Chapter 11: Spirited away

Chapter 11: Spirited away

A Chapter by Gosia

May leaned against the wall in one of the never ending hallways of the Thoen palace. She stretched her toes, tired from roaming around the whole castle. Having been banned to leave the palace during Abrran’s visit, May wasn’t able to see the priest in the temple. However, she had an idea which included using Levi as a courier, who could bring the translated scroll right into her hands. But, there was a tiny problem with her plan �" she had trouble finding her bodyguard in the palace swarming with people and hide from all the individuals she wanted to avoid at all costs. She nearly bumped into Hilda a couple of times already; the attendant was hunting May since dawn.

 

Having caught a little rest, May went on with her search for Levi. She took several random turns and wound up in the Duke’s garden, lost once more.

 

  “Not again,” May sighed, giving up for the time being and sitting on a bench to catch a break.

 

The girl sat in the royal garden, surrounded by the trees that were nearly bending under the weight of flowers. The branches were swaying in the wind, the sound was a lullaby for May’s ears. It was an exceptional moment of peace when the girl head cleared out of all worries; she could just simply sit in the shade of the trees, relaxing. She closed her eyes, taking in the feeling of the light breeze on her face and the scent of the rain.

 

She didn’t notice that her betrothed, whom she had been avoiding so carefully until now, showed up in the garden and made his way towards her.

 

“Maewyn,” he said, causing May’s eyes to snap open.

 

She was so startled, that she nearly fell off the bench. May lifted her head and mentally cursed, seeing Abrran. The man smiled and sat down on the bench next to her, visibly pleased, that he finally managed to catch her alone and get to speak with her. “I am really happy to see you, we did not have the chance to speak privately yet. Did you miss me?”

 

“Eh… sure,” May answered slowly, looking for an opportunity to escape.

 

She was worried that pretending to be the Duke’s daughter in front of her fiancé would be a task too difficult to handle, despite Hilda’s tips. The Abrran guy was smiling widely and sat on the bench much too close to May for the girl to feel comfortable. She was rather shy around guys, especially the handsome ones, and the situation felt awkward. May pushed herself further from him, but he sat even closer. His eyes were looking at her lovingly, which freaked her out. She never was in a situation like this before. The girl cursed inwardly and reminded herself that she shouldn’t blow her cover.

 

You are a butterfly, a butterfly, a damn butterfly, she was repeating in her mind as she forced herself to smile shyly.

 

“And you missed me too?” she asked, trying to sound like a weak Lady.

 

The man flashed another dazzling smile at her and took her hand. May stared at him and tried to yank her hand free, but he was holding it gently yet firmly, refusing to let go of it. She tried to hint him discreetly that she didn’t wish for the skin contact, but he ignored it. May really felt uncomfortable with some stranger holding her hand, especially that he was the fiancé of the girl, who was currently stuck in Baltimore, just as she was trapped in the Callesmere Empire. She was sure, that the real Lady Maewyn wouldn’t want May to get too familiar to her future husband. She twisted her wrist, freeing her hand from Abrrans’s grasp. May forced herself to smile at him.

 

Abrran sighed.

 

“I have been yearning to see you, my love. It would ease my heart if you could sing for me,” he said and was obviously expecting her to sing some song.

 

Damn, where is that old crone Hilda when you need her? May coughed.

 

“My throat is hurting today,” she made an excuse. “And my fingers too,” she added quickly in case that idiot wanted her to play the mandolin, flute or whatever the real Lady Maewyn was playing.

 

Unfortunately, her fake betrothed got himself in a romantic mood. God, in her world May didn’t have even one boyfriend; she had no clue how she should behave. Why had it happened to her now?

 

“Do you remember what you said to me when we first met?” Abrran asked, hope in his eyes, and sat even closer. May wriggled away as he tried to put his arm around her shoulders. She didn’t notice that she was already sitting at the edge of the bench. She fell down with a loud “thud”.

 

“Crap! Damn you, you moron!” she cursed loudly, rubbing her aching backside.

 

Shocked, Abrran stared at her with horror, not believing, that his demure Maewyn knew such vocabulary. He tried to help the girl get back on her feet, but May slapped his hand and managed to do it herself. She sent him a poisonous glare and stalked away, huffing with irritation. Not only the encounter didn’t go well, but now her buttocks were hurting from the fall too.

