Slave Elf Part 33: Flash Fiction Friday

Celebration by S Tar Maiden via

See Part 1 here.

Part 33

Iyunno placed his napkin on the table. “I do hope you’ve enjoyed your meal. It will be the last for a while.” He nodded and the black elves surrounded Delia.

Her heart pounded as her hands grew slick.

“No!” Kaya leapt up.

At a simple wave of Iyunno’s hand, she froze, face in a grimace of both anger and fear.

That made Delia even more afraid. “What are you doing?”

Iyunno sniffed as both Nethene and Ceinno chuckled. “We’re going to bring you over to our side.”

Delia’s head shook no of its own accord. “No. No I won’t.”

“We’ll see.” Iyunno nodded again and one of the black elves grabbed her arm.

Her magic exploded. The elf holding her flew back, his sword flying through the air. Delia rounded on the others, using the push she’d just hit Ceinno with on the other black elves trying to surround her.

Ceinno and Nethene slid around the table, surrounding her and held her with their magic. She fought, but they held her arms to her sides and aside from a trembling whole body shield, she could do nothing. They walked her, Kaya still held in stasis, out of the room and to the dungeon. They shoved her onto a wooden table, slanted so one end was on the floor with a small platform for her feet and strapped her to the table. Helpless tears of anger and fear and frustration leaked from her eyes as they tilted the table up to a forty-five degree angle and wrapped her in a protection spell.

They laughed when they finished. “Not so much after all,” Nethene said.

“It took two of you to wrestle me down here,” Delia said. “And me with just a few months training.”

Ceinno made a movement with his hand.

Delia strained for breath.

“Careful, little one, or I’ll set the grid so small no air will get in.” He waved again, and her breathing became easier.

She glared but said nothing.

Nethene turned to leave. “Sleep well. We begin in the morning.”

Delia watched them leave, shutting the door and soon, a protection spell covered it. It was dark. She tried to remember what was in the room as they forced her into it. She closed her eyes to avoid the oppressive absence of light. On the wall behind her a table. There were things on it but she hadn’t really seen them in her struggle. To her right, a stone wall, not a few feet away. On her left, she tried to remember, but nothing came to her. A larger space than on her right. In front of her was the wall with the door. No windows, though it was dark, perhaps there was one on one of the walls but she just didn’t see. More tears slid silently down her face, dripping into her ears or along her jawline.

She sniffed and did her best to stop crying. Her heart was still pounding from the fight and the fear. What happened to Kaya? Is father really dead? What can mother do to defend the castle? What did Iyunno mean he can force me to turn? Delia struggled against the straps. She could feel her wrists grow wet and slick. Bloody, she thought, and tried to pull her hands through the straps. It didn’t help, they remained in place.

Delia grew tired with the struggle. As well, she wasn’t really standing and wasn’t lying down. The board at her feet wasn’t wide enough for her whole foot, just her heels and that was wearing as well. Her back began to hurt as well as her now injured wrists. She wished she could wipe her eyes and nose. Everything was a discomfort or pain.

It finally occurred to her that the protection field would hold her in place. When she tried it, it didn’t shock her as other protection fields had. She closed her eyes and tried to rest, a steady drip, drip, drip, from behind her a strangely comforting sound as she fell asleep.

At the sound of the door being unlocked, she woke, her eyes gummed together by last night’s tears and sleep. She squeezed her eyelids together then forced them apart just as the door opened. It was Ceinno and Nethene. They were followed by black elves with torches they put in brackets on the walls on each side of the bed and behind her.

Nethene clucked as he approached the table.  He clucked softly. “What’s this! Blood?” He looked over her to her right wrist. “And on this side too.” He shook his head. “Look Ceinno, she’s damaged herself.”

Ceinno shrugged. “She’ll heal. But look at her face! She must have been crying all night.” He laughed. “Afraid, little one? Afraid?”

If she hadn’t been so thirsty she’d have spit, then thought better of it. It wouldn’t get through the protection field anyway. Then she was surprised when Nethene took it down.

Her eyes must have shown the surprise as Nethene chuckled. “You think we’re so afraid of a child that we’d leave it up while we’re standing right here?”

Her mouth was too dry to reply.

Ceinno came back to her side from behind her. He held a mug to her lips. “Drink, little one.”

She tried to shake her head no but Nethene grabbed her by the hair and Ceinno forced her mouth open and poured the liquid in. Delia sputtered, water flying in every direction. It was water and she swallowed some but there was something else in it. Metallic tasting. Ceinno laughed. “There will be more, little one. Oh yes. And you will drink.”

“May you die a horrible death,” Delia managed to croak out.

They both chuckled. “Excellent,” Nethene said. “A good sign, there’s still fight in her yet.”


Thank You! Come back next week for Part 34.

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Slave Elf Part 32: Flash Fiction Friday Post

alnwick_castle_by_americamarten-dbomzh2 via

Find Part 1 here.

Part 32

She woke at a noise. It surprised her how quiet it was in this dungeon. No outside sound at all, until now. A scrape out in the hallway. Delia sat up and waited. The sound of a key in the lock made scraping noises then the door opened. A black elf with a torch, she still didn’t understand why when they had magical lights, stepped into the room followed by another and a third remained in the hall.

“Come,” the one without the torch said. It was the same unpleasant tone as they’d used the night before. Was it night? Had she slept away the entire day? She rose and stepped to the door. She wished she’d had time to at least splash her face. It felt sticky from her dried tears. No matter, no one was going to look good after spending the day in a dark hole.

Again she was led to the dining room. Again, Nethene, Ceinno and Iyuno were already seated, each enjoying fine glasses of red wine while they waited. Iyuno waved her to a chair. Just as Delia was seated, Kaya was brought in. Delia grinned with pleasure. Kaya didn’t seem to be any worse for wear and better, they sat her beside Delia again. The two clasped hands and nodded.

Delia was seated next to Ceinno again. The evil radiating off of him was palpable. It made her stomach turn.

“I’m glad to see you both well,” Iyuno began. He nodded at one of the black elves. He stepped forward and poured each of the newcomers a glass of wine.

Delia reached out and picked up her water glass, draining it before putting it back. Iyuno raised an eyebrow but nodded to the elf, who refilled the water.

“Your antics this morning could be heard all over the castle.” Iyuno raised his wine glass to them. “Too bad it didn’t work.”

Delia had a moment where she wanted to retort that it had been working but Kaya grasped her hand in warning. Delia drew a deep breath and gave her friend a brief nod. “Why are we here? Are we hostages?”

Ceinno chuckled which made the hair on Delia’s arm rise.

“No. Not exactly,” Iyuno said. His voice drawled in laziness.

