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Chapter 11

The Blood

The air was calm, but the dark was frightening. Adrian and Elvia decided to stop for the night, and take shelter in a tree hollow. The next morning, Adrian woke up, and slowly opened his eyes. Elvia had to be a sleeping babe; grimace and innocence, decorated her beautiful resting face, as she obviously dreamed of warm and pleasant things. He didn’t want to wake her, but he had to. He put his hand on her arm and gave her a shake. “Elvia… wake up Elvia… it’s morning.” She had not awoke. “Elvia! Wake up!” Surprisingly energetic, Elvia opened her eyes wide, and stood up! Her heart pounded, something rapid, in her chest; and she breathed, as if she was, downright near out of breath. She looked down at Adrian, who scrambled to his feet, and stood beside her. “Are you trying to kill me...? You scared me to death!” Adrian picked up the vial of blood, which had lain in a pile of leaves, between him and Elvia, as they slept. Things were not getting challenging with him and Elvia, but she had sure made it seem that way. In a voice of slight strain, of heavy, or odd lifting, he exhaled a reply. “I tried to wake you, peacefully… but you didn’t… so I had no other choice.” He flew out of the hollow, fancifully! Shaking it off… whatever it was. “I can’t believe I can fly! It’s like living in a fairy-tale land! Ha ha ha ha ha!” He then took off, and Elvia shouted, as she flew to catch up. “Wait! Don’t think I’m going to let you off the hook, just because you changed the subject! Get back here!” Adrian didn’t listen; he just kept on flying, flapping away, quite entertained by the experience of flight. Though it didn’t take Elvia too long to catch up to him; and when she did, Adrian shuddered with surprise, and almost dropped the awkward container. He was getting tired, from carrying the awfully heavy vial, it would seem. He looked at Elvia, and spattered together something quick of wit, to spare himself the fun and games. “Oh great! Now you can help me carry this! Here!” Spare himself the fun and games; he chuckled a bit. He had always been so serious and on top of things, getting the job done right. Now he was enjoying himself. Always making sure that chaos wouldn’t happen, by doing a thorough and complete job; and staying organized, in the scheme of things; making sure everything was planned and on time. Now… in the midst of chaos, he had actually been enjoying himself. This tickled his fancy. What a completely unexpected notion that was.

He slowed down and handed Elvia one of the ropes. She looked at him, and then, at the twined handle. “I’ll let you off this time… just don’t ever wake me like that again… do not do it!”

