Darkness in the Heights- Chapter 4

Fiction By Anna // 9/24/2009

Chapter the Fourth

It was the day after Elvina had made her plans to depart, near noon.
Brodie fingered one end of the envelope Elvina had given him. People had begun to notice her absence by now, though no searches had been started, and no one would suspect she had left the castle altogether. Only he and Aiva knew the truth.
He bit the inside of his cheek. Elvina hadn’t told him expressly when to give her parents the letter, so he was depending on his own timing.
After Aiva had flown off and returned with the news that Elvina was safely on her way, he had spent the remainder of the restless night planning his own actions. He would deliver the letter to King Bronden and Queen Rayne before anyone got very panicked, regardless of how far along Elvina was. It was probably better that way- he could easily tell them where she was if she turned out to be up to no good.
As he had convinced his sister, he seriously doubted that she was running away, despite his misgivings. He knew her, and the love she had for her parents, too well. Why would she write a letter to people she was leaving if she didn’t have good reasons to go?
Elvie is no liar, he thought.
But still, why had she shrouded everything in mystery? Why could she not tell him, or at least write him a letter? It was disconcerting and painful to think that she hadn’t even tried.
"Trust me," she had said. Her words had tormented him all night, as his family had noticed. He could tell Aiva was just as concerned about him- perhaps more- as she was about Elvina. And she knew everything, so she could fully understand.
Elvina had agreed to have him along with her, though. That was something. But there was still the question of whether the king and queen- or his parents- would let him go.
Honestly, he couldn’t see Elvie’s parents letting anyone just go "along with her." They would want her swiftly returned to safety. Yes, he confessed, I want her in safety too, but I don’t think I can force her to come back- she’s so determined to follow through with this. And even that was assuming, if they sent someone to aide her and not drag her home, they would let him be the one, instead of maybe Brezdin and/or Finian, her brothers, or Gwindreth’s fiancé, Sir Aiden, all of whom were older and more qualified than he was. Maybe his own father, Raphael, would be chosen to go- after all, he could fly!
"And my only asset?" he muttered aloud. "I’m stuck with these dratted ears that keep mislabeling me as an elf."
Too much hinged on the rulers’ decision for Brodie to plan beyond the simple delivery of the letter. And, he thought with some bitterness, I don’t even know what it contains.
He closed the great doors with him inside, heaving a sigh. He was glad he had managed to get the royal family alone, if nothing else. If they wanted to put the rest of the castle in uproar, at least that wouldn’t be on his head.
King Bronden and Queen Rayne were side by side, their faces already worried. King Bronden the Cripple was a fairy. His unfortunate title came about quite obviously, because his left leg was twisted back grotesquely. His golden-brownish wings more than made up for the deformity, however, being very large to compensate for the loss.
The queen was not extremely beautiful, though graceful and tall, with red hair and purple eyes as lustrous as they had been when she was a girl. Her older daughter Gwindreth most closely resembled her, though her hair and skin were a bit darker in shade. But right now Gwindreth was just a white as her mother- they were caught in a dread they did not know.
Sir Aiden, although not part of the family quite yet, was present. Brodie liked him; he was a man or twenty-six or twenty-seven, average height, with curly brown hair and a broad smile. Apparently, ever since his childhood being a knight had been his dream. He and Gwindreth had a love story that swelled wildly like waves of the sea, due mostly to Gwindreth’s passionate nature. And that is what made them perfect for each other: if she was the wind of change, he was the place it returned to during quiet seasons of peace. Gwindreth was madly in love with Aiden for this, and Aiden likewise.
Brezdin, Gwindreth’s twenty-one-year-old twin, was next in line for the throne, being barely the older of the two. He took most closely after his father, notably in the broad chest and brown hair. He was unmarried.
Finian, who was nineteen, had a wild thatch of red hair and green eyes. No one seemed to know where his iris’s color came from, and no one really seemed to care.
