Over the Hills

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about two lovers destined to meet up again after a tragic events tears them apart. Set to "Over The Hills" by Nightwish.

Submitted: May 29, 2008

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Submitted: May 29, 2008

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They came for him one winter's night.
Arrested, he was bound.
They said there'd been a robbery,
his pistol had been found.

They marched him to the station house,
he waited for the dawn.
And as they led him to the dock,
he knew that he'd been wronged.

"You stand accused of robbery,"
he heard the bailiff say.
He knew without an alibi,
tomorrow's light would mourn his freedom.

Over the hills and far away,
for ten long years he'll count the days.
Over the mountains and the seas,
a prisoner's life for him there'll be.

He knew that it would cost him dear,
but yet he dare not say.
Where he had been that fateful night,
a secret it must stay.

He had to fight back tears of rage.
His heart beat like a drum.
For with the wife of his best friend,
he spent his final night of freedom.

Over the hills and far away,
he swears he will return one day.
Far from the mountains and the seas,
back in her arms he swears he'll be.
Over the hills and far away.

Over the hills and,
over the hills and,
over the hills and far away.

Each night within his prison cell,
he looks out through the bars.
He reads the letters that she wrote.
One day he'll know the taste of freedom.

Over the hills and far away,
she prays he will return one day.
As sure as the rivers reach the seas,
back in his arms he swears she'll be.

Over the hills and far away,
he swears he will return one day.
Far from the mountains and the seas,
back in her arms he swears he'll be.

Over the hills and far away,
she prays he will return one day.
As sure as the rivers reach the seas,
back in his arms is where she'll be.

Over the hills,
over the hills and far away.

Over the hills,
over the hills and far away.

“Over the Hills”
-Nightwish-



Cauldren strained against the leather bonds that chaffed his wrists, his eyes wide with fright. All around him men and women of the village stood, their accusing eyes burning metaphorically into his skin. The bailiff, a chubby man of about 35 who stunk of coffee grounds and gunpowder, stepped uncomfortably close to the young male. His smile wasn’t well hidden as he asked for the umpteenth time:
“Have you anything else to say? Speak now, for your eyes shan’t grace these lands for another ten years.”
Cauldren, his head hung and his eyes filling with tears, said nothing. Behind him, the crowd dispersed and up came two officers who tugged the boy to his feet. As they marched toward the village docks, Cauldren shivered violently, though it wasn’t the icy breezes from the north that stirred this tremor. Upon lifting his head, Cauldren met a pair of stunningly violet eyes that watched him sympathetically.
“Ka’el,” Cauldren whispered under his breath, knowing the other male could hear him easily. “Ka’el, please, wait for me…”
The slender male nodded, and Cauldren could see the words on his lips as he whispered a soft ‘I love you’. Their promise cemented, the boy allowed himself to be dragged across the old-wood dock. It seemed that the only sounds in the entire village were those of the soldier’s boots stomping the old planks, and the water’s waves lapping the icy shores. Pain shot through Cauldren’s chest like an arrow might his heart, but the boy said nothing, made not a sound as tears slipped down his pale cheeks. Again he looked around at the faces, the snow-covered rooftops, the everlasting pines that made up the only home he’d known for years now. The dawn’s pink-lavender light reflected on the previous night’s snow, lighting the ice flows that floated down-river. Before the two men and Cauldren was a tall boat, with a looming mast and 25 or so passengers, all thin and weary from rowing and lack of nutrients. In the silence that followed, Cauldren stepped aboard the boat. The bailiff had followed, and was now at the boy’s shoulder, his breath rancid in Cauldren’s face as he sliced the bonds holding this ‘criminal’s’ wrists.
“Behave, now. Unless of course, you’d rather be swallowed by the rapids then spend a few years confined.” The man laughed and gave the boy a strong shove.
As Cauldren took a seat toward the center of the boat, the droning call of a horn rose to the skies and the rowers took their positions. Letting his eyes rest on where he knew Ka’el to be standing, the young male gave him a bitter smile; Ka’el remained still, one hand gripping something inconspicuous behind him; the weapon’s master kept a loose grip on one of his two sabers. That was the last memory Cauldren would have of the boy for some time, so he cherished it as the boat moved swiftly through the cold waters.
For a week the boat sailed not-quite-effortlessly toward its destination. Cauldren slept most of the time, curled up tight against the rotting floorboards, shivering violently beneath a long-sleeved, white linen shirt, partially tucked into stained-black leather jeans and a pair of soft leather boots, lined with rabbit fur. Still, it was better than the clothing of the rowers, which consisted of no more than ripped pants and a sleeveless vest of cracked deer hide. The lead of this boat was an older man who was, to some extent, dressed well for the winter weather. His gray cloak billowed in the winds as he ordered the rowers to increase or decrease speed, depending on the condition of the river they rode. Nonetheless, the sun rose and fall, and that’s all that mattered to the generally unconscious Cauldren. Until one night, when he was awoken by a sudden lack of movement. Opening his luminescent eyes, the young male was thankful to see land stretching across the horizon. Its lands were grassy and warm, with sand where the beaches met the water. The boat had docked and a few cautious men stepped off the boat and onto the weather-stained dock.
Cauldren himself leapt up onto the beaches after leaping into the cool waters and sniffed around. He felt disgusting, and his long black hair was matted from grease, but a quick dunk in the waters had him feeling a lot better. Up on the beach, a single man approached the younger male and grabbed his arm tightly.
“Come with me.”
Suddenly remembering his reason for being here, Cauldren followed quietly, lapsing back into fear-induced depression. He was led to a small doorway with three stone steps leading into a dank, dark stone room. After being shoved in, the young ‘criminal’ scoped out his new bedroom for at least ten years. A small window sat beside the stone door-which was now sealed shut, of course; the window looked out on the horizon and the dark waters beyond. The floor was also pure gray-stone; the walls had small pictures carved into them, though Cauldren couldn’t find what with the pictures had been made. The carvings were of names, tallies for dates, marks to count sun up and sun down, and so on. A wave of exhaustion hit the boy hard, and he curled up against the cool ground, still shaking from lack of food, water, and fear. Someone must have heard his thoughts, though, because shortly after the stone door slowly opened, and a plate of vegetables and moldy bread, along with a bowl of water were set at the top step and the door closed again. Famished, Cauldren raced to the food and began to eat, but slowed down as he realized the hazard in eating so quickly. Slowly he ate every last crumb, and savored the water for as long as he could stand, unsure of when he’d next receive any.
As exhaustion forced the young boy to sleep, he considered the events leading up to his arrest:

Cauldren awoke to a soft knocking at his door. Grumbling to himself, he dressed and slowly opened the front door to find a female looking about his own age, standing with her hands clasped behind her back. He let her in and smiled warmly at her surprisingly filthy attire.
“Sorry, I’ve been busy cleaning.” Serene returned the grin and handed Cauldren a large woven basket; its contents were steaming. “I thought I’d bring you a few loafs of bread, fresh from the oven.”
“Thank you, Serene,” Cauldren bowed to her before setting the basket on the nearest table.
The two embraced, and Serene brushed her dirty blond hair from her face; normally it was kept in a neat bun, but today was seemingly thrown into a loose ponytail. Stepping back, the young housewife moved toward the door.
“Well, I fear I must be off,” She smiled warmly; distracted, Cauldren didn’t notice her quick exit…or what she had grabbed from beneath his coat-rack.
Completely unaware, the young male feasted on a few slices of bread, a fitting dinner with a slab of roast from the night before. Shortly after finishing the meal, the young male slipped out his front door and made way toward Serene’s, knowing she wouldn’t be home this evening. Every Sunday night, she would attend a small class at the local shelter, learning how to sew and cook; she was only 20, after all. Upon reaching the small house, Cauldren slipped in and was greeted warmly by young Ka’el.

Come to think of it, Cauldren thought to himself, I should’ve noticed. He rolled over and continued to let the shaming events play through.

