Ow. Will you let go..Ouch..” a voice hollered struggling against a pale man, who held both his arms behind his back and was busy winding rope around them.
“I think your tying it too tight.” A dark haired boy remarked watching the two young men struggle with each other.
“Shut up weasel this has nothing to do with the likes of you.” The elf rebuked cuffing the boy quickly round the back of the head, with his free hand before he retreated it back to tying the knot.
“He’s right though.” A dark skinned youthful looking man remarked, his hands would be the ones being tied, and he struggled with all his might as it was done.
“Stop squirming or I’ll pull it tighter.” The elf warned, and the drow gave up, surrendering his arms to being tied, and then, his mouth being gagged by a piece of cloth, which in disgust he had tried to avoid many times, but eventually with two others holding his head, they had managed to gag the unruly drow.
He pushed the drow into the hands of two burly men, both with the pointed ears, and pale skin and hair of the elves; they both had muscles way beyond any other men around here.
“Rough him up a bit lads, he needs to be taught a lesson.” The elf from before remarked, he had a long pointed nose and angular features like the rest of the elves, but the maturing boy before him, had long black hair and golden eyes, his features were softer, and it was obvious he was not one of the elder, nor one ranking very high.
“Don’t hurt him too much..” the young elf remarked frowning as he watched the men punch and kick at the drow, even with tied hands however, the drow remained a worthy opponent, until one of the large elves, named Mullion dropped across the drow, Renn’s shoulders. They both went down like a lead weight, though Renn remained underneath the hefty man, as he stared up, heaving and panting into the gag as he tried to get up. As the elves body squashed the breath out of the drow’s lungs he punched the drow in the face repetitively until blood pooled from his nose, mouth and his eyes and left side of his face was black and blue – even for a drow. The younger, long dark haired elf ran over and pulled at the large man’s shoulders, his bullion eyes boring holes into the massive man’s back. “Stop Mullion, your hurting him.” He cried softly.
“Isn’t that the point Taled?” Mullion questioned as he moved away from straddling the drow.
“He’s just being a fool again. You can’t help him Taled. He’s a drow; he’d rip your eyes out before you even knew about it.” The other large, fair haired elf remarked, Taled knew him as Oral. Taled shook his head and tilted it to the side.
“Your not supposed to kill him.” Taled groaned, sitting down beside the drow and patting the young dark skinned man on the shoulder.
“He’s not dead, just unconscious.” Mullion replied as Taled pressed his pointed ears against Renn’s chest.
“Just leave him. He’ll have to learn the hard way.” Oral remarked, striding away from the other four, leaving Mullion, Renn, the high elf, and the younger Taled, in a group, whilst the other men around them made camp.
“Get him fastened to a tree.” The high elf instructed, and Mullion slung the light weight drow over his shoulder and carried him towards a rather large oak tree, standing just on the edge of their camping area. There were about twenty odd elves camping out here, as the war raged on. Many were injured, some mourning, others were simply those who had been forced to retreat from the western boarders as the drows became too many. Renn was the only drow, who they had managed to catch, though he was on their side of the borders, not in the fight, not even armed, though he was a drow alright.
“Go away Taled.” Mullion commented in an annoyed tone as Taled insisted on making sure none of the ropes were too tight, they secured the drow tightly to the tree, his arms still behind his back, the gag still firmly in his mouth, his ankles and knees were now pinned together and a length of rope ran over his torso securing his body to the tree.
“But…” Taled started, fumbling with his hands before disappearing in a childish sulk. He strode off into one of the smallish tents, ignoring anyone who tried to talk to him, his arms tightly folded over his chest. Mullion checked his knots before dispersing as well off to go and find Oral somewhere
It was a while before Renn came round, his eyes fuzzy with purple dots he tossed his head sideways removing black bangs from his face, replacing them with a headache instead. One of his eyes was swollen shut, covered in a discolouring bruise. The rest of his body was battered alike, but there were no broken bones, and the blood had stopped pooling from the wounds.
Taled, knowingly, didn’t keep himself away for long, and he returned to the drow quietly, he pried the gag from the drow’s mouth, only to have it retorted with spittle in his face. He rubbed it away and knelt in front of the drow he brought out a pot of warm water and a piece of clean cloth. Dipping it into the lavender scented water Taled gently ran it over the other’s eye. Renn turned his head away, if there were anything worse than being beaten and captured by elves, it was being healed by them, and by no more than a fledgling as well.
“Go away.” Renn spat, biting out at the boy’s fingers. Taled shook his head.
“No, this will help. Stop moving.” Taled insisted pressing is fingers to the drow’s swollen eye, patting it tenderly with the cloth. When he was done he sat down, and cleaned up the rest of the drow’s face, where the blood had dried, and Renn was slightly thankful, but not enough to actually voice any thanks.
