Kaden stared over the leaping orange and blue flames of the fire, to where her dad stood rummaging through his pack. His gray hair was sticking up in uncontrollable tuffs; his eyes were blood shot from lack of sleep. Her heart went out to him, for this was the second time he had to do this, to lose a loved one to "them." "I'll keep the fire burning for you. What else can I do? You must do what you must do and so do I. For me, waiting is easier than the alternative. So I'll keep the fire burning for you and you keep your wits about you lass…" Mr. Motney reached out a hand to touch her shoulder. "I promise not to come back without him dad," she pulled her jacket on inside out, taking the salt that was in a baggy and putting it in her own small pack…She had bracelets made of iron on, as well as a couple rings. Kaden would need all the help she could get. But these were just small gestures of protection and she wasn't even sure they'd work. Already her father was working on making a circle with the salt, enclosing himself behind it. Taking a deep breath, Kaden glanced into the blackest of black nights…the moon hiding behind the clouds. But more frightening was the knowledge of it being Halloween, the day of the year when the veils between the worlds were the thinnest. Many a dreadful thing lurked about in the shadows on this night…Kaden only hoped she didn't run into any of them. Before her courage could waiver, she stepped forward from the camping spot she and her father had secured. Every footfall crunched, echoing in the stillness of the evening. The sound was disconcerting and Kaden shivered. She thought instantly of her brother Samuel…he was only twelve and all alone with "them." Although naturally it should've been her father going on this trip, taking up the task of trying a daring rescue, but the man she called "dad," wasn't always all there. He'd been hiding his kids away from the world for too long, ever since the disappearance of her mother. Oh, he let them go to school, but not without wearing their clothes inside out, or wearing a protective iron encased amulet. They were teased, relentlessly for such things, especially her brother. He'd been getting beat up a couple times a week and finally declared that he wouldn't wear his clothes in such a ridiculous manner any longer. That was on Monday…the day he went missing and here it was Friday. Kaden couldn't even be sure that he was still alive, but after what had happened to her mother she knew she had to try. It had been a Kelpie that had lured her mother into the river back in Clovesdale, before they'd moved to Craftoff. She'd only been ten then; over seven years had passed. It hardly seemed possible, but here she was in her senior year of high school, an outcast, never any friends, but her brother and dog Milo. Not that she wasn't pretty, with her cascading long, corn silk colored hair and golden eyes. Yet, her strangeness and along with her family (much to her disgust) ensnared her the nickname Mad Motney one and her brother Mad Motney two. What did those fools know anyway? The moment her brother tried being normal, he'd been snatched and now she was his only hope. Kaden walked slowly into the wooded area, the canopy of trees blocking out even more light, if one can find that possible. Slight whisperings could be heard through the trees, rustlings and music. The music was light and tinkling, like it was daring you to come closer to see where its beauty arose. Kaden could imagine undying love pouring from the lips of a bard, or of sunshine and flowers everything encased in loveliness. But then it changed, leaving behind the innocence and instantly became haunting and Kaden turned to see if anything was behind her. Her heart beat out frantically, keeping time with the loud drums that shook the ground beneath her feet. Then all went still and the little lights darted in and out between the large oaks and pines. And there, up ahead was what she'd been searching for. "The fairy mounds…" Kaden murmured in awe. She could feel the slight stirrings beginning, from the tips of her toes to the top of her head, she could feel a strange surge moving through her…Her iron bracelets instantly burned and she had half a mind to fling them off, but she needed the protection. Taking a hesitant step forward, the girl quickly found herself inside the mound. The branches on the other side of this gateway were curved into arches and up ahead was a grand looking castle all made of trees and greenery—which appeared to be opened for anyone to just filter in. She gasped as her eyes fell upon all the odd creatures. There were little men, no bigger than her hand, wearing flopping green hats and men that were part goat from the waist down and human all the way up (other than horns protruding from their heads). She could see elves, sitting together around tables of food and dwarves, centaurs and little fairies. Everything she'd believed to be myths was standing right in front of her. They didn't notice her nor pay her any mind, so she crept along the edges of the people in the great hall looking for Samuel. But she didn't see the short human boy anywhere. A dark hallway at the rear of the room caught her eye and she maneuvered towards it, nearly bumping into a tall man. He turned around to stare at her for a long moment. He was adorned in tight brown leather breeches and an off white tunic that was unlaced to reveal dark chest hair. Over his shoulders hung a deep burgundy cape and a golden sword was belted at his side. Her gaze traveled up his startling handsome face, with a squared off jaw and high cheekbones. His hazel eyes flirted between the colors of blue, gray and green. Kaden was momentarily entranced by this, the most beautiful being she'd ever laid eyes upon. Then she of course spotted his pointed ears