The Fall of Everlyn
Part 1 - They're Late!
Allana stood at the door, anxiously waiting. She had exchanged her bright sky-blue dress for some leather pants, mounting boots and a cotton tunic, over which she’d put on her ridding cloak. Her golden hair was now tightly braided and knotted at the back of her head, and her father’s sword hang at her waist; a shorter, lighter blade forged from the best steel available, especially designed for her smaller hands.
She had tried to convince Selina to change as well, but nothing had been able to convince the other girl to put on such an inelegant piece of clothing as a pair of manly pants. If only in that, Selina was a lot like Dana when appearances were concerned. The older woman too, had looked with displease at the Princess’ new attire, even though she had wisely refrained from waving her usual negative comments. They both lived by the rule that a lady must look her best in any circumstance.
Suddenly the sound of shouts filled the air and columns of smoke rose towards the dark sky. Selina, at her side, clenched her hands together, nervously taking a step back.
“By the Gods … We’re being attacked …” she heard her whisper, her small voice unable to hide her fear, and Allana stepped forward, hand on the hilt of her sword as she scrutinized the darkness outside.
“They’re still out there. I’m going to find them,” she decided but Selina held her back, her trembling fingers clutching her wrist with all her strength.
“No you’re not!”
“Selina, they may need help …”
“Are you insane?!”
“I’m not letting you go outside!!” the other girl stated vehemently, the fear draining her young face of all color, making Allana unable to simply shake her off and leave as she wanted to.
“They’re back …” Dana’s almost inaudible whisper made both girls turn their attention outside, where two Knights ran towards the palace doors.
“They’re here … Sooner than we thought. We must leave immediately,” Elian said, breathing heavily, and looked around. “What about Elipson and Heric?”
“They’re still out there,” Allana answered and Denar straightened his back, his green eyes flashing in the dark.
Elian looked towards the city where the glow of the flames had begun to lit the night and took a deep breath.
“I’m sure they won’t be long. Elipson knows that in a situation like this we must leave as soon as possible. Let’s get everything ready to go. As things stand, we’ll have to take the road. If we go through the forest and they follow us we’ll be taking them right to the others.”
Denar nodded in silent agreement, his gaze still locked on the darkness outside, his expression surprisingly stern.
“Don’t you want to talk to her one last time before we leave?” Elian asked Allana, lowering his voice, but she turned away as if the matter didn’t concern her.
“No. I just want to get out of here and be done with it,” she stubbornly answered.
“Why are they taking so long?” Denar was asking, impatiently, and Elian sighed.
“They’re just late. Maybe they had to take a detour,” he replied, unable to hide his own concern.
“Maybe …” Denar agreed and they were both silent for a moment. “I’ll go find them!” he decided in the next moment, unable to just keep still and wait.
“No, Denar. We can’t afford to miss each other.”
“What if something went wrong? And they’re in need of help?”
“I’ll go with you, then,” Elian decided, anticipating the Knight’s answer since Denar was already shaking his head.
“No. You have to stay. And if they arrive in the mean time just take everyone out of here …”
“And leave you behind?!” the Prince protested and the Knight smiled smugly.
“Don’t think you can get rid of me that easily! And now just let me go! I’ll see you soon,” he said and just ran out of the door, leaving an unspoken protest on Elian’s lips.
Allana laced her arm with his, trying to reassure him, and smiled up at him when he lowered his gaze to look at her.
“He’ll be back, you’ll see. And he’ll bring them home, too.” Elian wanted to hug her tightly for the comforting warmth of what she’d just said, but remained still, keeping watch over the burning darkness outside.