“Verin you monster what have you done!” sairi shouted at the dark mage venom in her voice at the scene before her the queen unable to believe what she was seeing. The destruction around the was unbelievable in the dragon kings chamber, scorch marks, blast holes, blade indents and cleaved stone littered the chamber around him. Pillars and jagged waves of ice criss crossed the room with stone rubble piled everywhere.
Verin just had the nerve to look angry at her like she falsely accused him of a crime. “Doing what must be done! Now step aside!” he said raising his staff for another spell to be case.
“NEVER!” sarai shouted to the main in defiance unwilling to change her stance she would not let him harm another like he had already done. Too many lives had already been ruined by his actions. No more.
“MOVE!” he demanded fiercely “I won’t ask you again.” sounding deathly serious.
But she would not run and instead turned a borrowed spear on him ready and willing to strike him down.
Everything hurt, everything aches and sang with pain like a thousand tiny arrows her body hurt and cried out for relief though none came as she began to wake. Memories of what happened slowly starting to return to her as her consciousness begin to grow. She was sairi queen of kotalis wife of the king mother of callum and ezren. She was on a mission to retrieve a titans heart for a ritual to save durren and kotalis from hunger, one that she opposed greatly but did anyway for her love of her husband.
It was a bit fuzzy after that but she remembered the battle vaguely a battle with a titan that went well… or rather she thought it did. They wear on their way back home when they ran into trouble… something big, she remembered the roll of thunder in the sky, screaming, horses neighing in fright, then a feeling of weightlessness as everything went black.
It was a long time before the darkness began to lift making her head hurt she realized feeling like she and run into amya’s shield head first or fallen out of a high window onto it. She tried to move a hand to clutch it but couldn’t move and wondered what had happened to her after the battle. Had she been injured? Was that why she couldn’t move?, was she dead? No she could still feel pain so she was still alive…. Right?
Eyeing her eyes proved in this moment to be the hardest thing that she had ever done as they felt so heavy like they wear weighed down by bricks. When she did manage to get them open it was painful as the light of the room blinded her sight making her grown desperately wanting the light to go away. Thankfully this blind light was mercury breath as her eyes adjusted to the light in the room and she began to make out her surroundings more clearly.
At first all she could make out was a blurry image of the blueish gray colored walls around her making her wonder wear she was as most of kotolis’s bricks and stone wear red or brown not slight gray or blue. Still their wear other kingdoms ‘maybe harrow brought me to…. “Ahg”…. another kingdom for treatment for my wounds.’ she though rationally. Though the pain in her back and leg refused to go down even as the pain in the rest of her body started to subside slightly.
But as her vision cleared and soon it quickly became clear that she was not in kotalis or any other kingdom for that matter. Not unless she was kidnapped as no one would put her in a prison cell under any normal conditions.
She was in a cell and a crude one at that it was easy to see even from the position she was in laying on her left side as she was. The walls wear solid carved stone but they looked light they wear clawed out and they quite possibly wear a chilling though. While the the cell door was made out of what looked like hastily cobbled together planks of wood. They wear clearly put together at the last second as they wear mismatched with ropes and a few nails being the only thing to hold them together.
Clearly whoever was keeping her was not expecting to house guests of the prisoner sort. But who ever they wear even in their haste they had enough scenes to remove her armour and leave her in her dirty clothes.
This made her wonder who could have-- “agh!”
Her head felt like it would split open as a sudden headache plagued her making her reach a hand up to clutch her head but instead of one hand she had two come up. But she was unable to question this as it felt like someone was beating on her head with a war hammer. She felt tears prickling in her eyes her lungs hurting as she curled in on herself. Doing her best to keep her cries to herself not wishing to alert any guards to her waking until she assessed the situation more.
However in her pain her memory slowly returned, “the dragon king attack, the two queens distracting thunder,” her mind began to piece together in a hazy fog. “verins foolish attack on the dragon, I tried to….. rescue…. And then….. And then? I remember thunders roar…. Then the ground shook…. But then what happened?” questions filled her mind trying to piece it all together ... “Just what happened to me?” simply wanting an answer.
Then a shred of a memory of looking up at verin from a high vantage point sprang into her mind for a brief moment.as to what happened falling when the ground gave way. “I fell.” she whispered in her pain realization finally came as to what happened. “I fell… verin tried to catch me right? Yes he did, he did try to catch me but missed my hand. What did he catch?” asking herself at the end trying to remember the event still hazy. “Ahhgg!” her groaned loudly again as she tried to remember again her head feeling like it would explode.
