In your dreams

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Elyna
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In your dreams

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21st Zi'da 716
She knew this path through the woods. Padding barefoot over soft green grass she marvelled at the trees that stretched far above her head. Birds sung in sweet chorus, flitting from branch to branch. Summer light was fading and turning orange beyond the horizon but the warmth of the day remained. Was it a hundred or a thousand time’s that she’d walked this track in her childhood? There was someone walking behind her just out of sight. The hair’s rose on the back of her neck but Elyna didn’t look around. She felt safe and her bow grasped tight between her fingers, just in case. A skinny in a spurt of growth ran out from the brushes, scattering emerald leaves as he tumbled onto the ground. He jumped back to his feet, cheeks burning red as he swept the hair out of his eyes with the flick of his head. He grinned at her and Elyna grinned back.
Edmund set off running down the track and she followed. The boy was lighter on his feet, the woman weighted with age, weaponry and armour. Speeding around the corner they ran into something they did not expect to see. A large wooden house, boarded by the Burhan forest.
“Who lives here?” Edmund planted his hands on his hips.
“I don’t know,” her brow creased in a frown, “I don’t like it though, let’s go back,” she protested. Elyna retreated a step, she felt younger and a bit lost. Anxious fluttering started in her stomach and was quickly replaced by dread as Edmund curled his hand around hers.
“You’ve got to go in!” He laughed, but the expression didn’t reach his face.
"I don't want to!"
He was only a boy and she couldn’t escape his grip. The more she twisted and tried to pull her hand free, the actions turning quickly frantic, the harder he gripped. His hold was like a vice and she shouted her frustration as he started to walk forward and into the shadow of the house.
The door swung open for her. Her feet scoured lines in the soft summer turf but it made no difference. As though she was no more than a doll to her brother, she was thrown through the opening and skidded across the wooden floor. Her back smacked hard against the wooden wall and she bent double, wheezing.
Elyna planted her fingers on the floor, spreading them over the surface. She traced the grain in the plank, following it up past her nose. She was in a small room, with a tiny window. The skyrider knew without looking, that it was almost too high for her to see out of. The view was trees. The door was closed. There was a mattress, stained with crimson blood and a table and chair.
In careful, steady breathes she returned the air to her lungs. Yet she didn’t move. Curled up on the floor, her heart fell into the rhythm of bootsteps on the stairs. She closed her eyes and pulled her arm over her face, as if to hide it. The door was unfastened and swung open with a creak.
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Malcolm
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The door creaked and Malcolm looked up from his work, but not the Malcolm Elyna knew. The knight was younger and the hard lines of his face were softer with youth. He was a man, there was no denying that, but somewhere between now and the point in which she had met him much further in the future, a drastic change must have taken place. He looked barely thirty, tall and lean, with that same knowing wisdom of a hundred years passed, hidden in the depths of his dark green eyes.
“Come here, boy.”
The small figure seen through the crack in the door stepped back, shying away from the man’s gentle, but firm tone of voice.
“Marcus.”
He couldn't have been more than eleven years, black of hair like his father, just a wisp of a boy who had inherited his mother’s blue eyes. Marcus stepped into the long, narrow room and looked down at his hands, hesitant.
“What's the matter?” Malcolm inquired, “where is your brother?”
“Outside,” the boy mumbled.
“Outside?” Malcolm went to the window and looked out at the grey clouds beyond the treeline. “Tell him to come in, it's raining.”
Marcus slipped from the room and retreated, clumsy feet falling against the stairs in a heavy, practiced motion. Malcolm returned to his work, the pen he held dipped into the fountain of ink before it was held over the page, hovering there for a time as he reviewed what had already been put into words.

