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Fantasy Tales From Distant Lands

Sub Genres
Adventure, Magical
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Equusheart

Member
At first Hava frowned at Elias' words, then her eyes widened when she realized he wasn't getting up on the horse with her. When he walked forward intending on leading the animal, Hava stuttered as she tried to think of a excuse as to why this was a bad idea.

Up until yesterday, Hava had never even been on a horse. Without Elias to hold on to she felt a little unnerved by the whole affair. Hesitantly, she squeezed her heels into the horse's sides as Elias had said, though was completely unprepared for when the horse started moving forward. Hava once again clutched at the horse's mane, trying to keep her balance.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" she asked. "What if I fall off?"
 
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Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
"I am sure," he said as he shot her a confident smile. "If you fall, I'll catch you, so just trust me." Elias led the horse to the road while frequently looking back to see how Havilah was managing. The boy felt a little guilted by suddenly throwing her into an unfamiliar situation, but he was sure it would pay off for her in the long run.

"The key to balancing is just to keep calm and go with the motions. Before you know it you'll be balanced and riding without even being conscious of it." Pippin tagged along at his heels as he did his best to inspire confidence within the shepherdess.​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava gave him a nod. Though this whole experience still partly terrified her, only from it being so new, she did trust him and wanted to try it for him. After a little, Hava did end up getting a better balance and rhythm with the horse's movements.

"This isn't so bad," she said finally, a smile growing on her face. "It's actually kind of fun."
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
Even from Elias's limited point of view, it was becoming clear that Havilah was undeniably beginning to get a feel for the task. "See? You got the hang of it already. You'll master it in no time." He displayed a smile that reflected his praise as he let go of the bridle and stood still, waiting to be even with the saddle. The boy the hoisted himself up in a swift motion, taking a set behind Havilah in the saddle.

Elias reached over to grab the loosely hanging reins while doing what he could to give Havilah a bit more support so she could focus on her next point of learning. He gestured for her to take the reins, but he kept a hand on them as a precautionary measure. "Now, in order to actually direct the horse, you have to use both the reins and your body. Just remember to keep your back straight and to use both the reins as well as your legs to direct the horse. Like this," he said as he steered the horse around a bend in the path. "Next time there's a bend in the road, you try," he said encouragingly.​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava's smile grew at his words of praise. While she still wasn't entirely sure that she would master riding a horse, her confidence in the task seemed to grow. She was actually starting to enjoy herself.

Her nervousness returned slightly when Elias got in the saddle behind her and showed her how to control the horse before handing her the reins. The horse seemed to pick up on her nervousness and slowed nearly to a stop, but Hava put a heel to its side as Elias had shown her to keep him moving. When they came to the turn, Hava did as Elias had said and beamed.

"I did it," she said full of excitement.
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
"I knew you could," Elias said in a congratulatory voice. With an equal amount of confidence in her ability and desire to have her learn the finer points through her own experience, the boy released the reins and shifted himself sideways on the saddle. Like this, Havilah could support herself and maneuver the horse while Elias was free to skim through the pages of the book, trying to puzzle together some of the writings on his own.

The sun set on its own path throughout the day, carving out an arc a little larger than half of the sky by the time the pair had arrived at the foothills. Satisfied with the time they were making, Elias tapped Havilah on the shoulder before dismounting abruptly. "Up for a break?" he asked nonchalantly as the horse slowed, allowing him to retrieve and split small load of bread in half. The boy handed the more gracious part to the shepherdess as he tore into his own.

As the pair sat and ate, there was an abrupt rustling in the foliage behind them. Elias spun around to see a disheveled looking man approaching them with an exaggerated limp as he clutched his arm underneath his jacket.

"Please... sire, madam... could you please spare me some of your food?" His hoarse voice creaked out.​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava gasped, startled by the stranger's sudden appearance.

"I... I'm afraid that we don't have much," she said, shifting a little nervously as she looked the man. "But... maybe we can spare something...?" Havs looked to Elias to see what he thought of the situation.
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
Elias was stuck in place for a moment as a result of his surprise, but soon found himself being brought back to his senses by the pace with which the man was closing in on them. Something about this situation seemed undeniably off to him. The boy stood up and approached the man in turn, which halted the stranger's approach. "We would be happy to give you something. If you would just wait a moment so we can see if you-" Elias's speech was cut off by the man forcefully tackling him to the ground. The atmosphere immediately became as sharp as the dagger that was drawn from the stranger's sleeve.