She grabbed the rope tightly, and they flew on together. “Oh would you look at that! We’re not too far away from the Forest Fairy village now, do you see!” Adrian looked for, what she had pointed at; and then, his face expression, changed to relief and astonishment, rather than uncertainty; the Elder tree.... but it was still quite a distance away, even as they had seen it. He turned his eyes to Elvia for a moment. “You think this blood of Astrid’s will work?” Elvia replied hesitantly. “I’m not sure, it might... it might not... the Elders will know.” The chance was fifty fifty, and they could just hope for the best outcome. He directed his stare away from Elvia, and peered on ahead, silent, until they had reached the Elder Tree; the great majestic tree that stood the tallest and largest of all others surrounding. They stopped in front, taking notice for the first time, of the strong odor of the sap, hardening over the ancient bark. “It was nice knowing you, as a Forest Fairy, Adrian; but now that our quest is completed, I’m sure you can not wait to be human again.” Adrian looked at her. “Are you kidding! I’ve never felt so alive in all my life! I can fly! All the world around me is adventurous, fascinating, and magical, and most of all… I’ve had the pleasure of sharing it all with you, Elvia.” Adrian looked deeply into Elvia’s eyes, and she began to blush as he grew near. “I’ve never felt this way I feel for anyone before! There’s something about you Elvia.” Adrian drew his hand up to gently stroke her soft glowing skin. Her big beautiful and innocent eyes, stared back into his, with such trust and relief, and then, she did something Adrian did not expect her to do; in a sweet whisper, she charmed him dearly, he could only imagine such sweetness was real. “Adrian… my heart! I don’t understand… how this can be?” She pushed away from him, and let go of the rope. Adrian was weighed down a little, and then, rose back up, as she turned, and started to hover away from him. He did not go after her, but watched her slow down, and stop; her back to him. “Wait!” Elvia interrupted, before he could say anything else. “You don’t get it, do you…” She then turned around to face him, shouting at him, her eyes full of tears. “You are a human! You belong a human!” She calmed down, in a short silence, as she stared into his compassionate gaze; and her fierce expression softened. “But I… I do feel the same way, but it is wrong for me to, it’s not practical.” She turned to one side, and hung her head down, in shame of what she had just admitted. Adrian put the vial on a branch, near him, and slowly flew over to her. He opened his arms to hold her. She didn’t try to stop him, so he went on ahead, and completely wrapped his arms around her. “I’d want nothing more, than to stay here with you… forever, with you in my arms. And I will stay a Forest Fairy, forever, to stay, and be here with you, Elvia; even if you change your feelings for me; I will still love you, and will always love you!” Elvia shifted to straighten out in front of him, and she drew her chin up to look into his eyes, as she whispered under her breath. “My heart will always be yours…” Elvia looked sincerely into Adrian’s glistening eyes, and moved her gaze, to come across his lips, as she softly tested them, and then, needfully kissed him. He held her closer, more intently, and kissed her in return. She ran her hands down his arms, to his hands… which held her hips. The kiss was so right and so perfect, this could not be wrong. As it ended, Elvia and Adrian opened their eyes to find the other there, looking back into them, with all the known love they possessed for each other. There seemed to be nothing now, that could stand in the way, of them being together. Elvia smiled, as she looked at him, and he did the same, as she rested her head on his shoulder. They had confessed their love for one another, yes, and he held her ever so near, and dear, to his body, and to his heart.

Up on the branch, where Adrian had set the vial of blood, a little rodent creature, snooped towards it, smelling, checking the air; every now and then, stopping to stand on its hind legs, approaching cautiously. The fairies took no notice, to the rodent’s growing presence. It moved out of the darkness, changing from just a pair of glowing eyes, to a fluffy wood brown, little thing, with also, long green hair-like blades of grass; manipulated in the sudden rushes of movement, streaming out behind, then, sticking straight up, all around its body. Big brown eyes, gleamed with curiosity. It came up to the vial, and sniffed, then, grabbed it, with its little hands, examining around the cork, with its little nose. It held onto the vial, bit into it, and began to wiggle out the cork. The rubbing and squeaking noises it made, had caught Elvia’s attention; she spotted the rodent, as it pulled out the cork, and held it in its teeth. Oh no! She pushed away from Adrian. The rodent had been spooked by her, and dropped the vial. The blood now poured out, as the vial fell through the air. Elvia strained to stretch out the length of her body, and arms, to catch it. She was too late; the vial hit the ground and broke! Bits of glass, thrown everywhere, and all they could do, was watch, as it happened, so suddenly, right in front of their eyes; without a thing they could have done about it. Elvia skid in the glass and dirt, with the bare and vulnerable skin of her arms. She looked at the painful damage done, as she struggled to bend away from it; all these small cuts upon her hands, down her arms, and chest. Adrian flew to her assistance, as she gathered herself up, off the ground; but then, started to tumble. He held onto her waist, to support her, in such a frightful grief for her. “Is there some place we can go, for you to get medical help in the village?” Elvia said in pain, obtrusively, but deliriously. “What is a… just take me to… ahg—” she fainted, and her face fell on Adrian’s chest. He still held onto her waist, while her arms dangled down the sides of his body. He scooped her up, and cradled her in his arms, then flew off into the village, shouting. “Help! Help! Somebody, she needs help!” All the Forest Fairies gathered around to see what all the ruckus was about and one black haired and blue-eyed lady fairy, took the initiative, and said, as she observed Elvia’s condition. “Quickly! Follow me!”

