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Nelly & Peadair

Nelly woke , lifting her head up off the window she had been resting against. She was still on the this train with a terrible feeling in her stomach that nobody but her seemed to get. The first day she had woken confused but one of her fellow passengers explained they were all going home. The explanation had settled her at the time. It wasn’t until this morning, four days later that it hit her “going home from where?” She decided to ask “Where have we been?” another question hit her and she asked it right away “and where is home?” The question seemed to perplex the man she asked.

Everyone here was so complacent, so calm, so…mindless. She got up, planning to leave the cabin when a worker came into the door “whats wrong Nelly?”

“where are we going?”

“home”

“where is home?

“Calm down Nelly, everythings okay.”

“everything not okay”

“You’re going to upset people”

“but…somethign wrong, something wrong”

“Nothing is wrong, calm down, you know these people right” she looked at them, that calm washing over her again, chasing off that feeling in her stomach. The worker grabbed her, making her look at him “everything’s okay, you’re very tired”

“I’m tired” he pushed her gently until she was sitting again “you’re very tired, you know these people and you can’t wait to get home”

“Home” he rubbed her arm “goodnight Nelly” just like that she was back asleep, dreaming of a man. The worker left the room, rushing to the being in charge “sir, again that girl started breaking out of the trance”

“and you’ll continue to handle her”

“I’m worried we wont notice her right away at some point and she’ll wake everyone up”

“we can handle her unless you’re incompetent and its YOU I should get rid of. Its a pain in the ass to take care of your parents anyway.”

“I’m just thinking of whats best, she has too strong of a will, she will wake up again”

“so keep watching her, get more men on keeping her complacent”

Peadair groaned as he slowly pushed himself up, his head throbbing and stomach twisting. He breathed in, trying not to throw up. What had happened? He touched the back of his head and looked at his hand. Blood. He had been hit. His heart suddenly gave a leap. He hadn’t been alone. He looked around, panicking. “Nelly!” He called out as he stumbled to his feet. His vision spun and he found himself on his hands and knees again. He waited until he could see clearly and he got up slowly. “Nelly!”

He couldn’t remember what had happened, only that he and Nelly had been out, that they had been spending time together and now she was gone. He didn’t even remember being blindsided, only waking up just now. He had to get help, had to find Arrow and Zaylee. He took off running, not even caring how sick the jostling made him, he had to get help.

Her husbands fear, though she didn’t realize it was that caused her to wake yet again. This time she was quite, she wanted to know where she was and where she had been. They kept saying they were going home, that she knew these people but she didn’t. She approached the door and carefully pushed it open before peeking out to see what was in the hall. There was nothing, not even the man who had spoken to her. She shut the door behind her and began walking soundlessly down the corridor. The man she had been dreaming about was also plaguing her thoughts. He was important, he was who she really knew and she felt like if she could just get off this train she’d be able to think straight.

Suddenly a door she was passing burst open. There was a dagger at her throat “damn it girl, why can’t you just stay asleep? You’re going to make me hurt you. I can’t fuck up this job”

“what job” he groaned in frustration “escorting you and your family”

“I don’t know these people, stop telling me I do. I’m not going back to sleep this time.” He could see the determination in her eyes but he had already known this was coming. He’d be blamed but he had tried to warn them this woman couldn’t be taken this way. He kept the dagger to her throat as he pulled her into his room “you’re just going to fucking sit with me then”

“why are you so angry”

“I already told you. You’re going to get me in a lot of trouble”

“where am I from? Why is it so hard to remember?”

“Nice try, I’m not giving you any information. Hush and sit there”

“I want to leave, I need to leave.”

He raised his hand as if to hit her, but she didn’t flinch. She didn’t know why she felt so unafraid, but she had a feeling she had known people far more intimidating than this man. The man let out an exasperated growl. “Why? Why couldn’t you just listen?”

