Iraella and Baeddan (Chapters 1 & 2) draft 3???

Fiction By Erin // 9/19/2010

*A/N* I figured I might as well post this in case anybody was interested. BTW, everybody should be very proud of me. 6 page long 1st chapter-BOOYAH!!!! Hehe, I have Super Short Chapter Syndrome, so it's quite the accomplishment for me.

 

Chapter the First
            Grass rubbed briefly up against Iraella’s feet and legs. Her ankles were itching intensely, but she managed to ignore it as she ran. Her legs were burning, but a good burn from a good long run. She was smiling through her gasping breath. Just ahead was her and Baeddan’s destination, a shadowed sort of foyer into one of the Low Forests.
            She kept her eyes straight ahead as the entered the shade of the trees and felt twigs and dirt rather than grass at the bottom of her feet. She forced herself to run a bit further and stop right at the edge of the moat-like stream that was the greeting room to her and Baeddan every day. She collapsed her upper half with her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath.
“Hurry up!” Iraella shouted, though rather breathily. She turned and watched Baeddan slowly come jogging up to her. That was the longest run they had had in years.
            Upon arriving, Baeddan promptly flopped himself to the ground with his head by the stream.
Iraella attempted to laugh at his exhaustion but all that came out was a partially strangled sound, and she flopped herself down beside him, smiling.
After a few moments of heavy breathing, Baeddan spoke. “We aren’t doing that again, are we?” he asked, still sounding winded. She could hear a smile in his voice.
Iraella rolled her eyes but privately agreed. “You’re just too much of a wimp to get up and run it again,” she said, a slow smile making its way across her face.
            “Ha, you were just as winded as I was!” Baeddan laughed.
“Yes, but I’ll run it again!” said Iraella, though she would rather not. She wouldn’t miss out on a challenge, however.
Baeddan turned his head to look at her, his eyebrows raised so that three long creases were right across his forehead. His blue-green eyes looked challengingly into hers.
“Would you really?”
“Yes,” Iraella replied defiantly. “But that means you would have to do it again also.” Baeddan faced his head up at the tree branches. They were dense, so that only some sunlight peeked in and out of them. For a moment, Iraella caught a glimmer of blue sky.
“So, are you doing it or not?” she pressed on eagerly.
Baeddan sighed. “All right, fine, but only so I can beat you,” he said, looking at her and smiling. Iraella leapt to her feet. Baeddan slowly got to his, groaning dramatically.
“Ah, I can see how you’re going to beat me already, Bae,” Iraella said, grinning. Baeddan ignored her and started to the front of the forest entry.
“Shall we just start from here, so we don’t have to walk all the way back? Calida will be furious if I miss supper again,” Baeddan said. Iraella nodded and they both got into starting position at the end of the entrance.
“I say when. Ready, set, GO!” called Iraella. She shot off like a bird, Baeddan taking off a split second later. Exhilarating air filled her lungs so much that it hurt. The freshness was making her throat raw and her mouth cottony. Her muscles burned even more than last time.
They ran for some time before Iraella’s farmhouse came into view. Iraella could feel Baeddan close behind and speeding up. She felt herself tiring. Panting, they arrived at the farmhouse steps, Iraella scarcely ahead. They both almost laid down, but Iraella saw Eamon, her father, coming up through the window in the door.
Eamon chuckled. “You two look a bit tired.” Baeddan nodded and Iraella tried to say something but all that came out was more breath.
“Well Baeddan, Calida should be expecting you by now, so I suggest that you take your leave,” said Eamon. Iraella saw Baeddan try to make the effort to smile but again was too tired to do much else.
Iraella smirked. “Good luck walking home,” she said brightly, though still breathing hard. “And I won.” Baeddan glared at her, but she could see the playful gleam in his eye. He said goodbye and slowly left. She watched him for a bit, just to make sure that she hadn’t killed him by running so much. Apparently she hadn’t, because he rounded the corner still walking. Eamon’s voice snapped her out of her reverie.
“Look, I don’t want the two of you out so late anymore, all right?”
“Hmm? All right, why? We always stay out this late,” she said. The sky was burning gold and pink by now.
