Catalina is a 23 year old female living in a small village just outside the Northern Kingdom. Since she was young, stories and folk lore spread about mythical beings whose lives well surpass the age of humans. These beings being Elves. Living in nature they aquire special abilities and rank themselves higher than any other living beings.
Because of this, interacting with them is taboo, and punishable by death. However, one night Catalina was picking flowers when she fell, twisting her ankle and unable to make it back home. Suddenly out of the distance a tall figure came looming. His hair was long, face filled with delicate features and glowing green eyes that could take anyone's breath away.
He mended to her and after a few days released her back to her family. When she told her parents they quickly dismissed her, thinking she suffered a fall. Yet, since her injury she returns to the forest to meet with her mysterious savior. A love affair begins to develop between the two, starting a chain of unforseen events against the couple.
We will start of with an already well developed relationship. Flirting and deep emotion present. I see the Elven man as someone of high rank, a noble man or a prince. This making it very inappropriate for him to be having relations with a human.
[b I'm okay... ] she whispered weakly. Obviously she was lying. She was in deep pain. Beads of sweat dotted her forehead. Her hair damp where it touched her skin. Though she was in pain, her body didn't show it. Silently she suffered, screaming inside her head with agony, however, she was just too weak to physically show her pain.
She looked up at the man whom carried her. He was tall like Rhys was. Though all elves were tall compared to their human counter parts. What was different was his frame. Though Rhys was toned, he was still somewhat slim, his shoulders just wide enough to hold a regal presence. Yet, the man that carried her was much more broad. Surprising for an elvan man. His hair was longer than Rhys's and his hands much more rough. Just what was their relationship? They seemed to know each other. More than just neighbors living in the same village.
Listening to the two males talk, Catalina began to answer. [b Rhys....saved me. I was dying] she whispered not really aware of her surroundings anymore. [b The first time...he saved me, was about a full rotation of the stars ago.] She paused to breath, talking seemed to be hard for her. [b the cave....you saved me again....] her eyes finally closed. Her eyes lids too weak to hold themselves up. [b I love you....] She spoke under her breath, her words only audible to the man who held her. Finally she passed out from the pain.
Anwin acted as if he could not hear Catalina. Instead, he chose to direct all of his dialogue to Rhys, still unhappy with the situation. [i "I will carry her back to the alienage,"] Anwin said. [i "It isn't like I haven't carried the injured for you before, Rhys."]
Damn... He was right. Not only was he right, but if Rhys couldn't be properly supplied soon, he would have to dig a grave for Catalina. He stood up slowly, gathering their things. [b "Be gentle with her,"] Rhys warned.
Anwin stooped to scoop Catalina up. He had the petite woman cradled against him. Anwin was a strong man, built by years of hunting and tracking. He had the endurance of a scout too, having spent several years as one before he became a hunter.
Despite his distaste for the girl, he was cautious. He held her close, and he was mindful of the wound.
[i "We'll go this way,"] Anwin instructed. [i "She smells like our old forest. How long were you sneaking around with her?"]
Rhys tried to think back over the several months he had spent getting to know the woman. He carried both of their packs with Burst following behind. The bird had settled itself on Rhys' shoulders, opting to have stayed out of the earlier fight.
[b "Almost a year,"] Rhys admitted. [b "I haven't kept very good track of time over the last six months, though. I have been finding a place for Catalina and I."]
[i "Ridiculous,"] Anwin commented. [i "She will not come to harm in the alienage here, the council in charge prohibits fighting between humans and elves. However, I cannot imagine other places are near as... tolerant."]
Rhys said nothing, not wanting to give away Marx. It was, at the very least, a safe haven for them to hide in. It was the closest they would get to comfort, but only if Rhys wasn't tracked down again.
[b "Catalina, how do you feel?"] he asked her. [b "In the village, I'll make you an ointment to help with the pain."]
[b Rhys.... ] she coughed feeling her body warm with the beginning of a fever. [b I'm sorry, this is all my fault] She watched the interaction between the two men and was worried Rhys would end up losing his life from the sole fact he was associated with a human girl. Tears filled her large brown eyes and she grimmised in pain. [b Rhys... don't risk your life for mine. Your people are more important than my leg. I can travel...I have you to keep me safe, for now, listen to this man....for both of our sakes]
Catalina pushed herself upwards keeping her leg lifted. Her body weak from the procedure that the man beside her had done. Her breathing was shallow. Stress had filled her lungs making her unable to take deep mindful breathes. Her eyes now locked on Rhys figure. She wished she had never fallen the first time they met. If she had not been out, they never would have met, sparing Rhys the choice of having to choose Catalina over his own kind.
