“Do you know where you are going?” I shouted. Elias flinched and nodded. “Well, is it just me or have we been going round in circles. Look carefully where we walk. The same puddle. The same twindling trees. The same fallen leaves we step on.”
Zephina made an effort to spin around and ran through the right block of trees only to end up on my left side once again. Elias gulped.
“I’m sorry.” I ignored his words. He was saying sorry for nothing. We were trapped. The Xana’s were one step ahead. We were trapped. Unless..
“Elias,is there a way out?” I blurted out in a hurry as Zephina paced around the leaves, adding to my unease.
“No. It is a blurring spell. I should have noticed but I was.. distracted,” he said, remorsefully.
I waved my arms, edging a step closer to him than I had ever dared in the past few months. His head was down in the usual fashion, the burn across his cheek even more distinguished against his pale skin. And then I slapped him straight across the cheek.
“STOP BEING DISTRACTED I AM NOT YOUR WIFE... YOU.. YOU KNOW WHAT, I GIVE UP!” I shouted, anger filling my veins, and just I was about to slap him again Zephina pulled me away and pinned me on the ground. I didn’t try to fight. I didn’t feel anything but emptiness and the sting of the cold hard ground.
“What the hell is wrong with you..” whispered Zephina into my ear, but not with anger that I was expecting, No. Just disappointment.
I didn’t answer for I didn’T know what I was thinking. I never knew what I was thinking anymore. The lines between happiness and my sadness the lines between anger and joy, they were all fading and blurring into nothingness. I was loosing everything I loved. Everything, even the memories I had created from that which I had forgotten, were fading into ash and dust. I was a hollow shell of the hollow person I used to be. But then I never was anyone.
I guess the reason I was so tempermental was because I had realised I didn’t know. Elias and his haunted actions just made it work.
I took a deep breath and lifted my hair from the mud. As I turned to opoliges, I noticed Elias didn’t seem to be caring. He wasn’t looking down, hurtfully or crying (I wouldn’t be surprised if tear or two slip[ped down his deathly white face).
“I’m.. sorry.” I admitted, arms folded round my chest. It wasn’t his fault, I needed to remind myself of it. He was just caught up in this big big mess. I couldn’t blame him. But the more I repeated these thoughts, the less sincere it became. I could blame him. I could very well blame him.
Zephina pulled at my arm with her warm hands and took me over to Elias, to proposedly shake hands. As soon as our equally cold fingers brushed, I pulled away as a wave of nausea hit me. We had never really touched, I realised. I didn’t want to do it again if this is what it felt like.
His touch must have been a big part of my past. I felt even sicker at the thought of how close we must have been, I didn’t know if it was from the curse inflicted upon me or just my general mental capacity.
“Ok. Now we have fixed that,” said Zephina, jumping up on down once again, “Lets get on with escaping.”
Elias blinked an awful lot and said faintly, “There is no way out. I’m sorry. I know. There isn’t a way out. We will just have to wait until the Xana’s come and take us.”
I gulped the twitch in my fingers becoming more pronounced. We were trapped. I looked to Zephina, for some solace but she continued to smile with her pink lips wide across her face.
“Well. Let us look on the bright side. We don’t need to lie and cheat into the...” she waved her arms, not knowing what or where we were going.
“They reside upon the lake of the lost. No castles or queens or kings or courts. Just leaders. And beds under the stars.”
“Have you met them?” I said, though I very well knew the answer when he nodded with his thin face. “You act as though you like them. What is your opinion?”
He shrugged his broad shoulders, that where so used to cowering. “I have no opinions on the matter.”
“Then we must wait,” I said resting my frame against the towering trees and reaching into my now battered bag for a book.
A lifetime in the world of the heroine passed until Zephina rudely interrupted. “You can read at a time like this?” I nodded, unaware of the problem she was raising. “How can you? We are trapped by magic (I repeat magic) creatures who may very well kil.. hurt us and you can read?”
“What is wrong with reading?” I said as quickly as I could, impatient to return to the safety of the words. Thankfully, she didn’t press on it any further, realising I wasn’t going to stop any time soon.
They came for us, when the heroine I had grown to love was killed (obviously, I was not in the happiest of moods) and when the sunset (though then again, I wasn’t sure about how time worked in this area).
Of course I was too silently engrossed in shooting daggers at the novel to notice.
“Amara,” said zephina the same time as nudging me sharply across the ribs. I jumped up to see an old black woman in a pale sky blue gown and two men in black edging closer towards us. “I will speak,” where my final words to the two of them, and to my surprise they agreed.
When they brushed through the glamour or illusion, I had established that I was ready (regardless of the fact that my emotions where still seething from the ending of the book).
“Hello,” I said as politely as I could muster and straightened out my muddy blue gown.
They looked at me as though I was speaking gibberish.
“Hello,” I repeated, this time waving a hand to be noticed.
“We understand,” said the woman, obviously not amused, “Kill them. They are soldiers from the Fydols, I can smell the fortress all over them.”
“Wait. I beg of you to give us a chance,” I said, though I didn;t sound quite begging. She waved her arm to signal to kill us, though I could not see a single weapon in her flimsy gowns or the men’s tunics. “We need to meet with your leader.”
“We do not have a leader,” she spat.
Elias took a single step forward. “They have a canllaw. A group of 12 equally different Xanas who rule over the magic lands. I suppose, you are one of them.”
The woman crossed her arms and smiled. “You are clever,” she sniffed the air and continued, “And you smell different. You have a lot in that head of yours. Too, too much for a Fydol. Now tell me, Queen of your pack, why you would want to meet with our leader. Talk away.”
Zephina nudged me, when I forgot to remember that she was talking to me.
“Oh.. We need to know about a woman. A woman called Xim..”
The woman hissed at the first three letters. “Why?”
“She came looking for something. We want to set it right,” I said, after a long pause to think.
The woman sighed and gestured to the two men. “Clean them up and send them to the lake. I shall summon the canllaw.”
The men silently led us through the trees and we finally re-enterred the stone paved path we had been looking for.
The city (I suppose it wasn’t quite a city) was utterly beautiful. It was different to every way I had tried to imagine it, there were no houses or solid buildings, just a lake stretching from one part of the horizon to another with a single tree covered in pieces of cloth sprouting out in the middle. The ghostly beautiful Xana stood on the water in complete silence as water was the earth beneath my feat, and I watched carefully, wondering how we would get across.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, I guess, knowing full well that the Xana’s only existed with pure water. This area was rather fitting. But I couldn’t have ever imagined for the difference to Faechman or my inn’s town to be so, different.
“Come,” said the slightly taller man in a husky underused voice, beckoning into a pathway in the surrounding the forest. He revealed some clothes and passed them to the three of us, a white gown for me and a tunic for Zephian and Elias. Zephina looked at him, dumbfounded, and dramatically threw off the black scarf pinned across her face, revealing her black doe eyes that gave it all away.