We made camp for the night, both of us in good spirits, despite Lerin's confusion in sorting out his sleeping arrangements. He had insisted on cooking dinner, and I hadn't argued. He was excited to show me his 'speciality', and I wasn't quite sure whether I should be excited or worried. As he cooked I went to collect more firewood, leaving him to chop and slice and dice the meat and vegetables. As I walked through the wood, collecting twigs and sticks that layered the forest floor, I noted how grateful I was for Lerin taking my pack. I was a nice relief to not have to carry my house and belongings on my back. I did feel guilty about it, but he had insisted. I returned to camp with enough kindling to last us a few more days, and saw Lerin adding some herbs he had harvested from the undergrowth to what looked like a stew, which smelled delightful. I made a mental note to ask him for the recipe. When he noticed my arrival he smiled broadly, still stirring our meal, the firewood slowly dwindling down to nothing. I added more wood to it as Lerin served the soup. It was winter now, and the nights were getting a little nippy.
“Have a nice trip?” he asked, handing me a bowl of stew. I took it gratefully, glad for it's warmth.
“A quiet one,” I teased, poking at him with my spoon. He laughed, blushing slightly.
“You know I like to talk! I haven't had a decent conversation for years” he picked up his bowl of stew and sat down next to me. I tried the soup. Goodness, it tasted heavenly! It tasted like the cooking from my homeland; food with a hint of magic. I must have looked pleased wit the meal, and Lerin laughed, nudging me.
“Glad you like it,” he started eating it himself, yet again wolfing down his food.
“Maybe you should be a chef! I'd certainly buy your wares, for a discounted price, of course,” I pulled my tongue at him and he smiled.
“I'd expect something in return, of course...” he smirked, moving his face slightly closer to mine. I scoffed and elbowed him sharply in the ribs. He winced, but laughed.
“I don't think so, Mr!” I smiled sweetly. He smirked again.
“I don't know what you were thinking of, but obviously I meant the joys of your company,” he smiled innocently at me. I rolled my eyes and feigned a punch to his nether regions. He yelped in surprise and moved backwards sightly, laughing nervously.
“Next time, I won't miss,” I battered my eyelashes and continued to finish off my stew. Lerin didn't say any more, but he did have a constant smirk on his angled face, even when we had finished eating and we were washing the dishes, and when we were getting ready for bed. I averted my eyes.
We had a peaceful nights sleep and set out in the late morning, as Lerin overslept and I couldn't for the life of me wake him up. I tried yelling at him, shaking him, dragging him around the camp...The only thing that eventually woke him up was the good old classic cold water. He was in a mood for the next hour, but it did provide for an entertaining journey, as he swore and yelled and cursed at anything and everything that breathed. I'm guessing he isn't a morning person. The rest of our journey until we made camp again for the night was much the same of yesterday; reminiscing of better times, before the war. I found out a bit more about him; he was seventeen, nearly eighteen, meaning he was a little older than I was. He also mentioned briefly that his parents had actually gotten along well before the war broke out, and his father turned bitter. I also briefly mentioned about my parents. Only that they were both Elven pure-bloods and noble warriors. Lerin cooked again that evening, serving a warm and tasty soup made from the greens and seeds he had collected as we made our way to our destination. We were around three quarters of the way now.
We had just settled down to sleep when we were attacked. I could sense that something were there before I even opened my eyes. Luckily, I always sleep besides my trusty blades, so just as one was about to slit my throat, in one smooth motion I picked up my swords and sliced its head off, kcking the body away from me. Goblins! Lerin screamed. A goblin was on top of his, a knife pressed at his throat. I rolled out of my sleeping bag and kicked it in the face, sending it flying into a tree where it crumpled and fell. The other two goblins screeched in rage and turned to retreat, but I quickly pulled tow throwing knives out of my boots and threw them at the back of the goblins heads, them both falling in sync. Goblin#s were nasty creature; they preyed on the weak and helpless just to get by. But they picked the wrong fight today. I yawned and walked over to them, yanking my blades out of their heads, then proceeding to clean all four of my blades in a nearby stream. I could hear Lerin whimpering behind me.
