Hey! How are you guys? I know it's been awhile, but I'm still posting. I just got stuck and now I'm out of my…stuckness. Anyway, you can probably tell I was trying to write out of writer's block but you'll forgive me right? Hope you enjoy and please review!
Invisible. That's how I felt. You know in all those great stories where, to add more description, on author will say, "Servant's dusted here or there." Well, I was that servant. Hardily Noticed, rarely seen. In the orphanage, I'd strived to stay unnoticed, but here I'd been commanded to be.
It's not as though I was horribly treated. I had food, clothing two dark blue dresses that feel to my ankles and were square at the neckline, and a roof or tent over my head. I had even made friends with the other slaves. No one asked about my background, and I asked no one about theirs. It was a mutual agreement between us slaves, every one carried around pain and secrets that one just didn't share.
Lena was a girl with brown silky hair who worked in the kitchen and washed dishes. The plump cooks name was Sara . Alisia was a girl who worked in the garden, she had red hair and freckled cheeks. And there were many, many others that did everything from being a blacksmith assistant to a lady-in-waiting. Normally, the girls were kept far from the boys, but I had an odd job so had met them anyway. The old stable boy was gone, Lena had said something about ogres, but it didn't matter, I was the new stable boy, or girl.
I was able to enjoy the job. I had always liked horses and the Halfelves had beautiful ones. Some jobs were better then others, but it didn't really matter weather or not I liked them. I had to do it anyway. In my spare time, which I had little of, I worked in the kitchens. People were always in and out so there was always plenty of work to be done. We went to bed late, work early, and functioned as well as we could manage.
As a man would come in, I would take the horse as well as instructions and then properly take care of the horse. Different horses were to be washed, and brushed at different times, and whenever a stable was empty it was to be cleaned. We had a small camp and few slaves so I worked alone.
Life was not so bad as I had first thought it would be. Besides the fact that I was a slave who held the possibility of letting evil Halfelves take over the kingdom and who knows what else after that I was doing well. One question, one slip that would mark me out, and everything we'd ever fought for would be gone. This stupid curse.
The curse often worked against me and made it hard for me to remain in the shadows. For example, I'd been commanded to go to someone whenever they clap, because it was how Halfelves called slaves. Once, though, I was listening to Orid, the head of the slaves here, and he was giving me instructions on how to care for his horse.
A slave nearby clapped their hands either out of joy or frustration I'm not sure. Immediately the curse tugged on me to walk to the boy who'd clapped. I tried to make myself stay and listen but the whole ground tipped in the direction that the boy was in. Soon I was going to trip and fall right into him. My head began to swim and Orid's words flew out of focus. I was sure at any moment my legs would give out and I would fall.
"Girl!" Orid demanded. My eyes began to water and things were starting to go black. "Stop it." The man shouted slapping me. I decided immediately that he needed to work on his first aid tactics, but it worked and soon everything became clear and I was able to focus again. He looked at my oddly but then finished his directions.
Yet, on rare occasions the curse worked for me. If I stopped working and all my commands weren't fulfilled, the curse would tug on me to do what I'd forgotten. In addition, if I thought I was too exhausted to move, but someone gave me a command I had to obey no matter how I felt.
All together I was safe so far, I even had an escape plan forming in my head. I'd been working on it for the past few weeks and was almost ready to put it into play. If was left alone often enough I could leave around the noon meal I wouldn't be looked for until around dinner. All I had to do is tell the slave that looked after me in the stables that I would be in the kitchen and the girl who watched me in the kitchen that I would be in the stables. It's only a matter of time now.
I finished brushing the golden mare I'd been working on then went to put the supplies away. Closing the door I started walking towards the entrance so I could wash my hands. Just before I walked through the door I noticed a stable pen was nearly open and groaned. Orid's horse's pen was broken and sometimes it fell open. I have to be more careful! I then proceeded was my hands in the cool water and leave the stables.
Liana walked up to me with two lunches, one for me and one for her. She worked in the kitchens but due to the fact that it was so small, she often had to come out here and eat lunch. When she did, she brought me lunch so I did not have to run down there.
"Thanks, Liana!" I said as we both sat down. "It's good."
"It's better then hard tack." She laughed. Looking down at the bread and dry meat.
"Isn't everything?" Hard tack was a hard, dry bread given to slaves when they were in trouble or when the other food was running out.
I examined the girl as we ate in silence. She was tall and fit with gray eyes and brown hair that she wore braided and wrapped around her head like a crown. I could never get my hair to do that so I contented with it down in a thick braid.
"All right, what do you want to learn today?" Amanda asked referring to a game we played. I'd never been a slave, and she'd never been free so we would switch information around. She'd tell me something about Halfelves and I would tell her something about me. It was an innocent game that passed the time.