Delia didn’t like the way he drew it out. “Then what? It’s certainly not for our sparkling conversation.”

It was Iyuno’s turn to chuckle. “Your time with the humans has made you sarcastic. Very charming.” He traded glances with Nethene.

Nethene nodded. “We are studying you. The only raven-haired elf! We want to see what you can do. I’ll have to say the day was a bit of a disappointment.”

Delia dug her nails into her palm to resist a retort. Beside her, Kaya drank her water with a nonchalance Delia envied. She picked up her wine and sipped, hoping she looked as uncaring as Kaya. “So sorry to underwhelm.” She looked around the dining room with her magical sight. All of the doors had a fine mesh of magic over them. The black elves had dark brown auras. Iyuno, Nethene, and Ceinno’s were all black. Apparently in his own company, Nethene didn’t bother to project the false aura. The wine and water didn’t have any magical properties. That didn’t mean they weren’t poisoned. Delia made a mental note to see if there was a way to see poison. If she got out of here alive, anyway. “What are you looking for?”

Nethene shrugged. “Something worthy of a prophesy.”

“What do you think of my protection spell?” Iyuno leaned forward, eyes on Delia.

“It’s very strong,” Delia offered. “But I’m new at magic. I don’t really have a frame of reference.”

Iyuno looked to Kaya. “And you? You’re twice Delia’s age. What is your opinion?”

“My skills tend more toward the healing arts.”

Iyuno fell back into his chair. “I saw you both at the gate yesterday. Neither of you fool me. And with the door to your room this morning? I could feel the power. Who was working on the door?”

“We both were,” Kaya spoke quickly. “A combined effort.”

Nethene frowned. Delia could see he was skeptical. “I could feel a shield.”

Delia shrugged. Kaya took a sip of her wine.

Iyuno waved to a guard. The elf left the room and shortly, several elves came in bringing plates of food. Delia’s stomach growled immediately. Ceinno laughed as he placed his napkin in his lap. “The body can be such a traitor.”

Delia couldn’t help but blush. Kaya gave her hand a squeeze. They ate quickly. Delia still wanted to know what Iyuno was up to. When he finished his food and one of the elves took the plate away, Delia asked, “Where is my father?”

Iyuno looked toward her, picking up his wine. “He’s dead.”

Delia stared at him. A feeling of overwhelming grief washed through her with such speed she stopped breathing. She hadn’t known him that long. The strength of the feeling surprised her. Again, Kaya squeezed her hand. Delia nodded. It was possible that if these three were in here having dinner at their leisure, that her father was dead, and his force destroyed. Tears sprang to her eyes. “You lie.”

Iyuno shrugged. “We march on your father’s palace now.”

An instantaneous fear for her mother swept over her, replacing the grief. “Why?”

Nethene snorted again. “Iyuno is the rightful heir. The elves will proclaim it or they will die.”

“Liar,” Kaya called out. “Liar. Anyone can see by looking at the three of you that you are not fit to rule the kingdom.

Ceinno reached out a hand and made a grasping motion. Kaya’s hand flew up to her neck. She began to turn red, choking.

“Stop it!” Delia turned on Ceinno and with a push of her hand, knocked him out of his seat to go sliding across the dining room floor. The black elf guards were on her in an instant, swords out. Nethene leapt from his chair and had both hands out in front of him. Delia could see the magic, all black and ugly, swirling between his hands. Kaya collapsed into her chair, leaning over the table, coughing.

“Stop!” Iyuno held up a hand.

Nethene looked as though he’d been slapped, but he let the black magic die away. One of the guards helped Ceinno up. He dusted himself up and sauntered back to the table. “You see, cousin, uncle, how powerful she is.” He sat down and picked up his wine glass. “She has strength. She’d be a powerful ally.”

Delia’s eys went wide. “The is no way.”

Iyuno laughed. “Of course there is.”


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Slave Elf Part 31: Flash Fiction Friday


Part 1 Here.

Part 31

Delia brushed her hands off over the plate and walked to stand in front of the door. Kaya did the same and stood beside her.

“So yesterday, I was blasting the castle gate but needed a shield to protect against a back lash, so I stopped to build a shield and you did your best to hold the blast. That didn’t work, or we wouldn’t be in this mess. I suggest you build a shield and I attack the door.” Delia glanced at her friend.

Kaya nodded. “Sounds like a plan.” She drew a deep breath and held out her hands. “Ready.”

Delia could feel her hands sweat. She brushed them off on her pant legs and took her own deep breath, turning on her magical sight. The yellow lines were there, same as on the gate. Would Iyuno build as strong a protection spell on this interior door as on the castle gate? Nothing to do but find out.

She raised her hands and used the spell Kaepli had taught them. “It’s still not right. Same as yesterday. I need to modify it. I’m not sure how.”

“You’re so strong I forget you’re new to magic.” Kaya nodded. “Inch your spell one direction or another. That’s what Master Kaepli taught us. As a mage, we’d have to do just that, discover how to make or break a spell. This is that time.”

Delia nodded, but she had no confidence in her ability to do what Kaya said. How do I move the spell one way or another? She tried adding a color to her spell, like an aura, but aside from a spark or two, nothing happened.

“You can do it, Delia,” Kaya encouraged her.

Delia could feel her breath tremble with the effort. Master Kaepli had made it look so easy. She tried applying more power, but other than her magical force increasing in brightness, that didn’t work either. She could feel drops of sweat start to trickle down her temples. What else could she do?

She heard voices on the other side of the door. “They’ve heard us, somehow.”

“To be expected. We’re generating a lot of power. One of them was sure to notice.”

Delia continued. What did she mean by inch the spell. Actual movement? Despite the noise from the hall, she decided to try and move one of the spell threads. She picked one at the center and eased it out of the golden lines. Her green spell began to vibrate.

“That might be it, Delia. Keep going.”

Delia took another ragged breath. This was harder to do than anything she’d done before. She moved another thread, then another. She panted with the effort, but she could see the golden lines begin to vibrate as well. She was on the right track! Delia had begun to move another of her threads when she and Kaya were knocked across the room with a magical blast. She and Kaya landed against the wall. Delia felt like soggy bread as three of the black elves burst into the room, Nethene behind them. He stared at them as they helped each other to their feet.

Nethene tucked his hands into the wide sleeves of his robe. “I told Uncle you’d try to break the spell.”

Delia wiped the sweat from her temples. “You didn’t think we’d just docilly wait here, did you?” Her words sounded more defiant than she felt.

Nethene snorted. “Of course not. I expected you to try something. Now we’ll have to separate you. A bother for us,” he sneered, “unpleasant for you.” He waved his hand. Three more elves came into the room. “Take them to the cells.”

