Unwilling Deception

After 70 years of slavery, two Fae, Elora and Tarian, travel together to a safe house, having to adjust to 'freedom' and to each other. With nightmares of their past and an impending future the journey isn't without it's struggles.

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1. 1

You hear the stories – old men’s tales to their children about “When I was your age.” Stories of war – of tragedy. Pain. Trauma. I was always the listener. I didn’t think I’d ever become the teller. Even now, the story seems surreal.

Never had I seen someone look so lost in their own home before. Elora looked around as though she had never seen the place – had not lived there her whole life. I couldn’t blame her; how could I when I was the same way. It still hurt to see though. Elora always had a light to her before everything happened, but now her pointed ears snapped at anything – her hands flying toward her weapons whenever anything happened. I walked into the living room, pausing in the doorway.

“Are you okay?” I asked, making her jump. She turned, eyes wide, hands inches away from a dagger.

“Tarian!” She exclaimed in surprise, releasing somewhat, then she tensed again. “You’re here to take me!” I raised my hands to show her I had no handcuffs.

“I’m not here to take you,” I began stepping into the room.

“Then why are you here?” she asked, hand now on her blade. I paused mid-step, folding my wings tighter against my back.

“I came,” I said cautiously, “because I wanted to check if you were alright.”

Elora didn’t move her hand, her eyes taking in every detail of me – of the room. The tattoo on the side of her face and neck stood out starkly against her pale skin and white hair. She looked like a ghost. Of course, I probably did too, after 70 years a slave.

“I’m fine,” she said sternly. I made to move again, but she tensed even more, her breathing hitched.

“Are you?” I asked, taking another step. “You don’t seem fine,” I lowered my hands as I spoke, veering around her as I walked toward the chair at the far end of the room. Elora said nothing, just watched me as I sat. “I saw how you reacted when they killed Quin-”

“Don’t you dare mention him.”

“Why?” I asked cocking my head while readjusting my wings. The back of the seat was too broad to sit normally, and my wings strained to stretch. Elora sneered at me, her hand releasing the hilt of the dagger shakily.

“You know why Tarian,” she said, blinking once.

I gave her a sly smile, “Do I?”

“Why are you really here?” she asked, evading my question.

“I told you Elora, I came to see if you were alright,” she rolled her eyes, “No, I’m serious.” I said truthfully.

“Why should I believe you?” she said, a stark grin on her face. “Why should I believe anything you say? You, the second in command. Tarian, the killer. Tarian, the whore.” I sucked in a breath at the titles, and a lump burned in my throat as I stood.

“I don’t judge you for how you survived slavery, so don’t judge me,” I said barely above a whisper. “I came here to tell you, you aren’t safe. The king knows where you live, and he will do anything to get you back under his control again.” I watched her jaw clench at the mention of the man that had held our chains. “But, I know a place where we will both be safe.” Elora turned, paving the room, her wild blue eyes surveying me.

“Where?” I clenched my hands into fists at the question.

“It wouldn’t be a safe place if you knew,” I shot at her, trying to reign in my anger. Elora glared at me, “I’m telling the truth. I’m the only person who knows about it, that’s why it is so safe.” She just shook her head, jaw still clenched, eyes still burning a hole in my head. “Come on, what would Quin do?”

“Stab you probably,” she said with no humor, and I trailed the tattoos down her neck, under her shirt, all the way to the tips of her fingers on both hands.

“No doubt. But after that Elora. What would he have done?” I didn’t break her stare, trying to convey through our eye contact that I wouldn’t hurt her, not on purpose at least. Elora sighed, a hand running through her hair, surly trying to come up with a way to rebuke what I was saying.

Finally she spoke, breaking eye contact, “He would have gone. Even if it means you turning him in, he would have gone.” I smiled, shifting my wings. “But that doesn’t mean I will go.”

“Oh come on Elora! Trust me this once!” I exclaimed, stepping closer. “We need to leave soon though, if we want to reach the river before dark,” I added sticking my hands into my pockets. I gave her a pleading look. A look that said that I wasn’t below groveling on my hands and knees to get her to come.

“Why do you want me to come to badly? That’s one thing I can’t tell,” her eyebrows knit together as she contemplated my motives.

I smiled again, “Don’t I have the right to make sure you are safe? To make sure anyone is safe?” she paused and I stepped forward again, my smile diminishing. “You are the only person who survived the escape, I want to make sure you live.” I said, a simple truth, nothing to be taken over all the lies I had told, but it was something; and maybe it would be enough. I hoped it would be enough.

“Do I need to bring anything?” she asked and I let out a thankful sigh, closing my eyes just for a second, to thank whatever gods watched over us.

I reopened my eyes, and said softly, “No, I have everything packed and ready, just-” I drifted off, becoming lost in her eyes, “just bring some extra clothes if you have any.” Elora nodded, tapping her fingers against the hilt of the dagger on her thigh. “We leave in fifteen minutes,” I said before moving to stride past her, into the long hallway leading to the front door when she caught my arm.

“I don’t want to leave today.” She said not looking up at me, her fingers cold, even though I wore a long sleeved shirt.

“We can’t wait that long, Elora,” I said, brushing her hand with my own, making her pull back abruptly.

“I know, I know – I just want some time to say goodbye to this house. I didn’t get that chance the last time,” she said barely above a whisper. I nodded, understanding. I hadn’t gone back to my old house, didn’t know if it was still standing, or if it had been wrecked like many of the others. Not that I had anything in it worth saving anyway.

“Fine, when do you want to leave?” I asked softly.

“Next week?” I shook my head, about to protest when she sighed. “Three days then.” I knew we should probably leave sooner, but…

“Fine,” she didn’t smile, didn’t do anything but nod. “If we are staying for another three days, where will I stay?” I asked.

“Pick a room; don’t worry about messing anything up when we are just going to leave and never come back,” she said, and I crossed my arms over my chest.

“Don’t think like that Elora, you never know. One day someone might kill the king and you can come back to this house and live your life, free of prying shadows,” I said sternly. She didn’t reply, walking out of the living room. Standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, I looked after her, unsure what to do.

After she was gone, and a few minutes passed; I made my way out of the living room, down the hallway, and up the stairs to the second floor after grabbing my stuff that I had left by the door. Everything was covered with dust, and my footsteps left a trail in the thick layers. I opened up a door at the far end, revealing a decent sized room. White sheets covered the multiple furnishings, including the queen sized bed. The walls were painted a pale blue with a hay colored accents. Uncovering the bed, dust and spider webs flew into the air, only to settle on the floor next to it. I set down my stuff before sitting on the edge of the bed, making it creak under my weight. And even though Elora was all the way on the other end of the house, I could hear her quiet sobs. 

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