Two young adventurers, Yufin and Severin, embark a seemingly harmless quest.
|Chapter 1:The never ending forest
The condescending night weighted heavily upon their shoulders. Shelter, they needed shelter. And ideally a warm bed. Severin sighed, ‘Good luck finding that out here.’
They had entered this forest around noon and so far it had just been trees upon trees.
“We need food.” commented the slight girl at his side, for the trees offered nothing but dark prickly leaves and deepening shadow. Severin said nothing to this unlikely possibility and pushed on into the forest.
Another hour of traveling went by slowly until their eventual stopping was reached, caused in equal parts by the aching of their bellies, wavering of their limbs, and loss of the trail by a steadily deepening darkness.
Severin sagged heavily to the dark summer grass covered earth. “This place will have to do as a camping ground tonight. Even if I could move another inch it would be pointless if we lose sight of the trail.” Severin intoned in his deep throaty voice.
All visibility was gone soon and the forest’s sounds came through to the weary travelers. Far off they heard the cry of a wolf and wondered.
“It can’t be helped, I’ll take the first watch. You get some sleep kido.” Severin settled into a nitch in the nearest tree’s roots and stared into the surrounding forest. “But--,” Yufin complained “that’s not fair, you took the last first watch.” The young petite girl shifted her feet and waited for a response. When none came she sighed discontentedly and gathered some leaves to make a pallet with. It had been a long day but now it seemed like they would have to endure a long night as well. ‘Why are there no caves out here.’ Yufin complained to herself.
Then she was asleep and Severin was by himself. Exhausted. ‘I have to maintain the watch.’ But it was hard and the night was quiet. Soon his mind began to make whispers out of the leave’s movement over him. A shake of his head dispelled them and helped him to be alert for a while. ‘Morning is so far from now.’ Then the whispers again , like a hidden being persuading him to go deeper into the pitch black forest. Then mercifully, his watch was over but the thought of waking Yufin after the long day they’d had, it hurt.
Hand hovering over her, he was but an inch from releasing Yufin form the grips of slumber when but a soft , barley audible, escaped her lips. “Kain.” He jerked his hand back as if stung. A slight buzzing filled his hearing.
‘She can’t mean…’and then Severin wasn’t in this dark forest. He was back, 5 years ago when he had been as old as the girl was now. Soft green grass and a light breeze that lessened the heat from the bright sun overhead replaced the dreary woods. An awfully beautiful place for a nightmare to happen.
They thought they’d been safe there. He and Kain finally had plenty of food, enough for the picnic set before them. Then, from nowhere-he should have been more alert!-people came, taunted them. Ruined their meal. Took what little supplies they had managed to acquire.
Cold ice flowed through Severin’s veins and he reached for his brother’s hand. ‘Run.’ was the only thought on his mind. But they’d found it. That short, simple hurriedly pushed into Kain’s pack . Of those people he only remembered thick, concealing garments, a gleeful girly laugh, and that they’d stolen his little brother from him. Had they known about him? The possibility made him sick.
No, she couldn’t be talking about him. Yufin would have only been 13 and Severin hadn’t known her then…
He lifted his hand into a soft caress of the sleeping girls cheek. But then again his brother was of the mysterious type, always going off on his own. Winding his fingers through her hair and then completing their path dropping back to his side, he voiced a sigh.
The morning was long in coming and Severin watched Yufin waken. She’d be upset that he hadn’t woken her to take a watch. The thought made him smile, but his face was blank when she looked at him.
“You did it again!”
“I can do without sleep better, we need to go.”
“I take the first watch next.”
“Ok.” but he intended not to let her. Maybe they’d have made their way out by then, anyway.
And so they continued down that infernal trail. Yufin continued along confidently, feeling the extra strength a good nights sleep had granted her. Though she could do without the acrid taste the vermin they’d speared that morning lingering in her mouth. Oh, how she missed the sweet rolls her mother would bake to break their fast with in the morning.
The young elvin girl glanced Severin’s way-- other then her few complaints about food she felt fine, really but she could see a slight waiver in his usual elegant, tolerant gait, a grimace tugging the corners of his lips. ‘Damn you Severin! Act fine all you want but your destroying yourself!’ “I’m fine, I know you know that I’m fine.” Severin said with a playful smile that reached up to his tired dark gray eyes.
The emphasis made her cheeks heat but she wouldn’t just let that go with out a fight. “You need sleep too!” How did he always know what she was thinking?
“I’m fine.” he said a bit more forcibly, irritated now.
“What am I supposed to do about it anyway?” anger colored his voice but he wouldn’t look at her. ‘No.’ she thought. “Just let me take a watch.”
Still he wouldn’t look at her, pointedly ignoring her. Yufin stepped roughly into his line of sight. Placing her hands on her hips, she let her built up aggravation color her words. “Goddamn it Severin! I-AM-NOT-A-CHILD!I can take care of myself and I suggest you do the same!”
