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Heroes of the Elven Lands: CHAPTER 4

by Lollipop


Here's the fourth chapter. I have decided to work longer and harder on my story so it's better. I command you to get better. ****When changing perspective and ~~~~ if a long moment has passed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~CHAPTER 4

When Kalaban came to, it was dark and the snow was still falling but not as furiously as before. The wind had calmed and was now only a gentle breeze. The youth raised his head from the snow and winced. The effects of the cold where hitting him- hard. He had to find some warmth or he could risk dying in the snow. Unfortunately, his mind went blank and he slipped into unconsciousness once more.

A few hours later, by Kalaban’s count, he awoke again and found himself staring into the eyes of the white mare. She was looking down at him curiously, her long mane whipping around her. He stared back, confused, through blurred eyes. The horse snorted and lay down next to his chilly body, shuffling in closer to him. Kalaban smiled warmly in thanks and swivelled over onto his side. He gripped onto the mare’s mane and curled up to keep in the heat. He blacked out.

The tribe leader’s eyes snapped open. He moaned and turned away as the sun stung his eyes. Kalaban noticed that the horse had disappeared but her tracks were fresh, indicating that she had just left. He gripped onto his arms again and rubbed them, trying to heat them yet again. He slowly rose to his feet and lurched forward. The cold was still affecting his body so he staggered away to find a warm, resting place.

*************************************************************

Sadine shivered again as the wind swirled around her. It wasn’t as strong but still caused some apprehension. It was only yesterday that she had been helping around the village, weaving wool and mucking out the stables. Now, she had been separated from the town’s folk and was sauntering around alone in the snow.

Luckily, her long dress provided some heat and she was wearing high boots. Also, a knee-length cloak was draped around her shoulders and the hood was covering her head. This gave her more shelter.

Her thoughts switched to Kalaban. She hadn’t seen him since yesterday. He was not with the crowd of escaping village people.

Was he ok? Thought Sadine.

She grumbled loudly. Why was she thinking about him? He practically kidnapped her. He was also very arrogant and self- centred and obnoxious and…the list could drag on forever.

She shook her head, causing the hood to fly off. She quickly grabbed it and swung it back on again.

The snow got heavier again, plummeting down on Sadine like bricks. She peered into the distance. Nothing could be seen through the snow before her. She scampered around a blossom, covered tree to block the wind and sleet. Her dress billowed about her, even though, she was protected by the large oak.

Something caught her eye. A shining object was lying on the ground by the tree. She leaned in for a closer look but once again the wind pulled her back. From where she was standing, it appeared to be a necklace.

“What…?” she said.

It was Kalaban’s medallion! The very same! He had been here.

