Prophecy Ch. 04byeyecandyrayce©
Helena was confused. One moment she was sitting on the rock feeling her heart break and the next she was standing in a thick part of the forest by a horse. She blinked and looked around her, rubbing at her dry eyes in confusion.
"Hello little one," came a familiar voice. Helena spun around with her confusion showing on her face. Her Spirit chuckled as he saw her, "You are unconscious. Look." He pointed off into the trees and Helena watched as a man came running through the brush. Helena gasped to see herself flung over his shoulder, unconscious.
He was a not a large man but he carried her as though she weighed nothing. He was lean with well defined muscles. His black hair would put many women to shame but his blue eyes were cold and unfeeling. He pulled down on the reigns and the horse knelt for him, making it easier for him to position her on the saddle and climb on. He had Helena so she was almost cradled in front of him, both legs on one side as a virginal woman had to ride. He was being very careful in her placement.
Helena stepped back out of the way as the man guided the horse to its feet and then spurred it into a dash through the woods. He leaned forward, pressing Helena's body between his and the horses to protect them both from the lower branches as they disappeared through the forest.
The terror that Helena felt in that moment was overwhelming. She felt her knees go weak and feel back against her Spirit. He wrapped his arms around her and lowered them both to the ground. He held her with her face against his chest, capturing one of her tears from her skin.
"It is meant to be. But I needed to come warn you that all of your visions will start changing. There are things you cannot see or you would act accordingly. You see what is happening as well as what will happen. This is rare."
Helena shivered in his arms. She wasn't sure if she was cold or just overly scared. Both seemed accurate.
"I know that what I think may be is not always what will be."
He wrapped his arms tighter around her, "There are things that are meant to be that you are not meant to stop. Those things you cannot see. Now imagine what happens to an event if things are left out."
Helena frowned as she tried to understand the lesson, "It would show you false visions without that event to guide the way of things." She gasped and looked up at him, "Are some of the visions I have been having wrong?"
He nodded and touched her lips with a gentle look on his face, "The Gods will guide you as best they can but every Prophet is meant to do the Gods will." His eyes became sad, "You must be strong but you cannot fight it. To fight it could bring death rather then freedom. The Gods gave you just what you needed to be prepared for the worst of it. They did not want you to be broken. There will come a point when they will show you the truth and you will know what to do."
Helena nodded and shivered again, "I am afraid."
He nodded and wrapped his arms tighter around her, "I know. It's time to wake up now Helena. He was careful not to hurt you permanently."
Helena gripped her hands into his shirt and shook her head, burying her face into the material. There was a sudden jolt to her body as though the ground had raised and lowered. Then another. She was gasping in panic as a strong pain began in the back of her head and then the constant jolting of the horse. She moaned and felt the rocking stop.
She opened her eyes slowly and found herself looking at those cold blue eyes from a very close distance. She didn't panic as she thought she would have. Knowing exactly where she was before waking made it less of a shock.
He tilted his head at her a little, raising one eyebrow, "You know already?"
Helena nodded, fear still racing through her. The strain to hold still made her tremble.
He grinned and the only emotion she saw there was pure malice, "Good. This makes things easier." He spurred the horse forward again causing her to groan at the pain in her head. He kept his eyes forward, ignoring her discomfort entirely. "You have two choices. One is to come with me without a fight and the other is to try and escape. I do not wish to hurt you any more then I have already but I do not have time for any delays. And if you did get away from me, my Lord would trample your people to get you."
Helena fought off the dizziness and stayed quiet. Taking her silence as submission he spurred the horse faster. He needed a head start before they discovered her missing.
Esma was worried. Helena had left to go see the King a long time ago. She paced inside the hut, trying hard not to chase after her sister. Something felt wrong. It felt almost like a part of her was missing.
She pulled the curtain back from the door and frowned. The dinner bell rang in the distance and the sun was going down. Hesitating for just a moment she left the hut, heading up to the main hall. The hall was already a buzz of activity. She stepped in the door and then out of the way to look around. She did not see Lucas or Helena.
Joining the line of people she watched constantly for them to emerge, not even responding as those around her tried to speak to her or say hello. Lellah sat at a table by her mother. Esma watched the woman who stared steadily at the hall to his room. She knew when he was coming by Lellah's reaction. She sat up straighter suddenly and her face went from steady tension to a bright smile.
