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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6. The Psychic

It was another two hours until we reached our destination. Azelia had explained that rebels live all over Chalson, visiting the main camp only when needed or to discuss plans with Rasco. This was neither, according to Cassia when I asked during a break for food. No-one really seemed to know what sort of case this was. Benlat itself was very basic and plain. Even I could tell that. The houses were more like huts, made of mud and straw, with farm animals pecked around on the ground. People stood in clusters outside of their huts, watching us go by like we were aliens. To be honest, that's what I felt like. We soon reached a huge river with a small dock reaching out in to it. Mountains rose in to the fog over on the other bank, so high they probably had snow coating the tops. I knew from my parents maps that they were the Emerald Mountains and the river was the Eden River. I'd spent so much time studying them I could probably find my way around just be memory. On the bank of the Eden, I could just see a small group of people standing on the dock, talking amongst themselves. Our group dismounted, me with some effort, and jogged over to them. Well, everyone else jogged but I could barely walk. Horse saddles clearly have no knowledge of a bottom. Azelia and Zeirso walked there with me and guided me to a space where I could see. The other group consisted of a tall redhead in a skimpy black dress, a fat lady in a voluminous red dress, a boy with black curls, a deer and a black beast I didn't recognize. Rasco stepped forward and hugged the fat lady tightly. I exchanged a puzzled look with Zeirso. Why exactly are we here? Raso embraced the red head, not quite as tightly, and looked down at the boy, clearly confused,

"That's Alessio. He's nothing more than a pain in the neck to be honest," the girl spoke up. I felt a pang of sympathy for Alessio. He seemed like a nice person.

"Play nice Xanthe," Rasco shook his hand,"Welcome to the rebels Alessio. Might I ask why you're with Xanthe and Raven?"

Alessio gulped. "I got involved in a attack in Brutasis Forest by accident. It's really not my fault I'm here."

Rasco shook his head and pushed the boy towards my little group. Xanthe, Raven and Rasco disappeared inside one of the huts, leaving all of us out in the fog. I made my way over to a tree and flopped down underneath it with the other three next to me.

"So what's going on here?" Alessio spoke up, fixing his brown eyes on me. I don't know why he was looking at me.

"I don't know. I only got here this morning." He raised his eyebrows and turned towards Zeirso. He launched in to a full scale explanation of the rebel goals, getting more in to it by the second. Azelia rolled her eyes and walked away. I got up to follow after her, not really wanted to listen to Zeirsos lecture. We wandered around the village for a good while, until we reached a hut smaller than the rest of them. It had painted wooden beads hanging in-front of the door and the inside was completely black. Azelia started towards it but I grabbed her wrist.

"Are you sure you want to go in there?" I asked,"It doesn't really look safe."

She laughed and pulled her arm free. "Relax, it's only a psychic hut. I go to them all the time." I sighed but followed her in to the hut anyway. It was lit only by candles, their scents almost suffocating, and a young woman sat behind a low table, dressed in exotic robes. The whole place was full of shining stones and charms, light flickering from the candle flames.

"Azelia and Evelyn, I was expecting you. Please, sit down," the woman smiled and gestured to two cushions in-front of her. Azelia went to sit but I held her back.

"How do you know our names?" Maybe she had telepathy like Cassia.

"The gods have shown me. Do not be afraid, Evelyn daughter of Romia. You will not be harmed here." I sat on a cushion next to Azelia and watched the woman shuffle a set of cards.

"They're ard cards. She'll use them to see our future," Azelia whispered in my ear. The psychic spread them out on the table, five in a perfect diamond shape. She turned them over one by one, starting from the center. A look of pure shock and horror flashed on to her face.

"You must be careful, Evelyn. Those who wish to do you harm are closing in and I see only two possible fates."

"Which are?"

"Death or heartbreak." Azelia flicked her head towards me, mirroring the psychics expression. That couldn't be true. I must have a better fate than that.

"Come on Azelia. Lets get out of here." I don't know how my voice sounded normal as I headed towards the door.

"Be careful, Evelyn. Whatever path you chose, you must tread carefully. The Tree Of Destiny crushes us all in the end. Especially those with the a Nightmare Man." I turned my head back to the psychic and watched her as she moved in to a back room, looking for something. She returned with a piece of black string in her hand and slipped it around my neck from behind.

"This will provide you with some protection from those who do you harm. May the gods be with you, my girl. Not everyone deserves the destiny given to them." I touched the charm hanging from the string. It was a small metal disk, with a tree molded in to it. Tucking it inside my dress, I left the hut and didn't stop walking until we reached the horses. Everyone was preparing the horses, with Alessio getting a quick lesson on riding. I was glad to get back on Alca, my horse, and get away from here. Maybe the further I rode away from Benlat the less the psychics words would haunt me less. Just as I mounted Alca, something caught my eye. Someone, clad in a black cloak, was slipping into the forest away from us. The figure turned towards just before he disappeared and I caught a glimspe of icy blue eyes, matching the large sapphire on his silver dagger. Something about him seemed familiar.

"Evelyn?"

I turned in my saddle and found Azelia just behind me.

"Did you see something?" She looked out couriously towards where the man had entered the forest.

"No. Nothing," I lied and guided her back to the group. Somehow I didn't think telling her about the man would be a good idea.

 The ride back was just as uncomfortable as the ride there. I rode slightly away from my group, leaving them to talk amongst themselves and get to know Alessio. I needed to think. Until yesterday, I was just a girl who had never left home before. Now I'm part of the rebels, have traveled to Benlat and back, been to a psychic, been told that, no matter what, I'm essentially doomed and my Nightmare Man is starting to sound worse by the minute. All in all, best day of my life.

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