Sadine whipped herself around to face the blizzard, shielded her face with her arms and proceeded through the snow.

~~~~~~~~~~~

A few hours later, she was still goaded herself through the flurry.

She quivered as the wintry gales flew into her.

No sign of Kalaban yet, she thought sadly.

“Were is he?” she asked herself, as the wind caught her again.

She put on a strange face in reply to her thoughts. Why am I thinking like this?

The girl huffed and stumbled on.

When the snow had parted a little, she saw an odd shape sprawled across the ground, a few metres ahead. She strained her eyes hard, hoping it would improve her vision. But it only blurred the figure. Pushing onwards through the wind, she approached the object, cautious yet curious. It appeared to be human.

Yes! It was a human.

Sadine dropped to her knees as she neared the person laying before her.

“Oh my…?” she exclaimed.

It was Kalaban.

Gasping and panicking, she whipped off her cloak and wrapped it around him. Then, hooking her arm under his upper limb, she hauled the tribe’s man to his feet. His surprisingly light body slumped against hers. Continuing with her rescue, she grasped his wrist and flung it around her shoulder for his support. He whined a little as she did so. Wrapping her arm around his waist, she half lifted him from his feet. She groaned as the tension on her right side increased. Gritting her teeth, she hobbled away with the tribe’s man.

**********************************************

Kalaban jerked awake, the beads of sweat dribbling down his cheek. He was taking in long, deep ragged breaths and his fingers were shivering rapidly. He swallowed hard and peered around. He noticed he wasn’t in the cold anymore but in a large, warm cave with a blaze burning brightly and tall stalactites were standing around him.

“How…?” he began to ask himself but the fire suddenly sizzled out, taking the light from the cavern.

The youth, shaken and anxious, grabbed two nearby twigs and frantically rubbed them together, attempting to ignite new flames.

When the friction had increased in the wood, a small flicker of light passed through the cave as a minute fire was produced. Kalaban sighed in relief when the luminosity returned. But the relief didn’t last as the fire diminished into a puff of smoke. He crouched on his haunches and tried to bring the combustion to life again.

Nothing.

Almost on the verge of tears, he threw the sticks away angrily and sat down, annoyed at his useless attempts.

For as long as he could remember, Kalaban had always feared the dark. It was where his worst fear, emerged from. It had constantly invaded his thoughts as he slept. Every dream, every night, he knew it would be waiting for him.

He wiped the sweat from his brow and lay down again.

Why am I here, he asked himself. Where am I?

A low, ringing sound filled the grotto. It was a piecing sound that could harm one’s ears. Kalaban shuddered and covered his ears while humming a tune. Closing his eyes, he sat up again. It was the sound that came to him in every night. The noise continued to increase, louder and louder. The young tribe’s man began breathing faster, the sweat cascading down his face. The ringing stopped.

Kalaban looked around confused, pondering on what had just happened. All he could see was darkness. Everything was silent apart from his now light breathing.

In a lighter corner of the cavern, a shadow formed on the floor. The youth slowly shifted his eyes towards it. A black figure gradually formed from the gloom, emerging out of the shadow. It grew without a sound, shaking and quivering for some mysterious reason.

Kalaban couldn’t move. He sat with his lips slightly parted, breathing rapidly. The perspiration oozed down his forehead but he did not care to wipe it. He stayed utterly still as the shadowy object rose from the cave floor.

It began to approach him. His mouth opened wider in fear, his breaths escaping from it in long, tattered gasps. The tears were streaming down his face but he made no sound as he wept.

The form advanced with agonizing slothfulness. Kalaban wanted to get up and sprint from the obscurity but his limbs simply would not obey him. They stayed etched to the ground.

The figure suddenly soared forwards and it omitted an odd force onto Kalaban, sending him to the ground. His head sharply knocked on the hard surface and he cried out in pain. He speedily stood up. His head rushed from the gesture and he lurched forwards but he hastily regained his posture. The shape swooped down on him again, swirling about him in a tornado like movement. He was whipped around for a moment and then thrown against a wall. He gasped loudly as the impact winded him. Crumpling to the floor, he tried taking in some air but the injury had confiscated him of his breathing abilities. A hard slam in the back brought him back to his senses. Once more, he was flung across the cavern like a rag-doll. He crashed against the rocky surface and fell onto his front. He strained the muscles in his neck and looked up slowly. The creature was advancing.

************************************************

The blaze was still burning when Sadine returned to the cave after having to collect some fresh twigs. When she entered, she heard some light, moaning coming from inside.

Oh what now, she thought angrily.

That’s when she saw the cause of the strangled noise. Kalaban was writhing and struggling on the ground though his eyes were shut, indicating that he was still sleeping. His skin was flushed and he was sweating furiously. Strangely, he was whimpering and moaning, as if in pain.