 

She was furious and the man only triggered the accumulated anger. She had enough of this whole Lady-acting, of all those people, of being trapped in this world. She wanted to visit the priest and get the translation of the scroll. The worrying about Eren’s well-being was only adding to her frustration; the child must have been disappointed when she didn’t show up today. She really wished to see the cheerful kid instead of annoying Abrran.

 

Be careful what you wish for. The wishes tend to come true in the most unexpected way �" May’s dad used to say it a lot. She didn’t know why she remembered this out of sudden.

               

May sped up, turning at the corner and dashing into another of the long identical hallways, continuing looking for Levi. However, the young warrior was nowhere to be found. May cursed, as she was running in circles for hours now, searching for the useless guy.

               

“I need another plan,” she muttered.

 

Tired, May leaned against a wall and was trying to figure out how else she could get to that temple. She didn’t want to wait another day �" she was too eager to find out whether the scroll would be able to help her get home. May was stuck in this cursed world for about a week and had enough waiting. She shivered as she thought about all the studying she missed. What was Lady Maewyn even doing? May hoped to get back home before her parents and Hailey were back from their trip. Oh, the return would be tough as she’d have to catch up with the books, but first she’d have to actually return.

 

May noticed a familiar silhouette heading her way. Acting on instinct, she turned quickly around the corner and plastered herself to the wall. Damn, of all people, she had to meet the last one she wanted to see �" Abrran. After the encounter in the garden she really had no wish to play a happy fiancée in front of him again. Unfortunately, May wasn’t fast enough to hide and the man found her with an ever-present charming smile on his lips.

 

“Maewyn,” he said softly. “I wish to apologize if I upset you in the garden.”

 

“Um…” May mumbled, thinking of an excuse to escape.

 

Then it dawned on her. The Abrran guy maybe wasn’t the best companion, but the guards would surely let her out of the castle if she was with him. Sounds like a plan, May thought and smiled to herself. She assumed the role of the Lady and cleared the throat.

 

“It is me who should apologize. I did not sleep well because of the nerves,” she began, recalling all the movies about the Middle Ages she watched on TV. “I would like to pray in the temple for our marriage and I was looking for someone to accompany me. Would you like to escort me?”

 

May felt as if her tongue would rot from all this politeness. Abrran, however, smiled even more, if it was possible. He gently took her hand and bowed slightly. May winced, feeling extremely awkward again, but didn’t pull her hand out of his. She still needed him.

 

“Of course, my love. I shall make preparations immediately. Please meet me at the castle gates in an hour,” Abrran replied. He bowed deeper, flashed her another smile and walked away.

 

“An hour?” May repeated, furrowing her brows.

 

Why the heck would he need an hour to take a thirty minutes’ walk?

 

An hour later May found out. At the gates, Abrran was waiting for her and he wasn’t alone. A while later she was sitting on a horse and by her side rode her betrothed. They were accompanied by about a dozen warriors and more or less the same number of servants. May frowned as Abrran motioned his horse to get closer to May.

 

“I have personally chosen the gentlest mare for you,” he said to her.

 

May arched her eyebrow.

 

“I can see that,” she muttered.

 

In fact, the horse she was riding on was more like a mule than a horse. May was capable of walking faster than that mare. Additionally, one of the servants was leading the animal, which made her feel as though she was disabled.

 

Time was dragging on mercilessly. May was under the impression that her walks with Levi took less time. The girl sighed as she saw the awed eyes of the villagers as the small procession rode through the village. The Abrran’s warriors’ armors were shining in the sun and the strong wind made the white capes with the emblem of the Karhadon Dukedom billow dramatically. The inhabitants of the lower levels of the Thoen Stronghold and the farmers from the village were gawking at the unusual sight with awe, pointing their fingers at the young Lord and the girl, they thought to be their Lady. May thought that it must be a funny sight, seeing her one day shopping in the market and now making such an entrance… She prayed that her visit at the temple would be worth all this fuss.

 

May’s face brightened as she saw the elderly fat priest on the road; the man must have been on his way to the village. May waved to him energetically. The priest raised his hand, as to wave back, but when he saw Abrran riding by her side, he bowed deeply instead. May decided that it’s best not to dismount the horse now �" how would she get back on in her formal dress? She took the reins from the servant while kicking the sides of the lazy horse. The animal moved slowly towards the old man. The priest waited for her to say something.

 

“Hello,” she said cheerfully.

 

“Your grace,” the man greeted her with a huge smile, before lowering his voice. “I think I have the answer you are looking for. Please, come to the temple.”

