"Come on little one you can't die on me now. Not after all that has happened. Come on wake up!"
The voice was that of a man, that much was clear and she guessed that by the way he talked and sounded that he wasn't much older than her own father. She tried to open her eyes, but they felt as heavy as lead. She soon stopped and decided to wait it out.
"Oh dear...she is going to have my head if you don't wake up! Please little one..."
He trailed off and Rowan felt him walk away. It was the strangest sensation, it was as if he had taken a piece of her with him. No it was more like, he was trying to help her by using his own energies, and she couldn't explain it. She groaned, and she was satisfied with that much. If she could move her mouth then she could open her eyes.
She pryed her eyes open, and was greeted by a small cat, rubbing against her face. It was pure white with eyes the color of amber. She smiled weakly before she raised her hand and scratched the cat behind it's ears. It purred loudly before curling up beside her. Rowan smiled, and looked towards the ceiling before she heard the flap of a tent open and a man entered, holding a bowl full of something.
"Oh your awake, thank goodness," he said setting the bowl down.
Rowan guessed that it was a soup from the fragrance that filled the air. It was nice and sweet...like...like...
"Lily! Where is Lily?"
"Who is this Lily you speak of? And while I'm asking just who are you?"
Rowan sat up and found herself facing a man who she guessed was in his mid twenties. His face held much wisdom and his blond hair hung in long locks that covered his gray eyes. he was dressed in a robe, that looked silky and soft, and a small staff was on his back.
"Who are you?" Rowan asked.
The man slapped himself in the forehead before crossing his legs and looking at Rowan. "My name is West," he said quietly.
"I'm Rowan," she said, "And Lily...she is my sister," she said sternly.
"Oh, well I didn't see your sister, when I arrived at the cemetary all I saw was you," West said, closing his eyes.
"But that means that...they took her. They took my sister!"
"Who did?" West asked.
"The men in black! The men in black took my sister!"
"OK, ok. Calm down there girlie. Hear eat this, and then you can explain to me what happened," West said handing her the bowl of soup.
Rowan took it gingerly with both hands before pressing it to her lips and drinking it down. It was warm against her throught and soon she felt slight dizzy as the soup traveled through out her, warming up her entire body.
"Why thank you. So why don't you tell me this story of yours so we can figure out what to do?"
Rowan nodded and with a deep breathe began her tale from the very beginning. She told the man named West everything, how they had snuck out, bought the strange box from Randolf and then what happened to her sister. She included the changes that appeared in her sister and then ended it with waking up here in this tent.
After the tale was told, West just looked at her with wide eyes, before he cleared his throat and looked away. Rowan raised an eyebforw and moved closer to him, before he turned to look at her.
"If what you've told me is true, then the may you faced were no ordinary men. I believe them to be...well that doesn't matter. But you...you...we have to get you to somewhere safe before they come after you to,"
"What, why would they come after me?" Rowan questioned.
"You've shown your abilities and I'm sure that they'll want yours to and-"
"You'll have to take my mom and dad as well!"
"Whoa, slow your horses. I'm not going to just whisk you away. All of this needs to be explained to your parents as soon as possible. But that may take longer than I even expected,"
"Why is that?" Rowan asked.
Without saying a word, West motioned for her to follow and made his for the exit. Rowan followed quickly behind and what she saw nearly sent her tumbling backwards. Lardon was ignited in large orange and yellos flames. They reached the sky and seemed to be trying to touch the stars. They were so bright against the dark blue skies of night.
"They've been burning like that for a day now. And I fear that the flames willl continue into tomorrow night as well, if nothing isn't done,"
"Haven't the fire men tried to put it out?"
"Try as they might, that fire will not go out, ever,"
"It is nothing for a child to know. But until the flames subside, we won't be going anywhere," West said motioning her back into the tent.
The rest of the night was spent with Rowan asking West several questions and petting his cat, whose name was Freya. She asked question after question, and she didn't know why. Was it because she trusted this man, or something else entirely. But soon she tired herself out and fell back to sleep.
When she awoke the next morning, the smell of smoke was thick in the air. She sat up and saw that West was not inside the tent. She rose to her feet and clamoured out before she looked towards the city ofLardin and saw that the flames had finally been extinguished. She grinned, before she heard, West bounding up beside her.
"The city is safe to enter. Let's have some breakfast before we jead out!"
"Ok..." Rowan said quietly.
She asked less questions this morning than last night. She was as worried as a dog and nothing was easying the uneasiness. She shook for a moment, before West rose to his feet and then raised his hands. The pots and pans soared into the tent, and the tent itself rolled up and then placed it's self on West back. He grinned before extending a hand to Rowan, motioning for her to climb on.
She hesitated before she climbed onto his back and they slowly made their way to the gates of Lardon.
"How did you get here West?" she asked.
"I walked," he said with a chuckle.
"No, I mean where were you going?"
"I was...I am trying to find a good friend of mine. It is of the upmost importance that I find her. Especially now..."
"Is she pretty?"
"Very," he said.
"Do you want to marry her?"
"Wish I could, but her heart belongs to a man that left her to roam the world,"
"But if he loved her-"
"Not now Rowan," he said quietly before he picked up his pace.
Rowan soon found that West was horrible with directions and that she had literally guide him to her home. It was a long walk, since everyone seemed to be fleeing the city all at once. But she pressed on, West following behind her. Turning around the corner, she raced down the street towards her home...but instead found a pile of ashes.
"Mom...Dad..." she whispered against her lips.
"Oh Rowan, I'm so sorry,"
"The fire...the fire destroyed everything. No I'm alone. My parents are...are..."
"Sssh, stop that crying," West said bending down in front of her.
"No buts. Your parenst would want you to be strong and you'll need to be. Rowan, I want you to be safe. I don't want this happening to you. You understand?"
"Yeah, I guess..." she sniffled.
"Good, because you're going to have to come with me. I knw someone who will take good care of you and keep you safe from those men,"
"Really?" she asked.
"Yes, really. The woman I talked about before. She would love to meet you. But she hates cry babies, so you cannot cry in front of her all right?"
"All right," she said as loud as she could wiping tears and snot away.
"Here blow," West said handing her a tissue.
She took it and blew her nose before handing it back to west. It took it gingerly before depositing it on the ground. He turned around so his back was to her. He looked at her out the corner of her eye. "We've got to get moving staying here is dangerous,"
Rowan didn't say a word, but climbed onto his back and buried her face into his back, shaking her head. A strong wind blew against them and then West was off, racing down the streets of Lardon. Try as she might she couldn't keep the tears from falling. Her little heart felt as if it were shattering into a million pieces. So many pieces she wasn't even sure if she would be able to put them back together.
West kept up his pace, and when she looked up from West back, she found herself looking at the road that lead away from Lardon. West stopped and then turned towards his right and saw a young man standing in front og a wagon. He walked over and dropped a bag of gold into his hands.
"I'll be buying this cart from you,"
"Sure, go ahead and take it!" the young man said, running off and screaming that he was rich.
West walked around to the back and gently sat Rowan in the back. He placed his bundle in their as well before he climbed into the back and pulled out a small robe. He handed it to Rowan and told her to put it on, and that if she was tired, all she had to do was say she was, and he'd make her bed.
She didn't say a word, but instead rose to her feet and climbed onto the bench that was inside the wagon. She looked down at her feet, never looking up at West. West sighed before he made his way to the front of the wagon and took hold of the reins. He sat down and then whipped them, the two horses, snorted before they took off down the road, at breakneck speeds.
She may never recover from this.... he thought to himself.
Too bad she doesn''t have a choice in the matter. She'll have to get over this.