“Elmaya Varan’s toddler got carried off by something last night,” replied her father.
Iraella gasped. “By what?” she asked, her heart quickened.
“Nobody knows. They didn’t find a body,” Eamon grimaced. “Come on, let’s not talk about it right now. Your mother’s making dinner.” He put his warm arm around her and they went inside.
During the entire dinner Iraella didn’t stop thinking about Elmaya Varan’s toddler. She was barely aware of what she was eating. She absentmindedly picked at her meat.
“Are you all right, dear?” asked her mother, Silera.
Iraella nodded, her eyes still full of a little blond-haired, blue-eyed boy being picked up by a wild dog.
“Father? How old was Elmaya’s toddler?” Iraella asked suddenly, after a few moments of only the clanging of forks and cutting of knives.
Eamon’s hand, which had been holding a fork with potatoes, stopped just before his mouth. Slowly, he set down the food.
“He was four,” he said quietly, his voice breaking. Iraella gnawed her lip. She knew what he was seeing. The silence was so full of something, something Iraella couldn’t describe or stand.
“I’m sorry, Father,” she said at last. She set down her cutlery and left the table.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
            Rocks were clanging against her window. Iraella groaned and rolled onto her back. What is that?
              Iraella threw off her covers and stood on her bed. She looked out her window. She gasped, suddenly completely awake and shocked to see Baeddan standing there, tossing pebbles to her window. Within seconds she was fumbling with the clasp and lifting open the ill-used window.
            “What are you doing?” she hissed angrily at him.
            Iraella could see Baeddan grinning. “There you are, I’ve been here for about fifteen minutes. I’ve got something to show you,” he called quietly.
            “It’s two o’clock in the morning!”
            “Actually three. C’mon, hurry up!”
            “No!”
            “Yes!”
            “No!”
            “Please!”
            Iraella glared at him, though he probably couldn’t see it.
            “Come now, you’ll be fine,” whispered Baeddan. “It’s something you really need to see. It’s just in the First Low Forest.”
            “Then tell me what it is,” Iraella demanded.
            “No, you won’t believe me. Just come. We’ll be back really soon,” Baeddan replied.
            Iraella sighed but was now intrigued. Baeddan usually told her anything.
            “I’m coming,” she announced, but before climbing through the window she turned and ran across her room to retrieve her dagger, in case she were to need it, and she proceeded to open the window a bit more and slide down, scraping her thigh on the brick of her house.
            “Ouch!” Iraella said as she landed. Her thigh was stinging. “Thanks loads, Baeddan,” she said grouchily.
            Baeddan chuckled. “You’re quite welcome. This is payback for making me run so much today. Come on, we’d better hurry, they’re waiting for me.”
            Iraella started. “They?”
            “Never mind, just come.” Baeddan started off at a jog. Iraella watched him for a couple of moments. They? She thought, but then she chose to follow.
            When they finally arrived at the First Low Forest, the one they always raced to, Baeddan had reached it first.
            Just as Iraella opened her mouth to say something, Baeddan said, “Finally beat you, didn’t I?”
            Iraella glared at him momentarily before smirking.
            “That’s only because you had a head start,” she said in a dignified voice.
            Baeddan moved a step backwards, down into the trail. His face was now eerily visible in the moonlight. “Well, we’d better get moving. If anyone finds out, they’ll murder us,” Baeddan said, clapping his hands together. He spun around and took off at a steady jog. This time, Iraella was able to keep up with him.
             Dappled moonlight peeked through the trees just as it did during the day, only even more stunning. It delicately bathed the earth and creek in a silvery-white glow. Iraella smiled slightly. She had never been in there at night.
            They stopped at the creek. Baeddan looked around for a moment. “They’ll come out, you just wait,” he said, sounding so sure of himself that Iraella didn’t say anything. Perhaps he had been sleepwalking? Then, in a moment, a small girl of maybe four emerged from behind a tree.
            “Do you see them, Ira? See? They came back for me!” said Baeddan, but Iraella barely heard him. She was rushing forward to the little girl.
