Avin brought us through a grove of trees and into a clearing. In the clearing was a huge pond that probably could’ve passed for a small lake. The trees made it seem like a secluded swimming hole. It was beautiful.
The water looked crystal clear and shone like a gem in the sunlight. There was only water and trees for as far as the eye could see. Nothing to fear or worry about here. I felt calm and relaxed and exhausted.
I watched Avin place the boy on the ground next to the water’s edge and then turned to look at me. He seemed so different than he had earlier. He was much more open with his emotions, and it didn’t look like he was trying to hide anything anymore.
This all started when he saw the boy…oh. I think I found his weakness. He really cared about kids, like a protector or an older brother would. His weakness was that he cared a lot about the younger generations. Hmm, there was a lot more to him than just being a killer and an obedient son, wasn’t there?
I smiled down at him as he came around to Mirage’s right flank. At first, I didn’t realize what he was doing, then he reached up for me. I was about to protest his help, but he had already grabbed my waist. I grabbed Avin’s arms for support as he hoisted me up and out of the saddle, and down to the ground.
For a moment after my feet touched the ground we didn’t let go of each other. We just sort of stared at each other, neither of us removing our hands. Avin opened his mouth to say something, but we were interrupted by a young boy, who groaned in pain from where he sat next to the water.
I let go of Avin and ducked around him to go check on the kid. I tried my best to ignore the feeling of his eyes on my back and the pain in my side as I checked over the young boy’s wounds. I could barely see any of them because of all of the blood and ash that was covering the boy. The boy’s skin felt sticky in places where there wasn’t even much blood.
I thought back to the bodies that were laying on top of the kid. If he was close enough to where all the killings took place that stickiness could be blood splatter from other people. Shit, he probably was forced to watch them get killed in front of him. He’s just a little kid, what kind of monsters am I really going up against here?
It seemed that they were everywhere I looked, and I couldn’t discern who the bad guys were from the allies. I mean, I know that elves can be cold and calculating creatures from some of the folk stories that I read, but were they really capable of killing off hundreds of innocent people who weren’t even a part of the war to begin with?
I looked over to Avin as he crouched down beside me, his attention focused on the boy. He actually looked rather concerned for the kid. Perhaps they weren’t all bad. But there was definitely something that wasn’t right about what had happened in the forest, and I don’t mean just because hundreds of people were slaughtered.
Something kept nagging at me at the back of my mind. The more that I tried to figure out what I was missing, the more that my head started to hurt. Ow, ow, okay no more thinking for right now.
I ripped off a small section of the cloak and dipped it into the pond beside me. I rung it out quickly and then gently patted the boy’s face with the wet piece of cloth. I wanted to get the blood and dirt off, but I didn’t want to hurt him any more than I absolutely had to.
The blood and dirt had dried onto his face so it would take a little more force than I had wanted to use. The boy began squirming around as I tried to clean him off. I had to get Avin to hold him down so that he wouldn’t hurt himself by prying open his already half closed wounds.
Avin was a little hesitant to do as I asked, but I told him that it was either that or the boy could potentially get more hurt. So Avin held the boy while I cleaned his face, chest, and arms. But we had to switch up positions to clean up his lower half. I held the boy down while Avin cleaned him from the stomach down to his feet.
The boy didn’t squirm as much when Avin wiped his lower half clean of blood and ash. However, he did still clench his teeth together and tense up. It appeared that the most damaged area was his upper half, but that didn’t that that was the area that was most scarred.
I was still worried about the condition that I had found him in, in the forest fire. No pants and torn up clothes all were bad signs of something more than just a beating and being left for dead. I really didn’t want to think that the same kind of sick people that lived on Earth live here too. From what I’ve seen so far, though, it appears that they are worse here.
I lifted the boy up and held him close so that Avin could get to work on clean up his back. I hadn’t really gotten a chance to look at it with all of my rushing around.
Elijah and Mirage had wandered over to get a drink from the pond. Neither of them looked too bad, considering that they had just braved a massive forest fire. Their wounds would probably be gone within a couple days.
Avin, on the other hand, looked a little worse than I had first thought when he had ridden up to me after the forest fire. He was probably going to need some help getting healed up. His hands and parts of his arms were charred up to his elbows. The skin was starting to peel off of his face and neck in little red patches.