"Well," I said swallowing a bite. "Tell me how Halfelves rank each other. They seem to know naturally the rank of certain people. How do they do it?"
Liana looked at me shocked. "You haven't figured it out already?"
"I've only been here for a few weeks." Honestly I didn't know how long I'd been here. Day's and nights blurred together and I'd been unconscious for journey from the castle. The thought disturbed me, but I tried not to dwell on it.
Liana shook her head. "The more elfin blood you have in you, the more green you will have in your hair. So the more green you have in your hair, the higher in rank you are. One learns to judge how much of a Halfelf you are by how much green is in your hair."
I nodded, "Do Halfelves life forever?"
"Some do if they have enough Elfin blood. All Half elves are still effected by diseases like humans are, but they don't get sick as often. The more elfin blood one has, the longer he lives."
I nodded again.
"There is one odd thing." Liana commented, "The royal family has raven black hair and hawk black eyes. No one knows why, because they have the most elfin blood then any other Halfelf. Regardless their hair is as black as night."
I nodded for the last time and thought as I finished off my lunch. I tried to imagine a Halfelf with black hair. Every one had the same sharp figure and silvery hair, I couldn't even comprehend black hair.
"All right." Liana said. "You're turn; tell me a story or something about yourself."
I thought for awhile. I'd already told stories from the orphanage and she believed I used to live on a farm before I worked for a noble. I hated to lie or mislead her, but it wasn't all a lie, and it was inevitable. Perhaps I can trust her with one truth.
"Well, my name isn't really Shaylee, it's…."
"Stop!" Liana commanded. My jaw closed so suddenly I nearly bit my tongue. "Shaylee." Liana continued, "I'm not promising you that Liana is my real name, but you never tell. Once a person knows your true name, they own your true identity. I would never betray you on purpose, but there are ways of getting even the mute to speak. No matter what, you should never tell."
Silence followed and I stared at my empty plate. Never tell… I reminded myself. Suddenly a shout caused me to raise my head.
"Hey! You two!" Orid walked over to where we were sitting all the while glaring at both of us. His left hand fingered with the lash on his belt. I'd seen him use it before, but thankfully never on me. "Did I train you to sit and do nothing?" Liana and I sat and remained silent. "No, you're slaves and were meant to work. Now!" Orid stomped away and Liana and I breathed out deeply.
"I hope never to feel that thing." I said.
"Well, it's a good goal." Liana replied. I knew she'd felt it before times, I had seen her back. She picked up the plates and began to walk away.
"Wait." I called. "Thank you for everything." I whispered. She smiled, nodded and turned around.
That's how things had worked since I'd gotten here. One moment you think you can enjoy life again, and the next you're nothing but a worthless slave.
Shaylee trudged forward just steps behind Cullen. He seemed to know exactly where we were going, but refused to tell her. They'd been walking since the night before and Shaylee felt sleepy and worn out. Each time she thought of Faye though, her energy returned. This is my fault and I'm going to get her out of it.
"Cullen, where are we going?" She asked, again.
"I told you already, I'll tell you when we get there."
Shaylee shook her head, "But at that time I'll already know. Tell me, Cullen!"
Cullen said nothing and just kept walking until Shaylee stopped and said loudly, "I'm not going one more step until you tell me!"
Cullen stopped turned around and glared at the girl. "Oh yes you are." He demanded walking up to her and grabbing her arm. Despite Shaylee's protests, he managed to drag her a little ways before she broke free.
"No!" She shouted. "I can not put up with this. Right now, right here, you are not a noble and I'm not a servant. Out here I'm not a pathetic girl and you're not a valiant boy. We are a team! We are working together for one cause. I will take no more of your princely airs." Shaylee's voice changed from shouting to pleading, "We're a team."
Cullen stared at her for a long time. He seemed to be fighting within himself. Finally he spoke, "You're right, Shaylee. I'm sorry. Will you forgive me, again?"
"Of course," Shaylee answered without hesitation.
"Shall we stop here for the night and talk about our plan?"
Shaylee nodded and they both started setting up camp.
Char paced his room trying not to panic. I sent guards for Cullen quite awhile ago, they should be here by now. He made himself sit and relax. He was planning on sending Cullen away until everything cleared up or they found Faye. It shouldn't be hard to find her, just one girl in the whole world. Like finding a needle in a haystack. No, a burning haystack.
A nock sounded on his door. "Come in." He said expecting Cullen. Instead, he saw a miserable looking guard.
"Yes?" Char asked trying to keep frustration out of his voice.
"Sir, it's your son. He's missing. No one has seen him since this morning."
Char groaned, "Is that all?"
The guard gulped, "No, the servant girl's missing also. They left this." The guard handed him a paper. Sighing Char took the paper and the guard left the room.
