Chapter 4: Battle
“Varen, keep a proper stance,” Elias ordered the young man.
The two men wielded their broad swords against each other in the middle of a crowd of Elias’s men Varen swung his sword from the shoulders and brought it down on Elias. The General blocked the attack and spun Varen’s away then swung at his side, but the blonde blocked it, expertly. They each brought their swords down on the other, and the metal clanged together, close to the hilts. They stared at each other from where the blades crossed.
“Am I any better, Sir?” Varen strained, straining against Elias’s sword.
“Better,” Elias nodded before pushing him away. Varen fell to the ground from the force of the shove and Elias pointed the tip of his sword at him, stepping on the blade of Varen’s sword. “You can’t worry about how efficient you are with a blade when it means your life. You must be good enough to survive, but you cannot let it distract you. If you do, you’ll end up in the position you’re in right now.”
He lowered his sword and helped Varen up as the men clapped and he instructed, “Keep practicing.”
“General Elias Blackwood?”
Elias turned to see a pirate standing with one of his men.
“I have an urgent message for you from the King,” he explained. Elias nodded and waved him over with his sword before sheathing it, and the messenger hurried toward him to speak lowly. “There has been an attempt on Miss Walsh’s life that Captain believes Jellina is behind.”
“Varen!” Elias called, and the young man rushed toward him. “I’m going back to the Mela Ear. You’re in command for now, and you will hold your position here until I give you orders. Understood?”
“Yes, Sir,” Varen nodded as Elias turned to back to the pirate standing with him.
“Explain everything to me on the way,” he ordered the man as they headed back into the woods surrounding the camp.
Aboard the King’s ship...
Namir handed Zoey a glass of water as she sat at the table in the galley, Kaysar’s overcoat resting on her shoulders.
“Thanks, Namir,” she shivered, taking the glass and taking a drink as Namir sat in front of her, twiddling her fingers in nervousness. Zoey noticed her fidgeting and wondered, “Is something wrong?”
Namir took in a breath before pulling a chair up to sit in front of Zoey and she asked, “You’re the Enuria…aren’t you?”
Zoey stared at her with wide eyes as she froze in shock.
“Everyone knows the Prophecy,” Namir explained. “A girl…the first human woman will be called to Kalina and she would end the war after one year and that she would use magic. I heard you use a spell on Liona.”
Zoey looked to her glass of water and sighed, “Elias told me all about it last night. It’s still hard for me to believe that I could be the one. I’ve never fought anyone. I…fail at everything.”
“That cannot be true,” Namir insisted. “You defeated Liona and have already learned to successfully use a Deposession Spell!”
“She almost killed me,” Zoey murmured, not looking at her.
Namir leaned forward and took one of Zoey’s hands, making the red head look up at her with wide eyes as she smiled, “You are not alone in this. You will have the support of the King behind you, and you have the best warrior as your protector. Elias Blackwood is truly a great man to have at your side.”
“I have no doubt of his skill, it’s myself that I doubt,” Zoey replied.
“All great ones doubt themselves in the beginning, but they come out victorious in the end,” Namir smiled. “You will be victorious.”
Zoey gave a small scoff before nodding and patting her hand.
The girls turned a man racing down the hatch.
“General Blackwood is here to see you,” he reported.
Zoey gave a frown but stood and ran past the man to head up on deck, Namir on her heels. Zoey’s face lit up when she saw the masked General climbing over the railing to board the ship.
“Elias!” she called, running toward him and he turned just in time to catch her when she threw herself into his arms. He sighed in relief as he wrapped his arms tightly around her, stroking her damp hair.
“Are you alright?” he whispered into her hair and she nodded, unable to keep herself from shuddering as she began to cry.
“Elias,” she breathed. “I almost died! I could have drowned!”
“You sort of did, love,” Kaysar mumbled, causing Namir to punch him in the arm and he winced, rubbing the spot she’d hit. He was ignored anyway.
“But you didn’t die, Zoey,” Elias murmured, holding her tighter. “It’s my fault this happened. I should have stayed with you. It’s my duty to protect you.”
“Don’t say it’s your fault!” Zoey replied, shaking her head as she lifted her gaze up to him. “How could you have known?”
“It was our fault, General Blackwood,” Namir spoke up. “We pulled her into the water—”
Elias held a hand up behind to Zoey to gently silence her, but Zoey caught his attention when she looked up at him and whispered, “I need to talk to you.”
He nodded and she took his hand to lead him down the hatch leading to the galley. She sat him in a chair and perched herself on his knee.