“They look a bit tight.” Taled remarked, eyeing the knots and bindings that Mullion had fastened. “Are you all right?” he spoke again when the drow did not reply. He parted his pale lips again to speak before Renn beat him to it, to Taled’s surprise the drow’s voice was not icy, even if it did hold a mocking tone.
“Your really annoying you know that?” Renn asked frowning deeply at Taled. Taled shrugged. Everyone told him he was annoying, maybe he was, but not in his own eyes, he just wanted to help out, that’s all, and he didn’t like seeing people hurt badly, especially not when he possibly could have a hand in making it better. Renn talked no more to Taled and the boy disappeared with the lack of responses he got from his questions. Taled returned a few more times that evening, with food and water for Renn, though he did not eat any of the food, not even when Taled offered to unbind him so he could eat and drink better. Taled soon retired to sit by the fire and curled up into a ball, hiding his head in the crook of his arm and sleeping peacefully throughout the night, unlike Renn. Renn did sleep, but it was on and off, and he was woken up by the throbbing in his head each time, at one point he had cried out in anguish and woken Taled, and a few guards, who had all charged like a bull in the china shop, coming to see what had happened.
Fortunately Taled was the first one there, and he knelt down in front of Renn and pressed his first two forefingers to the drow’s lips to keep him quiet, as the guards settled back down.
“What’s the matter?” Taled asked concerned, looking over Renn’s face critically.
“Nothing. Leave me alone.” He replied shortly.
“You screamed.” Taled informed him, wondering how he could not remember or know that he hadn’t.
“Did I?” he asked curtly, looking up slowly at the young elf.
“Yes, you nearly woke the whole camp. What’s wrong?”
“I just ache that’s all, moved a bit too much.” Taled couldn’t help wonder how the drow moved at all trussed up like that. Taled moved a little and traipsed around the tree, he unfastened the bindings that held Renn to the tree, with a little help from a twisting Renn, who was trying to see what was going on. Taled soon was back round the front with his small dagger, and he cut the rest of the thongs tying Renn up.
“You can’t.” Renn warned, was he feeling concern for the boy? Did he think he would get the boy into trouble? Renn started to get up but was interrupted, amongst the stabbing pain in his head by Taled talking softly, his whisper could be heard clearly by Renn.
“Don’t run. Please…they’ll skin me alive if you do.” Taled pleaded with the drow and finally got Renn to settle back down, sitting up against the tree quietly.
“All right. I won’t run, but you don’t let them tie me up again.” Taled nodded in agreement to the proposition, though he did not know if he could carry it out, he knew he would try his best all the same to fulfil it.
“What is your name?” Taled enquired, deciding that he would not get any sleep, and he would have to watch Renn anyway.
“Renn. You?” Taled was shocked to say the least that the drow had answered and even asked a question in return, despite how short the answer was.
“Taled. You’re a drow aren’t you?” Taled asked, tilting his head to the side.
“Good observation kid.” Renn replied smiling briefly in the darkness. It was hard to see him, with so much darkness about, but Renn knew where Taled was, his golden eyes glowed like little gems in the moonlight.
“Why weren’t you fighting?” Taled asked frowning, though he was met by Renn’s crimson eyes and a dark, but confused look.
“I don’t quite understand.” He admitted, fighting who or where and when? He couldn’t exactly fight now could he?
“With your people, Meerith said, that there were drows fighting elves on the western borders, but you were found in the forest, nearer the south, on your own with no weapons.”
“I don’t want to fight really. I am in the drows’ service, but that’s not my job really. Though they will come looking for me if that’s what you mean.” Renn added thoughtfully, shifting his head a little.
“They will come here?” Taled asked, his eyes widening in fright.
“Of course, they’ll come to save me. Why wouldn’t they?”
“They don’t know where we are.” Taled objected, turning his head to the side, looking out into the darkness in slight fear.
“Of course they do. We aren’t that stupid you know kid.” Renn replied scowling at the boy’s lack of brain and or common sense.
“But…when?” Taled asked, looking at his hands, that he rung together slowly.
“Two days, maybe tomorrow…”
“But they will kill everyone, what will happen to us?”
“Captured or killed.”
“Renn…” the boy whispered quietly as he looked into the drow’s crimson eyes in fear, a hand clasped over his shoulder and a shadow loomed up the bark of the tree. Biting his lip Taled closed his eyes and turned around slowly.
A gasp left his pale lips as Taled stared up at a burly blonde haired figure…
“Mullion! You gave me a fright.”
“Taled, what’s he doing untied, I’ll have to..” Mullion stepped forward and collected the strands of rope. Taled jumped up and pulled at his arms.