Adrian followed her, as she flew onward, and then, shouted loudly, for all to hear; herself. “Everyone, get out of the way! Clear a path!” Adrian followed her to a big dome, woven of twigs and twine. He followed her inside, and she acted with urgency. “Lay her down here!” Adrian still stared, watching passed-out Elvia, with great worry in his troubled brows, and knelt beside her. The Fairy, glanced at him, and laid her hand on his shoulder, assuring him. “I’ll take care of her. You must go rest; Limly will take you to get something to eat, and drink, and a place to rest and just relax.” The fairy snapped her fingers quickly. “Limly!”

A blonde-haired, and yellow-eyed, fairy, came on through one of the two curtains, hanging from two opposite ends of the center wall; most likely, one was meant to be an exit, and the other, the entrance. The black haired fairy, continued instructions, once the other fairy had come. “Take him, and give him food and drink, and then, show him where he can rest.” The blonde haired fairy, replied, with a slight bow in acknowledgment. “Yes my lady!” Then, she made gentle eye contact with Adrian, and spoke to him. “Follow me!” He got up, leaving Elvia in good hands, and started on his way out. He looked back, briefly, to observe what was being done; the dark-haired fairy, now attending to Elvia carefully, and then, he went out through the curtain.

Adrian came into a room, cluttered with tables and baskets. The baskets were filled with varieties of fruits, and other things, that he had never seen before. The fairy gestured, then, directed him to sit down at one of the tables. She picked up a wooden shallow and wide bowl, from a decent sized stack of them, and started to put one of each of the fruits, and other things, in it. She set the bowl in front of Adrian, lightly. “I’ll go prepare your bed.” She left through another curtain, and Adrian sat there, gloating at the food in front of him. He picked up one of the odd looking fruits, and standoffishly, drew it to his nose at first. It smelled like pears, and then, the smell surprisingly changed, to a smell, he could compare to being that of freshly baked pie! He took a little nibble of it. His taste buds soared, as he savored the morsel, satisfyingly. It was just as it was, when he smelled it; the fruit tasted like a pear, and then, it tasted like a pear pie, it was uncanny! He sunk his teeth into it, taking an even bigger bite. It also had an equally divine texture, to match the fantastic flavors. When he finished, he moved onto the next thing in his bowl. He tried a brown oval potato shaped, baked bread, of some kind. Then he found it wasn’t bread at all, it was meat! Interesting yes… and it was the most succulent meat he ever tasted. The next thing, was much like blackberries... then blackberry pie. Next, he ate a tan, bread looking, round morsel; which tasted like French bread, with fresh whipped butter. Everything he ate, was more delicious, than anything he had ever eaten before, in the human world.

Just as he was finishing up, the blonde-haired fairy came back. “Your bed is ready!” He got up and followed the fairy, down a long hallway, with tons of curtains, hanging along, as doors upon the walls. She opened the fifth one. “Have a good rest! I’ll come and get you when Elvia has recuperated.” Adrian walked in, and she closed the curtain behind him and left. The room smelled like it would, after the rain; but only this smell was cleaner, and there was no moisture in the air. Adrian saw a tub full of steaming water. He also found some kind of soap, and scrubbing device, to go along with it; he decided not to waste it, and to take off his garments, and get in. The water was so warm and relaxing. He took deep meditative breaths, and splashed some water over the edge by accident; from shifting his wings a bit, to become more comfortable.

Elvia had been out since she collapsed in Adrian’s embrace, and had been brought and placed on the table. The blonde-haired fairy, came up to the black-haired one, who washed Elvia’s cuts slowly, and carefully. “My lady Zylarray, he is taken care of, just as you asked.” Zylarray answered cheerfully. “Thank you Limly! Elvia is doing well! I just have to get the last tiny piece of glass out, it is lodged a bit deep in.” Zylarray held a jade glowing wand over Elvia’s chest, and a small piece of glass, slipped out through her skin and floated onto a pile of broken glass, she had neatly made. She then, stood up and went on over to one of the shelves, to open a navy-blue stone box and placed the jade colored wand, inside; reunited with a bunch of other different colored glowing wands.