            “Nida! Oh, how did you survive?” she asked. Tears were falling down her face as she clutched the girl close. All she heard was a small whimper. She took in Nida’s smell, that babyish smell of cold cereal and soft skin. She stroked the back of her light brown hair and kissed the top of her head.
            “What are you talking about? Why are you hugging my father?” said Baeddan. He shoved her off before Iraella could register what was happening. Then she became angry.
            “That’s my sister! GO!” she shrieked, running and bodily pushing him back
             Baeddan stumbled back, looking shocked. Then he shouted, “I NEVER SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT YOU HERE!”
            “GO AWAY!” Iraella screamed, standing fully in front of Nida.
            “I’M NOT LEAVING MY PARENTS! THEY’VE BEEN WAITING FOR ME! WAITING HERE FOR YEARS TO TAKE ME AWAY! THEY TOLD ME EVERYTHING!” Baeddan shouted. Iraella was frozen in place. She stood and watched him. He had never been so angry, and they had never fought.
            She glanced at Nida. Why hadn’t she gotten older? It had been ten years since she had supposedly died. She noticed Baeddan follow her gaze.
            “Why didn’t you get me sooner?” Baeddan asked Nida.
            “Why didn’t you grow up?” Iraella asked her.
            Nida looked at her, and Iraella noticed something wrong. This wasn’t Nida, it was impossible. She just noticed how her eyes weren’t quite as blue as she had remembered, and how her hair didn’t curl the same way, and how her cheeks weren’t tinged as pink.
            “You’re not Nida, are you?” she said slowly.
            At the same time, Baeddan said, “You’re not my parents.” His eyes were glistening and he blinked the tears away. Iraella gave another heaving sob.
            “Baeddan, I’m so sorry,” she whispered tearfully. He nodded. Iraella ran forward and gave him a hug and cried for a long time. Nida was dead, Nida was dead, Nida was dead.
            Suddenly, Iraella had a creeping feeling that something was happening. “Baeddan, we have to go,” she said suddenly. She released him. “We have to go,” she repeated, more urgently when Baeddan looked blankly at her.
            Baeddan nodded. Iraella turned toward the entrance of the forest but saw that it was blocked.          
            She screamed.
            Leathery, dead, black things were quickly creeping in. They were skeletal, their eyes blood red with catlike slits in the center, their wings folded behind their backs. They had talons like birds in place of hands, and their feet were like those of a wild cat.
            Baeddan had grabbed her and was trying to pull her in the other direction, but where Nida had been was a beautiful lady with the wings of a bird. She twirled her finger around her dark hair absentmindedly.
            “Sorry, dears,” she said. “I must do what must be done.” She spoke quietly to one of the things and all Iraella caught was, “be brought back,” before she watched in horror as they began to leap towards them. She kicked at them, screaming, as they tried to grab her with their sharp talons. One made a long rip across her arm and she clutched it and tried to fight them some more.
            She turned around, to see where Baeddan had gone. He was being grabbed and pulled back. He struggled but seemed to be giving up. Iraella started toward him, grabbing at the creatures wildly, but it was no good. She caught a talon raking its away across Baeddan’s face. He screamed, trying to clutch at it, but his hands were being pinned down. She tried to run towards him, but was being held back. Then she remembered her dagger.
            She struggled for a moment to pull it out of her nightdress pocket but then managed to plunge it into the creature’s gut. To her horror, it only lay on the ground for a moment before it got back up with a hole in its side.
            She shoved it back and ran towards Baeddan, who was being quickly dragged away, but in a moment other creatures obscured her vision.
            She stabbed them all in turn, but cried and sobbed. She had never tried to kill anything before. Each time they all lay down, she would try and run but they then got up. She slashed one across the face, and it stayed down, clutching its horrible head in pain.
            Iraella slashed the others, screaming furiously at them all, then turned to go and help Baeddan.
            He was gone.
            Everybody was gone, and the forest was deathly silent. She kneeled to the ground and cried, wetting the forest floor with her own tears.
           
