In the Shadows

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Chapter 3

At first nothing happened and the women grew visibly annoyed. Iselora let out a guarded sigh of relief as if the flame’s disobedience was an indication of her life being spared. “Maybe he missed the request.” Maude finally suggested. Gillian nodded but before they could restate their command, the fire began to change color. The blue flame dissipated into a green then a yellow that was so bright that Iselora had to shut them. Suddenly Iselora had the sensation of floating. She cautiously opened her eyes and saw that she was surrounded by fire. It was strange, her skin did not feel any different, there was no heat. She looked around and realized that she was alone. After a few minutes the flame began to shift, revealing a stone room that was different than where she had just been. Iselora could feel solid ground below her feet but her legs had grown too numb to support her weight causing her to collapse. The stone floor was cool and refreshing. Iselora lay there feeling that the weight of her body was too much to carry. Her mind became more dense as she fought to keep her eyes open. A throbbing in her wrist brought her attention back to the situation at hand. Iselora had no clue where she had ended up. Iselora rolled onto her stomach and propped up on her knees and with a deep breath she stood on shaky legs. The room was a small square with a door on the opposite wall of where Iselora stood. Cradling her wrist, Iselora cautiously made her way towards the door. Before she could open the door it was yanked open and a small framed girl stood panting in the archway.

The girl was beautiful. her face was verging on angelic. She was short in stature but looked muscular in her modest maids uniform. Her skin was tanned a golden hue as if she used the sun as a lotion. There was an aura of innocence around her that was infectious. This was enhanced by her bouncy curls cut in a bob. Her hair framed her face creating a doll like appearance. Wide purple hued eyes were the centerpiece of her existence. They seemed to catch Iselora in a trance that overwhelmed her with a desire to protect this girl standing in front of her. “Are you alright my lady?” the musical voice asked. “Yes, I am alright” Iselora whispered in disbelief. Iselora could not believe that there was someone as beautiful as this girl. Relief seemed to flow over the mysterious girl “My name is Svila. I was sent by his majesty to make sure you arrived safely ” Her eyes began to travel over Iselora, concern taking over her expression. “You’re skinny.” Svila clicked her tongue in disapproval,” he will not be happy about that. Do not worry, we will fix that soon enough” Svila’s genuine smile melted any walls that Iselora had built up and the flood of tears over flowed, the rush of emotion sending her to her knees.

Svila rushed to grab Iselora, holding her as she cried. Svila explained that the transporting heightened was supposed to heighten sense but must have heightened Iselora’s emotions instead. Svila held Iselora into her chest stroking her scalp. Svila’s fingers caressed the healing scabs and anger began to boil at the thought of what could have caused them. The two sat there until Iselora’s sobbing stopped. Iselora gently pulled away, embarrassed at her lack of control. Svila adjusted her weight and stood, offering her hands towards Iselora. Iselora took her hands forgetting for a second about her wrist.

As soon as the smallest amount of pressure was put on it, Iselora whimpered in pain and pulled her wrist away quickly. Svila’s face widened in confusion, then gently reached her hands to cover Iselora’s. “May I take a look at it?” Iselora nodded, releasing her wrist and displaying the deep bruise that blanketed the skin. Svila gasped in shock and horror, her hands flying to her mouth. Her face contorted to anger. “They are monsters”. Svila said under her breath. Svila inhaled deeply and seemed to process her options. When she exhaled, Iselora studied Svila’s face for any indication of what was about to happen. Svila turned her face towards Iselora and flashed a solemn smile. “I want to apologize greatly for your previous treatment. His Majesty will know best of what to do with them. Now, come you must be hungry and we need to have that wrist looked at”. Svila stood, brushed her dress off, and offered a hand towards Iselora. Iselora graciously accepted the hand, finally happy that she had an ally and possible friend.

The walk seemed to go quickly as Svila gushed about anything that came to her mind. Iselora tried to pay attention but the grand architecture of the hall they entered caught her attention. The world outside was black, Iselora did not realize how late it had gotten and felt ashamed for keeping Svila up this late. “My lady?” Svila asked in concern. “Yes?” Iselora quickly replied. “We have arrived at your room. Would you like me to draw you a bath?” Iselora nodded and smiled. A bath sounded heavenly after the day she had just had. Svila opened the door for Iselora. The room was large and ornate. The bed was to the right surrounded by large windows, the world beyond them was blanketed by darkness. Arranged to the left were two chairs facing a large fireplace. Glowing embers indicated that a fire was recently built but was left unattended for too long. On either side of the fire place were magnificent bookshelves, and beyond those were doors. The colors were simple, light walls complemented by the light colored fabrics. Svila left Iselora to admire the room as she entered the door furthest from where they entered.

Curiosity got the best of Iselora. Upon entering the other unknown door, Iselora was greeted with a closet stuffed full of the most magnificent dresses. Iselora drug her hand along the different dresses until one caught her eye. This dress was an emerald green ornamented with gold accents. She pushed the dresses to the side to inspect the dress closer. The dress must have been extraordinarily expensive. “If you would like, I can dress you in that after your bath. It would compliment your eyes better than the red.” Svila’s voice had cause Iselora to jump. She did not hear Svila come in the closet. “The Minders dressed me in this dress,” Iselora motioned towards the dress she was wearing. “Then I will have this one cleaned for you. But green is definitely your color.” Svila smiled and gestured to follow her.

The bathroom was a magnificent sight. Easily comparable to that of the bedroom. Wall to wall glistening white and gray marbled tile with silver trim. The bathtub faced another wall of ornate windows, the light in the bathroom transformed the window into a mirror. Iselora caught sight of herself moving in the red dress. She was beautiful. The dress made her look almost royal. Iselora looked away from the reflection to walk towards the tub. Svila helped Iselora undress. But before Iselora could step into the tub, Svila asked something that caught her off guard. “How long have you had this?” fingers lightly grazing the tattoo that decorated her back. “ I do not remember...” Iselora had racked her brain trying to think of when she could have gotten it. She assumed the Minders had put it there but she was not sure. Svila nodded concealing any emotion. Iselora knew that Svila recognized the tattoo. Exhaustion kept her from probing further as she stepped in the steaming water, instantly relaxing as she sat down. Iselora felt a slight tingle on her back but considered it was just a tense muscle relaxing. Svila scooped up the crumpled dress and exited the bathroom, leaving Iselora to herself. The warmth of the water, coupled with the scent of lavender began to have its effects on Iselora’s mind. Her eyes grew heavy as the tingling migrated from the middle of her spine to the back of her head. She tried to call out to Svila to help her stand, but the bath felt too good to get out so soon. Iselora gave into her drowsiness and closed her eyes for what she thought would be a quick nap.

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