“DAD, NO, I’M STAYING HERE.”
“LISTEN TO ME SWEETHEART. IF YOU DON’T GO, your life will be in grave and intimate danger.” His eyes turned glossy.
“Why do you cry when there is no need to shed these symbols of sorrow?”
“I love you my daughter. With all of my heart; and I will protect you to any cause. I already witnessed the love that took the heart of your dear mother, and I will not have that fate be placed upon my dearest daughter who has the beauty of that of a goddess.” Aspen fell silent. “Bapa?” asked Aspen with concern.
Her father sniffed, and then looked upon her luminous beauty. Understanding her father’s will, she then asked, “What is it you wish of me?”
His face softened as he put a hand upon her shoulder. “Run. Run and hide amongst the enchanted forests of the northern kingdoms. Never look back, and promise me that you’ll not do anything foolish.” Aspen stiffened her lip, but couldn’t keep the tear that trickled down her soft cheek tucked away. “I promise.” Her father lifted his thumb and cleared the trail of sorrow from her face, but then turned back hearing voices and seeing the gentle glow of torches and lanterns. Still looking back, he said, “My darling daughter,” he paused. “Promise me one last thing before I send you off.” He turned as she replied, “Anything.” Then he embraced her in a fatherly hug and whispered, “Be safe.” Aspen couldn’t take this any longer, and closed her eyes as she released a trail of tears on either side of her face. Her father released her, and gave her a gentle push. “Go now.” He told her as he turned, ready to defend his home. She hesitated, but as she watched her father begin his sorcery, she fled.
Aspen rushed past the back door of the silver tree she called home, and through the brush until she reached a clearing in which she could turn and lay her eyes upon her home and father for the very last time. As she hid there, sort of behind a tree, she watched as her father cast his destructive magic upon the mob that was getting closer. Hues of light purple, ice blue, and fire red burst in the air and surrounding trees as a small battle commenced, and at each burst, she winced, hoping nothing was hitting her dear father.
After a while, the bursts became more frequent and groans were heard. None of which came from her father, but she feared for his life. Then she heard what sounded to be lightening and electricity buzzes. Aspen knew all too well what that sound was, and she stepped forward to start back, but as she finished her forth step, a giant burst of white filled the house and nearly blinded her, but she did not turn, and stopped. A loud scream of agony was heard, and she knew that her father had been hit. As the light died down, she shook her head and said, “No,” under her breath. She quietly dashed to the window, but ducked out if sight, and peered in.
“Did you really think that you could save your daughter without being punished, Auron? Tt-tt-tt, it’s a shame that you have to endure this more than once, but then again…you do chose the best. Sure you deserve the best, you being high chief and all, but to then give life to a female who is equally beautiful? What are the odds?” Aspen watched a figure that was hooded and cloaked step from the door and near her father who lay on the floor clutching the side of his right abdomen. The figure crouched down beside Auron as he reached him. Auron just looked at him from the angle he lay, and said not a word. “Where is the merchandise, Auron?” Auron stayed silent, but quivered in pain as he continued to hold his head up. The figure then sighed and stood. He turned to leave, or so it looked, but then he stopped and looked back down at Auron. “Don’t make this harder than it needs to be, Auron.” Auron then threw a small destructive spell towards him, but he just leaned to the side, dodging it. Aspen ducked so is not to get hit, and did so in the knick if time. It flew past her, and ended up hitting another tree. As Aspen peered through the window again, Auron spotted her, but didn’t make it noticeable, and started to release tears. The figure went back to his previous position and then faced Auron head on. Auron then began to levitate and turn upright, but it was not he who was raising him. It was the figure, and it was apparent to Aspen as she saw his gloved hand going up; palm up with index and middle finger coupled as the rest hung loose.
Auron then stopped and held still. The figure then set down his hand and just stood there for a moment. “Why is thy face trickled with sorrow? Auron…you don’t see what we wish to have, do you?”
Auron hesitated, but grew stern, tears still in his eyes. “No. And even if I did, you wouldn’t be able to seize her.”
“Hmm. Bold words for an elven man who’s about to die.”
Aspen’s eye grew wide, and she was about to cry out to her dad, but covered her mouth, turned, and slid down the outside wall as she heard the sound of fire being spewed from the figure’s mouth and devouring her loving father.
She closed her eyes, and tears found their way down the same trail of dried tears from before. A moment later, the sound of spewing fire silenced, and the sound of quick drying lava sounded as her father turned to stone. It wasn’t two seconds later that the crumbling dryness stopped when a burst of crystal sounded as the remains exploded, therefore ending her father’s life entirely. Light again shown through the windows and open doors, and Aspen knew that she was on her own. Reopening her eyes, she slightly tilted her head up as if she were intending to look in the window.