“No!” Delia cried out.

Kaya raised her chin. “You will not win, traitor.”

Nethene laughed as the black elves led them away.

Delia ended up in a subterranean cell, no windows, and with only one of the magic lights she found in her father’s palace. At least she wasn’t in total dark. She had no way of knowing where Kaya was put. There was a straw pallet on a rope wooden bedstead with one blanket. A bucket in the corner served as the toilet and a rickety wooden stand held a pitcher with a horn mug and a round of bread. Delia lay down on the bed. She was so tired, she didn’t know how she’d managed to walk all the way down here.

Tears came to her eyes and leaked down her face onto the rough mattress. She already missed Kaya. What was Iyuno’s plan? Was she to be traded somehow? What about Kaya? She dashed the tears away, a sudden anger filling her. Was this what she was now? A pawn? It was worse than when she was a slave. At least there she’d had some freedom of movement, of thought. The tears came again, and she cried herself to sleep.


Thank You! Come back next week for Part 32.

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Slave Elf Part 30: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Purple by Dinky03

See Part 1 here.

Part 30

Delia traded a glance with Kaya and approached the table.

“Welcome, niece.” The man at the head of the table rose and gave a small bow. “How nice to finally meet you.” He motioned to the table where two places were set. “Join us.”

Delia didn’t want to sit with these elves. There was no need to switch to her magical sight to see their auras, she could feel the evil permeating the room. Despite that, her stomach growled, betraying her to her great-uncle. She sat in the indicated chair as he smiled at her. Kaya sat beside her.

“Isn’t this nice.” Iyuno sat back down. More black elves appeared, carrying plates of food and placed them in front of each elf then left the room.

Delia’s stomach growled again at the aroma of the food in front of her. Some sort of roast meat alongside of root vegetables, and gravy over all. She looked up from her plate to her uncle. “Why are we here?”

Another smile spread across his face. “Why, niece! To meet you, of course. I never understood why your father sent you away. And to humans?” He shook his head. “A trial for you, I’m sure.”

Nethene and Ceinno both grinned at her. She could feel her skin crawl. “I survived.”

At that the three elves laughed. “Indeed, niece. Indeed. I hear you’ve learned to use your magic quite well since you’ve returned.”

She could feel her hand forming a ball of fire. Delia quickly shook it away. “Well enough.”

Iyuno picked up his fork and knife and cut into his roast. “Please, eat.”

She traded a glance with Kaya, who shrugged. Delia nodded and picked up her fork. The others had already begun. Would her uncle poison her? She didn’t know but she was famished and decided to eat. She stabbed a piece of potato and put it in her mouth, hardly chewing before she swallowed it. If it was poisoned, would she taste it? Would it kill immediately? Before she could think about it anymore, she cut a piece of the roast and ate that. Kaya followed suit.

Delia ate quickly as the three elves made small talk. They never once mentioned the battle that had raged outside of the castle. “What happened to my father?”

Iyuno put down his cutlery. “Happened?”

“The battle. What happened?”

Her uncle chuckled. “Nothing happened. Nothing at all.”

Infuriated, Delia looked at Kaya. She shook her head. Delia turned back to her uncle. “There was a battle. What happened?”

“Oh, that.” Iyuno picked up his goblet of wine and sipped as Nethene and Ceinno chuckled. “We won.”

Delia froze. Her father was dead? How else would this evil monster be sitting here? She reached out and picked up her goblet. It was water. She drank it all then placed the goblet carefully on the table. Was he playing a game with her? Kaya reached out and put her hand on Delia’s shoulder. Delia blinked back tears. She wasn’t going to believe Iyuno. “Then you have no reason to hold us. Let us go.”

“I think not.” Iyuno’s voice was cold. “No. You’ll stay with me. He raised his hand. Three black elves appeared at the door she’d come through. “Take them to their room.”

Delia and Kaya rose and went with the elves. They traveled a different direction from before dinner and were led to a furnished room this time. They were locked in and with her magical sight, Delia could see a protection barrier put up on it. The windows, too were protected. There were two beds with night clothes for them laid out on each. Delia went to one of the glassed windows and looked out. There was a crescent moon, low in the sky but she couldn’t see much else in the dark. She wrapped her arms around herself. What had happened?

Kaya stepped beside her. “He’s lying, you know.”

Delia nodded. “Yes. But about what? He’s sitting in his castle with his two favorite followers having a quiet dinner. None of them were injured. At best the fight was a draw and father retreated to our camp to regroup. At worst, he’s dead and the army scattered. Iyuno could be the new king for all we know.”

“Or your father defeated the black elves and has retreated into this castle. A prisoner. Your father doesn’t know we’ve been captured.”

Delia pressed her fingertips to her temples. “Then he’s worried sick about where we are.”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps Iyuno sent him a message saying he has you.”

“That’s not better, Kaya.” Delia pounded fists on her thighs. “Not better at all.”

“No, it’s not.” Kaya put an arm around her friend’s shoulders. “Let’s clean up. They left us a pitcher of water and wash cloths. We’ll get some sleep and make a plan in the morning.”

Delia nodded. In bed and the familiar magical light off, she wondered at her uncle’s use of torches. The magical lights were so much cleaner. Then her mind drifted to what her father was doing. If he wasn’t dead already. Those thoughts churned for a long time. She didn’t know when she drifted off but woke to sunshine streaming through the windows and a black elf leaving a breakfast tray. Kaya was already up and dressed, watching the elf as he left.

After the door locked she turned to Delia. “You’re awake. Good. Breakfast is served.”

“Sorry I slept so late. I had a hard time getting to sleep.” Delia tossed her blankets aside and got up.

“I know. I could hear you thrashing around.”

“I’m sorry I kept you awake.” Delia splashed her face in the remaining wash water and got dressed.

“No matter.” Kaya examined the tray. “A pitcher of water, bread, cheese and apples. Not bad.” She plated the food and sat down at the table. “A little butter for the bread would have been nice.” Kaya ripped a roll in half and pulled a bite off, pairing it with a bit of cheese before eating it.

Delia joined her at the table. “I suppose if he didn’t poison us last night he wouldn’t poison us this morning.”

Kaya laughed. “Probably not.”

They ate companionably, in silence until the food was gone. Kaya leaned back in the chair, mug of water in hand. “So, what’s our plan?”

Delia shook her head. “We can try and break the spell on the door and sneak out.”

“Sounds good. Let’s give it a try.”


Thank You! Come back next week for Part 31.

