Onela in her home as they are under attack.
Onela could not understand how anything like this could be happening here, in the land hidden by the sea and the mist and protected by the stars, or so the elders said. Kalinesti was indeed that in some ways or another. It was a very small island far into the west and it was surrounded by a jagged, snowy mountain range that surrounded their entire island, so if that some sailor or other kind of vessel, or even more dangerously, a creature or person with magical gifts, were to come in range of their island, all they would see was the mountain range itself.
The island, once through the treacherous mountain range, fondly once called and now officially named The Wall of Ellester, as the people believe that their beloved and adored god, Ellester, the eldest and wisest of the gods, placed that wall there himself and blessed with guardian properties, and Onela did believe in her god, even if she did not agree with her people.
Kalinesti was a beautiful, lush forest land with graceful, wide meadows, crystal clear water, mystical caverns and caves, ruins and fantasy like creatures made their home there with the Kalinestians. All of the Kalinestian race lived inside their tremendous, shining palace, in which there were many homes, classrooms, places of worship, magic study, science labs and many, many other things that she believed a normal city would have, but no one was ever allowed to enter. Onela could only remember twice in her life when an outsider had been welcome into their land and both had been many, many years ago.
But tonight Onela had been informed by her father, the King and ruler of Kalinesti, that they were under attack and even though she did not get the name from the message he sent, she did know that she was just supposed to wait in her room for further notice and even though she rarely listened to what her parents told her to do, she decided to do so tonight and now she sat at the door, frightened to hear who the people were or even worse news from Sena, one of the maids and messengers in their section of the palace. She was dressed in something her mother would have hated; a simple dress made of dark, midnight blue silk with lace flowers along the sleeves and along the hem of her skirt and matching slippers on her feet.
"Onela, it's the Zalaths. They came from-!" Sena's voice suddenly cut off and Onela heard a muffled scream and then a quick, "Run!" before she heard a strange grunting and a loud bang as she heard Sena get thrown up against the door. "You are a pretty thing, you know." She heard a man's silent, quiet voice speak - a voice that sent chills directly down her spine and she silently swallowed once again and moved away from the door, glancing up to check again that it was locked and seeing it was she nodded and grabbed her moonlight cloak off her bed and wrapped it around her shoulders and slipped out of her room and onto her balcony. It was rather cold out tonight and Onela shivered, but she had no time to waste and even though she was not entirely sure what happened to Sena, she had a good idea and she did not want to be next and as much as she wanted to help Sena, she knew there was nothing she could do. Placing her hands on the cold marble of the bar on the balcony she peered over and looked way down to the ground before sighing. "It is so far.." She muttered and knowing her parents had part of the trees near her window cut many years ago, she did not have the best reach but she had no choice but to try.
Tying her cloak tightly around her neck, she hopped up onto the ledge, balancing easily, despite the wind and the awkwardness of wearing a dress. Securing a feeling for her height, she took a deep breath and reached out, the cold wind blowing against her, making her hair blow in the wind, but she was nowhere near the nearest branch and stepping back down off the ledge, she sighed, knowing she only had moments to spare.
"Gotcha!" Came a hissing sound behind her and before she knew it she had two arms around her waist and she could only let out one loud shriek before the mystery assailant covered her mouth, "You are the princess, are you not?" The voice asked her, but she gave no answer, staring ahead blankly. "That's not very princess like. I am a guest and I asked you a question. You should be polite and answer if you are the princess."
Onela did not try to say one word and this apparently angered the man because he tightened his grip on her mouth, making it almost painful, and she was terrified, but there was nothing she could do. "Was that your friend out there?" Onela squeezed her eyes shut, wishing she could drown out his voice, hoping this was some kind of dream and she would wake up at any moment, "Well, I hope not because she's dead now. I've always had a thing for light haired girls and her hair was almost the color of the sky, so you understand that I just could not resist, right? It's too bad, though, because now I am going to be punished since she would have made a lovely sacrifice and I am not even sure she was wor-" Onela's eyes remained shut but she heard everything he was saying, and she wanted to say something back, but in this situation there were so many things at stake; too many things for her to even think of at that moment, but before she could even finish those thoughts another voice boomed into the room, "Adare!"
