A/N [BIG update Oct. 1st 2010] ~ I'm back! Yeah you may notice a few things different. Not much though. I decided that I didn't like my writing style, and so, revised the WHOLE thing! The story line is no different, but the wording of my sentences... well, hopefully got better. I also tried to add a few more details since I'm not a very descriptive writer and sometimes that hurts the story. Anyways, have fun reading! Please do review! It's the only way I know this made any difference!
As always, Kudos to anyone that can name any of the in game skills I use throughout the story!
I sat up in bed, the night slipping away from me. The moon shone brightly through my window and filtered a ghostly white through the silk curtains. It had to be midnight already, but still, I couldn't sleep. This restless feeling had taken hold of me for reasons that I couldn't even begin to figure out. No headache, no pain at all, just some sort of forboding feeling despite the calm of the night.
I let out a heavy sigh. Tomorrow was my birthday! My sixteenth birthday to be exact; I didn't want to be dead on my feet for the whole thing! My birthday was the only day that my grandmother could spend more than just a few minutes at a time with me and I wanted to be awake for every moment!
After getting dressed I made my way quietly out of our treetop home and onto one of the thick branches. The air outside was cool and crisp and a wonderfully clear early spring night sky awaited my wings. Perhaps I merely needed to show myself that everything was fine, a quick flight normally did the trick to clear my mind. Then maybe sleep wouldn't so far off.
I let my pure white wings appear and took off into the night. I felt at home in the sky, just like any Wing Elf. How could anything ever feel free being confined to the ground? Flying was such a sensation, such an exhilarating experience. I knew how to fly before I ever knew how to walk, if that was at all possible. It was what my parents had always told me.
But that was before…
I shook my head to shove the thought aside and focus on flight, on the gentle breeze beneath my wings.
Plume City was quiet beneath me, a breathtaking sight at night actually, when everything seemed to be surrounded in an ethereal glow. I took a quick swoop through the roots of the enormous tree Plume was built around. Who knew how old it was or how much it had weathered, but for generations the town square had been nestled between it's roots. It was odd to see this normally busy area so empty. Even at this time of night, when everyone else slept, the lights still glowed.
I left it behind, flying back out into the open sky. Few sentries stood guard during these times of peace, considerably less than I remembered before when the wraith wars still raged on. They didn't even notice me as I flew into the outskirts. I would make one circle around the city and be back before anyone ever noticed I was missing
I stopped mid-flight, whirling to look for the source of that voice. I found no one. Even though that whisper had sounded so close, right in my ear, I saw no one there. My eyebrows furrowed. So much for clearing my mind like I had intended. If anything the same feeling that kept me from sleeping had returned with a vengeance.
Just the wind… or I must really be tired… I thought to myself. I pressed forward again, shaking off the feeling of being watched. Now I was just paranoid. I knew I was tired, that's all it was for sure.
Again, that whisper came and again I stopped. "W-who's there?" I demanded though I failed miserably to sound demanding. My heart thumped loudly in my chest and I tried to calm it. No reason to panic. There had to be an explination, a reasonable explination.
One that I would find in the morning.
I turned to head back home where it looked like I still wouldn't get a wink of sleep but something stopped me in my tracks. My ears were suddenly filled with a dreadful noise! Where was it coming from? What was it? I clenched my eyes shut, covering my ears but nothing helped!
Images flashed through my head, horrible ones! What was happening to me? I could hear screams, see flames, smell the smoke… Why did I see my home, the beautiful city of the wing elves, burning? What would attack us?
When I opened my eyes again, I was shocked to find the ground flying up at me faster than I would have liked. During that odd spell my wings had folded and I was now plummeting!
Pull it together Cat! I mentally screamed at myself. I managed to catch the air beneath my wings to cushion my fall but it wasn't quite enough for me to catch myself. My legs couldn't handle the impact of my sloppy landing and I landed with a painful thud in the dirt.
"What in the world…" I muttered, flinching and picking myself back up. My head still hurt, my ears rang but the screaming and the noise was gone. What was that?
