Desperately, Delorfinde looked around. She realized with dread that she was trapped. For some unknown reason they were in a valley. One end (their end) was deserted, but the other end was filled with caves. And in those caves were dragons. Fierce, but harmless when left alone. Bizarre, thought Delorfinde. I am going to die, yet here I am – enjoying the scenery. She turned her mind back to her situation. There were hundreds of werewolves surrounding her. Zorinore stood in the centre of the ring, facing Delorfinde. The grey wolf Delorfinde had seen the first time was not present, and there were many excitable wolves jumping around as if glad to be out of his presence. Delorfinde’s brain suddenly kicked in and she remembered the one thing she had wanted to forget. The prophecy! Cursing herself for being so stupid, she searched for an escape. There was none. Bravely, she turned and faced Zorinore full in the face. She knew that her time had come. Betrayer. One word sprung unbidden into her head, and she knew that it was true. This cannot be right. Zorinore wouldn’t do this, she thought. But was it just her pretending? She knew that she must accept the truth – accept her destiny. Stepping forward, she made one last attempt to bring back the friend she had lost.
“Zorinore; this isn’t right. This shouldn’t have happened and you know that. Why don’t you just forget it all and come back to me. Come back to the good.” Even as she spoke the words, Delorfinde knew that those merciless red eyes didn’t recognize her and those furry black ears were not listening. Suddenly, she heard a voice.
“Can we just get on with this, lowflefmoundey? You may be our leader but it doesn’t mean that you can waste our time.” Startled, Delorfinde spun round to find the speaker. Then she realized that it was a lean white wolf standing slightly behind the main ring of wolves that had spoken. How could she understand them? She remembered the first meeting with the transformed Zorinore, and guessed that the old pack leader had done something to her mind to mean that she could understand wolf speech. With a jolt, she realized that Zorinore was the leader! This was worse than she thought, but she didn’t have long to dwell on it.
With a huge roar that echoed around the valley, Zorinore pounced. Her teeth were bared in a snarl and her blood red eyes seemed to say: Now for the moment I was born for. Then it happened. Delorfinde’s whole life had been dreading this moment. Zorinore’s teeth sank deep into Delorfinde’s neck. For one moment, Delorfinde felt the thrill of being a wolf and then her brain exploded in pain as blackness came upon her. Her eyes froze, locked in position. She fell limp to the floor, her worst memories flashing like endless paintings past her eyes. The day her parents died, the prison school, Zorinore’s secret revealed, being captured, the shame of almost being sold as a slave. She saw a vision she had never seen before. Her mother, holding a newborn baby. Her father took the child from her and two people Delorfinde didn’t recognize took the baby. Her mother cried, her father cried and a young toddler standing at the bedside cried. Delorfinde knew one thing – she had a sister. She wasn’t alone. She had a family, but they didn’t have her. And they never would. The memories carried on flashing, giving her no peace in her last moments, until they all exploded in a flash of fiery sparks and her unseeing eyes closed.
“Betrayal is near and it comes from one you love, a freak maybe but still your friend.” Her lips were cracked and her voice quiet but Zorinore caught the words. She knew what Delorfinde meant.
In that lonely mountain valley death embraced Delorfinde. She felt her heart stop and her brain closed down.
At that very moment, Zorinore transformed back to a human. She saw Delorfinde and she saw the blood. Running forward with a cry, she held her friend’s cold body to her chest. Blood stained the dry ground, tears fell unnoticed. Zorinore wept. She wept for her friend, wept for her innocence, wept for the life that had just departed. Life as she knew it was over. Delorfinde was gone.
*** Author's Note: I should explain that Delorfinde was the name of one of my elf characters long before it became my pseudonym. She first featured in one of my stories when I was eight. Actually, it was a play. I started using the name for myself very shortly after writing this scene, which gives you an idea of how much it has become a part of me! ***