Friday, April 11, 2014

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Twenty Six // Finding the Shadow

   Willow choked and gasped for air. A handkerchief had been laid on her face, cover her mouth and nose. The scent of the sleep-inducing herbs still stung her nose. Another, sweeter smell came from the square of cloth, but she couldn't identify it.
   Rolling onto her side, Willow tried to remember why she was laying on the cold stones of the watchtower. Her mind felt foggy, and her eyes felt gritty. Blinking rapidly, she glanced around.The damp night air was even blacker than she remembered. Her crossbow lay with the string broken about a yard away. A twinge of fear chilled her, but still she couldn't remember. I must have fallen asleep, she assumed.
   Than it all came rushing back to her. The Shadow Knight. The giant crow. Getting knocked out. All of it. Realizing she needed to warn everyone, she opened her mouth and started to shout a warning.
   Nothing came out. It was as if her voice had abandoned her. Grasping at her throat, Willow started to panic. Then a flutter of white caught her eye. The handkerchief that had been on her face when she woke up was being played with by the wind. Crawling over the hard stones, Willow snatched the square of white fabric and held it to her nose. She suddenly felt tired, and her eyes started to droop. Her throat also started to feel odd. Stuffing it into her pocket, she understood that whatever she'd been drugged with, it had kept her unconscious for at least an hour, and had weakened her voice to a tiny whisper.
   Coughing hard to try and reactivate her voice, Willow leaped to her feet. A bout of wooziness forced her to grab the stone balcony's edge. Once it passed, she wrenched the dark wooden door to the winding staircase inside the watchtower open and raced down the steps.

 Willow rushed into the Planning Room, her knee-length skirt twirling around her as she halted in front of the prince.
   "Willow! What is wrong? You look very pale," Emmeth inquired, glancing at her face
    "I..." Willow tried to speak, but her voice was so soft that it wasn't even a whisper. "Shadow..." she tried again. Then the dizziness came back, and the room spun. Trying to take a step, her ankle turn and she collapsed, and the room disappeared in a flash of black.

   A strong smell jerked Willow out of her dreamless sleep. Her eyes opened and a blur of faces appeared around her.
   "Are you alright?" Ganymede's voice asked, and his face came into focus to her right. He was tucking a small bottle of smelling salts into his pocket.
   "And why is this in your pocket?" Killian's harsher, British-accented voice asked to her left as he waved the handkerchief. His reddish hair came into focus first, and than his face. His greenish-blue eyes were suspicious, but a hint of concern showed on his face.
    Emmeth came into focus in front of Killian. "Why did you faint?" he asked {more gently than Killian had}.
   "Water," Willow croaked, trying to speak loudly enough for them to hear. Emmeth nodded at Killian, who gave him an annoyed look, but did fetch the water. Handing her the glass, everyone watched her quickly sip the liquid.
    "Ahhh," she sighed, her voice raising to its normal volume. "I was hoping that'd work."
    "What happened?" Emmeth interrupted.
    "I was watching for the enemy, when one came at me from the sky! It was a Shadow Knight on a giant crow," Willow hurriedly explained. "He knocked me out and broke my crossbow. But didn't you see him? I lit his cloak on fire..."
    "There was no alert raised," Emmeth stated, sounding concerned.
    "He must be hiding in plain sight then," Killian put in.
    "That's not good..." Willow trailed off.
    Emmeth chewed his lip. "This must be part of their plan. But how would he go about pretending to be one of us?"
   "It can't be that hard, I mean, it's so dark out and he's wearing black. But he is wearing a facemask," Willow pointed out.
   Ganymede pointed to Willow. "But where is your cloak, Willow?"
   Willow felt her shoulders. Her special eleven-given grey cloak was no longer settled protectively over her. She felt a chill. "He must have taken mine," she confessed in a small voice.
    "That helps explain it," Killian decided. "He took Willow's cloak, which blends in by the elven design, to hide."
    "Then all we have to do it find the person who is wearing the elven cloak, and we have our man," Emmeth suggested.
    "I hope so. Unless he dumped it. Or traded it," Willow pointed out.
   Emmeth shook his head. "I doubt it. I have seen you wear it, and you blend in so well just in Essgarothe that I barely notice you. He would wear it if he knows its handiness."
   "We should start now, then," Killian urged, glancing around the empty, candle-lit stone room.
   "I agree," the prince nodded, offering his hand to Willow to help her up.
   "Here's a cloak for you to wear so you won't freeze to death," Ganymede offered, handing her a long dark gray cloak.
   Grasping it, she wobbled off of the windowseat. "Thanks."
   Slipping out into the dark courtyard, the group headed for the barracks, where most of the fighters were situated. Throwing open the door, the prince stepped into the dimly lit room. "All right, everyone! Wake up!" he shouted, rousing the sleeping soldiers. Grumbling, they slid off their beds and headed into formation.
   "See him yet?" Killian murmured at Willow, who had drawn her hood up over her head to conceal her identity.
   "Nope," she answered softly.
   "Form up!" Ganymede ordered, folding his arms and eyeing the fighters.
   As they lined up, they glanced at each other in confusion. "Is the enemy approaching?" one of the guys asked.
   Ganymede glared at him. "Silence," he ordered. The fighter blushed and remained silent.
   A familiar sound of a cloak swishing reached Willow's ears. Glancing to the side, she caught sight of the middle grey cloak against black trousers as the wearer tried to slip past the foursome. Willow dug her elbow into Emmeth's ribs, and glanced pointedly at the cloak-wearer.
   He spun around. "Stop!" he ordered, pointing at the grey-cloaked person. Ganymede leaped in front of the door to block it. The Shadow Knight tried to run for the back door, but the group of fighters surrounded him and subdued him.
   "The Dark Lord shall fall no more!" he shouted, his eyes boring into Willow. She stepped back in fear, but Emmeth stepped in front of her protectively.
   "Keep your sentiments to yourself!" he ordered. "Take him to the dungeons!"

I would like to thank everybody who prayed and asked after me regarding mah braces.
And just to update you, they still ache a bit, but don't hurt like they did the first day.
I actually wrote that whole chapter last night, with a minor {one sentence} edit this morning :)
Any questions are welcome!

Be a friend, not an enemy,



  1. That's a lot of writing for one night x) Bravo!! Lovin' the action!! And I'm so glad your braces are doing better=)

  2. I loved it! You make your chapters so exciting!


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