The young woman then looked to the elvan man whom had shot her. Her eyes were pleading. Their blood shot expression showed not only fear but the need of a request. [b I'll go....just, just don't hurt Rhys]
Anwin only looked further disgusted. [i "You love that stupid girl, don't you?"] he asked sharply. Rhys said nothing as he continued to work.
[b "Catalina, you may need to close your eyes,"] he warned. [b "I can pull the arrow out, but it will be excruciating."]
Anwin finally relaxed his grip on the blow, allowing slack so he would not fire the arrow. He had no plans to kill Rhys or Catalina now, but he was not going to let them go either. He took a seat far away from them to watch.
Rhys had seemed to only enhance his skills as a healer. The traveling had allowed for him to learn more. As soon as he removed the arrow, he started to bandage the wound with bandaging from his pack. Sadly, he had nothing to clean or protect the wound, which meant he would need to move fast to make an ointment with what little he had.
Rhys balled up his cloak and placed it under Catalina's head. Then he placed his pack under her leg to keep it elevated. [b "Rest. I'll have to boil some water to clean the wound, but for right now, I want you resting."]
Rhys froze as Anwin started to move again.
[i "She can travel with us to the alienage,"] Anwin said. [i "Her wounds will be tended by a healer there until the remaining village elders can gather and decide what to do with you."]
Rhys looked horrified. [b "Anwin no! Her leg is too injured. I'm not moving her."]
Catalina''s eyes grew wide seeing a stern faced man point his weapon to his back. [b Rhys....] she whispered keeping her eyes on the man before them. Her heart felt as if it was slowly stopping. Not only did she fear for her own life, but sternlowly Her couldn't bear to see her dear friend killed in front of her.
Just as she was about to speak a sudden jolt of paint flowed from the tip of the arrow throughout the nerve endings of her thigh. Leaning her head back, she gripped Rhys''s pant leg from the pain. As the elder male continued his conversation with Rhys, Catalina looked around her for something she could either defend herself with. [b Rhys! Don't. Don't let him trick you into giving your life.] As she spoke Rhys cut deeper into her leg and she screamed before clenching her jaw together. Tears ran down her cheeks in both emense pain and fear. [b Please....don't hurt him. Let us go....we won't harm you. We won't even tell a soul about what happened] she pleaded. [b I can't see my life without him, don't hurt him....]
Considering the arrow was made by a hunter, Rhys had very limited time. The poison was meant to kill smaller animals, but it could seriously infect flesh if left in the wound of a person too long. Rhys carefully lifted Catalina's leg... Damn. The arrow hadn't gone all the way through, but it appeared not to have been buried in the bone either.
Rhys still needed to check. As he was about to reach for his bag for a blade, sadly, to check, he would have to widen the incision just a little, he felt a poke in his shoulder.
Anwin had the arrow pointed at Rhys' back.
[i "Let the girl die, Rhys. You are coming back with us to face your crimes in the alienage."] Anwin had come alone, telling his family to wait in the alienage, but others from the old village were there too.
Rhys shook his head. [b "I'm sorry,"] he said. [b "I couldn't let her die when I met her... I can't let her die now."]
He opened his bag anyway and pulled out the blade while Anwin kept his arrow trained on Rhys.
[i "Why would you die for one of the humans who would rather see us dead?"]
Rhy looked away. [b "Catalina... she's a dear friend of mine. Someone I could never imagine my life without."] He held her hand. [b "Close your eyes and think of something pleasant. I have to widen the incision to check where the arrow stopped... And then I'll have to carefully pull it out to with the head still attached."]
Anwin looked disgusted. [i "When you fixed the human, send her back home, Rhys. You have responsibilities to answer for."]
Rhy scoffed. [b "You might as well kill me then, Anwin, because I'm not going back without Catalina."]
He carefully widened the incision, set the knife down, and slid his finger along the shaft of the arrow. To his relief, he could feel the head of the arrow still attached. It even felt secure. He would need to pull carefully, but he could remove the arrow from her leg...