His back arched as he called out in a strangled yell and then dropped his body and began squirming and crying yet again.

Sadine pondered for a moment.

Why should I wake him? Why should I care?

She sighed. Although she may dislike him at times, she felt a strange affection for the tribe’s leader and she would feel guilty if she just left him, wrangling and twisting on the floor.

Putting down the sticks, she approached him, slowly yet curiously. He looked so innocent in the dim light, moaning in pain. She kneeled beside him. Shaking him gently, she whispered.

“Kalaban, wake up”

He groaned and rolled over, still shivering from his nightmare. Sadine firmly grabbed his arm and rolled him back. He gasped at her touch and slowly flicked her hands away.

Now angry, she clutched at his bare arms and shouted in his face

“Wake up!”

Her hands were gripping so tight, that when she released him, his arms were covered in little red etches.

Kalaban’s eyes snapped open and he drew quick gasps of air. Sadine sighed loudly in victory. The tribe’s leader moaned and a waterfall of tears began to flow. The girl moaned, rolled her eyes and pulled him into a tight embrace. He gripped onto her dress and wept aloud. Sadine experienced a sharp pang of pity. How could one so strong and arrogant suddenly become an innocent boy, begging to be held. She huffed and started to stroke his scruffy hair, twisting it around her nimble fingers in small bends. The boy sniffed, dried his tears and fell into a fitful sleep.

**********************************************

Kalaban awoke with a noisy yawn. He felt a little ill, as if something had banged his head. Dawn had just broke and the sky was clear. This made him smile. The storm had affected him badly and his muscles and bones were still a little sore.

After his frenzied wailing, he wanted to go and thank Sadine for her help. The dream had been extremely upsetting. That same figure had plagued his mind for many years, the cause of his fear of the dark.

Why am I forced to put up with it? He contemplated sadly.

Groaning, he hauled himself to his feet and walked over to Sadine. She was sitting at the cave entrance, cooking some meat on a small blaze. To Kalaban, it was the best smell he had ever sniffed. After spending a day in a seemingly endless snowstorm, he believed his stomach deserved a hot meal. His legs ached as he started towards the girl for some odd cause.

She turned her head as he approached. She greeted him joyfully.

“Good morning.”

“Hello,” he replied, while sitting down next to her.

The meat sizzled as the raven haired girl flipped it over.

“So…” she began, “ What was your nightmare about?” she asked all of a sudden.

Kalaban tensed at the question.

“Why do you ask?”

“Well, you seemed rather frightened last night. You were shaking and crying,” she informed him, “although you did have a high fever. I know that can cause nightmares.”

“I don’t know how to explain it exactly,” he said while shaking his head slowly, “ It was very intimidating though.”

He looked at the blue sky, wondering how his village was. He never had the time to check it. Sighing, he finally answered Sadine’s inquiry.

“I was in a cave, much like that one,” he told her, pointing to the cavern behind them, “I dreamt I was alone, in the dark. I tried lighting a fire but it always puffed out. I eventually grew angry and gave up. But, something happened then,” He shook his head again, “A dark figure emerged from a corner and started beating me for no apparent reason. It flung me into this and that and at the end…I knew I was finished. I knew it was going to kill me. Luckily, that’s when you woke me.”

“It doesn’t seem that terrifying,” Sadine said blandly.

“I know, but it all seemed so real, so true, as if I was actually experiencing it,” he advised her, “and it happens every night. The same dark, obscure form.”

“Well, let us get off the subject. It’s rather disturbing,” she sighed, “Would you like something to eat?”

After the duo had finished eating, Kalaban wandered into a nearby woods and started exploring it’s many weaving paths and crevices. The beams of light were seeping through the treetops, illuminating the ground in a glorious yellow colour.

The youth groaned and winced as he stepped onto a large rock, feeling the after effects of his fever. He glanced around the undergrowth. Everything was quiet and peaceful.

He breathed in the crisp, sweet summer air, happy that the storm had passed and also delighted that it was hushed and calm- the snow and wind had damaged his ears slightly.

Unfortunately, the silence didn’t last. Something moved to his left. He sharply jerked his head at the sound and peered into the bushes from where the noise had came. When he eyed them suspiciously, he could see a small glint of silver sticking out of the brush.

Silver? No ordinary worker of traveller wore silver. Oh my….

His thoughts were cut short as an arrow whizzed through the air. He promptly evaded the attack by ducking low. The area around him rustled and some royal soldiers ran from the shrubbery, roaring and hollering.

Kalaban gasped and scrambled to his feet. He fled through the trees at the fastest speed he could manage. Elves could flee swifter than humans so the youth had an advantage. He laughed to himself as the soldiers fell behind and finally came to a stop. But he kept running, even though his legs ached from the strain.

When he turned a sharp corner around a large oak, he skidded to an abrupt halt. Lined before him, were about ten regal looking soldiers. They all wore burnished breastplates and there hands were firmly gripping gigantic long swords. One, bulky man-who Kalaban considered was the leader-stepped forward.

