$

Arrow & Zaylee 5

Zaylee wore a huge smile as she cut up vegetables for the stew she planned on making when her husband came back with the meat. A horrible snow storm was coming that would keep them inside and make hunting much harder so they were trying to prepare meals they could store and reheat. He had gone after something big so they could make the stew as large as possible. Her five children still at home were happily playing in the living room, her four boys making their baby sister laugh. She had been starting to wonder if she could have a baby girl by the time little Nelly came along.

Between her and Arrow they now have seven children including her step daughter Breena and their older, married son Osius. Due to that horrible disaster a few decades back her modest little cottage she and Arrow began in was now a large home big enough to accommodate their family. Their home had been destroyed by those murderous creatures and when Arrow rebuilt it, since they had planned to have a lot more children he made it so even with the large family they currently had their was still plenty of room in the house.

She knew he would have rebuilt them a home at this point anyway but she was glad it was a project already complete when these wonderful little blessings made their debut in the world. She adored how amazing her boys were with their baby sister. They seemed to truly enjoy playing with her and helping anytime Zaylee had too much on her hands. All four of them were fine men and she knew they would turn out just as gallant, smart and strong as their father was.

Arrow moved silently across the already snowy ground, his boots hardly shifting the snow as he stalked the large buck. His breath billowed out in front of him, creating small clouds. He got low as he moved closer, careful not to make a sound. He stopped, reaching back to grab one of the arrows at his back, bringing the bow up and pulling back. He waited as the deer turned sideways and as he raised his head, the arrow was released and flew through the air, hitting it in its side. It jumped and sprinted away as Arrow stood and flexed his fingers. All he had to do was follow the trail of blood. He found it laying on its side near a stream, its breath coming out is short gasps. He looped the bow across his chest then pulled out his dagger and dropped down, letting his hands brush gently over the creature.

“Thank you for providing my family and I with sustenance.” He drove the dagger into the base of its skull and it fell limp. “None of you will go to waste, I promise.”

Arrow made quick work of getting the buck ready to take home to his family. He knew he had been gone much longer than she had expected but he wanted to find something big enough to give them a really good start into the storm. Once it came he wanted to have to leave them as little as possible, especially if it ended up being as bad as they were expecting. He knew this would be more than what she needed for her stew and that Zaylee would be able to make other things for them to eat with this amount of meat. When he made it home he went straight to the kitchen, giving his wife a kiss after he set the bag of meat down.

“You must have found something big”

“I found a nice sized buck”

“You must be freezing, can I make you something hot to drink?”

“Maybe a quick hot chocolate with the kids. Afterwards I want to chop a bit more wood with the boys. I’d rather us have too much than not enough if it gets too bad for us to be outside chopping. I’ll leave Jayson in here to continue helping with Nelly so you can cook and prepare things without worrying about her” She kissed him again “alright, now go sit for a second. I’ll have hot chocolate out soon” Arrow changed his clothes so he wouldn’t get the couch wet then sat down, happy when Nelly reached up for him to hold her.

“Hello my little angel, want to go up?” He lifted her in the air and she started laughing and kicking. “Look at you, just like a hawk.” He brought her down, rubbing noses with her and she grabbed his face, making him chuckle. “I fear I’m going to have to kill someone when you’re older. You’ll forgive me right?”

“Arrow.” Zaylee said with a laugh. “No killing boys.”

Arrow sat Nelly on one leg then took the hot chocolate from Zaylee. “Just maim then.”

“She already has nearly a hundred older brothers.”

“Ah yes, I’ll have the knights take care of any troublemakers.”

She laughed again as she spoke “you better behave Arrow. You never know, one of those so called troublemakers might be one of the knights when she’s older. Breena did end up with Emeril”

“Not my Nelly, she’s never going to date” Arrow shook his head knowing she’d copy him “see look, Nelly says no too”

“Uh huh” Zaylee wore a big smile as she returned to the kitchen for more mugs of hot chocolate and enjoyed the break of sitting with their family. The elves in tune with the weather that kept the kingdom informed had never been wrong before so everyone in the kingdom had been busy preparing to be stuck inside for a while. When they were all done Arrow told the older boys to get ready then spoke to his youngest son “Your job is to keep Nelly busy for your mom but if you need her help please ask”

“Okay” he smiled at his son, giving him an affectionate pat on the head before getting his boots back on. Zaylee finished getting the stew together and stored then walked around the house until she found Nelly and Jayson playing in Nellys room “thank you sweetie. Before I finish up in the kitchen I’m going to try to lay her down for nap”

“Okay, can I do anything?”