[i "Rhys, you will not abandon people. I will not allow you, and if I have to, I will kill the girl."]
[b "Then kill me too!"] Rhys snapped. [b "I'm not leaving without her!"]
Catalina's heart pounded as he embraced her in a warm inviting hug. It felt like years had gone by since she had seen him, let alone feel his embrace. She had felt like a piece of her was missing, a part of her that was never complete till this very moment. When he finally pulled away, his smooth gentle hand wrapped around her own and her cheeks reddened from his touch. [b Yes, I think we should too. I have been getting odd looks from some of the older Elves in this area. I'm sure if we were seen together, things would worsen for us.]
Suddenly a sharp pain filled her leg. Her dress began to feel heavy and wet. As she looked down, a thick wooden shaft protruded from her thigh. Quickly her legs buckled and she fell to the floor. Rhys was at her side at once and helped her down on the dirt filled ground beneath. [b You need to run...] She mumbled through the pain. The flesh around the arrow began to swell and she looked toward the direction where the arrow had been shot. She didn't want Rhys to be caught in the danger she had already known she was in.
Catalina knew he would not leave her side. He was a man of healing, of science and nature. He would stay by her side till he knew that her life was no longer in danger. He had done so the first day they had met, she should have known nothing were to change now that they had grown closer. Looking up towards him, Cat winced as he worked around her leg. [b I feel tired] her eyes were starting to close as she struggled to keep awake.
Rhys felt his fear melt away, and he was grinning as he returned Catalina's embrace. He held her tight for a moment, and then pulled back to examine her face as well. She seemed to fair better than he had. His eyes lingered over her lips for a moment, and then snapped back up.
[b "I'm alright,"] he promised. [b "In fact, I feel better right now than I have these past few months. Seeing you does wonders for me..."] He hugged her tight again. [b "We should move on to Marx. If too many see us together, it could bring some unwanted attention. I also want to introduce you to Mr. Fontaine as soon as possible."]
He looked at Catalina's small camping spot. Had she been alone the whole time? He felt a bit guilty asking her to come out so far, but it was the safest way.
Outside of their view, the elven father watched. Disgust boiled under his skin. This is why Rhys left them? A [i human]!? He tightened his grip on his bow and held it up to aim.
How could a human cause an elf to stray so far from their home? Their family? All they had ever known? Anwin couldn't imagine it. He pulled the arrow back, and released it. The piece soared, and it sank into Catalina's leg.
For a brief second... Rhys felt like shattered glass. Then the pieces snapped back together, he knelt by Catalina's side. [b "Try not to move,"] he instructed calmly, familiar enough with such an injury.
In fact, the injury was painfully familiar. When a stray arrow missed its mark, it would hit another hunter. That was a hunter's arrow... Rhys looked around.
[b "Come out!"] he shouted as he opened his medical bag. Then he said calmly to Catalina, [b "All of this is going to be extremely painful. Let me know now if I need to give you something to bite on."] He normally had something to soothe pain, but time was of the essence. Lord knows if that arrow was tipped with anything like poison either! He wouldn't' be able to check until he removed it from her leg.
Hearing the loud flapping of large wings, Catalina looked forward to see a fast moving bird fly straight for her. As he landed on her shoulder, nipping at her hair she laughed. "Burst, what are you doing??" Her smile was bright, a strange sight to be seen from many of the traveling villagers . Soon her eyes moved to a figure in the distance. Her heart suddenly jumped to her throat, feeling as though her heart had stopped beating all together. It was Rhys. A warm tingling sensation filled her cheeks. Her knees felt weak and it was as if every worry she could think of came forward in her mind.
Suddenly without warning, hot tears fled her eyes as she started to run toward the man she had missed so dearly. Finally she made it. He was in front of her again. And like magic she felt her heart swell will happiness. Then, without warning she wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace. [b I missed you] She whispered as tears of happiness continued to fall. [b Are you okay? You look thinner, have you eaten?] Quickly she looked him over, taking in every cut and bruise she could see on his exposed skin.
Rhys was on his way back out of the city. He had planned to meet Catalina, and his steps felt light again. He had almost forgotten the elven girl he had seen... Until she found him again.