Later that night, Cauldren had dozed off into a light sleep. The day’s events had been…tiring. As soon as he slipped into darkness, though, a strong knock at the front door rose his thoughts. With a long sigh, he got to his feet and was rather surprised to find two officers standing in his doorway; their broad shoulders nearly touched either side of the wood frame as they stepped in. The man on the left held out a pistol; Cauldren could clearly see his initials carved into the butt of the weapon. Slowly he reached out to receive the thing, but the officer pulled it away before he could get too near.
“This is yours, I’m assuming?” The man asked; Cauldren nodded dumbly. “It was found at tonight’s robbery. Have any explanation as to how it might’ve gotten there?”
The young boy snarled at the sudden accusation, but fell silent as he felt the adrenaline rush beginning to sharpen his teeth and nails. Gripping his hands behind his back, Cauldren stared long and hard at the guard a moment, and then to the spot where the gun was normally kept. He briefly considered Serene’s quick leave. But…she does that often, Cauldren thought to himself, instantly feeling guilty for thinking so lowly of his best friend.
“I…I don’t know how it got there. The gun’s been in my possession for years, and normally it sits right there...” The young boy stammered, as he pointed to the gun’s normal spot, growing nervous as his fangs shifted out of their normal alignment; if the guards noticed, hell would break loose.
For years the village had suspected not only Cauldren, but a few other oddities in the village to be involved with their ‘Satan’. It was a childish aspect, but valid in the eyes of the villagers and their new Christian faith. The belief that a savior was coming soon to rescue their souls. A few innocent people had already been burned at the stake, and Cauldren didn’t want himself nor Serene’s husband, Ka’el, to be killed as well. Being a half-breed, a cross between vampire and human, Cauldren also had a few extra traits that were difficult to hide in serious situations. Such as now, with his nails lengthening and his fangs jutting forward and down. His wings, large, dragon-like leather wings that faded in and out of planes stretched out wide on either side when he allowed them. Unfortunately, now was not a time to allow his wings to flicker into sight. Surely he’d have to kill the two men, who simply wished to do their job. With a low sigh, Cauldren whispered softly:
“I was framed.”
Both guards took one look at the young vampyre and laughed aloud. The officer who held Cauldren’s gun shoved it back in his belt and grabbed the boy’s shoulder roughly. His hands were bound, and he was dragged into the cold air and toward the center of town. The city Station House sat surrounded on all sides by buildings and cobblestone; its windows were glowing with candlelight from within; somewhere beyond the quiet little building was a large group of people, all dressed in their night clothes, staring at the merchandise strewn across the snowy grounds. The small shop had been burned, and Cauldren silently wondered how he’d failed to miss the scent of burning wood. Cauldren was shoved into a chair in the small waiting room, which was thankfully warm despite the cold winter blowing just outside the door. The officers reported to the main desk, and slipped passed the doors and into the larger section where the officers kept their suits, weapons and else wise.
From the doors came then the bailiff, dressed in his suit, a beer-gut hanging over his leather belt and dull belt buckle. He took a look at Cauldren and laughed.
“So, looks like we finally caught ya in one of your stunts,” The man smiled brilliantly; Cauldren spit at his feet.
“Feisty, aren’t you? Well, aren’t you going to tell me that you didn’t do it?” The fat man asked, his tone suggesting mock-curiosity.
Cauldren didn’t reply. It seemed that Serene really could’ve been the only one to take the gun. She’d been the only one there, and he hadn’t left the house. Pain filled Cauldren’s chest until he could no longer breathe. Fear, anger, and sadness filled his eyes with moisture, but he did not allow the tears to fall. His hands shook, and the young vampyre realized: he couldn’t get out of this. He’d been framed. Anger spread like wildfire, coating the sick, depressed feeling and turning into something violent. Again his nails grew, but he dug them into his spine to keep them from sight.
“Where were you when this event took place?” The bailiff questioned suddenly; Cauldren dug deeper into his back.
No answer from the young vampyre. Again the balding man sneered.
“No alibi? Well, without one, you’ll be shipped off by dawn, you know.” He said sweetly; again, Cauldren kept silent.
Cauldren tugged his nails from his spine and hid the bloody marks as the bailiff reached back and sliced off the leather cuffs with a small hunting knife.
“You know the rules. You’re free to go now, but if you haven’t found your alibi by morning…” He trailed off as the young boy strode out the swinging door and into the icy air.
As anger welled in the young man’s chest, the vampyre headed straight for Serene’s house.

