So, I have decided to continue. One reason was because no one reviewed for this story yet so I figure no one read it and that makes me think it's ok to finish this up because no one cares
This part just gives the characters more depth and you learn more about them. Read and enjoy if you will. :)
The Black Butterfly
Cold bright sunlight streamed through the leaves of the leaves. The forest was slowly waking up.
Garic Cross sat upon a boulder, whetting the long, silver-blue blade of his powerful sword. He worked steadily, his eyes alit with concentration. But they soon became unfocused as he recalled the night before.
Lord Bern had him to the Stonebe castle. He, Garic, had just finished the last mission Bern had assigned him.
"Ah, Rider Cross...I hope your prior mission went will?" Lord Bern had greeted him smoothly.
"Splendid....splendid..." Bern's expression turned somber. "Ares has sent word to us that he needs a specific and difficult mission carried out," he paused, giving Garic a very penetrating stare. Garic stifled a yawn. It was really quite boring--standing there, listening to Bern.
"He wants me to send someone to assassin a girl. He called her some kind of insect..."
Garic's senses had sharpened at the word "assassin" but then fogged up in confusion at the term after it. Bern looked at him again.
"You came into mind instantly, of course--"
"You want me to kill a girl?" Garic interrupted incredulously.
"Yes, that is exactly what I want you to do," Bern snapped, the calm coolness gone from his aging voice. "Ares seemed strangely frightened of her, this girl. From what he tells me, she's extremely powerful." He looked Garic over, somewhat disdainfully. "I chose you for this assignment because you are one of the elite.
"You will find this girl in the Lowlands. Be on your guard. She will be highly protected and armed. Good luck." With that, the elder turned his back on the insightful, but talented youth.
The gleaming of his magnificent sword brought Garic Cross back to the present. He sheathed it just as Cairon returned with a rabbit in her large beak. She laid it on the leafy forest floor and receded in size.
"You are in luck, Cairon," Garic Cross told his falcon indifferently. "I have no desire to eat."
Cairon plucked a large piece of meat from the dead game, flew on her master's shoulder and began to thrust it into his face, smearing his cheeks and soaking his thin beard in blood.
"Very well, then," Garic said as he laughed. "I shall start a fire."
He rose and Cairon fluttered to the ground. Garic gathered the firewood, his mind on other things. He placed the sticks in a center of stones that someone had already built. He started the fire and cooked the rabbit. As he ate, he thought of how he was to kill this insect-girl.
Alylis laid in her elegant chamber, watching the dawn approach.
So I am to be married, Alylis thought bitterly. To a Nymph prince.
It was to join the two kingdoms. A type of peace treaty, only in the form of misused matrimony. It did not matter if they loved the other or not. It was for the good the kingdom, Alylis thought, recalling her father's words.
Prince Tranor had been at dinner the previous night. He was tall with a dark complexion. His hair was the color of Alylis favorite horse, Echo--tawny. And he had deep blue eyes that avoided her gaze. They did not speak to each other. Her father tried to break the tension.
"Tranor, I heard you are an excellent hunter."
Tranor looked irritated.
"My father seems to exaggerate," he said quietly. "I could never arch an arrow with injuring a servant first and then his horse."
King Royen looked slightly perturbed. He had always liked horses. Alylis hid a small, more than polite but still lady like smile behind her napkin.
"Ah well," the king said and then turned to his daughter. "Alylis, tell us of your lessons in the Forest."
Alylis had felt annoyance swell up inside her as she carefully lowered the napkin.
"Oh yes," she said forcefully. "Franon led me to the most interesting place. Do you know what it was?"
Both Tranor and the king shook their heads.
"It was a cave full a gryphons. I had never seen Franan run so swiftly."
The hall rang with laughter. Every eye turned to Franan who flushed warmly and smiled shamefacedly.
Alylis had caught Tranor's gaze. He looked amused. Even so, Alylis told herself, he does not love me and I don't love him. Our children will be conceived in a lie.
Alylis stared more intently out her west window. How she wished to be free. Free and entirely independent. She gazed, apprehensively at the horizon. Something massive and dark was flying toward her window. It was giant falcon. It's feathers were a deep blue and they gleamed dully in the morning light. The lady elf sat up upon her bed, transfixed at the sight.
She watched silently as the falcon landed on her window ledge. There was a rider astride it's great back. He was ashen and thin with and looked down upon her with strange, pale eyes. He jumped down gracefully from the falcon and walked a few paces before throwing a large stone into her window. The glass shattered and broke, flying everywhere. She watched with interest as it landed all around her.