“Well, look who it is! The boy who thinks he can kill the king.” He laughed loudly while turning to his comrades, who also began chuckling.

Kalaban stood glued to the floor, unable to speak or move.

“We offer you many thanks for eliminating our closest friends and placing their heads upon poles. It was a pretty sight,” the huge man said, obviously being sarcastic.

“I…” Kalaban began.

His sentence was answered with a quick, hard smack to his face. He was sent sprawling to the ground.

“Children should not speak unless spoken to!” he informed the tribe’s man angrily, peering down at him with fierce eyes.

“I’m not a child!” he stormed, trying to put on a brave face, “I’m sixteen years old.”

“I would still consider that a child,” a second man said, his voice almost rid of anger.

Something inside Kalaban exploded. Something that had been waiting to come out for many years. His eyes widened as his body was surged inwards by some unseen force. His thoughts were over ruled by a strange blue, blinding light. Unable to think properly, he shrieked and leapt at the man who had called him a ‘child’. He moved with such speed, none of the other men could stop him. He incredulously managed to smack the side of the bulky man’s face. As he did so, Kalaban felt the force surge from within him, causing the lead warrior to jerk back in amazement. The youth landed with a thud on the ground.

For a moment, time stood still. Nothing appeared to be moving or uttering a sound. The wind had stopped its brisk breeze and no-one seemed to breath.

The gasping of the large man Kalaban had struck caused everything to spring back into place. The main soldier stared at the tribe’s man in absolute horror for an instant but then his eyes widened and his face contorted with pain.

“Arggggg!” were the only words, which escaped his lips. His face began to smoulder and peel off like sunburn. He gently touched his face, grimaced, stood up and screamed. Wisps of smoke began to fly from his mouth as he shrieked. He cried out as his entire body burst into flames. He shrieked again as he fell wriggling to the ground.

Kalaban stared at the ignited man, incapable of movement or thought. His mind buzzed and his heart wrenched with pity. As his senses gradually returned, he felt a strange tingling in his hands. It was rather nice actually. Ripping his gaze from the dying man, he gasped at what he saw. His hands were ablaze. No pain or no heat. He gawked almost stupidly at his blazing palms. The beautiful, writhing yellow flame slithered between his fingers in striking movements. Kalaban stared at its beauty with wide eyes, unaware of the horrid events taking place around him.

The writhing soldier dragged himself over to the youth’s feet and grabbed at his ankles. Kalaban screamed as the man’s burning hands gripped at his lower limb. His shabby leggings sizzled away at his calf, exposing his bare flesh. The young man vigorously shook his leg until the ignited man released it from his grasp. The fire on Kalaban’s hands died away as he did so.

The other soldiers backed away from the youth and his victim slowly.

“Witchcraft!” one sputtered.

Kalaban could only stare at the warriors with large eyes, his mouth agape at what they had just said.

The blazing man stared at his comrades, helplessly. He tried to grasp the thick grass but he only set it alight. He screamed as his body took one last, convulsive leap and then he died, the fire quietly burning on his still body.

The other men, shrieking and yelling, came bounding towards Kalaban.

It came without warning. A loud buzzing filled the youths ears and an enormous surge of force flew out of him to meet the oncoming soldiers. The warriors were thrown back, thrashing and wriggling and then they crashed into some close shrubs. With that, Kalaban ran from the battle scene, not daring to look back.

**************************************************************

Sadine had been sleeping soundly at the gates of the cave, when she heard a faint rustling approach. She groaned and sat up, annoyed at the sound. Stumbling through the undergrowth, cursing and whining, was Kalaban. She looked oddly at him, through her blurry eyes as he walked -or rather limped- up to her.

He didn’t even glance at her. He limped into the cavern, wincing at his every step.

She furrowed her brow and followed after him. He was sitting with his back turned to her, making small whimpering noises. The raven, haired girl sat beside him, confused at his actions. Glancing at his leg, she saw a nasty burn upon his calf. She decided to question him about the injury.

“And where did that come from?” she asked sweetly, pointing at his leg.

He didn’t answer.

“It looks painful, why don’t I help?” she offered, while shifting closer to him.

“I don’t need your help or your pity!” the tribe’s man snapped at her, shuffling away. “No-one could help me with this,” he said, lowering his voice to a sad whisper.

Sadine moved to his side again and glimpsed at his leg. It would surely become infected if it was not healed and wrapped in a bandage.

A single tear streaked down the male’s face. He gulped and closed his eyes. His eyelashes were now lined with tears and his bottom lip was quivering gently. He turned away from her, sniffed and wiped his eyes, then swivelled around again.

“What ever’s the matter?” Sadine inquired.

“Oh…it’s nothing. It doesn’t concern you anyway,” he replied rudely.

She glared at him and exited the cavern.

*******************************************************

Why?