A little while later, Marcus returned to the upstairs den with Vaughn in tow. The youngest boy padded into the room without pause, stepping in uninvited. He walked up to the desk Malcolm was working at and closed his grubby fingers over the edge, knocking the inkwell on its side by mistake.
Malcolm hissed and scooped up the well with haste, unable to save the corner of the map that now resembled a black ocean. “You know never to touch my things,” Malcolm scolded.
Vaughn bowed his head and immediately burst into tears. Marcus stepped forward and apologised on his brother’s behalf, “I'm sorry father.”
“Vaughn come here, it's all right,” Malcolm cooed, often forgetting how fragile of heart his youngest boy was.
Vaughn opened his arms and threw himself at his father, tucking his head under the knight’s arm. “I'm sorry!”
“I know,” Malcolm bowed to kiss the top of the boy’s head before reaching out to pull Marcus into his embrace also. “Come here.”
“What were you working on father?” the elder of the two asked.
“A list.”
“It doesn't look like a list,” Marcus told him.
“It's a special list, it tells the reader what all these little symbols mean.”
“What's that?” Vaughn pointed.
“That's a hammer and pick, it marks where you can find a mine on the map.”
“And that?” his little finger jumped to another icon, still covered in muck from one of his adventures in the garden.
“That's a well, see the little handle to wind the rope and bucket down? And that's a cave, and a forest,” the man explained.
“Why are you always in here?” Vaughn looked up at the man, still tucked against his side.
“You're always angry when you're in here,” Marcus remarked.
Malcolm studied his oldest boy with a quizzical look before he turned his eye on Vaughn again. “I have a lot of work to do, you know that.”
“Mother says you come in here to think.”
“And write,” Marcus added.
“And read!” Vaughn looked across at the overflowing bookshelf.
“I do all of those things,” Malcolm agreed. “A man needs time to himself, but there is a special reason I come up here.”
Vaughn smiled and rubbed his big, watery eyes, “what is it?”
“I come up here,” he said, “to look out that window and make sure it doesn't come back,” he had lowered his voice to a whisper.
“What doesn't come back?” Vaughn asked.
Malcolm leaned very close to the boys, looking between the two of them to make sure they were listening. “The naughty little fairy that keeps stealing the stars.”
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 717
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Elyna
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In your dreams

To her shame, it was more than a few bits before Elyna was able to realise that all was not as she had expected. A few moments for the thudding of her heart to ease enough for her to hear the gentle scratch of a quill on parchment. This was not the room that she thought it was, or maybe not the right time. Malcolm's voice offered comfort, but there was only fear at the name he summoned. Unfurling from her spot on the floor, Elyna peered at the boy who entered. Eyes wide she sat up.

The bed was gone; replaced by neat stacks of bookshelves. Knees drawn up to her chest, she watched the exchange, silent and unseen. The scene before her seemed brighter than the place that she sat. Marcus, the child left and was replaced by his brother. She remained afraid to move. Aware that if she chose, she could make herself known to Malcolm. However fear caught her, fear that somehow if she did, the pleasant scene would dissolve and be replaced by the horrific truth that she knew, from her experience in the same room.

Her heart twisted and pulled tight; watching the exchange between father and sons. It had been nearly impossible for the young woman to imagine Malcolm with young sons, and now she didn't have to. It was here, in front of her. It was both impossibly endearing and painful.

He gathered his children close and the woman stood. Dressed in skirt of soft green and a bodice pulled tight to her firm, Elyna smoothed her hands over the fabric of her top. She swallowed and approached, watching the boys with a wary eye. "I suppose, that I am the fairy?" She lifted her gaze to Malcolm's. Her hair fell in soft auburn waves around her, spilling over bare shoulders and creamy skin. Bare feet shuffling on the boards. She looped her hands behind her back.
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Malcolm looked up all of the sudden and held his finger to his lips. The boys fell quiet and stood with mouths open, eyes full of wonder. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Vaughn whispered.
“The fairy, she's back!” the man exclaimed.
“Should we hide?” Vaughn beamed.
“Hide, why?”
“So that we can catch her!”
“Good idea! Let's go get a jar from the kitchen,” Malcolm got up and the boys raced out of the room. He closed the door behind him, their retreat muffled by the wooden divide, “and how about a flower from the garden? Fairies love flowers.”

