As we walked along, I noticed that there were fewer and fewer tents and fewer and fewer people. The landscape had slowly changed to one of more luscious greenery and a small stone pathway. Finally, the leader put me down to let me walk on my own. I wanted to make a break for it, but I was wobbly on my legs. My legs were still numb. I rubbed them to get some feeling back into them. As soon as the pins and needles feeling was gone, I decided that I still couldn’t run away yet. We continued walking down the pathway. As we walked, I could see a small clearing begin to appear up ahead. We got closer to the clearing, and I noticed a big wooden door inside a stone wall on the far side of the clearing. Once we got into the clearing, I stopped. I had a question that had been bothering me for a little while now.
“What’s your name?” I asked the leader. It was just really bothering me that I couldn’t refer to him by anything else other than the leader. The leader smiled. It was a small smile but a smile nonetheless.
“My name is Mallon Baequidlues,” he replied bowing slightly to me, “But you can call me Mallon.”
He didn’t ask for my name, but I thought that it was only polite that I should say mine also. I didn’t like curtsying, so instead I just held out my hand.
“My name is Kristine Pierre, but everyone used to call me Kris,” I told him. I smiled slightly at his confusion. He took my hand in his firm grip and brought it up his lips, kissing it. Um, not what I had in mind at all, but I guess it works. Do they not know what a handshake is?
Mallon gently placed a hand on the middle of my back and led me forward. The rest of the soldiers seemed to be much more relaxed now. I wonder what had been going on earlier that had caused them to become so tense and anxious. Did it have something to do with that stream of smoke coming up from the treeline?
I didn’t have much time to consider either option let alone any other options. We had arrived at the wooden doors. They looked a lot bigger on the other side of the clearing. Mallon let go of me, walked up to the doors and pulled the large door knocker. He used it to knock twice on the door. Then he stepped back. The doors swung open inward. It slowly creaked open.
On the other side of the door were two more soldiers. We walked into what must have been the front hall. It was huge and beautiful in an old medieval kind of way. The paintings, tapestries and a variety of different weapons hung from the walls. Along with a couple of different animal heads of animals that I didn’t know names for. They weren’t any animal that you’d find on Earth.
Mallon returned to my side and, with a guiding hand on my back, we walked up to the two soldiers. These soldiers said something to Mallon that I didn’t understand, and Mallon said something in turn. The soldiers looked at me, curiously. They exchanged a couple of other words before the two soldiers stepped aside and let us pass. But as we walked passed them the soldier stared at me. I couldn’t read their faces back in their eyes I swear I saw a glimmer of hope.
As we walked through the halls of the castle, the guards left us one by one. Until there was only Mallon and me left. He talked to me about the history of the castle and all of the rooms in it. The conversation helped me to relax a bit more and enjoy the walk.
We walked for what felt like only minutes but was probably hours. I love history and architecture, and this place is chock full of both. Each tapestry and painting told of great stories and great tragedies. Each room and wall and ceiling told of the history of this place, and everything was just so beautifully crafted. The whole place was breathtaking, but it also seemed empty.
Maybe void of life and happiness would be a better way to put it. There weren’t a lot of people in the castle that I could see. Even soldiers and the servants were scarce. Sure the place was grand, but it felt very lonely too. I don’t think that I’d want to live here. Visit sure, but not live.
We continued walking down corridor after corridor. I was about to ask where we were going and why I was brought here when we stopped in front of another large wooden door. It didn’t look much different from all the other doors we passed, except for the door handle. All of the other doors had brass door handles. This door handle was gold with a small ruby embedded in the center of it.
“Where am I?” I asked finally. It took all of my courage to ask it. I was afraid of the consequences of asking. However, Mallon smiled at me sadly. He put a hand on my shoulder. I could feel his hand shake a little.
“You are in the land of the Elves in Fae land,” he told me, and then the smile faded, “and you are our last hope.”
I didn’t get a chance to ask any more questions because the door creaked open. Mallon guided me into the room, and then dropped his hand from my back. Mallon had been my rock for the short time that I had been here. Now without his guiding touch, I felt nervous and alone.
I looked around the room to distract myself. They are so many more intricate and artistic details in the chamber. But my attention was drawn to the four people in the center of it all. There were three guys and one girl. All of them were standing except for one older male. He was sitting in what appeared to be a throne of some sort.
Mallon walked up to the group, and he bowed when they looked at him. He said something to them in their language while he was still bowing. The older male said something to Mallon and gestured for him to stand up. Mallon stood up, and I think that he was explaining something to him.