“What’s wrong, Zoey?” he murmured, moving a piece of damp hair from her face.
“I did something that I think I shouldn’t have,” Zoey confessed, softly. “Felix came and told me that I would have to learn all these spells to fight Jellina and I read the list he gave me, but I was only supposed to memorize them. Well, when I was attacked by Liona, I used one of the spells.”
Elias stared at her with wide eyes, making Zoey swallow in worry, but he soon shook his disbelief and asked, “Which spell did you use?”
“The deposession spell,” she replied. “He only told me to memorize them.”
“This is…incredible, Zoey,” he smiled, making her frown in wonder, but her heart skipped when he wrapped his arms around her. “The fact that you’ve learned, even one spell, so quickly proves you’re our Savior. Felix will be thrilled, believe me.”
“Oh…” she replied, hollowly as Elias hugged her tightly. “That’s…great, then.”
“I know you’re unsure of yourself,” he murmured, not letting her go. “Just know that I’m here for you. We all are.”
“I know,” she sighed.
Elias gently pushed her away to smile at her and request, “Now, I you to tell me everything that happened with Liona.”
A loud shout of anger echoed through the throne room of the Castle Dae. Jellina paced across the black marble floor, gritting her teeth. The Dark Fairy, Mori, followed behind her through the air as she paced.
“How was she able to learn to use magic so quickly?!” Jellina demanded, still pacing.
“It is further proof that she is the Enuria,” Mori replied, calmly. “A minor setback. She is a mere girl of twenty-two. The weight of being the so-called Savior of Kalina will be too heavy for her to bear. We merely need to scare her.
“That’s not what my sources tell me.”
Jellina stopped and turned toward a pillar where the sultry voice had come from, recognizing the voice. There were a few footsteps before the female appeared from the shadows behind the pillar, her waist long, red hair swishing around her, her green eyes glued to Jellina as smile curled over her red lips, wearing a long, red dress and holding a long, red staff topped with two crescents, one red, and one gold and ending with a red ruby.
“Uaine,” Jellina smirked. “What would the Carad Witch know about our little problem?”
“This ‘mere girl’ is not so easily swayed,” Uaine replied. “My Dark Fairy spies tell me she is strong. She has spirit and intelligence. She is also unpredictable, as you now know, dear sister.”
“What do you suggest then?” Jellina asked, crossing her arms.
Uaine smirked then murmured, “Tell the leaders of each species on our side about the Enuria. Give them no orders, and let us see what they do. They may do the job of getting rid of her for you.”
“Very well,” Jellina smirked with a nod then looked to the Dark Fairy still floating next to her. “A message to General Rada, General Moria, General Faolan, Keiji of the Dragons and Galina of the Sirens about the Enuria. Her name is Zoey Walsh.”
Zoey sat on the bowsprit of the Mela Ear, staring at the sunset with Namir by her side now in dry, pirate clothes as she examined the pendant Erik had given her.
“What’s that?” Namir wondered about the necklace and Zoey looked to her with a start.
“Just something Elias gave me,” she smiled. “Apparently it determined whether I was the Enuria or not.”
“It’s very pretty,” Namir nodded. “Does it have a purpose?”
“I…don’t know,” Zoey admitted. “I’m sure it probably does.”
She let the necklace hang around her neck and stared out to sea with a sigh, wishing she were home.
“You miss you family?” Namir guessed and Zoey nodded. “You may see them again.”
“Namir, can I ask you something?” Zoey hoped and the elf nodded. “Has anyone who’s ever been called here gone back to where they came from?”
“Not that I know of,” Namir replied. “Are you worried you won’t be able to go back to where you come from?”
Zoey nodded and the two remained silent as they gazed into the sea. Namir noticed Elias approaching them and pretended not to see him for a moment, but her attention was shot to her friend again when she started singing. As Zoey stared out at the horizon, she didn’t even notice Namir switch spots with Elias and when she finished the song, she jumped with a start when his arm wrapped around her shoulders.
“Enjoying the sunset?” he wondered with a smile.
Zoey nodded and leaned her head on his shoulder, remaining silent for a moment before murmuring, “Erik?”
“Yes?” he answered.
“Is there a reason you gave me this necklace?” she asked.
“It was meant for the Enuria. It is said to enhance your magic wielding abilities. That may be one of the reasons why you were able to use that spell with little to no practice.”
“Oh…” Zoey trailed off then murmured, “I see.”
Elias looked down at her then added, “You make that necklace even more beautiful. It suits you.”
She looked up at him with glowing eyes and an ear to ear grin and she breathed, “Really? No one’s ever said anything like that to me before?”