Elvina, Brodie thought to himself, doesn’t really resemble any of them. Except for her eyes. They look just like the king’s. A slow smile spread over Brodie’s face, but faded too quickly. What kind of distress and pain he would be inflicting now as its messenger, he could only imagine.
The queen’s voice was taut with worry, but still she was obviously queen- regal and clear-headed, calm. "Come, Brodie, son of Raphael. Tell us what you have to say."
Finian, only a year older than Brodie, was far less formal. "Out with it, Brodie! I’m- Gwindreth is falling to pieces with the suspense!"
Brodie was too busy trying not to shake to be amused. He bowed, holding forward the letter. King Bronden took it in his large, strong hand slid it open. He read the letter silently, his eldest daughter and youngest son gasping as they read over his shoulder.
Brodie, like Rayne and Brezdin, only searched the King’s face. A shadow passed over it as he read, and the two children who had dared to look seemed shaken- Gwindreth put her hands over her eyes as though she should weep, and her husband-to-be drew her to his side. Finian only stood still in shock.
The color drained from Rayne’s face. "What news?" she asked in a barely audible voice, her hand on his arm.
For a moment, the fairy’s emotion overcame him. "News? It is not news- it is a wound at your beloved’s hand!"
Rayne looked as though she would swoon. But, every inch a queen, she only received the letter in her tremulous hand.
"Read it aloud," said a wan Gwindreth, uncovering her red-rimmed eyes and noting the look on Brodie’s, Brezdin’s, and Aiden’s, faces. Her golden dress, stitched with violet, rustled as she beckoned Brodie closer.
Thank you, Princess Gwindreth, for taking time out of your grief to think of mine, he thought. This has brought your thoughtlessness to an end, and you are kind. Aiden deserves you now more than ever, and likewise.
As Rayne read the letter, Brodie focused his thoughts. Elvina had penned simple words about herself- using her character as the basis for trust, and the rest of the news. She apologized for her secrecy, and yet did not disclose anything more than what Brodie had already known- except that she had met "Someone" who had given her some kind of command.
She pleaded again for trust. The word hit Brodie like a pail of water. She was begging for it yet again. She was desperate for it. She didn’t want them to come after her, or delay the wedding. Brodie shook his head at the latter wish. Of course they would wait for her- they loved her. Even as she said she loved them.
So that’s what it says, thought Brodie. Rather short, and leaves much wanting by way of information- and yet, she expressed herself well. Better than she did in the bedroom. But I am not- cannot be- pleased!
And now the expected debate began.
"Why would she run away?" was the first question, from Gwindreth’s lips. No one dared to answer.
Brezdin stood. "Finian and I will go after her," he said immediately. "We’ll bring her back quickly enough, don’t worry," he said quietly after a look at his mother Rayne’s face.
"I too shall go," said Aiden, squeezing Gwindreth’s hand. "We are, after all, to be brother and sister."
"And they can’t be until she’s brought back; that is for certain," said Gwindreth with finality.
"May I speak?" asked Brodie suddenly. Everyone had forgotten the eighteen-year-old who had delivered the troubling message.
Rayne straightened like the queen she was and said, "Yes. Speak."
"I would like to be the one to find Princess Elvina."
Finian and Brezdin said, almost in unison, "But she is our sister!"
Brodie continued, "I haven’t finished.
"King and Queen, Princess Gwindreth asked why Princess Elvina would run away. But she didn’t, and while I do not believe she intends to return soon, this is no act of rebellion. She truly is on a quest- and I would like to go with her, not to stop her and drag her back here, but to protect her."
The first thing Brodie after he said this was a woman’s gasp that he recognized as his mother’s. (He knew Wynd often lurked around in corners of the castle, unseen; after all, she was the guardian.) It was only half a gasp of surprise and fear; it was also of pride. By declaring himself to want to be a protector of the youngest princess was to follow in his mother’s footsteps…
King Bronden, who had not spoken since his distraught outburst, said "Let Wynd’s son protect her." And he repeated it: "Let Wynd’s son protect her."
