Elora has run as far and as fast as she could from the world she grew up in. She'd like to put it all behind her and move on to a simpler life, a stark contrast from the kingdom she fled.
It's been decades since she abandoned her position for the life of an herbalist in a quaint village. The people of this realm don't ask questions of her ageless skin or keen abilities.
This changes when a white haired, pointy eared, metal covered presence storms the village and demands the whereabouts of Queen Elora.
She refuses to go back. And he refuses to let her escape her destiny, that is, until the gate is stricken down to their homeland. Elora and Sithain must fight for survival as they are dropped in an unknown realm of even grander creatures and mysteries.
I stood, opening the door to a sharpened ray of sun. I leaned against the frame, taking in the morning breeze and startling rays. Something catches my eye and I glance down. There was a piece of eggshell white paper resting under a rock. A letter? It sat innocently on my front porch. If the deliverer was human then I would have heard them opening my mansion gates and smelled them getting nearer. I had heard and smelled nothing, but I guess it was possible I missed something. I quickly pick it up rather than continue to ponder its whereabouts. I closed the huge metal door with my bare foot and stomped to the left of my entryway.
The greeting room was darkly lit, illuminating the two leather love seats separated by a glass coffee table. The space was a fairly good size with grey walls and a white carpet. The only other noticeable decoration was a huge painting over a fireplace that was never used. I fell into the couch and put the letter on the table to consider what it could possibly contain. These villagers are always demanding things. Although this is the first time anything has been so formal. I suddenly remembered what I was doing before I nearly tripped over the crumbled rock on my doorstep.
I muttered to myself about my annoying forgetful nature and got up. I only had a few hours before I had to visit the village to deliver some supplies. I strode to my front door and went outside, enjoying the autumn smells. I took one more inhale and continued on my way to the road just beyond my mansion's gate. They creaked loudly when they were pushed apart. I need to fix that.
I strode on the road until there was a small break where you could either go left to town or right to a house that everyone called the Dark Angels Nest. This town had such interesting quirks. All people seem to possess their own mythologies and superstitions. So weak. I pass a few turns and follow my normal route over.
The house was only a few miles from my home and I went there every other day, donating about an hour's work to fixing it up. Nobody would ever step foot in the forlorn area ever since the year of the Kramas slaughter. The house had contained a family of five. The parents, two sons and a daughter. A simple family. One evening, their maid had left for town for a handful of hours and when she came back, the entire family was dead. All five were brutalized and left unrecognizable. When the guards came to see the crime, they realized the family had been arranged in the image of an angel. Hence the name and the eternal shunning of the beautiful house.
A cold shiver erupted over my entire body which made hardened goosebumps erupt along my darkened skin. I looked in the direction of my home and felt the pull of it. Something was off. My bare feet carried me forward, quickly. The pull I had felt grew stronger as I neared my gate. I swung them open and rushed to my front door. Nothing. I closed my eyes and tried to sense what was wrong, but I couldn't feel anything. Something just felt off. I went inside and closed the door behind me, moving with caution. I instinctively looked into the greeting room at the letter. It was a thick Victorian style letter that even had a red wax insignia enclosing the message. I breathed deeply and went to it. It felt light in my hands.
I felt the cool hard wax and broke it off with a barely audible snap. Very neat calligraphy laid upright and strict inside. The contents were short and bittersweet. I dropped the letter and exhaled shakily as I ran to my stairs and to my bedroom. I couldn't gather my belongings fast enough. I slipped my sword between my back and a long coat I tugged on. I gathered a few clothing items and some knives in a cream bag. Then I bolted for the stairs and nearly flew down them to my front door, tying my curls up in the process. I placed my hand on the knob and flung it open, my breath coming in quick inhales and exhales. My brain only focused on one thing: out. I needed to get out of here, fast.
I continued to dart around trees and bushes through the back of my mansion woods. I needed to create distance between me and these people. Suddenly a shiver shook my spine just like before and a cold pale hand grabbed at my arm, turning me around violently. He stood a few inches from my face. My red curls trembled in the wind as he stared at me with similar eyes to mine; silver and deadly. His jet black hair went past his ears only an inch and hung over into his face. His masculine features seemed too perfect and genuine until he grinned. His smooth skin was offset against the sharp teeth behind his smirking lips. The wind whipped his hair around and curled against his pointed ears.
He leaned in even closer, growling. "I told you that I would find you, didn't I Elora?"His voice came out low, showing more deadly teeth.
I slapped his hand off of me and immediately backed away. I took another step back, withdrawing my sword and pointing it at him. "You did, but I sure as hell gave it a good run. In fact I might not be done running just yet." I spoke fast and stepped back with each breath.
My heel hit a tree and I stopped to push against it. A tiny click sounded and he cocked his head. "What do you have planned, Elora?" My name rolled off his tongue like a treat he couldn’t wait to devour. I cringed and waited. He took a step closer and I couldn't help but press myself even more against the tree. He glided towards me with little apprehension.
A small axe appeared in his sandy colored hand and his smile widened. "Oh my little Elora, I have dreamed of this moment. I have looked forward to this for ages. How long has it been? Forty years? Fifty? Oh, my Elora, your escape was so grand. I looked forward to dragging you back" He cocked his head to the side and stared at me. His eyes began to glow and he looked around. "What is-" his words were cut off by his sudden exhale. He began to cough wildly. His eyes watered against the silver sheen of his gaze. His clawed hand gripped at his throat.
It was my turn to smile. I push off against the tree and stalk the rest of the way toward him. I pat his cheek as he starts to waver on his feet. "There is a part of me that is glad you are here, too. I have been wondering how well my new concoctions would work on our kind. And I didn’t want to stoop to using it on myself. Thank you for freeing me from that burden." I avow with a snicker. I give him a little shove and he falls over to his knees, his breaths coming hard and fast. He eyes me as I walk around him.
I adjust my bag and stride back to the pathway. I look behind to see my old friend slithering about on the forest floor. "Have fun with the after effects. I did my best to make it quite the experience. Next time you go after me, bring reinforcements." I say over my shoulder. His eyes widen and then narrow. I need to go just in case he did bring any. He’ll be on the ground for hours. This should give me enough time to create just enough distance.
Forty Eight years ago I escaped and I have no intention of going back, ever. All I wanted was to live the rest of my life here. This realm had so many possibilities and the reigning figures of this land were so far out of reach. I could be content here.
“Don’t follow me again, Sethain. You will never understand that I can’t go back,” I whisper to the quiet forest. “You will never know what I had to cut out of me to be able to leave that world.”