It looked like it might take a few minutes, so I focused on the new people. The only girl in the room, besides myself, had reddish-pink hair and from what I could tell her eyes were a very dark turquoise color. She wore very little and was made of solid muscle. She made me feel a bit inadequate, with my frailer figure.
She had on a shirt that stopped above her stomach, but it had one long sleeve going down her right arm. Also, she was wearing a skirt that was so short if she hadn’t been wearing the black leggings you would’ve been able to see everything. She wore mocha brown flats with gold designs going around both shoes.
The youngest male in the room seemed to be a bit giddy about something. Though the girl didn’t seem giddy, she did seem to be pleased. The young male had blue-black hair that went down to his shoulders, and very peculiar light blue eyes. The young man appeared to be wearing a uniform of some sort. Perhaps a royal uniform? Whatever it was, it was navy blue with gold accents and had a small cape that fell in behind him.
The oldest male in the room didn’t even look all that old. I could just feel that he was. It was weird. He wore a similar uniform to the young male, except that it was green instead of blue. He had blond hair that was pull back into a high ponytail and crystal blue eyes. He must’ve been a royal or a nobleman of some sort. He sat with such poise and purpose that it made his presence appear more prominent.
I noticed that Mallon and had taken off his helmet. I realize that he had long black hair that hung down to the middle of his back. I don’t know why but it just suited him. He was still talking away with the older male, so I moved on to the last person in the room.
This guy looked like someone had glued him to a piece of wood so that he would stand up straight. He had a hard expression on his face, and I could tell without him looking at me that his eyes were cold. He was wearing a uniform similar to the other two gentlemen, but with two significant differences. The first was that his uniform was in black. The second was that he had a sword attached to either side of his hips.
He had snow white hair. His eyes were out of my views I couldn’t tell what color they were. But pretty much wherever he had visible skin there were scars. He had a big one on the left side of his face. I could also see the beginning of a scar that was going down his neck. He made me the most curious. But also the most nervous. I did have another feeling, but it was minor, so I pushed it down. He was relatively attractive. Well, he probably would’ve been if not for all of his scars, and the scowl that seemed to be permanently stuck on his face.
I clued back in on Mallon just as he finished talking to the older gentleman. Mallon walked back to me and guided me up to where he had been standing a moment ago. I heard the doors slowly creak shut behind us as we walked. Well, I guess there’s no escape now. I felt everyone’s eyes on me. But now there was an extra pair of eyes that hadn’t been there before.
I looked around the room cautiously. Trying to figure out where this new sensation was coming from. My eyes caught the white haired male’s eyes. His eyes were the oddest that I had ever seen. They looked like the color of lavender. They also looked wary. Could he sense it too?
I felt something stir within me, and it freaked me out. However I also felt like the thing that moved in me, whatever it was, wasn’t a danger to me at all. The hidden eyes, on the other hand, was a serious potential threat.
“Kris, meet the king of the elves and his three children,” Mallon seemed to be slightly distracted and confused. Maybe he could feel the presence of the unknown figure as well? “Your majesties, meet Kristine Pierre the dragon keeper and healer of all living creatures.”
Wait, wait, wait what did he just say? Dragon keeper? I looked down at my arm to the huge tattoo that covered my entire arm. Is that what this means? Everyone’s eyes were on me, expectantly. Oh crap, I had to curtsy or do something. I wasn’t wearing anything appropriate to curtsy in, so I bowed before the Royals instead. I was curious as to where the queen might have been. Was there even a queen?
I focused back on the king since he looked like he had something to say. But just as he was about to say something I located the intruder. Who or whatever it was, was dangling from the chandelier that was right above us. I could tell that it was fiddling with something. However, I didn’t look up for fear of it striking without warning.
“Hello my dear Kristine,” said the king drawing me back to the task at hand. I winced at the sound of my name. Now that the shock had worn off mostly I was starting to get back on track.
“Please don’t call me…that,” I couldn’t even really manage to say my name. I had already said it a couple of times today. It was just becoming too painful. “Just call me Kris, please.”
Everyone looked at me curiously and slightly confused. But Mallon seemed to figure out something. To be truthful, I hate my full name. I’ve hated it ever since I met a couple of sicko guys in a back alley. Someone had told me that a friend needed help, but when I came out to help those guys were in the alley instead.
Apparently, I was used to paying off her debt to them. They had called me by my full name while they did unmentionable things to me. After that, I couldn’t stand to hear anyone call me by my full name, not even myself. No one knows about this, not even my mom. As for what happened to the boys. Their bodies were found in a ditch on the edge of town. Well, that’s enough of that, I’m starting to get depressed again.
