Chapter 10 – Part 3

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Chapter 10 – Part 3

 

Chapter 10

Everlyn's Fall

Part 3 - Last Farewell

Heric stormed into the palace breathless and crazed, his eyes too bright and wild.

"We have to leave! Right now!!"

"Where's ..." Elian started but the man turned to him and grabbed him by his shirt, shaking him.

"Right now!!" he shouted again and the Prince held him hard by his shoulders forcing him to stop moving.

"Control yourself, man!" he ordered in a strong commanding voice that still didn't seem to reach him.

"You don't understand! We have to go!"

"Calm down! Where's Elipson?"

"Dead! They're all dead! That other one too! He went after her! They're all dead! We have to go!" he spat all in one breath and Elian just stood there, suddenly motionless, unable to process what that strange man had just told him.

"What in the world are you saying?" Allana questioned, walking up to him, furious with that panicking, weak man, and Heric looked down at her and stepped back, avoiding getting too close to her. "Did you see what happened to them?"

"Please! We have to leave right now!"

"Answer me!" she demanded, raising her voice, and he backed away a few more steps, looking at her with fear in his crazed eyes.

"Yes ... she was fighting ..."

"Did you see her fall? Did you see her body? Did you?"

"No, but ... they destroy everything! Everything! They're not men! They're terrible monsters with empty eyes! We have to leave, right now!!"

Allana ignored him and turned to Elian.

"He doesn't know what he's saying!" she told him and stood on her toes to hold his face between her small hands and make him look at her. "Don't listen to him, Elian. All he wants is for someone to get him out of here. Denar went to find her. He'll bring her back, you'll see!"

"I'm not crazy! I know what I've seen!" Heric protested but Allana flashed him an angry look.

"If you open your mouth once more time I swear I'll rip out your tongue!" she threatened, making Dana gasp in outrage and Selina smile in amusement, but Heric took both hands to his mouth, as if that could stop her threat from coming true, and kept his silence. "Elian ...?" she called him gently, but he held her hands, forcing her to release him.

"I'll go look for them! I should never have left Denar go on his own!" he decided, opening the door, but as he did they all saw a fast shadow practically running towards them. Elian's face immediately came alight the moment he recognized him and he ran down the stairs to meet him halfway. "Denar!" Allana followed him, and only then they noticed the bundle the Knight carried in his arms.

They parted ways to let him inside, Elian's expression becoming bleaker as he saw Elipson's grayish face, and Denar gently placed her on the closest couch, his breath heavy and his brow pearled with sweat.

"Her injury reopened," he simply informed and stepped back, allowing Elian to kneel beside her.

Selina quickly left the room and came back a few moments later, carrying a basin of water and some clean cloths, as well as new bandages for her wound.

Elian pulled his dagger and quickly cut her blood drenched tunic, but no one could quite understand just how deep or how serious her wound really was with all that blood. So he cleaned it, using one of the cloths to spill water over the injured area, and took a deep breath as he confirmed that Denar had been right and that the wound had reopened. He covered the bloodied gash with the wet cloth and his eyes became empty, almost vague, as that magical sound filled the air all around them, even though Allana knew no one else could hear it. He just knelt like that for a moment and then the beautiful melody was gone and he sighed deeply, carefully cleaning all the blood, the wound looking miraculous smaller and not as ugly has instants before.

"We don't have time for more ..." he said in a whisper, binding her shoulder and chest with Selina's silent help, and Denar helped him back to his feet, offering him his shoulder when they were done.

"She'll be okay ... But you'll have to take her ... I'm afraid I don't have the strength to hold her all the way ..." Elian told him and Knight nodded, his expression unusually serious.

"That's not a problem."

"Let's go, then," he said and Denar held Elipson's unconscious body, as Selina ran in front of him, opening the door to grant him passage.

Dana, looking too pale, took a last look at the main room she had known as part of her house for the last fifteen years, silently saying her farewells, and followed the Knight without a word. Heric rushed to her side, almost as if he felt safer near her, and Allana waited until they had left so that no one could overhear them.

"How are you feeling?" she asked, watching him worriedly, and Elian smiled like he always did, to reassure her.