“That cannot be true,” Elias smiled. “It’s too ridiculous. Anyone in their right mind can see how beautiful you are.”
Zoey stared at him in disbelief and Elias swallowed, realizing what he’d said and cleared his throat before advising, “We should get to sleep. I’ll be taking you to Felix’s home in the morning.”
“W-What’s at Felix’s house?” Zoey wondered, realizing he wanted to change the subject.
“Training,” Elias replied. “You have to learn how to control your newfound power.”
Zoey nodded as the two stood, carefully and Elias helped Zoey balance down the bowsprit to the deck. As she went to step over the railing, her foot got caught, making her stumble forward and into Elias’s arms.
“Are you alright?” he hoped.
She looked up into his hazel eyes and suddenly felt her legs start to give way beneath her and before she knew it, Elias had swept her off her feet and into his arms, as if sensing her unbalance. She felt a bit light-headed and guilty that she had to be carried toward Kaysar’s cabin, but she said nothing.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she breathed as he set her in the bed, sitting next to her on the mattress.
“You’re just tired,” Elias guessed, pulling the covers over her. “It’s been a long day. I’ll be right outside the door if you need me.”
“Thank you for everything, Elias,” she smiled tiredly, suddenly feeling sleepy.
“You’re welcome, Zoey,” he smiled in return, lifting a hand to gently stroke her cheek and making Zoey’s heart skipped a beat. “Sleep well.”
“Good night, Zoey,” he murmured before standing and heading toward the door just as she drifted to sleep.
The Next Morning...
Zoey’s eyes fluttered open only to be blinded by a beam of light to go back to sleep, but she rolled into a body. She looked up with a tired frown and immediately woke up when she saw Elias looking down at her with a warm smile.
“Good morning, Angel,” he murmured and she felt near to fainting when he placed a gentle, lingering kiss on her forehead.
“W-What—?” Zoey sputtered.
“I couldn’t stay away,” Elias smiled, stroking a strand of hair from her cheek. “You looked so peaceful, I didn’t want to wake you.”
He leaned toward her and Zoey hardly had time to react before she felt his lips against hers. She hardly had time to react before she felt his lips against hers and she was too shocked to move, or close her eyes, or kiss him back. A moment after she gently pushed him away, making him stare at her in wonder.
“Elias,” she tried. “We can’t—”
He planted his lips to hers again, and this time she melted into it, quickly.
Zoey’s eyes shot open and she straight up with a gasp. The cabin was empty except for her and the sunlight pouring in through the windows. She looked around in confusion, then touched her lips with her finger tips in thought. That dream had felt so real.
She jumped when she heard Elias’s voice on the other side of the door and scrambled out of the bed as he knocked at the door.
“Come in, Elias,” she called, quickly combing her hands through her hair before trying to make the bed as the door slowly creaked open.
“Are you ready to see Felix?” Elias wondered as he stood at attention in the middle of the room and Zoey stood to face him with a smile to nod. The dream she’d just had flashed through her mind and she instantly shot her gaze down to hide her blush, making Elias look to her in wonder and step closer, asking, “Is something wrong?”
“No,” Zoey murmured, not looking at him until he was standing directly in front of her and she looked up at him with wide eyes. “I…I had another dream about you last night.”
“That is to be expected,” Elias replied calmly, making Zoey frown in utter shock.
“Expected?” she echoed.
“It is said the Enuria would often dream of her protector even after she has found him,” he nodded. “It would be her way of watching over him and warn him of dangers that might occur. May I ask what this dream was about?”
Zoey felt her heart thump in panic before she quickly laughed nervously, “Nothing important.”
Erik nodded then asked, “Perhaps we should set off to Felix’s now?”
“That’s a good idea,” she smiled with a nod.
Several Hours Later...
Elias made sure the synch was secure on the saddle of his horse as Zoey stroked the horse’s neck, speaking softly to him.
“What’s his name?” she asked, not looking away from the horse.
“Phantom,” he replied, not looking away from his task.
“That’s a beautiful name for a beautiful animal,” Zoey smiled, scratching under the horses chin, and his ears perked up toward her, making her giggle and reply, “Yup. You heard right. I called you beautiful. I bet you don’t hear that from Elias, do you?”
“Don’t make his head any bigger than it is, please?” Elias chimed in, making Zoey giggle before she looked back to Phantom, not noticing the smile Elias gave at making her laugh.