“You’re fine love, I’m sure your father and brothers will be in soon”

When Arrow and the boys had cut and stacked enough wood, they headed inside to get warm. Being sweaty and in the snow was bad and he didn’t want the boys getting sick. “You four look like you’re freezing.” Zaylee said as they pulled their boots off and left them by the door. She took their coats and set them near the fire to dry. “Go sit.” Arrow pressed a kiss to her cheek before joining his sons in the living room. Zaylee brought them all blankets and more hot chocolate. “I’ll get you some soup too.”

“Thanks mom, you’re the best.” Her oldest said as he sipped at his hot chocolate.

Her youngest son came to join them and Zaylee made sure to get him a cup too. It was adorable how he looked up to his brothers and father and how much he always wanted to help them. She knew if it wasn’t so cold, Arrow would have taken him out and let him take a few swings at some wood. “When am I going to old enough to go hunting?” He asked as they all waited for soup.

“After the thaw.” Arrow said. “We’ll all go, it’s about time you learn to shoot a bow.”

Jaysons face lit up with excitement which had his brothers suppressing their grins so they wouldn’t embarrass him. They each remembered how excited they were the first time their father took them out. They all just sat, enjoying their soup and eachothers company since there wasn’t much else they could do. By eleven pm that night the snow storm was in full force, rousing Ike from his sleep. He didn’t have a window in his bedroom so his curiosity had him leaving his room to go look through the big window downstairs. Quietly Ike crept past his siblings rooms to the stairs which he descended rapidly. The stairs werent particularly noisy and he was eager to see what it looked like so far since the sound that woke him sounded like it was more than just snow, it had to be hailing as well.

Ike pulled away the curtains and took in the beauty of their snow covered world. it was amazing to him since their world normally was in constant spring. Part of everyones concern was the fact it snowing at all, especially like this was almost unheard of. He wondered if an elf or a guest in their land had tampered with the weather and accidentally set this off.Ike nearly jumped across the living room when he heard his father behind him “is everything okay son?”

“Yeah, sorry, the hail woke me up and my mind got to working again”

“about what?”

“It’s snowing here, is it only weird to me that it’s snowing?”

“No but we have nothing to go on when it comes to cause. We just need to wait it out”

“What if someone did it on purpose?”

“Theres nobody angry with our kingdom but I dont know. Anything is possible, especially when something as weird as this is happening”

“What if someone gets hurt? We’d have to go out and help them.”

“We?”

“Well I mean, yeah we’re old enough to go out with you and help. We’re strong.”

Arrow chuckled. “I know, but I don’t think your mother would want you out in that.” He joined Ike at the window and patted his head. “Once the snow dies down I’ll make a trip to the castle to check on them, it yours and your brother’s jobs to watch over your baby brother, sister, and mom.”

“I understand, I just don’t want anything bad to happen to this world.”

“You’re a good boy, Ike, I hope you know that.” He guided his son away from the window. “Back to bed, it’s late.”

“sorry again for waking you.”

“It’s alright, I was just glad to find nothing wrong.” They both returned to their rooms, Arrow listening to be sure his son returned to his. Once he heard Ike’s door close he carefully crawled back in bed with Zaylee, pulling her back onto his chest before letting sleep take him. In the morning Arrow started a fire so their home would be warm by the time the kids and his wife all woke up. Once it was blazing he started on breakfast for everyone, not even wanting to look out the window. He hoped it wasn’t too bad but if it had continued snowing like it was last night they might be snowed in. He began the pancakes first, once he had that going he pulled eggs out to scramble for everyone.

He was cracking the second egg when Olynn walked into the kitchen with his little sister on his hip “How about I watch those pancakes while you do the eggs” He offered as he set his sister on her feet. Arrow saw Nellys coloring books were still on the table so he spoke to his daughter “color while we make breakfast okay?” He was nervous about her leaving the kitchen since he had a fire going. She didn’t say anything but obeyed his command. Arrow kept glancing over as they prepared breakfast to make sure his daughter hadn’t gotten up. Once it was ready he sent Olynn to wake everyone while he served it.

He handed each person a plate and told them to go into the living room so they could all eat by the crackling fire. Olynn sighed “It was completely worth chopping all that wood.”