"Been worse. Are you sure you don't want to ..."

Her golden gaze went to the stairs and for an instant sadness filled her eyes, but she still shook her head.

"No. Will you be able to ride?"

"Yeah ... Besides, Denon would never let me fall. I could probably sleep while ridding him," he told her and Allana nodded, leaving before him, without looking back even once.

They left the city through the Royal Gardens, crossing the fields outside the Palace walls, much like Allana had done before. Behind them the night sky shone bright red, a dark cloud covering the entire city where flames licked and devoured the small white houses to ashes.

Dana rode with Heric, sitting behind him, since no one had been able to convince her to ride a horse of her own. Selina had taken Elipson's mount since Denar was carrying her, holding her unconscious body against his chest. Heric, who had panicked until the last moment, practically screaming in despair that they were surrounded and that they had no hope of survival, had quickly recovered as soon as they'd left Everlyn behind and entered the Sunny Hills. Elian seemed to have really fallen asleep, his head pending forward, his back arched. And Allana rode facing the open road in front of her, a road she had never hoped to walk down again, forbidding herself to look or even think back to the life she had known and that no longer existed; or to the woman they'd all left behind, laying on a bed, all alone in that huge palace, simply waiting for the end.

They rode all night, sometimes dropping to a slower pace in order not to tire their horses too much, but never really stopping. And by daybreak Selina shared some fresh bread she'd brought with her and a flask of water that had to be passed around. Dana looked at her piece of bread and sighed deeply.

"Can't we at least stop to eat?" she asked, her voice reflecting the pain that seared through her body unused to such travels, and Elian looked back from the front of the column where he traveled beside Denar.

"I'm sorry, my Lady, but stopping right now would be too dangerous. Let us move forward a bit more so that we may be better protected by the irregular terrain of the Sunny Hills. Than we shall stop for a bit, but only so. We should try and reach Mithir as soon as possible," he answered as politely as he could, taking into account just how tired he felt, and Heric crossed his arms, averting his gaze.

"Yes. Where then we shall all be arrested and condemned to spend the rest of our lives in some dungeon," he added sarcastically and Denar looked back, his green eyes filled with a silent anger that would shut up even the most oblivious of beings on the face of the earth.

"Come on, Heric! And you were doing so well ...!" Selina intervened, noticing that he was apparently too dumb to notice the danger he'd just put himself in. "Just do us all a favor and keep quiet, will you?" she told him, leaving a half smile on Denar's face, and Heric opened his mouth to protest. But then Allana's horse was right beside his, and her golden eyes were on him.

"Just do as she told you." It was all it took to make him close his mouth and keep his silence.
Elipson, firmly held on Denar's arms, took a deep breath and moved slightly, a painful expression crossing her face as she opened her eyes, looking lost and confused.

"Elian! She's awake!" Denar announced and Elian lowered his horse's pace so he could accompany Denar's that had almost came to a halt.

"Where are we ...?" she asked, her voice hoarse and broken, and Denar smiled when she looked up at him.

"On our way home," he answered and she tried to sit up.

"Be a good girl and stay still, will you? Or I'll put you to sleep again!" Elian warned and she obeyed, taking a deep breath.

"My shoulder hurts ..."

"Good! Keep it still, then! We're almost home," Elian added with a relieved smile and sped to the front of the column, making everyone go back to a faster pace.

"I'd say ... he's in great need of a good spanking ..." she mumbled and Denar laughed as he made his horse keep up with Elian's. He felt her body grow tense and looked down, worried.

"You alright?"

"I'm fine. Don't worry," she answered between clenched teeth that said otherwise but, even though he noticed it, he decided to keep it to himself. One had to deal with Elipson the same way one would deal with the proudest of Knights. "Are you hungry ...?"

"No. And ...? You're not going to scold me like usual ...?"

"No. And I'd rather if we didn't talk about that," he answered and she remained silent for a while.

"Thank you. For going back for me ..." she finally said and he shrugged as if it had been nothing.

"You would have done the same for me."

"... maybe," she conceded, closing her eyes, pretending to sleep while she bore her pain in silence.

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