           
             
           
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter the Second
 
Baeddan’s face was in agony. It stung and burned like white hot iron and yet had the cold of the slash of a metal dagger. He struggled against the talons slowly digging their way through his arms, making the wounds undoubtedly deeper, trying to clutch at his face. He could feel the wound swelling until he could just barely see. He tried to call Iraella but found that he was gagged, but he didn’t notice when.
The monsters stopped and dropped him none too gently to the ground. Baeddan took this opportunity to try and run, leaping to his feet as well as he could and taking off. He tore off the gag around his mouth and threw it to the ground and called Iraella. He was barely aware of where he was headed but didn’t care. He heard their beating wings behind him.
In a split second it seemed something sharp had punctured the skin in his shoulder. He cried out and collapsed to the ground as they grabbed him. They apparently had retrieved the piece of cloth, because they were gagging him again.
Why did I call her? Baeddan thought angrily as they bound his hand with some sort of cord.
This time he surrendered. There was no hope. He winced in spite of himself as the creatures tightened the cord. They were mumbling something to each other, but Baeddan didn’t know what they said. They spoke in the strangest tongue he had ever heard, like knives clanging. They began to drag him, but he didn’t struggle. He was too busy staring at the spot where he just had been and would never be again.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Iraella ran home. The distance didn’t seem nearly so far when she was terrified. When she approached the farmhouse she began to scream for her mother and father. It was just as she arrived at the door when Eamon burst out holding his sword, Silera right behind him.
“Baeddan…..Nida……dead….,” she sobbed, hardly any breath left in her.
Silera cried out and ran to Iraella and engulfed her in a hug. “You’re covered in blood!” she said in alarm.
Iraella sobbed harder and Silera hurriedly took her inside. “What’s wrong, what happened?” she asked, setting Iraella down on the sofa.
Iraella explained everything, recovering from her tears. “I th-th-think he might b-be dead,” she stammered. Silera had tears running down her cheeks and Eamon looked stony.
“I think it’s time, Eamon,” Silera whispered. Iraella’s father nodded. Silera stroked Iraella’s back lovingly.
“Time for what?” asked Iraella.
“Oh, Iraella. We always knew that something like this was going to happen,” said Silera. Iraella looked up at her, alarmed.
“Why?”
“Because we are not related by blood. We found you on our doorstep when you were less than a year old,” said Silera gently.
Iraella stared at her, her eyes dry. “What are you talking about?” she demanded.
“You are adopted, sweetheart.”
“No—no I’m not. You’re confused,” Iraella said wildly. She stood up. “You’re confused!” she shouted.
“No, I’m not dear, please sit down. I’m not finished,” said Silera calmly.
It can’t be true…..
“No! I won’t sit down! You can tell me while I’m standing up!” she shouted angrily.
“The reason,” Silera continued, “that we knew something like this would happen is because these things rarely happen without there being some sort of reason.”
It can’t be true….
“You were there, crying, wrapped in the nicest white blanket I had ever seen,” Silera whispered. Her eyes didn’t seem to see what was in front of her. “It was trimmed with soft lace, carefully folded away from your face. There was a note, too,” she looked up at Iraella.
“It was written to me and your father. It had each of our names at the top. It said that these people had chosen us, and to take care of you. A curious thing, I thought. They must have been endangered to have left such a beautiful baby as you,” Silera made to touch Iraella’s face, but Iraella quickly backed away.
“I knew just then that you were destined for something. I felt something through my fingers and deep into my bones. I took you into my house knowing that something was after this poor little beautiful baby. I knew I couldn’t tell you until the time was right, until now,” said Silera wetly. She was crying now.
Iraella looked to her father. Was it true? His face was unreadable. Blinking away tears, she ran as fast as she could from the room.
She was leaving. She was finding Baeddan, she was finding him now. She darted into the wash room, shaking and panting not from exertion but from the horror of what had just happened.
Was everything she knew a lie? She leaned up against the wall and sank down, running her fingers through her tangled hair. Then, she rose and went to the cleaning bucket.
When she saw herself in the reflection, her face was grimy with sweat and smears of crimson blood, all streaked from her tears. She took a deep breath, dipped her hands in the water and scrubbed at her face. Water splashed all over the room from her trembling hands, the images of Nida and Baeddan crossing randomly before her eyes.
She saw him being dragged away, saw him struggling desperately. Then she saw Nida and smelled her skin. It wasn’t Nida, she thought. It was a fairy. She re-thought that sentence and gasped. A fairy. She almost laughed. The thing she had always wished to be when she was young had tried to kill her.
Maybe this is all a dream……she tried to tell herself this but she knew it wasn’t true.
She finished washing her face and walked quickly down the darkened hallway to pack up her things. She got dressed, as she was still in her nightdress, and put an extra tunic in a bag. She tied her hair back with a strip of leather. She put her dagger in its case at her belt. She grabbed the small amount of money she had and told herself she could buy food, just so that she didn’t have to face her mother and father again.
They aren’t my mother and father, she mentally corrected herself with a pang. She felt her mouth tighten. She climbed through the window with her bag slung over her shoulder, not even bothering to leave a note.

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