“You okay?” I asked, looking behind me. Lerin nodded slowly, still not fully awake, despite his wide, frightened eyes.
“We better get moving,” I said, “Reinforcements may have heard the commotion.”. Lerin nodded again. He quickly shuffled out of his sleeping bag and proceeded to wrap it up, along with my own, and pack everything into my bag.
His hands shook as he placed his sleeping bag in the pack, and picked it up. But he was shaking that much he lost grip of it. I walked over to him, my blades now clean and sheathed. I placed my hand on top of his reassuringly, then picked up the bag and handed it to him.
“That must've been quite a shock,” I smiled reassuringly. He nodded silently, putting the bag on his back and walking off.
“Lerin!” I called after him, half running to catch up with him. I put my hand on his shoulder to slow him down. He looked back at me, his eyes wide with fear still. Then it dawned on me.
“I scared you, didn't I?” I said, looking at him guiltily. He shook his head.
“N-no. It wasn't you...It's just...” he looked away from me and continued walking.
“It's just what?” I asked, catching up with him yet again. What was going on? I know I can look quite demonic when I'm fighting, but I tame in that fight! Lerin was shaking as he walked, and by the sounds of things holding down sobs. I was about to call out to him again when he suddenly spoke.
“I-I saw the exact same thing happen to my mother,” he stammered, now walking even faster. His words sunk on my shoulders like a lead brick. His mother had been killed. That's why she hadn't taken him to the Borean mountains. I didn't know what to say, so I gently moved my hand down his arm to his hand and held it tightly. He squeezed my hand back.
“My father did it. He couldn't stand looking at my mother and I after the war started. He was a victim of the propaganda of the government. He saw us as the enemy. So, after an argument, in a fit of rage he pulled an axe off the wall of our house and...” his voice broke, and I could see his tears reflected in the light of the moon.
I sighed and took a deep breath. This was it.
“My parents were killed in the war too,” I said solemnly. Lerin looked up at me, his grey eyes wet with tears. I tried not to look at him for too long, as I feared I may up doing the same. He squeezed my hand again, as if to say 'It's okay'.
“They, a long with the rest of my clan, the Dracoseir, were brave warriors who chose the sides of their brethren in an unfair war. They sided with the Fae, and the humans never let the Elves forget that. So they slaughtered half of my clan, leaving me running from the burning ruins of my homeland,” I sighed. Lerin looked over sadly at me, squeezing my hand even tighter.
“I'm sorry,” he said softly; his presence was comforting as warm.
“I'm sorry too,” I smiled sadly, letting a single tear run down my cheek. I felt Lerin's other hand wipe my tear away. We both blushed.
“I'm glad I met you,” he said, “Ever since my mother died, my father kept me as a prisoner. I was his darkest secret. His deepest shame. I haven't spoken to anyone nice since the outbreak of the war. But what's worse is that my father blamed my mother...he said she attacked him, and it was all in self defence. That's why the town is the way it is. That's why they hate the Fae. That's why they glared at me as I walked by. But you were the first person who didn't. Thank you,” he said, smiling gently at me. We walked the rest of the way in silence, our hands intertwined.
We reached the clearing in the early hours of the morning. It was beautifully silent, apart from the babbling of the waterfall that gently flowed down a rock side. I took the package out of my bag. It felt hard, like a rock. I wondered what it was as I clambered one-handedly up to the top of the waterfall, Lerin watching tentatively from bellow. I got to the top and took in the view; lush shades of green and brown surrounded me, the sparkling blue of the clear water glowing in contrast. I shrugged and placed the package next to the top of the waterfall.
“You're just leaving it there?” Lerin called quizzically from bellow.
“Just following orders,” I replied, nimbly jumping down the rocks like a mountain goat. Lerin smiled sadly.
“Can't we stay here a bit longer? I don't want to go back,” he said, looking around him at our mystical surroundings. I grinned.
“If you so wish,” I smirked, gently punching him in the arm. He laughed, rubbing his arm. It'd be best if I savoured these last few days with him before we returned.