Ella kneeled down on one knee before the mulberry bush, a basket handing on her elbow, already filled with herbs, stones and other ingredients found in the Wild Lands used to make spells and healing potions of all sorts. It was sort of her specialty- the witch of the village, if you may. She had never felt special in any way, she never stood out; she was alright with a sword, but she was never really a warrior. She liked the dragons and they seemed to like her too, but she wasn’t a rider. She was the almost-girl. However, when it came to magic, Ella possessed extraordinary talents, especially for a draconae.
She slowly hummed to herself as she inspected berry by berry before adding it to her basket. She couldn’t take any risks, because even the smallest rotten berry, even if it was only a little bit off, could give the concoction an entirely new twist- and never a good one. She took a pause and listened to the sound of the Wild Lands, only to be disturbed by a fumbling of leaves and mis-treading of feet. She instantly knew who it was, seeing as there was only one elf in the clan that dared follow her here, purely because he knew she could never be mad at him. Ella loved Alexei like a little brother, he was one of her closest friends and the two shared much in common.
“You shouldn’t lurk.” She said, a mischievous smile playing at her lips, slowly spreading across her entire face. “It’s rude,” she added, turning around to look over her shoulder, still smiling at the Draconae slightly hidden by the trees and bushes. They shared similar appearances- tall, lean bodies with pointy ears, prominent cheekbones and white-blonde hair. The only difference between the two were they eyes, hers a startling shade of crystal blue, his a deep, calming shade of olive.
“Just Ella then.” Theon said with a small smile and a nod. “You are welcome to call me Theon.” He wasn’t sure if he should have mentioned that he was a king. He had always disliked pretending that he was somehow better than people who lacked the title he had gotten by pure good fortunate in the first place. He may have been royalty now, but he hadn’t always been, lest he forget that. There were times out in the forest when he pretended that he wasn’t king at all, that he was just a plain and simple traveler, and these were times when he felt infinitely more at peace. However, there was no one who knew this, and he very much wanted to keep it that way. “I am not lost. I live not far from here. Hodia is my home. I came out here on an evening ride with my men.” He looked over his shoulder in the direction that he came. “I managed to slip past their watch while they were bickering.”
He nodded, relieved when she said that she would trust him. He knew it was asking a lot of her, just as it would be asking a lot of anyone to trust a stranger. He wasn’t sure he completely trusted her, but it was a risk he would have to take to help her. Though she hadn’t said anything that sounded flat-out untrue, he felt there were bits and pieces of the truth that she was keeping from him. He hoped that if she came to trust him, she might tell him more of the truth. Or perhaps, if he came to trust her more, the chances of him believing what she said was true would be better. “Good. Then I will take you to the village and perhaps we can find a physician for you there.” He stood from where he was hunched on the ground, then took her hand. He glanced once again down at her foot, which was still twisted and limp, then back at her and took her hand.
“Careful.” He warned, then pulled her to her feet. “Put your arm around my shoulder. With your foot in the condition that it is, you shouldn’t be putting any weight on it.” He wondered for a moment if she would question his medical knowledge or how he got it, but he gave her the advice nonetheless. He had cared for many injured soldiers during his time as a general for the Hodian army, including many with foot and leg injuries. It may have been long ago, but the memory had lasted far longer than the war. “We can take Arilyn into the village. I have friends there.” When she looked confused, he looked to his horse and then back at her. “Arilyn is my horse. One of my best, too.” He smiled at the dark brown steed, who looked over at the pair when he heard his name. He was a fiercely intelligent and majestic animal. When his eyes went back to the girl, they fell to the brown leather cuff around her wrist. “What interesting markings…” He mumbled, his eyebrows drawing together at the unfamiliar letters and symbols. It wasn’t elvish, so what was it? His eyes went up to hers. “Where did you get that?”
“Well, everyone needs their space, and- and fresh air.” She said, looking up at him with a half-apologetic but understanding smile. The fact that he had men with him, which in her head translated into more elves with weapons, worried her her dearly. Were she not injured, and were he all alone, she would more than be able to take on this Theon. In this state, she would still be able to put up a good fight before going down with honor. Her years as a rider had tuned and developed her senses as well as forced her to become more than twice the average warrior. However, her thoughts were cut off by a quenching feeling in her stomach. She instantly felt guilty for thinking about a fight between her and Theon, since he had decided to trust him, eventually after staring for long moments into his clear blue eyes and taking his vow.