"Don't try to act smart, boy," the man said as he held the blade's edge against Elias's neck. Two more men, each armed with more heavy weaponry, emerged from the brush. "What's gonna happen here," the man hissed, "Is that we're going to take everything you've got. That way, we might spare you your lives at least." The other two bandits chuckled maniacally as their eyes drifted from the pinned Elias to the onlooking Havilah.

"Don't get any ideas, Missy," one chided. "Unless you think this kid would look a bit better with a bit off the top."​
 

Equusheart

Member
Everything seemed to so quickly that Hava barely had time to process what was happening. She gave a startled cry when the man lunged at Elias, tackling him to the ground with a dagger to his throat. She shifted nervously, unsure of what to do. As the other men stepped out of hiding, Pippin growled and barked at them, making sure to keep himself between them and Hava.

"Please, don't hurt him," she pleaded with the man holding Elias. Tears came to her eyes as she reached up to unclasp her mother's necklace. "This is the most valuable thing we have, I swear. Take it if you want, but please let him go."
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
One of the men off to the side sheathed the sword he carried before making his way over to Havilah. He grabbed her firmly by the wrist so that the necklace she held fell into his hand, prompting him to look at it more closely. "Hey, that's not too bad. If you've got this on you, what else do you have in your luggage?" He questioned with a malicious smirk. "Go on, show us."

Elias looked on fearfully, careful not to make any sudden movements. He cried out when the man grabbed Havilah, but was silenced by the digging of the blade into his skin deep enough to draw a drop of blood.

Elias waited for Havilah to look his way, locking eyes with her once the moment arose. "The bow," he mouthed to her, hoping she would understand his intentions.​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava winced and cried out in pain as the man grabbed her wrist. She backed up towards the horse shaking her head.

"There's nothing," she pleaded. "I swear there's nothing more than that." Hava caught Elias mouth something of the corner of her eye. A bow? Hava quickly averted her gaze away from him to focus on the man before her. What did Elias expect her to do with a bow? She wasn't a fighter.

The man gave her a rough shove towards the horse's saddlebags. The man's action seemed to be the trigger for Pippin. The dog lunged at the man, teeth bared and snarling as he bit into the man's leg. Using the distraction, Hava reached for the bow from where it hung on the saddle. She grabbed one end and swing it around, hitting the man hard as she could in the head.
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
In other circumstances, Elias would have found Havilah's actions comical. In this moment, however, he utilized the momentary shock of the bandits to his advantage. The boy grabbed his assailant's wrist as he used his legs roll the man off of him. Using all of his weight, he struck the man's head before wrenching the knife from his hand. Elias brandished it at the third bandit yelling, "Stay back!" as he made his way back towards Havilah. With his free hand he pulled the sheathed sword from the bandit's belt, using it to push him to the ground with Pippin's help. "Havilah," he said flatly as he handed her the knife, "Get on the horse."

Elias slid the sword into his own belt before looking down to pick up the bow, only to find it missing from the spot where Havilah dropped it. His eyes locked onto the man who had pinned him to find the bandit holding the weapon, knocking an arrow. "Damn it," he cursed as he flung himself into the saddle behind the shepherdess, driving his heels into the horse's sides as he did his best to shield Hava.

They had only made it a few dozen feet before Elias heard the snap of sinew and the momentary slicing of air before a sharp pain shot through his upper back. The boy didn't allow any obvious sounds of pain to escape from him, but his entire body tensed as a result of the searing sensation. He passed the reins to Havilah's hands as he said in a weak voice, "Would you steer for a moment, please? Be sure to keep the speed up."​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava cast a quick, worried glance back at Elias, but she did as he told her. Taking the reins in her hands she urged the gelding to keep going. The sound of another swish of air made her tense up and push the horse to go faster.

Hava kept the horse at the fast pace until she was sure the men were well behind them. Only then did Hava allow the gelding to slow to a walk as she turned back to Elias.

"Elias?" she asked, her voice filled with concern. She hadn't liked how weak his voice had sounded earlier. Craning her neck around to look at him, Hava frowned when she saw Elias slouch in the saddle behind her.

"You're hurt," she said with a soft gasp.
 
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Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
As they rode, Elias had to resort to gripping the back of Havilah’s cloak to stay steady. Black spots began to fill his vision and the sounds of the horse’s hooves striking the ground became more and more distant. It took everything he had in him to ignore the warm liquid soaking his shirt and to force air into his lungs despite the task’s growing difficulty.

By the time Havilah had slowed the horse, her voice was barely decipherable to the boy. It sounded as if he had been immersed in a deep a dark water that dulled his senses.

