HomeThe world rushed underneath us. I felt as though I had a hole dug into my heart from the stay with Hurricane. I told myself that I could not be in love with one such as Hurricane. He was a Wind Being and I was a Human. The two were not meant to be together. If they were, then I’m sure there would still be plenty of elves inhabiting the earth.
In a few hours we were home. The sky was clear and beautiful just like it should be. Hannah grasped me tighter as we made the steep descent into the palace court yard. There was no one in sight so my landing had gone unseen. I rushed to the palace doors and pushed them open. Elisha was receiving a message from the Prince just as I stepped inside. He glanced at me but was not distracted. The Prince looked at me curiously but did not say anything as I rushed by. As soon as I was around the corner I began to run upstairs to the Princess’ chambers. But I did not get far before a hand grabbed me and spun me around. Elisha stared at me with relief filled eyes, “He did not hurt you?”
I blushed at the show of his concern, “He did no harm to me. Hannah saved me and brought me back.”
Elisha’s eyes lit up with excitement and the concern disappeared, “Did they fight?”
I stepped back appalled, “What? No! They had a civilized…” I searched for the right word, “argument.”
Elisha’s face fell, “A fight between those two powerful Wind Beings would have certainly been a sight to see.”
I smiled wryly and began to hurry away. Elisha hurried after me, “I’m so glad you are unharmed. I did worry greatly. Did he ask you to become his queen?”
“Yes.” I said smirking, “But I refused, I was sorely tempted to say yes though.”
Elisha stopped. To my pleasure I could see jealousy seeping into his expression, “But you barely know him!”
I decided to rub it in, “Yes but he is very handsome, very charming, and his voice is irresistible. He is also very rich, I stayed in his palace!”
“You let him put your honor in jeopardy?”
I flushed. I wasn’t expecting this to backfire on me, “I had no choice in the matter. Now, I must relieve everyone else’s mind of anxiousness.”
Elisha grunted, “Lance already knows you’re safe and he passed the message on to Princess Stephanie. Lance left already; he wasn’t interested in crowding you like all the others.”
“I do not mind it too much. It’s nice to be home.” I said pleasantly. I paused for a second, “Um… I hope you do not mind me asking, but how did you get out of those chains that Hurricane wrapped you in?”
Elisha’s cheeks flared, “Uh, Lance got me out without a problem… I am sorry I was not able to protect you from that wretched beast! I was expecting a more realistic and fair fight, not the use of magic.”
“Do not worry. I thought you to be very noble and brave to jump in front of a powerful being such as he. Although, next time, we shall not sit around idly waiting for him to strike, instead, I believe we shall be much more alert. You see, we learn from our mistakes.”
“You think there shall be a next time?” Elisha asked.
I did not want to seem proud in saying that Hurricane would try to get me no matter so I just nodded and said, “He is stubborn. A defeat will only make him want to try harder next time.”
We talked for much longer as we made our way to Steph’s room. When we arrived there, Elisha left and I was met with the tightest hug I had ever received from Steph. Sabir rushed from my room and rubbed against me purring. I was shocked by his show of affection, “I’m so glad you are safe Willow! Even when Lance said you would be fine I was afraid for you! I am so sorry I failed you! I swear I shall make it up to you. The next time Hurricane comes I shall take a chunk out of his buttocks”
I went down on my knees and kissed Sabir’s head, “It was impossible for me to be saved at that moment, you need not make it up to me. And I was treated well. There was no reason to worry.”
Sabir’s eyes searched mine for any hint of false compassion. They lit up with pure joy when he found none. Baldwin came slithering to me in seconds, shouting exclamations of joy in my head, “Willow! Dearest girl you are alive and well! We all worried about you, but no one worried more the Sabir! I’d say it was terribly annoying the way he paced about day and night. It was everything we could do to keep him from going after you. I swear you have very loving guardian there… not that Tashina and I do not love you, but he loves you so much it’s ridiculous.” I lifted him up and hung him around my neck.
Sabir glared at him, “And you were telepathically talking in your sleep about her. Do not tell me you were any less worried then I was.”
I laughed, “Oh bother you two! No need to argue. I am flattered that you were worried but I was perfectly safe. And now everything is all right.”
Sabir purred, “You do know that Lance was very, very upset he failed you also. He seems overly protective about you.”
I rolled my eyes, “I am sure that is not true.”
“Oh but it is… He was mumbling to himself about how stupid he was without ceasing. He cursed and swore under his breath until Bavol gave him a good smack on the head and told him it was of no use to bring himself down. After that, Lance shut his mouth but I could see from the looks he exchanged with Merlin, that he was not yet finished whining.”
Baldwin hissed beside my ear, “Sabir, no need to attempt to make Lance look immature, you were far worse then he ever was.”
Suddenly Steph butted in, “I do not mean to be rude or inconsiderate, but I would also like to speak with our dearest Willow.” Then she turned to me and smiled kindly, “I know you must be tired and longing to sleep but I cannot let you do so. I have been in suspense for the last day and a half and I can take it no longer. Tell me every detail of your time with that frightful being named Hurricane. You must have been terrified.”
I laughed lightly, “Terrified? No… not the slightest.” And I went on to tell her every single detail of my trip. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking. Steph made me explain the part where Hurricane sung to me, in such detail that I thought we had exhausted every enchanting word in the dictionary. She thought it was irresistibly romantic and she told me that she only wished that Prince Pashad could sing. Finally I untangled myself from Steph’s anxious grasp and left her royal chambers.
I was not exhausted like everyone else had thought I would be so instead of relaxing, I went to say hello to Tashina. She was thrilled to see me in one piece, “Oh Willow! What happened? What did that creature do to you? Did he cast a spell on you?”
I ran my fingers through her mane and spoke out loud, “Yes, in fact he did cast some sort of spell over me. He used no ancient words but his voice alone captured me and placed a veil over my eyes. Come, why do I not tell you more while we get some exercise.”
Tashina whinnied in response.
I searched the stables for Bavol and found him saddling up his own horse. I asked Bavol to saddle Tashina up and then I asked him if he were in need of companion for a few hours. Bavol’s purplish eyes lit up, “That would be wonderful. I have been very lonely today and your company would be most pleasing.”
So, we set out into the nearby forest outside of the palace walls. I enjoyed Bavol’s company a lot. He was very funny and sometimes I was laughing so hard I nearly fell off my horse. Bavol had a lot of wisdom wrapped up in his head and he shared plenty with me. He told me about the many adventures he had, had in his life. This included the attempt to save his father, and the time he went searching for his kidnapped mother. In neither of these quests was he successful, and it took him forever to forgive himself.
“What happened to your father?” I asked.
Bavol sighed, “It is a painful subject, but they say that talking about painful things is better then keeping them wrapped up inside.” He smiled crookedly, “I was the son of a King… He ruled the worlds underneath the surface of the ground. My mother was a dreamer, a very talkative dreamer. She was a girl whose head was filled with thousands of foolish fantasies. Her parents thought she was ridiculous and decided to marry her off to an old ugly clerk. Maria, my mother, would not stand to have her dreams crushed so she ran away hoping that she could become a beautiful and wild maiden of some forest. She believed that one day a Prince would come riding through the forest and then would somehow be attacked by an animal. Maria thought that she would save him and he would love her from the first moment he laid eyes on her. She saw no flaws in her plan except that she knew nothing of the wilderness. My mother became sick and weak in the dark forests and she was attacked by a large lion, ravenous with hunger.” Bavol paused and looked at my face, “But she was saved, by a strange man clad in dark robes. My mother said he looked like a ghost, the way he glided over uneven ground and the way his red hair swirled around his face even though there was no wind.”
I frowned, “He sounds strangely like Lance. Red hair, a lion by his side…”
Bavol nodded, “But Lance is only one year older then me. That was a full grown man. Perhaps he was a Forest Wanderer…”
I frowned, “But you are not yet seventeen! Am I wrong? How can Lance only be one year older then you? He is a century old!”
Bavol smiled, “Let me finish my story and then you shall know why I do not grow… Now, this man called the lion away from my mother’s body, but he did not stop to nurse her no matter how pitiful she looked. He just disappeared into thin air. Hours passed and my mother had given up hope. She knew she was going to die a lonely and unromantic death. Then she heard a strange wind above her. She looked up and through the trees she saw a dragon, black as coal with red eyes. She screamed in horror. That is what saved her. The sharp ears of a dark elf caught the sound of her scream and he descended near her. At first he was merely curious and it was not his intention to help her. But he fell in love with her strange violet eyes and beautiful face. So the King swept the young girl up into his arms and they flew into the underworld on the back of a dragon. My father was very good looking but also very frightening, he expected my mother to be terror struck by him but instead she was enchanted. And so she talked her way into the cold crevasses of his heart and made it warm. But my mother could not stand the constant darkness so she pleaded with my father to let her see the sun. My father was terrified of losing her but he was more terrified of losing her love, so they compromised. Every two months my mother would go up to the surface for a month. And during one of those months that she was above ground, my father and the whole underworld of dark elves were destroyed. I was sixteen at the time and I was riding around on my father’s guardian. My father’s guardian sensed the death. He was desperate and frightened but instead of accepting that my father was dead, he flew into the underworld to search. That was when I was exposed to dark magic, and ever since, I have not been able to grow.”
I stared at him, “The elves were all destroyed?”
Bavol nodded, “Lance was the last of his kind and I, even though I am not full blood, am the last of my kind. All other elves are dead.”
We went on to the subject of his guardian. I was terrified when I found it was a dragon, his father’s dragon. I had thought those things never existed. Bavol asked me if I would like to see him. I was dreadfully curious so I said yes. After a few minutes I heard a loud whoosh, whoosh above us. I looked up to see a giant black dragon landing near to Bavol. I could not hear their conversation but it looked heated. The dragon never even said hello.
Bavol suddenly turned to me, “Do you mind taking my horse back to the stable. Breacher here needs to talk with me.”
I agreed and left them. I began to ride back to the castle thinking deeply about what Bavol had told me. The story was very strange and mysterious, the man with red hair made me the most curious.
It was good to think, but soon my thoughts turned to memories of Hurricane. I realized how much I wanted to become his queen and listen to his voice singing for me for eternity. As I was thinking about his turquoise eyes and heavenly voice I saw a movement to my left. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that someone was on the horse beside me. I screamed in surprise and sudden fear. I released the other horse’s reigns and I kicked Tashina violently in the sides. But she was running already, she had heard my scream. I did not think to look at who it was. We just galloped like our life depended on. In our flight we seemed to have missed the path and I realized we were in unfamiliar forest. I didn’t care, I continued to flee. The trees flew past us in blurs of green. I finally dared to look behind me, but I did not see anyone. As I turned forward I gasped as suddenly an unexpected tree branch was coming straight for my head. Adrenaline rushed through my veins. Out of pure reflex I jumped off my horse only to slam into another tree. I blacked out for only a second. When I could see clearly and the blackness had faded I felt my head. It was bloody.
I saw a figure approaching from the shadow of the trees. I shuddered thinking it was Hurricane come to take me back. I did not understand why suddenly I was so afraid of him when I had just been dreaming sweetly of him beforehand.
The figure emerged from the shadows and looked at me disapprovingly, “Oh Willow! Did I scare you that bad?”