“I miss the spring weather already” Jayson remarked and Zaylee said “it’ll be back before you know it. We’ll keep ourselves busy in here”

Chapter Two

Once they had finished breakfast, Arrow took a look out the window as Zaylee and Olynn cleaned up. He let out a sigh as he saw that the snow had slowed, but it had piled itself up to the window. “What’s wrong?” Zaylee asked, feeling his irritation.

“I was hoping to head over to the castle today and check on everyone, but if the snow continues from where it left off last night, I might not be able to get back.”

“You could always see if there are any sylphs around, maybe they wouldn’t mind carrying a message for you.”

He smiled, chuckling at how his annoyance at the situation had blinded him to the obvious. He was always so direct in his approach, if it wasn’t for Zaylee he would have already been outside and probably stranded at the castle. “Of course, my love, as usual you are right.”

“Well yeah, when am I ever wrong.”

“Very funny.” He gently opened the window, letting in a cold blast of air and leaned out, calling for one of the air elementals. He was relieved when one showed up, kicking up the snow as it came to a stop in front of Arrow. “I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind running to the castle and seeing if everyone is alright after the storm last night.”

It nodded and took off so Arrow shut the window, sitting down to wait for it to return. Ike took it upon himself to work the fire up again since it was fading a bit then sat with his father to wait, wanting to know it’s news the second it came back. Zaylee had returned to the kitchen, cleaning up with her son then changing her daughter out of her pajamas and into warm play clothes.It would be fun to dress her while it was snowing out. Since this wasn’t weather they were accustomed to having Zaylee had to make and buy Nelly a bunch of new clothes to wear to make sure she stayed warm. They all had had to buy and make warmer clothes.

The Sylph making it’s way back instantly caught Arrows eye. He pushed open their large living room windows, eager to know what was going on if there was anything to know beyond their safety. It flew right up to the two men, blowing up snow into their faces due to how fast she flew. Arrow was grateful for her speed and a little chill didn’t bother him or his son Ike anyway. “what news do you have? Is everyone alright?” Arrow asked eagerly.

“I saw the king and spoke to him. There have been a few accidents, one being an avalanche. A few houses were buried, but there were no casualties. He said there is something strange in the snow, but he asked that you stay put unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave. He said your family is his family and he would not want you to leave them unguarded.”

Arrow sighed. “I understand, thank you.”

“If I may say, I have also sensed something. The whether grows colder.” Her voice was a soft whisper, like a gentle breeze, but he could still hear worry in it. If an elemental was worried, then there had to be something going on.

“If it’s not too much trouble, please tell me of anything odd you hear or see.” She nodded and he let her go.

Arrow and Ike shut the windows “I guess that ever questioning mind might have been right son. Maybe something is behind this storm”

“How can we just sit here if there’s sombody to be stopped?”

“Because we dont know anything yet son. I don’t want to sit here any more than you do but we have nothing to go on yet. We can’t leave the rest of the family without a set place to go and a known enemy. Out of anything what’s most important is making sure our family gets through this together. I wont lose a single one of you”

“Shouldn’t we check on Osius and Breena?”

“We just have to believe they are fine. Breena and Osius picked good mates and are incredibly capable elves. I know if they do end up needing us they’ll find their way here.”

“Osius lives so far away though”

“I know son but he’d find a way here just as we’d find a way to them if the need arose”

Arrow and Ike shut the windows “I guess that ever questioning mind might have been right son. Maybe something is behind this storm”

“How can we just sit here if there’s sombody to be stopped?”

“Because we dont know anything yet son. I don’t want to sit here any more than you do but we have nothing to go on yet. We can’t leave the rest of the family without a set place to go and a known enemy. Out of anything what’s most important is making sure our family gets through this together. I wont lose a single one of you”

“Shouldn’t we check on Osius and Breena?”

“We just have to believe they are fine. Breena and Osius picked good mates and are incredibly capable elves. I know if they do end up needing us they’ll find their way here.”

