Chapter 6 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn clung to the massive man’s back as he prowled through her apartment. Mathias had called him Kell, and the name suited him. He appeared like a warrior of ancient times, with his medieval clothing and air of power. He was a man who looked perpetually angry, and she didn’t want to add to that. She couldn’t comprehend anything that had happened in the short time since the tornado started, and she was shaking with terror. The adrenaline rush from the sword fight was quickly wearing off, and the slice in her arm was becoming unbearable. She was close to loosing it completely.
She tried to struggle, in a vain attempt to get him to release her, but his grip only tightened. There was no way she was getting free, and it terrified her that if he dropped her, she’d be in worse shape. The man was freakishly tall, and the floor was a long way away. All she could do was cling to the black shirt he wore and pray she made it through this. Mathias was gone, and all she wanted was to get to him. He was the closest thing she had to family, and she needed him to be okay.
Kell strode across the living room, and the wind coming from the side of the room caused her already trembling body to shake even more. From the upside down view, she could see the room was destroyed, and it broke her heart. Emmalyn had lived in the apartment as long as she could remember, and she had loved it. Then Kell’s deep voice was demanding her attention. Through the roar of the wind, he had to shout at her to make sure she heard.
“Hold tight and take a deep breath. Do not let go,” Kell ordered. Then he was prowling to the side of the room and right into the spot where the wind appeared the strongest. She panicked and twisted, trying to see around him, until he growled at her, stopping her cold.
Then he was stepping right through the wall, and all she could do was scream. A green mist surrounded them and they were thrown forward at an alarming rate. She clung to Kell and closed her eyes, not wanting to see anymore. She felt his body relax and give into the pull, but hers was locked tight.
“I want to go home,” Emmalyn cried, but she didn’t think he heard. Then his strong arms gave her legs a slight squeeze, and she knew it was his way of attempting to calm her. It didn’t work.
The noise got quieter, the pressure pushing them ahead lessened, and then Kell was bracing. When he leaped, the momentum lifted Emmalyn from his shoulder and dropped her again. She gasped as she lost her breath and her arm burned from the movement. Then Kell was dropping to a knee, and the air was suddenly clean and crisp. The bright light blinded her, even with her eyes closed, and she buried her head further into his back.
Kell shifted as he rose, and Emmalyn slid down his front to land on her feet. His large warm hands spanned her waist, and she realized he was giving her a moment to steady herself. Lightheaded, she forced her eyes open, hoping it would help. She needed to take stock of where she was, and she needed to find where they had taken Mathias.
But the minute she opened her eyes, her chin was tipped back, and she found herself staring up into Kell’s unreadable face. The man was like a steel trap, because whatever he was thinking, he wasn’t willing to share. Her eyes lifted to his, and she gasped at what she saw. The first thing she noticed, was his were so dark, they looked black. But it was the tiny specs of silver that held her captivated. Just like hers, they danced in the light. His though were completely on display, whereas she hid hers behind a pair of dull contacts.
He had thick, heavy brows. A scar ran through his right one, causing it to arch up slightly. His hair was dark, almost a midnight black. It was cut short on the sides and was longer on top. Right now it was sticking up as if he was continually running his hands through it. He had a full, neatly trimmed beard and a moustache. His face was strong and defined, as if it was carved from granite. Muscles ripples across every part of his body. That combined with his black outfit would make any woman stop in their tracks. He was the definition of wolffish and sexy.
Emmalyn peeled her eyes away from him and looked at her surroundings. From what she could see they were deep in a forest, but it didn’t look like any forest from home. The trees were unusually tall, and they towered over them, their leaves appearing unnaturally bright. It was as if someone sprayed them with a light misting of rain. They glistened and swayed in the slight breeze. The ground was moss covered, and it held tiny purple and yellow flowers, basking the area in the scent of lavender. Sun filtered through the trees and made the small clearing they were in look like something out of a fairy tale. Everything here was just more.
“Secure the princess,” Kell ordered, as she took an involuntary step back towards the portal.
Emmalyn jolted in surprise, not even realizing she had moved. Then the warrior named Behr was on her. He came up behind her, wrapped an arm around her waist and drew her tight against his chest. He was careful of her arm, but it was a hold she couldn’t break free of. Then as she watched, Kell moved towards the portal which looked more like an enormous spiderweb. Like the leaves, it glistened, but it was surrounded in a wispy green mist.