“No Mullion, please. Leave it.” Taled rebuked moving and shaking his head, standing before Renn, trying to stop him.
“Taled, you’ll be flogged for this or worse, it’s treasonous.” Taled just shrugged in reply and huffed loudly.
“I don’t want him to get hurt, he’s done nothing wrong. I just want to help.” Taled whined leaning against Mullion’s large frame, and Mullion embraced the young elfling quietly.
“Shush…come on Taled, they’ll skin you if you try and stop them from doing there job, he may be all right, but hes a drow. You remember when we were on the western borders?”
Taled pulled away and nodded, running his sleeve over his nose and eyes. “Yes..?”
“You remember all those dead bodies that we buried, and all those others that he tried to save from dying, a-and that little half elf ?” Taled nodded and frowned.
“I remember…but he died…”
“Yes…but we didn’t kill him, the drow’s did, and they would give you no mercy if you were their captive, would they?”
“No but…I…” Taled stuttered, looking at Renn and then back at Mullion, he knew the drows killed all those people, but he felt bad, for all this hurt coming to him, and it wasn’t fair.
“And you know the half elf, he’s still alive, because of us saving him from the drow’s torture. You know what he is like now. We aren’t going to torture this man, but we can’t let him go or who knows what will happen. Understand?” Mullion asked and Taled nodded, moving aside so that Mullion could get to Renn with the ropes. Renn jumped up and held out his hands.
“Taled, you promised you wouldn’t let them…why?” Renn asked, scowling as Mullion came near him, despite the pain he was in he aimed a punch at Mullion’s face and the elf bawled before punching twice into Renn’s gut, causing him to retch and heave. Taled stood silently by, his dagger in his hand held loosely, still from after cutting the ropes. Unfortunately, Renn spotted it and circled around, shoving Taled to the floor, taking his knife and standing in front of Mullion, who had his own sword in his hand, it’s jagged edge present.
“Don’t!” Taled yelped, looking around for aid, but there was no one there, and he cursed under his breath in elvish. Renn moved forward and Mullion made a slash, he caught Renn’s head under his arm as Renn ducked from the blow and had him tightly held in a head lock. Renn stabbed his dagger into Mullion’s lower leg, and the man cried out in anguish and let go, moving to hold his leg, just as Renn was coming up. Renn’s dagger wen’t for the man’s arm, to disable his sword, but as he moved to clutch his leg wound, Renn’s dagger angled into the large man’s chest and sunk deep into the flesh as Renn got up from the head long collision. Renn backed away, leaving the dagger embedded in the man’s chest. The sun crept over the hills in the backdrop as Mullion stared at the wound. Taled ran forward, as Mullion crashed to the ground, his face paled quickly and Renn ran over to the large man, his bloodied hands resting against his legs as he knelt down. Tears brimmed Taled’s eyes as he stared at Mullion, and then glared at Renn. “He’s dead..” Renn murmured under his breath as Taled slumped over Mullion’s body, heaving slightly. The camp was just starting to wake up. People moved in their tents and several people surrounded the dead Mullion, and two other elves dragged Renn to his feet and punched him in the face and gut repetitively.
“Please…” Renn stammered as he watched Taled run away, into one of his tents as Mullion’s body was moved into another area of the forest, to be lain down and covered with leaves. Many were readying carts, no one seemed to feel Mullion’s death a large blow, save Renn, and most of those blows were not in guilt but aimed right at his face as he was beaten. They were making him pay for his sin. He had not meant any ill to the man, despite Mullion being the one to truss him up earlier, the big guy seemed to have had a soft spot, and if he could do it again, he would not have killed him, but rather died instead.
“Taled?” a pale hand shook Taled’s shoulder and he pulled his head up from his arms and sighed a little, he rubbed his eyes and looked up at a curly blonde haired boy, a little younger than himself. “What’s wrong?” he asked quietly as he pushed a little of Taled’s hair from the Taled’s face.
“Mullion…he’s dead...” Taled whimpered and the younger boy hugged Taled slowly and nuzzled against his chest, a few tears dampening Taled’s tunic before Taled spoke a few soft words. “Don’t worry little cousin. He’ll go to heaven, like your Ma…Remember the stories about the angels that I told you?”
“Nnn.” The blonde haired boy nodded a little and rubbed his tears away on the shoulder of Taled’s tunic.
“Well, he’ll be with them, and with your Ma, and my Sister too. He will be happy, and if you ever want to speak to him, you remember what I told you?” Taled cooed softly.
“To look up into the stars and wish you were talking to them…is that right Tal?” Meer asked, turning pretty blue eyes up to look into Taled’s golden ones.