Once Avin was done cleaning up the boy’s back I was able to get a better grasp as to what had happened to him and what I had to do to help him. The boy wasn’t really all that badly wounded on the front side now that all of the blood and dirt was gone. However the back was pretty badly scratched up, and I was pretty sure that his right leg was broken.
I laid the boy as carefully as I could onto his stomach so that I could work on healing up his back, but the boy cried out in pain as soon as his chest touched the ground. Cracked ribs too?
The only way that the boy could’ve gotten cracked ribs to the extent of it hurting doing even the simplest of tasks was if he was repeatedly kicked in the chest area. That could also explain a lot of the odd shaped bruises that covered his body. That made me incredibly angry to see all of this on a child.
I sat the boy back up and let him lean on me for support as I tried to think of what I could try next. There had to be a way that I could heal him without hurting him unnecessarily. But what was it?
I watched Mirage run around on the edge of the pond, splashing in the shallow water. Mirage’s burn marks seemed to disappear every time that she got water on herself. Did the water have healing properties?
Confused I looked over to Elijah, who was also splashing around in the water. He still had all of his burn marks on his body. What was so special about Mirage that all of her wounds were just disappearing? As I watched her and Elijah prance around, I noticed that Mirage’s horn would glow and become more visible whenever she got water on her.
Could she be manipulating the water in a way that would allow her to heal herself faster? I wonder…maybe I could use my control over some of the other elements to manipulate the water as well. If I can control fire and earth then why not water too? The more that I thought about it, the more I wanted to try it.
Avin didn’t know about my powers, though. Only Val and Aquaphira knew what I could do. They had both said to keep it a secret because it would be dangerous for me if the wrong people found out about it. However if they never specified who these people were, which I thought was odd.
I mean if you’re going to warn someone about people the least you could do was tell the person who they were. Perhaps they didn’t know either. The boy a shifted in my arms and groaned, drawing my focus back to him. I needed to do something about his wounds and fast.
“Avin, can you hold him for a minute?” I asked Avin, disrupting his focus. He turned to me startled and then quickly nodded.
Avin carefully and tenderly took the child from my arms and brought the boy close to him. For an assassin, he sure does treasure life. My heart skipped a beat as I watched him with the kid. He didn’t even know him and yet he was taking such good care of him.
Damn it, I was actually falling in love with this oaf. I smiled at Avin when he wasn’t looking at me and got up. I walked into the lake and over to where Mirage was. The water was cool against my skin and it felt great, especially after being in a forest fire. It helped to relax my leg muscles which were sore from overexertion.
Mirage as a halfway into the pond by now and the water had risen up to her belly. That means that the water will probably be just below my breasts when I got out to where she was. I could feel the fish swim around my feet and legs the further I went out.
I was very surprised that the fish didn’t swim away, they were shy at all. Curiously, I bent down and gently stroked one of the bigger fish. It curled around my finger a couple times before swimming away. It was such a cute little fish, and very friendly.
I walked another couple of feet and then felt something brush against my legs again. I looked down and noticed that the fish had come back. The little guy was swimming figure eights in between my legs. I chuckled at the fish’s little show and leaned down to scratch him again.
The fish looked exactly like a coy fish except for the whiskers, which looked like that of a catfish. The fish twirled around my hand, rubbing his scales against my hand. As I watched the fish, I could see something glinting in his mouth.
I dropped down to my knees, so that the water now came up to my chest, and tried to get a better look at what the fish had in his mouth. I reached my other hand down to try to hold him still. But the fish turned towards my other hand and swam to it. I felt something metallic rub up against the palm of my hand. I closed my hand around the object and then the fish swim away again. What the heck?
I stood up and looked down at my hand. I unclenched my fingers and saw a thin silver chain. Where could he have gotten this from? When I looked around the fish was nowhere in sight. I held the chain in my hand and continued the rest of the way out to Mirage. The water was right at my belly button when I reached her. The deeper and the water got, the colder the water became. But I didn’t really feel the cold. My body seemed to automatically adjust to the different temperatures of the water. Hmm, maybe I could learn to manipulate water. I glanced back to the shore. I was far enough away that Avin wouldn’t be able to hear me. So I asked Mirage about how she could manipulate water. She seemed confused by my question.