Zylarray rose, as she closed the lid. “All fields and inquiry, have been shaped by what we know, and what we do not know. There is one true message in this; have faith, have hope, be blessed, and be not one to worry; the additional things in life, variate.”

The next morning, Adrian woke and made his way down the hall, to the room, where all the baskets of fruit and other things were. On his way, he heard Elvia’s voice. She was talking up a storm. She was back to her old self again. That was the Elvia he knew. She told them their story, of how him and her, were sent by the Elders, to find the destroyer of the Tree of Beginning. The destroyer who was Astrid... Elvia’s witch friend; how they succeeded in finding her, but she refused to come back with them, and instead, gave them a vial of her blood, to use in hopes to bring back the Tree. Adrian came through the curtain, and met Elvia’s eyes, and then, discovered the room was a bit crowded. There sat the black-haired fairy that healed her, and the blonde-haired fairy, along with three other fairies. Elvia stared at Adrian, as he came through the curtain, and hadn’t looked away. You could say this room knows of a great deal of circulation, of fairies, coming and going throughout the day. Adrian scanned the room full of fairies, and looked at Elvia, who he found to be watching him, like she’s never done before. Adrian opened his mouth, and said, moving closer to her. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling better.” Elvia replied, perking up a bit, in his growing proximity. “Adrian, sit down by me.” He hovered over the table, and then, skillfully landed, sitting on down.

“Adrian, this is Zylarray; she is the villages’ healer!” Adrian looked at Zylarray, and said to her. “Thank you so much for your help and hospitality! I’m so glad to see that Elvia’s alright.” Adrian looked at Elvia, and smiled, and she smiled back. Zylarray took a bow. “So you must be hungry, I’ll get you something.” Zylarray got up, went over to the serving table, took a basin off of the stack, and started dishing up a good assorted portion, for him to eat.

He leaned over closer to Elvia, and whispered, as he eyed her suspiciously. “Why is she looking at me funny?” Elvia giggled and answered him quietly. “I told her the whole story; of how you came here as a human, and how you were turned into a Forest Fairy by the Elders, to go on a quest with me, to find Astrid, who destroyed the Tree of Beginning.” There she went again; putting it in the biggest mouthful way, she could possibly.

Zylarray set the plate on the table, of the same delicious fruits and stuff, which he ate in the previous hours. She looked at Elvia and said. “Well, Elvia, come with me, and let’s finish your healing.” Elvia left the room with Zylarray. Adrian began to eat, and then, noticed that all the other fairies in the room, were watching him; his new face, was easily picked out, and they wondered about him curiously. No doubt he was well aware of this. Would it be normal, for him to feel uncomfortable as of now; he didn’t, not even in the slightest. Adrian was trusting of his intuition, and he felt no threat here. He was always right about things like this, to him, it was instinct; but through his life’s history, of working on expeditions with his brother, he learned that not everyone’s abilities, had he put his trust in, as much as he did his own. He naturally knew how things worked, and how they would ultimately turn out.

Zylarray came through the curtain; she told Elvia to go lay down on the tablemat, while she went over to the shelf, that contained the navy blue stone box. Zylarray opened the box, and pulled out a glowing, pearl-white, colored wand, and came over to Elvia. She knelt down beside her, as she examined the bandages, then, removed them. Not every wound had healed up, like the others did. Zylarray held the wand over one of the very deep poignant cuts, on Elvia’s chest, and the wound started to seal shut just as quick. The wand, glowed a little brighter, and then, dulled every time she moved it from one cut to the next, until the wounds were all attended to. She finished up with the last of them. “There Elvia! As good as new!” Elvia sat up and rubbed her arms with satisfaction, while Zylarray went to put the wand away.