"Lady Catriona!" A voice shouted behind me.
I still hadn't gotten all the way up yet. I glanced over a shoulder to see that two of the sentries had apparently noticed me and now rushed to my aid.
Great… Grandmother's going to kill me. I thought
"Are you alright? We heard a scream and then saw you falling!" one of them, a young man said. They both helped me to my feet
"I'm fine. Really." I tried to reassure them.
"But you're shaking."
My eyebrows furrowed as I took notice of this fact. My legs still felt weak underneath me and it took all the concentration I could muster to keep my hands steady.
"We should take you to a healer."
"What? No! I'll be fine." I said quickly.
"What happened to you up there Lady Catriona?"
"Uh… a, um… wing cramp?" I offered with a nervous smile, earning me skeptical glances from both of the sentries. I guess they weren't buying that.
"You're going to a healer, we can't let the elder's only grandchild go home injured." one of them said, taking a light grip on my arm.
I frowned. "Injured? But I'm not injured."
"Your hands are all scraped up."
"But it's just a scrape." I argued. "Honestly I'm fine."
My grandmother would never let it go if she knew I was out by myself late at night! I was the last family member she had left and so was she mine. I would never hear the end of it. How could I worry her like that?
The two began to lead me along, not taking their attention off me for a second. I was in trouble and I knew it, but that wasn't the only forboding feeling pressing from the back of my mind. Something else settled in the pit of my stomach, that same feeling from earlier, the one that kept me awake. If anything it had worsened since it's return... since that whisper.
The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. There was something about the night now. It was too quiet suddenly, not even a cricket chirped as if they knew to hide from something that we didn't yet know of. Movement caught my eye as a few trees suddenly swayed just a bit in the forest right outside the city, not far from where we were. That wouldn't have been unusual except that no wind blew, only a slight breeze. That couldn't have caused what I saw.
"D-did you see that?" I stammered. "There something out there."
"If you think you can distract us from-"
"No! I'm being serious! I just saw the trees move!"
It seemed that this time they both heard the noise and a section of the forest once again shook. All three of us stood there, staring out at it for a moment.
The bigger of the two guards began toward the edge of the town, bow drawn and loaded with an arrow, ready to fire while the other stayed with me. He made sure to stay in front of me as his partner investigated. "Do you see anything?"
"Aiden…" the other replied after a moment, a warning in his tone.
"Don't make any sudden moves… but take Lady Catriona out of here."
He looked confused. "What is it?"
That was when I saw it, two burning embers in the darkness of the forest. The eyes of a monster, a large one. I could feel the color drain from my face and my heart begin pumping again. I found myself unable to move as that fiery gaze rested on me.
"Come on…" The sentry named Aiden said to me, pulling gently on my arm.
I began to move back not taking my attention off the large scorpion like creature making its way into town from the forest that surrounded it. It moved rather slowly at first and even though it had been looking right at me it didn't seem to have seen me. Had it seen any of us at all?
My heart caught in my throat as my shaky legs proved clumsy. I was falling! I had tripped trying to walk backwards, even the sentry looked horrified. I landed on my bum hard, and though I had managed to stay quiet, the creature's attention immediately snapped back to me.
It let out a horrid screech before lunging forward, the very ground shaking as each of it's eight legs powered it forward. Right toward me.
"Hang on!" The sentry shouted at me, grabbing my arm and hauling me to my feet. He didn't bother trying to get me to run, instead he picked me up and took flight with a flourish of hawk-like feathers.
Despite his every effort, It didn't look like we would climb high enough in time to be out of the monster's reach! "Look out!" I couldn't help but scream as I saw the scorpion tail ready to strike at us.
But it stopped. The other sentry shot at it, getting it's attention long enough for our escape.
Back-up arrived within minutes of the commotion as I was finally put down in a safe place on the balcony of my home. The sentry didn't say a word before diving back into the fray to help his friend. Archers, a good many of them showed. They all fired on the creature, but the arrows didn't seem to get through the monster's tough exterior; it only irritated it more.