Cauldren shivered violently in the darkness that was his little cell. His thoughts, memories were bitter, indeed, and felt almost real as he relived them. Still, it was better to remember and learn from one’s mistakes then to repress them completely, allowing an increase in the possibility of making the same mistake again. But, at least his memory of that last night of freedom was keen and welcoming. Something he would hold and use to keep him warm on nights like this:

The thought of that night filled Cauldren with warm apprehension: Ka’el would wait for him no matter how long it took. With a smile on his cool lips, the young vampyre slipped off into darkness. His dreams consisted of random events in village life, and of what lay ahead in his damnation to this island. The next morning he woke early, and found a small rock sharp enough to make a tally in the wall closest to him, beside a small flower carving. After making the small line, he stripped off his light leather boots and reached into the sole of his right boot. From the small space he pulled a few crumpled pieces of paper, notes he’d received from Ka’el via trained pidgins. Most of them spoke of nightly visits when Serene was away, but a few of them spelled out more than that. Clutching to them desperately, Cauldren read each one aloud to himself. And as the days passed, he developed a daily routine. First, upon awakening to the dawn’s light, he made another tally on the ‘calendar’ above his head, then proceeded to complete a dozen or so different exercises and stretches to keep his body thin and strong-despite the lack of food every other day. Next, the young vampyre would read each note, one by one, and stack them in a small pile beside his ‘bed’, which consisted of a pillow made from his shirt; the piece of linen was unnecessary. Here, Cauldren could stretch his wings freely, except on the occasional visit from the warden or food-handler.
Days passed into weeks, and weeks into months. At one point, Cauldren had to count each tally to figure out the number of days that had passed him by already. Though his body stayed in a relatively healthy state, the young boy’s mind began to deteriorate. He talked to himself rather often, and flared his wings and shouted at any sudden noises, no matter how close or far to him it was. Eventually Cauldren forced himself to curl up and keep silent for a day, hoping desperately to restore his lost sanity. Tears sprang to his eyes, but he concentrated hard on the memory of what he would soon return to, and the vampyre calmed considerably. When about two years’ time had passed, Cauldren finally slipped off into a sort of hibernation, almost like death for a vampire, where one didn’t have to feed as long as he remained asleep. Though, if anyone noticed, he’d surely be questioned or killed…but that was a risk he was willing to take.

Dashing through the now summer-green forests, Ka’el felt like a free bird, his heart soaring above the tree lines to watch his immortal body below. Though his task was rather morbid, the young vampire felt naturally high. It had been two years since that fateful night that took Cauldren from him, but the memory was still strong, and the feeling of his lover’s skin against his own lingered almost tauntingly and left a strong stirring. A low sigh issued from his lips, and the weapons master sprinted on toward a nearby camp in which he knew Serene to be staying. He’d scoped her out sometime earlier in the year, and had been watching her ever since, trying to find a way to step in, kill her, and step out without being noticed. It seemed rather easy, though instead of slipping in, slipping out, he’d capture her, slip out, then kill her somewhere in the forest. Knowing his ‘wife’ was the real criminal, Ka’el stepped closer to the camp where Serene stood on the outskirts, seemingly looking for something. She never did find what she was searching for, as the vampire gripped tight her throat, covering her mouth with his free hand, and headed for the trees.
“What are you doing?” Serene tried to scream, but her voice was caught in her throat beneath Ka’el’s strong grip.
“Hush, Wretch. How dare you speak aloud to me.” He laughed softly at her pleas.
“Please, Ka’el…I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to leave you…” she whined, but Ka’el just laughed.
“Leave me? Ha! You speak very highly of yourself.”
Serene’s eyes widened ever so slightly in curiosity.
“You believed me, I suppose. I put on a good show, I think.” The vampire smiled kindly toward the cowering female. “I don’t love you, nor did I ever. But, I will confide in you the reason I plan to tear your heart from your chest.”
He paused as Serene struggled again a moment; the fear in her wide eyes was delicious to the young vampire.
“You took away someone I loved dearly.” He spat in her face; Serene tilted her head. “Remember your ‘old friend’ Cauldren? Yes, him. He’s spending YOUR ten years in confinement. I hope you’ve enjoyed your life.”
With a hand, Ka’el squeezed her windpipe closed.
“You do not deserve my blades.”
Serene’s lifeless body dropped solidly to the soft, summer-wet earth.

Five more years passed and both Cauldren and Ka’el continued their daily routines: Cauldren remaining nearly lifeless, and Ka’el hunting and providing for himself. No one ever found Serene’s body, and it would stay that way. The only interrupt in the weapons master’s days was the arrival of a small piece of parchment. It was yellow with age, and in Cauldren’s elegant cursive it read:
Hello, my Dearest,

As I write this, I’m nearly asleep. I have decided to hibernate, and paid off a guard to get this to you before I did. Anyway, I fear that I’m slowly going insane. I speak with myself regularly, and even to you every so often, but of course, you don’t reply. I’m amazed that I could get quill and paper from the guards; they only bring food every other day, but in rest I won’t need it. I need to hurry. Meet me in the forest at ten years to the date, and I’ll find you. I love you,

Me.

