Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter 27

Fiction By Anna // 3/30/2009

Chapter the Twenty-seventh

Wynd’s fingers, white and bony, were wrapped tightly around the iron band at her neck, as though to wrench it off. She stumbled rather than walked, and when Torlith took the end of her chain, she swayed dangerously, almost falling off the parapet. If her eyes were even open, no recognition came to them; nothing happening to her seemed to register.
Aria and her companions looked on in horror. Each one knew that if they dared move to rescue her, she would be killed. But another thought also reigned in their minds. If Torlith had Wynd, he also had Rayne, and any fairies the two had gathered. Their mission had failed; the fairies were not coming- now, late, or ever. Hope faded; hearts sank.
But Torlith still wasn’t finished with his atrocity. He took a knife from his belt, raising it above Wynd. It glinted coldly as he began to strike- then halted. A change came over his face, then a wicked grin. As he tucked the knife away, he said something to a soldier that no one below could hear. The soldier went away and returned in a few moments with a torch. Before anyone realized what he was doing, Torlith had swept his arm gracefully across Wynd’s back, setting her wings afire.
She was instantly, cruelly jerked into full consciousness. Screaming in anguish, she beat her wings, but the more desperately she fluttered them, the higher and stronger the flames rose and consumed. She writhed in pain, shrieking.
"No!!" shouted Raphael. Even Tyri was having trouble restraining him now. "Are you all mad?! Help her! We must help her!" But there was nothing anyone could do without risking more lives or putting Wynd in further danger.
Some of Torlith’s men were roaring with laughter, for it was but sport to them. But Torlith stood silent and evil, his eyes glittering and a triumphant, mocking smile playing on his lips.
When Wynd’s once-lovely silver wings were reduced to nothing more than ashes, Torlith had the fire extinguished. But Wynd’s whole back was burnt, and still she cried out in pain.
"There, Princess," Torlith spat. "You have seen what I can and will do to keep Llorleya in my grasp. I tell you now that your own death will be slower and yet more painful than this fairy’s torture. But if you surrender now, your end shall at least be quick."
"Never!" cried Aria for the third time, and many voices joined hers. Raphael’s, thick and broken with hatred for Torlith, was one of them. "We shall die first!" he added.
"So be it!" shouted Torlith, and, letting go of Wynd’s chain, he cast her wingless, screaming form from the height at which he stood.
Raphael shot forward to catch her, and they both collided into the ground. But Raphael soon stood, with Wynd in his arms. "She lives!" he called.
A flash of anger passed over Torlith’s face, but it changed into a sneer. "Then you shall die together," he said, and retreated into the castle to prepare for the storm.
Wynd seemed small and vulnerable in Raphael’s arms, like a limp, torn ragdoll. Shuddering and sobbing brokenly with pain, she seemed hardly conscious of him at all, except as something that she must cling to, or else die.
Aria rushed forward and smoothed back the hair on the fairy’s forehead. "Can you hear me, Wynd?" She had no response. "How I wish we could take that off," she cried, tracing her finger across the iron collar. "It’s a hateful thing- and shameful." She cast her eyes to the parapet where Torlith had stood, and no words could describe what she was feeling.
"I’ll take her to the elf healers," said Raphael, his voice emotionless. "Surely they can get it off. Even if they can’t, she needs attention for her burns…"
Aria put a hand on his shoulder. "Then go." As he flew off, she signaled to Loth and various other war leaders. "Prepare for battle!"

