Emerald Eyes *FIRST DRAFT*

A tale has long been told of the girl with emerald eyes. But this is more than just a story. Its a destiny...

Book 2 in the Chalson Chronicles. All rights reserved. Cover designed by Alicia Keyes.

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12. Mother Saviour

It was tipping it down the next morning. We were all soaked by the time we left, the excitment of the journey all but gone. The ladies taking of Jago had been relectuncetent to hand him over, and it had taken half an hour to get him. He was now wrapped up in my black cloak and was drier than the rest of us put together. Alessio and Rasco had got up to see us off but had watched from the tent when they found it was raining. Wimps. At every movement of the horse, my back felt like it was on fire. I don't think the cut will ever fully heal. Zeirso was at the front, having done this journey before, and Cassia was just behind him They hadn't spoken a word to each other the whole time. I rode with Azelia, talking occansionly. Somehow I got the feeling that she really wasn't fine with me and Cassia, but I knew better than to bring it up. It would only anger her like normal. It only took us a few days to reach the canyon. Jago was barely aware of what we were risking to save him from danger. He'll understand when he's older though. I'll make sure of that somehow.

Death Canyon was spread out before us, the trees surrounding it offering us some cover. It was long and slender, full of stones and the occansional war prize. I can see why the Black Wings set-up their base here. We'd passed through a small druid town on the way and they'd been completely terrified of the place when we metioned it. Told us tales of werewolves and beops coming from the canyon and stealing their children. We'd all doubted it. It was probably just the Black WIngs trying to expand their army or for expirments. I'd made a silent promise to find them and try to get them back.

"The canyons clear. Move out," Zeirso handed me the telescope he had been using and began to grab the weapons. Kissing Jago gently on the head, I took my bow and arrows and made towards the path in to the canyon. The boys quickly over took me and went running down the path. Azelia jogged beside me, keeping a sharp eye on the canyon floor. The boys were just about to enter the canyon itself when I grabbed their shirts and pulled them back. A Black Wing guard stalked past, his sword brandished. I couldn't breathe. When the guard was past, Zeirso thumped me on the back and we entered the canyon. We had only made it twenty meters before we had to hide from another guard. Another twenty meters, hide again. Run, hide, run, hid. That was the pattern until we finally reached the door to our destiniation. All of us were on edge as we entered, the air prickling with nerves and excitement. Creeping along the corridor, we reached the entrance to what apeared to be a office.

"I don't care that the rebels have got the plans for the portal, we still have to go ahead!"

We crept closer to the door and listened intently to the voices floating out.

"The plans might not even work, Supest. We can't be sure that Rasco can even build a working one."

"But what if it does work? They'll be able to get a army larger than ours and we'll both lose our heads, Lar."

"We're about to test ours anyway and it will take them forever to build their own one. Come watch the test."

We hid around the corner and watched the men as they left. The one I think is Lar was wearing a long, black lab coat with glasses perched on the end of his nose. He must be the scientist in charge of the portal project. His companion, Supest I think he's called, was the exact opposite. He had greasy brown hair, combed back away from his face, and a crisp black suit hung from his aging body. We trailed after them, following them down a maze of dark and dingy corridors.

The two eventually turned in to a giant room and I peered in through the door, the others listening intently. Lar moved over to a complex looking machine, turning too many dials and flicking switches to count, and Supest to a seat next to the guy I'm guessing is the head of the Black Wings. A huge structure stood in the middle of the room and people in the same getup as Lar gathered around it with clipboards. In the corner there was a cage, full to busting with children. I pulled my head back, breathing so heavily I was worried they'd hear me. The children were all bald and were dress only in a ragged, stain covered shirt. I didn't even want to think of what the orange and brown stains had been made by. The portal started upm suddenly, a small purple whirlpool forming in the middle. I turned and nodded at the others. It was now or never.

We burst in to the room, the boys stabbing anyone who came near them. I passed Jago over to Azelia and ran over to the children. They shrank back in alarm as I neared them, eyes wide with fear. Letting myself look at the scene behind me, I could just see Azelia throwing Jago through the portal and watched my little brother disappear before my eyes. Tears pricking at my eyes, I fumbled with the lock on the cage and it sprang off, the door nearly hitting me in the face. The children ran out past me, blocking my view of the battle. I didn't see the arrow flying towards me. It hit me in the shoulder, the pain fiercer than anything I'd ever felt before. I locked an arrow in to my own bow and fired at the archer. He didn't fire another arrow ever again. Cassia made his way over to me and cupped my face in his hands.

"Jagos gone through," I could barely hear his voice through the sound of the battle and my heart pounding in my head, "Go with the children and wait by the horses. We'll sort the rest out."

I nodded and raced towards the door. The children swarmed out infront of me, and I was about to follow, when I saw it. The black cloaked man. He sat behind the world-jumper, watching me intently. We were close enough that I could see that his face was egg white, almost grey, and he was as spinedly as Supest. I stood there for a minute, my eyes locked against his, my heart pounding hard. It felt like eternity. He mouthed the same word as before at me.

