Not since that morning when she’d found out about her ‘elfishness’ had Rebeka visited the sparkling lake among the trees, nor had she listened to the singing voices. She did now. Professor Aenon, Geography, could not be found so Professor Greenleaf was supervising the lesson. The glass of around ten students had been told to ‘get on
with something – quietly!’
A paper pellet pinged off her right ear. Looking up, Rebeka saw Hadmn, ruler in hand, grinning at her. She glared back at him but he just shrugged and sent another one pinging off her nose. Almost leaping off her chair, Rebeka noticed Professor Greenleaf looking at her and quickly settled back down. Revenge? Later.
Turning her back on Hadmn and the rest of the rowdy class, Rebeka looked out of one of the diamonds that made up the window and her gaze wandered out of the grounds and up into the hills and mountains that made up the Scottish Highlands. Just before she drifted off, she wondered how they could have gone from a tree in southern
England, to a castle-mansion-thing in Scotland. Then she was gone. Everything around her disappeared, like someone had turned it off with a switch.
The trees, the lake the singing, it was all there, but something was different, not right. There was another sound, rustling, a twig snapping, a sword ringing as it was drawn from it’s sheath, a scream. It was faint, distant, but it was there. Rebeka was closer now, everything was much clearer, more alive, more real. The singers! She had to warn them! The sounds were moving closer now, and the sun was setting. Darkness was closing in and through the trees Rebeka saw a large bonfire being lit and immediately headed towards it.
“Celana! Where’ve you been all this time? You almost missed the mid-summer feast!” It was Elnumen, but he was younger, happier. “Wha…” she began but realised there was no time. Whoever it was out there would soon be upon them. The fire didn’t help much either. “Someone’s coming, I heard them, out there.” And she pointed in the direction of the sounds. Then a body burst through the trees. It was an elf with blood was dripping from several wounds. Elnumen’s face was suddenly serious and her pushed her in the opposite direction. “The women and children,” He called back without turning. “Get them away from here!” But she didn’t move. Something, something at the head of the table, had caught her eye. Two seats, well, thrones actually. On them sat the King and Queen. The ones from the tapestry that hung in ‘Rivendell.’ That wasn’t relevant now. Elnumen was speaking to the King who rose instantly. The wounded elf was brought forward, supported by two more, and told his tale. Rebeka couldn’t hear, but she could guess. An ambush.
An arrow flew from behind a tree into the heart of an elf. They were here! Rebeka then remembered Elnumen’s words and directed the women and children away from the battle. The single arrow had been followed by a volley which had in turn been followed by the orcs. Lots of orcs. A scream from up front was all the warning Rebeka got of yet another orc party who’d been sent around to cut off anyone trying to escape. “Celana!” It was Findel. What were all these people doing here? She half expected to see Professor Hyarmen coming to their rescue, but he didn’t. No-one did. Findel. She looked older, different. Then another elf appeared, a younger elf. If this was the Findel she knew, then who was the other? Without thinking, Rebeka knew this was her best friend’s mother. The two ‘Findels’ led her away from the fighting and the dying, but before they got too far a pieces of wood from the fire, which had been knocked from the centre of the clearing to the outside, set a beautiful willow tree alight. Beside her, Rebeka saw Findel – that is, the older one – go up in flames. She’d read about dryads in the Narnia stories, but she didn’t think they were real. Turning to the other Findel, she saw horror written across her face. Acting too late, Rebeka reached for her, but Findel brushed past and poured water from one of the pitchers still standing on the table over the new flames. Rebeka ran up and began helping to stop the destructive burning as she saw no point in trying to stop her.
With the flames out, Findel placed her hand on the tree, her lips moving silently. “She’s barely alive,” she whispered softly “She will have to sleep until the right time, whenever that is.” She added with a shrug. Reaching up Findel removed a soft round seed which looked more like a stone from a branch and place it in her pocket. At the same moment, a orc appeared behind Findel and brought a metal bar down on her head. Rebeka screamed, then collected her self and drew her sword – slash up, slash down – and the orc lay dead at her feet. “Urgh!” Having heard her scream, more orcs rushed to attack and she was soon outnumbered at least ten-to-one. Someone else had heard her scream; Elnumen. Blood stained and tired, but with a fire in his eyes and his sword drawn he rushed at her, killing three orcs in his first sweep.
Arms came around her. Something, a piece of cloth by the feel of it, was tied over her eyes and before another could be pulled across her mouth she screamed “Elnumen!” He heard and she was dropped as the orc holding her turned to meet this new and ferocious foe. As she fell, she felt something sharp scrape down her back. Muffling another shout, Rebeka rolled painfully over and removed the dirty rag covering her eyes only to find that she had landed on a sword. The pain lessened, as did the sound. Nothing seemed important anymore…nothing…
Rebeka woke. It was dark but a light shone a long way off. Had she died? Sitting up and feeling pain all down her back she let out a yelp before collapsing again on the soft bed. No, she hadn’t died. Footsteps. Cold water. Sleep.
She woke again. It was light this time. “Where am I?” She croaked, then laughed in spite of herself as she thought of another character, wait, person, who’d said that the many years before.
“What’s so funny?” A deep voice asked.
Rebeka shook her head. “Nothing.”
The voice continued, “Your sword.” That long piece of metal she’d drawn in the battle in that other place, with the smooth decorated hilt was handed to her. Not knowing what else to do she took it. Then she remembered. Sitting up in bed she felt another stab of pain. It wasn’t quite so painful as last time, but it was there. “What
A sigh. “No-one knows, but it was real, we know that much.”
He took the sword from her and laid it back on the table. The footsteps began to retreat…
“Wait! Who are you?”
“Professor Hyarmen, your headmaster.”
The footsteps continued. A door opened, then closed. Silence. Breathing.
His voice was hoarse, as if he’d been crying. She saw him again, in the clearing on midsummer’s day, happy, young. Then she saw him with the king, she saw them shake hands, then embrace each other as the orcs advanced. In two swift movements, both king and prince turned, drew swords and became whirling twirling circles of death.
“Our parents, what happened to them.”
Already, a pictures of a troll entering the clearing, giant club swinging, entered her mind, although the infirmary was still there too. The two thrones had gone under one sweep and the queen, her mother, was picked up gently and given to the orcs who quickly bound her feet and arms. Then the troll entered one of the circles of death. Her father’s. He fought back and was winning until a tree burst into flame, causing him to stop, staring. Then Rebeka realised that it wasn’t the tree that held his gaze, but the woman, Findel.
Elnumen was standing on a balcony, the wind playing with his long, golden hair. His face turned away from her.
“They were taken, but you already know this.” He turned, revealing tear streaks down his perfect skin.
“I don’t understand.”
Elnumen’s face softened and he shrugged. “Neither do I.” Then he picked up the sword and slid it into the sheath he’s once bought her. It fitted perfectly.
I’m back again, with more of my (online) namesake – Rebeka Silme. It seems ages since I’ve submitted anyhting here but theres never any time…