Her head was like a blacksmith's shop arith with loud banging, head pounding painful noise ringing bells in the castle tower. Clutching her head even tighter as if she was going to rip her hair out of her head it was becoming so painful.
It was then that she thought of something and her fingers traced the side of her head above her right temple. A large bloody scab remained wear once their was hair cutting into her hair love in a blotched circle. The memory of what happened now returning fully as she realized what had happened. “Verin went to grab my hand…. But missed and grabbed my hair and pulled it out.” she muttered to herself speaking trying to take her mind off her pain.
The pieces of her broken memory started to fall together and making scenes at last for the moment as everything leading up to her passing out came together. As her pain began to subside her memory returning to her she realized what had happened to her in her last moments of consciousness. When thunder attack that was meant for both herself and verin struck they had been knocked off their horses and onto the ground. They tried to leave by foot to the border but the ground gave way and she fell.
Sarai could feel a cold sweat began to break out over her body from fear of the memory a near forgen concept as as she never feared for her life, just those around her. But she couldn’t help feeling fear as it was like seeing your death and it very nearly was. Relieving what nearly amounted to the final moments of life was by far the single most frightening experience of her life.
The only question now was where was she now? how did she get here? how was her family? Did they make it back with the heart? And what was going to happen to her next? These questions plagued her but likely would not be answered quickly.
Bringing her hands away from her head her head not hurting so much anymore but sarai noticed the itching tight feeling around her hands. Looking down slightly she noticed her hands were tied up with a thick length of rope. And not very well she noted like the person who tied her had no idea what they were doing. It would not take long for her to work her way loose from them if she tried maybe a couple hours and she would be free of her bonds.
The whole thing the cell, the rope, and the makeshift door none of it added up why was this so poor quality and hastily done. Why was this, why keep a prisoner in a cell they could knock over by simply running into it. Or ropesthat or so poorly tied that one could slip free within hours of being put into them. And being bound with her hands in front of her no less and not behind like a sensible person would. None of it made any scenes.
“Pat! Pat! Pat! Pat!”
Her answer soon came as footsteps begin to echo throughout the chambers or tunnels nearby. They wear fast like someone was running and silently prayed it was harrow coming for her. Sarai prided herself on her strength and her independence above all else and would never willingly let others view her as weak. but she would not complain about being rescued from this one if it meant going home especially after facing thunder. Regardless of who it was when she made it back to kotal somehow she was going to take callum on a long vacation. As right now she desperately needed some quiet time away wanting to spend time with her eldest after everything that happened.
Silently sarai waited as the maker of these feet drew closer the sound becoming louder and clearer. At first she thought nothing of the sound aside from it holding someone's arrival, but as she listened sarai noticed something off about them these footprints they wear different they sounded soft? As though whoever was making them was barefoot. That was the other thing the footprints they sounded small, light almost like whatever was making them did not have much wight behind them.
Questions filled sarai’s mind but before she could even think of an answer the sound grew closer and closer and sarai realized they wear come her way. Immediately she returned to a sleeping posture and pretended to still be unconscious wishing to know who her captures wear. And if necessary catch them off guard should they try something.
while she had no interest in being a damsel in distress like so many tales this was one situation wear playing a helpless and defenseless prisoner was wise. After all they left her unguarded and in a shotty cell, poorly tied likely thinking she was a rat caught in a trap. The least she could do to thank them for letting their guard down after all it was the least she could do. Doing her best to suppress a smile as sarai pretended to be unconscious to let them think they had her till she finally fled and returned home.
She waited as the sound got closer and closer the padding of feet aas whom ever it was ran her way. Still wondering the whole time who or what it could be silently wondering if in her hast during battle of the last war she just never noticed the sound that elves made. Their was little time to ponder this though as just as the maker sounded like he or she would run into her it slowed down to a walk. The sound came into her chamber and everything else stopped as the sound slowed even further to a crawl becoming slow with only one or two pats of the ground before stopping.
Sarai looked as best she could through half closed eyes like some child watching their parents pretending to be asleep. It was hard at first as all she could see was her arms and her own hair that had fallen in the way of her face. As the steps moved she listened as they came from some yet unseen place to the right of her and started to move to the left. All the while sarai just hoped whatever they wear they moved into her line of sight to better gauge what she was up against.
Sarai was not afraid but even she could feel her heart rate rise in anticipation at who thought they could capture her. She was not so arrogant to think she was unstoppable but to kidnap a queen took a lot of nerve. After all if the crown on her head was any indication of her identity they would know that kotalis was not to be trifled with if word got out.