Rather, it was her father and mother, a pair who also carried a young boy with them. They stopped Rhys and blocked his path out of the city.
[i "Why did you leave, Rhys?"] the mother asked, her eyes pained. [i "Without you... Our village has started to fall apart. Humans found it, and they attacked brutally. So many of us died..."] Tears were in her eyes, and Rhys felt pain. It was the father who spoke next, more stoic than his wife.
[i "You would have been an asset. You could have saved many lives if you had stayed... We just want to know why you left..."]
Rhys looked at the edge of the city. [b "I could no longer stay,"] he said. [b "You would not understand. Please... excuse me."]
The stoic demeanor broke, and the man was now holding a hunting knife to Rhys' throat. Rhys was no warrior. He was a healer. He had fear in his veins again, and the old hunter's face showed a pain.
[i "I do not understand why you left at all! That was your home! Your village. You have an obligation"]-
[i "Daddy..."] the little girl whispered. [i "You're scaring me."]
The man's face melted into something like grief. He dropped his aggressive stance and stomped away. The family followed behind him, and Rhys left the city in a hurry. He sought Catalina out, and when he saw her from a distance, he froze.
Everything in him felt like it was on fire. He was thrilled to see her... yet he couldn't make himself move. What if she no longer wished to see him? Perhaps she had felt too troubled or abandoned...
Burst crooned loudly and flew to the woman, though, recognizing her. He landed on her shoulder and tried to preen her hair, and Rhys finally started to walk toward her.
Burst had flown high in the afternoon sky. Attached to his leg again was a letter sent by catalina. Circling Rhys for a moment he finally swooped down, landing in his leather cuffed forearm.
I have waited many moons and many suns to see your face again. I have wondered lands both friendly and no so friendly. All this just to be in your company. I miss you dearly, and I am glad to hear of your ever improving skill in healing.
I'm here, at the edge of the small town you reported of. Many here are travelers like I, I have met both my kind and yours. You were right, the deeper we were to travel, the more accepting of our relationship people become.
I believe fate has brought us together for a reason. I also believe this be the reason why we left our previous dwellings. The thought of never seeing you again has filled my heart with pain and sorrow, yet, each letter has healed it 10 times over. I will wait patiently till the moment I can run into your arms in greeting. Till we meet again,
The young woman made camp at the edge of the reporting village. She was beginning to run out of food, but hope had her spirits high. The thought of Rhys, kept her going. She had never experienced nature and it's elements like she had during her trip to Rhys. Mother nature wasn't as kind as stories made her out to be. But in every tree, bush, and meddow, she saw beauty and only now could she understand elven beliefs. Sitting under her handmade shelter she waited not knowing just what was about to happen to the couple next.
The last letter found Rhys as he neared the aforementioned city. Each step felt lighter than they had in months. He had finally found a place for he and Catalina, and with the experiences he had from traveling, the journey to her felt easier than traveling had in the months that had passed. He had sent a message ahead.
[i Dear Catalina,
I am mere days away from you. I can't stop thinking of you, and my heart is so full of excitement. I haven't been able to stop thinking of you all the way back, and when we meet, I feel like it might spill over. Send burst back with where you are staying, and by the time he gets to me, I should be in the alienage.
I have more beads for you, to give you in person. There is a jewelry maker in Marx, and they were seeking an apprentice. I showed him the bracelet you made me, and he seemed interested. You should be able to learn so much from him, and he says he would like to meet you in person when we return. You'll be able to learn so much.
I have found a little work on the road, and I've expanded my own knowledge. I can treat patients much better now, and I'll be able to find work when we get to Marx. Then I can take care of you... You deserve to be taken care of, Catalina. You deserve to never feel afraid again, or lonely or sad...
I miss you.
He had sent that letter, feeling something more for Catalina than he could easily explain. As soon as he reached the Alienage, he made his plans to meet her just outside of the city, waiting patiently for Burst to return so he could give her his location.
But something seemed to change. A little girl, one Rhys was shockingly familiar with, was also had the alienage. She recognized Rhys too, but said nothing to him. The pair passed each other as Rhys left the city, and he felt... uneasy over it. Something felt wrong.