"Great," the voice said and Onela opened her eyes slowly, taking everything around her into account. She was still being held by the mystery man, her face away from him, and facing towards the balcony and outside, still, which was now where another man stood and this one Onela just stared at in wonder for a moment, thinking he was quite possibly the most beautiful thing she had ever seen and even though she felt immediately ashamed and knew this was not the time or the place for this, she couldn't help but stare at him for a few moments. He was a young man, she guessed and depending on where he hailed from, he could have been a number of different ages, but he looked like a healthy, strong young man. His hair was like the color of smoke, and in the moonlight it looked almost misty and was long and straight, passed his wait and blowing in the wind. He wore a loose black shirt and matching black pants, with some odd buckles and pouches and a multitude of different weapons were strapped to his body ranging from two swords on his back, two daggers on his waist and one on his left leg and she could only guess how many more that were hidden away. But even though all of this was like nothing she was used to seeing, it was his eyes that caught her attention - they were dark, very dark, but were not quite black and looked as if they had storm clouds rumbling in them and for a moment she was mesmerized before she was brought back into reality, shaking her head and finally starting to get away from the man apparently known as Adare holding her.
"Ah! There we go," He said, sounding extremely happy and he wrapped both arms around her waist and held her tightly to him, facing her towards the man on the balcony, who was looking at her now with unreadable eyes. "See, Sage! This is my prize now. All the hard work I did was for this place and because I needed this girl here." Onela felt her body shake, but her head was lost in wonder. "Isn't she something, Sage?" He said, and she felt his arms wrap tighter around her waist and even though she did not realize, she was staring directly into the eyes of the apparent man named Sage, whom she now noticed had sharply pointed ears, even though they were not very large and very chiseled features. "Isn't she!" The man holding her laughed and she struggled once again to get free, "Let me go," she finally said, wriggling a little more, "Good girl. I wanted to hear your pretty voice." Onela nearly screamed as she felt his voice come close to her ear as he breathed in her hair, moaning loudly as he did, "No woman smells like you. There are no women in my land anything like you." He released his grip on her a little, before letting her go completely and she stumbled away, repulsed and shaking. "But I bet there are no women like you anywhere in the world."
"Adare, this is it. I want the answer." The man named Sage said, not even glancing at her, but as she stared at him she saw a determination and yearn for something stronger than she had seen in anyones eyes and she was taken back, but she had no time; if these two were going to fight, she could sneak off the balcony, believing she could make it if she jumped. Slowly beginning to step away she took not even two steps before she heard Adare say, "You're not getting away!" And the swift sound of his steps approaching her, but Onela was faster than he would have thought and bolted back onto the balcony where she grabbed the man named Sage's shoulder and hopped up onto the ledge. She was a bit unstable and needed the support and felt a bit nauseous still standing there, but she still heard the approach of his footsteps. "You are going to be my wife now, Onela," he laughed and before she knew it, she was jumping off the balcony with all the strength left in her and reaching out with both hands to grab onto the branches before her and when her hand made contact, a sigh of relief rushed through Onela's body and she latched her feet around another close branch, hugging it for life. "Wife?" She said, not daring to even look back in the room. Preparing for a quick climb down, she took a deep breath, knowing that if she didn't climb down carefully, she would definitely die from the fall, but after making not even one movement she felt a sharp something stab into her neck and instinctively reached out with her hand to grab it. Touching her neck she felt something small and solid. Pulling it out of her neck revealed a small dart and Onela looked up to say something to him, but already her sight was blurring.
"That will start making you dizzy within a few minutes, so you better climb up here now, dear," she heard Adare's quiet voice.
"I.." Onela said, but after another couple of seconds, the world was spinning and her energy was gone. She felt her head screaming and her heart pounding as she saw, as if watching herself, her body drop from the tree, hitting the next few branches below. She stared up at the branches as she fell in what felt like slow motion and even though she tried to reach out and grab the branches, she was going too fast. The tower she lived in was one of the highest in the kingdom - it would be impossible to survive that fall. Closing her eyes Onela had only one wish as she fell to her death and that was that the stars were out tonight.