The rider then climbed in her chamber with ease and practice over the jagged shards. He strode confidently over to her bed and paused before her and gazed down piercingly. All the while she was intrigued by the color of his eyes. They seemed so ancient and wise, timeless and without substance. Did they really belong to the thin as a blade of glass man in front of her. Just as this thought entered her mind, he grabbed her by the wrist, pulling her up from the bed and against his lean body. He covered her mouth with a thin, white hand.
"You must come quietly with me. You mustn't utter one word. Do you understand?" he spoke in her ear. She nodded. She was only mildly surprise at his abrupt behavior and this new drastic situation. She did not fear this man; she had no reason to.
He carried her out of the chamber and onto the window ledge. He walked to the falcon and placed her astride it's grand back. Then, he too climbed on.
"Fly, Argarius," he bellowed and the great bird opened up it's great wings and flew away into the morning.
Orion sat at a table in a dark corner of the inn. He was gazing miserably into his pint.
It was his fault that Lilli had died. It was he that killed her. The hand that held the pint tightened. If he hadn't insisted they rob those travelers...
Orion looked up and saw a young boy sweeping nearby. A sudden thought flutered into his mid. He could avenge Lilli's death...by killing those that had killed her. Yes, he would hunt them down. It would go against everything Hunters stood for, but he could care less. Lilli was his one and only love, his heart, and they had slaughtered her without second thought. For that, they deserved a black death. But first he must learn anything about them...
"Lad," he called the boy over. He paused and looked at Orion. The Hunter gestured the boy toward him.
"Do you know anyone who knows about a man with a dragon?" he asked the boy when he had sat down. It was a very broad and desperate move, to ask a boy of nearly twelve about some man who walked the earth with a dragon, but Orion didn't know what else to do. So he waited as a look of pure fear slowly spread across the boy's face.
"You'll want to talk to the lass over yonder," he said flatly, the fear evaporated from his young features. He pointed across the room where a maiden sat by a window. She was reading a book.
"But mind you," the boy spoke quietly. "She's a queer one, that girl."
Orion nodded, thanked the boy, then made his way toward the young lady. When he reached her, he took a seat that was adjacent to her. She gave no sign that she noticed his presence at all.
"Hello," he said, trying to sound jovial. It came out a mixture sorrow and madness and a little too loud.
She remained silent.
"I saw you sitting here alone and I--"
"I despise those who lie," she stated quietly.
Hope spread through Orion. Perhaps he was getting somewhere.
"I'm sorry," he told her sincerely. She turned a page in her book.
"Can I buy you a drink? Ginger rum? No? How about a pint of Woodstick Whiskey? Nay...well I suppose that would be a little too strong. Are you interested in any Cherr--"
"I don't like cherry much, thank you," she interrupted in the same toneless voice. Orion lost his patience immediately.
"Look, I'm not going to toil around. I need to ask you something very important."
Her eyes ceased to move along the pages. Orion took a deep breath. He prayed to Artemis that she knew.
"What do you know of a man with a dragon?"
Slowly she closed her closed her book and Orion saw her face for the first time. She had a long face that was very well shaped. Her lips were full and a deep shade of red. She had a rich deep brown complexion that reminded him of the enduring earth. And her hair was like an ocean, reflecting a dark starless night with thick waves that caressed her cheeks. But off all things Orion noticed, her eyes stood out the most. They were a lovely shade of brown, and they held a sadness in them; a grief that was far beyond his own. But still they held traces of a once bright joy.
"Please, " he pleaded, staring hopelessly in those sorrowed eyes. "I must find him."
"You wish to slay him," she said quietly.
Orion was startled. He found this girl disturbing, but still silently beautiful.
"Are you a Seer?" he asked slowly
"I do not possess the power of a Seer. However, I can see things a Seer cannot. And"-- her voice began to break strangely-- "you cannot kill this man."
"What are you saying?" Orion demanded angrily.
"That you cannot kill him," she answered simply.
"Are you saying I'm weak? Can you see that too?" Orion had risen to his feet. The girl slammed her book against the table and stood also. Her dull eyes were now alit with reaping rage.
"You do not understand. Pure evil cannot just simply perish by the hand of a mere man. But if you wish to seek death and find it, you may as well do so."
"What I wish to do to this dragon man is that of my own business. Just tell me where he may be!"
"I will not," she said quietly.
"And why won't you?" Orion inquired heatedly.
"Because I will not be the cause for another death." She stared at him for a moment with such despair and passion, then sank slowly and shakily to her chair. The next minute she was reading from her book once more.
Orion gazed down at her, dazed. Then wearily, he turned away and left her. He wondered across to the bar and summoned the innkeeper.
"Room and board," he said and dropped several gold coins on the counter.
