From Chapter Twelve
Einur watched him departing, too worn out to move. His legs softened, then folded under him.
His head flew up.
Somehow he got once again to his feet and took off. Twice he glanced behind him; his pursuers were not far away. He closed his eyes and took a sobbing breath – and tripped over a root. Get up. They were not thirty feet from him.Run. He stumbled forward.
They caught up with him.
And they ran past.
Still shouting for him to stop.
Einur stared after them. What in Kelyan? But his mind refused to process anything. He sank to the ground.
Or was it a feather bed?
“Pe tiki lymf dana?”
He tried to groan. Am I never to be given rest?
It was the most ethereal creature he’d ever seen, standing so lightly before him that it seemed it was hovering. There were drops of water in its coppery locks, locks crowned with a golden ribbon; its gown was pale green and left its arms bare. Beyond the creature… flowers, of every colour under the sun, ornamenting grass of the lightest green. The trees bowed over a brown creek that snaked silently between banks to whose very edge the flowers grew.
And it was speaking to him, in his own tongue now.
“I drew the veil. But for mortals it can only be drawn for a certain time. Come, now.”
“I’m so tired,” he whispered.
The creature reached out and touched Einur’s forehead with one fingertip.
“That will last you until we reach my home. It is not far.”
Energy filled his veins, and he felt himself following the creature, stepping as delicately as it did. Truly it wasn’t far: almost before he knew it the creature was leading him to the sea’s edge – and into the water, deeper and deeper. For only so long could he trust the creature. As the first wave caressed Einur’s chin he stopped.
“It’s too deep.”
“You have been marked with the touch of a sea fairy. You shall not drown. Follow.”
What can I do? He followed.
A wave broke over his head and he stumbled, choking on salt water.
“I told you I can’t,” he gurgled.
Again the fairy turned to him. “Trust.”
It says it’s a sea fairy. Maybe it’s okay. He released his doubts and drew in a breath. Again he nearly choked, but this time it was with shock.
“I can breathe!” he exclaimed. “And I can talk underwater!”
The fairy smiled. “Now hurry. My mark will not last much longer.”
He followed it a couple moments longer before it halted and waved its arm around. “The Sands of Lybroë – the realm of the sea fairies.”
Copyright 2016 by Benita J. Prins