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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5. Riding To Benlat

"How did you do that?" I walked in front of him, trying to block his path. Cassia only laughed at me and pushed past, heading back towards the main camp.

"None of your business," he smirked and grabbed a apple of the tree, "Maybe I'll tell you one day." I sighed and hurried after him.

"Can you at least explain why I've got to save the whole country?" He had to tell me something. I was going to find out sooner or later anyway. He went suddenly still and stared forward. I followed his eyeline and saw Rascoj jogging towards us.

"We're moving out. Some of ours have been spotted in Benlat and we need to pick them up." Cassia seemed to understand this more than I did. He sprinted off in the direction of the forest, leaving me with Rasco. He tossed me a blanket and pulled me off in the direction of some woman.

"This is Evelyn. She needs to be sorted out. Take care of her," he said to them and stalked off after Cassia. They looked at me like I was a piece of dirt and ushered me in to the tent. A girl, not much older than me, handed me a plain green dress and turned away so I coudl change. She smiled when she turned back around.

"Welcome to the rebel camp, Evelyn. We're all here for one purpose; to finish Opehs reign for good," she shuddered at the name, "Rasco's probably already told you about the prophecy, so you know why you're here. Follow me." The girl wandered out of the tent, leading me around tents and people.

"Most of us are oprhans, just like you and your brother. I myself came here with my brother after our parents were killed by Opeh. Us rebels must train constantly so we are ready for the last battle and many also spy on the Black Wings, Opeh's secret service of spies, to provide us with information. Rasco is our leader in this, having spent much time with Opeh himself," she glanced at me and took in my confused expression, "He was married to her at one time."

I arched my eyebrows. "What's he doing here then?"

"He didn't approve of what she was doing and when he tryed to stop her, she hung his parents. Any half-decent person would leave if their other-half if they did that to their parents."

Out of the tents, I could see a collection of beasts standing next to Rasco, Cassia and some others I didn't recongize. I hesiated slightly before following the girl up to them.

"Help her get her horse ready, Azelia," Rasco took in my slightly scared look and a ghost of a smile appeared on his face as he turned to another, "Zeriso! Ride at the back with Evelyn and your sister. Make sure they don't get hurt."

Azelia looked at me, rolling her eyes. I smiled and followed her to a small wood building.

"Rasco never trusts me. He doesn't think I can handle myself. That's why he always makes sure Zeriso, my brother, is with me and I spend my time with the mothers of the camp," she sighed and pulled a couple of the beasts from what seemed like cages. I can see why. She looked so small and inncoent next to the horses, which I recongized from my fathers old picture book. Her grey dress hung from her, she was so thin and loose, golden hair reached down to her waist. Azelia reminded me of the pictures my mother drew of faries for me when I was young. I'd always loved them. She'll never draw again now. Zeirso strode in a few moments later and stuck some giant leather things, stadles I think they're called. He looked nothing like his sister. A short black crop framed his sharp face, his build bigger and taller than Azelias. I don't know why Rasco worries about my new companion. It would take some serious strength to beat him in a fight.

"Have you ever niden before, Evelyn?" he studied me, watching my every move. I studied him back.

"No. I've never seen a horse in real life." It was true. I'd never had any animals around the castle, my only knowledge of the world coming from my parents books. Zeirso chuckled.

"Stand on this bucket and swing one leg over the sadle. Like this," he stood on the bucket and demonstrated. It didn't look that hard. The boy jumped off and gestured for me to have a go. I climbed on to the bucket and tried to swing my leg over. Instead of ending up on  the horse though, I found myself on the floor. Azelia and Zeirso erupted in to good-natured laughter and I soon joined in. Once we'd all recovered, I tried again. I tried again and again, until I was finally on. Azelia smiled and patted me on the back from her chestnut horse. Zeirso soon joined us up there, sitting proudly on his golden mare.

"Nice one, Evelyn. Most people take longer than 21 tries to actually get on the horse." I tried to slap him, but nearly fell off in the process. He laughed and rode out of the building. Azelia rode up beside my black mare and smiled reassuringly.

"Don't mind him. He took 30 tries to get on his first time. Come on, I'll show you how ride." She took hold of some strands of leather from the sadle and dug her heels in to the horses side. It nieghed quietly but moved slowly towards the door. The heels went in again and it stopped. Azelia turned to me, expecting me to follow suit. I took hold of the straps and dug my heels in. It took a few tries but my black beast soon began moving at my command. We rode out together and stopped when we reached the others.

"Finally," Rasco snapped from his ginger stallion, "We were starting to think you'd been trampled."

"You'll be trampled in a minute." I smiled at Rascos face. Azelia might be smal, but she's fierce. The others headed off towards the trees, smiling and joking amongst each other. Zeirso hung back and fell in to step with us. This was the first time I could really take in my surroundings. Trees were everywhere to be seen, climbing right up to the water blue sky. Flowers the size of my hand covered the floor, vibrant in color and covered with small dew drops. I reached up one hand tentativly and brushed a leaf, sending the refreshing droplets down on to my face and in to my mouth. Dad had always done that in the courtyard. He won't anymore.

"What's it like, Evelyn, expirencing the world for the first time?" Zerisos voice cut through my memories, bringing me back to reality. Good.

"Werid. I spent my whole life in my parents castle, only knowing what I read from their books or what my mum drew for me and now I can actually see it," I smiled slightly, "It's what they would of wanted I guess."

Zeirso and Azelia exchanged a knowing look and copied my branch movement. They must of guessed it was a tribute of sorts to my parents. It was nice of them to do that, but I didn't need sympathy. I was never extremely close to my parents.

"Your parents must of taught you to read and write then. What kind of things are you good at?" Zeirso pulled out a small, ruby encrusted dagger and tossed it from hand to hand, "Ever done any fighting?"

I flinched slightly at the sight of the weapon and fiddled with my horses mane.

"I'm a artist, not a fighter. My mother taught me to draw when I was a little girl and I've been drawing ever since." I pulled a notebook out of the bag I'd taken from home and handed it to him. The boy flicked through it, visable impressed, and handed it to Azelia.

"Theses are amazing, Evelyn. Are you going to keep drawing?" she handed the book back to me but, before I could answer, Cassia had joined our small little group.

"What's in that book you just passed around?" he asked with a quizicial look on his face. Zeirso had sat up straighter beside me, Azelia avoiding his gaze for some reason. I passed it over to him and watched his face as he flicked through it.

"It's really good," he told me, handing it back to me, "Just don't let the leaders see it."

It was my turn to look quizical. "Why?"

"They don't approve of people having hobbies that don't help the cause. Draw in private though and you'll be fine," he reassured me, his eyes wavering over the others, "Zeirso, Azelia."

He rode back up front and was soon engrossed in conservation with the other rebels. I didn't have to look at Zeirso or Azelia to know they'd relaxed again.

"Why did you two tense up when he was here?" I said quietly, my eyes still trained on Cassia.

"I used to be his girlfriend, until he cheated on me with some other girl. Zeirso tryed to beat him up afterwards and ended up being beaten up himself. He was in the infirmany for three weeks," she sighed, staring at the trees ahead. I couldn't even imagine what that would of felt like for Azelia. Having someone openly chosing someone else over you... It would feel too horible to describe.

"I'm sorry," I mumbled back, suddenly kind of embrassed. I didn't really know why.

"Don't be. I slapped round the face and gave him food poisioning afterwards," she grinned and I laughed slightly.

"Good. He deserves it."

I'd only know Azelia and Zeirso for a few hours, but I already liked them and wanted them as my friends. I kind of hoped I was.

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