His smile grew when she began singing, softly and sweetly. Phantom’s ears flicked toward her when he heard her, and she giggled at him before continuing her song, but after another verse, she stared wide eyes at Elias when he began singing. She found her voice again through her shock and they sang together, Elias still not looking at her. Their gazes finally met when the song ended, and Zoey couldn’t believe how perfectly they had harmonized.
“Are you ready?” he asked, snapping Zoey from her trance with him.
She nodded and stepped toward him as he mounted his horse. He held a hand toward her to pull her up and swing her around to sit behind him. He felt his heart skip when she hesitantly wrapped her arms around him.
“How far is Felix’s home?” she wondered.
“We should be in the Istar Realm in thirty minutes or so,” Elias replied.
She gave a squeak of surprise when he sent Phantom at a full gallop and she held onto him for dear life. They rode in silent for what seemed like ages, Zoey bouncing behind Elias and still holding onto him tightly until Phantom suddenly came to a stop, ramming her face into his back and she looked over Elias’s shoulder to see why.
There was someone in the middle of the road.
He stood tall with black hair that was cut short on top with a long, thin pony tail running down his back. His amber, almost red eyes glared at them and he was dressed in peasant clothes with an iron pipe on his belt.
“Faolan Aberdene,” Elias growled lowly, making the man’s lips curl in an evil smirk and showing off fangs. “A werewolf general.”
“General Blackwood,” Faolan smirked. “What brings you this far into the woods with such a lovely female escort?”
“No business of yours, hound,” Elias retorted, feeling Zoey’s arms wrap a little more tightly around him.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to the lady?” Faolan wondered, and Zoey shrunk behind Elias.
“No,” Elias shot back.
“Why not?” Faolan retorted. “Afraid I’ll realize who and what she is?”
Elias didn’t move but his mind went into a frenzy as he felt Zoey grip him even tighter out of fear.
“If she has not introduced herself then she does not wish to meet you,” Elias smirked.
“Then I’ll just have to introduce myself,” Faolan retorted. “I believe you’ve met my friend, Keiji, haven’t you, Blackwood?”
Out of nowhere, a black dragon flew over them, making Zoey scream as his tail flicked around to knock Elias unconscious. Phantom reared when Zoey screamed, making them fall to the ground and the horse took off in a gallop down the road, Faolan stepping out of his way. Zoey groaned as she got up from the ground and scrambled toward Elias to try to shake him awake.
“Elias!” she called, not noticing Faolan approaching as Keiji floated to the ground. “Elias! Wake up!”
Faolan grabbed her roughly by the arm and pulled her away from Elias, making her kick and scream as she tried to get away from him.
“Come on, deary,” Faolan strained against her struggling. “Quit fighting and you won’t feel a thing.”
Zoey felt the blood drain from her face, realizing what he meant, but she quickly gathered her courage and stomped a heel into his foot. He howled in pain then spun her around to face him and backhand her, sending her to the ground. He loomed over her as she placed her hand on her cheek in disbelief. She had never been slapped before, and Faolan allowed her to savor the stinging on her face. She glared up at him, seething as she stood in her place.
“You’re going to pay for that,” she ground out and lifted a hand toward him. “Caith!”
Faolan was pushed back by an invisible force and into a tree, sliding to the ground and making him grunt in pain, but he quickly shook it away as he got to his feet.
“Very good,” he groaned. “I should have expected as much from the one said to by the Enuria.”
“You know what I am?” Zoey breathed with wide eyes.
“Do you?” Faolan retorted. “I’m told you’re the Enuria, but I, for one, don’t see how you could be the Savior. You’re a mere woman.”
“Then let me show you what this ‘mere woman’ can do!” Zoey snapped. “Imíonn!”
She suddenly disappeared, and Faolan stiffened, glancing around. Something struck his shin, making him cry out and hop to hold his “injured” leg as he glared at Keiji.
“Are you just going to sit there cleaning your claws, or are you going to help me?!” he snarled at the dragon who was, indeed, cleaning his claws.
“I did my part,” Keiji rumbled, not looking from his task. “You said you would take care of the Enuria.”
“Fine,” Faolan growled, looking ahead of him again. “You want to fight dirty, little girl?”
Faolan searched the ground, pulling the iron pipe from his belt and thrusting it to his side to extend it to a spear. He noticed the dirt sinking into footprints and followed them with his eyes. After a moment, he swung his spear sideways and it hit Zoey. She reappeared as she was flung toward a tree, slamming into it sideways and making her cry out in pain when she did. She sunk to the ground and an ominous shadow surround her, making her look up to see Faolan approaching her as Keiji loomed over her as well.
Now what? she thought, desperately.