“Arrow!” Peadair yelled when he finally made it to their home. He banged on the door and nearly fell through it when Zaylee pulled it open. She grabbed his shoulders and helped inside.

“Oh my god, Peadair, what happened?”

“Nelly…I’m sorry…Nelly’s gone, I need help.”

“What do you mean gone?”

“I don’t know. Where’s Arrow?”

“At the castle, helping run drills.”

“We have to get him right now, please.”

Back on the train Nelly was trying to figure out who this man was she kept seeing in her head. She could feel he was the reason she was fighting so hard. He was important, at least to her. She looked over at the incredibly annoyed being “why can’t you fail at this job?”

“don’t try to sympathize with me woman. I mean it, I might really hit you”

“If you were going to hit me you wouldn’t have hesitated before.”

“You don’t know that”

“There was no reason for you not to. You must not be truly violent”

“what can I do to get you to be quite?”

“I dont know whats happening but I know I need to fight this so nothing short of knocking me out will silence me…so…why can’t you fail at this job?”

“I fucked up and lost pretty much all of my free will”

“where are they taking us?”

“I can’t tell you but you’re not going to be a sex slave for anybody if thats what you’re worried about”

“I’m worried about getting home to this man in my head” he looked at her, semi horrified “how much can you think of? How much are you remembering? Jesus nobodies ever been able to actually summon a memory through this thick magic” he cut himself off adn groaned “You’re a mistake, fuck I wish I could convince them of that. You’re going to blow this haul and they will blame me. You’re too easy to talk to and much too strong willed”

“Well I need to get back, I know I do and I’m sorry for causing you trouble, but this isn’t right. You know that, I can see you know that. You’ve kidnapped these people and me. Let me go.”

“I can’t.” He snapped and then looked around. “Even if I did, you could be dropped anywhere.”

“Then I’ll escape on my own.”

He crossed his arms. “Oh? How?”

“I don’t know, but I can’t stay here.” She rested her hand against her chest. “I can feel so much distress and fear.” She looked into his eyes. “Who is he? Is he important to me?”

“Yes.”

“Then I’m going to get out of here.”

“You’re far from home and I mean far”

“My real home or the one you were trying to tell me was my home?”

“your real one, that man in your head.”

“and you still dont realize I don’t care.” He gave a long sigh “If I help you I need your families help in return. Once you realize who you are and who you’re related to I feel like you would help me. You’re a pretty nice group of people and I know I’m a shit for helping them”

“You don’t seem all that bad”

“I am, I want to be good, I really do but I always find myself in situations where I feel I have to be”

“If you help me, no matter what, we’ll help you out of whatever got you working for these people” What Rydel didn’t realize was one of the men he was working for was watching a video feed of them “Rydel thinks he’s big and bad again sir. He’s just offered to help that girl”

“I knew it, I give him a chance to redeem himself and this is what I get.” The man stormed out, followed by a few of his thugs.

“Where was the last place you two were?” Arrow asked as Peadair’s head was attended to.

“I can take you.”

“You should be resting.” Zaylee said.

“I can’t, I have to go with you, I have to find her. If I sit here I’ll just start to panic. I can feel her confusion, but she’s also determined. I have to find her and bring her home.”

“Perhaps we should bring Killian then.” Zaylee suggested.

“Good idea, we’ll get him then head out.”

Rydel and Nelly both jumped when the door to his room opened. He could tell they knew and opened his mouth to say something, but was immediately silenced when one of the bigger men his him. “Stop!” Nelly demanded as she came to her feet and shoved the man away. “Leave him alone.” She was grabbed by the throat and slammed into the wall.

“On little job, Rydel, I asked you to do one thing and you go and fuck it up.” His boss said angrily.

“I told you it wouldn’t fucking work.” Rydel snapped and was hit again.