beneath his dark shoulder length hair and stifled off a gasp, which got caught in her throat. "Pardon me," a slow smile spread across his lips. Kaden shivered at the sound of his melodic voice, but remembered her brother and bolted off rapidly down the hall. Now she found herself in a throne room, luckily it was empty except for a wooden cage hanging up a few feet above an opened pit in the floor. "Samuel," she called in a loud whisper. The cage swayed slightly and the girl rushed as near to it as she could, without falling into the hole. An immense heat came up from the pit and Kaden dared a glance down into it. She nearly shrieked, as two ruby red dragons paced back and forth like they were waiting for an opportunity to snatch the boy. "Kaden," Samuel called back his hands clasping the bars tightly. "I'm here to get you out. Just hold still while I try and get some rope tossed up to you," she dug through her small pack. "Is there a lock on the outside?" "No…they figured even if I could get the door open there was no way I would be able to get around the hole and dragons," he cried softly. "You'll have to catch the other end of this," she told her younger sibling. It took several minutes to get the rope up to her brother, then at last he finally caught it. "Now tie that end to the edge of the cage and climb down." "What? I might fall into the pit." "Listen we don't have a lot of time! Just do it, I'll be down her to grab you," Kaden tried reassuring him, but she was losing her temper with every wasted moment. Samuel gripped tightly to the rope and began to slither down it, when she heard footsteps coming in behind her. "Hmmm…it seems as if we have an intruder," a masculine voice spoke. Kaden whipped around to see the same elf that had been in her way only moments before, only now he wore a crown on his head. "I've come for my brother! I'm not leaving here until I have him…" "You're never leaving here…" the elf smirked. "Bow to King Nen," a centaur snarled out raising his sword. "I bow to none of your kind," Kaden snapped, when she heard Samuel whimper behind her. She saw that he was losing his grip on the rope and she rushed to pull him safely down. "When I say run…don't look back," she stated under her breath gripping tightly to the salt she'd brought with her. "Now…" Kaden flung salt all around them as they ran and she could hear screams as the enemy tried coming at them. They were instantly repelled, or at least the weakest of them were. But Nen was on their tale along with the centaur. After a few more shouts, the trees moved to block the doorway, imprisoning the would be escapees. "You can't escape the Seeley Court," Nen grinned. "Please, this is a mistake…let us go!" Kaden pleaded, but his hazel eyes only looked more amused by the request. "And why would I want to do that?" "Then let my brother go, take me instead." Samuel shot his sister a startled glance. "And what will you give me for your brother's freedom?" "I already told you…me, I'll stay in his place," she murmured, finally keeping eye contact. "Release the boy. I think I found my new queen," Nen crossed over to where the lovely Kaden stood. "Now give me your word." Kaden fidgeted with the iron bracelet and began to speak. "I promise…to never step foot back in here again," she jerked back, but not before clamping the bracelet down on the elf's arm. He cursed and she could see the red mark that was already beginning. With Samuel's hand in hers she dragged him toward the doors, which were opening due to the trees' attentions being on their master. The pair ran aimlessly through the woods, neither speaking until they burst out and towards the campsite. Kaden searched for the glowing embers of the fire that her father had promised to keep burning, but it wasn't there. "Dad?" she called out to no avail. The footsteps sounded from behind her and a great light enveloped the whole area, like a flare had been fired up. A not so thrilled Nen was holding her father. "I see that you've your father's knack for lying…" "What are you talking about…your people have killed our mother and you kidnapped my brother!" Kaden screamed with tears in her eyes. "Is that what he told you? Well Brutus, you certainly have been telling some fibs," he stated as the gray haired man shoved away from the other man. "I see you're wearing a different face now as well." Kaden was confused, then watched in horror as her father's skin fell away, leaving in its wake a tall troll. It had rough bark like skin, and beady yellow eyes. Her father smiled revealing jagged stone like teeth, that appeared to have been crushed and shoved into his mouth. "Nen, pleasant as ever. And Kaden, how beautifully you've brought them into my trap!" "What are you talking about?" the girl asked, with a horrified glance. "How about telling your children how you killed your own wife for starters? Or how you kidnapped her from our kingdom, when she was suppose to wed my brother Tembren?" The girl swallowed hard as she stared at the beast that was her father. "Penelope was but a daft young woman…but her loveliness was enthralling. When she told me she would never have a beast for a husband, I took it upon myself to prove to her how wrong her words were," Brutus Motney laughed horrifically. "So I stole her away and she married me. And then the children came…both holding the elfin beauty of their mother. But within them was woven the night, my blood. I tried talking her into raiding the Seeley Court, where we could take our rightful place as king and queen. Instead she tried fleeing with my children and I stopped her. You see, she couldn't hold her breath under water…" Brutus smiled. "Of course you kept searching for my children trying to abscond them from me, but I tricked you. And here you are, brought into my trap by my own flesh and blood!" he