Saturday, November 29, 2008

Section 4
A soldier in black armor stopped them near the border at dawn.
"Names and business," he demanded in a hard voice.
"Janis and Doyen, traveling home," Wren changed indefinably, somehow becoming bent and old.
"Occupation?" the soldier gave a cursory glance to see that they weren't carrying weapons.
"This your son?" his eyes were caught by Cedar.
"Yes, noble sir.  He's not very bright but his mother dotes on him."
"Looks more like a daughter than a son to me," the soldier stepped forward.  "Why are you traveling so early?"  Wren pushed Cedar to one side.
"Run, girl!" he shouted.  "Don't look back!"
     Cedar obeyed blindly.  She ran, weaving her way between the trees, and quickly became lost.  The drawn was causing a fine mist to rise from the ground.  She found she could no longer see ten yards in front of her.
     Suddenly she could hear sounds of fighting.  It echoed from the trees all around her and she couldn't tell where she was in relation to it.  A man appeared before her with a gaping wound in his chest.  She screamed, and screamed again when she tripped over a body at her feet.  The sounds of her scream followed her down the long tunnel into darkness.
"Is she okay?" a worried voice above her head asked.  A cool cloth wiped her face.
"Child, wake up."  Someone urged.
     Cedar kept her eyed closed.  She didn't dare open them for fear of whose hands she had fallen into.
"Gently now, lift her head up."  Her head was lifted and another moist cloth was pressed to her head.
"She's bleeding."
"Mirelle!" the first voice called. 
A scent of lavender knelt by her and lay fingers to the scratch.
"Nothing serious," a soft voice reassured them.  "Open your eyes, dearling.  We won't hurt you."
     Cedar cracked one eyelid and then the other one.  The blurry face of a woman peered down at her.  She blinked her eyes and the image focused to show honey-brown hair framing sea-green eyes.
"There now.  That wasn't so bad.  Where are you from?"
Cedar clenched her lips tightly and Mirelle sighed.
"Then you're coming with us.  Sit up a bit so I can lift you."  She was surprisingly strong, and Cedar was hoisted to a saddle.  "It will be more comfortable for you to sit forward."  She did so and Mirelle was suddenly sitting behind her.
"We can talk a bit on the road," she said kindly, "but for now we must move quickly.  It is not wise to remain at the site of a skirmish long; the sounds could bring unwelcome company."  Cedar got a look at the owners of the other voices.  Long, lean men wearing leather armor sat sleek horses, their swords hung on their saddles.  Mirelle was the only one out of place.  A deep blue skirt split for riding was cut of a rich fabric.
"What's your name, dearling?" Mirelle asked after they had ridden a while.
"Cedar," she said quietly.  Her stomach was rebelling again.  She could not go back a slave to Emberfaile, yet these people would not be so easy to slip away from.  Wren would not return to save her, but if there was even the slightest hope of his survival she would keep silent.
"Where are you taking me?" she mustered enough courage to ask.
"Sevren's Keep," Mirelle announced.  "You're my responsibility until we can find your family."
"Where’s that?"
     Mirelle was quiet so long that Cedar thought she would not answer.  Then came a single word wrapped in mystery for the girl.

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