Still sarai waited patiently as the person walked closer and closer to her line of sight. Then she could see it a movement that was not her own came into view walking towards her left side. However all she could make out was a pair of legs that was walking along side the gate to far away and her eyes too far closed to make out who or what it was.
Opening her eyes just a bit wider to see more clearly though her lashes to see what it was who was trying to examine her prepared to move at a moments notice to protect herself. As she did so she saw something she was not was not expecting. It was not the faint pink lavender skin, nor the purple markings on her legs, the four toes, long pointed ears, the green elven dress with blue trim, it was not even the tiny stumbs that sarai knew would one day grow into horns.
None of these things drew her attention as much as the fact that this elf was just a little girl maybe no older than callum was if her height was any indication… possibly younger. The little elven girl just stared through the sorry excuse for a prison with wide eyes like she was seeing a new wonder of the world. Her son gave off a similar look when he saw the castle and his new bedroom for the first time. And for the girl she likely was.
Sarai was so stunned by the fact that who ever had captured her just let a child wander the halls that she almost missed the fact that she was an elf. And not just an elf a moon shadow elf if story’s of their skin color and facial markings wear anything to go by.
Here eyes widened in shock at the realization completely ignoring her new guest the knowledge that she was somewhere in xadia was just too much to not be surprised. True she should not have been that surprised given the nature of the mission they wear on. But just the idea that she was in xadia a place that few humans ever treated and came back alive in the last century was more than a little overwhelming.
This state of surprise was so great sarai almost missed the girl as she excitedly begin to speak. “ a dhùisg! a dhùisg! is e an rud sin na h-inbhich a chaidh a thoirt air ais nan dùisg!" She cried out excitedly.
Sarai felt like she was a child again as she simply stared at the girl completely speechless and feeling ever so unintelligent as she listed to the girl speak in words unknown to her ears. The words were like nothing that Sarai had ever heard before as there was nothing like it in all the five Kingdoms. While the other five kingdoms did have unusual languages they wear nothing like this.
The words wear so different to what she was used to with any of the foreign dignitaries and nobility that came to kotalis.
The child however didn't seem to ether notice this confusion or was too young and innocent to care as without missing a beat, she spoke again. "m ’ainm rayla. dè an t-ainm a th 'ort?" She said again as she grabbed the bars tilting her head an infectious smile upon her lips.
But once more all Sarai could do was stare dumb founded by what she was hearing unable to understand a word of it. And really only able to guess as to what the little girl was saying or even asking or if she was even asking or saying anything at all unable to make sense of it.
“a bheil thu ceart gu leòr?” the girl said though again it was hard to tell what she was saying.
Pushing up off the floor getting into Sarai simple mermaid pose before shaking her head, “I can’t understand you” she said sadly feeling bad for the girl. “i’m sorry. But I can’t speak elven.” she added.
“dè thuirt thu. Chan urrainn dhomh do thuigsinn.” she said next in a sweet innocent voice with a high pitched whine that sarai could help but smile at as it reminded her so much of callum.
But again she shook her head, “I’m sorry I can’t speak your language, I can’t understand you.”. She hated the look the girl gave her as recognition seemed to cross her features but it couldn’t be helped she didn’t speak elven and the girl didn’t speak kotalin.
Sarai watched as the girl pouted iritibly clearly not very happy about this revolation not that she could blame the girl. It was not every day you met someone new that you couldn’t speak with. The experience must have been very frustrating especially at that age being so young and have no answers.
And it was doubtful she was old enough to know a lot of things they could compare to play a picture game that she and her sister created after she lost her hearing. Before she learned sign language they would compare pictures to communicate. But this girl was so young side side of a few basic things she doubted they would be able to form a crude picture game.
However the girl while frustrated did not seem deterred as a determined look crossed her features. The girl pointed to the center of her chest wear the moonshadow elf emblem upon her little dress lay. “Rayla. Rayla. Rayla. Rayla.” she said the same words pointing to herself.
She said it more times then necessary and she felt like a child in school once more but she got the message well enough. “You name is rayla.” she said stating it more then asking and pointing as best she could to the girl just for good measure
The girl rayla got excited and clapped her hands feverishly “fhuair thu ceart e, sin m ’ainm!” she said happily.