"Why did you stop training, exactly, Onela?" Came her mother's soft voice, but Onela could hear the different tones of that voice and at the moment her mother was very displeased with her. Seated on her favorite large, sky blue cushioned chair, Onela had to practically roll over to get a good look at her mother, who she now saw was standing not even a foot behind her, with her arms crossed and her several silver braids, laced with pearls and jewels, pulled over her shoulder. "Onela. Are you listening?" Her mother's voice was even more stern now.
"Yes, mother, I hear you," Onela responded, getting out of the chair and standing up. As her mother came over to do her normal routine of picking at Onela's clothes and hair, Onela just looked the other way, staring out into the forest.
"So, what is your answer then, my daughter?" Onela forced herself to look once again at her mother, which she truly tried to avoid, a lot of the times without even trying. Iliandra, Onela's mother was a stunningly beautiful, but cold looking woman, much like a statue or a painting. She was smaller than Onela, but that did not change the fact that Onela always felt as if her mother stood feet above her. Her hair was as silver as the moon, envied by many of the women in their Kingdom and fell to nearly her knees. She never wore it down and it was always bedecked with different kinds of ornaments. Her mother, the Queen, wore glorious clothes, hand stitched by only the finest tailors in Kalinesti. The one she wore while Onela was studying her was one she had never seen before. It was a very dark green, even darker than Onela's eyes and was embroidered with little pearls along the neckline, which was cut below her mother's collar bone. The dress dragged along the floor, but Iliandra's grace was flawless. It was her mother's face that made Onela the most uncomfortable, though. Each time she looked into it, Onela felt as if she were looking into an empty shell, or something worse. Iliandra had skin pale and glowing, with captivating and coveted light violet eyes. She was a beautiful woman, but no matter how much beauty everyone else saw, Onela always felt there was something out of place there, though she never could quite place it.
"My answer..." Onela repeated finally, not wanting to anger her mother anymore, and also wanting to get her to leave as soon as possible. "It is just not for me, mother."
Iliandra looked clearly disappointed, her brow furrowed, as she sighed heavily, shaking her head. "Onela, your instructor told your father and I that you quickly were his star student once we finally got you to go in the first place, so how could it not be your thing?"
Onela bit her lip for a moment, sighing shortly and turning to look once again at the trees. Onela never understood her mother. Outside of telling Onela what her duties were, where she should be, how she should act, and what she should dress like, Iliandra wanted nothing to do with Onela. Only if Onela would some how reflect upon Iliandra, but Onela had grown accustom to that and had been beginning to feel that it was the right thing to do all along. "Just because I am good at it, does not mean I like it."
Her mother was quick to reply, as always. "We do not always get to do things we want, Onela. You and your father, I swear..." Her voice trailed off as Onela looked quickly to her, although she did not say a word. Iliandra closed her eyes a moment and looked away from Onela, shaking her head still. "I do not know what we are going to do with you, Onela. I can not deal with you anymore right now." She waved her hand in dismissal at Onela and Onela just stood there, her eyes following her mother's tiny, graceful form, listening as the sound of her jingling hair got further and further away before clenching her fists together and dropping back down into the chair, pulling her knees to her chin and hugging her legs, "What does she care, anyway..."
When Onela came to the first thing she noticed was the pain in her left leg; a shooting, throbbing pain and she knew at once she probably wouldn't be able to walk on it long, if at all. As her eyes slowly fluttered open she saw a high canopy of trees above her, but they were not trees that she recognized and nothing like the ones in Kalinesti. Inhaling deeply, she quickly noticed that the air here was much heavier, and very humid, although rather cold and as she slowly pushed herself up into a sitting position, she could see her breath on the air.
Not exactly what what her situation was just yet, Onela looked around her looking for something familiar, but all she saw were large, thick, dark trees and nothing else. The woods were silent, save the sound of a few chirping birds and Onela did not sense any danger, but she knew not to let her guard down at any given moment, but she couldn't wrap her mind around where in Kalinesti she did not recognize. She thought she had traveled and explored most of Kalinesti throughout her years of living there, but this one area was totally unknown to her. A few imaginative ideas went through her head, like maybe this unknown forest was the home to the Starlians of Kalinesti, the mythical, wild wood elves that live deep in the forests, or maybe it was the home to a sorceress faerie, and it was normally not visible to the eye, but since the faerie had found Onela laying in the forest, she decided to save her. But these were just fun thoughts that she just played through her mind for a moment before facing the grim reality of the situation, which was, she was lost and by the feel of her leg, quite injured.