Kell touched the centre of the web, closed his eyes and chanted. It took only a minute before the mist disappeared completely, the spiderweb itself seemed to shrink, and the branches of the trees moved closer together. If she hadn’t been watching herself, she wouldn’t have believed it. It looked just like any normal web now. Kell dropped his head, removed his hand and stepped back. Then he was barking orders once again.
“Torin, get Mathias on a horse. Behr get the princess on one as well. I want to move them to a healer as quickly as possible. Leave the bodies, I’ll send men back after we’re settled to take care of them,” he directed, as he prowled to a massive black horse and stroked its mane. The beast snorted in approval and raised his head in greeting.
“No,” Emmalyn protested, and Kell whipped around to face her. He tilted his head in annoyance and lifted a brow.
She tucked in her good arm and made herself as small as possible. Before Behr could tighten his hold, she slipped down and ducked under his arm, then hurried away from him. A quick glance around revealed Mathias was sitting on the ground and leaning against a tree near the edge of the clearing. He was pale, and it was clear he was in pain. She scurried around the men, who were clearly surprised by her escape, and dropped to his side.
“He can’t ride a horse, and you’ll kill him if you force him to,” Emmalyn pushed, as she glared up at Kell. “He’s lost a lot of blood and needs these injuries cleaned and stitched. Not to mention my arm needs to be bandaged. You’ll do more harm than good by forcing us to travel.”
He studied her for a minute, and must have realized she spoke the truth, for he suddenly ran his hand through his hair in agitation as he cursed.
“She’s right,” Behr admitted. “And she certainly can’t just ride into a village wearing what she is. She’ll cause quite a stir. Even Mathias will in his odd choice of clothing.”
“Thank you Behr,” Emmalyn whispered giving him a small smile. She was beyond happy to have one of Kell’s warriors back her up. Behr looked at her in surprise for a minute, then gave her a small nod.
“Fine,” Kell growled, as he turned to two of his warriors. “Go to the nearest village, bring me a healer and obtain a sturdy wagon. Make sure the healer knows of the injuries she will treat and has what she needs to do so. Also advise her she will need to be prepared to stay a day or two. While they are gone, I need the rest of you to make camp. We’ll stay here until Mathias is well enough to travel,” Kell fumed. “And move these bodies,” he added as an afterthought.
As the warriors moved to do his bidding Emmalyn leaned into Mathias’ good side. She was tired and confused. She needed a minute to breathe and relax. Her arm was inflamed, and she had a pounding headache. She sighed when Mathias reached for her hand and clasped it with his own.
“Everything will be fine Emmy. You need to trust these men to keep you safe. I can’t do that anymore,” he admitted.
“You’ll be fine,” Emmalyn declared fiercely.
“I will,” Mathias agreed. “But I won’t be for a while, and you need the protection of these men.”
Emmalyn would have said more, but someone shoved a crude looking metal flask in her face. When she looked up Kell was leaning down and once more his scowl was firmly in place.
“You both need to drink some of this. It will dull the pain until the healer arrives. I’ll wrap your arm for now to staunch the bleeding, and Torin will do what he can for Mathias.”
Emmalyn took the flask from his outstretched hand and passed it to Mathias. He raised it to his mouth, took a healthy gulp and passed it back to her.
“Whiskey,” Mathias warned.
Tentatively, she raised it to her lips and took a small sip. She would have lowered it, but Kell placed his large hand over her small one and held it in place.
“More,” Kell ordered, and Emmalyn had no choice but to do as he said. After a large gulp she pushed against his hand, forcing the flask away. He recapped it and shoved it in his belt, then thrust a bundle in her lap as he wrapped her arm in a thick cloth. “I need you to change. There’s a dress in here, along with shoes and a ribbon for your hair. The dress is short sleeved and shouldn’t cover your injury.”
“I’ll get blood all over the dress,” Emmalyn protested as she eyed the bundle in her lap.
Kell narrowed his eyes at her, then huffed. Reaching down, he scooped her up, bundle and all. She squealed in surprise and wrapped her good arm around his neck so she wouldn’t fall. Then he was off and heading into the trees and she had no idea what he was up to.