"Do you hear that?" I asked, sitting up.
Camila shook her head. "No. I don't hear anything."
"I'll be right back," I said, heading into the hallway.
There was yelling coming from down below and I jogged to the stairs. What I saw made my stomach clench. Village people were running in with torches and pitchforks. At their lead was Theodore. He was pointing at different places, directing his followers.
I ran back and woke Gerald up.
"There are a bunch of village people," I panted, tossing him some clothes. "They're being led by Theodore. We have to get out of here."
"And go where?" Gerald demanded. "Besides, look at her! She's not ready."
It was true. Camila had heard the shouting and was trying to get out of bed. With each move, though, she winced. I knelt down in front of her.
"I love you," I said.
"I love you, too," she said slowly, looking worried.
"You know I would never do anything to intentionally harm you, right?" She nodded. I ran to the wardrobe and pushed through it until I found a pure silk robe. "Gerald, help me." Camila muffled her cries of pain as we wrapped it around her and tied it gently. "Okay, here's what we're going to do: Gerald, you're going to sneak out and get a horse. You can't keep up with me; I'm too fast for a human. We'll meet you near the stables."
"But how is he going to get out?" Camila asked as I lifted her carefully.
Her father smiled and kissed her forehead gently. "Don't worry about me. I'm crafty."
I waited until he was out then I turned to her again. I kissed her lips and she kissed me back.
"Please forgive me," I whispered and ran for the window.
I broke through the glass and she screamed in pain. We landed on the sill of a window on the lower floor. I then jumped down to the grass. I ran behind the castle as fast as my legs would carry me. I met Gerald at the stables who had managed a horse.
"Follow me," I yelled. "Do not go anywhere else!"
I saw him nod in the moonlight and I began running. I didn't know how my memory of the realm came back but I was going to take advantage of it in case I lost it again. Camila was sobbing in my arms, no longer having enough breath to scream. We reached the barrier and I saw the blurry outlines of our homes.
"Off the horse and hold onto my arm," I instructed, looking behind me.
I swore. Somehow, Theodore had followed us.
Gerald didn't even hesitate and grabbed it. The only way he could get in is if he was touching me. I ran as soon as I felt Gerald's fingers around my arm. We crossed the barrier and I heard Theodore's scream of rage.
Elves were running everywhere. We had too much momentum to stop and I nearly ran into the meeting place's table. I stuttered to a halt and Gerald bumped into my back. Camila was grasping my tunic.
"Did he get in?" she rasped. "Elwin, tell me."
"No, sweetheart," I panted. "He didn't make it in. But it's not over."
"Elwin!" someone shouted. Arl was running over, pulling his tunic on. "What is going on!? I thought you'd never- Is this another human?"
"Where is Elder Winterblade?" I demanded. I was crying. "Please, Arl, I can answer your questions later. Where is he?"
"I'm here, Elwin," Elder Winterblade said and I turned. "Oh, Camila," he breathed.
"Winterblade," she gasped, her eyes closing. "Never thought I'd see you again."
"How bad is it?" he whispered.
"Bad. Very bad." He stared at Gerald. "This is her father."
He nodded once. "Let's get her up to my hut and I'll make some more potions."
"Follow me, Gerald," I said. "I'm sorry, Camila, but this is going to hurt. I'll be over soon, though, I promise."
She didn't answer. She was pale and her eyes were half closed. I got worried and shifted her so that I had her in one warm. I used the other to climb the ladder the best I could. Gerald was following me and I could hear him swearing. Now I knew where she got her fear of heights from.
Elder Winterblade moved the door for us and I put her on his hammock. I stood up but she grabbed my tunic, her grip surprisingly strong.
"Don't you dare leave," she gasped.
I sat back down. "I won't. I'll stay here."
"Papa, stay," she panted.
"I'm here, cel mic," he whispered, kneeling by her feet.
Elder Winterblade was mixing some potions, not speaking. I ran my finger down her nose and she smiled; I knew she liked it and brought her some peace. Gerald was untying the robe and took it off her body carefully so that it wouldn't smart too much. She tried to hide herself from Elder Winterblade but I stopped her.
"He has to see everything if he's going to help you," I said.
She just nodded. Elder Winterblade came over and winced.
"That man needs to die," he grumbled. "I don't say that often but, after seeing what he has done...."
"Can you help her?" Gerald asked.
"Yes, I can. She'll need rest but...."
"But what?" I asked.
"Queen Keishara wanted us to send her to them if you returned. She's not in any state to travel and won't be for at least a week." He tapped his chin before nodding once. He handed me a cup with thick purple liquid that shimmered. "Have her drink all of that. It will take care of everything. Well, for the most part."
"What do you mean for the most part?" Gerald demanded and Elder Winterblade smiled sadly at him.
"The emotional scars are almost as bad as the physical scars."
Gerald ran a hand through his hair. I helped Camila lift her head and poured the liquid down her throat. She coughed a few times but otherwise it went down easily. She lay back against the pillow and closed her eyes.
Elder Winterblade whistled a few times and his black raven came flying in. He tied a scroll to his feet.
"As fast as you can," he whispered.
The raven cawed once then flew off. He sighed and left.
"She's going to be okay, Gerald," I said softly.
"I wish she had never met you," he said bitterly and I looked away.
"Papa," she said. Her voice was still weak. "Don't be angry with him."
"None of this would've happened if you both hadn't been sneaking where you didn't belong!" he snapped. I swallowed thickly and played with her hair. "You should have just married Theodore and-"
"So he could do this to her?" I said in a quiet voice, glaring at him. "So he could defile her over and over again? So he could abuse her?"
"He was angry because she defied him."
"You're justifying his actions!?" I yelled.
"No! Of course I'm not! I'm just saying, if he wasn't angry, he may have been gentler!"
"You know he wouldn't have been," I snapped.
Gerald erupted into tears. "I'm sorry," he cried. "I just- I-"
"Papa," she whispered and held her hand out.
I sighed and went over, helping him walk over. He knelt beside her head and sobbed into his hands. She was running her hand through his hair, trying to calm him down. I stepped out to see Elder Winterblade speaking to a few elves and pointing at my hut. I walked over.
"How is she?" he asked.
"Spending some time with her father," I said. "What's going on?"
"While you were gone at the palace, we finally managed to get enough to build Arl's home and yours," he explained and led me inside one of the huts. "It'll hold you and it will give her a place to rest. Her father can stay in your old home until we figure something else out."
It was twice the size of a normal home which always happened when two elves found their mates. We had run out of material when Arl and Rosario became one and I was glad they found enough for a home for Camila and I, too. It had everything that a normal home had, including a kitchen and a bookshelf with some books. An open-doored closet had a few outfits for the two of us. They had hung up the gowns Queen Keishara gave her.
"It's great. Thank you."
"Come down with me," Elder Winterblade said. "There are elves that have some serious questions for you."