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|
"Just draw your arm back...slowly now...and release," I watched carefully as Estelle released the arrow from its string. It flew straight for a few feet, then began to lose momentum, finally bouncing lamely off the target I had drawn on a tree across the clearing.
"Awwwww," Estelle groaned.
"Don't worry kid, you'll get it eventually," I said, ruffling her hair. She scowled up at me, her lower lip pouting out and I laughed. "Come on, go get the arrow. We're not wasting them."
She ran across the clearing, searching the grass for the fallen arrow. I leaned back against a rock and watched, fingers laced behind my head. The sun shone down and warmed me, and I closed my eyes.
"Tilly!" Estelle cried, and I opened my eyes again. She stood in front of me, hands on hips, glaring down. "You're supposed to be helping me practice!"
I chuckled quietly. "Sorry Estelle. And I thought I told you not to call me that?"
"Since when do I listen to you?" she asked, setting another arrow to the bow string.
"Good point," I muttered, getting up and standing next to her. Her head came up to my chest and I had to bend down to talk to her, surveying the target and the slight breeze. I opened my mouth to give her instructions, but just as I did she screamed.
My head whipped around and I saw it too. Seven feet tall, standing at the edge of the clearing. Blood dripped from its wet, greasy hair, and it smiled slowly, revealing sharpened teeth.
"Run Estelle!" I said as it drew its sword. "Run!"
Estelle took off into the woods and I drew my own sword. "I thought I had gotten rid of you!" I snarled. The elf just laughed.
"You will never be rid of us, Talitha. Never." it said, taking a step closer. There was a rustling of cloth behind me and I spun around. My heart nearly stopped at what I saw. Five other Elves, each more ugly than the last, completely surrounded me. And one of them was holding a struggling Estelle.
"What do you want from me?" I cried.
The first elf chuckled, and I turned to face him again. He had drawn closer to me and now stood only inches away, so close I could smell its putrid breath. "We want recompense," it hissed, raising its sword.
"No!" I screamed, sitting bolt upright. Darkness pressed in on all sides, and I flailed around, trying to figure out where I was. The Elves! The Elves had come, they...
No. No, they hadn't, I realized. My eyes adjusted slowly, and I looked around again. I was laying on the floor of a cave that Estelle and I had found hidden on a mountainside. I was supposed to be keeping watch, but I had fallen asleep.
"Talitha?" the small, sleepy voice of Estelle drifted from a corner of the cave. "Are you okay?"
"Uh, yeah." I said, trying to calm my hammering heart. "I'm fine, just...just a bad dream."
The small girl sat up and I saw her outline in the soft moonlight. We had found each other two weeks ago, and against all odds had become friends. Mutual loneliness had won over any suspicions we may have had, and since that day in the woods we hadn't left each others sides. After traveling for a week we had come to the Lone Mountain, a landmark I actually knew of in the Forest, and found the cave. It was secluded, and we had yet to see any Elves.
"You're not okay," Estelle muttered, starting to crawl over to me. "What'd you dream?"
"Nothing, its not important." I said. "Go back to bed."
Estelle watched me for a moment. Her icy blue eyes reflected the moonlight, making her look like a water sprite from the stories my father used to tell. Eventually she nodded, and settled back in her corner.
I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, trying to remember the details of my dream. It had been daytime, but the Elves had come. I was teaching Estelle to shoot a bow. How was that possible? I didn't know how to shoot. And we didn't have a bow. The only weapon we had was my makeshift knife.
Why am I worrying about this? I asked myself. It was just a dream. They don't make sense. But something about it was bothering me. It had seemed real, too real. My brain wouldn't come up with something like that. I didn't think it could, not something that terrifying.
I sat there for the rest of the night thinking about the dream. When the sun finally came up over the horizon I was in the same position, my arms wrapped around my legs and my head resting on the wall. It only took a few minutes until the sunlight spilled into the cave, illuminating Estelle's face and waking her up.
"Grand morning," she muttered in greeting, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. I glanced back at her, wondering if she would remember our interaction from the last night.
"How'd you sleep?" I asked.
"Okay," she muttered, crawling over to me. "Do we have breakfast?"
I chuckled. "You have a one track mind,"
"I did go without food for a week before I found you," she pointed out. "Are we having deer again?"
"No," I muttered. "We ran out. I thought I saw a few rabbits last night though. Shouldn't take too long to hunt them down."
"Okay," she said. "Can we go now?"
Without waiting for an answer she jumped up and dashed out of the cave. I sprang up, grabbed my bag, and ran after her. "Hold on!" I cried. "Do you want us to get separated?"
"We won't if you hurry up!" she called back. I smiled and marveled at her transformation from silent, scared child to the bouncing troublemaker before me. The scarred one was still inside her, but she hid it well. I only wished I could.
"Slow down!" I yelled, finally catching up to her where she stood by a large boulder.
"Come on Tilly!" she said, taking off again.
I froze. She glanced back and saw the expression on my face, stopping too. "What?" she asked.
"No," I muttered, my voice suddenly hoarse. I cleared my throat and tried again. "No, don't call me that."
She stared at me, obviously unsure. I forced a small smile, and walked up to her. Ruffling her hair, I changed the subject. "Come on kid. Lets get some food."
She watched me for a moment, then shrugged and began to run again, but I barely even noticed. My mind was reeling. It was a coincidence. Just a coincidence that she had called me Tilly.