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Slave Elf Part 29: Flash Fiction Friday Post

alnwick_castle_by_americamarten-dbomzh2 via

See Part 1 here.

Part 29

Delia woke in a stone room. Kaya was already awake, beside her. “I’ve already walked the room. The door is solid oak with iron laced through it and locked. The window it too high for me to reach. Both of them have protection wards on them.

Delia touched the back of her head. Her fall, or perhaps the elves when they brought her here, knocked her wound open. It hurt and, she looked at her hand, it was bleeding. “Can you look at my head please? My head is bleeding.” She scooted around so her back was to Kaya. She felt fingers gently probe her head and part her hair.

“Oh, yes. It’s broken open. Let me see if I can help.”

Delia felt that spot on her head get warm, the pain went away. “That feels better.”

“Good.” Kaya sat back against the wall. “I was out long enough for my power to regenerate.”

“I’m glad. Any idea how long we were unconscious?”

Kaya shook her head. “I’m not sure. I was totally drained when we were captured and I’m not sure how long it should or would have taken to get back to full strength. So, it could still be today or we may have lost a day. Or more.”

“More?” Delia sagged against the wall. She thought about the battle that had been raging when they were captured. Was her father all right? What happened at the battle? Was he worried? Was he dead? A soft sigh escaped her lips.

“I know.” Kaya took Delia’s hand. “We don’t know anything and it’s easy to drop into despair. So let’s tally up the good points. First, we’re alive.”

Delia chuckled. “I suppose that is a good point. Yes.”

“Next, we seem to have all of our powers and faculties. Every body part works.”

“That’s so.” Delia began to feel better. “And now that I think of it, my head was bleeding, and I’m not covered in blood so not too much time must have passed.”

Kaya grinned. “That’s true. Clever of you to think of that. I guess I was wallowing in some despair myself.”

Delia patted Kaya’s hand and let out a big breath. “The battle could still be going on.” She stood up and looked up at the window. “You’re smaller than I am. If you stood on my shoulders, do you think you could see outside?”

Kaya got up and stood beside Delia, looking at the window. “Maybe. Let’s try it.”

Delia went to the wall under the window and put her hands on the wall. “I’ll make a knee so you can climb up.”

Kaya took her boots off and placed her left foot on Delia’s left knee. “I hope I don’t hurt you too much.”

“It’ll be worth it if we can learn something.” As Kaya shifted her weight to her right foot on Delia’s right shoulder, Delia straightened up. “Are you close?”

“I’m still below the window. I’m going to try and pull myself up.”

Delia felt the weight leave her shoulders so she stepped back from the wall to see. Kaya had both hands on the window’s edge, elbows bent as she made the effort to lift herself up. “Let me try to help.” She dashed over to Kaya and put a hand under each of her feet. “I’m going to push up, Kaya.” As she pushed, she focused and added a little power.

“It’s working! Keep going!”

Delia lifted until her arms were straight up. “That’s it. Can you see out?”

“A little. Tree tops mostly. Wait, listen.” Kaya was silent for a moment. “I can hear fighting!”

“My arms are getting tired.”

“Oh. Yes. You can let me down.”

Slowly, Delia lowered her arms until Kaya’s feet touched her shoulders. She braced against the wall again as the elf clambered down.

Kaya let out a big breath. “That was awkward.”

Delia brushed off her hands. “What did you see?”

“The moat below us. Cleared ground on the other side of the moat to the treeline. That’s it.”

“How high up are we?”

“High. Four stories or more.”

Delia paced around the room. Six paces to the door. Seven from one side of the room to the other. The room was clean, at least there was that. But no water or food and no place to relieve herself, not even an empty bucket.

“The window is open?”

“Yes. Except for the protection spell. I could feel my fingers tingling on the window’s edge.”

“So we are stuck here until someone comes to let us out.” Delia didn’t like that at all. It felt like it did when she was a slave.

“Pretty much.”

Kaya sat down, her back against the wall facing the door. “I’m going to take a nap.”

Delia nodded. Kaya must still be feeling the effects of her all out magical efforts from the morning. But Delia wasn’t tired. She paced back and forth in front of the door, stopping now and then to examine the door or parts of the wall. The sun set and the room grew dark and chilly. She finally went over to sit with Kaya. Delia found Kaya’s body warmth comforting, even if it was just arm to arm. At least she wasn’t alone.

When Kaya woke, the two traded stories about growing up. Delia found herself a little envious of Kaya’s tales of family outings, trips to other elf kingdoms, and her siblings’ antics, but the tales helped to pass the time and she was glad of that.

They were startled by the sound of a key in the lock of the door. It swung open on creaky hinges and they sheltered their eyes at the glare of a torch. It was one of the black elves. “Come.”

Delia scrambled to her feet. Kaya shoved her feet into her boots and rose also. “Where?”

The elf backed out of the room. “Come.”

Delia sighed. There was nothing else to do. She followed the elf into the hall where she saw three others waiting. Kaya followed her.

“Come,” the elf with the torch said. He led them down the hall to the left. Delia and Kaya walked side by side, the three other black elves following. They reached the end of the hall in a tower and went down flights of stairs to a landing that led to another hall. They followed that to a great room, a fireplace at one end, windows along the right wall, and a table in the middle set for supper.

At the head of the table was an elf, dressed all in black. On his right was Nethene and on his left, Cienno. Delia felt the hairs on her arms stand up. This could not be good.


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Slave Elf Part 28: Flash Fiction Friday

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See Part 1 here.

Part 28

Delia walked up to the edge of the moat as Kaya stood a little to her right and behind her to back her up if necessary. Delia wiped her hands on her trousers then focused as she raised her hands. Her mouth was so dry her tongue was sticking to the roof of her mouth. She refocused on the yellow bands, her energy forming the green magic. At the point when she thought she couldn’t hold the magic any longer, she released it, watching it flow across the moat and cover the yellow bands. She kept feeding the magic, urging it to cover every yellow line, smother it, eliminate it.

Beside her Kaya had her hands raised as well, green power circling her hands, ready to assist if needed. “You can do it,” she whispered.

Delia gave a brief nod. She had to stay focused. It wasn’t long before every yellow line was covered but something was wrong. “It doesn’t feel right.”

“What do you mean?” Kaya looked at her, eyebrows high.

“It’s not the same magic we practiced on. It’s wrong.”

“What’s it doing?”

“Resisting, pushing back.” Her arms began to shake with the effort. “I’m not sure I can hold it.”

Kaya through her magic at the bands. Delia could feel the other elf’s strength and it helped but it wasn’t going to be enough. “We have to build a wall. This is going to blow back on us and the army.”

Kaya had beads of sweat running down her temples. “How did you hold this alone?”