"Aye," grunted the innkeeper as he hastily took up the money. "Right this way er...sir."
"One moment," Orion murmured. "What be that girl's name there, sitting alone in the sunlight?"
The innkeeper followed Orion's gaze and inhaled deeply.
"You'd better be careful with tha' one, lad. She be a queer one, talking nonsense of them majestical cre'tures of the forest, speakin' their tongues."
Orion stared apprehensively at the stout innkeeper.
"No...you don't ever want ta cross paths with Willow Black."
Venus hovered over the fire, roasting sizzling meat on a long stick. Then, quite quickly, the meat slid off the stick. Vena gave a frustrated scream as she threw the stick into the fire. She straightened, satisfied, and swept her blonde hair out of her face. Then she turned to see a tall, burly man standing before a giant redwood not too far away. He was smiling at her.
"B-been out exploring, my lord?" she asked, turning slightly pink.
The man shrugged, his smile gone. "I suppose you can say that."
"How long have you been standing there?"
He shrugged again. "What's for breakfast?"
Venus blush deepened. The man laughed.
"Well, you try cooking greasy fox on a smooth stick, and--and shouldn't we be going?"
"Soon. Quite soon, in fact, my dear Venus. If only Helian would awaken," the man replied as he ambled toward her.
"I've met a couple of Hunters while I was exploring," he told her, unrepentantly.
She snorted. "A couple of Hunters robbed us last night. I killed the girl..."
"You just couldn't resist the urge, could you Vena?"
"Of course not--what are you saying?"
"Venus, aren't you aware that you enjoy shedding blood?"
"That is so preposterous! They were stealing! I had to--"
"Did you, Vena?"
"Of course I did, my lord!"
"Ah well. I suppose you had to kill those Nmphs also?"
Venus noted the tantalizing note her master's tone and resented it. He was always mimicking and mocking her. Was it her fault she was trained to protect his noble hide? That her natural instinct was an incurable flaw?
"They were gazing upon me--" she started.
"Yes, yes, a perfect reason to murder insignificant lives."
"But they could have given us information! However, the Hunters have redeemed that little err of yours."
Venus turned away in contempt and began to busy herself with rolling up the cots.
"Come now, Vena. I beg you, do not be angry with me."
"Why should I be angry, my lord?" she asked forcibly. "You are being quite honest, marvelously honorable."
He groaned. "Vena, did I really deserve that?"
She said nothing as she completed her task. She came across the bow that had been the foolish girl's. She ran her fingers across the smooth wood slowly.
"Quite fashionable, these Hunters," she said after a while. "Pity they dress so horrid."
"Oh really? And here I was thinking I'd take a leaf out of their book and wear clothing like theirs. It really would help us while we are in this wood..."
Vena groaned loudly. "Have mercy, my lord. I pray you. Please."
"But as you are the brilliant materialist, Vena, I must respect your knowledge."
Vena stood up, the bow clutched in her hands as she faced her master.
"Please put that thing down or you may actually start killing things again. Namely me." She glared at him.
"Why must you mock me?"
"For the same reason, you call me "my lord' I would rather you call me--"
Venus inhaled sharply.
"--Ares. It's much more pleasant."
"No. I know my place."
"Vena, we are betrothed."
"Even so...oh why must you do this to me?"
Again, Ares shrugged. "I find amusing when I see you so furious."
"I hate you. You do know that?'
"And as you know, fair Vena, I love you as much as I love--"
There came a tremulous roar from the shade of the trees that sent Venus's golden hair blowing violently around her.
"--Helian," Ares finished smiling self-satisfying. "Come, we must not tarry. Here, I'll help--"
"No, I'd rather--"
"Don't be stubborn, Vena--"
"Then don't be so noble..."
Finally, Ares wrenched the two cots out of Vena's hands. "Now, come. We must hurry. It's crucial that Remy knows of my latest plans."
Sulkily, Venus followed Ares into the trees, toward the midnight blue dragon. It's yellow eyes gleamed maliciously at her as they approached it. She shuddered, she did not like Helian nor did she trust him. He gave her an ominously intuition.
"All right then," Ares muttered after he had securely tied the cots to Helian's enormous harness. "We're all set." He turned to Venus, who approached him reluctantly. He grinned as he helped her step onto the harness and climb astride Helian. He then leapt behind her after she had gotten on. He reached around and grabbed the reins.
"Fly, Helian," he roared and the great dragon took flight. Soaring swifter than the wind, among the clouds.
A/N: Yes, the last scene you just read were about the villains. It was a little weird writing this, because I had never written from the bad guy's point of view before, but then I grew to like it so...there you go! And did you like this chapter, hated it, or just don't know. REVIEW and tell me, please!!