Author's note: I finally decided to write about writers. It feels like cheating, it's so easy.
Chapter 4 (part 2)The night was thick and dark, and the black clouds that blanketed the sky poured down rain relentlessly on the ominous woods. A figure lay crumpled in a gully by the wood’s edge, soaked with blood and rainwater, shivering and crying into her arm.
She was only seventeen. How did this happen?
The girl lifted her head only long enough to realize she was in a ditch, too weak to move or pull herself free. Her muscles were tight, her body curled into an unmovable ball. Her teeth were clenched,
No one knew she was here, she realized. There was no way she was getting out of this alive. That was why she was crying. Her sister and brother weren’t expecting her until the end of the month, and her master…
She had seen Kian struck by the mage’s shaft.
“Is he out here too, bleeding? Dying?” she wondered dimly through her fogged consciousness, blinking the water out of her eyelashes and trying to breathe. Her lungs spasmed, and she coughed out a mouthful of blood and water. She wasn’t aware her sobs were aloud until she heard them when the wind lulled.
“Kian…” she croaked, moving her arms far enough to grab a handful of mud and try to drag herself forward, but it only got more mud on her face. She let out another burst of sobs, and realized she was bleeding heavier than she thought as her side suddenly warmed. It was soaked with fresh blood. “Kian…”
One hand groped and found a root. A spark of hope burst to life in her chest and she gripped the root with all her strength, determined not to let go. Then, with a burst of strength, she heaved herself up with one arm, but only managed to move a few inches. She dropped back to the ground, splashing mud, getting it in her mouth. She spit it back out, felt the blood warm her side again, and tried heaving once more.
This time she made it a bit farther. She let out a scream as she fell again, gasping and tasting the rich dirt in the mud before choking on it and coughing it out. Her side burned like a hot coal was pressed to it, and she could still feel where the knife had been.
The rain drowned out all noise. All she could hear was the rain pounding on a million leaves, soaking her, splashing her, choking her. She gripped the root again and flung herself up, gripping the edge of the ditch with her other hand, her breaths heavy and hoarse as she determinedly focused on getting to the top. Her vision as spotty, she realized, as big black dots faded in and out in the corners of her eyes, and then flashed red. She closed her eyes tightly and shook her head before opening them again.
Dark. It was so dark. The only thing she could make out was the shining wetness of the leaves in each flash of lightning, as well as the dark outlines of trees in the distance. How wide was the forest? Where was Kian?
Her thoughts were getting foggier. She thought she heard Kian calling, but she had seen him go down. His talisman was missing, he couldn’t have survived.
She heard someone crying and realized it was herself. Her empty sword sheaths were chafing her legs where the cloth had been torn away from her shins. She could feel the raw skin becoming blood-soaked.
She thought she heard Kian calling again. It was far away, too far away to hear through the rain.
Then how could she hear him?
She tried to lift her head again and managed to see over the very top of the ridge. Lightning flashed and she saw a figure in the distance. She blinked rapidly. It couldn’t be him.
No, he wasn’t alive.
It was obvious he was limping, and badly, but he was still walking. But she had seen the shaft go through him…
He fell to his knees before her, reaching down and cupping her face in his hands. “Eclipse… you’re alive…”
“Kian…?”Her voice was a mere croak. “You’re… you’re…”
“Alive too,” he gasped, and she saw blood in the corner of his mouth. “We need to get out of here. They’re coming.”
Terror struck her already exhausted heart.
“Why?” her voice was broken, and fresh tears leaked down her face, streaking through the mud.
“Because…” Kian shook his head, his wet, blonde hair plastered to his face, blood streaming through it. “The world… they can’t accept us.”
She was crying again. “But why?”
Kian had no answer. Their eyes locked for a long moment, and Eclipse realized what she saw was sorrow. Something in the way his expression was apologetic…
“We need to get you out of here,” he suddenly said stiffly, interrupting her slow thoughts. Using the majority of his strength, he looped his arms around her and pulled her up as gently as he could, but still she gasped as she flopped onto the sodden forest floor.
They both snapped their heads up as the faraway sounds of shouting reached their ears. It was muffled by the rain, but already they could see the torches flickering in the distance, protected from the rain by the glowing spheres of magic.
“Stay awake,” Kian ordered, shaking his hair out of his eyes and preparing to lift her. She could see him shaking, and wondered dimly if he had the strength to lift her. He did, swiftly, but staggered once he was on his feet. Then he turned away from the lights and began limping deeper into the forest. Eclipse’s consciousness was still weakening.
“Will we die?” she asked, her head cradled against Kian’s shoulder. He was panting heavily, but he shook his head.
She felt safer. The way he said it was unarguable.
“I see them!” someone shouted from afar. Kian started. Then he looked into her eyes.
“Eclipse,” he said huskily, something akin to despair on his words.
He paused, but only momentarily. “Promise… promise me something.”
“That you’ll carry on with your family.” He slowly knelt and lowered her to the ground. Confused, she looked up as she heard a ripping sound, and saw him tearing up his coat. Then he tied it around her middle, cutting the blood flow from the wound. Everything was foggy…
“But… why?” She didn’t seem to feel pain anymore.
“Just promise me, Eclipse,” Kian panted. He looked over his shoulder and worked faster. “This is important to me.” He looked up and caught her eye, looking deep into her. “Very important.”
She didn’t need to wait to answer. “Alright… I promise,” she mumbled sleepily. She became dully aware that Kian was hiding her in a hollowed-out pit underneath the roots of a nearby tree. Like a cage.
“What are you doing?”
“Stay.” He began burying the roots with leaves, keeping her hidden.
She heard him running off, shouting at the top of his lungs, running the other way.
There was silence for a few moments, as the shouting became quieter.
Merry sat back and stared at the magnificent, dark piece of work before her. Something about it was different then stuff she had done before. Her eyebrows went up and she pushed away, musing on the piece.
Something about Eclipse was different than the others.
Or maybe she wasn’t.
Or maybe she was.
Merry couldn’t seem to decide. Instead, she finished her writing session with a single word.
Sean looked up. “Wow what?”
“Wow as in, wow,” she replied, pointing at her screen. “I just did part of Eclipse’s back story, and it’s all new-like.”
“Back story?” Sean clambered to his feet and came up behind her, peering over her shoulder at the screen, one hand on the chair. Merry sat back and let him read it, which took him only a few minutes. When he was done, he pulled back looking impressed.
“Wow,” he said, and Merry nodded.
“That’s what I said.”
“I know.” He eyed it again, musing. “Where did it come from?”
“I have no idea,” she replied with a long breath, seemingly exhausted by the extensively detailed story segment. “But it certainly worked out well, didn’t it?”
“I’ll say.” Sean sat on the desk beside her computer and pointed philosophically at her with his pencil. “You never really do back stories. Why did you decide to do Eclipse’s?”
Merry shrugged again and pushed back, letting her chair roll partway across the floor. “It came to me,” she explained. “So I wrote it down. It was almost like watching a movie and then describing it.”
“Ooh,” said Sean. He took off his glasses for effect and looked her up and down. “You’ve never had that kind of… revelation before.” Merry made a face at him.
“Well. Now’s the time to start. I plan to have many more revelations before Eclipse’s story is fully told!” She did a dramatic flair and then spun out of her chair, stumbling to the bed and collapsing on it. “What time is it?”
Sean checked his watch. “Time for me to go.
“Ok,” Merry replied, lifting her head and smiling. “See you tomorrow.”