The ground beneath her was wet and even though her beloved velvet cloak was wrapped tightly around her, though she could not even remember if she had put it on herself, she was getting cold. Slowly and carefully, she pushed herself unsteadily to her feet, swallowing dryly. "Okay.. where to.." She said to herself, wanting to hear the sound of something, if even her own voice. Beginning her walk forward, she took one step and tripped over something on the ground. Catching herself with her hands, she hung her head down, catching her breath quickly. Realizing her normal quick reflexes must have been off for some reason, she decided she would have to be even more careful. Reaching out with her hands, she moved to feel what she had tripped over and found that it was a familiar feeling bag. Pulling it close to her, she immediately recognized the smell of her room and her perfume on the bag, her bag from her room. It was too dark to see into the bag, but she hung it over her shoulder anyway, and began her careful walk once again. Onela did not remember grabbing her bag or even packing anything in it besides what would have normally been in it, which was nothing interesting, or even exciting. She used the bag to carry her sketch pad, one of her journals, sometimes some food and some random articles of clothing, sometimes, but the last she remembered it only had her sketch pad and journal in it and those would not help her at all.
Onela continued to walk in the direction she started for quite some time, her leg in a massive amount of pain, so great that sometimes she had to stop and rest, but she never stayed seated for too long. She was exhausted and was afraid that if she sat down for too long, she would fall asleep. As the night continued on, it only got colder and windier, and Onela was not feeling too great, but she knew that she had no choice but to continue. The woods were so unfriendly to her that Onela felt as if she were walking through a dark desert. There were no stars, no animals, no flowers anywhere and she could feel that it would rain soon, which would normally be a welcoming thing for Onela, but not at the moment and she was really hoping against it.
Drudging along quietly, Onela sighed here and there, but tried very hard to not let her hopes drop down too far. She knew that sooner or later she would figure out where she was or there would be some kind of sign for her. "Adare..." She said the name without even realizing before covering her mouth with her left hand. "Who was he.." Sighing yet again, she breathed in deeply, adjusting her bag yet again from one shoulder to another, wondering what was still in the bag. Glancing up at the sky, she squinted even though it was as dark as the woods around her and there was no sign of the sun rising anywhere.
Onela continued on this way for quite a while until suddenly a dim light appeared in front of her in the woods .The light was fuzzy due to all the humidity in the air, but she could clearly see that there was some kind of light in front of her. At first she wondered if it was the sun, but she knew very quickly, that it was not, for it was too grey and had no hint of the color of the sun. A spark of hope lit inside of Onela and she found herself speeding up a bit, to the point where she was almost jogging, ignoring the pain in her leg, until she came to the edge of the trees and saw what lay before her.
It was nothing more than a tiny, run down town from the looks of it, but Onela had only seen such a thing in books. She stood there for a long while, half hidden behind a tree, staring in wonder at the tiny village and how different it was from Kalinesti. Whereas Kalinesti was huge and silver, glowing in the light, this town was little and actually had houses and different buildings, all of them were brown and grey and black. There was no color anywhere, but there was a lot of smoke and mud. Even though the town was quite run down and unappealing, nothing about it disappointed Onela and after a few more moments of wonder she slowly climbed her way down the hill and into the small village, slipping between two houses and walking through until she came to a small, muddy road.
There were people here and there, wandering about and a few of them looked surprised at Onela, but when she looked back at them curiously, they quickly looked away. Sighing once again, Onela made sure her hood was pulled up and over her head, hiding her face deep inside, and peering out with intense curiosity. There were houses and buildings on both side of this little road, and since it was dark, the town was very dark and there was only the light from a lantern or a torch, here or there, to light her way, but Onela's eyes were becoming adjusted to this new darkness, so her vision was much improved from when she first opened her eyes. The houses were small and dark, the roofs made up of various leaves and patching and other stuff Onela did not quite recognize and didn't really have much of a chance to examine up close. Most of the houses were dark, but Onela guessed that was because people were sleeping, not because no one lived here because she saw a few candles lit in some windows and a number of people walked the tiny street, all heading in the same direction - the same direction she was heading.