pointed at Kaden. "What? I never went to bring them out here, I went for Samuel," the girl seethed. "Ahh…my girl how do you think Samuel came to be in their possession? I assure you they weren't keen enough to pull something like this off." Kaden realized that not only was her father a monster, but quite insane as well. She dreaded to hear about her brother's capture. Her father didn't care though and proceeded with his fable. "You see I knocked Samuel out and turned his clothes right side in and left him in the woods. I knew that Penelope's people wouldn't think twice about the boy being in their domain. After all he is partially of their blood." "Then why was he in a cage if we are their people?" Kaden shouted pointing at Nen and his followers. "We were hoping to lure Brutus into our clutches," Nen answered softly as if ashamed of his own behavior. "You see we thought that perhaps young Samuel had managed to escape your father and then you walked in…" "Enough of this talk. There's a price I've been meaning to collect for a very long time! The brother of Tembren, now mine to do whatever I wish with." This time Nen chuckled. "You and what army Brutus?" A moment later, loud crashes came up all around them as trees and plants were shoved aside by more beastly trolls. They were surrounded by the rock like creatures of the night. "Your family should've stepped aside from the beginning Nen. They should have let me take Penelope free and clear. After all I'm the King of the Trolls, and yet you all scoffed me…even she did!" his eyes blazed as he fought back some old memory. "But now I shall have my revenge." Kaden stepped back, coming up in front of Nen. Her hand reached back and snapped the iron bracelet off. She then moved to take off her own, dropping them to the ground. She let her jacket slide off, then proceeded to take off her jeans and shirt, all of which were on inside out to keep back the fairies. All that remained on her was her tank top and a pair of long johns. "I will not let you kill them," Kaden held her head high. "Will you too betray me? My own flesh and blood!" Brutus glared. "You will come to me at once and while you're by my side you will take a long hard look at the man you would've been betrothed too had your mother stayed in her own land." Kaden didn't move, but watched as her father's trolls moved closer pulling out their large battle-axes. The girl pulled a small needle from her hand…one she'd slid out of her pack before she'd set it on the ground. She could hear her mother's voice telling her stories as a child, all containing a troll as the villain. But there was a flicker of a memory, something about sunlight being the mortal enemy of trolls. Kaden took the needle and began to weave it in the air, like she were sewing something. "I'm of the dark and of the light, both strewn in my blood. I'm both the moon and the sun and will come riding in on the clouds. The stars guide my hand as I weave, to stay warm before I leave. All that's left to be awoke, will come to be, when I put on my cloak…" she finished. She gripped up the piece she'd sewn and a bit of the night came away from the sky. Kaden fastened the cloak about her shoulder…a cloak made of the finest stars and of the moon and clouds. She took a step forward and more of the darkness flowed after her. Kaden moved quickly towards her father. "See, my child has chosen me," he grinned, then shouted out for his trolls to cease the enemy. But Kaden rushed to the edge of the cliff and dove…her cloak woven of the night sky followed her all the way down into the river and dawn rushed in. She hit the waters and swam as deep as she could go, noticing the water growing ever more dark as she went. It had worked, and she reached up her hand and untied the night sky from her shoulders and swam as quickly as she could to the surface. Upon exploding back out of the water, the girl looked up to see her father's form, now encased in stone and watched as Nen pulled out his sword and cut down the statue like figure. It crumbled on the edge of the cliff and Kaden could only feel relief flood through her. She couldn't believe the heartache her mother had felt being a prisoner. It was an even bigger struggle to understand how Brutus could've struck her down. Slowly she made her way to the rocky shore and emerged from the river, only to be met by several flying fairies. They each took hold of her and flew her up to the top of the cliff, where Nen and his people awaited her. "I truly am sorry," Kaden stared down at her feet. "I put you and your people in danger." "Nonsense. You saved our lives and now I ask that you come home." "Home?" Kaden sighed with a chuckle. "We have no home…we are neither light nor dark." "You always have a home my love. Brutus spoke one word of truth in all of this and that was that you were intended for me. Penelope's eldest daughter, to give her hand to Nen, youngest brother of Tembren," he held out a small scroll for her to see. There were two signatures, one was her mother's and the other Nen's father's. Kaden stared at Samuel who nodded for her to accept this offer. The girl began walking towards the woods, the elfin king by her side. She felt his hand take hers and glanced over at him…in his ever changing eyes she saw her future—the destiny that had been determined long before she'd ever been born. "They're in love…" small whispers sounded in the forest. Kaden felt small tugs on hair then turned to see that the little fairies had knotted her's and the king's hair together. She stopped momentarily and laughed knowing she was finally going home…Nen leaned over and let his lips brush hers, for a promise made, is a promise kept.
by Rebekah Purdy
February 21, 2006
April 19, 2006 03:25 PM UTCviews: 0 comments: 4
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