Once Walked With Dragons

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Chapter Thirty Six

Several more days passed and Keara still hadn’t awakened. The Woodland Elves grew more anxious. With every passing day, danger became more eminent.

Nenya walked over to Elodin, who was monitoring their defences, should anything happen.
‘Lord Elodin.’ Nenya said as she approached.
Elodin quickly looked in her direction, ‘Hello Nenya.’
‘When are they leaving?’ Nenya asked.
‘Probably only after Keara awakens.’ Elodin answered, ‘Why?’
‘When will she awaken?’
‘I’m not sure, Nenya. She will awaken when she is ready.’
‘Can’t we awaken her?’ Nenya wanted to know.
‘No, we can’t. We cannot interfere with the healing process.’ Elodin answered.
‘Why not?’
Elodin stopped what he was doing, turned to face her and asked, ‘What is going on, Nenya?’
‘No one wants them here anymore.’ Nenya started, ‘They fear that the longer we offer the Ravens sanctuary, the more dangerous it will become for us.’
‘The Ravens have every right to be here, Nenya. We need their help as much as they need ours.’
‘But what about our safety.’ Nenya protested.
‘We are in no direct danger. As long as everyone stays inside the perimeter of the trees, we are safe. That’s precisely the reason we brought Keara here in the first place.’ Elodin explained.
‘But...’ Nenya started, but was interrupted by Elodin.
‘I don’t wanna hear anymore regarding this matter. The Ravens are our guests, and I expect you and everyone else to treat them as such. They will leave when they are ready. And I expect that Keara will awaken soon.’
Nenya gave a slight bow and left Elodin to his work.

Stories of the monster lurking in the forest began to quiet down. The villagers were becoming less paranoid and found it easier to carry on with their lives without the fear of being attacked. Some hunters still went searching for the monster; others went back to their everyday lives, carrying out their daily routines. Children were allowed to play outside again, though they were not allowed into the forest.

Deryck was sitting on the edge of the stream, looking down at Keara, wondering when she would at last wake up. Joseph sat down next to Deryck, also looking at Keara.
‘How long has she been in there?’ Deryck asked without looking away.
‘I’m not sure.’ Joseph answered.
‘Do you know when she’ll awaken?’ Deryck asked again.
‘No. This is the longest she’s ever been in there.’
‘How long does the healing process usually take?’
‘Usually, no more than four or five days.’ Joseph estimated.
‘Then why is this taking so long?’ Deryck wanted to know.
‘I don’t know, Deryck.’ Joseph admitted, ‘Keara must have been extremely close to death when she first entered the water. And I expect she needed to heal mentally as well.’
‘If those rumours about her deeds are true...’
‘Then Keara would be fighting very hard to stay sane.’
‘But she will win the battle, won’t she?’ Deryck looked at Joseph for the first time, hoping to get a positive answer.
‘She will.’ Joseph believing, ‘She’s already come this far.’

Artemis was growing more worried every day. It had been more than a week since the Ravens left and he hadn’t heard anything from them. His brother had also not sent him a message, so he wasn’t sure if he was safe.
During the night, Artemis was restless. He seemed to be having bad dreams, but he could not awaken.
Someone was standing over him, holding a hand above his head. Images started flashing. He was talking to the Ravens. They mentioned that they were going to the Home of the Woodland Elves. He remembered every word that had been spoken, as though it had only happened mere moments ago. But he could not recall them mentioning where the Home of the Woodland Elves were.
Artemis started growing more and more restless.
The person retracted their hand and disappeared in the shadows. Artemis awoke with a fright; beads of sweat forming on his body. He looked around, sure that he had sensed someone’s presence in the room, but he saw no one.
He lay back down, trying to slow down his breathing and possibly fall asleep again.
He soon drifted off to sleep, though he did not get much rest. Bad dreams plagued his mind and the thought of someone lurking in his room, kept him from a deep sleep.

Keara’s hair had finally regained colour. Flowing all the way down to her thighs, her hair seemed every bit as healthy as her body.
A young female Woodland Elf, sat down next to Joseph on the edge of the stream. Joseph looked at her and smiled, taking her hand in his. He was rewarded with a soft smile, that seemed to light up the air around her.
‘I’ve missed you.’ Joseph told her.
‘I’ve missed you, too.’ she replied.
‘I’m sorry, Saresse.’ Joseph started.
‘For what?’
‘I promised you that I would come visit.’
‘There’s no need to apologize. I know your circumstances haven’t been ideal. But things will change.’ Saresse said softly.
Joseph just smiled at her, before staring back at the water. Keara still lay motionless beneath the surface.
Saresse looked at Joseph, ‘You’re worried that she might never awaken.’
‘Yes.’ was all Joseph could say.
‘She will awaken soon, Joseph. She will not abandon you.’
Joseph looked at Saresse who just smiled again.

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