She felt so small.
Small and quiet.
Against a plane of havoc wrought thinking, she dashed lithely between rows and shelves of contemplations, concentrating wholly on herself—her one true sense gone—breaking beneath the weight of silence.
Not REALLY silence.
Just…none-speaking, none-moving, none-acting, none-changing. Static, punctuated by the rainfall. Gods crying. Who were they crying for?
Aw, who cares…
Elmiryn sat beneath the cover of the maple tree. Her spine was protected from the harsh surface of the bark by her leather bustier. Beneath she wore an opaque-white cotton shirt that helped keep out the cold. The sleeves stopped a little past her steel shoulder guards. Going up her arm were emerald thick gloves, fingerless. Over these were leather braces with steel plates to match the guards.
The area simmered and hissed with the sound of the rain as it poured through the canopy. Where she sat, she still was victim to some of the rain, but here it was not so bad. Here, she could whittle her little stick in peace, with eyes glazed, thinking…thinking…thinking…
…Thinking this stupid knife was dull.
Then came the heavy footfalls. Elmiryn’s back stiffened and she leaned forward to gaze about with sharp cerulean eyes. The corners of her lips twitched, but her mouth seemed uncertain of itself. She sheathed her knife and rose to her feet, retrieving her bow and quiver from against the tree trunk. Quiet as a bog that crept through swamp, she went forward—over the roots and rocks and damp leaves.
Then she saw.
A vague shape, one that shifted and displaced the darkness, moved rapid through the forest; but its speed came from panic, and panic made it clumsy and careless. Whoever it was stumbled and nearly fell face first into the dirt. Elmiryn ventured closer and she strained to see. Water seeped into her eyes and left them dry and wanting, but she resisted the urge to blink.
A girl. It was just a girl.
The rain began to let up. Elmiryn could hear better—there was the tramp of boots as others gave chase. The warrior could see the amorphous shadow of the ragtag mob of farmers even from where she remained still, hidden behind a tree. “What are they doing?” She wondered with a soft frown. “It’s raining, and there isn’t moonlight to guide them… Why are they chasing this girl? What makes any of this worth it?”
Elmiryn looked back to where the youth had been only to see that she had resumed her fevered run.
With furrowed brow, the woman followed, running parallel with her quarry. Though clearly out of it, the girl was unusually quick. Interest piqued, Elmiryn picked up her pace so as not to be left behind.
The girl came to a small cliff where a rock, placed there by time, jutted out like a little plateau. She peered over the edge, her shoulders bunched, hands and fingers tensed in an unusual fashion.
Elmiryn again stopped just far enough away that the girl could not hear or see her. Her clear eyes, lit with an intensity, narrowed as the warrior tried to make sense of this peculiar scene. There was something about how the girl moved, how the others chased her that painted this entire situation as unique…or maybe…
…Maybe it was just that ridiculous haircut she had?
The warrior’s thoughts were interrupted by a hoarse yell.
“There’s the beast!”
Elmiryn’s eyes snapped onto the group of men charging toward the small girl. “Farmers,” she thought with a roll of her eyes, “They have no tact…”
She looked back at the youth to see what she would do. Fight or flight. If the woman’s suspicions were correct, the girl would fight back or jump over the edge of the plateau. To Elmiryn’s surprise, the girl held her hands up and fell to her knees. “Please!” she begged, her voice hoarse. “Please, I was starving! I’m sorry! I meant no harm!”
Jeers from the men. One particularly large man, apparently the leader, brandished his axe. “Filthy animal!” he thundered. He raised his weapon with both hands. The girl, startled, scrambled to her feet and retreated to the edge where she swayed.
Elmiryn’s lips, which had twitched and quirked with her observations, finally seemed to make a decision of what to do:
She smiled, showing all teeth…