Tears sprang to Ka’el’s eyes, and his hands shook as he read the small note. He sat atop the couch he and Cauldren had accompanied too long ago, sipping a mug of spiced tea. A fire’s embers glowed dully in the faintly lit room. Curling up tightly beneath a blanket, the vampire sobbed in both happiness and sorrow; though, this time, there was no one there to comfort him.

At some point, Cauldren woke to a soft knocking on the barred window. His emerald green eyes opened a fraction of the way beneath elegantly arched eyebrows. Long, ink-black hair streamed down his shoulders and covered his creamy-white face. The vampire’s cheeks were sunken, his eye sockets hallow, and a lavender ring bagged beneath them. Though his body was still stringy with muscle, ribs poked out beneath the skin that clung desperately to them. As the young vampyre shifted his weight from the floor and his chest to his arms, he nearly collapsed from hunger. It roared in his throat, ears and stomach like an imminent thunder. The knock came again, and Cauldren tried to call out softly from the darkness.
“Yes?” The vampyre choked, and brought a shaking hand to his pale lips.
“Cauldren?” The voice paused. “You are free to go.”
The vampyre looked through the bars, startled. Had it really been ten years to the day? Frantically, Cauldren rose from the stone with help from his massive wings, and waited for the soldiers to push away the boulder holding him in. When light streamed in from the massive hole now in the front wall, the vampyre stalked forward, staring at a particular male soldier that had helped remove the boulder. The man failed to see Cauldren leap forward and snag him by the shoulders, then leap high into the air, using his wings to catch a strong wind heading toward home. The man squirmed a moment, until he realized what was happening, and fell silent. Bringing the human close to his face, he bit into the man’s jugular, and fed heavily. Young Cauldren nearly had to land again, he was so exhausted and aroused by the sudden rush of blood into his parched throat and gurgling stomach. When the human was mostly dry of nutrition, Cauldren dropped the body into the summer-rich foliage below. He could only hope that this meal was enough to get him home.
Over the long river they had crossed he flew, on and on for days on end. Once in a while, the vampyre stopped for a quick deer or bear, but usually he flew straight through, toward the small village he once knew as home. I hope he’s waiting for me, Cauldren though one night, flying beneath the light of a full moon. The air was cool now, but not uncomfortably; in fact, the night was perfect. He was nearly home when he began to slope down toward the trees below. The forest was alive with predators and frightened prey, but the vampyre had nothing to fear from them. Cauldren landed with the grace of a cat against the pine-needles, which crumpled beneath his feet. Searching the trees a moment, he failed to spot his dearest Ka’el. Lifting to the skies again, the vampyre was running on his last reserves. Exhaustion gripped him, but he continued to scan the treetops until finally, something caught his attention. The sight of magenta against black. Diving for the spot, he came up short above Ka’el’s head, and flapped loudly. Ka’el looked up toward Cauldren and let out a shout of joy. The younger vampyre dropped himself to the ground, collapsing beneath Ka’el’s sudden weight. Their lips met in a desperate, joyful kiss, and when they parted, both had tears streaming down their cheeks.
“Ka’el!” Cauldren gasped, wrapping his arms tightly around the other’s back, as if he was afraid his lover would leave.
“It’s alright, I’m here now.” Ka’el moved to stand, lifting Cauldren into his arms.
Into the darkness he walked, toward the village Cauldren once called home. When they arrived, Cauldren was surprised to see new and old faces, all watching them intensely. Fortunately, no one dared mess with the injured vampyre and his mate; everyone kept clear. Ka’el lay Cauldren onto the living room couch and fetched a blanket and a heated towel for the vampire’s fever. As the two lay together on that small couch, rain began to fall. Its rhythm tapped on the rooftop above, and all was calm. Another passionate kiss was shared between the two before Cauldren slipped off into a much needed rest. Ka’el watched over him, forever a guardian.

~Sara~
~May 29th, 2008
~10:11pm, Thursday night.


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