Whee! I like writing...:) This is getting more interesting by the post, I think, and will get even more interesting yet. Yay!
Tiran had led them along for hours on end, constantly claiming that he knew right where the unicorn was. Elean and Deryl followed him, for lack of anything better to do. They were hungry, after all.
Suddenly, Tiran stopped. “I don’t understand…” he whispered.
Deryl grabbed him, “What? What is it? Did you lose the tracks? You lost the tracks, didn’t you? I knew it! We are so dead.”
Elean stared numbly at the ground. “They’re here…but then they’re not. Just like that. It’s impossible!” She insisted.
“I know,” Tiran replied, his expression confused. “They just…stop. There’s hoof prints, and then there’s footprints.”
Deryl bent down to take a closer look, and jumped back almost instantly. “What?” He shook his head, and took a closer look. “No. Not happening. They’ve got to be around here somewhere. Unicorns just don’t change like that. They don’t. No.” He dropped to the ground on hands and knees, scouring the surrounding foliage for signs of a unicorn.
“Tir, is it possible that someone else already got him?” Elean looked up at him with a worried expression written all over her face. “I mean, it’s not like we’re the only ones out here-“
Tiran cut her off angrily. “No! The others know that this is our district.” The lanky young man angrily shoved a hand through the unwashed, tangled mess that was trying to double as strawberry blonde hair.
“New recruits?” Elean suggested flatly. “People who don’t know that this is our territory?”
“No!” Tiran growled, rage clouding his grey eyes. “This can’t happen to us!” His glower softened as he noticed the skeptical expression that Elean wore. “Maybe they don’t know after all,” he conceded.
“Perhaps,” Deryl grunted, brushing leaves off of his knees, “Perhaps, we should try and find food. Food that we can get now.”
“Oh?” Tiran arched an eyebrow.
“Yeah. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. That unicorn is gone.” To say that Deryl looked mildly annoyed was an understatement.
Elean sighed. “Great. Just great.” She looked up at her companions. “So, what are we going to do?”
They looked back and forth for quite some time, none of them wanting to make a decision.
Finally Tiran, as the oldest, picked a direction and started to walk. He was following the footprints that were so confusing. Even through they were confusing, they were obviously going somewhere, and somewhere was where Tiran, Deryl and Elean wanted to be.
Preferably, somewhere also had food.
As they continued to wander onward, Elean kept thinking of the last time that she had been guaranteed a meal at least once a day. She had been ten then, and still under the supervision of her Aunt Farreh. She could barely remember Farreh; seven years was a long time not to see a person. She had gone off riding one day, in search of her brothers but hadn’t found them. She hadn’t found her family either, and they had left her, as caravan rules dictated.
She still hated that rule. But that was behind her now, she reminded herself.
She had a new family now, one that wouldn’t leave her behind even if they would let her go hungry. She loved them, she really did. Deryl was like the brothers that she had had, and Tiran was the best friend that she had never had. They had tried being something more a few times, but that always seemed to go badly. They had been settled on friends now for over three days. The last time they had done that, it had lasted a day before they got too bored and left Deryl to fend for himself for a little while.
She smiled; that had been fun.
“What’re you smiling for?” Tiran tugged at her hair.
“Oh, nothing, just enjoying the walk.” Elean pushed her lank black hair out of her face and grinned up at him. “You know, it’s nice not hunting once and a while.”
“Tch,” Deryl interjected, “That’s like stabbing me in the heart, you know. I love the hunt.”
“Yeah, you do.” Elean punched him in the arm. “Me, I’m not to crazy about it.”
“Yah, you think the unicorns are pretty,” Tiran teased.
Elean threw her hands up. “They are! And besides, two against one isn’t fair.” She stuck her tongue out and stalked ahead, sashaying along as if she hadn’t a care in the world.
“You’re just inviting trouble missy, walking like that.” Elean spun around in mock offense as Tiran jogged by and took a swipe at her bottom. She figured that their current hands-off policy wouldn’t hold for much longer.
“Aye, I am,” She agreed readily.