Soon Peadair was leading Killian, Zaylee, Arrow and all of Nellys brothers aside from Osius who wasn’t near enough to home to gather in any reasonable time. Jayson looked a bit ridiculous, having been in the middle of trying to dye his hair when he heard what was going on but he nor the rest of the family cared, they could fix it when Nelly was safe. Ike and Olynn had been resting after practicing their fighting skills together but hearing their sister was in danger fueled them with energy to run behind Peadair. Almus was with them but annoyed because he only could bring his bow and arrows. His sword was with the blacksmith. having been broken during an altercation he had with a beast. He couldn’t believe the horrible timing but he knew he could still be useful. Breena nor her husband Emeril was with them and Arrow knew she’d be upset later she couldn’t help but they didn’t know where they were right now and they had a big enough group not to waste time gathering anybody else.

Chapter Two

“I can’t believe she was taken from me.” Peadair said as they traveled. “I’m supposed to protect her.”

“It’s not your fault.” Arrow said. “None of us are perfect, things happen we can’t control.”

“But…”

“Can you still feel her?”

“Yes, she’s upset, angry, but alive. I can feel it in every fiber of my being.”

“That’s all that matters, focus on that.”

Peadair took them to where he had woke and Killian paused, cocking his head to the side. “Do you smell that?” He asked and the all shook their heads. “Of course, sorry, it smells like men and magic.” He turned to Peadair. “Were you two alone when you were attacked?”

“That I can remember yeah.”

“Perhaps cloaking magic then? They must have ambushed you.”

“They had to be incredibly fast or I have a slight bit of amnesia from them attacking me. One second I was with her, we were happy and enjoying ourselves then the next I’m waking up without her. My head still aches…she’s dealing with enough, I hope that isn’t bothering her too” Arrow touched his shoulder “Nelly can handle whatever is happening. She’s strong and amazingly resilient. She hasn’t had to deal with trouble before but when I’ve trained with her to hone her abilities or when her brothers have she’s always wow’d us. She’s going to be okay, try not to feel so guilty. If anything would bother her it’s that. She wouldn’t want you blaming yourself. She was taken just as much by surprise as you”

Despite his words Arrow understood how his son in law felt. He knew all too well, it was hard not to blame yourself when what you want most in the world is to keep your family safe. “I hope we find her before Fionni returns, she’s coming back home soon. She should be anyway” Zaylee spoke now “don’t give yourself more to worry over.”

Jayson added “I would just count my blessings that she wasn’t home and with you two, then she’d be wherever my sister is” Peadair nodded and Killian said I can follow this trail. Even if it doesn’t take us all the way to her it’s something to go on for now.” they were walking again and Killian asked “everyone should try to think of any rumors they’ve heard of lately. Maybe something will fit together with whatever we find along the way.”

Nelly brought her knee up and into the stomach of one of the men manhandling her into a back room and he immediately doubled over so she kneed him in the nose, knocking him back. Another of the thugs backhanded her and gripped the back of her neck, forcing her into what looked like a cargo hold. “You are lucky you little bitch.” Their leader said.

“Where did you take Rydel?” She spat.

“He’s being punished.”

“Leave him alone, take me home.”

Their leader grabbed her, pinning her to a set of crates. “Shut your mouth or I will cut out your tongue.” He released her and backed up, straightening his clothes. “You are not going back and until we find a better way of dealing with your memory.”

“Who am I? Where am I from?”

He shook his head. “Just do as your told and you won’t be hurt.” She was left alone and she turned and kicked one of the crates in frustration. She could still feel him, his worry and now that she was focusing, his pain. She reached up and touched her head. He was hurt, but not bad. She wondered, if he could feel her as well and if he knew she had been struck. She took a breath, calming herself. If he could, then she needed to stay calm, she needed to find a way out and back to Rydel, then they could leave together and find the man she was connected to. Rydel had to know who he was and once they were truly safe, she could get his name.