 

“Um… yes and I will pray there,” May said quickly, looking cautiously at Abrran, who listened with interest and maybe some suspicion too.

 

“We intend to pray for the happiness in our marriage,” Abrran stated.

 

May nodded vigorously.

 

“Oh, yes. Definitely,” she agreed maybe too eagerly.

 

May was about to ask the priest to go already, when she noticed the old man’s troubled face. He turned abruptly and looked in the western direction, worry in his eyes.

 

“Lady Mewyn,” he addressed her, the tension in his voice, as he took out some crystal beads, that resembled a rosary. “Go back to the Stronghold, now. I can sense a powerful aura approaching!”

 

“Aura?” May asked, confused. What was he talking about?

 

She glanced sideways and noticed that her companions were really scared by the words of the priest. The servants were looking around nervously, as if searching for a safe direction to flee. The warriors drew their swords, surrounding her and Abrran. They formed a ring of steel around the pair, ready to give their lives for their Lord and the Lady. Abrran also ripped out his sword and was observing the surroundings warily.

 

“What is this aura?” May demanded, not knowing what was going on. Neither Abrran nor the warriors answered her. Finally, the old priest looked at her over his shoulder.

 

“It means that a demon is coming, a powerful one. You must be prepared to flee, my Lady,” he answered.

 

May stared at him, not knowing what to think. A demon? May was sure that demons had been just mythical beings created by people’s imagination, but still… Abrran and the warriors seemed to be dead serious about this, which made May nervous. She positioned herself firmer in the saddle and grabbed the reins tighter. And then it began.

 

At first May saw nothing, but the horses started to panic. The animals began neighing in fear and moving their legs impatiently, as though they wanted to run away from there. Abrran’s horse suddenly reared and the man had to jerk the reins forcefully and serve the animal a solid kick on the sides, to keep the steed in check.

 

“Shh… easy, easy…” May said to her mare, her voice shaking a little, trying to calm down the scared animal.

 

Then, a dark storm cloud appeared out of nowhere on the previously clear blue sky; suddenly it became dark. The thunder rolled, scaring the horses even more, and May swayed in her saddle as the mare danced under her. The girl barely managed to keep her balance; she clenched her fingers on the leather reins tighter, feeling her anxiety rise.

 

“Prepare!” the priest yelled and began chanting a prayer to the goddess Illiana.

 

May heard a loud roar and saw a strange terrifying shape emerging from the cloud; it was a creature. The girl stared at it �" it resembled a horse with bat-like wings. The beast was black like the night itself. Its mane was long and tangled; the tail long and thin like a leather whip was swishing with every wave of the huge wings. With the outstretched like wings the creature looked a bit like a Pegasus, but it gave off a feeling of a monster instead of a fairy tale being. In the place of hooves the creature had paws ending with large sharp claws. May squinted her eyes - on the beast there was a man sitting. She couldn’t see him clearly from that distance, but she noticed long, flowing hair, dark as the winged steed. May froze in place. She could only stare �" she was just seeing the impossible.

 

The nightmarish horse flew closer and roared another time. The rider slipped from the saddle and jumped to the ground. May’s mind was racing. It was over ten meters high. The man should have been dead or at least his limbs should have been broken! However, he landed gracefully and started walking slowly towards the group of the warriors. Now May had the chance to take a closer look.

 

The stranger was tall, clad in black. He was wearing an armor and the two of his swords were stuck over his shoulders. The waist-length jet black hair was billowing in the wind, while the long bangs surrounded his face, nearly hiding the pointed ears. The face features were well defined, but oddly smooth and flawless comparing to roughly-carved faces of Abrran’s soldiers.

 

The vibrantly golden eyes were glaring at the people, who were before him. It didn’t escape May’s attention, that the man looked strangely perfect. His face, his posture, everything about him was not simply attractive, but a perfection in every inch. The girl thought, that it was eerie and somewhat inhuman.

 

The man was standing still and made no move to draw his swords. Instead he clenched and flexed his fingers. May saw, that each one of them was clawed �" the man’s nails were abnormally long and sharp, just like claws. May felt a shiver go down her spine; there was no doubt, that the man was dangerous �" the Abrran’s escort looked absolutely terrified of the single opponent, who didn’t even bother to draw his weapons, as though all those warriors were no threat to him.

 

“He’s not a human,” May whispered, when she came to the realization, looking at the newcomer with terror and remembering the priest’s words about the ‘others’, the mysterious creatures inhabiting the Callesmere Empire. “He’s one of them.”