Her joy was infectious as sarai could not suppress a smile upon her face at her joy over something so simple. “She truly is just a happy child.” she muttered to herself with a smile seeing how much alike she was to her son. It made her wonder if their really was any difference between humans and elves or if the only difference was appearances. While she knew about the supposed magical differences she had no idea if it was true. What she did know was this child was no different than any other child.
Sarai tried getting into a sitting position from her place on the floor but immediately a sharp pain of protest stopped this act in its tracks. She grabbed her leg out of instinct causing her to fall to the ground from her bound hands. Rayla seemed to panic at this act but she didn’t pay ith much mind her leg hurt to much clearly broken from the fall she took and had yet to heal yet.
When she recovered from this pain spell she looked back out from the bars and realized that the girl was gone leaving her alone once more.
Sarai managed to get her feet in front of her and into a sitting position after a time though it too a few minutes making her legs that had begun to fall asleep feel better with blood floor returned. Still it was a struggle as her broken leg still hurt badly even able to feel the separated bone in her right shin. It need binding to brace it but the guards clearly didn’t care to do it for her or even check so she would have to keep it as still as possible till she could find a way to fix it herself.
After a short while the pattering of feet returned and a moment later rayla returned her hands burdened with some things like bandages and a few small jars. Sarai was surprised by this appearance of the girl once more and with more then what she left with having a number of things like wrappings and other things.
The rayla then somewhat clumsily set the items down in a small pile “bheir iad sin ort faireachdainn nas fheàrr. tha mama ag ràdh sin.” she said though sarai still had no idea what she was saying. But it was easy to tell the words meaning from the items she brought with her as all of them wear medicinal supplies.
Sarai looked at the elf girl wondered for a moment if this was some sort of trick to get her to let her guard down. Looking around to see if some older elves wear watching from some unseen place for their own amusement. But looking back at the honest smile the girl had given her told her otherwise. She was just a little girl who had not been exposed to the corrupted ideas of war like so many before her.
“Is urrainn dhomh do chas a chòmhdach le seo.” the girl said holding up a roll of bandages and while again she had no idea what she was saying it was easy to guess that she wanted to bind her leg.
Sarai thought about this for a moment as she was behind the border and who knows wear with a broken leg as a prisoner of at least one moonshadow elf, namly rayla. Their wear a lot of risk involved in just trusting someone she only knew of for a few minutes. But by the same token said little girl was also just that a girl who seemed incapable of hurting anyone on purpose and it's not like she was leaving any time soon till her leg was better. And in her state it wasn’t like she could keep them from killing her if that was their game
So seeing no other choice started to move forwards carefully till one of her legs began to slip through the spaces of the bartil her leg was exposed to the girl. Resting a hand on the bars to help hold her in a sitting position while using the other to pull her pat leg up to expose the wound. When she did so the wound was not great being black and purple still but thankfully that seemed to be the worst of it. And thankfully the elf rayla seemed undisturbed by the wound or it was so new humans that she didn’t realize that it hurt a lot.
They pair worked together and after taking a piece of long wood from the bars of the prison walls to act as a splint the wound was bound and rayla even gave her some medicine. And before long her leg was wrapped and despite how crude it was should help her heal she just needed to keep weight off it.
“Thank you?” sarai suddenly said as she watched rayla put the things she used away in the corner behind some rocks out of the way moving back.
This caused the girl to turn around and look at her funny tilting her head a bit bewildered by the words. Sarai then motioned to her still exposed leg before repeating “thank you, for your help.”
“tha d ’ainm thank you?” rayla said coming closer and sarai couldn't help but laugh thinking their may have been a mistranslation which only seemed to confuse the poor girl even more.
Sarai moved back inside her cell and careful pulled down her pant legs before raising her hands to her chest in pur mimickry of rayla’s actions from before. “Sarai, my name is sarai.” she said calmly pointing at her chest repeatedly as she did so. All the while a memory of when callum was first learning to speak came to mind putting a wide smile on her face.
However a confused scowled crossed the girls face “is ainm dhut thank you, no an e sarai?” she sounding frustrated which all but confirmed sarais earlier suspensions of a mix up.
Sarai then tapped herself once more “sarai.” saying it slowly without a hint of anything other then calmness towards the girl. Then tapping her hurt leg before waving to her and saying “thank you.” once more.
The girl looked at this act going from looking at her and the leg multiple times trying to make scenes of what she was saying. But sarai was patient, she had to be when dealing with her husband and she had raised a child once already from birth. This was nothing by comparison.
Rayla then pointed to her then “sarai.” She said slowly looking nervous as she said it. But sarai just smiled happily giving her a nod “yes my name is sarai. And thank you for helping me with my leg.” she added tapping her leg once more. Her was truly grateful and she tried her best to make it show up on her face.
