The two wolvenmutes turned on Mariena. She screamed and ran, disappearing into the woods with them on her heels. "We can't let them get her!" Ailwendil cried, charging off in her direction.
I shrieked as another huge Wolvenmute stepped out of the woods behind me, still holding my sword as I stood over Jadir. It's large, imposing figure shadowed over me, it's horrific breath choking me. I was petrified, staring into it's strange red eyes, feeling it's hot sigh on my face. I began to loose the feeling in my limbs, my eyes locked in those of the Wolvenmute's, pools of liquid fire.
Flames, blood, smoke choking out the sun. All around us there were screams in the village, houses englufed in fire as others raided us. Strangers kicked down the door. My mother shrieked, and my father hurled himself before us to guard us, holding a kitchen knife as a defense. I was crying clinging to my mother's skirt. She picked me up, and somehow squeezed my small form out the open window. "Run!" she sobbed.
"No-come with me!" tears streamed down my cheeks.
"Run! Do as I say! Run!" she howled at me. With one last look at her, I ran into the deep dark woods. I ran and ran, not knowing where I was going. Inky black smoke curled it's way to the sky above me. 'Run!' my Mother's voice echoed in my head. 'R-!'
"Run, Aileah, run!" I heard Aiwendil shout. Tears stained my face, my sword Arlayth dropped to the ground. Jadir's blood soaked face looked at me as he grabbed my arm, yanking my frozen body into action. Ailwendil was slicing at the beast, covered in it's stinking blood. We were losing, and the Wolvenmute was advancing, another pair of those terrible red eyes entering the clearing.
"Run!" Aiwendil cried, taking my other arm and my sword from the ground and bolting in the opposite direction of the beast. I stumbled after him, Jadir, and Vilhelm, the heavy footsteps of the creature close behind us.
My heart was exploding in my chest, but the images of my worst memories flashed in my head still. The screams of my past seemed to block all other sounds out, echoing in the corners of my mind.
We ran and ran, not knowing where we were or where we were heading. Slowly, the Wolvenmutes seemed to ease up somehow, shrinking back into the shadows of the woods. Were they giving up the chase?
Finally we stopped by a small stream, no sign of the beastly beings around. The fiery red eyes still were burning in me, as if I was still caught by them. "Are you okay?" Aiwendil inquired quietly. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure." I blinked, shaking the images from my mind. I spotted Jadir, dabbing his cheek with his sleeve. He seemed a little wobbly on his feet, as if he was drunken.
"Sit," I told him. He didn't argue, setting himself down on a nearby fallen tree. I pulled his arm away from his face, cupping some stream water with my hands and splashing it across his cheek in attempt to clean the wound. Deeply breathing, I closed my eyes, placing my own hand on the deep scratch. I felt my energy drastically drain as the warm, lovely feeling of magic surged through me, into the palm of my hand, and onto him. I only knew a little bit of healing magic which Althen had taugt me. Someday I would like to know more of it.
I cut off the flow of power before I felt too weak, opening my eyes to examine my work. Much of the flesh had knit back together, but it left an odd, rough pale silver scar across his face. I gulped. "That was the best I could do for now, Jadir, to keep it from getting infected or prevent further loss of blood. The healers of the Elven City should be able to fix up my work perhaps."
He nodded gratefuly, running his fingers over the new scar. Jadir grimaced, but said softly, "Thank you."
"Where are we?" Vilhelm inquired anxiously, wiping some sweat from his forehead. "Are we near to the Elven City?"
I was silent, looking to Aiwendil. "I am not sure where we are." he answered, making us shift uncomfortably. We were lost, and Wolvenmutes and other unknown dangers were somewhere nearby.
I walked to the creek, preoccupied with my own thoughts, leaning over to splash water into my dirty face, as the others began to shift around the small clearing by the shore. I wondered if our horses were still tied to the trees back there, and if they were alright. Poor Merda...my stomach knotted. What if the Wolvenmutes......?
A flash of blue caught my eye as I stood. Brushing aside a stray strand of hair, I took a second glance. I didn't see anything. I shook my head. Was I seeing things now?
I jumped as the bird landed on my shoulder, the same bird from earlier. I gasped, smiling at it as it whistled in my ear. It snuggled against my cheek, muttering contently in it's beautiful sing songy voice.
'Follow me,' a familiar male's voice interrupted my thoughts. I turned around to see if anyone else had heard, or if it had been them.
Furrowing my brow, I looked back to the bird. It appeared as if it's small, beady eyes were lit up with something of amusement. I didn't believe that was of my imagination as well.
'Follow me,' it repeated. I smiled, watching it flutter off my shoulder and over the stream. I felt the cool water swimming around my heels as I waded through the creek, my eyes locked onto the pretty blue bird flying circles in the air as it began it's flight away.
'Follow me!' the voice mixed with the bird's joyous melody.
"Aileah! Where are you going!" I heard the voices of the others behind me. "Aileah!"
I turned to them as I stepped on the other shore, "We are supposed to follow the bird! Come!"
"Have you lost it!" cried Jadir as my eyes returned to the bird hopping from branch to branch my feet beginning to follow it again.
Behind me they splashed heavily through the stream. Aiwendil grabbed my arm, forcing me to meet his gaze. "What is going on?" he muttered, his silvery eyes holding my own.
Heat rose to my face, and I glanced back to the bird, waiting on the branch impatiently. "Come, the bird will lead us to safety. I know it!" I returned to them, my lips curled into a smile. I slipped my arm from Ailwendil's grasp and started after the bird again, my feet light on the ground. Ailwendil shrugged, and they followed behind me.
We walked long that day, the sun sinking toward the horizon and the shadows lengthening. Just as I began to believe that the bird was doing nothing other than getting us more lost in this deep, dark forrest, the trees opened up, revealing the spectacular Elven City, a group of hostile looking Elves waiting outside it's gates, our horses' leads in their hands.
The bird seemed to take glance at me before winging it's way up to a high wall to the shoulder of a dark, unrecongizable figure gazing over us.