Born in Chaos Part 21
A slight sound from the young thief drew Milliardo's attention from his brooding long enough to check on the boy. Leaning over his ice blue eyes scanned the boy's face as he checked his forehead. Speaking Duo's name quietly he sighed as he got no reaction and sat back against the tree he'd been using for a backrest.
Quatre had warned that he might stay unconscious for a while. Even though the wound had been closed, his body still had received a shock and needed time to recover. Time that, as far as the blonde mage was concerned, that they didn't have. Time that he could be using to try and discover what had ultimately happened to Wufei and time that they needed to find the rest of the items and then the guardian herself.
His eyes snapped back to the chestnut haired boy. "You're awake," He stated as the boy's violet eyes fluttered open.
Sitting up and wincing, Duo looked at him and then around them. "I'm back." He murmured as his fingers came up to touch the golden band around his neck. "Where is everyone?"
"Hunting for food," Milliardo handed him a skin of water. "I got elected to stay and watch over you."
"Lucky you," Duo muttered taking a drink from the skin and handing it back to the mage. "How long have I been out?"
"Only a few hours, but long enough that we will camp here for the night."
Duo nodded and touched the band again, his eyes serious. "It came with me,"
"What are you talking about?" Milliardo eyed the thief warily.
"I guess the only way to explain it was that I had some sort of waking dream," Duo replied as he leaned forward, resting his chin on his knees. It couldn't have been real? Hilde, Solo... could it? "In the dream, I lived a different life, but I found the torc there. I put it on and I remember talking to an old friend of mine, an old dead friend, and then I was aware of a horrible pain and hearing Quatre's voice calling me. It all seemed so real though."
"Maybe it was," Milliardo mused as Duo looked at him. "We don't know all the forces that are at work on our world, even if we'd like to think we do. It's possible that you were allowed to glimpse a different possibility."
"Maybe, but either way, I was given a choice and I chose to be here..."
"Then this is where you truly belong," The blonde mage pointed out to him.
"I hope so," The chestnut haired thief started to say something else, but his words were cut off by a crashing in the woods to their left.
The pair jumped to their feet, ready for to fight when a slim figure stumbled out of the dense foliage of the forest.
"F-found... you..." The person gasped as he fell forward at Duo's feet drawing a startled sound from the boy.
Milliardo knelt down, his eyes taking in the figure before him, the other person's clothes burned and ripped. Reaching out a hand he grasped a shoulder and turned the person over, revealing a burned and soot smudged face.
Sally stopped at the edge of the elven village and turned back to the older woman. "Thank you, Ceris, for everything." She murmured.
"Lady speed you," Ceris replied to her hugging her lightly. "And may the light protect you. You are a brave woman to have come as far as you did alone; I fear your journey has not reached its hardest point though."
"Maybe not," Sally said looking out over the landscape. "But I have to go. Someone has to let them know what has happened to the queen."
Ceris pressed an object in Sally's hand and stepped back. "If ever you find yourself in a situation from which there is no escape, use this."
Sally opened her hand and stared at the object sitting in the palm of her hand. A jewel unlike anything she'd ever seen glittered back at her. Oval, about the size of a robin's egg, its many faceted surfaces gleamed with all the colors of fire, but what could a pendant do for her? She looked back up at the elven woman, the question in her eyes.
"It was given to us by the first guardian, to aid her children if needed. Smash it against the ground to release the power that she put into it. For a short time you will possess the very same power as the guardian of the light... but for a short time only. And the price for the power is very high," Ceris warned.
"I understand," Sally said, slipping the chain around her neck. With a last smile at the villagers, she turned and set out into the woods.
"You sent her out alone?!" A young elven man slammed his hands down on the table in front of Ceris, his grey eyes blazing. "A human woman??"
"Not entirely human, Saron, I sense a thin thread of our blood in her."
"And that's supposed to help her?" He scowled darkly at the woman.
"I think more than you are aware of," Ceris got up and walked over to a cabinet and pulled out a book.
"I find it hard to believe. You gave the others; with all their power, two of our best fighters... and then you send a single woman off into the wilderness alone... It doesn't make sense!!" He snapped as he straightened back up.
Ceris sat back down with the book and studied the young man. "She has much strength and I sensed that lady watching over her. There's no other way she'd have gotten this far otherwise."
"Yeah, right!" Saron spun around and stalked towards the door.
"What are you going to do?" Ceris cried jumping to her feet.
"I'm going to help her!"
"No! Saron! You cannot! You'll destroy everyth..." Her words were cut off by the slamming of the chamber door. Her shoulders slumped as she sank back into her chair.
Sally hadn't traveled very far into the woods before she heard the faint sounds of someone tracking her. Narrowing her eyes, she stopped and studied the woods around her. Then fingering the hilt of the dagger she carried she slipped silently off to the side and started back the way she came.
She only had to backtrack a short distance before she spotted the slender figure of one of the elves, slipping carefully through the woods. Moving swiftly she lunged forward, grabbing the elf from behind and pressing the sharp edge of her blade to his throat.
"Why are you following me?" She demanded angrily.
He chuckled quietly, "Maybe Ceris is right... maybe you are capable of watching out for yourself."
"That doesn't answer my question!"
"My name is Saron," He replied. "I am Ceris' grandson."
She considered the blonde elf for a moment before lowering her dagger and stepping back. "I didn't realize that Ceris had any family," She said evenly keeping her weapon at ready.
"She doesn't have much, just me and a granddaughter, my sister, Ghaenna," He said his storm grey eyes meeting her soft blue ones. "I've come to travel with you, to help if you have need of me."
"Why would you want to do that?"
"Because I was born with the lady's power, I should be doing something to aid her." He said simply.
Sally studied his face looking for any sign of deceit and finding none she slipped her dagger back into its sheath and started back on her path. "Suit yourself, but I'm not going to watch out for you!"
Saron glared at the woman before following her, "Insolent woman!" He muttered under his breath.
Hearing his words Sally's laughter rang through the trees.
Heero's cobalt eyes watched the woods carefully, something felt... wrong. Out of place, like there was something here that didn't belong. He looked over at the elven woman that walked beside him and she frowned, nodding, as her eyes met his. She felt it too.
Trill placed a hand on Essylt's shoulder and then quickly moved forward, slipping into the shadows of the trees. She shook her head as Heero made to follow, they should stay there, she mouthed silently. He drew his sword as Essylt readied her staff and they waited, counting off the seconds with the beating of their hearts as the silence of the woods pressed in around them.
A snap in the woods in front of his caused him to tighten his grip on the sword, his eyes blazing. Then he relaxed as Trill stepped back into view. The feeling was starting to pass.
"I don't know," The tracker said in a low voice. "I didn't see any signs of anything."
"Maybe we better head back towards the camp, make sure the others are all right," Essylt suggested as she scanned the woods warily.
Heero nodded as the three turned back towards the camp, moving silently and swiftly through the woods.
Quatre knelt in a small clearing in the woods, his fingers quickly picking the mushrooms from the small patch that he had found. He was so intent on the task before him that he didn't hear the soft footsteps behind him as a solitary figure crept slowly up to him. The little healer let out a startled cry as strong hands grasped his shoulders and dragged him to his feet, the mushrooms falling on the ground around him as his blue eyes widened.
Yeah.... I know... evil... evil!! *hides under her desk*
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