Elína - ~Chapter 2~
I was awoken by the smell of wood burning. Rolling over I saw through a hole in the wall that it was almost dawn, and that the village fire still burned. I walked over to the water basin that my mother always placed on our only table and quietly splashed my face with the water, well, at least I thought I had been quiet. "Elína?" my mother whispered.
"Good morning mother. I'm sorry, did I wake you?" I replied, drying off my face on a towel.
"No, I was wondering..." My mother looked surprisingly uneasy about something.
"What mother?" I inquired, feeling a chill settle in my chest. What was she going to ask me? I lowered my eyes and quickly reviewed all the things I didn't want my mother to ask me about, and the excuses I could use, as she continued. "I was wondering if you would like to visit your aunt, your father's sister, with Bláilith, just you two." I glanced up surprised.
"You even have to ask? Of course mother, we so rarely see aunt Kliana, what is the occasion?" I asked excited, we so rarely were able to travel and seeing our relatives, even the ones we weren't very found of, was quite an unexpected treat. I agreed happily to go. Then, when Bláilith awoke, mother told her the same news. Bláilith, of course, was just as excited about the trip.
As Bláilith ran off to announce the good news to her friends, my mother pulled me aside. "Elína, I have something to give you." She pulled me over to a small chest and pushed it aside. There was a hole in the ground which contained several small items.
"I didn't know that was there!" I said surprised, as I crouched down and examined the hole's contents.
"It is where I keep our valuables," my mother whispered, "I should have told where they were earlier but I was afraid you might tell someone." My mother paused for a few seconds before continuing. "Here I want you to take a few of these things with you, for safe keeping." My mother said as she pulled out a long knife and a necklace.
"Mother! Are those the family heirlooms? I could never take them on this trip, why, I would lose them! Why do you want me to take them anyway?" I said suspiciously to mother as she tried to give them to me. I was, of course, sorely tempted to just accept them no questions asked, however; my mother's manner worried me, as did her motives. Why would she give me the assets that our ancestors slaved away to gain just for a trip to an aunts, an aunt whom we really didn't even like that much? My mother looked at me for a few seconds before replying,
"The knife is for protection on the roads. It has saved the lives of many of our relatives, and if needed, it could save yours. The necklace is just for show, you don't want your father's sister to think that we are poor do you?" She asked me triumphantly, knowing very well that I couldn't say yes.
Finally I sighed as if I was making a great sacrifice, of course I really wasn`t, "Fine. I'll take the knife and necklace, but if they come back broken then it is your fault." My mother just shook her head at my statement and gave me them. The knife was a slender thing, with a blade that was somewhat dull, and made from rather low quality steel, but still sharp enough to cut my index finger as I took it from my mother. The blade was as long as my forearm and as slender as two of my fingers. The hilt was bronze and carved with intricate swirls and patterns. I thought it to be the most majestic thing I'd ever seen. The necklace consisted of a tiny gold sun on a gold chain. It sparkled slightly as I lifted it up to the sun. I turned around after putting it on and looked at mother to see her reaction. My mother smiled beamingly at me.
Far too soon it was time to depart. Though I had spent the whole morning anticipating and waiting for the moment when we could leave, I found that I had no time to prepare. My mother had to call for me twice before I ran out of our house, still yanking on boots. Finally, settled on the saddle, with Bláilith sitting in front of me, we set off for our aunt's house, which is a little more than a day's ride away. My mother told me to try to make for the nearest town by nightfall, to avoid bandits, however; I had other plans. We dallied the whole afternoon and weren't even close to the town by the time night fell. I slept in an open field that night, and woke up very late.
We reached our aunts house by the next night. She was very surprised to see us, and was not very hospitable. She greeted us with the least bit of warmth possible and two days later asked us to leave, making up pitiful excuses for why we should leave. I, however; was not offended, I had never really liked this aunt very much, and I was actually very relieved to leave. Bláilith and I left the third morning into a thick mist that froze our bones and made traveling almost impossible. We had been traveling for nearly the whole day when we came into contact with another human. It was presently evening and the sun was just starting to go down. I had been dozing off in the saddle when Bláilith jarred me out of my daze with a shrill, panicky scream. I sat up quickly, one hand on the hilt of the knife my mother had given me, when someone wrapped a hand around my neck and yanked me off my horse.