What did he see in Brodie? Did he see the memory of a red-haired boy pulling his five-year-old daughter out of deep water? Did he see beneath the cool brown eyes to a heart that was beating rather erratically? Did he see a shadow of another young man, unable to save one he dearly loved, who had her own quest- protecting her land? Did it not matter?
Brodie was a bit dazed by this permission, which he had certainly doubted. Finian’s jaw all but hit the floor, and Brezdin was surprised, maybe hurt. Aiden only looked confused; Rayne was eyeing Brodie as thought to search his soul; Gwindreth (strangest of all!) had broken into a smile.
"I agree," she said. "Send Brodie to travel with her."
Rayne finished her examination and looked at her husband. She spoke softly, but Brodie had the ears of a fairy. "Bronden… She’s so young. And he’s only a boy."
"Trust me," Bronden whispered back.
The first words stung, but the second were painful. Trust. What is it, anyway? Brodie thought.
"Father," said Brezdin, coming forward, "with all due respect, I’d like to bring our sister back."
Finian was nodding emphatically.
Brodie’s heart fell. Of course, the king would give in now. He would see his sons were more qualified. He became resigned, or so he thought, because he surprised himself by saying: "What if Princess Elvina really does have a mission from Someone? She wouldn’t claim such a thing lightly, and if we try to stop her, will it do any good?"
Brezdin turned to the half-fairy. "You are being wiser than I," he sighed.
Finian was not finished. "I, for one, cannot be wise with my sister out there alone. I’ll go with Brodie, too. When are you planning to leave?" he asked.
Brodie was reluctant to say he could come, but he could think of no good reason not to let him. "As soon as I’ve gotten supplies and bid farewell to my family."
It was Gwindreth who cried, "Finian, don’t go! We need you here. We need all the family more than ever right now." (Aiden, looking concerned, squeezed her hand again. This time she turned to him, and her hand fell onto his shoulder.)
"Gwindreth is right," said the queen decidedly, standing. "Brodie will go alone. Make haste, son of Wynd. Follow our daughter. And when this quest is completed, I am charging you to bring her home."
Brodie bowed, and was dismissed.
Wynd met him at the door of the part of the castle where their family lived. She was a fairy, but without wings. The scars on her back could tell you why.
Brodie remembered her gasp and wondered how she had gotten here before him.
When Wynd saw her son, tears filled her eyes. She smiled through them and ran to him, embracing him. "Oh, my son, my son," she whispered. "Brodie… you will be a guardian. May you be better than I."
Brodie looked her in the eye. Funny, until that moment he hadn’t noticed they were the same height. Then he threw off his pride and sank into her hug. "I may be a better guardian, but it would be hard to be a more loving person," he said, feeling as if he was, and almost wishing to be, a child again.
"Where is Papa?" he asked.
"He and Aiva are inside. I brought them from the garden, and I’ve only just finished telling them."
"Were they at all opposed?" he asked. He wouldn’t go if his father gave the negative.
Wynd released him. "Raphael is almost as proud of you as I am. Aiva, I think, is jealous." She smiled, but she was still crying. She kissed his cheek and pushed him inside.
His father was more reserved, not clutching him in embraces or showering him with kisses, but the parting was hard. Aiva slipped out part way, and Brodie suspected it was to compose herself, for she hated crying. Later she came back in with a packed bag. "Everything you’ll need," she sniffed, then gulped hard.
Brodie bent down to plant a kiss in the black waves of her hair. "I love you, Aiva. Thank you."
She pretended to swat him, but it was weak, and ended pulling him closer to herself. "Take care, Brodie. Remember, you said you trust her."
"Yes," said Brodie, his heart tightening. "At times like these I wish I didn’t."
At this time Raphael came out with a sword. It was heavy, a broadsword, not one of the more delicate tools overburdened with finesse, but Brodie found in a short practice that he could wield it.
"I used this sword in the Battle of Renewed Alliance," he said.
"I’ll protect it," Brodie promised.
Raphael laughed, but it was not out of mirth. "I don’t care if you lose it, shatter it, or sell it, as long as you protect yourself. That’s what swords are for: don’t make a sacred relic of it."
The two embraced, a quick exchange of love that each would carry with him- Brodie on a quest, Raphael around the castle.