“No idea.” She drew a shaky breath. “Can you hold a few moments while I build a protection shield?”

Delia could see Kaya’s entire body vibrate with her effort.

“A very short time.”

“Here I go.” Delia removed her green magic and using the edge of the moat in front of her as an anchor, began weaving yellow bands in a circle. Around and around she went. Behind her she could hear her father ordering the army back. That was a little relief. She continued to build—around and around until the yellow wall was two stories high. She whispered the command and dropped her arms. “Stop, Kaya!”

Kaya fell to the ground, panting just as the protection on the gate flashed. Delia was knocked backward off of her feet, a wave of energy passing by, ruffling the grass and shaking nearby bushes. The army behind her roared. She twisted around to see what was happening.

Out of holes in the ground elves came running, dressed all in black, she could see that most of them had auras dark as night. Shaking, Delia realized that she and Kaya were on the wrong side of that mass of elves.

She crawled over to Kaya who was lying limp on the ground. “We must move!”


“The black elves are attacking from hidden tunnels. We’re on the wrong side. Move!”

Delia helped her to her feet and the two began working their way to the left at the edge of the moat. They hunched over, hoping to avoid being seen. Delia desperately wished for some bushes for cover but of course, none would be found this close to the moat. “We have to get far enough around the castle to cut back to the forest.”

“Yes.” Kaya was breathing harshly.

Delia didn’t like the sound of it but there was nothing she could do about it at the moment. Ahead, she could see the dust rising from Mystesto’s force. “Look. The same thing happened to them.”

Kaya raised her head. “Not good.”

“Not at all. We’ll try and cut into the forest here.”

Kaya nodded and did her best to move quickly. Delia tried to see all around her. Nothing was coming up behind them. Nothing was coming from Mystesto’s direction either. They were closing in on the tree line. She began to think they were going to make it.

They ran into the shade, a blessing in itself. Kaya struggled to stay on her feet. “I have to rest.”

Delia found a tree and helped Kaya sit, back against the trunk, on the side away from the fighting. She glanced around. They were alone. She knelt next to the apprentice. “Can you tell me what hurts?”

“Everything. I used the last of my strength to hold that spell.” Kaya stopped, breathing hard. “Then when the spell snapped, even with your shield, it felt as though I’d been whipped.”

Delia took a look at Kaya’s aura. It was very faded. “I’m sorry. You’ve been injured in a way I don’t know how to fix.”

“I just need rest. It’ll come back.”

Delia sat back on her heels. They were in a fix. She couldn’t carry Kaya. Two forces were fighting on either side of them. Neither of them had more than simple eating knives on them and they were cut off from their own side. Delia pressed her fingers to her temples as though that would generate an idea. All she could feel was panic.

“Take a breath.”

Delia shook her head with confusion. “What?”

“Take a deep breath,” Kaya said weakly. “I can see you’re panicking. Just take a breath.”

Delia felt like a selfish child that the injured elf had to comfort her. “Sorry. I don’t know what to do.”

“That’s fine. We’ll get out of this.”

Delia nodded. She refrained from asking how. She held Kaya’s hand. “Of course, we will.” As they sat, she listened to the battles on either side of them. The clang of sword on shield or sword on sword was loud. There was screaming, too, though she tried not to dwell on that. She worried about her father and the ambush. Was he safe? What about Mage Kaepli and Sisruo? Delia fought back the tears of fear and grief. Stop being a baby. You can’t stay here. Move! “We need to move, Kaya. We’re too close to the castle and the battle.”

“Let’s go then.”

Delia helped her to her feet and they did their best to move quietly through the forest. “It’s just a mile to our camp,” Delia whispered. “Do you think you can go that far?”

Kaya nodded.

They edged around a large bush and just beyond it, Delia heard a snap. She turned around and out of the bush emerged four male elves, dressed all in black like the ambushers. There must be a tunnel in that bush, she thought, just before one of the elves raised his hand and threw a blue ball of magic at them. She didn’t have time to untangle herself from Kaya. The ball hit them. Her last thought was, No!


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Slave Elf Part 27: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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See Part 1 here.

Part 27

Delia shivered in the cool, pre-dawn air. It was wet, too, dew soaking her boots as they quickly walked to meet the king. “What’s going on?”

“I am not the one to tell you, Princess.” The elf hurried on and Delia, fuming, could do nothing but follow.

They soon arrived at the edge of the camp where elves stood with torches and the king, with Kaepli and Sisruo next to him, in the center of the horseshoe shaped crowd. “Sire. You called for me?”

“Yes. Thank you. Mage Kaepli believes he’s found the correct protection spell.” He nodded to the mage. “Begin.”

The mage held out his hands. “I’m setting the spell around that boulder.”

Delia switched to her magical sight. As the mage concentrated, she could see yellow lines of power around his hands. As they grew brighter, she could see them flow away and surround the rock. “There,” he said as he dropped his hands, “it’s one of the more powerful spells and modified, at that.” He turned to Delia. “It was your description that helped me find the right spell. I am surprised that Iyuno or perhaps Nethene dared to modify that spell.”

“And can you break it?” the king asked.

“Now that I know the spell, yes.” The mage turned back to the boulder and raised his hands again.

Delia could see green lines of magic build, then flow to the rock, covering the yellow lines. The two merged and with a flash, disappeared. A sigh of surprise arose from the crowd.

“Well done, Mage Kaepli. Can you break the spells on the whole castle at once?”

“No sire. Unfortunately not. We’ll need elves at each entrance to work the spells. I could use Delia’s help.”

The king turned to his daughter and glanced at the bandage on her head. “Are you up to it, daughter?”

“I am well enough, Sire, to help the mage and his apprentices.”

“It’s settled, then. We will approach the castle at mid-morning.”

With that the king left and the group dispersed except for the mage, Sisruo and Delia. “How do I work the spell, Mage Kaepli?” Delia asked.

“I’ll teach both you and Sisruo at the same time.” He demonstrated again, this time telling them what he was doing. After two run-throughs, he had them practice. Delia thought it was much like casting an aura and after a try or two, managed to get the protection around the boulder. Sisruo took longer but he, too, eventually cast the magical protection around the rock. “That was hard.” He wiped the sweat from his brow.

The mage looked up. “The sun is up. We’d better get back and eat, then prepare for battle.”

Delia nodded and the three returned to the camp.

When the cohorts formed up, the mage was with Captain Neoni and Sisruo was with Mystesto. Kaya rode with Delia and the king. The other apprentices were split between Sisruo and Kaepli. “Mage Kaepli taught you the spell?” Delia asked Kaya.

“All of us.” She edged her horse next to Delia’s. “I have to say it took me awhile to get the hang of it.”

“I just hope we can destroy the spells quickly.” Delia coughed in the dust being raised by the fidgeting horses. “And that after we destroy the road barriers and the spikes.”

“The rest of the elves can handle those,” Kaya said. “We’re the only ones who can take down the protection spells.”

Delia felt better. Using magic took energy and she thought she’d need all she had to open the castle doors. Nagging at her was how Iyuno and Nethene would defend the place, especially if all of his forces were inside. She was no expert, but that didn’t seem possible. “What other traps do you think they have?” she asked Kaya.

The elf turned to her. “Other traps?” Kaya shook her head. “None?”

A frown filled Delia’s face. “I need to talk to the king.” She applied heel to her horse and moved out of line, cantering up to her father. She edged up to his horse.

“Delia?” The king looked behind, then back to his daughter. “Is everything all right?”

“I’m not sure, Father.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’ve seen no elves outside Iyuno’s castle. They have the roads blocked and spikes placed around the castle but no other defenses. I have to wonder how they plan on defending the place? Are there other traps we haven’t noticed?”

Ucheni pressed his lips together and his forehead furrowed. They trotted along like that for some time. He called the Sergeant of the Guards to him.

The elf dropped back to ride on the right of the King. “Sire?”

“Send messengers to Neoni and Mystesto. Tell them to be on the lookout for other traps. Tell the Mage in particular that we suspect we’ve missed something. You be on the lookout along our path as well. This whole thing seems too easy.”

The Sergeant nodded and prodded his horse forward, calling for messengers.

Delia sighed. “I’m sorry, Father. I feel as though I’m causing trouble.”

He shook his head. “I should have seen it sooner. Thank you. You are quite right. This is too easy. Some logs and spikes and a well-seen door protection? Too little by far.” He sighed. “Now I wonder if anyone is in the castle at all, let alone Iyuno.”

“I saw aura’s through the windows, Father.”

“True. But maybe only a few elves and Iyuno and Nethene and Ceinno and the rest are somewhere else.” He pounded a fist on his thigh. “I was too eager to end this.”

They rode together in silence, just the jingle of harness and the dust of travel surrounding them. The advance guard easily removed the logs and when they got to them, the spikes. No other trap seemed to exist except the door protections. For that Delia and Kaya rode to the front.

Time to get to work.


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Slave Elf Part 26: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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Part 26

The enemy castle was over a mile away so Delia and Sisruo saddled their horses and rode out to a hillside overlooking the small valley where the castle stood.

Delia dismounted and tied her horse to a branch. Sisruo did the same. They stood just inside the tree line, where, Delia hoped, they couldn’t be seen.

“How do you propose to see inside the castle?”

“I don’t know. Since father asked it of me, I assumed it could be done.” She could hear Sisruo draw a deep breath.

“I’ve never heard of it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. He may be relying on your magical strength.”

Delia thought so too. She switched to her magical sight. “I don’t see anyone’s aura outside of the castle except our own watchers. What do you see?”

“Not much. Not at this distance.”

She heard the disappointment color his statement. Another thing that made her different. “What I do see is…I don’t know what to call it, an aura of magic around the gate and the windows.”

“They’ve set protection spells. It makes sense. Can you tell me what they look like?”

“They’re lines of yellow, like hoops, around each opening. Over the entire castle is an aura of dark purple. At the windows, I can see some people, auras are all dark. I can’t see through the walls. I’ve failed Father.” Her shoulders slumped.

“I think not. You can see all of that when I can only see vague shimmers at best. I can’t even see our watchers. The news about the protection spells is important. It will change how the king approaches the castle.”

“I suppose you’re correct.” His comment did make her feel a little better. “We should get back and tell the council.”

Once back, she spoke to the king and his councilors, telling them what she found.

“Could you see the protection spells, Sisruo?” the mage asked.

“No, Master. I couldn’t. Nor could I see our watchers. Not at that distance.”

King Ucheni scratched at his beard. “What can we do about the protection spells?”

The mage spoke, “I’ll have to think, Sire. I’d like to work with Delia to try and identify what’s there.”

The king looked at his daughter. “Are you ready for that?”

She nodded. “I am. Whenever you’re ready, Mage Kaepli.”

“Let’s go to my tent. I’ll look in my books.” He gave the king a bow and headed for the door.

Delia and Sisruo did the same and followed the mage out. In Kaepli’s tent, they all took stools around the table. Kaepli handed Delia parchment and pen. “Draw what you saw. The patterns may help me research.”

While Delia drew, Kaepli pulled an ancient tome from a chest in the corner of the tent. He brought it to the table and sat down. “Protection spells can be tricky. A simple one could prevent anyone or thing from entering or leaving. As you add requirements, say, allowing exit, or specifying various creatures or beings, the spell can become a threat to the setter as well as anyone trying to break it.” He stroked his beard as he turned crackling pages.

Delia handed him the parchment. “I’m not a very good artist.”

Kaepli took the page. “You described them as hoops. Were the yellow lines thick or thin?”

“They varied, and as you can see, the distance between them varied as well. These aren’t identical representations. Just generalizations.”

Kaepli sighed and put the drawing down. “That’s all right. They may change constantly. But what you saw may help me pin down the spell.” He continued to turn pages.

Sisuro rose and got them all mugs of water and put them on the table. “Unless you’d prefer wine, Master?”

“No, water is fine. Thank you.”

Delia nodded her thanks and drank. She was getting a headache and wanted nothing more than to go to her own tent and sleep. Being a princess was tiring work. “What can I do to help?”

“Nothing, really, other than what you’ve done already.” The mage continued to turn pages. “I may know what they’re using but I want to be sure.” He looked up at her. “Go. Rest. When I confirm my thoughts, we made need you to help us break the spell.”

Delia nodded. “Very well.” She stood up. “I’ll leave you to it then.”

She left the tent and walked the short distance to her own. Delia didn’t bother to light the candle on her table but took off her boots and lay down on her cot, fully clothed. She wasn’t looking forward to being the spell breaker. She didn’t have the confidence in her own magic that everyone else seemed to have. It was still too new to her. Would they go to battle tomorrow? Iyuno must know that they were there. If she could see the watcher’s auras, couldn’t he? Or Nethene? She sighed and rolled over onto her side and tried to still the thoughts whirling around in her brain. Whether they went to battle tomorrow or not, she suspected it would be a full day for her. She needed her sleep.

She was woken in the dark by knocking on the tent pole. “Princess, Princess. Wake up! The king calls for you.”

Delia rolled from the cot, bleary-eyed and confused. It was still dark. “What time is it?”

