The chair rocked three times, and Willow nodded. Did this make any sense to her? Mutely, I followed her into another room, a dining room, thick with dust and memories. She sat at the head of the table, head in hands. She appeared to be waiting for someone.
I sat to her right, wincing as a fork jabbed my elbow. Suddenly, a dark figure appeared from nowhere, looming over me. I yelled out and nearly fell off my chair, sweeping an arm out to protect Willow. She stifled a giggle. " It's okay, he's my friend," she said, laughing at the evidently freaked expression on my face. I relaxed, and contritely returned to sitting. " The name's Elair," a deep, husky voice said. The figure stepped forward, showing a most curious man indeed.
He had russet curls, and smooth, golden skin . His eyes were a topaz colour that gave him an almost feline quality, and he easily stood a good half foot taller than I did. He was lean, but wiry enough I knew I couldn't hope to beat him in a fight. Despite the wholesome, healthy appearance, he gave off a sense of wistfulness, of escape plots and foiled chances. " Finn, " I said, restraining an urge to bow. "Elair, what happened to me?", Willow butted in. " I kept my heart pure, as you said. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't leave. I just want to see what lies beyond here." she said, sadly. Elair's face sagged, and he rushed to embrace her. " My dear, you can't just leave. I tried to tell you. We are tied forever to this place, to this house. "
" We have no rights, no chance to leave. And it's all Fachtna's fault. He imprisoned the first one when this house was new, to be his companion. She wanted to be with him. He was kind and noble, brave and witty. But she grew old, and died, leaving Fachtna heartbroken and lonely. The sadness took over his mind and rotted it, and he ceased to eat. Soon, malnutrition took his body, and insanity his mind. He then stole people from their times, their worlds, and locked them here, each with their own room. He bewitched the house so that once you saw your room, it would remain forever yours, and it claims you. He trapped us all in this house, to wither and rot with him in this cursed house. All he wanted was a friend. Now he's a manic, psychotic shadow, with a cursed house and a void where his heart used to be. His Leannan took it with her. "
Willow stared at him, her eyes filling with tears. Elair had cast a spell on the house, it seemed; the entire house seemed to exhale at the conclusion of Elair's tragic story. Willow suddenly pushed back her chair, kissed Elair on the cheek and ran out the door. Elair smiled sadly and retreated back into the darkness. " So long Finn. I've never seen her so happy since she's met you. Don't blow it. No pressure." He winked and turned on his heel, walking into the dark.
"So much running!" I said, pulling myself up and following her out of the house. I found her up the same tree we had met beneath, hanging by her knees from a wide branch. " I can't leave. I never thought I couldn't.. I just thought... I just thought I would. Someday, I would escape from Fachtna, take Elair with me. We're the only two left, you see. Fachtna killed the rest. They all did something, but nobody will tell me what, or why my best friends died. Elair's all I have in the way of family. He's the only thing I hold dear. " She flipped and dropped to the floor. She slid down the trunk, and hugged her knees.
" I just wanted us to be free."