"We’ll all pray for you together," said Wynd finally, her voice choked. Aiva managed a nod. She was taking this harder than she had thought she would.
"I love you," said Brodie to all of them. He gathered a last look to keep in his head for cold nights, nodded uncomfortably, and set out.
It was past midnight, and Cala was sitting just outside her cave, watching the stars. She had learned to crawl around on the stone without hurting her broken leg, but she often had nothing more to do that look at the sky, hoping she would see a cluster move closer, looking for her.
She listened, too. Past the crash of waves, she listened for their singing. She heard a low growl from behind her, instead.
She froze, then relaxed. Of course that must have been her imagination. She had felt around every inch of that cave. Nothing could have gotten in without her notice. Almost satisfied, she turned around to go inside and calm her nerves- get some sleep-
But a great beast blocked the entrance.
Cala had never seen a wolf before, but she instinctively knew what it was. But she hadn’t been prepared for its size and majesty. Or the overwhelming impression of authority. Cala felt that if he were to ask her to hobble into his mouth, she would be helplessly compelled to do so.
Before leaving that night, Maela and Eloa had given her a sword carved of shell, just in case. On her shaking knees, Cala now tried to draw it- but the wolf spoke, and she dropped her weapon.
"Finally, dear one, you are here. I have important things in store for you." His voice was rich and throaty. "You’ll need courage."
How could he talk of courage? She was rooted to the ground, fear running in her veins instead of blood. "Are you…" -she wet her lips- "Are you going to- to eat me, sir?" she asked hoarsely. Sir? she thought. Why did I say that?
"Do you want me to eat you, Cala?" asked the wolf. He looked amused, and his eyes twinkled.
"You know my name!" exclaimed Cala, so startled that her knees gave way further, and she was lying almost prostrate.
The wolf walked to her, bowed his head over her, and touched his cold nose to her forehead. "I know all the stars by name, Cala, daughter of Gilligan and Aria. Not one of them has dropped from my memory- not even the ones that drop out of the sky." His breath was warm on her head, sending her red-brown hair aswirl.
"You aren’t only- you aren’t really a wolf, are you, Sir?" she breathed.
"Am I a Wolf, or am I a King?" he replied. "I tell you the truth, I AM not only one or the other, but both fully and even more. But I AM what I AM, and I AM not always as you see Me now." He tipped her chin up with His snout so she looked into His eyes.
"I AM!" she cried. "My Lord!"
"Play with me, Cala," He said, eyes smiling.
"You would crush me, my Lord," she said, daring a smile of her own.
A rumbling sound emanated, starting from His belly and out His mouth. Cala thought it was a laugh, but it might have been indigestion. "Play with this, then," He said, swinging his tail around. Hooked around it was something Cala recognized, but had never seen apart from her mother’s throat.
"Mama’s medallion!" she cried.
"Yes," He rumbled again. Now Cala knew the other rumble had been a laugh, because this one was mirthless. "She also calls it the star-circle, though she was not the first."
"Did you take it from her?" asked Cala without thinking the question through.
The Wolf’s eye glinted in a sudden, dangerous way. "I AM the giver, and the taker. She only had it for a time. Now it is your time."
Cala shrank back. "Yes, Master."
The tip of the Wolf’s tail caressed her face. "You distrust, Cala. Know this: I AM your master, as you have said, and this is My gift to you. It is for your protection, not your harm. I know the plans I have for you."
And then the black cord had curled around her neck, and the silver disk dangled from it. "I have not merely given you a keepsake, but connection, the second gift of the star-circle. You will learn to use it."
"Is the first gift what Mama calls her seeing?"
"It is not yours to know what you do not have," the Wolf said. "It is more important that you remember that while you wear the star-circle, Sundark cannot take you."
"What is a sundark?"
"Sundark," the Wolf said, "is what I AM not."
Cala was startled again to see that his feet were beginning to shimmer. "Oh!" she cried. "Are You leaving?"
His chest heaved, as if in a sigh, and Cala clasped his neck. "Thank you," she whispered. The next moment she was alone, with only a whisper in her ear that said, "Remember."