Raphael returned only a little later, with a freshly-sharpened sword and a will that seemed driven by wrath. Aria was a little surprised to see him. "I though you might stay with Wynd," she said softly.
"The elf healers have her well-cared for, and they have eased her agony. She has not spoken yet," he said. His eyes cold as stone, he continued, "I would not miss this battle. Torlith must pay, and if I get the chance, his heart shall taste my blade." He spoke coolly and deliberately, eyes full of hate.
"Beware of letting your emotions control you," said Aria, even yet softer. "Whether despair or anger or desire for revenge, master it- or it will devour you." She added after a moment’s silence, "I speak from experience."
"Wise words," said Raphael finally; then said no more. Silver came by and took him away for last-minute preparations.
Aria looked past the castle turrets and saw a cloud, as black with fury and Raphael’s eyes had been, rising up behind them.
"It comes form the sea," said a voice. Aria turned and saw Gilligan beside her. For once, her heart did not leap with joy at his presence- but she did feel a small breath of relief.
"There’s trouble brewing from there as well, it seems," Gilligan continued.
"And in my heart,’ she returned. "Tell me this, if you know: Has anyone seen any signs of the creatures Wynd warned us of?"
"Not to my knowledge," he said. His hazel eyes were troubled.
Dearest Gill, Aria thought. She sighed. "I would not have them put their guard down, anyway," she said. "If Wynd sensed them, I’m sure they’re here. I only wish we knew what manner of creature they are, that we might better prepare." She hesitated. "Wynd," she whispered.
Gilligan looked down. "She saved my life, you know."
Aria nodded, but said nothing more.
Gilligan took her hand and squeezed it warmly. "Stop worrying," he said. "It doesn’t help. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be." After a silence, he asked, "Do you think Torlith will meet us in battle outside the castle?"
"I know he will," she said, putting her hand to the star-circle medallion at her neck. "I had a dream; I know at least that much."
"Then I’d best make sure everyone’s ready," he said. He kissed her and turned to leave.
"Wait, Gilligan!" She touched his arm.
He looked back at her.
"I love you," she mouthed. Only a whisper of voice, like a stray strand of string, would come.
He held her close once more. "Take courage, my love. I’ll try to stay near you. But if I can’t be- remember Who always is."
Then, with thunder rolling ominously in the distance, they waited.
********
The air felt heavy with the dark clouds over it, but no rain fell.
Aria shook her head. "It’s time," she said, and she saw, coming from the castle gates and across the drawbridge, shadowy figures. But human. Decidedly human. The knowledge comforted but a little. It still meant a battle. But wasn’t this just as she had foreseen?
But there was something in her vision she had told only the stars. It was only just striking her other friends.
"Those men in the front- they aren’t armed," said Dominic suspiciously.
Loth, who, being an elf, had sharper eyes, said darkly, "Not all of them are men."
"What?!" said several voices.
"It’s the slaves!" confirmed another elf. He sounded angry. "Torlith’s put them in front of his army."
"The scoundrel!" muttered someone.
"Did you see this in your dream?" Gilligan asked Aria quietly.
She nodded slowly. Her face was blank, but her eyes did not seem troubled. If anything, they said "Sorry. Sorry for not telling you. You didn’t need to know."
"It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but effective. All too accursedly effective!" This was Peter raging, but Loth was agreeing most vigorously.
"No," said Aria. Amazingly, she smiled.
"What was that?" said many voices at once.
"It’s not effective," she repeated. That’s when the stars, clad in black cloaks to hide any shine they might have had, came up behind her. "At least, it’s not effective when you have stars," she finished.
Noonstar stepped out from the head of the group. "We will be flying in secret behind the slaves and into Torlith’s ranks. We’ll cut away their captors and get them of here as quickly as we can."
"I would go, too," said Aria, "but my gracious grandfather reminded me of my duty to stay close to my people." She paused, then corrected herself. "That is, my people who need me most."
Noonstar smiled, but it faded into grim determination. "Courage, Aria." He then whispered only to her, "Cera and your father would be proud. I am."
As soon as the stars took flight, the Llorleyans lost sight of them. The black cloaks blended into the dark sky as easily as if made of midnight itself. It wasn’t long- though the silence seemed infinite- until they could hear sounds of surprise, fear, and confusion from Torlith’s soldiers. But the black, churning clouds stifled it all like a blanket.
Next anyone knew, some of the slaves- the most vulnerable- had disappeared into the sky with the stars, and the rest were making good their escape. After the guards had been slain by seemingly invisible enemies, most of Torlith’s men were too stunned to give chase. But a few of the more stout-hearted ones took up their swords to but off the fleeing, unprotected slaves.
The Llorleyans, still unable to charge until the slaves were all clear, inwardly willed them to outrun the soldiers, but some slaves could not, and they fell to the sword. The stars soon taught their murderers what they thought of men who would kill defenseless opponents.
As soon as the last of the slaves were away from the battle, Aria- now mounted- rode forward. She shown at the head of the charge, a star under the rolling, rainless thunderhead, and her people followed like a mighty wave of the sea.
Loth laughed at the battle, laughed at the forces arrayed before them. "We will make them fear us!" And it would have seemed that that was all Torlith’s strength- but things are seldom as they seem.

