Author: Lillia Jane Marshes PM
Talitha has lived in the Forest her entire life, and ever since she was old enough to understand one thing has been drilled into her head: stay away from the Elves. The Elves will kill you. And then her entire village is destroyed by them and she is left alone, with only the Elves for company.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 17 - Words: 16,792 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 05-18-13 - Published: 11-24-12 - id: 3077225
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"The Night Elves were once part of us," Zephyr said, leading us through the crowd of elves. Estelle was watching him, completely enraptured by what he was saying. I was listening with only half an ear, concentrating mostly on the mutters following us as we moved down the river bank. "Hundreds of years ago we were all one tribe, living and traveling together. But there was always a division in us. Eventually it became too great and the tribe split. We stayed by the river in our ancestral lands, but they simply disappeared."
"Where did they go?" Estelle asked. I glanced over at her briefly before going back to eyeing the elves walking around us. They had yet to tell us where we were going, and despite my promise to give them a chance I didn't trust them yet. The only reason I hadn't already run for it was that Estelle was too far away for me to grab her and there was no way I was leaving her behind.
"That is the problem," he said. "We don't know. We have searched many years for the home of the Night Elves, but we have yet to find it. In all this time we have only glimpsed them a few times." he paused for a moment, seeming suddenly uncomfortable. "Until three months ago,"
My head whipped around and I stared at him. He was looking over Estelle's head at me, his eyes boring into mine steadily as he spoke. "Then they appeared practically every night, first in the south then moving north and west. Slowly wiping out all human life in the Forest,"
I closed my eyes momentarily, unable to looking at him any longer. "How many people survived?" I asked quietly. "How many escaped them?"
"A few," he replied, his eyes finally returning to the path. "From far off villages, places you have never traveled to. Your people have survived in this place for many generations, and will not be wiped out as easily the Night Elves think."
"You bet we won't," Estelle said. I looked down at her and saw she was smirking in a way that was very unsettling to see on her young face. "We're tougher than they think."
There was a long moment of silence in which the only sounds were the river breaking over rocks and the gravel crunching beneath our feet. Then Estelle spoke again. "Why are they doing it anyway?" she asked. "Why have they chosen now to start attacking us?"
My heart nearly stopped at the question. I had never told Estelle about the messages left for me, that it was all my fault. I knew I would have to eventually, but I always delayed in hope that something would happen and she would never have to know.
But she wasn't looking at me. She was watching Zephyr, who was staring straight ahead as he walked. "The Night Elves always have a reason for everything they do," he said. "The reasons are usually unknown to us, whether it is an event, an object, a person . . ." he trailed off and I stared at him. He knew. He knew the reason was me but wasn't saying so. Why not?
There was quiet for another moment in which I nearly tore out my hair, then Zephyr spoke again. "We have arrived,"
"Arrived where?" I asked, looking away from him and to where we had stopped.
"Our camp," he replied. "We have moved several times in the past months so the Night Elves could not find us, but this place has proved to be just as marvelous as our true home."
I looked around. It didn't seem so marvelous to me. It was a relatively large field a few hundred feet from the river, filled with tents of various sizes and shapes. A few were collapsing or frayed, and all of them were a dull gray color trimmed in a fading red.
Zephyr seemed to sense my hesitation and answered my unspoken question. "It is not how it looks that is marvelous. It is what you cannot see,"
"I think its cool," Estelle said. Before I could stop her she ran ahead to where more elves were emerging from the tents. How many of them were there?
"Este-" I called, taking a step after her. I was stopped by Zephyr's hand on my arm. I jerked back, glaring at him before I noticed the expression on his face. He was staring at me with something between sadness and amazement, and tears were visible wetting his eyes.
"What?" I asked.
He shook his head suddenly, clearing his throat and looking away. "You should be careful, Talitha." he said. "Things are even more dangerous than you know, and this world is not safe for the likes of you and the girl."
"You know something," I said. "You know why they're doing it." I waited for him to deny it, but he just sighed, finally looking back into my eyes. "Tell me," I hissed.
He hesitated for a split second, then shook his head. "No. It is not yet time for you to know."
"Not yet time?" I screeched, then lowered my voice so the elves still milling around us couldn't hear. "I have suffered through three months of living in the Forest, alone, with nothing but my wits while I look for anyone, anyone, who might help me. I've had to live with the fact that the deaths of my friends, my family, and everyone I've ever known was my fault. And I don''t even know what I did! But you do, so for the gods sakes, just tell me!"
He watched me steadily. "You could not handle it yet," he said calmly.
"Not handle it!" I yelled, not bothering to control my tone this time. "I've handled having the blood of innocents on my hands for months! I've handled almost starving to death multiple times, collapsing from exhaustion because I couldn't sleep for fear of never waking up! I've handled walking for miles every day not knowing where I was going, where I was coming from, or if I would live to see another day! I've gone through it all, so you sure as hell don't get to decide what I can and can't handle!"
"Tilly?" Estelle said. I turned around and saw her standing a few yards away, her face white. "Is something wrong?"
"I . . . I . . ." I said lamely. "I just . . . need to talk with Zephyr for a mo-"
Zephyr grabbed my arm again, and I turned to find us almost nose to nose. "It is not what you did," he said quietly. "It is what you are. That is all I can tell you for now." he released me and I stumbled back a few paces.
"Come," he said to everyone. "We must show our guests their new home,"
The elves started talking happily again, and Estelle walked over to me. "Tilly?" she said quietly. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," I said, forcing a light laugh. "Yeah, I'm fine. Come on kid, lets go see that, uh, new home of ours." I turned her around and started walking her forward, all the while my mind seething. What I am? What did that mean? I was nothing, just a girl from a small village. A village that didn't exist anymore. What had I been before that made the Night Elves hate me enough to destroy every human settlement in the Forest?
What was I?
Keep on reviewing people, it fuels my writing machine! :)
I'd like to thank Oci Oceana for this chapter. Bugging me at school all day actually worked this time, so this chapter came out early. Congrats, you finally won one.
Further plot thickenings await in the near future, so stay tuned! We shall return shortly! (another thing to add to the list of 'Stuff I want to say before I die'. You know your life is sad when you have a list like that :P)