This was a word Kalaban often asked himself, one that he never grown accustomed to. Why had he set a man alight with his bare hands? Why did the soldier burn at his touch? Why did the fire wreath between his fingers and cause no pain?

He could cope. He didn’t require Sadine’s help. But, oddly, he wanted to tell her of the horrific event that just occurred and to tell her of the strange fire that engulfed his own palms.

Shaking his head, he removed the thoughts from his mind and stood up, wincing as the burn sent a ripping pain up his leg, then turned and left the cave.

The wind had picked up a little though it wasn’t troublesome. The nearby trees ruffled their leaves as the breeze caressed them like fingers and then swayed gently in the draught.

As he hobbled outside, Kalaban heard a faint neighing sound. He turned his head around to face a great hill beyond the forest. A white dot was placed atop the mound, moving from side to side, as if searching for something. The mare!

Kalaban smiled broadly and whistled. The white blotch started moving swiftly down the hillside. Kalaban began to jog up to meet the oncoming splotch, as a jog was the fastest he could manage.

It was the horse. The animal approached the youth at an incredible pace but started to slow as it loomed towards him. Kalaban swung his arms around the mounts broad neck and embraced it tightly, smiling happily.

A noise sounded behind them, causing Kalaban to release the horse from his grip and turn around. Sadine was gradually clambering up the hill, cursing every time she slipped.

“A friend of yours, I assume,” she said when she had reached the pair.

“Yes. I saved this animal from floggers and in return, she’s vowed to stay by me.”

“She vowed?” Sadine asked, her face incoherent.

“I can read their thoughts. Special I am,” he boasted.

The girl rolled her eyes. Stupid arrogant pig! She gritted her teeth and turned away but as she did this, her dress knotted at her feet. She slipped and was sent tumbling down the slope. Kalaban laughed aloud as she rolled, screaming and shouting but his happiness faded when he saw riders approach and stop at the base of the mound.

“Sadine! Watch out!” he roared.

The girl finally stopped her little adventure and flipped onto her back. She groaned and opened her eyes. Standing above her, were half a dozen or so royal looking soldiers with gleaming armour and dangerous looking swords.

“Hello, little girly,” one said seductively, trying to charm her.

She simply gasped.

“Well, well. Aren’t you pretty,” the man said, jumping from his horse’s saddle and leaning over Sadine.

“I think we’ll just…”

His words were cut short as an object crashed into him, sending the man to the ground.

The black haired youth looked up and saw Kalaban running towards her, after having left the lead soldier grumbling on the soil.

The tribe’s man fiercely grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet and then started fleeing up the hill, dragging her with him. The man on the ground hollered orders at his comrades. They appeared to be strict instructions because the other men squealed in fright and lunged after the feeling youths, their hands vigorously smacking their mounts.

Kalaban grimaced as he stumbled over an unseen stone. The pain from the burn increased with every step. But he gritted his teeth angrily, and continued up the hill, Sadine close behind him.

He leaped onto the white mare and shouted at Sadine.

“HURRY!! They’re coming!”

The girl clambered up the hill, squealing and crying as the mounted soldiers approached her. Her legs ached from the strain of the upward scale and she thought her limbs would give way, putting her at the mercy of the angry warriors chasing her.

With one last, paroxysmal leap she swung her legs onto the white horse awaiting her. Kalaban grasped at her dress collar and hauled her up. Then he shouted at the horse to make haste and it obeyed. Rearing, it neighed loudly and then dashed away, churning up dust, leaving a hazy cloud of powder hanging in the air.

--------------------------------

There you go. This chapters a lot longer than the others and I think it's better. Well, what do you guys think? I know Kalaban seems very naive but anyway...

~Lollipop~


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263 Reviews


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Fri Jun 03, 2005 4:54 pm
Lollipop says...



OMG! Thanks! People always slag my stories but you said a good thing about them hehe thanks so much!! :D




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40 Reviews


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Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:47 pm
Fool wrote a review...



I do have some comments for you, the thing that strikes me first, is that at the start of these chapters, Kalaban was a very strong character, and during this chapter he bursts into tears several times, and it does not really fit with the earlier image of him killing people, that he cries over a nightmare but not over taking a life. that was the only bit that confussed me.

The rest of the story i thought was good, the relationship, or just compainionship of Kalaban and Sadine is set up now, which draws the first few chapters neatly in to this one, the fire was an interesting touch, and i enjoyed reading it.

I look forward to the next chapter.




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263 Reviews


Points: 890
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Sat May 28, 2005 11:52 am
Lollipop says...



Any comments people??





We know what a person thinks not when he tells us what he thinks, but by his actions.
— Isaac Bashevis Singer