“Osius lives so far away though”

“I know son but he’d find a way here just as we’d find a way to them if the need arose”

“I’ll go too” Almus said to his father since he hadn’t been given direction. Arrow, Ike and Almus bundled up while Jayson and Olynn meticulously checked the ceiling. Arrow kissed Zaylee before leading two of his boys out the window. Zaylee sat by the fire to watch it and to mind her daughter as she played with her toys. Arrow was still out when Olynn and Jayson told her everything looked good “thank you, your father and brothers should be back inside soon. Watch your sister and I’ll make more hot chocolate” Zaylee felt relief when she heard Arrow, Ike and Almus return through the window. She hated this all wasn’t natural because now the snow storm was much more to fear than before and she was worried about Breena and Osius aswell. She hated not knowing how they were doing.

Arrow walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around Zaylee. “We pushed a lot of it off and the roof is holding up incredibly well”

“you worked so hard on this house. I’m not surprised”

“I wanted it as safe as possible.” He let out a sigh. “Hopefully this is just someone playing with spells they shouldn’t have and it can be reversed.”

“It really doesn’t feel malignant.”

“But it’s dangerous all the same. We are lucky we live in a valley, the closest mountain is too far away for an avalanche to effect us.”

“You’re thinking really hard and I don’t need to feel your emotions to know that.”

“If I have not been sent for in a couple of days, I’m going to see Drake. I know he said to wait, but this could get way worse. There are pregnant women in this world, small children like Nelly. If something were to happen where they couldn’t get to help, they could die. I’m sure Drake is thinking the same thing.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so disobedient.”

He groaned. “Perhaps after all this time you’ve rubbed off on me.”

“How terrible.” She gave him a kiss then handed him some hot chocolate. “You know I’ll support whatever you do.”

“Yes, that I always know” he said as he looked directly into his wifes beautiful eyes. Zaylee smiled and he knew she was feeling both how intensely he loved her and how grateful he was to have her and their children in his life. She had changed him for the better and he knew he could do anything with Zaylee at his side. Two days passed and no word so Arrow, Ike and Olynn bundled up to brave the snow. Before he left he took Jayson and Almus aside “You two have an incredibly important job here. I need you to keep your mother and baby sister safe. I also want you both helping with Nelly. Your mother has been doing more than you think around here to make sure we’re all well taken care of and are as comfortable as possible”

“Yes sir” He kissed both their heads “I love you boys” Next Arrow hugged Nelly, keeping her in his arms a long time before finally setting her down. “I love you so much” he said then pulled Zaylee into his arms “If I feel even the slightest bit of distress coming from you Zaylee I’m running back here as fast as I can”

“we’ll be fine baby, just keep yourself and my boys safe”

“When have I ever not been safe?”

He started to respond, thought better of it and kissed her instead. “See you soon.” He and the boys slipped out through the window and Zaylee shut and locked it, watching them as they moved through the snow. She sent up a prayer to whatever gods may be listening that they would be okay and only turned away from the window when Nelly tugged on her skirt. “Dad’s going to be okay mom.” Almus said. “He’s stronger than anyone.”

“I know sweetie, I know. How about we play a game together or I can read you all a story.”

“A story sounds good, Nelly really likes them.” Jayson replied.
Zaylee retrieved a book she knew none of the children had heard her read before and settled with them beside the fire. Zaylee was happy when she noticed all three kids were gone to this world, completely wrapped up in the world and storyline before them. Little Nelly feel asleep almost seven chapters in and they took a break so they could wrap her up in a thick blanket in her bed. Once she was tucked away Zaylee tended the fire before going back to reading to the boys. Nelly was still young enough she wouldn’t care or probably even notice she had missed a few chapters if they were still on it when she woke. They passed the time this way until lunch “why don’t you let us worry about lunch mom” Almus suggested and Jayson agreed “yeah mom, let us do it”

“As long as you’re sure.”

“We are, just relax.”

“You both sound so much like your father.” The beamed at the comparison and she went and sat down, giving them the kitchen.

Arrow made sure he walked at the boys pace. He knew they were both strong, but they didn’t quite have the stamina he did. The cold air bot at any exposed piece of skin and he could hear them both give out sighs of relief when the castle finally came into view. Arrow could see that there were not guards and the front gate was open to allow people entrance if they needed a safe haven. He, Ike, and Olynn made their way up to the front door and Arrow knocked loudly. It didn’t take long for them to be let in and everyone there seemed surprised to see him.

“Where’s the king?” He asked as he kicked snow off his boots.

“His study, sir.”

“Thank you.” He turned to Ike and Olynn. “You two get something warm to drink and then go stand by the fire. I’ll be back as soon as I’m finished speaking to Drake.” They both nodded and he headed for the king’s study.