“That’s very gracious of you, really, but you don’t have to. I’m sure I’ll be able to ma-” But she was cut of by a mortifying pain in her chest and foot as she tried to shift and a stern glance from him. She quickly picked up that he was no man to argue with. Not with words, at least. He took her by surprise when he touched her hand. His worn leather gloves felt somehow familiar against her soft, cold skin and she glanced up at him quickly before taking another breathe and relaxing. There was noting to be afraid of. Just before proceding, she sent a mental note to Arin, who was probably going crazy just by sensing her pain, and wouldn’t hesitate for a split second before eating Theon in one bight if he saw the two now.
“Arin, it’s me. I’m all right, and you don’t need to worry. I want you to fly home at tell Iridium to let Margot know that I’m all right but won’t be coming home soon, she’ll know what to do. Until then, goodbye my faithful friend.”
Snapping out of her trance, she allowed him to pull her up into his careful embrace. Her breathe hitched and she winced at the pain but allowed herself to make no noise. Ella had taken worse beatings and injuries than this over her course of training and a few other times when Arin had been ill or out of control. Once she had been in a vegetable like state for three weeks, laying motionless in bed due to a head injury when she and especially Arin were much younger and he had accidentally whipped his oversized tail out of pure joy, accidentally almost killing his rider. He was immense, and it had taken time for Ella to help him gain full control of every massive inch of his body. She’d survived that, and she could certainly survive this. Again, he caught her off guard when he spoke. “Oh!” She said, over-whelmed by the question. “Those are, er, they were I mean, erm, a gift from my grand father…” She mumbled. She looked away frantically, hoping for a way to escape a proper explanation. Instead, her eyes found their way to his horse, and she marveled at it. There were no horses in her village for a few reasons. One, there was no where to go that wasn’t within safe walking distance. Two, no one ever travelled. Lastly, those who did, had no need for horses. “Wow…” she whispered as she gazed at the magical animal before her eyes, which ironically enough had a name very close to her own ride’s. She tightened her arm around the back of Theon’s neck and let her other fall to her side, out of his sight. He slowly started to help her towards his horse, and she could feel a smile playing at his lips as he observed her curiosity, when she suddenly remembered that her most valuable possession was lying, forgotten on the forest floor. “Wait! I forgot- my sword!” She suddenly yelped. “W-would you mind?” She asked him apologetically. It pained her to have to expose her race in such a raw way to a stranger, but there was no way she was going to let someone steal her sword.
Though she had tried to explain herself, Theon was suspicious. He wasn’t generally a distrusting person, but he felt as though she wasn’t telling him the whole truth. First she had said that she lived there (most likely meaning Hodia), then that she had come from a very far away place. How could it be both? It couldn’t be, not by his standards. One had to be a lie, but he wasn’t sure which and he had no way of knowing without rudely asking. Ella didn’t sound like a very elven name either, but it didn’t matter. He couldn’t go interrogating her when she had done nothing wrong. She was probably just scared, and that was no crime. Even creatures as old and wise as Theon got scared. If he was in her shoes, he would be feeling the same. Being cornered by a stranger with no way to get away due to a broken foot was an unenviable situation, even if she was lying to him about her origins. However, he didn’t know quite how to calm her mind.
“My name?” He repeated, surprised by her question, though he supposed he shouldn’t have been. It was a perfectly reasonable and valid question, especially considering he had asked the same of her. “Yes, of course. I am Theon Sorcha.” He told her. “King of Hodia.” At that last bit of information, he could see her eyes go wide. The absence of a crown on his head made his story seem fabricated, and the way he handled himself didn’t help. In settings like these, he didn’t carry himself in a way that was customary of a king. He didn’t come from a royal bloodline, but a family of noble army members. While at the castle or in his court, he might have carried himself with the lofty dignity that was expected of a king, but not here. Out in the forest, he was just an elf, a plain and simple elf at the mercy of the wild that surrounded him. “It is easy to get lost in the forest, especially on evenings such as this one. Is that what happened to you?” He looked back down at her twisted foot, but it didn’t look any better the second time he looked. If anything, it might have looked worse.
Checking over his shoulder, he saw that his horse was still waiting for him under the trees, but the swishing of his tail let Theon know that he was growing anxious about the rain. He whispered something in old Elvish tongue to it, and it responded with a nicker and then a low whinny. He then returned his attention to the girl, to Ella, who was still sitting in the grass with her baby blue eyes wide like a frightened deer. More than anything, he wished he knew a way to make her believe that he meant her no harm. “There is a storm coming. I cannot in good conscience abandon you here.” He told her, his eyebrows slightly raised and his voice calm and firm in equal measure. “I can take you back with me to the village. It is not far from here, and there is a healer there who can treat your wounds better than I.” Before she could speak up in protest, he continued. “But you have to trust that I mean what I say and I will not harm you. I give you my word that I mean only to help you. Do you understand?”
