Ellelunia's history “Mother…” Ellelunia’s voice was a ghost making its way hauntingly to Prianne’s ears. She looked to her daughter, taking in everything she had created. She took her daughters face between her hands, rubbing away her tears with her thumbs. Prianne’s skin was the color of sandstone and instead of resembling her mother, Ellelunia’s was the color of white sand, pure and smooth. Ellelunia’s bright aquamarine eyes shimmered in the cracks of moonlight that broke through the worn panel of the carriage. She tugged gently on her daughter’s hood, hiding her face as best as she could. Prianne whispered an apology over her shoulder through the small opening in the front wall. The driver grumbled some obscenities under his breath. “You’re lucky those collectors haven’t caught up with you yet Prianne, you know what will happen to that strange daughter of yours…” His voice was hollow and distant. “I know Yelis, that’s why we’re leaving” Her eyes went in and out of focus with the arrival of tears. As her daughter lay sleeping in her arms, she tried her best to wipe her eyes clear. “A woman like you should settle down. You’re far too stunning to live a life of poverty…” The driver shifted, his dark skin blending into the night. He slowed the large muscular horses that pulled them and turned his head to the side, looking as if he was just taking in the sights. Yelis’ compliment seemed only to sheath his disgust, as Prianne replied, he snorted in anger. “We just need to get away…” She closed her eyes and felt a slight jerk, the back of her head hitting the wagon hard enough to mix her vision. Her daughter remained asleep, exhausted from their long walk from their home on the island of Nyobi to rendezvous with her Yelis, her deceased husbands brother in his home of Somber Call. Yelis turned his body around, placing a muscular arm over the splintering seat of the carriage. Prianne rubbed her pregnant stomach and clenched her teeth. She knew if she spoke her mind, she wouldn’t have the ride for much longer. She looked down at her daughter and sighed. “The further away the better…” Yelis tied the reigns and jumped down off his bench, the wagon lifting without his weight. His tall wide body was quickly at the back, unlocking the doors and stepping heavy-footed inside. He moved the boxes easily, making his way to Prianne. He grabbed her by the front of her dirty linen dress, pulling her up to his angered visage. Prianne’s body shook with fear, her teeth chattering. “When exactly are you planning on paying me? It’s not easy carting you through Dire mist forest. I’m not going to wait for us to get to Voss and have you skip town on me Prianne, I know you would.” He hissed through his teeth, not caring if the child was awake to hear him. Prianne wept, trying to pull away from his massive hands. “No, I wouldn’t do that…please, Yelis, just get us to Voss and you can have whatever you want. Please…just let me get my daughter into a warm bed” Prianne pleaded with him, but he yanked her hard by fabric of her dress, kissing her brutally on the lips. She whimpered against his skin and fell back against the hard wood of the carriage. “I already know what I want…consider it a gift from Kollidan” He snorted and turned his broad shoulders to her; walking out of the wagon and hoisting himself back up onto his bench. Prianne took a long breath and shuddered. She hated the way he used the god of fates name, thinking of what Yelis meant when he said he knew what he wanted. She was prepared to do anything to keep her children safe. She felt she owed her late husband at least that much for his sacrifice. Prianne’s husband, the father of her unborn child had died during an attack by a band of thieves. They had come across their secluded forest home and decided to pillage their home for supplies. Her child had just been conceived weeks before the attack and now months later, she was still reliving her husband’s death in her mind. She could remember how strong of a druid he was, shifting into a bear of immense size, protecting their home and family. He wasn’t Ellelunia’s blood father but he treated her just the same; he was such a kind man. As Prianne escaped with Ellelunia tied to her back she knew he was killed; hearing the victorious chants of the ruthless thieves. She held her daughter close and tucked her dark brown hair behind her softly pointed ear. After adjusting Ellelunia’s hood over her face, Prianne closed her eyes and gave into the exhaustion that had been plaguing her for days. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The bright morning sun shone across Prianne’s face as she lay on the bed. Ellelunia was tucked carefully under her arm, holding close to her ribs. Her swollen stomach seemedto have grown over night, her sixth month of pregnancy coming up in only a few days.She traced a finger across her belly, making figure eights over her thickly woven dress. The deep olive color accented her tanned skin. Her chocolate browneyes drifted over the ceiling and down the walls to the table in the corner of the room. Sitting in one of the chairs; was Yelis. Prianne’s mouth opened slightly and she lifted herself up onto her elbows. A deep pain shot from herwomanhood down to her leg and she closed her eyes. The man sitting so innocently in the corner hurt her badly, but she was desperate not to show it.<o:p></o:p> “They’re here Prianne…” His voice was shallow and lacking emotion. Yelis’ wide chest expanded with every breathhe took, making him seem bigger. Without waking her daughter, Prianne managed to twist her body so her feet could touch the floor. She stood up with a couple moments of hesitation, another pain shooting through her body. She cringed this time, swearing under her breath.She shuffled her feet, to stifle the pain. Yelis watched her discomfort and laughed maniacally to himself.<o:p></o:p> “I have to admit Prianne,seeing you like this gives me much satisfaction…” A laugh came from deep withinhis chest, rocking the chair backward to touch the wall. He lifted his one legand dropped his boot heel on the table. The weak wooden legs swayed with hisweight; one side lifting off the floor then slamming back down. <o:p></o:p> “Just tell me where theyare” She spit, growing more and more impatient and agitated. Yelis took out asmall dagger and fiddled into the table with it. He smirked and pointed thedagger at the floor. <o:p></o:p> “Downstairs… They know you’rehere… They know she’s here.” He shrugged his shoulders and put the knifein his other hand. “You might as well give her up. Better life with them, don’tyou think?” <o:p></o:p> “Why would you tell themwere we are!? How could you think my daughter would be better off with streetpeddlers?!” Prianne scowled at him and raised her voice much louder thanintentioned. She held to the desk as she walked closer to Yelis; her faceflushed with anger. Yelis stood and walked toward her, his thick, muscular bodymaking the floors creak with every heavy step. She stood still as he approached her and wrapped his arm around herbody. He set the tip of his knife against her stomach and smirked devilishly. <o:p></o:p> “Is a fugitive mother anybetter?” He twisted it slightly and watched her reaction. Prianne wasbreathless and afraid. Not for the dagger pointed at her body, but for thefuture of her daughter.<o:p></o:p> “Make a deal with them” Hecontinued after seeing the disgusted look on her face. She raised a slenderblack eyebrow at him and shook her head violently. Prianne slapped him hardacross the face; his eyes locked on her own. <o:p></o:p> Ellelunia stirred in hersleep, calling out for her mother. Prianne turned around quick, Yelis withdrawinghis dagger and sliding it into the leather sheath hooked to his belt loop. Shewalked to her daughter’s side and picked her up. Prianne cooed gently into herdaughter’s pointed Sahrian ears. <o:p></o:p> Prianne walked quickly tothe window and peered out. There were three carriages outside the Inn. Two ofthem with thick iron cages in the back. She turned to Yelis and pointed outward.<o:p></o:p> “How could you sell out mydaughter so easily? Have you no heart?” Prianne felt helpless, distraught andalone. A thin layer of sweat covered Prianne’s skin and she swayed a bit,feeing nauseous. <o:p></o:p> “You owe a lot of peoplemoney, including myself. I’d be lying if is said I didn’t want to be repaid.” Hewent to the chair covered with Ellelunia’s clothing, grabbing the gentle garmentsroughly. He threw them to Prianne; who caught them in her free hand. <o:p></o:p> “Neither yourself or yourdaughter are any of my concern, I worry only for my brothers child. I will dowhat I can to make sure that baby is born and raised the way my brother wouldhave wanted…” Prianne was speechless as she watched Yelis. “I will expect thetwo of you downstairs, you’re making that deal.” Yelis’ face was hard, hisexpression set in stone. <o:p></o:p> “Where are we going nowMommy?” Ellelunia’s sweet whisper of a voice graced Prianne’s ears. Shesmoothed over Ellelunia’s shiny black hair and sighed. <o:p></o:p> “Come now Ellelunia…”<o:p></o:p> After taking her to thewashroom and stripping her tiny body of clothing, Prianne set Ellelunia in thewarm water. Her small daughter splashed about and made bubbles with her mouth.She giggled like an angel, her high pitched voice breaking the silence fromPrianne’s deep thoughts. She tried her best to smile down at her daughter butinstead; was reduced to tears. She closed her eyes, turning her head to theside and dropping her hands from her daughter. She jumped slightly whenEllelunia’s tiny wet hand graced the sensitive skin of her melancholy face.