“What are you talking about, you’re the one who taught me how to do it,” Mirage commented still confused. Now it was my turn to be confused.
“What are you talking about?” I asked her. I just learned that I could control some elements a couple days ago. How could I have taught someone else to do something that I couldn’t even do?
“You don’t remember, do you?” Mirage asked concerned and nudged against my shoulder when I did respond right away.
“I-I guess not,” I told her finally as I looked up at her. Mirage looked thoughtfully up the sky for a moment and then she looked back down at me.
“It’s just like trying to do anything I suppose,” Mirage replied. “You just need to focus on what you want to achieve. That’s just what you told me to do anyway.”
Focus, is that all it really took? It seemed so simple. Was that really it? I stared at the water, confused.
As I stared down, I brought my hand with the chain in it in front of me. Hmm, not really ringing any bells yet. I walked over to Mirage’s side and put the chain in her saddlebag. I’d figure it out eventually.
I wondered if maybe I should test out the water healing technique on someone else first. But who could I test it out on? Mirage was already all healed up.
“You could try it out on Elijah first if you’re worried about what to do,” Mirage told me as though she was reading my mind. Which she might have been doing. Mirage whinnied in a way that made me think that she was chuckling.
“Okay, well can you get him over here for me please,” I asked Mirage, slightly amused by her odd sense of humor.
Mirage turned and whinnied in the direction of Elijah, who was still happily splashing about in the water. Elijah stopped where he was and whinnied back to Mirage, before prancing over to come stand beside her.
“Elijah has agreed to let you experiment your powers on him,” Mirage told me through her mind.
“Really?” I asked looking to Elijah for a form of reassurance. I was very nervous to try this out on anybody. What if something went wrong or I lost my focus for a second? What would happen then?
“It would be my pleasure, Milady,” Elijah replied as he raised his head proudly while whining and stomping his hooves, sloshing water in all directions. I laughed as the water came up and hit Mirage and me, drenching the both of us. I almost missed what he had called me in my fun. Milady? Why was he calling me that? Might be just a formality because he was a royal horse.
“Okay, okay I’ll try it,” I told them still feeling a bit uneasy. But they had lessened my worries enough that I was willing to try.
Mirage walked me through exactly what I had to do. It seemed pretty easy from the way that she explained it. Just cup some water in my hands and focus on it doing what I wanted it to do. But as I tried doing what she said to, it turned out to be a lot harder than I had anticipated it to be. By the fourth try, I was about ready to give up and just do my regular healing.
Mirage urged me to give it one more try. I sighed and nodded, starting to feel mentally exhausted from all of the brain power that I’ve been needing to use to focus on controlling the water. I didn’t need to use this much focus when it came to controlling fire, air and earth. Why was it taking so much attention to control the water?
As I tried one last time to make the water bend to my will, I could feel something try to click into place in my mind. As I used the last of my mental strength in one big burst of focus, the thing in my mind clicked into place. There was a bright flash of light that blinded me to everything.
Suddenly I wasn’t in the pond anymore. I was in a gigantic and spacious room with furniture that looked like they may have cost a lot to get. In this center of the chamber was a little girl, she looked like a smaller version of the girl that I kept seeing my visions.
The little girl was dressed all in white from her head to her feet. The dress that she wore was plain and simple. Her features were anything but plain and simple. Her hair was black like ravens feathers, and her eyes were gold like that of a wild animal. The only difference was, was that she didn’t have any tattoos.
In front of the little girl was a basin full of water. No one else was around, there wasn’t any bodies or destruction either. This must’ve been before the war. Probably a long time before it considering how young the girl looked.
I watched the little girl as she stared down at the water. She seemed nervous. She kept clenching her hands full of the skirt that she was wearing.
“I don’t know if I can do this Sebastian,” the girl said glancing down to her left. Wait, was there someone else in the room with her?
I walked around the basin so that I was standing beside her. I noticed a black dragon that was about the size of a football standing next to her left side. As I got closer to them, I noticed that the black dragon had white tail flaps and white on the inner parts of his wings.
He looked up to the girl, his eyes were as red as fresh blood. It seemed like he was saying something to the girl but he made no sound. Was the dragon using telepathy?
