Vampiric Dawn - Chapter 5
She cursed herself for giving in to her weaker instincts. What had she been thinking? Infants had died in her hands in the past. She could just as easily have left the young Arwen to her fate. But, no. . .she had gone and pulled the child out of the pool, and as a reward she had been captured by stone-eyed long-haired men. She had fought her way out of captures before, but deer blood didn't give her near enough strength to successfully battle with the dozen or so men and women that lingered in the open, circular room they had brought her to. The two that had physically escorted her here were speaking to her, but she could not understand them. She could, however, decipher the tones of their voices. One was speaking quite gently. The other had an edge of suspicion in his voice.
Faye tightened the blanket they had given her around herself, the only comfort she possessed at the moment. She trembled as she faced the men, and finally she sank to her knees, putting her forehead to the cool stone floor in the only gesture of submission that she knew. She dimly heard their tones change to surprise, and one knelt and placed a hand on her back. She gave a start and flinched away from his touch, and he pulled back, glancing at his companion in confusion. Several of the others were looking at them now, but Faye kept herself bowed down, crossing her arms over her chest. Her formerly broken arm was still sore, but it had healed itself during her stay in the grave.
Her captors seemed to be highly confused at her actions, and after a moment of silence between them, the gentle-speaking one knelt before her. Abruptly, the language he spoke changed to something dramatically different, yet slightly familiar. Faye glanced up, staring at the man in a sincere attempt to glean some sort of understanding from his alien words. Yes, she had heard this language before, but where? Wait. . .yes, it was the language that the pale-skinned explorers to her jungle spoke. What did they call it. . .English? The Mother had called it the common tongue.
Of the common tongue, she spoke very little, but she knew she had to make an attempt at communication of there was to be the slightest chance of escape.
"Faye," she spoke, wincing at the sound of her voice. It was scratchy and hoarse from years of silence. "I am Faye."
Her captors were clearly startled. The one knelt before her glanced back at the other again before returning his gaze to her.
"I am Erestor," the man said. "This is Glorfindel. Do not be afraid. We will not hurt you."
Faye sighed. That she had understood. Erestor smiled gently, clearly trying to reassure her. Faye eyed him, her nervousness not yet dispelled. The other, Glorfindel, was still studying her in suspicion, almost recognition. Faye turned her gaze to him, and he met it unflinchingly.
"Where did you come from?" he asked.
Faye stared at him, unsure of how to answer. She could smell herself, however faintly, on his hands, mixed with the richness of fresh turned earth. He had assisted in her burial. And she was not willing to trust the one that had submitted her to the most feared of mortal nightmares.
Suddenly, the low sound of chatter ceased as someone new entered the room. Faye recognized the stern-faced man as the one that had taken the child Arwen away. Arwen's father, she guessed. He was eyeing her critically, his expression no different from that of Glorfindel. He, like her captor, was suspicious of her almost filthy appearance and lack of communication ability. She swallowed, and raised herself to her feet.
"Arwen?" she asked.
"She is well," the man replied, using the common tongue. "She is grateful to you, and wishes that no harm befall you while you are here." He nodded. "I thank you for saving my daughter. It is lucky you were there to see her fall."
"That brings us back to my question, Master Elrond," Glorfindel said, turning his gaze back to Faye. "Where did you come from? You are clearly not an Elf. How did you manage to slip past our perimeter guards?"
Faye was starting to get a headache from concentrating on the words of her captors hard enough to understand them. Now, more than ever, she was regretting saving Arwen. She had known better. The Mother had taught her better. Why had she done it?
Quite suddenly, the silver-haired maiden appeared, followed by twin dark-haired young men and a younger-looking light-haired young man. Unlike her captors, excluding the one Erestor, her gaze was gentle. She approached and began speaking to Faye's captors in the strange language of the area. However, no matter what language, Faye knew a scolding when she heard it. The young men that had followed the maiden were eyeing her curiously, and Faye found it a lot easier to eye them back than it had been with her captors. The dark-haired twins nodded at her, and the light-haired one smiled.
After a minute or so of talking, the silver-haired maiden stepped towards her, offering Faye her hand. Faye took a small step back, giving her a distrustful glare. The maiden smiled in understanding.
"Come," she said in the common tongue. "I will not hurt you. It's time to get you cleaned up."
