Part 17 For a complete list of this series, please go here.
* * *
Twyla hummed softly as she peeled potatoes for this evenings stew. She set the potato down on the chopping board and began chopping it up. In one fluid motion, she used the knife to sweep the pieces into her hand, then dumped them carefully into the bubbling cauldron. As Twyla reached for the next potato, Locke dashed into the kitchen.
“Slow down! It's not time fer ye ta eat yet, cat,” she shook her head as she started to peel the new potato.
Locke tried to communicate with Twyla, but he could not enter her mind. Locke yowled, pawing at Twyla's legs.
“Shoo!” Twyla kicked her foot at him in frustration.
Locke growled, pacing the kitchen floor. He had to get her attention and fast. Locke yowled again, a loud, mournful sound, then nipped at her apron. Twyla slammed the knife and potato down on the chopping board.
“What got inta ya? Where be Rissy?” Twyla turned to face Locke. Her dark, eyeless sockets focused on Locke. She took in the wild, frantic look in his eyes. Wiping her hands off on her apron she says again, slowly, “Where be Rissy?”
Locke nipped at her apron again, then jumped a half turn towards the door. He stared at her, his eyes pleading for her to follow. Stepping out through the door, he whimpered and stepped back in, waiting for Twyla. She shuffled towards him, nodding.
“Take me, Locke. Show me.”
Twyla followed Locke out the door and around to the back where the practice targets were. Twyla moved her stiff legs as quickly as she could. Locke weaved back and forth, constantly turning to see that she was close behind him.
As they neared where Aerissa lay, Twyla could see why Locke had been so anxious. Aerissa laid on her back, unmoving. Twyla stumbled over her feet as she tried to quicken her pace. She slid on her knees beside Aerissa.
“Rissy? Rissy!” Twyla rasped as she patted Aerissa's cheeks. Twyla leaned down close to Aerissa's face. She turned her head, feeling a soft, warm breath on her cheek. Twyla watched the rise and fall of Aerissa's chest to confirm she was breathing, even if shallowly. Twyla sat up, taking a quick inventory of the elf before her.
“No blood. I don't see no blood,” she mumbled as she placed her fingers inside of Aerissa's wrist. “Weak pulse. Blasted cat, 'bout now I wish ye could speak.”
Then she noticed the dagger clutched in Aerissa's right hand.
“What in the…” Twyla tapped Aerissa's shoulder and patted her cheek while calling out her name, but still no response. Twyla reached across Aerissa's body and yanked at the dagger, but Aerissa's grip was too strong.
Locke paced fretfully back and forth near Aerissa's feet. He whimpered and whined, occasionally stopping to nudge his nose against her leg.
Twyla grunted as she pried Aerissa's fingers off the hilt of the dagger one by one. As the last finger was lifted, the dagger clattered to the ground. A loud wheezing sound came from Aerissa as she gasped for air. Her body bucked twice beneath Twyla, catching her in the chest. Twyla fell back, catching her fall with her elbows.
Locke dashed forward, nuzzling at Aerissa's neck and cheek. Aerissa's eyes flew open and her mouth moved wordlessly. Then, just as suddenly, her eyes closed and her body laid limp. Locke whimpered, looking at Twyla.
“Rissy…” Twyla sat up and looked over Aerissa again. She noted that while Aerissa was laying unconscious, her breathing and pulse appeared somewhat normal again. Twyla dabbed the beads of sweat from Aerissa's face with her apron.
“Locke, stay. I be back with guards. She be needing rest and we can't leave her be.” Twyla rose to her feet, brushing dirt off of her clothes.
Locke whined, his ears back. He moved his head in a nodding motion as he sat down next to Aerissa. Twyla shuffled off calling for help from the guards. It wasn't long before she returned with two guards, who she instructed to carefully carry Aerissa to her room in the Inn.
As the guards and Locke made their way inside the Inn, Twyla meandered over to the dagger. She stared down at it, frowning. “I best not leave this be e'ter.” She bent down, carefully picking it up with her apron, afraid to touch it with her own flesh.
* * *
Aerissa slept soundly in her bed. Locke maintained his post, barely leaving to eat. Twyla started bringing his food to the room so he would not be forced to make a decision. His eyes grew listless with each day that Aerissa lay unconscious. The atmosphere throughout the entire Inn grew somber as everyone waited expectantly for Aerissa to wake up.
Three days later, she did.
Locke was snuggled up against Aerissa, laying the length of her body. He had nudged his nose and head under her arm, draping it over him as he laid his head upon her chest. He would stare at her blank face until he fell asleep, comforted by the rhythm of her breathing as his head rose and fell with each breath.
Locke was asleep when his vocal chords rumbled to life, purring in response to his fur being stroked. Locke jolted awake, lifting his head to look at Aerissa. Her eyes were still closed, but she was slowly petting him, running her fingers through his fur. She took in a deep breath, hugged him, then blinked several times.
Finally! Aerissa, it is good to see those emerald pools again. Locke rose slightly to crouch closer to her face. His warm, scratchy tongue lapping at her cheek.
“Locke…” she breathed out his name. Aerissa froze, looking around, suddenly aware of where she was. “H-how'd I get back in our room? Was that… was that another dream?” She winced painfully.
It was not a dream, Aerissa. You wouldn't wake up. We tried… we tried so hard…
Aerissa bolted up into a sitting position. “How long was I out? Who's ‘we'? Where's my dagger? The dagger, I must have it. TELL ME WHERE IT IS!” Aerissa shrieked as she scrambled and flailed her arms and legs, struggling to get out of the bed.
Aerissa, take it easy. Calm.. calm down. You were asleep for three days-
“Three days?!” Aerissa frantically patted and pawed at her entire body. “I have to go, he.. he.. he's coming. He's coming for me. I'm not dead. He wanted me dead…” words continued to pour out of her mouth at an alarmingly fast rate. Sentences and words melded together, making it increasingly difficult for Locke to follow her trains of thought.
She shook her head, grabbing wildly for her belongings, jamming them into her bags. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. “I must go. Now.”
** Please note that some of the events included in RP pieces are based upon actual in-game role play. Also, some of the events and/or character names may have been altered during the transition from in-game RP to story formation. **
Join the newsletter
Subscribe to get family gaming tips, reviews and our latest content by email.