All eyes turned to look around Keiji and Faolan to see Elias standing with his sword drawn and pointed at the werewolf.
“Not ‘man’ enough to fight a male?!” he snapped, approaching him.
Zoey slowly stood up as Faolan turned fully toward Elias, poising for battle with his own weapon.
“I might as well kill you,” he smirked, casually. “Jellina wants you dead, too.”
He lunged toward Elias, his spear pointed toward him and Elias blocked the attack, sparks flying when steel met iron. Metallic clangs rang through the quiet forest as Zoey kept an eye on Keiji who was watching the fight. She jumped with a start but remained silent when she felt a hand settle on her shoulder and spun around with wide eyes to come face to face with a female with long black hair and blue eyes with amber rings around the irises. The strange girl in a long, royal blue robe placed a finger over her lips to signal Zoey to stay silent.
“My name is Chanel,” she whispered, glancing between Zoey, Keiji and the fight before looking back at Zoey. “I’m Felix’s little sister. Come with me.”
Zoey nodded, remained silent before Chanel grabbed her wrist and tried to drag her away. However, the red head was rooted to the ground.
“I won’t leave without Elias,” Zoey whispered.
“He’ll be fine,” Chanel assured her. “My brother is here, biding his time.”
Zoey was finally pulled from her spot and deeper into the woods. Faolan noticed her disappear and shoved Elias away to stall.
“Keiji!” he shouted to the dragon. “Get the red head!”
Elias charged him and Faolan blocked the attack, expertly. Keiji flew into the air and followed the girls as they ran through the forest. They didn’t get far before Keiji landed in front of them, blocking their path, the gust from the landing nearly sending them to the ground.
“End of the line, ladies,” he growled with an evil smirk.
“You forget who you’re dealing with,” Chanel snapped, then winked at Zoey before calling, “Eitilt!”
She started floating in the air with Zoey hanging by her wrist with her before the red head called on the spell, and floated at Chanel’s side.
“I can fly as well!” Keiji retorted and prepared to lift off, but Chanel was one step ahead of him.
“Disappear on my signal,” Chanel whispered to Zoey then turned back to Keiji. “Bet you can’t do this…”
“Imíonn!” the girls shouted in unison and they disappeared, making Keiji frown up in confusion.
Chanel pulled Zoey as she still held onto her wrist and they glided through the air, still invisible, toward Felix’s house, leaving Keiji still confused.
Elias’s sword clanged against Faolan’s spear as they still fought. Faolan swung his spear at Elias’s ankles, sending the Masked General to the ground and Faolan pointed his spear at Elias, grinning evilly as he caught his breath.
“You’re done, Blackwood,” Faolan growled.
“Not just yet, Aberdene.”
Faolan looked to his right to see Felix standing a few feet away, holding onto the reins of a familiar horse. Elias took this as an opportunity to hit Faolan’s spear away, knocking it completely out of the werewolf’s hand and Elias stood, pointing his sword at Faolan’s neck.
“You don’t have the guts to kill an unarmed male, Blackwood,” Faolan snarled.
“No,” Elias replied in a low voice. “I don’t have the heart.” He lowered his sword and continued, “Go tell your Mistress you’ve failed. And tell her that I will not rest until she is defeated!”
Faolan glared at him, nodding reluctantly and Elias allowed him to pick up his spear to head toward the Castle Dae. Elias made sure he was out of sight before sheathing his sword and turning to Felix to take the reins of his horse.
“Wounded?” Felix asked and Elias shook his head as they both turned to head toward Felix’s home. “Chanel and Zoey should be at the house by now.”
“Thank you for your help, Felix,” Elias said. “You were the perfect diversion.”
“Yes, well, I am here only to service you, General Blackwood,” Felix retorted then shot back, “Tell me, have you fallen in love with our Savior yet?”
“Felix, you’ve gone mad,” Elias chuckled as they continued on their way.
“You can admit it,” Felix replied. “I won’t tell a soul.”
“There would be nothing to tell,” Elias lied, convincingly.
“Jack has told me otherwise,” the wizard smirked. “He saw it in your eyes when you said good-bye to her on the ship.”
Elias stopped and turned a glare to the wizard before replying, “Felix, I will never allow myself to fall in love again. Nor will I allow myself to think that anyone could fall in love with me.”
“Your past will plague you all your life if you let it,” Felix warned as Elias turned from him to continue down the road. “Our pasts form us, they don’t control us. I’m sure if you told Zoey what happened—”
“I won’t tell her, Felix,” Elias snapped. “I won’t put her through it. I can’t show her what lies beneath this mask.”