Following the Wind: Part Two
Also by noob
Elora stood before the council as cold dread pounded through her veins like ice. She had woken up like any other morning, but when she tried to leave her front door, she had been greeted by an angry looking sentry who had taken her at spear point to the antechamber of the castle as she squealed out confused protests on deaf ears.
Now she stood before Lady Atrik, the sever leader of the Air Faeries, her stony face betraying nothing to the nervous girl as she searched it for a sign of leniency. A pool of air swirled around her almost liquid in its movement, forming a circular wall so thick that she couldn’t even hope to break through. She would simply have to await her fate and hope for the best as she stood helpless before the leaders of her race.
“Elora, you have been summoned here for fraternizing with the enemy; how do you plead?” Lady Atrik asked, looking down on the young Faerie with disdain.
“I’m not guilty, ma’am,” Elora said, looking down at her feet.
“Oh?” she asked, raising her eyebrows in mock surprise. “A very reliable source says that she followed you yesterday and saw you... in the presence of an Earth Faerie.”
The accusatory words crashed down upon Elora’s head, almost physically knocking her back. “We’re just friends, honest!”
“You can’t be just friends with an Earth Faerie,” she spat. “Sneaky conniving creatures they are. What did you divulge?!”
“Nothing!” Elora cried out, tears swimming in her eyes. “I didn’t tell her anything! She’s my friend and that’s all! Honest!”
“Atrik,” a soft voice belonging to a councilwoman on her right whispered. “The girl seems honest enough; can’t we let her go with a warning and stricter limitations?”
There was a murmuring ascent from the other three, but Lady Atrik seemed to have turned deaf ears on her subordinates. “You’ve crossed the line, young one; you’ve pushed the rules for far too long without paying the price.”
The tears in Elora’s eyes spilled down her cheeks. “I’ve done nothing wrong; you have no right to do this,” she gasped, trying to hold back sobs and failing.
“No right?!” the councilwoman shrieked, standing up and looking down on Elora. “Girl, in this land my word is law. Not only do I have the right, but I also I have the power!”
“You should exercise that power now, my lady,” a silky voice said from the corner of the room, causing everyone’s head to turn. “She’s dishonored you and should pay the price.”
“Ah, Jhudora, you’re being a bit impertinent today, hmmm?” Lady Atrik said, her face pulled together in an ugly frown as she focused in on the woman who stood behind Elora and sat down again.
She laughed lightly, tossing her golden hair over her shoulder as she walked forward. “I was simply offended by the way she spoke, my lady, that’s all. I don’t even know why this is still being decided; you should have cast her out the moment she admitted she was mingling with Earth Faerie scum.”
Atrik nodded curtly in agreement. “Very well then, I think enough has been said. Elora, you are hereby banished from this land. Jhudora, since you so kindly pointed out the triviality of this process, it is up to you to remove her.”
Jhudora bowed again, grinning another poisonous smile. “As you wish.”
Suddenly the vortex of air that whirled around Elora let up and she fell to her knees in despair. She heard the faint rustle of fabric as Jhudora moved over and gripped her shoulder with a strength that almost made her whimper in pain. Quickly she got to her feet and let the Faerie guide her out with cruel speed.
The walk to the edge of the city seemed like a dream to Elora. She would later recall stumbling over herself as she walked, but at the time there was nothing present but devastating shock. Numbly, she looked out over the edge of the cloud, knowing that it would probably be the last time she ever took off in flight, if she ever took off in flight at all.
The sound of metal leaving a sheath suddenly awakened her from her trance and she turned around to see Jhudora holding a dagger. In fear she gasped and backed away, looking up into Jhudora’s face in an attempt to find mercy there. The only thing she saw was cold, hungry desire.
“What are you doing?” Elora cried. “I’ve put up no fight; I’ll leave as commanded, I swear!”
“Ahhhhh...” Jhudora said, closing her eyes and smirking. “If I don’t cut off your wings, you can always fly back, can’t you, my pretty?”
Elora reeled back in shock as Jhudora dove for her, the dagger clasped tightly in her outstretched arm. She dodged, narrowly avoiding a sweeping cut, a thin trail of blood trickling down her right cheek. Then Elora did what she often prided herself at being the best at; she flew. Quickly she dove off the edge of the cloud and took flight, Jhudora following close behind as fast as she could.
The Faerie was no match for Elora, though, who had spent most of her days zooming around the skies more than even most other Air Faeries bothered to do. Elora pushed herself, her entire will flooding into her wings. Escape was what was foremost in her mind as desperation pumped through her body like blood, giving her more drive than she ever would have thought possible.
She flew for ages, not daring to look back or stop, until she finally realized that she was back over Meridell. She calmed down enough to realize that Illusen was probably still waiting for her by the large tree she had pointed out the day before and it suddenly became very important for Elora to see her. Scanning the ground, she spotted the large tree and dove towards it in a mad fervor.
She zipped towards the tree, and as she did, she noticed a lone figure sitting under it picking at the grass. Even from far away she could tell it was her new friend. Illusen looked up as Elora came racing in, an irritated look on her face.
“You said you’d come at noon and it’s almost evening!” she exclaimed, her face suddenly furrowing in concern as she saw the panic on Elora’s.
“They found out!” she gasped. “They saw me yesterday! They even tried to cut off my wings and I only just escaped!”
Illusen looked horrified. “They tried to turn you into a Grey Faerie? Just for talking to me?”
Tears overflowed from Elora’s eyes. “Yes, and now I’ve been banished, but that’s not the worst of it since there’s still someone after me.”
“It's fine,” Illusen comforted her. “You can stay here, I’ll hide you in my home; it’s pretty closed off from the rest of the Earth Faeries so it should be-”
“No,” Elora cut in, “I can’t... you can’t risk it and I can’t ask you to.”
Illusen bit her lip nervously. “Well, you can’t stay out in the open... and I can’t in good conscience leave you like this.”
“Give me something to conceal my identity then, if you insist on doing something... a cloak or something. I’ll flee to a place like Terror Mountain for a while; nobody will look for me there.”
Illusen paused to consider it and nodded grimly, picking up the cloak she had worn when she went to meet Elora that she had tossed upon the ground. “Then take this, my friend, and remember, if there is anything I can do for you in the future, don’t hesitate to come ask. After all, it’s my fault that you’re in this mess to begin with.”
Elora grabbed the cloak and swung it around her thin frame, bringing the hood over her head to mask her flowing golden locks and shade her bright blue eyes. “Thank you; I won’t forget your kindness.”
Illusen gave a bitter laugh. “It was my kindness and persistence that got you in this mess; you don’t need to thank me.”
“No, I do,” Elora said, smiling nervously. “You were the first person who really wanted to befriend me, and for that I’m really grateful.”
A rustling in the bushes made them both jump nervously. “Ah... well... you better go now, unless you’ve decided you want to hide with me...”
“Yeah, I should,” Elora said sadly, her face falling as the weight of her future loomed over her.
The two friends embraced fondly. Even though they had known each other for little over a day, they felt as if they had spent a lifetime together. With a heavy heart, Elora turned to go, disappearing in the underbrush as Illusen watched her flee, both of them mourning the friendship that had been forged and severed before it could even fully take root.
Elora felt as if her lungs were on fire as she fled again, this time on foot to avoid suspicion. Bitter anger clawed at her throat, threatening to burst out in a shriek of anguish, but she managed to swallow it. She took a ragged deep breath and kept moving, weaving in and out of the trees. Before she knew it, she had reached the end of the forest and stepped out into the twilight, and it was there she began her long journey into the arms of destiny.
To be continued...