Killian had been walking in almost a circle in the same area for about ten minuets when Peadair asked “what’re we doing” Killian sighed, he hadn’t wanted to say it and panic him but he wouldn’t ignore the question “Everything just ends here. I can’t sense a portal, I cant sense magic and I don’t smell anything Peadair”

“what do we do then?” his voice was desperate as he asked, hoping anybody had a good answer. “I’m not necessarily saying we give up Peadair but we just may have to trust in her strength to get herself back home. For now, lets walk back a bit and make sure I didn’t miss the trail breaking off somewhere” Arrow felt Zaylees growing concern and took her hand to comfort her.

Nelly began walking around where she was, trying to find a weapon or something that could be used as a weapon. She knew if she found one she could try to hide in here and take her kidnappers by surprise. She felt like she could take them. She couldn’t remember much but something inside her told Nelly should could take them if she atleast had a good weapon.

She heard the door unlock behind her and she spun around, glaring at the two men who came in, that was until they tossed Rydel on the floor. He was unconscious, his skin pale. “What did you do?” She asked as she dropped down next to him. They left without answering and she gently turned him onto his back. The front of his shirt was torn open and she could see branching lines covering his skin, obviously caused by some sort of electrical shock. “Rydel?” She shook him. “Hey, Rydel?” He groaned and she let out a sigh of relief. He was alive. She made him as comfortable as possible then went back to the crates.

Rydel woke a few minutes later with an even louder groan of pain. “Fuck.” He said.

“You’re awake.”

He turned his head. “And you’re alive. That’s good.” He slowly pushed himself up, hissing. “Bastards.” He looked around the room. “Cargo hold.”

“Are you alright?”

“There should be a pry bar in here somewhere.”

“Rydel, are you okay?”

“Yeah, it’s just a little bit of electricity, I’ll be fine.” He forced himself to his feet. “See? I’m perfect.”

He was obviously in quite a bit of pain but she didn’t say anything else. Now she knew something was in here but why hadn’t she found it yet? She felt maybe she was looking too hard. She closed her eyes, took a calming breath in and out then looked again. She found it by one of the crates in the back “why would they throw us in here with a weapon?”

“well there’s more of them than us”

“what about the rest of the passengers?”

“I’m too far away from them to undo my magic and they have some of it of their own. It’s why I can’t do it to them if you’re wondering”

“I figured there was a reason” after a short pause she asked “who do I keep thinking about?”

“Your husband, you’re married and you two have a nineteen year old daughter. I’d begin the process of releasing you from what we’ve done but I’m too scared to while I’m this hurt. I don’t want to mess up. The brain really shouldn’t be messed with, I’m sorry”

“we can’t change the past. I’m just glad you’re on my side now. My family really will help you out of whatever trouble you’re in”

“thank you”

“my daughter isn’t here too is she?”

“No but I don’t know where she is. She wasn’t with you but she’s ninteen and pretty cute so I imagine she has some boyfriend somewhere?”

“you’ve seen her before?”

“a few times’ he seemed a little uncomfortable “they actually first wanted her but I lied about her so they wouldn’t want her”

“and you apparently tried to tell them I was too hard headed”

“well what I said about you was true. With or without me you’ll wake up so if they kill me don’t worry. Some people just have too strong of wills to be controlled too long”

“what did you say about Fionni to make them not want her?” he smiled and it took her a few seconds to realize “oh my goodness, is that really her name?”

“yep, I told you. I give you a little information and your brain runs with it”

“whats my husbands name?”

“Peadair”

“Peadair” she got emotional saying it so she had to wipe at her eyes. “you’d think I would have remembered his name too” he shrugged “Peadair didn’t grow inside you nor did you raise him. I really do think theres something special between moms and their kids. You’re one of the good ones”

“why don’t you rest, I’m going to hide”

“why?”