Because of the storm, at first no one noticed the black cloud rising over the castle. But it was not a cloud of thunder and lightning and storm, but a cloud of figures- black, winged shapes that might have been in a humanoid form at one time, but were twisted beyond recognition. Fear filled the Llorleyans’ hearts at the sight of them, and they might have lost the will to fight if they had not remembered their purpose, or that they had been warned. For no one could doubt that these were the dark fairies of which Wynd had spoken.
They would not be fighting other Llorleyans exclusively, as terrible as the thought was. They would not be fighting Men exclusively at all. The dry, ceaseless thunder seemed suddenly like laughter. No fairies, no hope, no fairies, no hope, it chanted.
The onslaught came thick and fast. Long-limbed, midnight-skinned creatures with bat-like wings swooped out the sky. They were horrendous mockery of the fairies they had once been, as though they had been thrown into a fireplace, starved, twisted, broken, and sewn back together by a sick-minded, incompetent tailor.
The goblin-like creatures had no weapons with them, but they clawed and scratched deeply with their groping fingers and bit fiercely and hung on with their dagger-like teeth. They swarmed single Llorleyans and elves in groups to take them down, covering them with their black bodies until the lone soldiers were too overwhelmed to resist. Only the stars, flying, were able to fight and maneuver properly at all.
The stars shed their black cloaks as if to say, "Here we are! Come for us!" Aria dismounted her horse, helping another soldier into the saddle, and flew up to join them. Aero’s shafts, tipped with light, were flying at twice the speed of any elven arrows, and his bow was singing a cry of war. Raphael wielded his sword like a madstar, crying, "For Wynd!" and Tyri beside him brought his ax into three beasts at once. Silver and Myra fought side by side, encouraging each other to stay undaunted, and Lark and June did much the same. Noonstar and his command pierced the dark valiantly. But despite all this, it seemed that no one could get a real foothold on the creatures.
Aria thought of Gilligan and began searching the ground below her, but couldn’t spy him in the fray. She forced herself to stay aloft rather than dive down to look for him.
She saw Loth fighting several of the winged beasts at once. The elf fell beneath them and did not move. But a moment later Aria saw a sword shining and slicing through, and the golden-haired elf was on her feet once again, still alive.
And there, there was Gilligan! Aria began breathing again, though she didn’t remember stopping. He was working alongside Peter and Dominic and a few others to move toward the castle.
That’s when Aria realized she didn’t see Torlith in the battle. Of course not, she thought. He wouldn’t risk being killed. So he must still be inside.
Raphael flew over to her, bloodstained but not visibly wounded. "We’re outnumbered," he said breathlessly.
"I know," she said.
"What do we do?" he asked.
Aria stared at him for what seemed ages, but could only have been seconds. "We fight. What else can we do? Torlith-" She broke off. "Torlith," she repeated. "I’m going to find Torlith, Raphael." She looked back at Gilligan on the battlefield. "And attempt to aide them, if possible."
"I’ll come with you," said Raphael.
"We need you here," she called, already flying off and entering through a window. "Just hold on until I find Torlith!"

Meanwhile, Gilligan, Peter, Dominic, and the others had broken through to the moat. The drawbridge had been raised behind Torlith’s army, but even as they wondered what to do next it began to lower. A quick flash of light, and it lay across the water.
Gilligan did not pause to wonder, but led the men across the bridge. "It could be a trap," he cautioned, "so stay on your guard."
Once inside, they split up, Gilligan going off alone.