<o:p></o:p> “Don’t cry Mommy…UncleYelis is gonna’ help us go home right?” Prianne found herself forcing a lieonto her daughter. <o:p></o:p> “Yes my love, uncle Yelisis helping us the best he can, I promise…” She struggled with a smile andbrushed though her daughters wet hair with her fingers. Using his name in thatcontext made her even sicker than her pregnancy ever had.<o:p></o:p> After drying Ellelunia offand cleaning up her own appearance; Prianne got the both of them dressed andstood at the top of the stairs. She could hear Yelis and some other menspeaking softly to one another. The clashing of thick glass and metal mugs madeit difficult to understand them fully. Prianne gripped the wooden stair railtightly, her sharpened Sahrian nails biting the thick Oakwood.<o:p></o:p> “She’s quite possibly themost beautiful child I have ever seen. That sort of beauty will make you farmore money than you could possibly imagine.” Yelis’ voice boomed over theothers. <o:p></o:p> “I have seen the child’smother before; it does not surprise me that her daughter exceeded her beauty.What of the child’s abnormalities?” Another man’s voice pushed through the loudambiance of the Inn’s meeting floor.<o:p></o:p> “I believe you will need to see her tounderstand…” Yelis’ voice trailed off, giving in to an awkward silence. Priannetook her daughter down a couple more steps and pressed her face to the wall,leaning only far enough to expose one side of her worried face. <o:p></o:p> The man she heard wasyoung, but not as young as she was. His hair was a light brown color, his skina rich olive and his eyes the color of leaves. The man was handsome but thelong scar down his neck and chest made her wince. To his right sat a darkskinned man with black hair and one midnight eye; the other covered with athick leather patch. To his left, there was a stunning woman within Prianne’sage. Her hair was short and tied into a braid that rested gently against herneck. Her eyes were a rich reflection of autumn, rich brown with flecks of goldand orange rimming her pupil. Prianne swallowed heavily as she looked the womanover. Her skin and hair a dark brown and was been barely dressed; wearingnothing but a tight leather bustier and even tighter leather shorts. A rapierwas attached to her knitted belt and a dagger was securely placed on the insideof her thigh. For circus folk, they were well armed.<o:p></o:p> “They should be coming downany second, forgive their rudeness…I’m sure they wanted to wash up beforecoming down.” Yelis’ voice gave away his thinning patience. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Prianne looked down atEllelunia, who was looking up at her with her bright blue eyes. She lookedforward and took her daughter’s hand in her own, guiding her down the stairsslowly. The visitor’s eyes grew wide as their attention was instantly driven tothe small Sahrian girl. Prianne crossed Ellelunia in front of her body and heldher close to her legs. The man in the middle stood and bowed his head, catchinghis green eyes to hers. <o:p></o:p> “What a pleasure two seetwo stunning women in one visit…” The woman to the left rolled her eyes andthrew her legs over the arm of her chair; obviously envious of the attentionPrianne and Ellelunia were receiving.<o:p></o:p> “They’re not that beautiful…” she saidjust loud enough for those sitting at the table to hear her.<o:p></o:p> The man with the Eye patch leaned forward andturned his head to his jealous comrade. <o:p></o:p> “You would not know beautyif it bit you in your ass…” He chucked softly and leaned back in his chair. Thewoman scowled and crossed her arms over her large chest. The man in the middleseemed to ignore them and motioned for Prianne to come closer. Yelis pulled outa chair for Prianne to sit; knowing Ellelunia would sit on her lap. Priannesighed at Yelis’ show of kindness and sat down, quickly reminded of his truenature by the pain that shot up her back from the night before. The others satdown as she lifted Ellelunia to her lap; setting her on her one knee. <o:p></o:p> The way the man joked andlaughed at the scantily dressed woman let Prianne’s shoulders relax. Her handsunclasped from her daughter’s thin belly, setting one sweaty palm on hershoulder. Ellelunia let go of the dress and moved her gaze up to her mother’sface. Prianne watched as the middle man followed Ellelunia’s every move,catching her bright aquamarine eyes in his whenever he got the chance.<o:p></o:p> “Ms. Prianne….” The middleman started. “We have now witnessed with our own eyes how stunning yourdaughter is. She has all the physical attributes of a goddess…” He lookedEllelunia over as she sat contently in her mother’s lap, playing with someloose fabric of her dress.<o:p></o:p> Prianne scoffed.<o:p></o:p> “You see her as a Goddess?You people are truly insane. The way my daughter looks will only cause hertorment…” Her eyes flickered with a loathing none of them would everunderstand. The man on the end cleared his throat and Yelis began to speak.<o:p></o:p> “They would like to makeyou a deal Prianne…” <o:p></o:p> Prianne closed her eyes andplaced her daughter on the ground, letting her walk about the room as shewanted. She looked into the eyes of thethree Sahrians before her; her eyes glaring.<o:p></o:p> “And what might this offerbe?” She held her head high, trying to keep her dignity. The man on the end took out a pack and slidhis hand inside. <o:p></o:p> “We understand that you arevery far in dept. With not only your late husband’s family but with other’s aswell…” The green-eyed middle man looked into Prianne’s eyes like he could seeher very soul. She whimpered lightly, knowing what they were going to say. Shetapped her fingers nervously on the cherry-wood table, her nails clickingfeverishly. <o:p></o:p> “We would like to help yourepay that dept. But in order to do that, we would like for your daughter tojoin-“Prianne cut him off before he could finish.<o:p></o:p> “What would you do withher? My daughter is no one’s slave!” Prianne banged her fists against thetable, causing the beverages to ripple within their cups and the attention ofthe bar patrons to shift from their own luscious conversations.<o:p></o:p> The woman on the end placeda steady hand on her rapier and sat forward in her chair, obviously a trainedguard dog to the middle man. <o:p></o:p> “You misunderstand Milady.We wish to take your daughter in under our care. We will tour her beautythroughout the land. You do not understand the precious gem that has come fromyour womb…” He motioned to the right-hand man. He withdrew his hand from thepack and pulled out a large bag of coin.<o:p></o:p> “We have enough gold to getyou out of debt and on the right path, as Kollidan would have it. Perhaps youcan make a better life for your new child.” The man seemed genuine and Priannelowered her head. She looked at Ellelunia, who was sitting just close enough tothe large fireplace to warm her toes. Her bright skin reflected the amber glowof the strong fire. Prianne turned her head back to them and placed a hand onher stomach, feeling her child move within her. <o:p></o:p> “Will my daughter beeducated? Taught to love the goddess Fleuryn and protect herself if need be?”Her voice cracked and she felt tears welling up in her eyes. If Prianne did nottake the money then they would be constantly on the run. If Ellelunia was evercaught with Prianne she would surely be sold into slavery. Prianne took in afew sharp breaths as she ran over the situations in her mind.<o:p></o:p> “We will make sure to teachyour daughter the ways of shifting….She will be one of our finest druids.”Prianne scowled and looked up; tears sliding over her cheek bones.<o:p></o:p> “My daughter is unable toshift. She shows no signs of a natural connection to Fleuryn at all…” Priannerested her hand on her head, awaiting laughter from the three visitors.Instead, she felt a hand on her forearm. When she looked up, it was the silentman with the patch.<o:p></o:p> “Your daughter will do justfine. I promise you that...” He removed his hand and sat down gingerly next tohis leader. He had barely spoken, but his words touched her. She looked to theleader, unknowingly seeking his approval.<o:p></o:p> “My friend here cannotshift either, He has learned many ways of communicating with beast-kind.” <o:p></o:p> Prianne nodded, looking atthe strong man. She looked into his one black eye with interest. He reachedbehind himself and pulled over a large bow and quiver. He ran his finger alongthe tail of an arrow and smiled. His lack of words was welcoming to Prianne.She felt satisfied thinking that he could be teaching Ellelunia personally.Purhaps he could teach her more than she ever could do herself. That, she knew,would be worth her pain<o:p></o:p> Yelis sat still, waitingfor Prianne’s decision, tapping his heavy boot against her chair pieces of dirtfalling to the hard wood floor. <o:p></o:p> Prianne watched herdaughter, her tears drying on her face. She wrapped her arms around her stomachand stifled a curse. <o:p></o:p> “I want to have contactwith her…”<o:p></o:p> The woman leaned forward,trailing her long nails down her mead cup. Her voice was like a poison thatslipped gently into Prianne’s veins.<o:p></o:p> “I’m afraid that not anoption…We can send you letters. But it’s better to have this be a clean break;don’t you think?” The scandalous woman’s lack of sympathy was sickening thoughthrough her harsh words, were simple truths. <o:p></o:p> Prianne thought it over,taking in ever possibility. She couldnever keep up with her daughter’s travels. If they were going from town totown, continent to continent; she would never have enough money. Prianne closedher eyes and set her head against the table. Ellelunia was better offforgetting her mother in time, then knowing she was out there never in reach.She felt her heart drop as she took one more glance over at Ellelunia. She tookin as much courage as she could and lifted her head from the table.<o:p></o:p> “Take her then.”<o:p></o:p> ________________________________________________________ “Come on Orion, Kollidan has a new path for us” Ellelunia said with a hint of sarcasm, adjusting her knapsack over her shoulder. With an uncertain stare into the forest, she continued to walk; her lithe body disappearing behind the trees. Orion walked quietly behind, the other overstuffed pack tied to his back. “Damn it Kollidan” She spat as she continued, turning in the direction of the closest road. Somber Call, Morial’s home, was only about a half days walk from where she was now; Orion’s nails tapping on the hard gray stone of the path as they finally breached the thick trees. Ellelunia would love to blame her sister her sisters for the changes in her life, but she believed in fate as much as the others of her race and she knew Kollidan was the God to blame. Ellelunia rolled her shoulders to relieve some of the pain from the heavy pack. She brushed some dirt off her soft, tightly fitting leather pants and picked some leaves out of the matching leather bodice. The grooming kept her busy as they strode along, adjusting the leather straps on her chest, arms and stomach. “Looks like I’m going to need an upgrade Orion” She spoke softly to her feline companion. “This armor won’t hold up much longer…” Orion seemed to smile, his lips curling over his massive fangs. She smiled back and looked up to measure the distance to town in her mind. From behind them, a man on a horse came galloping forward, slowing his pace when he caught up with the traveling woman. She attempted not to look his way, but when his horse drew closer she turned her head out of curiosity. The man was staring directly at her; no surprise. “Can I help you?” The words came out with just the amount of irritation that she intended. “It’s not polite to stare” “I apologize, but I could not help myself!” The man shook his head from side to side and blinked. “From a distance, I thought the goddess Fleuryn had been sent down to bless my eyes” “I assure you I am no Goddess” Ellelunia didn’t wait for him to say any more. She took in a sharp breath and continued walking, the man trotting along next to her, still keeping his distance. He took off his shiny metal helmet and patted the stead with a strong thud. Ellelunia eyed his horse with jealousy, the dark brown stead walking strongly despite the heavy Sahrian on its back. It’s hooves made a loud clatter against the path as it walked. Certainly that horse could carry her and her possessions… “I have never seen a woman such as you…” The man looked forward, finally paying attention to where he was steering his horse. Ellelunia took the moment to look him over. He had deep cinnamon skin and dark brown hair. His eyes locked with hers and he refused to release them. A deep scar across his forehead caught Ellelunia’s attention and she managed to break their eye contact. “Your skin