There was no rush, like how it would be in the human world, in a mess hall; if that had been the proper term. Adrian finished his meal, and left, through the curtain; to find, Elvia was out of her bandages, and her cuts were completely gone! He went over to her, and bent down; he put his hand on her arms, to feel her beautifully healed skin, and kissed them in relief. He drew up his head, and looked at her arms, one more time. She gave out a short childish chuckle, as she saw his eyes widen in awe. Adrian stopped, and took his hands away, from touching, and feeling her tempting skin. “How is it that you’ve recovered so quickly?” Zylarray came over and answered him. “I used the healing wands on her; the extracting wand, to draw out the glass, and one of the redeeming wands, to heal and rebuild her!” Adrian questioned, with fascination. “Healing wands??” Zylarray walked over to the navy-blue stone box, and lifted the lid. “Come see them.” Adrian stared at the box, as he neared to look inside.

Before his eyes, were five, different colored glowing wands. After a time, he took his eyes off the wands, and looked at Zylarray. “What do the rest of them do?” Zylarray answered, informingly. “The Ruby, rejuvenates blood loss, the sapphire, repairs bones, and the amethyst, repairs your memory. Adrian looked inside the box once more. “Okay, now I understand… it’s magic! Okay.” Zylarray closed the box. “Yes!” Elvia rose to stand, and said, while looking at Adrian. “We should go now, to the Elders, and break the unfortunate news.” Adrian turned, and looked at Elvia in agreement, then, at Zylarray, and said to her; before, flying out of the dome with Elvia. “Goodbye, and thank you for all you’ve done... you’ve been so kind!”

It was a probable course, through the fairy village. He dashed out of the busyness of fairy traffic, inconspicuously to others; for he was a fairy just like them, in freedom of suspicion, worry, or obligation. They just went along with their daily tasks.

Adrian and Elvia, came to the Elder Tree, and up to the entrance. The same guard, as before, had been there standing watch, practiced and disciplined. Adrian gave a nod and smirked, as they landed on the wooden pouch. “Tell the Elders, Adrian and Elvia, have returned, and are here now to see them!” The guard opened the door, and slithered on in. Adrian and Elvia, could hear whispering voices, but couldn’t make out what all was being said. The guard opened the door on up, wide; and stood by it, while all of the Elders, gathered out onto the porch. The long bearded one, in front, stepped forward. “Did you find the witch?” Elvia replied. “Yes! But she refused to come with us. She gave us a vial of her blood, but it fell, and broke, as we were carrying it back!” The Elder lowered his head, and wrinkled his eyebrows, in and together. This definitely gave no ground for hope, and in a quiet, still voice, he made that known. “So you have failed…” Elvia joined him in hanging her head down. Adrian did not want to admit defeat, it wasn’t like him. He always finished what he had started, and this stifled his character. He broke out into compulsive exclamation. “No, we have not failed! We are going back, to find her, and bring her back here!” The Elder, surprised by Adrian, raised his head to the rays of the sun. “Very well! But just her blood alone… won’t work!’ The Elder confirmed, giving no alternative way around it. “It must be her life...” Adrian looked into the Elders eyes. There was no room for argument in them. He was serious, in his very stern, and sincere gaze. “No! There must be another way? Astrid shouldn’t have to die!” He was desperate in his expression, but strong nonetheless. The Elder had surely been enthralled by Adrian’s compassion for the witch. In his treating the matter, as if, her life, was his own. Important to not lose… as if it was the life of the Forest, and everything, and everyone, in it; it was. The Elder looked away, and discussed this with the rest of the Elders; grouped behind him. Then, he turned back around. “We have decided to send you on a different quest. On a quest to find the three remaining Protectors, and seek their wisdom on this, and what can be done; if the Tree can be brought back, without sacrificing the witch’s life, they would be the only ones, that would know. Now go, quickly! The fate of the Forest is entrusted to you...” Elvia lifted her head, and a tear glistened in her eye, in the light. Adrian saw it; she immediately wiped it away, hoping he hadn’t noticed.

That was it, there was nothing more to be said; but now, only something to be done. Adrian declared, before he took off into the unpredictable Forest. “We will not fail!” He quickly grabbed Elvia’s hand, and flew off, without looking back!

“How will we find them? Even the Elders’ don’t know where they dwell!” Adrian answered, in a courageous tone, of which she had never heard from anyone before; defeat was not an option. “We will find them! There will be no giving up!”

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