After Aria let down the drawbridge, she flew off to search for Torlith, flying down dark castle corridors, finding her way by her own pale light. They were completely deserted- no soldiers, no fearful courtiers- only shadows that almost seemed to shift uneasily at her heartbeat. Her heartbeat which seemed to her to be as loud as war drums. She kept her sword drawn and shield up, alert and ready.
She came to a balcony and a long downward stairway. This was the ballroom, she thought. The difference night, fear, and war had cast on it was cold and unsettling. But she felt a twinge of something besides sadness and fear inside her.
Hatred.
Torlith was there, standing in the middle of the room with a sword and shield at his side, a cold smile on his face. It was almost as though he was waiting for her… Maybe he was.
She flew over the balcony and alighted some twelve paces before him, keeping her distance until she got a good strike.
"So, you deserted your people again?" he said.
Aria had not intended to speak to him, and she did not deign to answer. She only lifted her chin a little, and felt the fire in her quicken.
Torlith’s mocking smile faltered a little. Perhaps this was not the same shaking princess he had fought before.
They circled the room, edging warily around each other. It was much as it had been the day he had first discovered Aria was not "Arianna", only now Aria felt she was not at a disadvantage. This time around, she was not blind, and not only did she have a sword, she had been trained to use it- by Elf and Star masters, no less.
Torlith seemed to think differently. Or perhaps he only pretended the confidence his words held. "I’m surprised, Princess," he said, his tone derisive. He spat out her title as though he felt it unworthy to be in his mouth. "I thought you of all people would have learned never to underestimate me."
Aria still said nothing. She did not care for his games of deception and twisted triumph. Suddenly, without warning, she lunged. Twice she attacked, and twice Torlith blocked her blade. Swiftly, he retaliated, but Aria sprang nimbly aside and came around behind him. She took flight and brought her sword toward his head, but he raised his shield to absorb the force. The sword clove his shield in two, and Torlith had to throw it aside rather than have it dangle uselessly on his arm. Aria herself staggered back under the strength of her own blow, and Torlith took the moment of weakness to knock her sword from her tingling arms.
Aria swooped around him to get to it, dodging the swings of his sword. One sliced her leg, but though it did not cut deep, Aria fell out of the air with the pain of it. Torlith took the chance and swung down toward her head-
But another blade met his, as though from nowhere. "Get your sword, Aria!" said a blessed voice.
Aria rolled out from underneath the grappling weapons and snatched up her own. "Gilligan!"
"I came to find you," he said. "After you let down the drawbridge- I saw your light."
Torlith looked from one to the other, seeming alarmed. "You’re alive?!" he cried, not sounding quite so fearless. (Apparently he thought Gilligan had been taken care of when the old castle collapsed, or something of the like.) He tightened his grip on his sword and backed away a little.
Gilligan motioned to the usurper contemptuously. "He’s all yours, my Queen."
Aria’s smile, which had appeared ever so faintly when Gilligan told her he had seen her light, vanished completely. She advanced.
Torlith met her terrible silver eyes, and it seemed to him that she was looking down on him, though he was the taller of the two.
The fighting became just as fierce as it had been before Gilligan’s intercession. And though he did nothing, if he had considered Aria to be in real harm, he would have jumped forward immediately to help.
That’s when two things happened, almost simultaneously, but not exactly.
First, they heard singing from outside.
Second, Aria stabbed Torlith, straight through his armor, straight to his heart.
Torlith’s sword dropped out of his hand. He staggered to his knees, gasping for breath. Aria drew out her sword, suddenly sickening. Torlith toppled over.
Aria dropped her sword with sudden realization. "It’s over," she whispered, looking up at Gilligan. Though bone-weary, she laughed, leaping into Gilligan’s arms. "It’s over!"
He embraced her long and hard. "Yes. It’s finally over."
But though they barely heard, Torlith said with his last rasping breaths "No… It’s just begun." Then his eyes rolled back into his head, which was terrible to see.
Something stirred behind the two, and they turned. And approaching from the shadows was the largest black winged creature of all. It was thrice Gilligan’s height, with eyes red with rage. As it raised its monstrous head and howled a battle cry, more of its smaller kin flocked from what had seemed to be simply clinging shadows and cobwebs. They came between Aria and Gilligan, sweeping him to the opposite end of the room. Aria now stood alone.

Comments

Are you

Are you kidding me?! I already read it, and I loved it!
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Mon, 03/30/2009

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

NICE!

This chapter was good. Although, I don't really like the bad fairies. It's soooooo sad about what happens to Wynd! How could you do it to her? Oh the poor thing! You had better make her better soon!

Kendra | Mon, 03/30/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

Her wings!?

You burned her wings off?!?!?!?!?! How perfectly horrid! Do fairies grow their wings back? I like the evil fairies. Yes that's very strange, but I do. What's going on with Rayne this whole time? Was that the singing they heard? Are you going to kill Loth? I think this might be my favorite chapter. Sorry I forgot to log in......again.
~~Alecia

Anonymous | Mon, 03/30/2009

Oh

Oh wow.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Mon, 03/30/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"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]

NOOOOOO!!!! THAT'S ALL?!?!?!?!?

