A Night To Forget

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 01, 2016

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Submitted: September 01, 2016

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(Inspired by the works of Harper Lee.)

All around her the forest was a sea of shimmering waves, it was like watching the horizon ripple on a hot day. She knew immediately that she was dreaming, but it was a good dream, and she had no complaints.

She looked up the trail towards the camp and saw a tall man standing on a tiny hill. He jumped down and ran to meet her.

He grabbed her in an enormous hug, placed her from him, kissed her firmly on the mouth, then kissed her softly. “Not here, Ilthuril,” she murmured, despite being greatly pleased.

“Tsk, I’ll kiss you in the center of the camp if I want to.” He said, holding her face in his hands.

He who claimed the right to kiss her was Ilthuril Ashbinder, her lifelong friend, her guardian, and if the man kept kissing her like that, her husband. They’d met when they were children. Him, hard done by, would often borrow her father’s fishing pole to provide for himself and his sister, Cieran. Each day Ilthuril would ask her to join him by the river, and each day she had refused. He remained persistent, and each time he asked he acted as though he had never done so before, until one day she surprised him – and herself, with a different answer. They had been close ever since.

They walked arm-in-arm down the trail to collect her belongings. “How’s Cieran?” She said.

“Restless, her brace hasn’t been removed yet.”

“She can’t walk with it on, can she?”

Ilthuril shook his head and said: “No more than this,” and he imitated a few pained steps before slinging her pack over his shoulder. “She’s been boiling and drinking the herbs you gathered for her.”

“And?” She encouraged.

“They help.” Ilthuril said as they walked back where they came. He had a stoic disposition, and as her eyes flashed across his defined features in search for more, she knew she wouldn’t understand how he was feeling unless she asked.

“What about you?” She said.

“What about me?” He replied.

She nudged him in his ribs as they made their way up the trail, and she knew his pained wince was acted out for her sake, “Don’t be silly. I haven’t seen you in months!” She exclaimed.

“Same old, I’ve just been spending more and more time in the forest,” said Ilthuril grimly as they entered camp.

Quel’Thalas was a forest region in the northern Eastern Kingdoms, protected by a series of monolithic runestones which formed a magical barrier around the place she called home. It was often described by scholars as a land where each bough stretched far, each root ran deep, and the forest was said to linger in an eternal spring. She readily agreed with all of these observations. However, of late dark tidings had been brought forward by travelers. Prince Arthas Menethil had gathered an undead horde to lay waste to their homeland, and if the rumors were anything to go by, his forces were not far from their gates.

“Is it true what they say?” She found herself asking.

Ilthuril placed her bag inside his tent and then took a seat by the fire. He took a moment to consider her question. “Yes,” he finally said.

She sat alongside him and stared openly at his features. “Are we safe?”

His eyebrows flickered. “No.”

“What are we going to do?”

“What we always do. How’s your father?”

“You know well and good he’s been fine for thirty years. Don’t change the subject.”

Ilthuril looked at her. His nose wrinkled and he fell silent.

She sighed loudly and moved under his arm. She was the type of person who, when confronted with an easy way out, always took the hard way. The easy way would have been to remain exactly where she was three nights ago, on the outskirts of Quel’Thalas. She had instead travelled inland, to face the threat that hung over their heads with the man she loved.

“I just don’t like not knowing what’ll happen to us,” she said.

“Neither do I.”

He moved his hand onto her knee, she stared at the fire and held her cheek against the warmth of his chest. They were together again, that was all that mattered. He however was being unusually quiet. She looked up towards his face, and to her surprise she saw that he was looking right through her. His eyes slowly widened, and she knew she had somehow given herself away. Her heart thrust against her chest out of fear. She felt suddenly weak, helpless, and she struggled to escape the arm about her and the hand upon her knee.

“You!” said Ilthuril.

“Your love,” she lied.

“No. Never.”

She forced herself calm and moved a lavender hand to touch his jaw. “What gave me away?” She whispered.

Ilthuril recoiled and instead grasped her wrist. “Her father was dead. Troll wars.”

“Pity. Did you end up burying them both in the same grave?”

He disentangled himself from her with a grimace.

She had had enough. The dream came to an abrupt end.

 


Twenty-five years ago, whilst Ilthuril and his love slept, the enemy had breached the Elven gates of Quel’Thalas. A black tide carved a path across the land and decimated everything in its wake.

Their camp was cut through like any other. Canvas that was designed to stop the wind and rain was torn apart without any resistance. Screams pierced the air as several shambling creatures fell upon a figure trying to escape the ruins of the tent. Her companion made every effort to rescue her, but it was useless. The undead could not be torn away from her writhing, bloody body. In the end, there was nothing left worth saving. He used what little strength he had left to make his escape, clutching his side and consumed by rage.


 

Ilthuril jolted awake in the throes of his bed. The room was still dark, sweat ran into his eyes, and he felt worse for having slept. He threw the damp linen aside and sat up. He could have sworn he felt someone in the bed beside him.  A chill ran up his spine, and he instinctively threw the closest object he could get his hands upon. Something split in two against the far wall, and when he looked it was the small, cracked portrait of his fiancé that should have been locked away in a far cabinet. He placed both hands to his face and shook with fear and loss.


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