“As long as you’re sure.”

“We are, just relax.”

“You both sound so much like your father.” The beamed at the comparison and she went and sat down, giving them the kitchen.

Arrow made sure he walked at the boys pace. He knew they were both strong, but they didn’t quite have the stamina he did. The cold air bot at any exposed piece of skin and he could hear them both give out sighs of relief when the castle finally came into view. Arrow could see that there were not guards and the front gate was open to allow people entrance if they needed a safe haven. He, Ike, and Olynn made their way up to the front door and Arrow knocked loudly. It didn’t take long for them to be let in and everyone there seemed surprised to see him.

“Where’s the king?” He asked as he kicked snow off his boots.

“His study, sir.”

“Thank you.” He turned to Ike and Olynn. “You two get something warm to drink and then go stand by the fire. I’ll be back as soon as I’m finished speaking to Drake.” They both nodded and he headed for the king’s study.

“Arrow?” The King was honestly taken a back by Arrow actually disobeying him “I’m sorry sir but I can’t just sit in my home. This can’t go on and is getting worse if anything. We need to do something, to get to the bottom of this storm. I can’t even imagine the stress the pregnant women of our kingdom are going through. They could need someone or something and have no way to get to it. What if my Nelly hurt herself badly and she needed a healer as skilled as my daughter Breena or one from the castle right away and it took us forever to get her help. Toddlers just do the most impossible things to themselves if you look away for just a second adn there are far more toddlers and babies than just Nelly. I need to do something. I brought both my oldest boys still living in my home with me so even if the guard wont help I have them. There must be some sort of lead by now Drake”

“My friend, I understand and I do have some leads if you’ll sit” Arrow sat and Drake got up, fetching a nearby blanket and handing it to his friend “wrap yourself, you look chilled to the bone. It had to be a hard journey here”

“what lead?”

“to the point, alright” King Drake sighed “I think a group of teenagers are responsible. From what I understand an elf born with the ability to control weather has been somehow helping his teenage buddies to do the same and I think they did a little too much playing around”

“How can we right this?”

“first we need to see if I’m right”

“where can I find these teens or even just the one playing teacher and leader” Drake showed Arrow on a map and said “I’ll go with you”

“are you sure?”

“yes, the castle will be fine without me. You can’t talk me out of it, I’m coming” Arrow knew when Drake truly couldn’t be dissuaded so just nodded “I’ll warm up with my boys and we’ll all make the journey” Arrow let his boys warm and eat for awhile before they all set off again. Arrow found a knight willing to go to his wife and fill her in before departing so he left unburdened, knowing she wouldn’t have to be scared when he didn’t return right away.

They made it to the families house of who they thought was the lead boy and explained themselves to his parents who looked shocked “Martin, you better be honest. Is what they are saying true?” his mother said, seeming both appalled and ashamed. The boy looked sheepish for a time and that was all the answer his mother needed. She began crying “we;re so sorry, we didn’t know. He got the ability from us yes but we didn’t know what he was doing”

“I believe you” Drake assured. “can you undo this?” Arrow asked and the father answered “we’re blown away he and his friends were able to set something this massive in motion. We will do our best. If we cant manage it alone we’ll have to collect his little friends to right it. We don’t practice like I guess we should…we just never planned for him to abuse his gifts like this”

“I wasn’t trying too.” The boy protested.

“Really? I bet those…those friends of yours put you up to it. Magic is never to be used unless you have proper control of it. You could kill someone acting so recklessly.” His mother snapped.

“If you must send him to the knights for practice. There are plenty of healers and those who use defensive magic. They’ll whip him into shape and make sure he knows how to properly and responsibly use his gift.” Arrow said.

“We will discuss it later.”

“What?” Martin said.

“It’s better than one day doing something stupid and being locked up.”

“If it’s not too late already?” the dad said, looking at Arrow. “He is in no legal trouble. We just need to fix this before anything serious happens” The parents must have only doubted their ability because they didn’t often use it because they alone were able to right the weather and return spring to everyone. King Drake thanked them even though the parents felt horrible for not knowing more what their son was up to. He assured them that it’s impossible to stay on top of teenagers and they shouldn’t blame themselves. Arrow and Emeril made sure Martin was set up with teh right men in the guard to teach him how to properly use his abilities. With everything taken care of and back to normal Arrow just felt relief to return to his family and return to their normal, blissful lives.

~ The End

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *