Escape

'The Escape' from former friends and the law.

The wind nipped through the windows, fluttering the curtains solemnly. As the fabric flew out, the darkness of the night was revealed. Beside the bed in which her children lay, the Elve stroked their cheeks, watching as they slept in the glow of the candlelight, her two boys. Her expression seemed admiring, to watch her children sleeping so calmly, oblivious to every problem that could occur. As the door behind her was thrown open, she did not turn. Instead, her face began to become twisted with fear, and anger, and her eyes grew damp.

The man that had entered the home quickly strode towards her as the tears began to fall

“We must leave,” the man said, as he leaned down to place his arm around her shoulders. She nodded in reply and wiped her eyes.

Their home was welcoming; the wooden walls seemed to shut out any dangers that could befall them and hold at bay the coldness of the dark nights. The shelves were full of food, a basket of bread, a few apples, even a cheese wedge. They packed many of these items into a cloth sack, which the man hung over his shoulder. The candle light that had warmed them was hastily extinguished. They picked up one boy each and began to head for the back door. Shouts could be heard from outside. Soldiers, both men and Elves, were coming for them. The man pushed open the back entrance, and the two slipped out with the boys in their arms, into the night. Then they ran.

They could take nothing but their lives with them; everything else was left except for a small amount of food and other provisions in their sack. The lovers began their ascent up the rolling hill that resided behind their home. Soon, they arrived at its summit and turned around to watch the flickering lights that surrounded their thatched roof house. The Elvish captain was known for his brutality, and he did not like failure.

When the captain had entered the house to find it deserted, he ordered it to be set alight. Soon, torches were cascading from soldiers and other residents whom the lovers had once known as neighbors and friends. The Elve began to weep and buried her head into the man’s chest. As quickly as they had left their home, they now left the area, making quick work of the trip to the forest’s edge.

The place was ominous, dark, and the mist was widespread. The trees looked like a silent army standing in formation, ready to kill them at the whisper of the order. The trip here had been difficult, with the grass of the field’s being long and wet, the mist blinding them. They only knew the direction of the woods and so kept going. Now they were here, and their time was running out.

“Dammit, where are they!” Grunted the man.

The Elve began to leak tears again as she looked down at the boy she was carrying. He looked like his father, like a man. His short sprouts of brown hair lay on his head and his deep brown eyes wandered around at his surroundings, her sweet Barneas. The man wandered over with their other son in his arms and pressed his head against hers.

Her other son looked more like her, like an Elve. His ears were sharper, as was his face. His eyes were a fluorescent green, and his white hair was barely visible atop his scalp. Their dear Rindell. She smiled down at them both, as another tear dropped to the ground.

Suddenly there was a crack. Like the sound of a bone being split, or a whip lashing against flesh. The man looked around them, but it was impossible to see through the dense mist. The sound seemed to have come from everywhere at once. He looked towards the woods, hoping that the snapping sound hadn’t been a twig under unfriendly feet. The lovers stood side by side, the Elve almost shaking with terror.

Eventually, the woods were no longer ominous and silent, and two figures appeared from the dark mist. One man had a great fur coat on, made from what appeared to be a Snow Wolf pelt. The wolf’s head was still attached and was used as a hood the cover the man’s face. He held a long, rough spear with dark coloured ribbons wrapped around it near the metal spike. From under his wolfs head hood, a rough black beard stuck out of the shadow that covered his face.

The other seemed more civilised, from his posture, height, and chiseled chin, it was clear he was an Elve, and a high-born one at that. He was dressed in a black tunic, with red stripes gliding under the buttons. A sleek, black fabric hood was pulled over his face. Over his tunic was a long cloak that was held round his neck by a pin that seemed to resemble a red dagger.

A bandit clan chief and a master assassin, these were the men that would take their sons away from danger, and away from death. There were little the lovers could do for them now.

“We can set off for the mountains as soon as we have the boys,” rasped the bandit chief in a dark, growling tone, “and the fee.”

The Elve held Barneas tight, and then kissed Rindell’s forehead, before her lover handed them over to the men. He then produced a small pouch from the sack and handed it to them also.

“Thank you for your cooperation,” said the assassin, as a wicked grin could be seen from the shadow of his face. “We will leave immediately.”

The men turned about and faded back into the mist and darkness of the trees. The two lovers held each other, staring into the woods. Soon, the rearing of horses could be heard, and the sharp sound of galloping faded away into the distance. Their sons were gone.

They stayed in the field, embracing each other as they lay on the ground, both asleep. When the sun rose, it woke neither of them.

***

Three soldiers, two men, and the Elven captain from the village walked up to them as the sky turned blue. They all wore chain-mail tops with the men wearing their blue overcoats from the Man Kingdom of Aldamar, as well as domed helmets. The Elven captain wore no such head gear, and his over coat was green with a tree sewn into its fabric, the symbol of the Elven Kingdom of Saltus.

The Elven captain crouched over the lovers. He stretched out his hand to grab the man’s wrist and threw into off the Elve. As it landed on the damp grass, its fingers released a small capsule that rolled away from their bodies.

The cowards ended their own life then, thought the captain. She stood up and turned to the men she commanded.

“Poisoned by their own hand,” declared the captain, as she grinned even more wickedly than the assassin had done. “These two are a mockery to our kingdoms, and their worthless corpses shall be paraded through the streets before their bodies are impaled and left there to rot!”

The soldiers nodded and grabbed a lover each. The captain looked away from the woods edge, and there was nothing but open field. The children were gone, and so her search would continue. Next time, she swore, that she would not fail and would go to any lengths to rid the wretches from this world, even if it was the last mission she ever completed.