“It’s okay...” he said as his grip loosened and he began to sway, “Just keep going...” Not a moment later, Elias fell from the saddle, his side hitting the earth with a sickening thud.​
 

Equusheart

Member
"Elias!" Hava cried out as Elias fell from the saddle. She quickly dismounted and hurried over to where Elias lay on ground. Gently, Hava turned him over onto his side, tears coming to her eyes at the sight of all the blood.

"Elias, stay with me please," she said, trying to keep her voice from cracking. She looked up around them. They were all alone. She didn't know how far it was to the next town and they definitely couldn't go back. Shaking her head, Hava turned her attention back to Elias. She'd have to do what she could for now.

Hava snapped off the main part of the arrow shaft before raising Elias' shirt so she could see. Not knowing how deep the arrow had penetrated, Hava was reluctant to remove it just yet. But she needed stop the bleeding if she could. She ripped a long strip off her skirt and bunched the cloth over the wound, pressing against it.

"Elias?" she said, tears streaming down her cheeks.
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
Elias was wheezing now with every breath, although his difficulties were no longer becoming greater. The sounds of Havilah calling his name reached Elias but he could only respond with quiet murmurs. "I'm fine, Hava... Just a bit light-headed..." Elias could feel drops of water falling on his face. Before too long, the drone of the falling rain consumed all he could hear.

Suddenly, his entire body felt as if it were lit on fire as the arrow suddenly shifted within his chest when Havilah snapped off the exposed end. Elias let out a slight yelp followed by a weak cry as he curled up, trying to find a position that would relieve the pain. The boy looked up to see the shepherdess's tear stained face looking back down at him. Droplets of rain filled his eyes as he lacked the responsiveness to blink them away on his own.

"I'm sorry about your necklace, Havilah... I promise I'll get it back for you someday..." Elias could tell the bleeding was slowing as the cool of the rain was overtaking the warmth of his blood. Whether this was because he was running dry or because Havilah's efforts were working, he could not tell. Using the last of his strength, he grabbed the dagger he had given to Hava and cut a long section of cloth from the bottom of his cloak. "Tie this tightly against it so you can free up your hands... I trust you, Havilah."

And with that, the boy slid out of consciousness. The only thing left to suggest Elias was still alive was his labored breathing and the weak beating of his heart.​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava shook her head at his words, more tears come to her eyes and mixing with the rain. She was relieved that Elias still alive, but she had to find a way to heal his wound soon.

"I don't care about that," she said softly. "You're what's important to me." Hava tied off the strip of cloth tightly around him, before looking to where the horse graze only a few feet away. She'd have to set up the tent and get him inside so she could take proper care of his wound.

Hava set up the tent as best as she could. Once she was satisfied that it was sturdy enough, Hava carefully tried to drag Elias inside where it was dry. With every bump, Hava muttered one apology after another.
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
For an amount of time the boy couldn't determine, Elias could only decipher darkness. At some point a light popped into his perception. Gradually, the light began to extend outwards and illuminate the stone that constituted the walls of the room that Elias had hidden himself within. The repurposed burlap sack he was given as clothing by the adults did little to stay the chill that perpetually plagued the orphanage. Elias sat alone in the corner of this room, his head buried deep within his arms to hide the tears that streamed down his cheeks.

The unique sound of the iron latch on the door being lifted was followed by the creak of the old oak being pushed aside. The soft footfalls of a girl, a year or so older than Elias, traced a path towards the boy in the corner. She had hair that shone like gold in the lamp's light and ears that came to a finer point than his. "Elias," the girl said in a soft voice, "What did I tell you about crying?"

"That it never helps anything. And that I should be brave instead," Elias said, wiping his eyes clear. He looked up to make eye contact with the girl, sniffling as fresh tears quickly took the place of their predecessors.

"Exactly," She said with a motherly voice as she ruffled the boy's disheveled hair. "So even though you heard what the adults and those traders were talking about-"

"How can I be brave when I know what their plans are?!?" The boy shouted, allowing his fear to get the best of him. "They took Komin and Lina, now they want to take me too!'

The girl reached her hand out once again but stopped, sitting back with a patient posture. "Now Elias..." she began tentatively as she devoted herself to a cause only she would know, "You don't have to worry. I will make sure that nobody takes you away. You have my word on that." She offered a sincere smile, one that Elias could only know recognize as sad and fearful when he had grown and remembered it.