“Okay but this is the last time,” the girl told the dragon before focusing her attention back on the water.
I watched as she closed her eyes and scrunched up her face in concentration as she raised her hands over the water. She was concentrating so much that I thought her head might explode. Then it happened.
The water began to slowly rise out of the basin and up into her hands. The water swirled around her fingers before stopping in the middle of her hand and just hovering there. It was so cool to watch. It made me think that I could do it too.
The girl opened one eye to peer out at her hands. She stared in astonishment at the squiggly water worm in her hands. She seemed so proud of what she had accomplished. Then that stinking flash of light came blinded me again. I was back at the pond. Now though I was staring and my own water worm. It was even cooler in person.
“Whoa,” that was the only thing that I could manage to say. I was completely stunned into silence. I did it. I actually did it!
I didn’t have to focus as much anymore. It seems so natural, just like breathing. I focused a little bit more, and a bunch of water came up to my hands and created a sphere. Oh, this was just too cool. I walked over to Elijah and used my mind to command the water to heal up his wounds. The water sphere created arms and stretched out towards Elijah. Elijah backed away nervously. But Mirage nudged him forward again.
As the sphere’s arms lengthened the sphere shrunk. As soon as the water arms reached Elijah, they turned into a sheet of water that covered his entire body. As the water reached each wound, some of it would get sucked away to help patch the wound up. Once I was sure that all of his wounds were healed, I let the water drop away from Elijah. That took a lot less energy than my regular healing methods did and I accomplished a lot more.
“Wow, thanks, Mirage,” I told her as a reached over to hug her neck.
“I don’t know what exactly what exactly I did, but you’re welcome my dear,” Mirage replied as she used her head to hug me back. As soon as Mirage let me go, I quickly waded back to Avin and the boy.
“What were you doing all the way out there?” Avin asked warily still holding the boy against his chest.
“I remembered an easier way to heal,” I told him excitedly. I felt like I could barely contain myself. Avin perked up at the news, but he quickly became wary again.
“What does it involve exactly?” Avin asked me cautiously. He was very protective over the boy. I could tell from the way that he was sitting that he was ready to defend the kid if need be. Even from me.
“I could do it on your first if you want so that you can see what I have to do,” I suggested trying to come up with a compromise. I could see Avin thinking it over. I just really hoped that he would say yes.
“Okay,” Avin agreed finally. I smiled excitedly and helped him put the boy on the ground.
I quickly checked over the boy to make sure that his condition hadn’t worsened. I was happy to see that the kid was wide awake and breathing relatively normally. But he was probably still in a lot of pain from all of the wounds and burn marks that were inflicted upon him. Hopefully, he could deal with it for a little while longer.
I leaned over the pond and brought the water up into my hands. I made the water surround my hand this time. This way it might seem a little less scary than the sphere with all of the tentacles. I turned back around to Avin, who was staring down at my hand, terrified.
“Relax, I promise that I’m not going to hurt you,” I told Avin and tried to put on my best reassuring face. Avin seemed to buy it and relax slightly. However, he still looked nervous.
I raised my hand to his face and let the water touch his skin. Avin shuddered but didn’t pull away. I relaxed the focus on my hand once I was sure that he wasn’t going to move, and refocused it on moving the water to his wounds.
The fire had done a lot more damage to him than I had first thought. It took me a lot longer than I had thought it would heal up his wounds. It was a lot more than what I had used to heal up Elijah.
Avin had burns on his face and neck that were starting to blister. It was charring on his hands and arms, but it didn’t stop there. Some burns were going across his stomach. How they got there, I don’t know. He also had some serious burn marks around his ankles and up part of his calf.
Once I was done healing Avin, I let the water drop away, just like I did for Elijah. Except when I let the water drop away I didn’t pull my hand away quick enough, and I wound up with my hand resting on the side of his face. I froze with my hand on his face as yet another vision hit me. Why do these things keep happening to me?
Suddenly, I was watching the girl from my other visions jump from tree to tree barely making any sound as she traveled along. I floated beside her like I was attached by a rope, sort of like a balloon that was attached to a child. Without any warning, she stopped and looked down between the branches and leaves of the tree that she was sitting in.