First Comment!!!!

*does happy dance* Wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL!!!! I feel so happy now....except, now I'm wondering about the star-circle. Why must you confuse me so? Oh, nevermind! I like it just the way it is!!!! Continue soon, Oh Great Authoress! ( that's not a request! JK lol)

Ariel | Thu, 09/24/2009

"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

In the BBC dramatization of

In the BBC dramatization of LOTR, when Bilbo gives Sting to Frodo, Frodo says, 'Thank you. I will guard it well.' I always thought that was a really goofy thing for him to say. So, I really liked how you wrote:

I’ll protect it," Brodie promised.
Raphael laughed, but it was not out of mirth. "I don’t care if you lose it, shatter it, or sell it, as long as you protect yourself. That’s what swords are for: don’t make a sacred relic of it." LOL!
Laura Elizabeth

Anonymous | Thu, 09/24/2009

That was good. :)  Are Cala

That was good. :)  Are Cala and Elvina kind of on the same quest?  I have a feeling that they're going to connect somehow... ;D

Clare Marie | Sat, 09/26/2009

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Happiness! Glad you

Happiness! Glad you posted...and I really wish that I could continue on! You'll have to publish these some day so I won't be tormented like this, Anna! :0)

Heather | Sat, 09/26/2009

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Splendid, but I wish you

Splendid, but I wish you wouldn't leave poor Aria and Gilligan in such suspense. It's probably worse for them than it is for us (even with the cruel way you just leave things for us). Splendid, splendid, but do post again sometime in the near future.

The Brit | Sun, 09/27/2009

(BTW, this is Anna. I'm not

(BTW, this is Anna. I'm not being lazy, I just don't have time to sign in.)

OFG: O GIVER OF MIGHTY NICKNAMES! I BOW TO YOUR WISDOM! :) I'll post as soon as I can. As for the star-circle- sorry, peep, that's all you're getting. Cala has it. End of story.

Clare: Well, inadvertantly, yes. And no, because of a certain person named Elgobb who has (again inadvertently) scrambled both quests. Except that Cala doesn't really have a quest. :) Whatever.

Heather: I have a feeling I'll be glad this isn't published when I get a little older. The S.S. Editing will have to set sail first...

Brit: Aria and Gilligan have each other, thankfully, while you poor Apricites are at isolated computers across the world. haha. Who said a pen couldn't be used as a torture device? (I love the word splendid, too- it sounds so VERY English.)

Anonymous | Tue, 09/29/2009


Another post! Please post again soon and a scene or two with Aria and Gil would be very nice. I miss them and would like to see how they're holding up and what's going on up there. :)

KatieSara | Wed, 09/30/2009


"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"

Wonderful, wonderful! I wish

Wonderful, wonderful! I wish I could've gotten to it sooner, but unfortunately, we had been on a camping vacation. Awesome. Go Brodie!

E | Fri, 10/02/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

I should have commented ages

I should have commented ages ago but first I ran out of comments and then I ran out of time.  You write such long chapters!  I can't manage those.
Is Brodie in love with Aiva?  And every time I hear the name Sundark, I see an eclipse in my head.  Kind of like a big man blotting out the sun.
Anyway, great chapter, Anna!

Bridget | Fri, 10/02/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya


New chapter! I've been awful about checking ap lately but am glad I stopped by!

