#14 - The Curse of Elmdale
He had spent years studying this particular craft. He wanted to avenge the wrong that had been done to him.
“You have outlived your usefulness, my dear. It is time that you leave and go to where you truly belong.” She had whispered in his ear.
“I belong with you in the palace, your highness.” He had said from where he was kneeling on the floor.
“No, you do not. My father brought you from the slumps and there you shall return to.”
“Please, I beg thee. My lady, if I have committed a crime, punish this servant of yours however you deem fit but do not send me back.” He had pleaded to her but she had just laughed at him. What had he not given her? Everything just to make sure that she sit on the throne which had been her rightful place since forever. He was a faithful soldier and had stood by the princess all along. Was this how he was going to be repaid? Now that she had her lands back because of all the hard work he had put into every plan, she was discarding him.
The day had finally come. He drew a pentagram on the ground, humming a beautiful melody he had come up with himself. He sprinkled red stone dust on the boundary followed by spider’s eyes in each triangle of the star and finally, in the center he placed her dagger. Her beloved dagger which her soldiers were searching around in the lands. After he was done, he waited. When the moon was high above in the sky and the wind moaned through the trees around him, he started chanting. Soon, creatures emerged at each point of the star. Five creatures wearing the skin of human beings. He cackled at the sight of them.
“Now, you shall feed on the people of this land forever.” He had clapped in excitement as the creatures had stared at him. They were hauntingly beautiful.
“Till when, sire?” One of them intoned.
“Till this dagger is destroyed but rest assured, you cannot destroy it but only a human can. The one who will care for you despite knowing who you truly are. Someone who descends from the very line of Margret Aurora Throckmorton, the woman who stole it all away from me. It shall never happen. You all will see to that.”
༼;‘༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽༼;’༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽
Nathan was pulling at her hand and she was trying not to trip over the fallen branches. The shadows were closing in behind them. She swore that she could hear Quinlynn’s laughter carried over by the wind. When they reached the spot till where she had come the last time she had been in the forest, Nathan stopped. She was breathing heavily but Nathan was perfect. As if he hadn’t ran through the uneven forest ground. Just as Simone had expected, the mist started to form beneath the bushes as they watched.
“From here on, you have to go alone. That mist.....it burns us.” Nathan said, letting go of her hand. Her heart was stammering in her chest and she bit inside of her cheek really hard. She wanted it to be a dream and wanted to wake up all perfect and normal. But it wasn’t a dream for she tasted blood.
“Simone, you need to hurry. I’ll try my best to hold back the shadows but I can’t promise you that I’d be able to do it for long.” Nathan said urgently. Taking a deep breath, she started for the cave entrance just beyond the shrubs. The mist did not hurt her. It was just cold. She hesitated. When she turned to look over at Nathan from over her shoulder, she saw that he was already fighting off the shadows with his own but his were weak and no match for Quinlynn’s and Vanessa’s combined.
“How can I trust you?” She shouted, voicing her concern.
“Fine. Don’t trust me but trust the Nathan you knew a month ago.” He shouted back without even looking at her. Clenching her hands into fists, she started for the cave entrance now barely visible because of all the mist. Her walk to the entrance wasn’t easily. Due to mist, she could not see properly where she was going. Twice she slipped but by sheer luck managed to not get hurt. Soon she was stepping into the cave. It was quiet. So quiet that she could hear her own uneven breath. It was dark too and she cursed herself and Nathan for not thinking everything through. The narrow passage started to widen as she kept walking. Somewhere, she could hear water trickling. Soon she could see orange glow up ahead. She rushed towards it. The passage way opened up to a wide space. Rough rocks jagged out from the walls and floor of the cave alike. There was a fountain. A small one in the dead center. On that fountain was a dagger. Its hilt was bright red with blue jewels. The orange glow emanated from the water of the fountain. She could not see the source of it. As she slowly stepped towards the fountain, her heart started beating faster. Her hands were slick and she could feel her shirt stick to her back.
“So, he’s really busy.” Simone jumped back in shock at Quinlynn’s voice. She was standing in the shadows, wearing black and her arms folded over her chest. She had a cruel smile on her face and her eyes were glowing ember.
“Cat got your tongue?” She snarled.
“What...how?” Simone staggered back a step. Nathan had told her that it wasn’t possible for him to cross the mist. That it burns him but how did Quinlynn managed to pass it? Unscathed at that.
“He must’ve told you that the mist burns him.” Quinlynn said, gracefully stepping down to the floor. “He is weak. Can’t blame him.”
“What...do you want?”
“You think I don’t know what Trar’en is trying to do?” Quinlynn said loftily. “And he dares to think that he can succeed.” Simone’s heart twisted painfully in her chest. She was going to die, she knew it. Quinlynn stopped right in front of her, her head tilted as she regarded Simone.
“Who is going to save you now, sweetheart?” Quinlynn raised her hands as Simone tried to step away but her limbs betrayed her. She could not move. A whimper stuck in her throat as her eyes fell on Quinlynn’s hands. Holes. There was gaping holes in the palm of her hands and from those holes, she could see needle like......teeth? Quinlynn smiled mockingly. Simone closed her eyes.
Suddenly, Quinlynn shrieked. Simone opened her eyes to find her flying away into the far wall of the cave. Surprised, she turned to find Nathan just at the mouth of the passage way. His skin, it was red and she could see a number of scars on his face. They were healing slowly.
“I’m going to save her, Quinlynn. Don’t you get ahead of yourself?”
“Where....is Juniper?” Quinlynn growled as she stood up on her feet. Simone could see blood trickling down from the left temple.
“Oh, Juniper?” Nathan mocked. Behind him, shadows formed. They were lighter than before. Nathan was running out of his strength. “Here she comes.” He raised his hand behind him and folded his fingers into a fist. Around him, the shadows moved. Within a blink of an eye, there was something at his feet. No, it was someone. Vanessa. Burned black.
“NOOOOOO!!!!” Quinlynn wailed. “HOW COULD YOU?”
“We’ve lived long and fed on enough people. Its time that we stop.” Nathan said, stepping from over what remained of Vanessa’s body. Shaking, Simone retched.
“WHY DO YOU CARE? YOU TRAITOR!!” With these words, Quinlynn flew towards Nathan and pushed him back with enough force that he flew and hit the wall behind. Simone tried to hide herself behind one of the rocks. Her attempt made a sound which attracted Quinlynn. In a second, she was holding Simone up with the collar of her shirt. Simone struggled to breathe.
“Its all because of you, you stupid girl.” Quinlynn said through clenched teeth. Her eyes were burning.
“Let her go, Quinlynn. This is between you and me.”
“Is it?” She asked, knocking Simone against the rock she was trying to hide behind. On the contact, Simone’s breath whooshed out of her lungs and she collapsed. It hurt. She felt as if her back bone had been shattered into pieces.
“SIMONE!! GET UP!!” Somewhere, Nathan was shouting at her. “GET UP!!”
But Simone could not.