Faye hesitated a moment longer, then slowly lifted her hand and placed it in that of the maiden. The maiden led her out of the room and into a darker, quieter corridor. Her captors had watched her departure, and she had not helped but cast them a glare as she followed the maiden to safety--and hopefully freedom.
The maiden led her through several corridors, utterly bewildering Faye's sense of direction. However, the soon very apparent grandness of the building stunned her, making her momentarily forget her troubles. Having lived her life in the wet, hot jungles of Peru, she knew not the comforts of civilized society. The varied sights and smells flooded her senses, and after a while she was positively dizzy. She stumbled, and abruptly sank to her knees, her body trembling from the senses-overload. The silver-haired maiden and the three young men that had accompanied her halted and turned to her, concern on their faces.
"Are you well?" the maiden asked.
Faye drew into herself, bowing her head and trying to think as she had never thought before. She liked the beauty of this place, but she was suddenly wishing for the familiarity of her old jungle home. She missed the waterfall and listening to the wise words of the Mother. She missed prowling with the jaguars and swimming in the river, and climbing to the top of the vast jungle canopy to count the stars. So carefree, so peaceful. . .
A tiny hand settled itself on her shoulder, and Faye slowly looked up. She gave a start when she saw the child, Arwen, standing there, her young companion hovering nearby. Arwen smiled as only a child could smile, a look of pure innocence. Faye could not help but smile back.
Without a word, Arwen grasped her hand, gently pulling on it. Faye stood, focusing on Arwen's face and blocking out all else. More memories seeped into her forethoughts, memories of her children begging her to follow them to their newest discovered treasure, curling up next to her fearfully during a noisy seasonal storm, and giving her bouquets of jungle flowers. She could see her children in Arwen. Her motherly instincts flared once again, and she wondered why she ever doubted her decision to save the child's life.
In short time, Arwen had led her into an open, sun-filled bedchamber, followed by the others. The light-haired young man relieved her of the blanket still draped over her shoulders. Arwen smiled brightly and pointed at him.
"Legolas," she said, her voice sweet and cheerful. She pointed to the twins. "Elladan and Elrohir." She pointed to the silver-haired maiden. "Celebrían, my Ammë." Finally, she pointed to her companion. "Maida."
"Ammë?" Faye asked, confused. She had never heard the word before.
"Mother," Celebrían explained.
Faye glanced between the child and the mother. She could see the similarities between them. She smiled slightly and took Arwen's hand.
"Ananyé," Faye said, using the language of her ancient people. "Mother." She patted her chest. "Faye."
Introductions safely passed, Celebrían shooed the young men out of the room, speaking to them as they departed. She quickly returned, glancing at her with a piteous smile.
"It looks like you slept in dirt, Faye," she said, trying to hide a humored grin. "I have never seen someone so hopelessly dirty before."
Arwen spoke excitedly, reverting to the language Faye could not understand. Celebrían smiled, and after a moment--and to Faye's great surprise--she left the room, leaving Faye alone with Arwen and Maida. Maida seemed very uneasy, and she shook slightly when Faye glanced at her. She grasped Arwen's arm, whispering to her. Arwen listened, then frowned, scowling at Maida and replying snappishly. She then turned back to Faye.
"I know who you are," she said, speaking in the common tongue. "You attacked me yesterday. You scared us pretty bad."
Faye blinked, unsure of what the child was trying to say.
"Don't worry," Arwen said. "I won't tell anybody. And neither will Maida." She glared again at Maida. "You saved me, so I trust you." She paused, studying her for a moment. "You look better than before. You're not pale anymore."
"Still pale," Faye replied. "Just dirty." She paused. "Morning swim did little good."
Faye had every chance to escape. The balcony was open to the gardens, and a tall, leafy tree grew at a perfect distance to offer a safe descent to the ground. Nothing but two small children stood in her way. For a moment, she saw herself as a mighty jaguar, and the children helpless boar piglets. Nothing prevented her from achieving freedom.
So why did she allow Arwen to lead her to a comfortable bench? Why did she remain here, entranced by the child? Why didn't she brush the children aside and make for the balcony, or better yet, feed off their rich, youthful blood?
Faye didn't know. Nevertheless, she stayed, foregoing all chance of an easy escape. There was something about this child that stayed her deadly hands, quelled her beastly instincts, and even soothed the ever-present ache for fresh blood.
The child made her forget she was a monster.