Sarah | Sat, 10/03/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."

Blogging away!


OFG: O GIVER OF MIGHTY TITLES! I BOW TO YOUR WISDOM! :) What about the star-circle confuses you? Cala has it. That's pretty much end of story, straightforward so far, right?

Clare:  Well, sort of. I mean, they're supposed to be, but Elgobb the Cruel has very bad timing.

Heather: :) *blush* It could use some work, honestly.

Brit: Well, Gill and Aria have each other, while you poor Pie-ites are scattered across the globe (or at least the country) at isolated computers. (Don't you love the word splendid? It sounds so very British. :D)

KatieSara: They lead depressing lives. Woe betide those who dare to be my characters...

Erin: It's all right; it survived the wait (and so did you). :)

Bridget: Better long than short. It's harder on a computer screen, though.

Is Brodie in love with his sister? No. They love each other, but there is a time to draw a line. (Did you mean to type Elvina or did I not make it clear enough that Brodie and Aiva are siblings?)

Sarah: I've been rather bad about it too, so hakuna matata. :)



Anna | Mon, 10/05/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I had no idea they were

I had no idea they were siblings.  (oops.)  Sorry about that.  I didn't mean Elvina, but while I'm commenting, are they in love?

Bridget | Tue, 10/06/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

Is that your fault or mine?

Is that your fault or mine? Because I do need it to be clear.

Maybe, but if so, probably not consciously.

Anna | Wed, 10/07/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I concur with Laura Elizabeth...

...A sword is supposed to protect its bearer.  It makes little sence for the bearer to instead protect his weapon...

On the other hand, it's not every day you come across an elven blade that glows blue when orcs are near.  If I was handed a blade like that, I'd probably say something goofy too.

On another note, Anna, I can think that the way the Wolf interacts with people is similar to C.S. Lewis' Aslan.

James | Wed, 10/07/2009

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

I think it was clear about

I think it was clear about them being brother and sister...I mean, I knew it, so it can't have been too complex. But just in case, you maybe should put a few more "brother" and "sister" words in there.

The Brit | Wed, 10/07/2009

James: Brodie's sword might

James: Brodie's sword might not be Sting, but he's young and inexperienced and says goofy things anyway. I've managed to create a character I love who has flaws- hurrah! I have such a tendency to create Mary Sues/Gary Stus... :P

Is that a bad thing for the I AM? I'd avoid it if I could- but it's hard when Aslan is so famous. And I just couldn't bring myself to have Him manifest Himself as a man... Not because I think there's something wrong with that, of course, but in a fantasy world it didn't fit right. Your thoughts?

Brit: Thanks, I'll do that! :)

Anna | Wed, 10/07/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

How's the next chapter

How's the next chapter going????? I've been wondering about this lately.........

E | Tue, 04/13/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Chapter 5?

I wish I could tell you I'm thinking about it.

Anna | Wed, 04/14/2010

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Haha, that's okay. I get it,

Haha, that's okay. I get it, trust me ;)

E | Wed, 04/14/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

  HI Anna, I'm new around

  HI Anna,

I'm new around here (well, sort of) but I've been reading your works and other people's works on here for a couple months now. So now, I finally got an account!

I just want to say that I love this story and SOL alot! You're such a good, good writer! I love the plot, names,...

I know what Writer's Block feels like...a while ago, I didn't want to complete another story that I wrote...but then some of my friends kept bugging me...so I ended up finishing it.

But I encourage you to finish this series! I hope you do, but understand if you don't.

Well...God Bless Your Day!


Lucy Anne | Mon, 03/12/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Thank you, Lucy! I'm glad

 Thank you, Lucy! I'm glad you've joined and that you've been enjoying my story. (The names may be my favorite part even now.) Sadly, I don't really have any plans to finish this series. It's not as much writer's block as that I've lost interest in it. I'm sorry.

God bless you, too. :)

Anna | Tue, 03/13/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


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