“You two are sick, sometimes, I swear.” Deryl pointed at them and sputtered helplessly. Finally he decided on something to say, “I’m going to go sharpen the tools of our trade.”
Elean giggled. “Fine then! Be that way!”
“I will!” Deryl shouted over in his shoulder by way of reply, almost too frightened to look over his shoulder for fear that he would scar his innocent eyes should he lay eyes upon what they might be doing.
“So, Elean,” Tiran sidled up to her, “You want to take a tumble?”
She smirked up at him. “Perhaps. I’m not quite sure. You might need to convince me that leaving Deryl alone in the woods is a good idea. I’m not sure how well he’ll f-“
Tiran placed a finger over her lips, halting the flow of words from her mouth. “I think Deryl can manage alright,” He whispered, drawing her to him with one sinuous arm. “I don’t know about you, but I’m in need of a little distraction from all of his whining.”
They both grinned as Deryl protested from afar, “I do not whine!”
Elean sighed and pulled away. “I don’t know…this is awfully boring as it is…”
“Then shut up and kiss me you tease.”
Deryl waited patiently until Elean and Tiran returned to the clearing where he sat, sharpening a long blade. “Finally,” he commented dryly. “It took you long enough.”
“Glad to see you aren’t dead, Deryl.”
“You too, Tiran. I bet Elean works you hard.”
Elean blushed. “Maybe,” she admitted.
“Come on, pack up.” Tiran started the little equipment they had into threadbare packs. “I still want to know where those tracks go. If we find them, we might get food.”
Deryl picked each pack as Tiran tied them up and slung one over his shoulder. Tiran picked up a second, and Elean a third.
“To food!” She informed them, striding onward and hoping that she looked purposeful.
“To food indeed,” Tiran replied, “All that exercise really made me hungry.”
Deryl rolled his eyes and groaned as Tiran grinned happily.
“It was totally worth the hunger though, Elean.” Tir grinned again, and blew a kiss to her.
“Stop with the theatrics and walk!” Deryl commanded. “I’m hungry!”
By nightfall, they could no longer see the tracks, but that didn’t matter, as they could see a village just up ahead.
“I can smell dinner,” Tiran crowed joyously.
Elean twirled in a circle, quite happy to see other people again.
“Who goes there?” The three comrades stopped suddenly as a yet unseen opponent accosted them.
“We do,” Elean ventured shakily. “We mean no harm, we are only three travelers looking for a place to stay.”
“Names?” The voice reverberated through their chests with a bass rumble that reminded Elean of thunder.
Elean spoke again. “I am Elean, and my companions are Tiran and Deryl.”
“Have you no surnames?”
“None, sir.” Elean took a step further before Tiran yanked her back. “Like I said, we are weary travelers who seek a place to stay.” And certainly not an interrogation, she added silently to herself.
“Well, welcome then, to Fey Village.” The man that they had thought to be a soldier stepped out into the open. His simple, homespun clothing belied his formidable air, just as his unwrinkled face contradicted the authority that had edged his voice.
“Thank you, sir.” Elean gave him a nod. “Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Ysaal,” he announced, and stuck out his hand.
“Elean,” she said, taking his hand and shaking it firmly. “My companions Deryl,” She waved Deryl forward, “And Tiran.” Tiran stepped forward. “May we have a place to stay?”
Ysaal smiled warmly. “Yes ma’am. There’s a guesthouse just up the road, if you don’t mind sharing with two other folks. They’re nice gentlemen, by and by.” Ysaal beckoned them to follow him, and walked into the village. “The one’s named North, the other Praan. You’ll like them, I bet.” Ysaal kept up an endless stream of prattle as they walked through the town on the way to the guesthouse.
Elean looked from Tiran to Deryl and back again, shrugged, and followed their talkative guide to the place where they could get a bath, dinner, and beds- real beds! Elean was pleased, to say the least.
She was even more pleased when she laid eyes on their handsome housemates. A smile curved her lips as she decided that she would make this stay last as long as possible, and as interesting.