As Darkness Falls, Hope Comes

by Jul 4, 2006Stories

"You are a shame! A filthy LITTLE rat! How dare you walk before me without bowing?!" Mister I’m-the-royal-pain-in-the-rear bellowed sending chunks of spit on my face.
"I’m sorry that you were stupid enough to think I would bow to you. You are not my lord, no one is my lord. You are no threat to me." I speak calmly and slow.
He step towards me, “You are just like your mother, good thing we killed her, should have killed you long ago."
That’s when I lost it. Swinging my arm out palm flat towards his chest I focused on the cold feel of ice. How you can hear your heartbeat pounding as your veins struggle to move your blood. His eyes widened and he took a step backwards. With my other arm I pull the water from the ground, as it surfaces it turns to ice. I push my hands and the ice flies at him and surrounds his torso.
"Don’t worry; it won’t kill you, yet." I turn and walk off.
Before I continue I should fill you in on what I am, and what has happened.
I am half elf and half werein or werewolf. I was a mistake. My mother fell in love with a kind werein named Daer, one of the strongest wereins who ever lived. Now werein’s were blamed for many things they had no control over like most new creatures. Yes, we eat meat, but only game. We don’t go crazy when there is a full moon, like most would think.
My mother was Marielle, an elf. She was different from most elves though I have no clue why. She couldn’t shoot an arrow to save her life. She had power to bend the elements. Her people found out about me and killed my mother, but when they turned to me my father went after them. I was little then but I remember what he told them, “Do not blame a child for what they are, let them grow and see who they become."
Someone fired an arrow and it hit just left of my fathers heart. He smiled at me and said, “Don’t fear my Kali, I will be with your mother and care for her forever." Then he was gone.
Since then I have been in Mirkwood doing the jobs most would hate. It’s not the same as when Legolas was here. It has become a horrible place. When he died, Halede, the royal-pain-in-the-rear took over. He is an evil person. He is the reason that we have to steal for food.
I leave with just a simple pack with two sets of clothes, a half filled water skin, and three small loaves of hard cakes. I plan to head for Rohan and find a horse who will ride hard for me. Then I may head for Gondor, where the Late Lord Aragorn had set a law that anyone who wished to live on his land and work for it was welcomed.
The woods were so familiar to me and knew I could walk the path in my sleep. I wasn’t afraid of the trees like the rest of Mirkwood’s inhabitants; after my father was killed I sat and listened to their leaves swaying eventually lulling me to sleep.
I knew I could make the trip to the edge of the forest in five days, easy. Especially when in my werein form. Changing wasn’t hurtful like most believed; it was actually very amazing to feel your muscles in your legs ripple as you run.
To any person I would look like a red wolf, nothing more, but if they stared at my eyes they would see they’re not like a wolf’s. They were human that was the only difference in my appearance.
The first and second day went by with no interesting events. The third day however I was running in werein form for about four hours when I came across a man, starved and hidden by his cloak. He was stumbling as he walked. Trotting closer I saw that he was bleeding good from his left calf. Suddenly he saw me and jumped back, falling against a tree.
"Get, back! I have no food to give you, leave!" He shouted weakly.
I ran off a ways and changed back to a human. Then I ran back and kneeled by him.
"Sir? Sir! Can you hear me?" I was scared that he was so pale, how long had he been laying there?
I tore off his left legging a little more than halfway up his calf. With the torn off legging I rapped it tightly just above his wound. It wasn’t as bad looking at it now. I left my water skin near him and put a hard cake in his hand, and then I waited.
Slowly the blood flow stopped, and his hands twitched a little before he finally opened his eyes. He looked around not really seeing me and saw the water skin. He reached for it but I beat him to it.
"Do you want some water? Nod if you can." I asked and soon saw the slightest jerk of his head.
I moved beside him and tilted the water skin, the man opened his mouth, and a little water flowed. I let him swallow and put the water down. He sized me up but gave no sign of whether he thought I was a threat or not.
"What happened to you, sir?"
He swallowed, "I was attacked by something or someone, I’m not sure which it was." His voice was rich, deep.
"Why were you coming towards Mirkwood?"
"I was just traveling. Why are you asking me so many questions?"
"Because I been through these woods many times and have never ran across someone before."
"Why are you here alone?"
"That is my business, not yours."
"Then you’ll find I will answer no more of your questions."
"Fine, but I have to go to the town to get some herbs to heal that cut on your leg."
"I have some in my belt pouch, you can use those, if you know how."
I leaned towards his belt and looked for a pouch. Finding it I extended my hand to open it. Before I even got close to it he grabbed my wrist hard. He looked at me trying to read something.
"How do I know I can trust you," He whispered threateningly," When you won’t tell me why you are out here alone? What if they sent to kill me?"