“I’m going to surprise them with an atack with this thing. Something tells me I have the skill for it”

“you do, your family is pretty impressive”

“Maybe I’ll remember my parents if you tell me their names”

“Arrow and Zaylee, your father captains the guard if you remember what that is and your mother is the most wild carefree spirit I’ve ever seen. She gave your dad quite a bit of trouble before they got together”

“I kind of remember what the guard is”

“good, I really tried not to take too much from you”

“thank you”

“dont thank me for that. I’m still a horses ass”

“you took me instead of my daughter and I know you had to give them somebody so I’m grateful for that” she just realized he didn’t answer about what he told them about Fionni. “Oh yeah, we got distracted by my memory of her name. What did you tell them about Fionni?”

“that she can do what we can do. That was about the only way to make sure they wouldn’t try”

“what would they do if they found out you lied?” she looked around and he knew what she was looking for”no cameras in here. Don’t worry. I had no idea they cared about the camera in my cabin”

“what would they do to you?”

“Lets just hope they dont find out. Worry about getting off this train first”

Killian came to a sudden stop and everyone came to a halt, turning to him. “Do you feel that?” He asked and they all shook their heads. “It’s like a tingle of magic on my skin. It’s so subtle, that’s why I missed it.” He turned, look around and then he squatted down and pressed his hand to the ground. “Something came here, something big, but someone was able to hide it.”

“Can you track them?”

“I can try, but I don’t know how far. The feeling isn’t strong, it’s almost nonexistent, but I can get us as far as possible.”

“Then please take us.”

Nelly became still when she heard the door open and peeked out to see Rydel still lying quietly on the floor. She pulled her head back when he started looking around and heard him close the door. She had to wait for the right moment, she didn’t want him alerting the others. “Where did you go, elf.” He said. She could hear him moving closer to where she hid behind a stack of crates. “Come out now, don’t make me get the boss.” She lifted the pry bar and when he started to look around the crates, she hit him in the head with it. He screamed, jerking back and clutching his head and that’s when Rydel came to his feet and put him in a choke hold.

They were seeming to get the upper hand when a loud roar actually shook the train. If a creature’s voice could do that, what the hell was coming. Suddenly they were all on the floor as the train was lifted from it’s rails. Nelly slid across the cargo hold but Rydel caught her, having been able to grab onto something built into the floor. The man they had been struggling with was against the wall with all the cargo. Something was flying with them, causing the train to jerk around so that the part of the train they were in was now falling back down to earth. Nelly wanted to scream but managed to keep it in. She didn’t know how high the creature had gotten before they detached and if she was going to die when they hit the ground she didn’t want to go out screaming in panic.

They hit the ground and all her thoughts ceased. She woke with a gasp sometime later and tried to get up but immense pain kept her from it. The cargo hold was in pieces, strewn across where they were and her leg was twisted in a way that almost made her want to vomit. She looked around, Rydel had been holding her, where was he? She finally spotted him, laying among some jagged, broken pieces of wood. She hoped he hadn’t bled out. Nelly began to use her arms to drag herself over to him.

Chapter Three

“Rydel?” She said when she was close enough to him. “Wake up.” She shook him. She pulled herself closer and shoved at some of the broken pieces of wood laying on top of him. She gasped when she saw a piece stuck in his stomach. “Rydel, please wake up.” He coughed and blinked his eyes open and she let out the breath she had been holding. “Hey, can you hear me?”

He turned his head to look at her. “Yeah, are you alright?” His breathing sounded ragged and strained and there was blood in his mouth.

“I can’t use my legs.”

“I think my ribs are broken.” He looked down his body, seeing the piece of wood. “Oh good.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know.” He slowly began to sit up, gritting his teeth against the pain.

“Don’t you’re hurt really bad.”

He shook his head. “We can’t stay here, we have to hide or something. I…I think I can carry you.”

“But…”

“I’ll be alright, just…let’s just get away from here.”

He fought his way through the pain to his knees, then lifted her over his shoulder. He nearly fell, but managed to get to his feet much to Nelly’s surprise. “Don’t push yourself.”

“We won’t go far, just enough to not be seen, okay?”

“Okay.”

