Nine Deeds Blown
Written by: Midshipwench and Entropiclife
Summary: One boy would do anything to save the life of his infant brother. He'd risk all to keep him safe… Even if he wasn't even the one in danger. Please Read and Review.
A sudden rustle in the grass caused him to look furtively over his shoulder, but his eyes found nothing behind him in the thick dim of night. On instinct, he drew the object he cradled carefully in his arms closer to himself and scurried through the neighboring wheat field. What he held was too precious to have stolen. He had to get it into safe hands before he was caught.
The small bundle in his arms wailed, sending him into panic.
"Shh, it's okay, it's okay…" he whispered softly. Suddenly, tears welled up in his eyes too. This child had the right to cry; he expected him (for the child was male) to. Everything this child, Noah, had was gone and all that was left was his brother, the young man holding him.
His ears suddenly detected another, louder rustle and without wasting another second, he picked up his pace and sprinted the rest of the way through the field, but the echo of extra footsteps trailing him grew louder with every step he took.
Noah's wails reverberated throughout the night atmosphere, and it appeared as though his cries were magnified with the growing presence of someone chasing them, and in a swift moment, a person collided into them.
All sound ceased and time seemed frozen in that moment. Tension filled the air and no one moved; the three beings simply standing, too shocked to move. Finally ,after a few minutes, the stranger made a move for his satchel, which had opened during the collision. Noah and his brother both flinched, but their fear gave way to awe and strange relief as the stranger spoke.
"Do not be afraid, Elijah and little Noah. I am a friend. You are in grave danger and will need help."
"Who are you?" whispered Elijah.
"Not now. We will speak later. It is not safe here; there are eyes everywhere. Just know that I mean you no harm."
Elijah nodded and turned, continuing his pursuit to get Noah to safety. The figure followed him, and the threesome eventually made it to a road.
"Why did you help us? I don't even know you," asked Elijah, walking on the side of the dirt path. The figure paused in his steps and folded his hands neatly behind his back.
"Do you find my words insincere?" answered the man.
Elijah thought of his answer, looking briefly at Noah and then back to face their new companion.
"In our current situation, trust can't be earned so simply. His life is at stake." He gestured to his brother still securely tucked in his arms.
"Fair enough, young one," replied the stranger, his deep voice resonating through the night. Elijah did not know what to think of the man, yet he could not bring himself to distrust him. Each word that the man spoke seemed to give him courage and lessen his fear. Suddenly, he realized that Noah had not cried since they had met the stranger. He looked down at the tiny bundle in his arms and saw that the baby was sleeping, a small smile on his face. Also, the pack on Elijah's back felt heavier, so he opened it and found four loaves of fresh bread, two packages of meat, and four canteens of water.
"What manner of magic is this?" he asked softly, looking up at the stranger.
"You'll learn in due time. As for now, follow the road. I will be right behind you."
Elijah nodded and resumed his walking. The night was without a doubt late, and he had hoped to reach the next town before morning. Traveling at night added to their cover. And as he walked down the road, checking on Noah every now and then, he wondered why the figure was with him. How could he, of all people, know the danger his brother was in?
The trio continued quickly along the road, not daring to stop for fear that they would be caught. The stranger followed closely behind, and each time Elijah looked back, the stranger's presence seemed to radiate light and comfort. As they hurred along, he realized that he was no longer afraid and finally felt safe, a feeling he hadn't had in years. At that moment, however, both Elijah and the stranger became aware of loud clopping noises closing in behind them.
"Quickly, Elijah," whispered the stranger urgently. "Move off the road." Without hesitation, the boy ran off the road and into some neighboring bushes, hoping that Noah would not wake and wail.
The stranger turned to see who or what was following them and caught sight of a black, bulky carriage rolling towards them, pulled by four dark horses.
He knew in that instant who he was looking at and stepped to the side of the road, waiting for him and whoever else he brought along. Indeed, in but a few seconds, the horses had slowed to a stop and one of the coach doors creaked open.
"Did you find him?" questioned a deep voice from within. The figure stepped forward and grinned.
"I have," he answered simply. "He's hiding in the bushes over there." He pointed to the shrubbery sitting still alongside the road.
"We don't have all day. Tell him to get out. He could be captured at any moment. For goodness sake, there are probably dozens of Mords around here waiting to kidnap the infant."
"I have been following behind the boy and his brother, watchful of the dangers around him. There are no Mords close by, at least, not at the moment."
"Still, I will feel safer once we take them to our home, where no Mords dare attack. You know as well as I do how vital these boys are to our existence."
"Yes, brother, but I do not wish to sacrifice their lives to save ours."
Sitting quietly in the bushes, just a few feet away from the men, Elijah shivered.
Sacrifice? Vital existence?, he wondered. He did not feel like someone who could take the responsibility of guarding the lives of anyone. He was only seventeen. Granted, he had been able to take his brother away from their home just minutes after he witnessed his parents' murders, but he didn't feel very good about that. He ran away instead of avenging his parents and he left everything behind save for a few necessities and Noah, of course. He did not want to deal with these strange dangers again—did not want to get involved with the men's problems.
So he ran.