For a while, Elias did not respond. His sobs had ceased, and the only sound present in the room was that of his sniffles. The thought of the traders buying him, only to sell him off to the highest bidder terrified him. He struggled to believe that the girl would be able to save him from such a fate. Eventually, he managed to work up his faith and said with a nearly silent confession, "...Okay. I trust you, Saren."
***
Elias apathetically drifted back into consciousness. He did not know where he was, nor what had happened, and felt no motivation to recall such things. The rustling of the tent as someone entered instinctively forced him to shift about. He discovered himself to be wrapped tightly in a blanket and could just decipher the drenched Havilah closing the entrance to the tent. The sight of her generated a wave of relief within the boy, and he rolled over to reach out to her.

"Hava..." he called out in a raspy voice. He didn't have anything in specific he wanted to say to her, he simply wanted to be in her company.​
 

Equusheart

Member
"I'm here, Elias," Hava said as she knelt down next to him. She took his hand in hers, relieved that Elias was awake for the most part.

He seemed to be better than he was a couple hours or so ago, but Hava knew that wouldn't last long if they didn't get the arrow out soon. Hava couldn't do anything about it at the moment, however. She would have to wait it was dry and light enough before she tried to remove the arrowhead. For now, Hava just kept a close watch on Elias' makeshift bandages and made sure that he stayed warm.
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
Elias held Havilah's hand, listening to the sound of the rain and wind pounding against the walls of the tent. Her hand was warm and proved to be the only thing that kept him tethered to consciousness.

After a little while, Elias began to get frustrated with himself for his own weakness. It was his fault that they were in this situation, yet Havilah was having to deal with it. He decided that it was time for him to start toughing it out as he forced himself into a sitting position. The strain it exerted on him made his head feel fuzzy, but once he was upright it became manageable. "You're soaked, Hava," he said as he removed his cloak. He inspected it momentarily, and upon seeing that it was spared from his bleeding he tossed it to the shepherdess. "You should dry yourself off and warm up before you catch a cold."​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava gasped when Elias sat up and gently, but firmly tried to push him back down.

"Elias, lay down please," she begged him with a frown of worry. While her heart lept with happiness that he showed so much energy in his state, she was still concerned he'd make his wound worse.

"I'm fine," she said as she caught his cloak. She wrapped it around her in order to pacify him. "You're the one I'm worried about. Please, Elias. You'll make your wound worse by moving around so much."
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
Once he saw that Havilah has made use of the cloak, with her help he managed to get himself back in to a lying position. "I'll be fine Hava, really," he said, coughing as he finished speaking. "Sooner or later I'm going to need a doctor, though. It's really hard to breathe."

He partially wrapped himself up in the blanket as best he could. "We should get some rest for now and start again tomorrow. Maybe we can find a town along the way. If it comes down to it, we can always just try to get to Illium faster."​
 

Equusheart

Member
"Just take it easy," she said. "I don't know how far the arrow went in and I don't want to risk you hurting yourself more until we can get to a town."

Hava settled herself next to him, but with the day's events she found that she couldn't sleep. She was still too worried about him. She placed a hand on Elias' chest, letting the rise and fall of his breathing, rough as it was, reassure her that he was still there.
 

Wendigo_

The Dictionary Example of Insomnia
She made a fair point. Although Elias would not have known what they were, the arrowhead could have been only a few millimeters away from an artery or vein, and any sudden movements could cause damage too severe for even the best doctors of the time to fix. Thus, he listened to her, careful not to shift as he fought his way through the aching pain into a deep sleep.
***
Elias dreamed that night. Of what, precisely, he was unsure. His thoughts were a collage of images and snatches of sound popping into and fading out of existence. He saw himself again in the orphanage, a glimpse of a golden haired girl struggling before being struck unconscious and dragged away, as well as himself standing atop a wooden crate in the town square amidst the bids of the slave merchants. He could hear shouting and the jangling of chains followed by the sound of a carriage being drawn before blackness consumed his mind once again.
***
Elias woke with a start. The boy could tell the rain had stopped, but he was drenched with a cold sweat nonetheless. Chills spread through his body as he adjusted himself slightly, inadvertently contracting the muscles in his back that the arrow had pierced. "Hava," he lightly shook the shoulder of the girl that laid beside him. "It's morning. Once you get a moment, would you help me up please?"​
 

Equusheart

Member
Hava woke with a start when she felt someone shake her shoulder. She must have nodded off at some point during the night, while she watched over Elias. Memory of what had happened filled her with panic and she quickly sat up and turned to look for Elias, only to breath a sigh of relief when she saw him awake.

"How are you feeling?" Hava asked as she carefully helped him up.
 

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