Looking back up at his face which was (although he clearly tried to hide it) filled with doubt, confusion and suspicion. She took a paused to mull over her choice of words and to try and figure out what he was saying, and finally decided to go with the statement, ”Just because I live here, doesn’t mean I’m from here.” She bent her good leg up towards her and let her left arm rest upon it’s knee as she examined her leather cuff. Was it too risky to expose? It was dark brown with inscriptions in the ancient language of the dragons, alongside symbols and other markings. They weren’t large and obvious, they were small and gentle, but what attention would he pay to her hands? Other than that, her upper body was hidden by her cloak (the one almost identical to his), her trousers were simple- skintight which made for better gliding and was more comfortable to ride in, as well as a dull shade of black. Her boots were normal too,ending just below the knee with a small heal and laces in the front. Nothing to hide there. She examined the ground, a little unsure of wether she should have have asked him for his name or not, seeing as he seemed utterly surprised. Was he expecting to ask her so many questions and get nothing but answers in return?
Her eyebrows shot up, her eyes widened and her jaw dropped, causing her mouth to open ever so slightly as she stared back at him. She immediately got a grip of herself and swallowed, brushing off the front of her cloak. Dragonborns didn’t have a monarchy- they didn’t even have royalty, so Ella was very rusty on the mechanics of eleven and fae politics. All she knew was that the Kings were the ones in charge, had a lot of respect0 just like the elders in her clan, and occasionally had the power to cut off people’s heads if they misbehaved. “A King, huh?” She said slowly, looking up at him with a normal face, a small smille tugging at the right corner of her mouth. This was becoming rather exciting. “That’s, that’s fancy.” She shrugged, trying not to make a big deal of it in order to avoid further questionings. “I don’t have a special title or anything, it’s still just Ella.” She said, clearing things up further. She rustled through the dry leaves with the tip of her toe and leaned her chin against her knee, her other arm going back to the floor just like the other. For how long was she going to have to stay here until Arin could come get her? “It’s nice to meet your Theon, truly, even though the consequences aren’t as great” she announced, giving him a kinder look as her confidence started to very slowly but surely flow back into her, lighting up her face. “And no, I’m not lost,” she lied perfectly. Not know where she was had never been a problem, even if she was in the middle of no where. Arin’s built in compass always brought her home, one way or the other. “Are you?” She asked, trying to be friendly. She was quite unsure of what to say to an elven King. Where were all his men and guards?
She waited quietly and shyly for him to speak, and was very surprised when he offered to help her. She couldn’t help but smile at his horse, for two reasons: She never saw much horses in her lifetime, and the way he interacted with his reminded her one Arin once more, which made her miss him. She took another long stare at his face, and, after several moments, decided to trust him. He didn’t look like the lying kind and hand’t tried to hurt her in any way since he almost killed her, which was decent in her opinion. “I- I trust you” she announced with all her might, a decision which was quite difficult for her to make. She looked around for a second, then decided to take the initiative and offer him her hand, assuming he would naturally help her up. He seemed like the polite, gentleman kind.
Prim’s eyes fluttered open. She expected to feel Viseryan’s plea for her to wake up and start off their day together, but she felt nothing. Rising from her bed Prim realized it was still dark. She must have woken up before the sun managed to climb over the peaks. That in itself was a rarity considering Viseryan always penetrated her mind as soon as the sun rose. Sitting on the edge of the bed she rubbed her hands against her eyes in an attempt to fight off fatigue. Her mother already did not approve of Prim’s awful sleeping schedule, but if she found her up this early Prim would never hear the end of it. Better to leave the house then before she woke up. Prim would rather not receive an ear full about how only having a few hours of sleep could make her fall ill. No one understood the connection a rider had with it’s dragon, whatever Viseryan was doing Prim was doing. It was just natural.
She quickly dressed and brushed her brunette locks before grabbing her boots. Cautiously Prim tiptoed through the small house that she and her mother shared with her grandmother. Even the smallest of sounds could wake her mother, she was the lightest sleeper Prim had ever known besides her dragon. She could just make out the silhouette of her grandmother through the doorway as Prim passed her room. Prim wanted to impress her family by being the perfect young girl with a handsome husband and someday beautiful children. She wanted her mother and grandmother to live a better life than one of isolation and a small home. But the best she could do now was Viseryan. That was the only amount of pride she could ever give them, that she was one of the few dragon riders.