Ok, that's all the yelling I'll do for now!!! Amazing chapter!
THAT TORLITH, sorry no yelling;)
Poor Wynd!
Aria is the best! I could just see her riding up to the gate to save her people.
Gilligan is....ahhhh...the best too:):):)
In short, I absolutally, positutly LOVE this story! Hurry up with more...please:)
------------------------------------------------
"It's King Edmund, actually. Just King though. Peter's the High King. I know, it's confusing."--Edmund Pevensie

Ariel | Mon, 03/30/2009

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"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

The Wicked Witch is dead (or not)

Well there's deffinitly no end of suspense, is there? I like the battle descriptions (Torlith and Aria I mean). You do have an eye for the tragic don't you? Burning off here wings like that, was not very nice. I can only imagine how her back must look and feel. Poor girl. Singing, equals good fairies, right? Of course right. Great chapter. Thank goodness the man is finally dead.

"It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you." from Batman Begins

The Brit | Mon, 03/30/2009

Poor Wynd! How could you do

Poor Wynd! How could you do that to such a nice fair?! I like the battle seen too.

You started writing this when you were 12!? WOW!!! You're a great writer. By the way, I did read the other chpaters, I just didn't comment. Why, I have'nt a clue.

"Here are the beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." C.S.Lewis

airlia | Tue, 03/31/2009

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."
General George S. Patton

How could you????!!!

What a story! But that was so cruel how you had Wynd's wings burned off!! I really never could do that to one of my characters. But you did make me absolutely despise Torlith (spits out the name). But the battle is'nt nearly over? WHAT!! How can that be?

Laura Elizabeth | Tue, 03/31/2009

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The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

ANNA!!!!!

How could you leave the chapter like that?!?!??
#1 on my to-do list: check Apricotpie every day, multiple times, until Anna posts the next chapter of SOL. :0)
OK, now burning Wynd's wings...as the reader, I hate it because it's a despicable, cruel thing fr Torlith to do. Because it shows how despicable and cruel Torlith is and how he deserves to die some awful death.
As an author, I understand why you did it. I do the same things.
I really love this chapter...the battle descriptions were amazing and cool! Whohoo!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Heather | Tue, 03/31/2009

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

Kendra: I still have great

Kendra: I still have great things in store for Wynd. :)
Alecia: You never have to sign in to comment, as far as SOL is concerned. As long as you still sign them!
No, Wynd does not grow her wings back. Gone for good.
Clare: How eloquent you are.
OFG: Finally, someone actually likes Aria! *what a relief*
The Brit: Hey, 'tweren't me... Torlith. Blame him.
Airlia: Thanks! Btw, is your name actually Airlia? Because that would be amazing!!
Laura: Well, technically, the battle is ALMOST over... just not... well... the trouble.
Heather: I can leave a chapter like that by writing the next one and gloating over your expressive comments.
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Tue, 03/31/2009

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

No it's not. I wish it were

No it's not. I wish it were though. It's greek, and means "ethereal". I forgot to capitalize it when I got an account though. Tsk tsk.

"Here are the beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." C.S.Lewis

airlia | Tue, 03/31/2009

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."
General George S. Patton

Tsk tsk. How smug you are,

Tsk tsk. How smug you are, Miss Anna.
:0D
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Heather | Wed, 04/01/2009

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

You burned her wings

You burned her wings off?!?!?! The poor thing! Poor Raphael!

Anyways, great chapter!
When is Sundark gonna show up? Or.....has he already? *lifts eyebrows significantly*

-KatieSara

Anonymous | Wed, 04/01/2009

Is the big evil fairy that's

Is the big evil fairy that's thrice the size of Gill Sundark? Just a thought.

"Here are the beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." C.S.Lewis

airlia | Wed, 04/01/2009

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."
General George S. Patton

Actually, you don't meet

Actually, you don't meet Sundark until the sequel.
(Assuming I actually DO finish SOL... It's slow going.)
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Wed, 04/01/2009

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

oh, bother.

There goes my theory. :P

~~~^@
Katie:-)

"We never need to be economical in our imaginations, thank heaven."
-Anne Blythe, "Anne of Ingleside"

KatieSara | Wed, 04/01/2009

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

*Poor Wynd =( and Gill had

*Poor Wynd =( and Gill had better be okay! Almost caught up!

This comment was made by Erin!

"Never, never give up. Unless you get really tired." -Ellen Degenres

Erin | Thu, 04/09/2009

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

OOOH, I could kill Torlith

OOOH, I could kill Torlith right now, if only he weren't dead. I can't believe he did that to Wynd! You really know how to hit where it hurts, Anna.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

Bridget | Mon, 04/20/2009

"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

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