Cullen and Shaylee sat around a fire eating some bread and sitting on the bed rolls. The dark forest loomed over them, and there were many sounds that Shaylee had never heard before. They ate in silence until Cullen spoke up and asked, "Why do you dislike being helped so much? I was only trying to be a gentle man."
Shaylee pursed her lips. "It's not the helping. There's nothing wrong with men treating ladies like ladies, but you push it to the point where I feel useless and helpless. As though if I lifted a finger or thought something I've done something horrible. Or that if I do something on my own I'm selfish. I don't know. It's so hard to explain. I guess you can just go too far. Yes, men are more naturally stronger them woman, but we're not that helpless."
Cullen looked at Shaylee oddly but instead of said nothing.
"No, that's not what I meant." Shaylee sighed. "Just, let us work together. I'll follow you in some areas you'll follow me in some. Overly gentlemanly is worse then someone who won't do anything. I know I snap a lot, and I'm sorry for demanding so forcefully that you tell me where we were going. It's just I felt like you were leading me blindly like some child. It's…." Shaylee sighed.
Cullen smiled. "You don't understand why I want to help so much, I don't understand why you won't just let me do it. I don't think we ever will so let's just get over it and be friends. Maybe together we can get better at it." He stuck his hand out over the fire and waited for Shaylee to grab it. The two shook on the idea and they lay down for the night.
I crawled into bed with butterflies making a nervous wreck of my stomach. Tomorrow was the day I would try to escape. I had food for many days, as well as a tentative map I'd found shoved under one of the saddles. One of the men must have left it there. I was both excited and nervous.
As I lay down on the soft floor and pulled my blankets over me, I looked up at the top of the tent. It was dark outside but there were many fires going all around. I didn't see how people could live like this, always in tents, but they did. They seemed unaffected by the weather and to enjoy there nice tents. Surprisingly they were warm, but I preferred a real house. I also remember that we were in a military camp and that is was possible that not all Halfelves lived like this.
"Shaylee?" A girl asked. I rolled on my side and saw Jade looking at me. She smiled, her green eyes sparkling in the darkness. "Are you awake?"
"Yes." Came the slightly irritated reply. "And if I wasn't I am now anyway."
Jade blushed and then spoke again. "Do you ever think we could get out of here?"
My mind threw up walls immediately. I can't let anyone know about tomorrow. "Sure, I guess." I replied trying to sound uninterested.
"I do." Jade said barely in a whisper. Her eyes sparkled with the thought of freedom. "One day, I'll get out of here. I'll be free again and go find a nice house and job. I'll…" Jade's voice faltered and she cast her eyes down.
"It's all right, Jade." I reassured. "We all dream about it. Go to sleep now, morning will be here faster then we'd like."
Jade nodded and rolled over. I did also and looked at the orange flames that were just visible on the canvas walls of the tent. For the first time I felt regret at leaving. There were so many of us, Liana, Jade, Sara, Rachel, Lena. There were other's too. Ben, Will, Scarlette, all who were
man-servants for owners of the horses I worked with. How could I leave them all? Every since I'd gotten here they had taken care of me. Yet, how could I stay?
I was now faced with a difficult choice between friend, family, and responsibility. Yet, my friends here are just like my family, but I have a responsibility to Ella and Char and the kingdom. I can't forget about that either. Frustration filled me and I wiped away a single tear. I'll come back for you. I promised before I fell asleep. I won't leave you here forever.
They were almost there and Shaylee was worried. After much talking last night and this morning, Cullen told Shaylee that he'd planned on finding help from the elves. On part, Shaylee agreed with him, but on the other she didn't know.
Elves had pulled back into the forest since the rise of the Halfelves. What made us think they would help us now? What if they won't let us go because we discovered them? Questions filled Shaylee's mind and looking at Cullen, she could tell he was worried also.
This is the best plan. Shaylee reminded herself. If Shaylee and Cullen could get elves on their side, they wouldn't have to face the Halfelves alone. It was the best course of action, but one Cullen said his father would never attempt it.
"My father claims there are many things one has to do before they go to a different race of creatures." Char had claimed. "They have their own culture and there own way of life. We can't just go in there and change everything."
But the humans don't have time to go through such formalities.
"We have to act now or face the fact that we will be to late." Cullen said. "The Elves may not accept us, or may be angry thinking we want to change their way of life, but there is no time. The whole world is at war. These Halfelves would destroy us all one by one. Hopefully they don't have the ogres on their side as well."
"I though ogres didn't have sides." Shaylee said.
"They don't, but I guess it's a possibility."
Shaylee shivered and looked around the forest. At any moment an Ogre could jump out of nowhere. She suddenly wished she'd learned how to use a sword. But she had no time to think on it further. Out of the bushes stepped a shinning figure who had a bow aimed at both of them. The bright light surrounding the person made it impossible to tell anything about them. All Shaylee could do was hope this all worked out for the better.
Hope you enjoyed!!!!