The human healer is gone… collecting herbs, won’t be back for a while. There should be enough time.

Cairn Nightwood stealthily moves towards the small hut and carefully opens the door. She should be in deep sleep now. Her injuries had been severe and the gift of the healer leaves a great tiredness.

He has to see her.

His world had changed when he had watched his father ripping her clothes, preparing her for rape.
We are the same!
There isn’t any difference when you are strapped down to the floor, exposed, frightened, it doesn’t matter if your Elf or Human, all that matters is, if you brake or not.

She never broke. She fought back even with her ruined shoulder, battered body, she still kicked her legs to defend herself. So strong, so brave, so desirable.

He has to see her!

Cairn hadn’t been that strong. He’d been younger, almost a boy, when slavers had taken him and his mother. He had fought at first, until they knocked him out.
When he woke up, he had been in chains, his mother gone. He never saw her again. The human man had been watching him – looking at him in a manner that froze Cairns blood. He still fought when the man came for him, but not for very long – only until he was split apart and broken.

Llorijen came to rescue them, and was caught… Hidden in a dark corner of his tormentors tent, Cairn had watched them torture his father. He saw him break as well – his mind shatter – is spirit escaping.
The Humans had called a healer – Leon – who saved Llorijen’s life and later helped the Elves escape. That’s why he was allowed to live in their wood, albeit shunned.

Leon also saved Cairn’s life, who fought the healers power, until he broke and nearly drowned in a sea of shame, despair and agony. Llorijen didn’t recognize his son at first. And later made sure noone made the connection, which hadn’t been too difficult, since noone ever spoke about the camp.

And although his kinsmen moved to a far off forest, created a beautiful home for themselves and their sparse offspring, Cairn could always see the scars, could see his broken people. Talina was the only unflawed Elf living there. She had escaped the first raid. Talina who was like a mother to him, who coached him out of the dark places his mind would slip to.

Until she herself was broken. Over thirty years ago.

He stands by the door, hardly breathing, his heart beating to burst.

Dim light in the hut, a stone hearth with banked up low fire, furs and blankets piled next to it, a crude table with a large wooden bowl of water, bench, shelves on the walls filled with pottery, clothes, a few books, tools and pots, pouches hanging on pegs, a thick curtain partitioning the room.

The only sound is the wind in the chimney and the occasional crackling of the fire.

Cairn moves across the room, closer to the curtain. He takes a deep breath, raises his hand slowly, pushing the curtain to the side. The jingling sound of small bells startles him. Cautiously he moves the curtain until he can see what’s behind it.

A wooden bed stands at the far wall, lined with pelts and blankets, small stool beside it. Her still form under the blankets, pale face, sweaty forehead, eyes closed, an abundance of long red curls spread out on the pillow. Her left shoulder bandaged, fixing her arm. She is breathing shallow, her lips move, eyelids twitch, dreaming.

He sits down on the stool beside her bed and studies her face, fascinated by her rugged somewhat crude appearance. Round face, a strong nose, full lips, arched eyebrows, lots of tiny brown dots on her pale skin around her nose. Sweat trickles down her temples, she stirs, moves her sound arm to push the blanket down.

Cairn touches her forehead, wipes the sweat away, his fingers gently stroking down her temple, her cheek, lingering close to the mouth. He bends down closer to her, his hand stroking her strong jaw, the curve of her neck. She smells different now, sweeter, fruity.

"I just wanted to tell you that you are not appalling to me, no matter what Llorijen says," he whispers.

He gets up slowly, carefully closes the curtain again and leaves.

to be continued

written on the 3rd of June 1999
copyright by Scerijne