The king had recovered first and smiled down at me. He had a very kind smile and kind eyes. He seemed like the ideal father figure and ruler. But he didn’t look like a hardcore King to me.
“Kris, do you know why you’ve been brought here?” the king asked. He seemed polite enough. However, there was something about him that made me want to run as far away as I could get. Just to get away from him. My eyes narrowed a little. I suddenly didn’t like him all that much.
“No, I don’t,” I replied being careful of two potential dangers now. The king I’m sure was much more rational and reasonable than the guy hanging from the chandelier. At least I hope that he was. Then again kidnapping people at random wasn’t all that logical when you think about it. Which reminds me where did the guy on the chandelier go? I didn’t have time to search the room for him because the king had started to speak to me again.
“Well you see dear we have heard of your exceptional talent for healing living creatures, and we are in great need of people with abilities such as yours,” the King told me. I didn’t like where this was going. “We are at war with another kingdom, you see, and we have a lot more wounded soldiers than healthy ones. It would be a great help and a great honor if you could assist us with healing the wounded. That is all. We have no interest in your dragon. Once you are done, we will return you to Earth.”
The thought of going home gave me mixed feelings. I felt happy, but I also felt lost and sad. After all, my family had betrayed me, and I had very few happy memories in that god forsaken town. However, it was where I was raised. Still, it just didn’t feel right. Something about this place felt much homier than Earth ever had. Plus the way that the king had said it made it feel more like a threat rather than a gesture of his gratitude. No one else seemed to notice it, though.
I nodded warily to the king. I felt something nagging at the edge of my mind. When I tried to figure out what it was, I just wound up with a headache. By the way, where did the intruder take off to? Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that the white haired boy was becoming frustrated. I guess he lost him too. My attention was forced back to the king when he clapped his hands together.
“Then it’s settled,” the King said smiling. That smile didn’t look all that friendly anymore. It looked more predatory. I don’t ever want to be alone with him in a room. “Mallon will show you to your room and…” The King was interrupted by his daughter coughing.
“Oh yes, yes, I almost forgot,” said the king as he got off of hid throne. He walked over to his daughter and placed a hand on her shoulder. “This is my eldest and only daughter, Zasal.”
Then he walked over to the boy with the dark blue hair. “This is my eldest son and middle child, Zaaval. Last but not least my youngest son, Zavin.”
He gestured to the white haired boy for the last name. He stood up taller when he heard his name. Either way, he suddenly looked taller than he had a second ago. There was no way that I was going to remember their names. The daughter, Zasal, seemed to notice my confusion. She smiled sympathetically at me.
“But you can call me Sally,” she commented quickly. They were able to speak English too? Cool. The eldest son must’ve caught on to what Sally was doing.
“You may call me Val,” he said smiling, “and since macho man over there probably won’t say anything, you can call him Avin.”
Avin grunted but didn’t say anything else. Val shook his head and smiled sadly at me. Sally sighed and started to walk over towards me. She said something in the direction of Mallon and the king. Then Sally looked down at me. Damn, she was tall. She was smiling, but in her eyes, I caught a sense of urgency.
“I’ll show you to your room,” she said to me as she began to usher me towards the door that I had entered a couple of minutes ago. “It’ll give us a little bit of girl bonding time.”
I faked a smile back. It was strange because I wanted to smile as well. However, something about her also made me want to avoid her like the plague. We walked closer to the door. That’s when I finally found the intruder. I whipped around to warn Avin that there was someone behind him. But I was one second too late.
The creature appeared behind Avin. He turned around to defend himself better. But the creature was faster. It stabbed Avin with what looked like a dagger. He staggered on his feet for a second. The creature wasn’t done with him yet, though. It managed to stab Avin two more times before anyone could move to stop it. When someone finally managed to move towards the creature it was already headed towards a door on the opposite side of the room.
I was just standing there in complete shock with my mouth hanging open. What the fuck was that thing?! Why did that thing only attack Avin? I mean the king was in the room too. Perhaps it had been a personal vendetta? Avin did kind of look like a guy that you would need to be careful of. Before I knew what was going on Sally was dragging me over to her wounded brother with an iron grip.
“Help him, please,” she begged me once she had gotten me to Avin’s side. Then she left with everyone else to help find the attacker I assume. She didn’t even bother to wait for me to respond. She just left. I considered making my escape now that no one else was in the room that could stop me. The only thing that stopped me was the prospect of having nightmares. If I left him and he died it would haunt me for the rest of my life. The only thing that I would be able to think about is the fact that I had just killed a guy.