“Because the number of injured is so high, the injured will be staying with us, in the city.”
The men of the council broke out into murmurs of objection.
“There are too many, Thierry! Where would we keep them?”
“Perhaps when we run out of beds in the Inns, you would keep some in your home, Aero. Did we not give our protection and aid to Recaro when the last war ended? Did they not do the same for us all those years ago? Helen Thierry led the towns best fighters to our walls to assist us, and we shall do the same for her.”
“And for how long will we be extending out beds to these people?” Another council member asked, gritting his teeth.
I could tell that the council was not keen on allowing many of anyone who was not an elf into their city. The very idea seemed to sicken everyone except Thierry.
“They will stay for as long as it takes to get back on their feet!” Thierry boomed, and the room went silent. “The cold season is only months away, and these people have no homes to keep warm, and no food to keep fed. We will offer them as much time and space as they need until they are able to stand strong alone once more. That is final.”
I was shocked into silence, along with every other man in the room. If I remembered correctly, a council was supposed to make decisions together, but Thierry seemed to be completely in charge here.
“Rendalin Tessier, your mother is escorting survivors under heavy guard as we speak. She refuses to stay until all the survivors are safely brought to our gates. She is aware that you are here, and will come to you as soon as she arrives.”
“What about my father?” I asked abruptly, feeling rude and blushing. Ton squeezed my hand under the table.
“Your father Van is at his kingdom, preparing an army to hunt the pack down that attacked the village and to retrieve the stolen child. Your mother managed to lock a young wolf boy up and he is going to be sent to your father’s kingdom for interrogations.”
I nodded and the Thierry took a sip from his silver goblet.
“Do you have any idea why the wolves would have attacked Recaro?” A man with a deep voice asked, his question directed at me. Thierry nodded for me to answer.
“The wolves…they knew that I am the daughter of Van. My father is to be appointed as the King of his people. Ton heard the wolves speaking before he came to me. They wanted to take me captive to bait my father.”
“And for what reason?”
“Really, Leo, is it not obvious? The wolves are at war with the vampires. Having Rendalin in their hands would be bait enough to get what ever they wanted from her father.” Thierry turned his attention back to me. “You will be a target for the wolves until this war is over. It is a terrible burden to bear.”
Thierry released us after swearing protection to Ton and I. We would be escorted where ever we went. I had to admit that it would be annoying to have someone walking behind us all the time, and standing guard out side of the Inn. It made us a more obvious target.
Ton and I rode to the Inn in silence. I liked it that way; I had more time to think. My mother was okay and coming here now. The swells of happiness for her safety came now and then, after the swells of anger for her lies. Love and hatred were too conflicting in my heart right now. Not that I hated my mother, but I was starting to think I would never be able to forgive her for what she had done; the thinks she kept from me.
Back at the Inn, I sat in the chair by the window, watching the town folk walk by, living their lives normally. My life would never be normal. It could have been once, if my biological grandfather had let my real mother keep me. But that life was a dream. And now my life here would never be the same thanks to the wolves. And Opal; I knew he had something to do with it all.
Every time I thought about the little trouble maker my stomach curled and I felt sick. I knew he was a big part in the attack. What would the wolves have to offer him to sell out the daughter of the Prince of the vampires? If the wolves wanted control, Opal would be below them. And when the wolves got what they wanted, they would surely kill him. The last words he spoke to me haunted my mind. Surely he couldn’t be so stupid?
Opal always fought with everyone, especially Ton. He hated him, and I had no idea why. The boy never spoke of his motives. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Opal never got along with any of the elfin children…
“Ren...” Ton looked at me, his brows creased with worry. I smiled at him when I realized the wagon had stopped.
“Would you mind if we didn’t go inside just yet?” I asked, tucking my hair behind my ear. It had already grown a quarter inch. Ton’s had reached his shoulders.
“Where would you like to go?” He raised a brow at me, his lips forming a crooked smile. The smiled amazed me, as Ton never usually showed his emotions on his face. I remembered how warm and soft those lips were, how his mouth had tasted, and blushed. I hadn’t thought about the kiss since it happened.
“You’re blushing.” He chuckled once and shook his head. I just looked away and shrugged.
“I was just thinking of going to that fountain again. It was really beautiful…” I looked up at the sky. It was clear and open, the sky such a deep shade of blue it almost looked purple, though it was hours from sun down.
“Alright.” Ton nodded, snapping the reins to make the horses moved forward.
“Where do you think she went?” I asked when we finally reached the fountain. The sunlight seemed too harsh on the statue, making her look too bright and too fake. Under the moonlight she had looked as though she would burst to life at any moment.
“No one knows, but there have been rumors. People say they see her walking threw the forest at night, but they describe her all wrong. That statue is the closest thing to resemble her.”
“Do you think she is still alive?” I asked, sitting on the edge of the fountain. I touched the tips of my fingers to the surface. The water was bitter cold when it should be warm. I looked up at the statue and tilted my head.
“Yes, I do. Eleanor would not let her death go on silently. I believe she stays close to her people, until she is needed again.” His voice was filled with such compassion for this woman that it was almost tangible.
“The water is so cold.” I looked into Ton’s eyes and he frowned, leaning to touch the water.
“It feels warm to me.” He murmured, sitting beside me.
“No, it feels like liquid ice to the touch.” The tips of my fingers were red, and I lifted them to show him.
Ton touched his fingers to mine, looking confused when he pulled his hand away.
“Maybe she doesn’t like you.” His mouth quirked and I rolled my eyes.
