Day Seven! It’s Day Seven of #freewritemadness and #nanowrimo! A full week! 😀
I’m secretly impressed that I’ve made it this far; when doing on-going stories that I don’t actually sit and figure out and live in for long periods of time, I barely reach a ‘part two’. I’m determined to do the full month and make a full story out of this, and I will! 🙂
Today’s prompt was – flashlight – but I took the liberty of changing it to ‘flashing lights’. Now that I had – flashing lights – to work with, two choices came into mind. Lightning storm! But that was too typical. Though, I suppose fitting after the ending of the last chapter. My second choice was something to do with those golden-arsed flashy little pixies. The pixies! They need their time in the limelight. 😉 My choice was made.
Lots and lots of dialogue today! Maybe too much. They wanted to talk though, so I let them. 😛
Today’s wordcount is – 2075
Total wordcount is – 14082
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“It was right here!”
Katéa pushed aside the flimsy purple leaves and pointed at the ground. Her breath caught in her throat. The hole she had tumbled through was no longer a hole. She tentatively placed her foot on the undisturbed dirt where the hole had once been, expecting it to give way beneath her foot, but it was as firm and solid as anywhere else in the gardens.
“You said a black dragon pushed you into it?” Horror washed over Nessie’s face and her eyes darted about the gardens, as though the giant creature were still lurking behind the bushes. “Black… definitely black?”
Katéa paused, remembering small bits and pieces of her frightening dream, and a chill swept over her as the anthropomorphic bird glared at her with its golden eyes. The eyes she had seen that night were golden too, and she never did actually see the creature; only its shadow as it rose overhead and started flapping its giant wings at her. Maybe it never had been a dragon.
“I-I… maybe. It was black and massive! But, in the caves… there was a bird statue. Only it looked alive, not like a statue. It had a hooked beak and gleaming golden eyes. When I fell asleep, it haunted my dreams.” She shivered, not wanting to remember its hooked beak digging into her stomach and retrieving her entrails while she yet lived. “Maybe it wasn’t a dragon.”
“And it was in my gardens?” Nessie’s voice rose an octave and Katéa stumbled back, away from the petite angry woman. She could scarcely believe that the silent, peaceful elf could harbour such rage; her delicate face was blotched with a red hot anger, and her emerald eyes had been replaced with rubies. The elf whipped around, her hair twirling about her as a golden cloak, and she lowered her head, her voice strained. “I must perform the cleansing.”
Nessie’s voice returned to its tranquil solemnity. “Yes. Please, go.” She withdrew a stick and a silver blade from her robe, and whittled with expert fingers flying rapidly up and down in a blur until it was no longer a mere piece of wood, but an ornate wand that appeared larger than it once was, and was as twisted and contorted as the colourful trees that beckoned from each corner.
A hand fell onto her shoulder. Katéa hurriedly spun around, her pulse soaring lest one of the grotesque gargoyles was staring back at her, but her fear subsided as Draven stood at her heel. He motioned for her to return inside.
“She needs to be alone.”
Katéa peered back over at Nessie. The elf sliced into her own hand, as cool as the chilled breeze, and coated the newly-formed wand with the crimson elixir. She hurriedly closed the door.
“Bit squeamish around blood, eh?”
Draven raised an amused eyebrow at her and she stood a bit taller, placing a hand on her hip as she replied, “She just struck at her own skin and did not flinch!”
“She has many burdens that weigh heavy upon her; this pain is unworthy of mention.” He furrowed his brow and scratched at his scar, seeming to ponder his own thoughts before he simply stated, “You’ve been asleep for three days. You need water. Food-”
“A bath?” she interrupted.
“A bath?” he smirked. “The drenching in Cassoren River not good enough for you?”
A dimple formed in his cheek beside his scar. Despite the dirt that covered his face, he was a handsome man who exuded warmness, and she was tempted to push him into the river herself to see what he looked like after a good drenching.
She smiled. “The river is nothing compared to a nice, warm, relaxing bath. With bubbles. And with no… slimy… uh…” What the fuck was that? She peered over Draven’s shoulder. The tavern was lighting up with golden flashes, like a hundred torches turning on and off, and the pixies glass-tinking laughter was audible from this far corridor whilst loud cheers rose up rowdier than normal. She shook her head and returned her gaze to Draven. “Is it pixie night at the pub?”
Draven shrugged uninterestedly. “Something like that. It’s the last day of autumn. The pixies breed, carry through the winter, and birth in the spring.”
“But, they’re all female! And that doesn’t explain the cheering.”
A full smile crept over his face as he looked her in the eye and winked. “Doesn’t it?” Momentarily distracted by his smile, it took a moment for the realisation to hit her —the heat warmed her face as never before as she suddenly imagined a hundred tiny women cavorting with one another and performing pornographic acts upon each other in a golden pixie-dust-drugged performance before the eyes of a thousand drunken tavern-goers. Draven laughed. “You comprehend quickly for a newcomer. It’s a yearly show; the tavern will soon be filled to bursting.” He tilted his head at her and wiggled his eyebrows, and gestured towards the door. “Want to claim a seat while some yet remain?”
Her face grew impossibly warmer. She was perversely curious, but could not fathom the actual action of going in there and watching such a spectacle. Wordless, she shook her head, though looked back at the flashing lights once more, almost hoping that a pair of the golden creatures would tumble out of the door.