He placed his hand above hers, on her waist and pushed Yufin aside. “We have places to go.”
Yufin turned to Severin and her next words left her. Even more now, though, she despised his decision to allow her to sleep and wondered if she could deal with what she saw herself.
Even though the day was bright, darkness seemed to tinge its edges. Severin stepped firmly in front of Yufin, hand on the sword he always carried with him when traveling. Narrowed eyes surveyed the land before him. Yufin knew he was putting on his toughest front but she could see his solid frame assaulted by barely noticeable shivers. Stirring herself Yufin reached for her own weapons, two small katana blades, and saw that her own hands were shaking.
“Mi’tak, how nice to see you again,” a horrifically beautiful voice called out from the steadily growing fog. Pause. Out in the distance ravens’ cawing could be heard. “Oh, that’s right, its Severin now isn’t?” the voice questioned in a mocking self-reprimanding tone.
As Severin steps between this strange creature and Yufin he feels a strange compulsion to run. ‘I can’t leave her.’ Severin steps back as a beautiful man approaches. His mind is screaming for him to leave but his legs refuse to move. “How cute, you’re trying to protect your girl.” he disappears. Severin finds him again standing behind Yufin. The creature whispers something to Yufin and then backs away. Yufin looks terrified and starts running full speed away from Severin. “Yufin, wait!” But she is gone in the unrelenting fog.
Severin strained to lift his feet but invisible shackles seemed to hold him still. A cold clammy hand cupped his cheek. Severin could swear that chills were seeping into bones “You can change your name but you will never change that you belong to me.” Oh hate, so much hate filled Severin’s heart then. Almost enough to melt the ice, almost, but it was enough. Enough to turn his head, to glare into those ancient eyes that were practically gleaming. The taller man swept his hand down to the crook of Severin’s neck. “It was here I think..” The other man’s voice became dreamy as if recalling a fond memory. ‘No‘. The thought stuck in Severin’s mind impossibly causing the hate to fester even more. ‘I will not fall into his games.’
Severin managed to glance to the side. Yufin hadn’t come back. But she didn’t know these woods like he did and her fighting skills were ok but….
He stared back into his master’s eyes focusing his hate through them as if he were trying to burn the other man with them with his gaze and then bit his lip…hard.
The other man stared back at him with a look akin to amusement but at the sight of the rosy liquid set upon the Severin’s lip an edge grew around his amused outlook. The taste of blood in his mouth Severin ignored the new look in his master’s eyes indulging in the “warming” effect the pain gave him as it drove the deep cold back a little. In the next instant his sword was flying into the apparition his proclaimed master had become.
He did not reappear but Severin knew that would only last moments. Perhaps it had been too much for that hated being, the sight of Severin’s young blood. Sounds of ragged breathing and remberings of biting wind threatened to overwhelm him. But he drove the dark memory from his mind and replaced it with Yufin.
The next thing he knew trees were flying past him, Yufin-less.
Why did he let her mange to get so far ahead? Maybe he should just let her be. She knew now, after all, about his secret. That he was marked. T…That he was no more then some fucking vampire’s fucking pet.
Damn. Those big lavender eyes that at him with such trust that he would protect her and guide her would now be filled with disdain. No one could…would love a vampire’s servant. Not that there had been any love in the first place…No he was her protector and nothing would stop him from doing his job…not even the protectee’ he thought with a smirk.
Then he found her in a small clearing barely touched beneath the fog and trees. Yufin leaned against a tree, her back to him. Her shoulders shook slightly.
Was she crying? Could she so despise him? He’d thought it wouldn’t be that bad ; wasn’t he still Severin?
A snap! sounded right behind him.
Fear of his own working into his belly, Severin spun around, sword lowered but out.
He listened closely to a rustling sound in the treetops. No more snapping. Just the wind, he decided. Still an odd feeling griped him. ‘Wind or not we should leave as soon as possible.’ He thought sheathing his sword.
Stooping to sit cross-legged beside the girl he took a moment to survey her. Tenderloins of her usually silky hair stood in disarray, her tan skin was pale and he predicted that her cheeks were flushed. Her heart shaped face was turned away as if it didn’t notice the presence now beside it but her body gave her away. He could practically feel the tension in her muscles.
“Your cold.” Severin intoned simply as if nothing had happened.
Yufin whipped her head around angrily, “Why didn’t you t--e,” ,to find eyes as dark as night yet promising the return of the sun, boring into her own lavender depths, “--ll me.” her breath hitched. So much misery in those eyes.
“I..” haunted despair crept into Severin’s eyes. He took a long, almost inaudible breath and dropped his gaze to the ground. “..need to get you out of here. We’re almost to our destination.” This morning’s light playful was now dark and soft .The unwanted fog dissipated .
He didn’t want to start their journey yet. He didn’t want to have to take off of Yufin’s soft, smooth arm after only helping her up.
Neitherless, they turned onto the path that opened into the fresh air, no longer suppressed by the forest’s suffocating canopy.