“Just before dawn. Please hurry?”

“Is the king all right?” She sat on the edge of her cot and began pulling on her boots.

“Yes. But hurry.”

She couldn’t think why the king would be calling her in such a hurry unless there was something very wrong. “I’ll be right there.”

When she came out of the tent, the elf was still there. “This way Princess.”

The elf hurried away, but not in the direction of the King’s tent. She scurried after the elf. A feeling of foreboding washing through her. What could be wrong?


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Slave Elf Part 25: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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Part 25

Delia was awakened by a call at the door of her tent. “Princess, breakfast is being served.”

Groggy, she responded. “Is it morning?”

“Yes, Princess. We leave as soon as we’ve eaten.”

Delia blinked, her eyes gummy from sleep. “I’ll be right there.” She heard footsteps leaving as she swung her legs around to the ground. Morning already? She was still in her clothes. At the wash stand she splashed her face and rinsed her eyes. What had happened? Was she that tired? After unbraiding her hair and combing it, she rebraided it and stuffed her personal possessions into her saddlebag. Ready, she left the tent and went to the cook tent. There, people milled around, bowls of mush in hand, chatting. She thanked the elf who handed her a bowl and walked to a tree to sit, her back against the trunk.

Sisruo found her there, eating the last of her food. “Princess. I didn’t see you at dinner last night.” He sat down beside her.

“No. I slept straight through.”

“Is your wound bothering you?”

“No. I rebandaged it this morning after I combed my hair. It’s fine.” She saw him raise an eyebrow. “Just tired, I guess.”

“Ceinno dealt you a huge blow yesterday. Could that be it?”

Delia shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t feel any different.” To herself, though, she wondered if Sisruo was right. “No matter. We leave today.” She got up and dusted off her clothes. “I’ll see you at the lineup.”

Sisruo nodded but she could tell he wasn’t happy with her explanation. After returning the bowl to the dish washers, she went to the picket line to get her horse ready. An hour later, she was in line with Sisruo and the Mage when the King rode up and the party marched off.

The march lasted three days. In that time she spoke with the Mage about the psychic blow she’d received. “It depends,” Kaepli said. “You were already wounded, so that may be all it is.” He studied her. “Your aura looks normal and you don’t seem to be suffering any other effects.”

“Thank you, Master Kaepli. I just wondered.”

“Those kinds of attacks can be fatal. I’m glad you asked.”

Delia nodded. “I didn’t want to bother you.”

He gave her a smile. “Never a bother to speak with you, Princess.”

Now they were at a castle. It was dark, and to Delia, felt evil. The moat around it was full and stakes had been placed in multiple rows all around the perimeter. Logs had been piled on all of the roads approaching the castle. Turning to her magical sight, Delia could see an aura hanging over the entire place. It was as black as Nethene’s.

“I don’t have a good feeling about this, Father,” she said as she sat beside him. Their horses didn’t seem to like the place either. They tossed their heads, snorting and danced around the dusty road.

“I don’t much like it either. But if that aura is any indication, Iyuno and his minions, Nethene, included, are all in there. I’ll send a messenger.”

Master Kaepli shook his head. “I’m afraid you’ll lose any messenger, Sire.”

Captain Neoni and Mystesto rode up. “A bad business, Sire,” Neoni began. “I expected to see his forces outside the castle.”

Mystesto nodded his agreement. “They’re up to something, Sire.”

The king nodded. “Set up camp. Out of sight of the castle. We’ll meet this evening. In the meantime, post watchers around the castle, in pairs. For safety.”

“As you will, Sire.” With that, Neoni and Mystesto rode off.

The mage stroked his beard. “I’ll use the scrying bowl. It may provide some information.”

“Very good.”

The mage rode off. Sisruo rode with him.

Delia stayed with her father and his guards. “Do you have a plan, Father?”

“No.” Ucheni shook his head. “No plan at all. Perhaps the mage will see something useful.”

Delia hoped so as well.

She was present at the council meeting that evening. They stood around the rough table, a map of the area, Iyuno’s castle, in the middle, covered the table. “Do we know what the inside of the castle looks like?”

Neoni shook his head. “We didn’t even know a castle was here, Sire. He must have had it built recently.

Mage Kaepli entered the tent. “Sire. I apologize for being late.”

“You have information?” The king looked tired, Delia thought to herself. And no wonder. The fate of the entire kingdom was on his shoulders.

“Not as much as I would like.” The mage spread a map over the table. “This is the interior of the castle as best as I could see in the scrying bowl. The aura covers most everything in darkness.”

The group huddled over the map. “There are a lot of blank spots,” the king said.

“Yes, Sire. The blackness was too thick there for me to see.”

Mystesto traced possible paths through the castle with his forefinger. “Some evil lurks in the blank spots, I’m sure.”

Everyone agreed. The king sat down on a stool. “What about the blocked roads and the stakes? Can we get rid of them?”

“I have my apprentices working on that now, Sire.” Kaepli pulled his sleeves into place. All of the materials are organic, so we may be able to pull them out of the ground to free our approach.”

The king nodded. “Mystesto, what to your scouts say?”

“They see no one outside the castle, sire. Whatever the inside is like, outside appears quiet.”

There was a commotion at the door. It was Kaya, looking to Delia as though she hadn’t slept in days.

“Sire.” She nodded to Master Kaepli and turned to the king. “The prisoners escaped. They killed all of the guards.”

A gasp escaped from each elf in the meeting. “The wounded?” the king asked.

“They’re fine. I left the most healthy in charge and rode here as directly as I could.”

Delia thought the young apprentice looked about to drop from exhaustion.

“Thank you,” the king said. He looked to Neoni. “Double the watchers. I don’t want them to sneak into the castle.”

Neoni bowed and hurried from the tent. “Master Kaepli, please take care of your apprentice. Let me know if you need anything.” Kaepli bowed and he helped Kaya from the tent.

The king looked at Delia. “Separating them didn’t seem to work. They have great power. Power I don’t want added to Iyuno’s.”

“What do you need me to do, Sire.”

“Check for aura’s. See if you can identify anyone in the castle. Or around the castle, for that matter. Keep me apprised.”

“Yes, Sire.” She bowed and left the tent.

Outside she found Sisruo, pacing back and forth. “Hello!”

“Hello. You didn’t come into the tent.”

“No, Master Kaepli had work for me. Is the meeting over?”

“For me. I’m going to look at the castle and see if I can identify individual auras.”

Sisruo gaped. “At night? From this distance?”

“From where I can. And yes, now.”

“I’ll come with you.”

“Doesn’t the Mage have work for you to do?”