Waiting.

 

With that, I sprinted full speed from there and away from the man. The room was soon behind me as I followed the children out in to the sunlight and up to the horses, shooting several guards on my way. The children stood in a huddle talking while I sorted out my wound. One of them moved towards me and knelt down beside me.

"You saved us. Thank you, Mother Saviour," she was barely the height of my hip, the rags making her look fifty pounds overweight. A deep cut was bleeding down her arm. I ripped some fabric from the bottom of my dress and wrapped it around the cut, securing it with some string. The children let out a loud gasp.

"Never before has a adult showed us such kindness, ma'am. We children have always been treated like objects, not actual humans. I am Fawn. Let me introduce you to the others you have so graciously saved." Fawn took my arm and led me around the group, introducing me to them all in turn. I smiled at everyone and shook so many hands I lost count. Once I'd been around the group, I flopped down on a rock and gazed at all of them.

"What do you want to do now you're free? We passed through your village on our way here and they seemed very keen to get you back." The children all shuddered and mumbled amongst themselves. A boy, Dashiell I think his name was, sat down beside me and looked at me with such a intense stare I felt like he was burning a hole through me.

"They treated us like vermin there, ma'am. We dare not go back," he glanced at Fawn and turned back to me with a hopeful look on his face, "Perhaps you could sort something else out for us? If that does not mess with Mother Saviour's plans of course, for we would hate to be a burnard."

"I'll talk to my companions when they're back, see what we can come up with."

Another round of gasps. The children, for some reason, all bowed or curtesied to me. I threw Fawn a confused look.

"Your words are the kindest anyone has ever spoken to us. We thank you heavily, your highness, and pray that you have a very long and full life." Dashiell nodded in agreement from his bowed position, nearly toppling over as he did so. Being called 'your highness' only brough back the memories of the dungeon and I flinched. Cassia came pelting up the path just as the children rose from their positions, and they hurried off behind the horses. I stood up and hugged him hard.

"Where are Azelia and Zeirso?" I looked around, hoping they would come bursting out from the trees. The boy looked at me gravely and cupped my face in his hands.

"They got pushed through the portal before I could get to them. I'm so sorry Evelyn," he brushed the hair from my face, chewing his lip. It was my fault. This was my quest, and mine alone. I shouldn't of let them come, I should of made them stay at the camp. Cassia sat down beside me and I rested my head on his shoulder, begging that tears wouldn't come. I could just see the children poking out from behind the horses, looking just as sorrowful as me. Fawn and Dashiell came out slowly and perched infront of us.

"It was not your fault, Mother Saviour. You did all you could for your companions," Fawn patted me on the arm hesiatly and I smiled a sad smile. Cassia was looking from the children to me, looking like a lost  puppy.

"Cassia, this is Fawn and Dashiell. They're two of the children the Black Wings were keeping. The rest are behind the horses." He shook their hands, much to Fawn and Dashiells delight, and beckoned for the others to come around. They moved around slowly, clearly scared of Cassia.

"We need to come up with a plan for what could happened to them all. None of them want to go home but we need to send them somewhere." A spark suddenly flickered in his eyes and he turned to them

"How do you lot feel about joining the rebels?" If looks could kill, mine would of killed him several times over. They all huddled together, talking about it, before Dashiell made his way over to us.

"If it is ok with you both, we would very much like to join your rebel group. We can not express our graitude for giving us this oppunrity to fight our enemies." They all bowed and curtesied to us again, they faces wide with both shock and excitement. Grabbing up the stuff, I sercued it to the horses and took hold of the reins.

"It's a long way back to the camp. Who here is the weakest?" They pushed forward four small boys and girls.The four could barely walk and they were more cuts and bones than human. I wanted to cry. Cassia loaded them all on to horses and I set about making some fixes to their ragged clothes.

It was about an hour that we started the long trek back to the camp. We'd had to hide everything twice after scouts from the Black Wings had go past, looking for us. The children had been just mumbling their thanks and helped when they could, doing everything from hunting for food to leading the horses around to stop them getting antsy. Not matter what we did though, I couldn't get the others out of my mind. I was happy Jago had gone through, it was for his own good, but Azelia and Zeirso should be here right now, joking and debating how we'll get the children past Rasco. Fawn had told me several times now that it wasn't my fault but, no matter how many times she said it, I was believing myself more and more by the second. The journey back was slightly better. I was at the back with Dashiell and Fawn the whole time, teaching them about the world as best I could, given I hadn't been living in it very long. They hung on my every word, just like I did when they told me stories of their childhoods. They had both endured more trauma than I had in the dungeons with daily beatings frm their parents and whippings infront of their whole village. That was how they met. They were both going to be whipped and they met in the holding cage before it happened. Many people met that way they said, since the whippings only happened when there was ten or more people in the cage. When we reache the camp, the children looked like they had just stepped in to a dream. Not that it would last once they meet Rasco.

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