I tried to look around her to see what she was looking at. What could’ve peaked her interest enough to get her to stop all of the sudden? I looked over her shoulder and noticed a younger looking Avin crumpled up in a heap on the ground surrounded by three guys that were towering over him.
These guys didn’t look like any Elves that I’ve ever met. They had features of other animals rather than pointy ears. They all had tails and something coming off of their heads, but they looked to be from three different animals. One looked like he had the tail and ears of a black wolf, another one had horns coming out from the top of his head and a scaly tail coming from his lower back. The last guy had the ears of a feline that looked distinctly like a tiger and the tail to match.
I felt the girl shift beside me. I looked towards her and noticed for the first time that she didn’t have anything that related to any of the people that she was around. She didn’t look like an Elf, and she didn’t look like the three guys that were standing below her. Her hair was too dark and her eyes were scary because of their unusual golden color. She looked so out of place when compared to everyone else.
The girl moved towards the edge of the branch that she was on, growling and baring her fangs. But no one seemed to notice her. The guys were too busy beating and torturing Avin on the ground.
I don’t know whether it was because of having the girl being angry or seeing that horrid stuff being done to Avin, but I was starting to get infuriated as well. I wanted to hurt them. I wanted to make them bleed for hurting Avin. I startled myself with my own thoughts. I wasn’t normally this violent. I knew I wasn’t, but the thought felt right, and I didn’t feel bad about thinking it either. They had no idea exactly who they were messing with…but then again neither did I really.
The girl leapt out of the trees and landed on the guy that had the scaly tail and the horns. She didn’t stop there, though. She leapt at the man with the tiger features next and knocked him down too. She glared up at the wolfman from her crouched position and growled a warning. The wolfman backed up nervously. I noticed that the other two men began to stir from where they were laying on the ground. The girl hopped off of the man that was crouching on and jumped up into a standing position.
“Take your friends and leave,” the girl told the wolfman forcefully as she took a threatening step towards him. “We don’t need you idiots to start up another stupid war. We have enough problems with them as it is.”
The wolf guy nodded quickly and went to go help his friends up. They still seemed a bit scatterbrained as they stumbled to their feet. But they quickly regained their senses as the wolf guy told they what was going on.
They all seemed quite nervous around the young girl. Almost like they were afraid of her. Why would three big strong men be afraid of one little girl? However as I floated next to her, I could feel a sort of power radiating from the girl. It was a very dangerous and commanding power.
The men, taking one last glance at the boy on the ground behind the girl, left without a word. The girl didn’t relax until a couple minutes after they had felt. She kept scanning the treeline, waiting. She straightened up and relaxed when nothing happened.
The threatening aura dissipated and replaced by a very calm and slightly tired aura. The girl turned around and looked at the boy with her hands on her hips.
“I thought that I told you not to come around here anymore,” the girl snapped at the boy. “Things are getting pretty bad around here, and I may not be able to rescue you all the time.”
I could see that the boy was conscious, but he wouldn’t look up at the girl. He just kept staring at her feet. The girl sighed exasperated and then crouched down next to the young Avin. Avin looked up at her for a brief second before resuming to stare at her feet.
“Zavin, look at me please,” the girl pleaded softly as she reached towards Avin. The girl rested her hand on one side of his face.
I watched the exchange from where I floated next to the girl who was me, but who had never been given a name throughout any of my visions. After a second Avin had looked up to the girl, watery eyed.
“Sorry, Lucinda,” the young Avin murmured. Lucinda? Was that the name of the girl that I’ve seen through all of my visions? I floated above them, confused. But what the girl had said in my very first image rang like the bells of a church through my head. ‘I am you.’
Does that mean that all of these visions that I’ve seen actually were my memories? My own memories, but from where and when?
The young Avin looked up to where I was floating and stared at me with such intense eyes that I couldn’t look away.
“How do you not remember me?” the young Avin asked quietly. He sounded so sad, and he looked like he was about to cry. “Please remember that I needed you to save me from myself.”
Then that fucking flash of light came back and returned me to reality. I quickly removed my hand from Avin’s face. The vision made me feel very unsettled and more than a bit confused.
I knew that I was different. The odd man out in a lot of things during my life in that town, and now I knew why. I wasn’t from that town, at least not really.