Friday, January 16, 2015

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Thirty Seven // Fallen Star

The relaxing back and forth rocking of the horses soothed Willow's shaken nerves as the group of warriors made for the small village of Wynnath. Emmeth threw several concerned and curious glances her way, but didn't pose the question that burned in his mind, who was the person who wrote that note? Willow obviously knew whom it was, but she wasn't telling. And there was a haunted look in her normally carefree brown eyes that he didn't like. But it was understandable that she wouldn't necessarily trust him, he'd hidden his father's ring from her, a Ring-bearer of one of the Four Rings, so she probably didn't trust him enough to confide in him.
   "We'll rest here for a moment," Emmeth instructed the group. "Let the horses rest."
   Willow slid off her horse and tied his reigns to a tree branch. The faint sound of a gurgling stream enticed her through the tangle of bushes, trees and ivy in it's search.
   As she came out of the thicket, she spotted what looked like a large boulder, partially covered by brambles on the other side of the stream. As she splashed through the icy water, she circled the object, and then realized what it was. A grey metal escape pod from a starship, heavily damaged. The markings on the outside indicated it was Resistance, and from a ship called The Duchess. Not remembering any ship by that name, but nonetheless curious about what was left inside the ruined vessel. Prying off the door and poking her head inside, a plan formed in her mind.
   Plopping down into the seat in front of the communications system, she fiddled with the switches until a faint hum alerted her that one still worked. Snatching a pair of headphones off a nearby hook, she situated them over her ears and took a breath. Flipping to a secure channel, she took her chance.
   "Hello, this is Willow Elvish-grace to the starship Valiant, can you hear me? I have a message for High Command."
   A faint crackle, and then another voice replied. "We hear you, Willow. What is your message?"
   "It has come to my knowledge that the planet Tashra is not safe for assistance, repeat, send no assistance. There have been alarming developments that I must request that no aid nor anyone come here unless in case of emergency." Willow closed her eyes as she listened to the reply.
    "I will give Commander Mark your request. But I must inform you that you are considered missing and there are search parties to find you."
    Willow took a breath. "I'm afraid that more pressing matters have come to my attention, and must be dealt with. I need you also to give my sister, Darrion a message. Tell her that under no circumstances whatsoever, unless I call, do not come after me. It's too dangerous, and because of a certain matter concerning two silver and two gold that she cannot intervene. I can take care of myself. Can you make sure she receives this message?"
   "Yes, but I must inform you that-." A snap, crackle, and pop later, the line went dead.
    "No!" Willow started pressing and flipping every switch on the board, but to no avail. "Perhaps it's for the best."
   Covering the rest of the pod with some stray branches to hide it from view, Willow splashed back through the stream to rejoin her compatriots.


   "Where were you?" Emmeth inquired as Willow stuck her foot into her horse's stirrup and heaved herself up.
   "The stream," she answered truthfully, shrugging innocently.
   He was about to ask more when Willow jerked her head a little, as if she had heard something. Her eyes were alert and she tilted her head slightly, as if listening for an almost non-existent sound. Silently, she kicked her skirt aside, and slid off her horse, then disappeared into the trees. He heard a scuffle, and then a young man emerged from the trees with Willow practically riding piggy-back on his back. She was trying to do a choke-hold on him, but he kept pulling her arms down and grabbing her wrists. Sword points surrounded him immediately and because he was so close to Emmeth's horse, he grabbed the back of Willow's outfit and lifted her behind him onto his horse. She blew a stray lock of her dark hair off her face.
   "Sorry. I thought he was smaller, judging from the sounds he was making."
   The youth lifted his hands to indicate surrender. "Who are you?" Emmeth demanded. "And why were you spying on us?"
   "My name is Ryshdare," he answered slowly. "I was looking for the Fallen Star."
   "The what?" Emmeth asked, edging his sword closer.
   "The Fallen Star," Ryshdare repeated. "But I was told to. I was paid to, Your Majesty." He gave his head a quick bob.
   "By whom?" Willow prompted, sliding off the horse's back to stare intently at their detainee.
   Ryshdare glanced back and forth nervously, as if someone would leap out at him from behind the leafy trees. "The Illusionist," he muttered.
   The group exchanged glances, confused. Willow let out tense sigh.
   "What is the "fallen star"?" the prince prompted.
   Ryshdare shrugged. "She said that it would be like a large boat but with wings. A sky-ship? And made of metal as well."
   "Hmm," Willow grunted, wondering if the "sky-ship" was the starship that had deposited the escape pod in the stream.
   Emmeth gestured with his sword. "Come with us." Ryshdare nodded meekly.
   As they started off, Willow glanced at their captive, and tried to figure out if he knew who the "illusionist" was. "That's really very not good. But D won't be here, at least. But that means I'll have to face her alone."

Wow, thirty seven! I'm going to try to do a chapter EVERY WEEK from now on. It's on my New Year's Resolutions :)
Sorry for not posting lately, any of us. We've been a little out of our groove. But rest assured, we'll be back really soon! Plus I've re-posting on my personal blog, so you can check that out if you'd like!

Be a Friend, Not an Enemy,