A moment later as the heavy footfalls of excited feet drummed against the stairs, the door swung open and in place of the young boys, two teenagers ran into the room. Marcus looked about seventeen, and Vaughn, four years younger, still looked like a boy compared to the young man his brother had become. “It's got to be in here somewhere,” Marcus told the boy, “mother says he must have thousands stashed away. This is the only room in the house we aren't allowed in, it has to be where he keeps it.”
“Check in those boxes!” Vaughn pointed to the small, wooden chests on top of the bookshelves, “how long will he be gone?”
“Not long, he's taken the horse to the farm next door, Vayne said he can shoe the horse by lunch!”
Vaughn pulled out one of the books and flipped through a couple before testing their weights and putting them back. He went around the walls then, feeling for a weak spot. “Anything in the boxes?”
“It's all junk,” Marcus threw one of them at the floor and an old, dried rose rolled out against the sanded, wooden panels.
“Marcus be careful! Look what you did!”
“It's just a stupid flower,” he hissed.
Vaughn picked the rose up carefully and placed it back in the box. “It's not stupid,” he frowned, “I gave this rose to father, I told him it might help him catch the fairy.”
“You know he was lying, right? There isn't any stupid fairy stealing the stars.”
“Then why do we see less and less of them in the sky every arc?”
“Who cares?”
Vaughn returned the box to its rightful place, scarcely able to reach, and continued his search, checking the desk drawer by turning the small iron key. Marcus snatched the key out of his hand and the pair of them wrestled for a moment, “give it back!” Vaughn growled.
Marcus dropped the key and it fell through a gap in the floorboards. “Shit!”
“Now you've done it, lughead.
Marcus slapped his brother across the back of the head and knelt down to try and fit his finger through the gap in the boards. “You try, you've got smaller hands!”
“Move,” Vaughn shoved him and got down on his knees. He tucked his finger into the gap only to find that he couldn't quite reach. As he pulled his hand away, the finger caught and the wooden panel jumped. The two boys looked at each other before Vaughn dug down again and turned the floorboard up on its side, revealing a trapdoor of sorts. Hidden between the dusty rows, piles and piles of gold coins were stacked about thirty coins high. “Wow…”
“There must be about ten thousand coins here…” Marcus paused.
“Should we take some?”
“You suddenly chicken?”
“No!” Vaughn replied and reached in to take a handful, filling his pockets.
“What if he counts it?”
Vaughn stopped and looked thoughtful. He put the pile back and took one coin from the top of every pile instead so that the stacks looked even. “He won't miss it.”
Marcus did the same before the floorboard was put back and the room was arranged to look as if they had never been there. “He's going to notice.”
“Shut up, do you want the sword or not?”
“Quick, let's go and hide it in the garden,” Marcus said, and raced from the room. Vaughn followed after him quickly, but as the door slammed behind him, the box he had returned to the edge of the shelf fell and broke, and the rose lay crushed under the shattered lid.

The light faded, and the warm sunlight that had shone in through the window, cutting the room in half, drifted up the length of the wall before disappearing with the setting sun. The room was cast into total darkness and following the sharp sound of flint struck against steel, candlelight flooded the corner of the room, moving through the darkness like a lazy firefly.
The bookshelves had been removed, as had the desk, replaced by a simple bed, left unmade. Malcolm sat on the edge of the bed and set the candle down on the floor. His face was bruised, his lower lip was cut. He coughed and lay back on the bed, holding his right side, his hand held over his ribs. The glow of the candlelight was a warm, orange colour that didn't reach very far, the small flame hidden behind a wall of wavy wax.
“You shouldn't have come here,” his voice broke the silence of the night. “What if he comes back?”
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 897
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Elyna
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As though she truly was a wisp of a fairy, Elyna was pushed aside by their determined effort to run down the stairs. She tumbled, landed on her knees and straightened. The woman fled across the room as the door banged open again, pressing herself to the wall as she watched the youths scouring their fathers study. Her heart sank with the loss of innocence, gaze settling on the rose, that turned to dust before her eyes.

Swords? They'd wanted weapons? She let out a slow sigh and the racing of her heart ebbed with the sinking sunlight. She turned to the source of warmth and light in her life and approached. Her skirts whispered across the floor before she knelt down before Malcolm.

"I'm not afraid," she assured him and rest cool hands on his side. "I'm not afraid when I'm with you." She lifted a hand to touch the marks on his face, exploring then with care. Being a father had aged his immortality, or was it something else? What has wounded him? Surely not Marcus? She searched his face for any sign of recognition.
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With little light to reveal a clear path between wall and bed, the woman's approach was timed and cautious. Hair cropped short and limbs thin, Vanessa lingered near the end of the bed, weighing up the pros and cons of venturing any closer to the man. “Malcolm…”
He turned his head away from her, fixing his gaze instead on the base of the candle. “Are they even my sons?”
“How can you say that? Of course they are your sons, you raised them!”
He crossed the room like a bolt of lightning, taking the woman by the jaw. “Are they my sons!”
Vanessa’s fingers curled against the man's sides, seeking out his shirt. “Vaughn,” she mouthed, “he is your son, this I know with all my heart.”
Malcolm released the woman with a light shove that saw her stumble backwards a few paces. “And you have raised him to despise me…”
“No my, darling, time is the only poison here. He loves you, he only misses you when you're gone.”
“And I am never here,” Malcolm frowned, “I suppose I am to blame for your actions as well?”
“I was lonely…”
“And I was fighting for this country, and this family! Everything I've done is for you, and for them! Do you not suppose I am lonely, out there on the road, and here in a bed that is not my own, beaten by a son who is not my own?”
Vanessa lifted her hands to cover her mouth, holding back a pathetic sound of woe as her eyes watered. “He thought he was protecting me, Malcolm! I'm sorry!”
“No,” Malcolm waved a hand, dismissing her argument, “you're not sorry, you got everything you wanted.”
She sucked in a shaky gasp of air and sobbed. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry,” Vanessa whispered.
Silence hung in the air like a beam of moonlight. “Do they know?”
“Know what?”
“Do the boys know that Marcus is not my son?”
“No!” Vanessa insisted, “I would nev--.”
His hands were around her neck again, “if you ever tell them,” he hissed, “I swear by my last breath, I will kill you myself!” Malcolm stalked away from the woman like a cornered wolf and tipped his head as she threw herself against the floor and cried. “They are my boys, I raised them,” he said quietly. “They are my sons…”