 

The warriors were glaring at the man, ready to strike at the first command. The man casually continued walking towards them and stopped. He started to observe May’s group warily, as if he was searching for something. Or for someone.

 

“What do you want, monster?” the priest demanded, holding his beads in the shaking hand like a shield.

 

The stranger didn’t answer, he kept looking at the faces of servants; the warriors seemed not to have his attention, and then he looked straight in May’s eyes. She froze as their gazes met. His eyes were golden, cold and expressionless. The eyes of a predator, she thought. The girl shifted under his scrutiny and felt some kind of primal instinct awake in her �" instinct of the prey to run from the hunter. The man smirked, which scared the girl even more.

 

“You are May,” the man stated simply, not averting his eyes from her.

 

His voice was deep and calm, so calm, that it was creepy. May opened her eyes wider. How did he… The girl stiffened �" that inhuman person had just said her real name, even though no one should know it. How was that possible? She paled and clutched the reins tighter, till her knuckles went white; she wanted to stop her hands from shaking. The scary stranger’s eyes were not leaving her, making May’s fear spike. She had no idea why, but then he… this man came for her �" she was sure of that. The mere thought was freaking her out.

 

“Demon! Be gone!” the priest yelled suddenly.

 

The rosary flew from his hand in the direction of the black-haired man, the thread ripping apart and the beads darted like bullets. The stranger shifted his attention from May and quickly reached out with his hand to shield himself from the priest’s spells. The winding crimson glowing lines began covering his skin �" the hands, the neck and even made their way towards the face; the markings looked like a tribal tattoo.

 

The ground began shaking and smaller rocks around the stranger began levitating as though some invisible force lifted them. May squinted her eyes as a flash of red light nearly blinded her. The priest’s beads were immediately destroyed, turning into dust as they came in contact with the glowing aura surrounding the man. The light and red markings disappeared as quickly as they appeared. The old man took a step back, terrified by the demon’s power.

 

If May doubted that the stranger was a supernatural creature before, now she was entirely sure of that.

 

Abrran motioned his horse to get between May and the monster.

 

“Maewyn,” he said quietly, looking at May seriously. “On my sign, ride to the castle and do not look back, no matter what.”

 

May nodded quickly and watched Abrran rode closer to the demon. The girl had to admit that her betrothed was brave.

 

“Monster!” Abrran addressed the demon. “Leave now or you shall be slain!”

 

However, the demon showed no intention of leaving. He stood still the whole time, looking slightly annoyed. Abrran lifted his sword.

 

“Attack!” he commanded. The warriors rushed towards the demon with a battle cry. The black haired man didn’t even bat an eyelid. He only lifted his hand again, flexing and clenching his fingers. Abrran looked May in the eye.

 

“Maewyn! Now!” he yelled.

 

May didn’t hesitate. She pulled the reins, turned her horse and forcefully kicked its sides. The mare leaped forward and rushed towards the castle, the hooves beating against the ground in an erratic rhythm. Due to the speed everything was blurry �" the surroundings looked to May like colorful smudges and the sounds were howled down by the wind. Though she heard the clank of metal as the warriors rushed to attack and shortly after pained screams followed. The screams of the dying men �" she realized. May ushered the horse to go faster. The screams died down and she could hear now only the blowing wind. Suddenly she noticed something in the corner of her eye, but she couldn’t make out what it was. Then, just in her way, the black-haired demon appeared out of nowhere. Her mare neighed in panic and reared. May tried to regain the control over the horse, but it got even more scared. The girl lost her balance and flew out of the saddle. She felt the sharp pain as her body made contact with the ground. Her mind went blank when her head hit a stone.



© 2013 Gosia


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Oh man, I'm really liking the demons. There's more than meets the eye and I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter. I wanted to give more of an analysis but there really was not much save the typical grammatical hiccup. Otherwise, it was fine - plot moved a long and had some much needed character development. Loved it!

Posted 10 Years Ago


I'm glad to see May didn't loose her impetuousness, even with demons breathing down her neck.

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on August 19, 2013
Last Updated on October 1, 2013


Author

Gosia
Gosia

Poland



About
Hello, my name is unpronounceable for most of humankind, but fortunately it can be shortened to Gosia. I’m an university student in my twenties, about to face the real life very soon. I’ve.. more..

Writing
Chapter 2: The Lady Chapter 2: The Lady

A Chapter by Gosia