Lucas appeared at the end of the hallway and studied Lellah. His body was tense and he did not smile. Esma tilted her head and her hands began to shake each moment he stood there and no Helena joined him. She hesitated, fear suddenly very strong. Something was very very wrong.
Lucas looked towards her and knotted his brow at her. He came towards her and looked down at her worried, "What is it?"
Esma shook her head, unable to speak. When her words came out they were stammered, "Where is... Helena?"
Lucas frowned, "She left some time ago."
Esma was shaking. Lucas took hold of her arms to keep her steady as she whispered with glazed eyes, "She is gone."
Esma remained in shock as the hall went into sudden motion. Lucas called out for all of the guards to check the woods. Turning back to Esma he handed her over to the strong arms of Keifal.
"Take her home in case Helena is there."
Keifal nodded and lifted Esma in his arms. The girl had started to mutter, her eyes far away as though she was whispering silently to someone who was not there. As he took her from the hall in quick strides he leaned in to hear her. Whatever she was whispering was in no language he knew.
Esma felt herself being carried and she blinked in surprise as mist started to roll between the huts and over the grass. She looked up at the man carrying her and sighed with relief. Her Spirit appeared to be her age, golden hair back in a tail behind him held with a thick strap of leather. Beads hung from the ties but made no sound as they tapped together. She knew he was ancient because he had told her so but he carried the appearance of a youthful man well.
He looked down at her with crystal blue eyes and smiled. She forgot for a moment about her sister and just enjoyed feeling safe in his arms. But there was something wrong and she had a frown on her face by the time he brought her into her hut and gently set her on the table.
"Your sister is missing. That's what you're trying to remember," he said helpfully as he tugged her shawl tighter around her shoulders.
She blinked at him, "How is it that you always make me forget what I am all about?"
He grinned that charming white toothed grin and kissed the tip of her nose, "And apparently I still am," he chided.
She gasped and suddenly grabbed the front of the soft brown material he wore. It was softer then anything she had felt in her waking times. "Is it the man that she dreams of that has taken her?"
His eyes became sad and he nodded, "Yes. But there is reason for all things Esma. You know this."
Esma shook her head, "No. There cannot be a reason for what will happen to her. She has always served the Gods and Spirits." She tugged at his shirt, "Tell me there is some way to stop it?" The tears burned at her eyes and his heart ached.
Wrapping his arms around her shoulders he pulled her to him. She hugged herself to him, not even caring that her skirt was hiked up and he was holding her with his body pressed to hers and her legs wrapped behind his hips to hold him to her. She found comfort in his arms that overrode her anger at the spirits enough that she didn't want to push him away.
"No," he whispered against her head, "It cannot be stopped but there is so much hanging in the balance. I promise you," he said kissing the top of her head, "As soon as I am able I will explain but you must trust in us as your sister does."
Esma began to cry against his chest when he looked up and anger flashed through his eyes. Someone was trying to wake her and he could feel her body give a tub as though something were trying to pull her away from him. "They are impatient," he snarled.
Then she was thrown back violently onto her back on the table. She opened her eyes and blinked as the hard surface of the wooden table shifted into the padding of her blankets on the floor. She gasped for air at the violence that she had been pulled from the vision by the insistent shaking. The hands stopped shaking her as she groaned, a little ball of pain already forming between her eyes and back into her head.
"Are you there Esma," asked a deep worried voice.
Esma groaned and nodded her head, instantly regretting it, "It is not a wise idea to pull someone from a trance."
Lucas felt guilty as he watched her pained face, "I did not know. I am sorry Esma. Please listen to me. We cannot find Helena. Now I know you know something and it is time for you to tell me."
Esma knew he was right. There was no reason to keep her sisters secrets from him now. Helena had made her swear that she would say nothing to anyone of what she saw. Esma had to obey but it ate at her every morning her sister woke screaming. There had even been a time when little symbols in blood stained Helena's sheets though Helena did not have a scratch on her.
She sat up slowly and he helped her. Keifal leaned against the wall near the doorway. He watched the girl with general concern on his face.
"She has had dreams most her life of a man she cannot see cutting her and abusing her. He threatens her virtue if she will not give him visions. He is the one who has taken her and the Spirits insist there is nothing we can do to save her from this fate."
Lucas listened to this in shock and then set his jaw in a hard line, "They cannot expect us to sit back and do nothing."