“Not at the moment.” He reached out to take her arm.

Delia pulled it out of his reach. “I’m capable of doing this on my own.”

Even by the light of the torches, she could see him blush. “I know you are. But we’re outside of a deadly enemy’s fortress.”

Delia drew a deep breath. He had a point. “Very well.”


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Slave Elf Part 24: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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In the morning after the mage had redressed her head, Delia went to the King’s tent. “May I come in, Father?” she asked at the open tent door.

“Of course!” He beamed up at her from his table strewn with papers. “A welcome break.”

Delia stepped inside. “Mage Kaepli told me you decided to wait here another day.”

The king nodded. “It gives the wounded time to recover. You look well.”

“The wound hurts and I still have a headache but not like yesterday. I’ll be fine.”

“Good. We will leave at first light tomorrow. Rest well.”

Delia came around his table and kissed him on the head. “Thank you.” She went back to the door. “I think I’ll stroll around a little and work the stiffness out of my legs. Then rest awhile.”

“Good idea. Take care.”

“I will, Father.” Delia left the tent and looked around the camp. Everything spiraled out from the king’s tent. She began to stroll, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. The tent was fine but as the day got warmer, it began to smell musty. She was glad to be outside. At the mage’s tent, she found all of the apprentices, gathered. “Hello.”

“Hello! We’re glad to see you up,” Kaya said. “Sisruo told us you were feeling better.” Kaya grinned at him as he blushed.

Delia saw the blush and could feel the heat rise on her cheeks as well. “Master Kaepli was most helpful.”

“Do you still have a headache?” Sisruo asked.

“A little but nothing I can’t handle.”

Sisruo leapt to his feet. “I’ll make more of the headache potion.”

“No, thank you. I’m fine. What about the other wounded?”

“They’re over in the hospital tents. Most will be able to ride tomorrow. The rest will stay here with the guards surrounding the prisoners.” Couran rose from his squat as he finished speaking. “We’re taking a quick break from the morning’s healings. Then we’ll bring them all food and more water.”

Delia nodded. “I’m just working the kinks out, then I’ll be back to my tent.”

“You’re going to keep walking?” Sisruo’s tone of voice indicated his alarm.

“Is there some reason I shouldn’t?” Delia saw Pelan swat Sisruo in the calf from where he was sitting on the ground. A grin across his face.

“Well. I, uh, no, I suppose not.” He blushed again as Kaya snickered. “I’ll walk with you.”

Delia arched an eyebrow. “Thank you. That would be nice.”

As Sisruo hurried to her side, Couran and Pelan both laughed. Delia hid a smile. “Let’s go then.”

They strolled past the Captain’s tent and then Mystesto’s. She realized she could tell who’s rank and status was higher by the tent arrangements. As they walked, she made note of the walking wounded. They nodded to her as she passed and nodded back. “So many hurt!”

Sisruo nodded. “Using the healing arts, we put many back on their feet. Some, though, were hurt too bad for the healing to do much except take away some of the pain or fix minor problems. Kaya has volunteered to stay behind when the camp breaks to look after the ones not able to travel.”

“That was nice of her.”

“Her healing gift is better than the rest of ours. It’s a good choice.”

Soon they came to the hospital tent and Delia went inside. She spoke briefly to each elf, holding their hand or laying her hand on a fevered forehead. “They’re so nice to me,” she said after they left.

“They saw you are wounded. They feel as though they share a bond with you now.”

“Perhaps so.” Delia was lost in thought about how well she was fitting in, given her upbringing when a psychic blast knocked her sideways. “What?”

“Who did that?” Sisruo gave Delia a quick look over. “Are you all right?”

Delia shakily exhaled. “Yes. I think so.”

Sisruo strode to the wooden fence holding the prisoner elves inside. “Who attacked her?”

The elves inside laughed and moved away from the fence.

Delia studied their auras. All of them were dark. One in particular though, drew her to the fence. She looked directly at the elf. “You know me?”

The elf made a mocking bow, a smirk on his face. “Who wouldn’t know the poor princess Delia, robbed of her background. Forced to live with humans.” The six other prisoners all laughed.

Delia could feel the scorn. She swallowed the insults. “You have me at a disadvantage. What’s your name?”

By now the guards were surrounding the fence, spears ready.

“Ceinno.” He made a sweeping bow.

Delia studied him. His aura was dark purple, almost black, like a fresh bruise. She wondered if that aura hurt. “You are a relative?”

“Not of a sniveling, human-raised abomination. I’m nephew to Iyuno.”

“Then you share blood with my father and myself. Why this war?”

“My uncle is the better elf. He was cheated of his throne.”

“Were you there?”

“No. But Uncle told me.”

It was obvious to Delia as she watched Ceinno’s aura bubble and flash, that she wasn’t going to change his mind. A brief thought about how her father’s conversation went passed quickly and she left it alone. “I’m sorry this has happened. We’re family.”

Ceinno spit on the ground. “No kin of mine.”

The evil permeated the stockade, rising from all seven elves. She turned to go. Sisruo took her arm. “Best to leave, Princess.”

“Do you feel it?”

“Feel what?”

“The evil. It’s thick over the stockade. I’m going to suggest to father that those seven be separated.”

“Probably a good idea, Princess.” Sisruo cut straight through the spiral camp to the King’s tent. He called out to the guard in front. “Princess Delia to see the King.”

Delia had a moment of annoyance about him speaking for her but pushed it away. This was more important.

“Come in.”

The King rose. “Are you alright, daughter?”

“Yes, Father. I am. I just came from the prisoner’s stockade.”

The King’s face clouded. “I wish you hadn’t.”

“I met Ceinno. He is almost as evil as Nethene. I advise separating those elves. The entire stockade stinks of evil.”

“What happened?”

“We were walking by. I wasn’t even aware of the stockade. That’s when a psychic blow nearly knocked me off of my feet.”

The King glared at Sisruo. “You were with her?”

“Yes, Sire. The prisoners were most disrespectful.”

Ucheni looked back to his daughter. “I’ll talk to Captain Neoni about it. You think they’re dangerous?”

“Yes, I do.”

The king sighed. “Very well. But stay away from there.”

“Yes, Father.”

She bowed and left, Sisruo behind her.

“Are you sure you’re alright? That seemed like quite the blow.”

“I’m fine. Just a little tired.” She stopped at her tent. “I’ll take a nap, I think.”

“Good. If you need more headache medicine, let me know.”

“Thank you, Sisruo.” Delia went into her tent. It was warmer inside than out. All the better to sleep, she thought.

She lay down on top of the wool blanket and closed her eyes.


Thank You! Come back next week for Part 25.

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