. It's shaping up to be a good one.

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A very good chapter. I like the description of preparing for battle and the description of how life was in the field of battle. You gave me a surprise ending. I needed to know more. Thank you for sharing the outstanding story.
Coyote

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

wonderful job well done thanks for sharing with me and keep up the good work

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

AWESOME!!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am so glad you finished, now I can't wait till you put up the next chapter. And I love how Felicity can have conversations with the horse!! That's awesome!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow, just wow. I don't know what your "mixed feelings" are all about, but I really enjoyed this chapter. I found it to be exciting, thought provoking, and just as entertaining (if not more?) than your other chapters. Perhaps a little more organization of thoughts and ideas would be the only thing you could do to improve it. :)

As always, your grammar and spelling seem right on track. On a side note, your chapters are quite aesthetically pleasing. I don't know if it's just the font but everything just looks good to the eye.

Keep it up. I'm eager to to see how this story progresses. It's shaping up to be a good one.

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This was a really exciting chapter!!! :D i like the fledgling/lycan thing. Very interesting. CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.....AND POST CROW AND THE BUTTERFLY PART 2, PLZ!!!!!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 2, 2012
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Aianarie (INACTIVE)
Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Eugene, OR



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