"Wait," Lura said slowly, watching my duplicate walk away. "I thought-"
"Do you really hate me that much, Lura?" I snapped and she glared.
"Of course I do! You stole-"
"I stole nothing," I interrupted and she clenched her fists. "I was chosen. I don't know who was chosen for you, but it was not Elwin."
"Yes it was!"
I felt pity for her. "Why are you so certain?"
"I've loved him for longer than you've been alive!" she spat and rushed for me.
I stepped to the side. "I don't want to fight you, Lura. I just want to rest. Please listen to reason."
"Reason?" she repeated. "Ha! Another human mind trick!"
"We don't have mind tricks," I said. "But I did teach myself to fight."
"Oh yeah? Well the goddesses gave me the gift of battle," she snarled. "Do you think you can match the power they have given me!?"
"Probably not," I admitted. She looked taken aback; I knew she expected me to say yes. "Look around you, Lura. Is this how you want your friends to see you? A jealous she-elf challenging a human over a he-elf?"
She swallowed thickly. No one moved or spoke. Her chest was heaving. I set my feet in the same distance of my shoulders, ready just in case. Finally, she looked back at me.
"But I love him," she whispered.
"No, Lura, you don't."
She looked confused. "Yes, I do."
"If you really did love him, would you be so cruel to him when he is happy? Would you have to feel the need to attack any woman that so much as looks his way?"
She recovered quickly. "You're just a stupid human. You know not of what you speak. You don't even have soulmates where you're from!"
She turned on her heel and stormed off. I stared after her, my body relaxing. Before anyone could say anything to me, I climbed up the ladder again. Elwin held his hand out for me and I took it. He pulled me up the rest of the way and wrapped his arm around my waist.
When we got into the hut, I sighed.
"I'm glad you didn't fight her," he said softly.
I chuckled. "I may be strong, but I know I wouldn't defeat her in battle the minute she fired up. I thought I could talk some sense into her. It didn't work."
"I wouldn't say that. She backed down."
"I think she's just more determined, to be honest."
"We don't need to worry about that right now. We need to pack."
"What should we bring?" I asked.
"Just clothes and food," he answered. "Hmm, probably some blankets, come to think of it. You're not used to traveling long distances; we will have to rest."
"Where can we find clothes that could fit me?"
He led me to the door and pointed at a hut across and to the right from us. "That's Rosario's hut. She is the same size as you can help you."
I nodded and he kissed me before I left. I clung to the rails as I walked over, trying not to look down. When I got there, I knocked on the hut beside her bamboo covered door. I heard footsteps and Rosario stuck her head out.
"Oh! Hi, Camila! What brings you here?"
"I need some clothes. I'm going on a two week journey and, well, this is the only outfit I have other than the nightgown I came here in. Elwin said you might have some extra clothes?"
"Yes! Come on in. I was just about to turn in for the evening. When do you leave?"
I walked in. It was a lot like Elwin's only she had two windows and they were opened. She had one hammock but no books. There was a small kettle hanging over dead wood. She was humming as she dug through a dresser at the bottom.
"In a few hours," I answered. "Elder Winterblade wants us to get there as soon as possible."
She nodded seriously. "Here are three outfits. It's all I have," she added apologetically.
"It's perfect," I smiled. "Thanks again."
"You're welcome. Good luck to all three of you." I stared and she laughed. "You, Elwin, and the other you."
I chuckled. "See you in a couple weeks, Ro."
Elwin's left side was facing the door and he was filling a bag with clothes of his own. I took the opportunity to study him. Even bent over, his posture was straight. I could only assume that came from years of shooting arrows. His long red hair was tucked behind his ears and his silver eyes focused intently on the task at hand. His outfit didn't have sleeves and I could see the muscles he had acquired over the time. When he stood up and saw me, he jumped. I laughed a little and handed him the outfits Ro had given me.
"You startled me," he accused.
"Sorry. I didn't want to interrupt you."
"That's all right." He tucked my clothes into the bag and swept his eyes around the hut. "I think I have everything.... Is there something you want to bring with you?"
"Actually," I whispered, feeling nervous, "there something I want to give to you."
He looked confused but nodded. I nibbled on my lower lip before taking my handkerchief out of my pocket. I took a deep breath and held my hand out for his.
"I don't understand," he said slowly.
"Give me your hand," I said and he obeyed. I placed the folded silk into his hand and closed his fingers over it. "By giving this to you, Elwin Morro, I pledge my life to you. Should you become ill, I will care for you. Should you become poor, I will provide for you. Should you desire children, I will bear them for you. Should you desire to leave me, I will allow you." I smiled up at him. "By giving this to you, Elwin Morro, I seal what we have."
His eyes locked on mine. I was nervous. What if he wouldn't accept it? Slowly, not breaking eye contact with me, he reached behind his neck. He unhooked something and held his other hand out for me to take.
"I don't know the exact words," he whispered, "but I'll give it my best." He took a deep breath. "I give you this necklace, Camila Constantine, as a way to prove to you my commitment to you and you alone. If you fall ill, I will do all I can to heal you. If you become poor, I will provide. If you want a child, I will do my part to fulfill that desire. If you want to leave me... I will let you." He caressed my cheek. "By giving this to you, Camila Constantine, I seal what we have."
I smiled and laughed a little. He leaned in and kissed me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he pulled me close. When we broke from the kiss, I observed the necklace he gave me.
"It was my mother's," he said, putting it on for me. "She gave it to me before she passed."
It was a silver charm in the shape of a water drop. It hung from a thick silver chain.
"Why a water drop?"
He smiled fondly at it. "That was her name: Water Drop."
"What was her last name?"
"She didn't have one before she mated with my father," he explained, sitting down. I sat beside him and leaned into him. "She was part of the colony that came from undergound. She escaped, though."
"Why would she have to escape? They wouldn't let her leave on her own?"
"No. The underground colony was very firm on keeping to themselves. Every few years, they would send for someone from above ground to mate with their colony members."
"That doesn't sound pleasant...."
"It's the way of their people," he shrugged, leaning against me and kissing just below my ear. "Just like arranged mates- marriages are a part of yours."
I held his hand. "You know what this means, right?"
"We are officially husband and wife?"
I nodded. "But it also means that, should things go wrong, we will have to make a decision."
"What kind?" he asked, frowning.
"If we stay with the elves, the humans, or... go on our own."
We were silent for a while, both of us contemplating what that would mean. I closed my eyes and put my head on his chest, listening to his heart beat. He rested his head on top of mine and we fell asleep.