The candle was blown out, and the room fell into darkness once more. When the sun came up, the bed had been flipped on its side against the wall and a single, wooden chair stood in the middle of the room. Malcolm locked the door and slipped the key into his pocket. He was holding a length of rope, enough to cross the length of the room three times, and climbed onto the chair to thread it through a hole in one of the wooden beams that ran across the ceiling. The other end was tethered to the door handle, and as he finished making a loop to fit over his head, he sat down on the chair and stared out the window.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 534
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Elyna
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Vanessa stepped through her as though she didn't exist. Elyna shrank back into the shadows, a presence unwanted or unrecognised by either of them. Fingers pressed against her lips and trembled. No, this couldn't be so? Marcus was a bastard? Her heart constricted at the mans name even so. He wasn't Malcolm's son? She hardly dared to believe it. If Malcolm hadnt reacted as he did, she wouldn't have believed it at all.

Elyna knew that she was trapped. Unable to step out of the room that had been her prison for the best part of two seasons, she was forced to watch the intimate argument between the two. Flinching away as voices were raised and the door slammed. Marcus had beaten his Father, how was this even possible?

It was just the pair of them in the room. Shadows stretched out over the floor. She watched him until she couldn't watch anymore. He had neither seen nor heard her before, but now he needed to. Heart in her throat the woman crossed to Malcolm in quick steps. His gaze was fixed on the window and she pulled at his shoulder. The chair moved beneath him, screaming across the floor as the legs scrapped over the floor. He would see her!

Elyna caught his face in her hands and pressed her lips to his without hesitation. She didn't allow him room to move or withdraw. Sliding onto his lap, legs tucked over the edge of the seat she clung to his neck, fingers pushed through midnight hair.

"You are mine," she pressed kisses to his nose and cheeks, "and I am yours," her forehead pressed to his "and Elsie, please Malcolm, please...leave the past in the past..." She pleaded with him, drawing back enough to study his features, scanning for any hope of recognition and half dreading being pushed off his lap.
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The mortalborn raised his head and looked to the window again as if he had heard something, perhaps the distant fluttering of a bird’s wings, hovering in order to pick at the spiderwebs outside. His lips and the tips of his fingers were cold, Elyna’s attempts to break into his dream once again gone unnoticed.
When had it gotten this bad, he seemed to sit and wonder. Was life with a family meant to be this difficult?
There was a knock at the door, a hammering that went unanswered. Malcolm got to his feet, silent as a field mouse and stepped up onto the chair. They couldn't take anymore if he was gone, couldn't treat him like the family dog, the kind that slept outside and ate the scraps, when and if there were any to be had.
The rope went around his neck, and Malcolm moved to the edge of the chair, ready to kick it out from beneath him. His heart rate challenged that of the rapping at the door, and when finally a voice called, Malcolm knew it was Marcus.
“Father I'm sorry, I don't care who my real father is. I don't know why mother would say such things… you are my father, I don't care what she says.”
But he did care, Malcolm thought, he would want to know.
“I won't tell Vaughn, I swear I will never tell Vaughn. He will always be my brother.”
Malcolm loosened the rope and tossed it down from the ceiling. He sat down on the chair again and Marcus kicked the door to trick the lock. He entered the room a man, but sunk to his knees like a boy, throwing his arms about the mortalborn sat before him. Malcolm bowed and wrapped his arms around Marcus. Sharp lines blurred, colours dissolved, and light was swept from the room in the time it took to take a breath. There ended the dream, leaving in its wake only darkness and long forgotten pain.
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