Rayla smiled widely in return “s e do bheatha” she said in reply sound ever so pleased her eyes closing her smile so wide and infectious.
The next few minutes or hour sarsai couldn’t tell passed by seemingly in the blink of an eye as herself and rayla did their best to try and talk to each other. She had started to pick up on a few words mostly basic stuff and a few phrases but not enough to hold a conversation. Rayla also seemed to understand a few basic words after a time, though it was hard to say.
Most of their conversations involved them exchanging a few words and then rayla rambling about some random subject like callum would before eventually realizing he was running his mouth off. The only difference was she could pick out for the most part what callum was saying.
Rayla however seemed to be getting a lot more than she was out of it as her smile never wavered seemingly enjoying every moment of their conversation as though she was the best thing since jelly tarts. It made her wonder wear the other children wear as surely their wear more near by as they wear in a city or settlement of some kind. Right?
Still sarai was not one to complain as weather or not this girl knew it she was helping pass the time and making her time more bearable. It was funny really she should be worried, strategizing some sort of escape route when he leg healed, or if nothing else try to find a way to contact the outside if possible. But instead she was having an enjoyable time with a child who she did not know, from a race that likely wanted her dead, and no idea wear in xedia she was. And yet all that seemed secondary at the moment as her new friend made all those problems feel very small.
The sound of metal and and calls of protest then rang out startling the pair from their odd conversation the looks of odd joy and laughter died in their throats as the sound of more visitors coming. And who ever they are they wear coming quickly and they wear armed if the sound of clanging metal was anything to go by.
Immediately a look of panic crossed the girls face and she immediately got to her feet before bolting across the room dashing into the corner and hiding behind some stalactites. The stone spires almost completely hiding her form as she curled up into a ball behind them.
Sarai was surprised by this sudden disappearance of her new acquaintance who now hid making her wonder if her new friend was even allowed to be here. And in hindsight she probably wasn’t as sarai would never let callum within a hundred yards of the dungeons. So it was not hard to understand why she was hiding as the girl would likely be in a lot of trouble if she was caught. Sarai would normally consider herself a paragon of following the rules but today she would bend that rules as she would pretend the girl was not hear as keeping her trust may prove advantageous.
Instead she tried to bring her legs around to turn round and placing her hands on the floor planning on pretending to be asleep again. But a sharp pain in her leg stopped that idea in its tracks as her broken leg gave a sharp shot of protest making her wince. Their was no time to adjust to it ether to lay down in time as the people who wear coming wear too close. Before she even had anymore time to ponder what she was going to do or what was going to happen next as within seconds a pair of guards walked into the room.
The guards whore matching uniforms with the only difference between their dress was one barring a sword his waist the other brandishing a spear a weapon that she would remember someone having later. The one who had a sword was a sunfire elf while the other was a moon shadow elf like the girl though he bore no resemblance to the girl. The moon shadow elf with his purple brown hair and blue purple eyes and much darker almost lilac skin and curling horns. The sunfire elf on the other had long hair that was tied back with bronze colored skin and golden eyes.
looked down at her with disgust like they wear looking upon trash in the streets, no even worse like she was a filthy rat in the streets. The rage and murdess gaze that she was given made sarai feel uncomfortable not used to such treatment as even at her lowest back when she had callum. And being so used to being a beloved queen of kotalis this was a drastic change of pace. ‘Stay calm if they wear going to kill you, they would have done it already. And as much as they hate humans even they wouldn’t disobey an order so casually.’ she said to herself to still her nerves. The last thing she needed to do was panic as that would old lead to death.
So she watched as the guards talked in a new dialect what she assumed was common in xedia but paid it no mind as unlike the girl they would not be so interested in teaching her what they meant. Not only that but they wear speaking to quickly with alternating tones and phrases to pick up on the nature of their conversation other then it involved herself and it was hostile.
After a short while their conversation going on for a while between them as though she did not exist to them, they completely ignored her.
Sarai would like to say that the action was expected due to the division and didn’t bother her. It did though their cold behavior like she was less than important and insignificant did hurt. It was like she was invisible and the very idea that you are invisible to those around you is an incredibly lonely one.
Then at least they turned to her finally recognising her presence once more “lets go the dragon king wishes to see you.”
At mear uttering of the word dragon king sarai felt like her heart would stop and all hope that she would would flee or be rescued died as well. After all no one escaped the king of dragons and lived.