Bruises So Blue Ch. 01byDireLilith©
Her woods were full of gold tinged, red veined leaves. Some trees green, some trees bare. But her woods were the sort people walked through on casual journeys, the grass kept short and trimmed, almost every shrub purposely placed for the sake of decoration. The roads were paved, bridges forded the rivers and creeks, and every waterfall had a picturesque quality to it; giant rocks were placed next to or within the cascading waters so that passers by lured by the soft misty spray or the calming rush of water falling could linger if they so desired.
As she looked around her now, panic clutched her dark heart in her chest, making her blood race through her veins. This, she realized, was nothing like her wood. The sky was hardly visible through the canopy above her head. The soft musky scent of decaying leaves turning to fertilized soil permeated the air and made her sneeze. Hues of blue, purple and deep green were everywhere. The grass was also unkempt, allowed to go wild. Panthers and strange creatures shaped like walking trees were ready to pounce from every dangerous scrub or brush. She was not at home here. This was not a place where a person of her culture lingered. Yet, here she was.
The warlock pulled her robes tighter around her, huddling next to a particularly thick tree and hoping its shadowed roots hid her from those pursuing her. She had pulled a dark cowl over her platinum hair and had tucked its long corners around the lower half of her face. Every inch of her pale white skin that she could cover, she had covered. The only things that set her apart from the shadows right now were her glowing green eyes. She couldn't help that. She had to keep watch, couldn't afford to lay back and close her eyes.
The din of pursuit was passing. She waited a few moments longer before slipping out of the shadows and scanning the shore of the lake nearby. To the south was a place her clan used when planning attacks against their cousin elves of the night persuasion. Her people were of a different faction than those who commanded the land she now found herself creeping through now. When they came to bring death and fire to this great island comprised of an immortal tree, when they sought to wreak their havoc on the people who had turned the very branches into a 'land' of sorts, there was a place they staged their attacks from. If she could make her way there, she could rethink what she was doing. She could reconsider why she had come.
All her life was jumbled just now. She didn't know who to turn to, and had rarely felt such confusion when it came to her heart. She had pushed everyone she cared for away from her in her desire to give herself some sense of clarity. And she had fled from the lands her kin knew best to this foreign field instead, knowing they would not think to chase her here. Of course, with her risky choice came the danger of being caught. And that was why she was on the run now. She had barely entered the land before being discovered by some patrolling elven guardsmen. Unlike her own people, these men were tall, their skin shades of blue and green and grey, so that they might match the wood they called home. Their eyes were yellow, their teeth slightly fanged and feral. And they rode great saber toothed cats as mounts. She could defend herself against one, maybe two at a time. But with a whole patrol out after her, she had no choice but to go to ground and hide until they gave up the chase. She continued to make her way to the south, dashing swiftly through the brush.
She banged against another person, someone else, and jumped back, startled. Her fingers were curled and ready to hurl fire and disease, until she looked up the tall body and saw a face she knew. From the pale grey white pallor of his skin to his wild glowing eyes, she knew him. His white hair was free, his helm was in his hand as he gestured to her.
"Shhh!" he said in her own tongue. How could he know her language? "Don't say a word, they'll hear you!"
He reached out and took her wrist, and she didn't fight him, let him lead her deeper into the woods. He drew her past trees and branches, until finally they stopped. Then he turned to her, still holding her wrist.
"What are you doing here?" His gaze was fierce, the bridge of his nose sharp and hawk-like. He gazed over her, as if studying her for the first time, up-close.
Before her now was a man who had haunted her dreams and tormented her waking hours for such a very long time. He was someone of the opposing faction, one she had refused to have any dealings with because of his race and culture. They had met at a gathering of different races one evening in her own woods, a land he was not typically welcomed in. And though others she knew had welcomed him as a harbinger of peace and neutrality, she had practically spit in his face. He hadn't liked it and had seemed to make it his life's goal to stalk her and her clan. When they attacked one of the cities her people sought to tear down, he would be there, his blades whirling out of the shadows and striking at her ruthlessly. Never had she spoken to him before, never had she encountered him on friendly terms. Yet, here he was.
She looked up into his eyes and felt her will power slip away, felt herself giving in to something she'd been fighting for so long.
"Why are you here?" he said insistently, squeezing her wrist tightly.
"I came...for you," she answered.
As she made to take a step forward, there was a blunt thud on the back of her head. All the world went dark one second after she saw him gasp, his eyes go wide. Then she sank to the forest floor, unconscious.