"I would not kill you even if I was suppose to. I’ll tell you why I’m here. I am an orphan. My parents were killed by Mirkwood’s so called leader. My mom was a ‘gifted’ elf, my dad was a werein. That wolf earlier, that was me. Anyway I got mad at the leader and surrounded him in ice except for his head. Then I ran for it."
I waited for him to yell how stupid I was or slap me, but he didn’t. He just cocked his head and smiled then let go of my wrist.
"Fair enough. I trust you."
I started to get out the herbs. The rap was awkward but it would work for now. Even so I felt I needed to reassure him about what I was planning to do just to be safe.
"Nathan, you WILL be okay. There is a woman near Rohan that is very skilled with her medicines. We can head there; if you can ride a horse I could run beside you and keep watch. It shouldn’t take more than five days. Do you think you can handle the ride? If not I can go and see if someone would be willing to help in town." Her voice was high-pitched and she knew she looked scared.
"My horse is tied about two miles from here towards the setting sun, run there and come back. We need to leave as soon as possible. Go, now." His voice was calm and even and he managed to smile at her.
Quick as she could Kali went into her werein form. She loped around to warm up her muscles and looked at Nathan, his eyes were wide. Stepping closer she let out a whine, licked his hand and then took off faster than she knew she should. Trees blurred as she weaved in and out to avoid them. Her breathing was shallow and harsh but she wouldn’t stop, she knew she couldn’t stop not with Nathan in the condition he was in.
Ten minutes later Kali slowed and changed back to her human form. The horse was six yards in front of her. He was beautiful buckskin with a black mane. Long legged with a normal back he had a strong build. Untying his halter she swiftly mounted and spurred him back where she came but at a slower pace because he would have to carry Nathan all the way to Rohan whereas she would be carrying packs on her back.
Arriving back at the tree clearing Kali found Nathan leaning against a long thick stick, his face pale from the exertion. Un-mounting she walked to his side and together they slowly hobbled to the horse. Nathan had some problems keeping his balance and when Kali tried to help he would trip but would catch himself. Finally in the saddle he looked like he wouldn’t make it. Stop it, he will make it. He is stronger than you, but you have different powers…
"That’s it!" She said aloud.
"What are you talking about?" Nathan looked at her.
"I never thought about it before, I could freeze your lower leg to stop the bleeding and then melt it when we get close to Rohan. That is if you would allow me to."
"Do you really think that it would help me to freeze my leg?"
"Perhaps, I’ve never tried to."
"I think I’ll wait a little and then see if I should or shouldn’t have you freeze my leg."
"Fair enough, Nathan. I respect that."
"Call me Nate; Nathan is too formal for me."
"Alright, are we ready?"
Nate didn’t answer her, he just took off leaving her to change and catch up with him. The riding was hard for both of us. They had to stop or rather she made Nate stop and re-fixed his bandage. They went on like that in silence for hours. Kali guessed they had gone close to getting a fourth of the way there. As the sun finally started to fade across the land they slowed and looked for some sort of cover. Finding it by some convenient bushes she helped Nate off his horse and helped lay him down.
His face was drawn of any color and his breathing was shallow and harsh. Every now and then he would start shaking so bad that she had to talk to him to get him to calm down. He was worrying her and she tried not to show it. If he kept going at this rate he wouldn’t make it to Rohan, or even close to it. Smiling weakly she edged toward Nate slowly so as not to startle him.
“Come now, close your eyes time to sleep. Dreams will flow your mind into peace. Watch the stars overhead and look for any shadows.” Kali sang an old song that my mom sang to her when she was scared.
“Where did you learn that?” Nate’s voice was so quiet she could barely hear him.
“My mom sang it to me.” She replied.
“Please, don’t stop singing, it eases the pain.” He said and she heard his hand move closer to her.
Kali moved her hand closer and felt his. Gripping it she squeezed it slightly, seconds later felt a second squeeze. Smiling to herself and wriggling up to Nate’s torso she began to sing again. Childhood songs, legends of wars and love every song she knew she sang softly. Finally sleep came to them. Nate went first but she still was singing, then she ended up dozing off.
The Morning was cold with a bad wind that thankfully blew with them. They ate some bread and had some water. Kali replenished the water skin and packed everything up. Nate’s leg was no worse, but it wasn’t any better. He was coming down with a fever and she had no way to treat it because she didn’t want to chuck him into a freezing river to bring it down.
As they traveled she kept thinking about last night. Had she really gotten that close to Nate? Why did he let her if he was a ranger? Most people who have never met a ranger before thought them to be people who wanted to be alone. Yet here was one who had let her near him and not protested. I don’t want him hurt I can’t feel responsible if he dies on me. Another voice in the back of her head spoke up and said, he isn’t going to die, how could you think that! While another one came fourth, you are falling for him, and you’re scared to lose him since you have never been in love before! Stop! I wanted to scream out loud.
“Are you okay miss?” Nate interrupted her thoughts.
Kali realized that she had never told Nate her name.