“Ton…if the wolves proclaim war…do you think she will really come back?”
Ton looked out over the center, watching the people as they went about their daily lives. Children ran screaming, chasing each other and play fighting with sticks.
“Yes, I do believe she would.” He looked me in the eyes now, and his looked like emeralds in the sunlight.
That night, after Ton was sleeping soundly in his bed, I silently slipped on my shoes and went to the window. The guards were standing at their posts, watching the streets lazily, as if they wished they were any where else.
I opened the window, glad that I had oiled it while Ton got our supper, and climbed out onto the narrow roof. The guards were lazy, and there were none stationed behind the Inn, so they wouldn’t notice when I carefully and silently climbed to the edge of the roof, and stepped onto the thin ledge.
I held onto the roof with my hands, gripping the thin grates tightly as I slowly shimmied around the side of the building. Twice my foot slipped, and I had to stop to listen, making sure the guards hadn’t heard.
Behind the Inn, where the garden grew, I used the white wooden vine wall to climb to the ground. My hands pulsed with a dull pain from gripping the grates.
I made my way silently along behind the houses, climbing over an occasionally fence until I was sure I would be out of the guards sight. I was positive I could make it back to Eleanor’s fountain on my own. I made sure to pay attention and remember land marks on both the tip to and from the center.
The walk was long but pleasant. The quite was calming, and the air was colder, relaxing. Now and then I was startled by laughter booming from houses and bars, but other than that the only sounds were my own foot falls echoing back to me.
I turned a corner and enter the center, smiling when Eleanor came into view. I had come just for this, to see her in the moonlight. The way the water rippled away from her finger tips made me think she had just knelt to touch it.
“Eleanor Fron, I have a favor to ask of you.” I stepped out of my shoes and into the fountain, walking up to stand before her, and bowed with my fist to my chest. “The wolves have attacked my home. They have killed many, and I am sure they will not stop until they get what they seek. Many of our people have tied, and I worry that the treaty will be at risk. I have come to ask you for assistance. Please, Eleanor Fron, come to our aid.”
The grating sound alarmed me, and I looked up and nearly jumped back. Eleanor’s eyes had opened completely, and were looking right at me. Only now they were no longer Topaz, but real eyes, glossy in the moonlight.
I stepped back, my eyes wide as I watched Eleanor come to life. The marble chipped away from her skin, falling into the water as she stood, towering over me by a foot. She shook her head, her white marble hair turning black and silken, her pale fair skin glowing in the moonlight.
Her eyes looked into mine, just as blank as Ton’s usually were, and I wanted to fall to my knees.
“Rendalin Tessier, I will gladly answer your pleas for help.”
Helen Tessier road her horse quietly behind the elfin guards, her long black hair flowing behind her. She hadn’t bothered to change her appearance since the attack. There was no need, and she had to save as much of her energy as possible.
The injured riding behind her were not large in number. There were fifty three here with her, which left only twenty back in Recaro. The wolves had killed most everyone, and she had killed them mercilessly by the dozen.
Their numbers were incredible. When ever Helen thought she was close to killing the last few, more came from every direction. She was exhausted having used most of her energy casting spells and recreating protection barriers over and over. She was close to passing out when the elves came, and by then the wolves had started retreating, dragging Opal Lang with them.
She had no doubt they would try to use the boy as bait to get to the vampires. It was what they had come for, though it was not the main target. They had wanted Ren, and that knowledge alone is what gave Helen the strength to keep fighting.
It wasn’t until after the elves had come than Helen returned to the shop to look for her daughter. She searched the back room, even took guards into the tunnel only to find it collapsed.
Helen nearly broke into tears before she found the amulet lying half under a pile of rocks. It was a simple amulet, one marked in the ancient language of the elves. It’s meaning meant nothing, just an amulet for health, but the language is what made her heart flutter. Her daughter had gotten away to safety, and this was the clue she left behind for Helen to find.
Of course, after the she had found the amulet, a young elf came to her and informed her that Ren and had made it to Villa safely. Helen nearly slapped the boy for taking so long to relay the message.
She was close now, only miles from Villa, and she could almost feel her daughter’s energy. She was frightened however by the energy she did feel. It was strong enough that it felt like the owner was standing beside her, but she was completely oblivious as to who it belonged to.
There were plenty of guards to protect the wounded, and they were on elfin land now. No wolves would be crazy enough to attack this close to Villa. To attempt it would be suicide.
“I’m going ahead.” Helen barked at a guard as she rode off, not waiting for a reply. Her daughter was only a few miles away, and she planned to get to her as quickly as possible.
“How…” I shook my head, backing away from Eleanor. The water that had once felt like ice around my ankles was now too warm. I scrambled to get out of the fountain without taking my eyes off of her.
“I never left my people, Rendalin; I would never leave them completely unprotected.” Eleanor looked to the moon as she spoke, and the light from it glinted off of her wet body as if she was made from diamonds. She did not seem to care that she was standing in the nude for anyone to see.
“But you were made from marble!” I squeaked. I put my fingers to my lips, feeling them tremble. Eleanor bent to place her basket down and walked threw the water to the fountain’s edge.
“It was just a spell, darling, one I drank long ago to seal myself away until my people spoke the words to bring me back.”
I was aw struck by her beauty, and the very fact that she stood before me, this marble woman from the past bursting with life into the future. Her beauty was too much, surpassing that of any woman I had ever seen.
Her cheeks were high, her lips full and a lustrous shade of rose petal pink. Her golden eyes glittered in the moonlight, framed with think black lashes.