Esma looked at him a long moment, the pain behind her eyes a soft throbbing but not gone entirely yet. She would need herbs for that. "Please be careful my King." She couldn't tell him not to go. She could not live without her sister who had taken care of her most of her life. The trust between the two of them and the closeness they felt because of their shared gift made them as one.
Lucas nodded and stood, turning to his loyal friend. "Have both our horses prepared. I will see to our food and tell the others they leave at dawn. We will go in search of Helena and meet them on the path to the pass."
Keifal nodded and left without a word.
Lucas spoke without turning around, "I will bring her back Esma."
And with that oath he left to prepare for a pursuit. The man already had a few good hours on them and if they did not hurry they would never catch him. He hoped that the man would be foolish enough to stop for the night. It would be wise in an unknown forest.
Esma stood stiffly and began to prepare some tea to cure her ache. Her hands were shaking and she wanted nothing more then to slip back into her vision and hide. She felt helpless and truly alone for the first time in her life.
Lellah watched as Lucas turned from her and stalked towards the healer's sister. The woman was pale and shaking, her eyes too wide and sparkling. She looked as though she had seen a ghost. Lucas mumbled to the girl and Lellah frowned. Just as she stood to go investigate Lucas handed the weak thing into Keifal's arms and began to bellow orders to the men around him. Lellah stood in confusion as the hall burst into movement. She rushed towards Lucas to ask him what had happened but walked with long strides out the door.
Lellah frowned. That damn Prophet was becoming a real knot in her side. How was she to woe the king if he was always chasing after some virginal mad woman that he was not even allowed to touch?
Lellah began to move between people and it did not take long for her to discover what had happened. The Prophet was missing after her meeting with Lucas. A few hours later when Lucas finally came marching from the direction of the Prophets hut Lellah had composed her frustration and sat on the threshold of the main hall with a concerned look.
She jumped to her feet and hurried towards him, "Did they find her?"
He shook his head and continued to walk past her, bumping her with his arm as he passed. She frowned at his back.
The King stopped walking and his shoulders dropped a little. She watched as he took in a deep breath and let it out. When he turned his jaw was no longer clenched and his eyes were a touch softer. Lellah felt a sigh of relief leave her lips as he came back to her to pull her into his arms.
"I am sorry Lellah. I must go after her. There is no way besides her to carry on the teachings of a Prophet. We cannot lose her," he sighed, resting his head on her head as she pressed her face to his chest. What he said was true but he knew the reason he was going himself instead of sending his men was due to his fear of never seeing her again.
Lellah looked up at his face questioningly, "Would you still chase after them if they took her Prophecies away?"
Lucas tilted his head at her, his eyes suspicious, "Why would you ask such a question? Of course I would just as much as I would go if they had taken you or any other of my people."
Lellah smiled softly at him, "A wise answer my King."
The suspicion did not entirely leave his eyes but he smiled a little and hugged her close one last time before releasing her and turning towards the hall, "Come inside so I can make an announcement."
She knew he had meant what he said about going no matter who had been taken but she couldn't help but think he was chasing after Helena for more reasons. She just wondered if he was aware of those reasons. She tried to shrug it off as she followed him inside but it kept eating at her. When he made the announcement that he and Keifal would leave at once to try and catch those who had taken her before they could reach the safety of the army to the south her heart sank. She hoped he would not catch them in time because it would be the end of his wandering attention. Ignoring the slight bit of guilt she felt for wishing the Prophet ill she stayed near him until he had mounted his horse.
Touching his leg she stopped him just as he was about to spur the horse forward.
"My King, please be careful. While it would be a great tragedy to lose the Prophet, it would be an even greater one to lose our King."
The people around them murmured their agreement as Lucas reached down and touched her hand on his leg, "I will be careful."
Then he spurred his horse forward with Keifal a split second behind him. She stood watching the place where they had vanished into the darkness long after the others had wondered off towards their beds. She had wanted so much to beg him not to go but his suspicious eyes made her hold her tongue. Had little Esma told him of the herbs she was using?
She frowned and gave one last worried glance towards the woods before heading off to her own bed. She prayed to the Goddess that he return safely. He was a fine and handsome man. He would make a wonderful husband and father. If she could just turn his eyes from what he could not have to what was standing directly before him.
I fought a bit with this chapter. I actually re-wrote it 4 times before I was truly happy with it. I had originally planned for this to be a short story with 5 chapters at most but it is taking on a life of it's own now.
Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments and votes. It has encouraged me to keep going.
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