It only took minutes to find Viseryan just feet from their home. She wasn’t sure if it was normal for her dragon to be so emotionally attached to Prim, but the girl never complained. Knowing Viseryan was always there to make her feel safe. The dragon was surprisingly resting. No wonder she had not awakened to him he was not even awake himself. Even though Viseryan loved Prim she knew better than to wake him before he was ready so she let her dragon be. Without the dragon Prim now had sometime to herself which was rather different. Viseryan always took up all her time. She remembered then about her fellow dragon riders who had all been more experienced than her. Prim wanted to master her gift, and make sure no one tried to come in the way of it.
She figured she would get murdered for waking Ella up this early, but at the moment Prim could have cared less. As she approached the house Prim kept an eye out for the girl’s dragon. Viseryan had a reputation for being protective, but Ella’s dragon was known for being the fiercest. Prim knew better than to wake the girls parents by going to the front door, so she settled for Ella’s bedroom window. She did not know the girl extremely well, but all dragon riders knew one another. She had hoped that this was Ella’s window at least. Picking up a small pebble Prim raised her arm and threw it straight at the window. The pebble wouldn’t break the window, but it would leave an audible noise. Just to make sure she would know someone was definitely there, Prim threw another small pebble at the window.
The night before had been extremely hectic and tiring for Ella. It seemed as though she had managed to fit an entire week into a few hours. To start with, she went out to the edge of the forest with her father, the only person in the world whom Ella trusted enough to near the forest with, and helped him cut trees into logs, later to be used as firewood. Afterwards she visited her ill friend’s house and fed her medicinal soup as well as took her out for a short walk around the yard. Later that night she returned home to help her brother with his studies and afterwards, aided her older sister with making dinner. After feeding herself, she hurried out to Arin, and cared for him as well as rode him. Since she’d been so busy lately, she felt as though she didn’t spend enough time with the dragon anymore, which she wasn’t pleased about at all. They flew over the mountain tops and into a small clearing, then lay down and watched the stars as Arin cooled down. Then they rode back to the small village of the dragonborns, and by the time Ella managed to tip-toe inside and slip into bed, it was already three in the morning.
Her entire body ached from head to toe, her bones and muscles hurt from too much work movement while her eyes stung from lack of sleep. Her bed felt so good after the incredibly long day and she was so grateful to be able to turn to it at the end of the night. She stretched out her long limbs and sighed into the pillow, then turned back around to lay facing upwards when she heard a small irritating sound. She turned to her side and ignored it, trying to focus her energies on getting back to sleep. Then she heard it again, and this time she was sure of two things: She wasn’t imagining it, and it wasn’t some accidental noise. Someone was throwing pebbles at her window. She groaned and pulled herself out of bed, fighting back the fence of blankets which covered her. She re-positioned her night down which had fallen over her entire shoulder and half of her chest, then crossed her arms and walked over the the window. She opened it and it flung open, then she yelled down, “Marcus, I swear to go-!”. Except it wasn’t Marcus coming to bother her again.
She closed the window and turned away, shuffling through the dark of the room. She pulled off her nightgown from her naked frame, then pulled on a pair of leather riding trousers and a blouse. She buttoned it up and made her way downstairs without waking up the family. The Falrum house was one of the largest in the village, and even though she was old enough to live on her own, she still preffered to lodge with her family instead of stay lonely in some tiny cottage where she would be taking up space she didn’t even need. When she got the the back door, she found her muddy boots and pulled them on, and finished off with her thick velvet cloak. Her long platinum hair was still in a very loose and messy braid, hanging over her right shoulder. She unlocked the door and stepped outside, closing it again and pushing a few stray locks out of her eyes and behind her ears.
She gently walked out of the relatively large yard and felt the cold air brush viciously against her face. The sky was faintly illuminated by traces of the sun, which had not yet risen over the peaks. “Primrose.” She said as she walked up and stopped behind the small brunette who was still gazing up at her window. She could feel Arin waking up as well and approaching them, although not at his usual speed, since he too was half asleep. It would take a few minutes before she would have to stop him from massacring Prim and her very little dragon. She raised an eyebrow at the girl as she turned around, a small half smile tugging at the corner of her lip. She didn’t know wether she was furious or amused.
Ella Falrum » Red