A few of the buildings looked like shops and she definitely saw a little tailor shop with a few pretty dresses inside; nothing like what Onela had back at home, but they were pretty nonetheless and Onela would have preferred wearing something much more simple anyway, but it was late and dark and the store was obviously closed, so she just wandered on down the street some more until she came to the largest building she had yet seen and the light inside was blazing, so she knew people had to be inside. Stepping back, she lifted her cloak up off the ground so she did not step it and read the sign that hung above the door: "The Grey Wolf" was the name and there was a little picture of a wolf head on it. Onela found this to be a but unnerving, but she had read about such places, or at least she thought she had. She assumed this was a bar or a tavern of sorts where various people came to rest, relax, eat, drink and meet women, among other things. She also knew it to be a place where one could find a room to rest, which was her main reason for entering, but even so, she was unsure. She was almost tempted to sleep out in the forest, as she felt more comfortable there, even in an unknown forest, than in this tiny village.
Wrapping her cloak around her once again, since she had allowed it to slip a little while she wandered in wonder, she swallowed deeply and stepped up onto the little porch before the door and pushed it open, slowly stepping inside and looking at her new surroundings.
Immediately she felt a burst of warm air, which went right through her and at that moment, Onela realized she had been shivering in the slightly rainy, windy and cold weather, but without even noticing it. Closing her eyes and inhaling deeply, she thanked Ellester for the warmth she was feeling for that moment and took another cautious step inside, releasing her hand on the door. She glanced at it only briefly as it closed behind her and she felt relieved to see the grey, misty world outside disappear. Even if this place wasn't amazing, it was definitely better than being outside in the cold and the wind.
Slowly releasing her breath, Onela glanced down to her dress, noticing that some of the flowers that had been sewn on were either half hanging off, or just missing altogether, so she wrapped her cloak around the bottom of her dress, too, before looking up to see what exactly she had walked into.
It was definitely a tavern, Onela instantly knew; everything that she had read about was inside this little building - the bunches of little tables with chairs, a roaring fireplace off to one side and in the back and a bar with hundreds of different color glasses of alcohol. Beside that was a little desk, which she assumed the person that owned or ran the tavern would sit, but there was no one at it and behind it was a staircase that lead to the second story of the little building. Here and there on the walls were different pieces of art, but nothing that Onela recognized or found too interesting and the ceiling in the tavern part of the inn was wide and spacious, the rafters high above her head. She only looked at them a moment, though, before looking around at the actual people inside, since she noticed there were not very many at all.
After a second glance over of the room, Onela noted that there were in fact only two people in the room. One was standing behind the bar, holding two green bottles and he looked to be balancing them. He was not an attractive man, Onela had hardly even noticed him. His clothes were brown and patchy, his hair thin and greasy, but from the look on his face he was a happy man. She was pretty sure he had not even noticed she had come inside and she preferred to keep it that way if she could. The other person was seated at the other end of the room, at a table next to an open window. They appeared to be tall and lean, but Onela could not really tell because, like her, they also had a cloak on, except theirs was black and shadowed their face perfectly. Who ever it was had their arms crossed over their chest and had a glass of something in front of them. Onela only looked at the mysterious stranger for a moment, feeling her gaze would be unwanted.
Onela just wanted to get a room and get some rest until the sun came up, or maybe even a little bit more after that. She had long night and she had a lot of things she wanted to think about, but she could not do that here and not without some rest for her and her leg. Swallowing nervously once more, Onela slowly pulled back her hood and looked from one person to the other in the room before clearing her throat, "Excuse me.." She started, but as the man behind the counter looked up to her, her voice trailed off. For what reason, she did not know, but she suddenly felt nervous and dizzy, but the man just cocked a wide grin at her and yelled, "You wanna drink!" And proceeded to raise his arm above his head, "Catch it!" He cackled before releasing the bottle directly at her. Onela barely had a chance to blink before a dark figure was standing before her, the bottle in its hand and she looked quickly to to the spot where the mysterious figure had been sitting and they were indeed in front of her.