“Nate, my name is Kali. I’m fine just a little sidetracked today. No big deal.’’ I said.
Nate’s face was a little shocked by hearing the wolf talk.
“All right, Kali, I think we should ride through the night. You and I both know that if we don’t hurry up I’m not going to make it. If we keep going tonight and all tomorrow we should almost be there. Then you can freeze my leg. It is starting to swell and it has been hot for a while. Hopefully with it frozen I won’t feel anything, maybe it will numb.”
“Nate, if you want to ride through the night that is fine with me and I’ll gladly try and ease the pain, but we are going to have a problem tomorrow we are being followed by something. Can you tell what it is?”
“You feel it too then? Well I’m not sure but I think it is a group of three men all on horse back. They’ve been following us for about five hours. Two have swords and the other has a bow.”
Lowering her voice she continued talking, “Look I’ll leave you in werein form and follow close by. They hopefully won’t attack you since you are wounded, but if they do I’ll leap in and if that happens I want you to gallop out of here all the way to Rohan. Don’t worry about me though, I’ll be fine. I don’t want you to be hurt anymore than you are. You hear me?”
“That is fine, but what if you don’t show up?” He asked cocking his head a little towards her.
“I will show up that’s final.”
They traveled the whole night in silence and thankfully no attacks from their pursuers. Kali made sure that her strides matched Nate’s horses so they couldn’t tell there were two people moving. Somewhere during early morning they slowed so that Kali could freeze Nate’s leg. He didn’t scream out or even flinch when he saw the ice form around his wound; actually it looked like he was more relaxed that there was ice on it. Nodding slightly, Kali patted his un-iced thigh and quickly changed to werein form and took off about a hundred yards.
The men were close enough to Nate to see he was alone and that he was riding awkwardly. They decided to move closer in and get ready to rob him even though the smaller one with the bow said he wasn’t alone. Sunlight shone now warming up the surface of the earth. Drawing in on him two of the men drew their weapons while the biggest one called out, “Halt, sir!”
Nate slowed and turned around to look at the one who spoke. He had a portly but strong build and Nate knew if he tried to fight him he would lose because of his leg. The two other men came into the clearing. The archer was tall and lean with shifty eyes and a slight far away stance. The other man was not the smartest person ever, his eyes crossed and he hunched his shoulders forward.
“How can I help you?” Nate responded tartly.
“Just looking around, are you alone?” The archer asked.
“Yes, what are you looking for?”
“We are looking for someone to take advantage of, preferably a woman.” The third man slurred.
“And do I look like a woman to you?” Nate’s voice ran cold and loud.
“No, wait a minute, are you being cheeky with us? Cause I’ll tell you something right now we have the state of mind to kill you right now.” The first man stepped forward.
“I don’t think that is necessary. I will just leave you three to it.” Nate moved to mount.
“Not so fast.” The first man lunged at him and knocked him to the ground.
As he knocked Nate down the third man yelped and swiped at his rear. Nate saw a flash of red and smirked to himself, and then instincts kicked in. Get to your horse now and ride away to Rohan, remember the deal, she said to go ahead. Crawling around he managed to get his hand on the horn of his saddle and swung himself up. As he headed off he took a slash at the portly man with his sword.
Kali let go of the man’s backside and readied to pounce again this time at the archer who was stringing his bow. She released her muscles and bit into his arm cracking the bone and severing his hand. Wham! The bigger man cut into her side with his sword and she let go. Slinking back she saw she was surrounded by the men. Crouching back up against a tree she couldn’t see a way out. They raised their weapons and Kali leaped trying to clear them.
She didn’t make it, the swords dug into her belly, but she kept going and landed hard about five feet away from the men. By the time they turned she had loped off into the coverage of the trees. Breathe you’re okay. Just keep going, Nate is waiting at Rohan, you have to make it there so he won’t blame himself if you die. For hours she moved at such a slow pace she was getting bored with herself. Her head pounded in her ears and she could feel her blood pouring out of her. Ten minutes she told herself. Suddenly her body jerked as she fell in a hole.
Nate sped Arod towards Rohan faster than he should have, but he was nervous and he was sick. At the gates the guard stared at him before he said anything.
“What do you want?” His voice was harsh.
“I am seeking help from a healer. My leg is hurt badly, sir.” Nate acted calm.
“What is your name?”
“Nathan Colm, sir. I need help now or I’m not going to make it!”
“Fine, wait for the gates to open and then you may enter. I’ll take your horse to the stable for you.”
“Thank you sir.” Nate added graciously.
Dragging herself out and starting again her vision became blurred and she started to sway. Come over hear we’ll help you, a high-pitched voice called to Kali. No, we can help you, just lay down a while and rest, another called. Kali kept moving, she knew those voices weren’t really there, but they sounded so nice. Finally the gates into Rohan appeared in front of her. She relaxed and blacked out.


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