Elian stood and observed the castle from the trees, his cloak causing him to blend in with the foliage surrounding him. His sharp eyes tracked over the walls, searching for a sign of anything unusual. Something had drawn him there that morning. He had felt a sudden urge, a need to travel to the castle. He had set up camp here, tethered Mera to a tree and stood sentinel.
As his gaze passed back over the outer walls, he glimpsed a sudden movement. A girl was falling from the wall, plunging toward the watery moat below. In seconds he had left the cover of the forest, darting forward across the open terrain. The girl splashed down and looked to be attempting to swim to safety. As he neared the edge of the moat, she ceased moving and began to sink.
Elian reached over the edge and grasped her trailing hand. He heaved her small body clear of thee water and slung it over his shoulders. Taking great strides, he soon returned to the cover of the trees. He lay the girl down and checked her for injuries. An arrow protruded from the small of her back.
A quick glance at the girls face was all Elian needed to ensure she would remain unconscious if he tried to remove it. He grasped the shaft of the arrow and pulled. The tip of the arrowhead remained buried in her flesh, but the rest came free.
Elian moved quickly. He pulled out his knife and held it in the flames of his campfire to sterilise it. He held the knife over the girl’s open wound, and drove the tip into her flesh. He twisted the blade, and popped the arrowhead out. It had a slight greenish hue, meaning it was poisoned. Elian delved into his herb pouch and quickly readied a paste. He applied it to the open wound, and then began chanting in a low voice in his native elven tongue.
The edges of the wound crawled together over the paste, and the skin re-knit. Elian sat back, and waited for the girl to wake. He pondered, the reasons he had risked his own safety for a complete stranger. He never put others before himself, unless they meant something to him. Sso what was different about this girl?
Several hours later, she woke with a jolt. She sat up, gasping, and promptly vomited. She retched some more, and then fell onto her back, causing her to wince.
“That’ll be the paste healing you from the inside” Elian said from the shadows. The girl yelped with fright. Elian stepped forward, revealing himself to her.
“Y-You’re an elf!” she said, eyeing his pointed ears.
“Who are you?”
“Your saviour. My name is Elian”.
“I pulled you from the moat just as you were beginning to drown. I removed the arrow from your back, and healed the poison so it would not spread and kill you”.
“Now, who may I ask, are you?”
“I am Aria Cadneza Kahner”.
“Pleased to meet you, Aria”.
“Thanks for saving me”. Elian nodded. Aria moved to speak again, but Elian held up a hand to silence her. He had heard movement nearby.
“She can’t have gotten far with that arrow sticking from her back”.
“She must be here somewhere”.
It was a patrol of castle guards, Elian counted four based on the sounds of their footfalls. He placed a finger on his lips, telling Aria to remain silent, and melted once more into the shadows.
“Hey! There’s a light over there”.
The men crashed into the camp and immediately spotted Aria on the ground. They were so intent on their prey that they did not take in the rest of the camp. They never realised there must be someone else, after all, the girl hadn’t had a horse.
Elian flashed forward, dancing through the small company. His sword slashed left and right, killing two of the men. He plunged the blade through the chest of another, before finally slicing the last’s neck. Aria sat, simply staring at him.
“That’s twice you’ve been my saviour now, you are like a guardian angel”.