I watched on, from my perch wide eyed. This was horrible! The monster began to wreck homes, anything that lay in its path! The whole town was awake now and chaos erupted as people panicked. The rest of the town guard scrambled around to get the people to the higher levels of the city while their comrades kept the creature busy.
I felt helpless to do anything! I could only watch as the monster, whipped into a frenzy, began to destroy the whole bottom level of the town!
"Catriona! What's going-" my grandmother began. She had hurried outdoors, wrapped up in a robe. She paused when she looked below, her eyes wide. "No, it can't be…"
"Do you know what's going on?" I questioned
She ignored me, "Catriona, back inside. Now." She took hold of my arm as not to give me time to protest.
I almost gladly did what she said, I didn't want to be out here, I didn't want to see any of it! I didn't even want to see what I had already seen! While I had watched on helpless already, people had died, trampled and attacked by this beast!
A sudden cry caught my attention. It sounded like… like a child.
"What was that?" I said quickly, pulling my way back to the edge of the balcony.
"Catriona, please, back inside!"
My eyes scanned the fast moving crowd below and that's when I saw the source of those cries. A small child stayed near the wreckage of what I could only guess was his home. "Momma!" He cried at the top of his lungs. The creature so far refused to be herded any one direction and was now headed his way! He would be trampled if he stayed there! Even as high up as I was, I was the closest to him from what I could see.
Wasn't someone going to help him!
I pulled my arm free from my grandmother. It was time to stop being helpless! If no one else was going to do something then I would!
"Catriona!" Grandmother shouted after me but I had already leaped from the edge, summoning my wings during my dive instead of before.
I nearly bit the dirt again upon reaching the ground with yet another rough landing. I hurried over to the child, grabbing his arm. He looked back at me, wide eyed. I had obviously startled him.
"Come on, let's go!" I said quickly.
"No!" He shouted, much to my surprise, jerking his arm free from my grip. He pulled at one of the timbers in a futile attempt to move it. "Momma!" he cried again.
I swallowed hard as I caught sight of someone's arm among the demolished home. Blood covered pale skin, and leaked out from beneath the wreckage. The child's mother? She had still been inside when… and there was...
I felt as though I would be sick.
Another of those blood curdling screeches caught my attention and I realized now that I had just wasted precious time staring in horror at something that couldn't be helped. Attracted by the little boy's screams the monster was headed straight for us! And this time there was no room for escape.
The little boy went wide-eyed and pale as he seemed to realize the same. There was no time to run! I did the only thing I could think of doing. I wrapped my arms protectively around him and turned my back to the monster, creating as much of a shell as possible with my wings. Maybe there was still a chance for him if not for me. "Just hang on please!" I shouted, clenching my eyes shut against the pain I was sure would come.
"Catriona!" I could hear my grandmother shout in horror.
There was a loud crash, like thunder, and then suddenly silence.
Well… that wasn't as painful as I thought. Was that it? Was I dead?
No. I couldn't be. My hands still hurt from where they had been scraped earlier. But if I wasn't dead then what had happened to the monster?
I slowly opened my eyes, daring to glance behind me where the creature had surely been ready to rip me apart. "Woah!" I shouted. Before I had time to stop myself I was a few feet off the ground. It was right there! The creature!
But it wasn't moving.
Cautiously I landed, still carrying the small boy who also stared at the monster in shock. It was dead? Who killed it? I had to thank them! They had just saved my life!
I searched the crowd of people that had now gathered for my hero but I got nothing but bewildered stares. Surely one of them had taken care of it right? One of the clerics that had been throwing their magic to protect as many people as they could, or one of the archers that bravely fought to try and drive the creature off. It had to be one of them, but no one at all had come forward.
I didn't like the looks of this.
"W-what happened?" I questioned, almost sure that no one could hear me for my voice didn't come out strong at all.
"You killed it…" One of the archers answered.