“I didn’t think so,” he shrugged. “The alternative, for you anyway, is to sit by the fireplace and listen to the revelry or… come hunting with me.”
“How else does one eat? Unless you’re little Nessie living on fruit and nuts. A good diet for elves; not for humans.”
“Can’t we just go fishing?”
“You fancy another meeting with one of the water dryads?” He shook his head, almost impatiently. “Nay, miss. Wintry waters best not be touched. The fancy folk in the city get the privilege of choice; in these cooler seasons we make do with what snuffles through the forest.”
She stiffened and gave him her full attention.
“Wait —there’s a city? Where is it? How close are we?”
“Come hunting and maybe I’ll tell you.”
He offered her that lopsided half-smile once more, but this time she paid no heed to his mesmerising dimple. The thought of hunting was sickening. She was not adverse to eating meat, but creeping through the forest and stalking something that lived just as they? Attacking it for it to run off wounded and in pain before finally catching it again? It was cruel. She placed a hand on her hip and snapped, “I don’t believe in killing animals.”
“Bet you believe in eating ‘em.”
She did. Her stomach growled in response and she crossed her arms across it, hoping to hide its protestations. She had eaten no food when first stumbling into this strange, new land, and after awakening from the recent cave mishap Nessie had given her a small bowl of fruit. It had been nothing substantial. Draven tapped his fingers impatiently and glanced at the tavern door, wearing that worried look she was quickly becoming familiar with despite the short time she had known him. T’rese. What was the deal between them anyway? Apart from the woman’s brazen, flirtatious, over-familiar tendencies that she seemed to bestow upon anyone and everyone.
A man shoved past them, his white-blonde hair at odds with his red face, and he near foamed at the mouth as he raced to see the pixie pornography in the next room. Draven glared at the man’s back and a sudden intuition flared into life; that man was Quint. She had wanted to talk to him, to ask him how he got here, how long he had been here, and if there could possibly be a way back, but… the most unexpected thing had happened; she wasn’t sure if she actually wanted to leave. Her world —the real world— no longer called to her. It seemed repugnant now. Did she really obsess, every moment of every day, over such an artificial life?
Draven gathered his equipment from the cabinet beneath the giant wombat head, and threw a coat at her. “Come, or stay. Don’t know how it is wherever you newcomers are from, but here, we kill if we want to eat.” He headed for the door and glanced over his shoulder. “Good way to make coin, too. You need a door of your own, miss; you can’t live here in the sitting room.”
Quint disappeared into the tavern to an uproar of cheers and greetings, and Draven opened the front door, allowing an icy breeze to drift through the parlour and wrap about her legs. She swallowed. A home of her own. That thought had crossed her mind back in the cave, but she didn’t really know if it would be possible.
“Could I really have a home here?”
Katéa cringed as she heard her own voice. It was a strange mixture of meek and incredulous, and was not how she intended to sound. There probably wasn’t a way back, anyway. The idea of living here had grown on her, quicker than she had imagined it would. How could it not? Pixies and magic, friendly elves, a handsome man. No matter the grotesque statues, malevolent bird, water dryad… the lack of baths. She wanted to make a life here. Draven furrowed his brow, as though he were confused she had asked such a thing, and after a silent moment, he simply motioned for her to follow him. She shrugged into the burgundy coat he had thrown at her. It was not exactly a coat that she would have chosen for herself, but it was warm. It also smelt of wet dog. Suitable for a night in the forest then. There would be no more silk blouses and fine dresses… ugh, her dress! She needed to replace it desperately. It was unseemly with all of its rips and tears and stains. Was there a tailor behind one of those doors? And her feet were bare. That could pose a problem.
“Um, I have nothing for my feet…”
“Boots crunch leaves and twigs. You’ll be fine.”
For the first time, she realised that he, too, was shoe-less. He knew what he was doing… and she would trust him.
Unable to restrain her curiosity, she peered into the tavern as she made her way towards him. It seemed that not only the pixies were enjoying one another’s company. Draven needn’t worry about T’rese; she was well occupied, being pounded from behind by that disgusting Grissom no less, as she raised her flushed face into the air to taste the falling pixie dust. Other revellers weren’t far from joining them, either. Few people appeared mesmerised by the tiny golden bodies writhing intertwined through the air, most were clearly pleasuring themselves and their table-mates as they watched both the pixies and each other. People were tearing their clothes off, ready to perform alongside the little women. There were hands everywhere, legs in the air, breasts bouncing, mouths open, gasping and moaning in pleasure and sampling the golden dust as onlookers drank and cheered. It would be an orgy to rival all orgies. Heat crept into her face and she whipped away, suddenly glad that she would be out of the building. The last thing she needed was some aroused miscreant stumbling out from the tavern and on top of her.
“Sure you don’t want to find a seat?” Draven teased, winking at her.
Her face burned hotter than the blue fire that had melted her phone.
“I would much prefer a private party.”
He laughed and thrust a bow into her hands. “Here, arms up!” and drew in close to her, pulling a belt around her waist. “The quiver goes here, see, on your hip. You can reach the arrows faster and easier.”
Her pulse soared as he brushed up against her, as he buckled the clasps together around her waist, just below her breasts, and she fought to ignore everything; her racing thoughts, her crazed heartbeat, and his touch. The pixie party was messing with her. He grinned at her and reached down to wipe something from her nose. “Got a bit of dust on you.”
She smacked his hand away and smiled through her concealed desire.
“I’m starving. Let’s get out of here.”