“Now then,” the figure said, “she’s not here. Go out and search the southern borders. She couldn’t have gotten far. You go to the eastern palace, and search every room. Tallest top to deepest bottom, go. The rest of you spread out and search the western border line. Aspen Leighanna Silvertongue is hereby wanted for questioning,” he finished, and Aspen slowly stood to hide as other elves scattered in the ways of the four winds. She scooted to the side of the window, and risked a glance into the room once more. The hooded figure still face the door, but feeling the presence of another, however, he turned and all she saw before she yanked herself out of sight were his glowing silver eyes. As she started off again, the figure smirked with the knowledge that he just found what he was looking for.
Aspen ran back past the tree she stood behind before and continued north. After running hard for a hundred paces, she stopped to catch a breath as she leaned in on another tree. Gently gasping for air, she remembered the look of her father before he was barbequed and crystallized. Then she visualized what she could have done, but then realized that there was nothing she could do to have changed the past.
Her eyes turned glossy at the thought, but then she heard a wisp of wind. Looking around ahead of her, she saw nothing, but then fear struck her, and her eyes widened a little as she begun to turn ’round. As she finished her circle, she jumped, startled, and fell, and started to crawl backwards, away from him.
“Why so jumpy, dear one?” It was the hooded figure. His eyes seemed to penetrate into her very soul, so Aspen turned away from the gleaming glow of his unnatural eyes.
“You know it’s polite to gaze upon the face of he who speaks to you. Look upon me as I speak to child!”
Aspen hesitated, not wanting to fall under a trance, but brought herself to look upon his face.
He smiled, and his pearly whites gleamed in the twilight moon. “That’s a good girl. Now come with me, and we’ll talk things over.” He offered his hand to her, but she stared. He smiled again, this time with a hint of friendliness.
Knowing better, however, she gathered her strength, and began to make a small ball of fog in her hand. She then quickly raised her hand, forcing the ball out, and blocking the view of the figure as she scurried to her feet and ran. The dark figure coughed and waved his hand as to try and blow away the fog, but then straightened and made his eyes glow brighter which made him able to see.
As Aspen ran as fast as the winds would help her, she was then cut off by a black rag looking cloud. She stopped herself abruptly as she flailed her arms to keep balance, and a voice sounded. “Going so soon?” Two silver circles appeared freakishly out of nowhere, and she knew that it was he, again.
“You’re no elf.”
The mist around him settled as he turned back into his hooded self, and smirked. “Ah, you’re learning. You’re right. I am no elf.” With that, he rushed up in front of her, held her head, and kissed her.
She struggled to get him off, but then she grew drowsy, blacked out, and dropped asleep in his arms.
When she woke, she was in a dark cave, with the only light being the couple torches that the two elves that stood in front of her held. They both turned, but only one spoke. “She’s awake.”
She peered into the darkness, and only saw the side of a man who wore a cloak. At first, she thought it was the one she encountered in the forest, but there was something different about this one. His hood hung further down on his face, so it was hard to tell.
“Bring her to me, but keep those infernal flames away from me.”
They did so, by one handing his torch to the other, and moving to get Aspen. She winced, only to realize her hands were tied behind her back. With no choice, she eased and allowed him to lead her to him.
As she entered the abyss, her body seemed to give off a gentle glow that barely lit the dark. At this, the man turned his head so she wouldn’t see who he was. “Put that out!”
The soldier behind her said, but the man spoke for her. “She cannot, for she is of both light and beauty. It’s in her blood to glow in times of darkness.”
The elf before her was silent, before he said, “Leave us.”
He did so, but glared as he went back to the other elf.
With Aspen looking back at them, the man quickly turned his head to do the same. “You recognize them, don’t you?” he asked.
She looked back at him, noticing he had turned, but remained silent as he bowed his head to not make eye contact. “They were once my friends too, but now with the black cloud that hovers above them, and poisons their mind, they think I am dead, and only serve me because of the receiving pay.” “Who are you, and what do you wish from me? If it is ransomed you seek, there is no one to pay it to you.”
He shook his head, and then said this. “It is not ransomed I seek. All I desire is information and…” he stopped, not wishing to continue and offend her.
“Go on then. You wish to receive information and what?”
He turned and faced the deeper abyss. “I cannot say.”
Aspen hung her head back as she looked to the roof of the cave. “You cannot say. If you knew to speak, perhaps, then you may have the capability to say what exactly it is you desire from me.” Aspen said, somewhat raising her voice.
He glanced at her, but she could not see his eyes for the hood was too long.
He rose, and then struck her with the back of his hand.