Catalina smiled seeing the hand writing of the man she so dearly missed. Sitting in the inn where she now resided the young woman tediously wove bits of string with colorful beads, creating an abundance of brackets for future sale. Sighing deeply she lifted a bag around her shoulder and back. Inside it was filled with a weeks worth of food and a few articles of clothing. She told no one as she set off for the unknown. It was better that way. She had never left her place of dwelling farther than the field of charming blue flowers. However that was all about to change.
[i My dear Rhys,]
[i I set off on my voyage not yet a week. I have never been so far from home yet never felt so free. I have encountered some of the villages you spike of. Some not too friendly of Mt kind. Even so, I find the experience feeeing. ]
[i The days are long, and I find myself thinking about you more and more. Even in my dreams I see you. It may sound strange, seeing you as I sleep, but I find myself feeling saddened to find it was all just wishful thinking. ]
[i I've started to sell the bracelets I've crafted from the twine and beads you so generously sent to me. The trip has been difficult. And rhe more I experience and see, the more I worry for your own safetyand security. I dream of the day we meet again, a day where we can be together and not have to hide. I miss you dearly and my words cannot explain the pain iny heart from having to leave your side. I'll wait for your message with your next set of directions and hopefully soon we will be together again]
When Rhys received the next letter, he felt a small pain in his heart. By then, he had become more comfortable with traveling. He was able to tell when someone was lying to him better. He was ever stronger and able to defend himself now. While he was no trained fighter, he knew how to keep himself alive and not merely survive anymore. He could almost thrive.
His luck never seemed to improve though. No one was comfortable with he and Catalina being around and together, human and elven cities alike. The only good thing is the farther he seemed to travel, the less hostile those divisions seemed to be. The boundaries became more and more malleable until finally...
[i Dear Catalina,
I have received your letter in the village of Marx. It's an elven village, and they seem to... tolerate the human city the reside by. In fact, I frequently see humans coming and going, and a representative from each city lives between the two to try and keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, there is tension. It is obvious there are a lot of hostilities to overcome some days, but they haven't stopped trying.
I am resting for another month, then I will be coming back for you. I'll send you another message as soon as I am close.
I know this letter is short, but I want you to come and meet me half way. The travel is long, but there's a small human city North of you that allows temporary asylum for elves so long as they stay to the walled off section of the city. Humans aren't allowed there, but I will send a message from Burst as soon as I arrive with a place for us to meet.
Catalina I have missed you! It pains me to hear you have been so alone. I would never leave you alone. I only wish to protect you, for us to remain together... I might sound a little strange. I have been wearing the bracelet you made every day. Attached to burst is a small pouch with a ball of colorful string and some beads. You could use them to make more things to sell on your journey. I will be with you soon.
It had been a couple weeks since Rhys had left to find themselves a better life. Every few days she found herself in the field where they first met, picking flowers, or sometimes just laying in the flower beds looking to the sky, waiting for a message she was scared would never come.
Soon, from the distance the sound of heavy wings echoed through the trees. Covering the sun was a birds torpedo like body. Swooping down, it landed just a meter away. Attached to his talon was a capsule and inside a letter. For days she would find herself reading his words, and sleeping with his writing beside her pillow.
A day passed and she again was picking flowers. Her new friend flying circles waiting to send her message out.
[i Dearest Rhys,]
[i I've waited many moons to hear from you since your departure. I'm happy to hear you are well, and that the world around you is more beautiful than you previously thought. I still spend my days weaving crowns of blue, and every several days I come to the meddow to pick the flowers I adore so much. Attached to Burst is something I made for you, I hope you wear it andoesn't think of me during the difficult times as well as the happy ones.]
[i My father has become less and less of a father, the taste of alcohol has totally consumed him. I found myself staying in the towns inn with the money I make. It's not the most ideal situation, however what keeps me happy is the thought of one saying, finding ourselves a beautiful place where we won't have to hide our friendship any longer.]
[i The night you left, I remember your embrace. It was so soothing and warm, when I feel afraid, I think of this moment and all my fears fall]
[i Learn all you can, I'm happy to hear of your new achievements. Write back soon, I'll wait for you. ]
[i Truly, Catalina]
Attached to the foot of Burst was a long beaded blue chain, embedded in a crystal pendent were two small blue flowers. Catalina had used resin from trees close by and tiny stone beads the color of onix. She hoped he would think of her with every glance.
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