“Yes Meer, that’s right.” Taled ran a hand through his cousin’s hair and sighed. Meer had been very close to Mullion; they always used to stick together ever since Meer’s Ma passed away in the raid. Bless the kid, I hope they don’t hurt Renn too much, he’s not all bad, I don’t think Taled thought dryly as he stroked through Meer’s soft curls before shifting the skinny boy and starting to pack up their things. Pushing their belongings into two small shoulder bags, Taled shoved one over his shoulder and handed the other to his cousin Meer, who took the bag in between his fingers and pushed it onto his left shoulder before looking up at Taled innocently. Taled grinned and took the younger boy’s hand and smiled a little. Taled had always looked after his cousins ever since their Ma died and their Pa left. Cerris and Meer, Cerris was always getting into mischief, and not doing as he was told, but Meer was the cute one, the one that was never over looked, and if you look at it in many ways there was a lot of sibling rivalry, but Taled loves them both to bits, he just knows he can rely on Meer for a good hug and a cheering up session, but rely on Cerris to run off and want to be alone. Meer was the sweeter of the two, but he was more gullible also, in a good way though. Meer could be bent with stories about heaven and angels, but Cerris couldn’t.
“TALED GET OUT HERE RIGHT NOW!!” Taled blinked at the bellowing voice and cringed slightly dashing out of the tent before patting Meer on the back.
“Go find your brother.” He whispered as Meer skipped off, and Taled looked around and found the high elf, scowling at him deeply, he flushed before striding over.
“What in heavens name did you think you were doing..”
“Sir?” Taled questioned, not having an idea what you were talking about.
“Untying the drow.”
“Sorry sir, I…he promised me he wouldn’t run and he didn’t, don’t hurt him, but he, and I, I said I wouldn’t let him get tied up again, so he would be a willing prisoner, but…Mullion came over and…he wanted to tie him again, and Renn got upset.”
“That’s his name Sir… The drow’s name is Renn.”
“He doesn’t have a name Taled, now shut up and get moving, we’ve been waiting to clear your tent for ages.”
“Sorry Sir, I had to pack Meer and Cerris’s things.” Taled objected, as he looked around at the lined up men on horses and the carts of packs. He slung his own onto the back one looking up only to find Renn crammed into a miniscule cage, his hands were tied behind him, and he was gagged. Taled felt a shiver run down his spine and he rubbed his forehead before mouthing ‘sorry’ just before Meer appeared. Meer put his pack onto the back of the cart and sat up on the back of the ledge that over hanged before the packs could be secured in, with the wedge so that they would not tumble over the back. Meer grinned at Taled and Taled smiled a little. Cerris soon came up, his hands in his pockets. Cerris was a skinny boy, smaller than Meer, he was a little taller in height, but way shorter than Taled, who was rather lanky in comparison. Cerris had a thin waist, and bony arms and legs, he had blue hued hair that ran into crimson nearer the bottom, he had fashioned it into a braid down his back. He looked to Taled and shrugged a little as Taled came over, most probably to scorn him as usual.
Taled just smiled. “You okay?”
Cerris shrugged. He was not much of a talker, ever since his Ma died. “Well, you can hop on the back, with Meer.” He offered, and Cerris climbed up but Meer jumped down and took Taled’s hand. Apparently he wanted to walk, and he soon informed Taled of that as they started on their way.
Cerris sat intently forward, watching the approaching scenery frowning. He looked into the cage a few times at the drow, who kept making strange noises through the cloth around his mouth. Cerris outstretched a hand into the cage, but Renn backed away, his eyes widening and Cerris shrugged indifferently, as if to say ‘fine then, be like that’. Which would be something Cerris would say.
Renn shifted slightly against Cerris’s hand, trying to remove the gag from his mouth by leavering it against Cerris pale finger. Cerris turned and hooked his fingers under the material and pulled it from the drow’s mouth, moving his hand a little more forward as Renn jumped out and bit at Cerris’s finger, and with his sharp fangs he dug into the pale and tender flesh. Cerris jumped and withdrew his hand suckling his bleeding finger. Ouch.
“I’m sorry.” Renn apologized. He was turning into a monster. He closed his eyes and leant his head against the side of the cage, pnting a little in agony.
“You killed Mullion.”
“It was an accident.”
“You still killed him.”
“I know, and I am sorry.”
“Your never sorry. No one is ever sorry.”
“Please…I am sorry. I never killed before, I’ve never wanted to.”
Cerris adjusted the bands about his arms and leaned on his elbows. “They’ll kill you, you know.”
“Yes. I do.”
“Aren’t you scared?”
“Too hurt to be scared. Why do you care?”
“I don’t.” Cerris spat back.