is incredibly light; it reflects the sun’s rays with a beautiful glimmer…” the man’s voice was obviously full of adoration, like all men before him. “And your eyes are the purest of waters; please tell me where in you came from!” Ellelunia tucked some of her long silken hair behind her small pointed ear and kept walking, the tips of the buildings coming into view on the horizon. “I am not different than any woman…Leave me be” Her voice was dry, trying to fight the urge to steal his horse and get away. He trotted the horse in front of her; stopping her stride. Orion growled deep within his throat and took a step back. Ellelunia groaned and pushed her shoulders back, the urge growing within agitation he caused her. “What do you want Sahrian?” His eyes roamed up and down her body, taking in every inch as if she were comprised of the rarest treasures. He looked over her full breasts, traveling down to glance at the tight leather pants and how they formed around her thighs. The man swallowed hard, opening and closing his palms nervously. Ellelunia looked down at Orion and clicked her tongue. The large cat took another step back, leaning back on his back legs. Ellelunia walked up to him, reading his mind. She moved her body just the way he wanted her to; slow and alluring. She knew what he wanted and what he was thinking. The man stuck a finger in the collar of his armor, pulling on it uncomfortably to release some excess heat. “my feet are quite tired…” Ellelunia began, making sure he kept his eyes on her. She shifted her weight to her hip, pointing it outward. The man dismounted like she knew he would, setting his helmet on the saddle and leaning against the large stead. “I would love to escort you to town, perhaps to the Inn if you desire…” He smiled lecherously and continued. “I have never seen anyone so captivating, what race are you?” He bowed and blushed deeply as Ellelunia got closer, pushing her chest to his. He swallowed hard, taking in a sharp gasp of breath. “Does my appearance startle you?” Ellelunia tilted her head to the side. “Slightly, your skin and eyes resemble a human, but your beauty exceeds anything they could ever hope to create” He placed a hand on her shoulder. His thumb going lightly over her exposed collar bone. She reached up slowly, slipping a small needle from a slit in her leather stomach strap. Ellelunia concealed the needle within her palm, raising her hand up behind his head, gently caressing his hairline with her fingertips. She got up on her tiptoes-her short stature making it hard to keep eye to eye with him. “Does it please you?” She puckered her lips lustfully and lowered them to his neck, breathing gently over his skin, her hot moist air making his skin shiver. His breath was quick against the side of her face as he leaned forward, lowering his hand from her shoulder to her breast. “V-very M-much” He choked out, pressing his lips to hers as she lifted her from his neck. He kissed her with so much lustful force that she cursed at him from the safety of her mind. She could admit, the kiss was good, but she wanted to make it to Grief Claw before sundown and he was more aggravating than useful. Ellelunia pulled away from him with a slight smirk, on the brink of laughter with her hands still bracing his neck. “Thanks” She said in between bouts of confusing laughter. The man raised a thick eyebrow, opening his mouth in question. Adrenaline excited her, her heart pumping strongly in her chest. “What do you mean…” Ellelunia interrupted his inquiry with the painful stab of the needle, pushing it into his skin until nothing but the flat base was even with his flesh. He screamed as his hands were unable to find the small intrusion. Ellelunia jumped back and smiled wickedly, pointing to Orion who now had the reins of the horse in his mouth. He pulled the horse to her as the man struggled. Ellelunia patted the loyal cat and smiled at the man, who had dropped to his knees; the poison in the needle taking effect. “For the horse…” She finished her sentence as she took a big step up into the stirrups of the saddle, rubbing it’s sides gently. The man’s face was blank but his eyes reflected his horror. Ellelunia saluted him, winking and rearing the horse up on its back legs. She tossed the man’s helmet onto the ground and watched as his eyes rolled back into his head and his body fell forward; kicking up a cloud of dust from the hard stone path. When the dust settled, Ellelunia and Orion were both heading full speed into town.