When she was with her family she made a note to tell them about this too. Rydel was far from a perfect man but he obviously wasn’t bad. He could leave her and think only of himself. Even if he liked Fionni as he seemed to Fionni would never know what he had done. He could run, possibly even get away from those thugs that were obviously forcing him to help them but he was helping her hide too. When he was satisfied they were in a good spot he set Nelly down as carefully as he could. “jesus your leg”

“I’m trying not to look at it. We need to think of your stomach first.”

“we both have our fair share on internal bleeding. There’s supplies everywhere, the crates busted. We must have been pretty damn high” he began to stand again “stay quiet, I’ll hurry” Nelly laid down, hoping it didn’t take him long. The other now crossed her mind. She couldn’t begin to imagine how scared they were. Some may even still be with whatever monster had grabbed their train. Others who would have fallen still didn’t know who they were. She didn’t but at least she had the security of Rydel, someone who knew her and had any idea where they were. To be hurt, confused and alone, she hoped that didn’t become her

Peadair’s leg had given out on him and it and every inch of him throbbed with pain. He gripped his leg, his eyes squeezed closed. “Peadair, tell me what you’re feeling.” Arrow ordered gently.

“Pain, everything hurts, especially my leg. It feels like…I don’t know like it’s twisted and everything feels battered, it hurts to breathe and move.” He raised his head, his eyes full of tears. “She’s hurt, Nelly’s seriously hurt.”

“You have to move past it Peadair, push through the pain so we can keep moving.”

He nodded. “Okay, I’m sorry.”

“I know how it feels to be brought to your knees by your mate’s pain, I’ve been there, so don’t apologize.”

Peadair nodded again and forced himself to stand. He took a deep breath, ignoring the worst of the pain. “Okay, I can keep going, I’m alright.”

Nelly jerked awake when she heard footsteps. She hadn’t even realized she had fallen asleep and she felt stupid for doing it, but she was so cold and exhausted and everything hurt. She was relieved when she saw not only Rydel, but two others, one who was helping him walk, the other was carrying a bag. “I brought some friends and supplies.” Rydel said, his words coming out strained as the young man helped him sit.

“Are you alright?”

“Fine, just tired.”

“Don’t die on me.”

He chuckled then winced. “Never in a million years, I’ll never be able to make up for this if I do.”

The two men helped Rydel remove his shirt then began tending to his wounds. Nelly needed to talk, she had to do something else than just exist in pain “who are these two? I didn’t see them on the train”

“these are actually friends of mine. We got tossed in a good spot, I mean, if we were going to fall out of the sky and get maimed like this it was a good spot” Nelly smiled “so you know where we are. Good”

“I realized as I was gathering things. I’m sorry it took me so long”

“You brought proper help, thank you”

“I’m Intevar Iligolor” The short white haired man said. He had grey eyes and she could have sworn she saw a tattoo going down one side of his face, traveling all the way down his neck, continuing under his clothes. The other man spoke. “and I’m Folwin Adfaren” He seemed rather tall, she hadn’t caught his eye color but his red hair was beautiful, falling past his shoulders. “I’m Nelly”

“He’s already told us about your kidnapping. Hopefully he’ll feel well enough soon to undo the magic thats keeping you from remembering your family” Once they were done with Rydel they moved over to help Nelly “you aren’t going to like us very much but we’re just trying to fix this.”

“I assumed it would hurt. It’s okay, I feel like I’m tough enough” Folwin smiled as he said “you are an incredibly tough woman. You come from a strong family.”

“I really want to remember them”

“you ready?”

“yeah”

Peadair’s leg once again threatened to buckle, but he stayed on his feet and his stomach twisted with the extreme amount of pain he suddenly felt. What was happening with his wife? Who was hurting her even more? “Did you hear me?” Killian asked.

“Sorry, what?”

“The magic is getting stronger and the scent is back. I think they stopped covering themselves.”

“Thank goodness.” Zaylee said. “I know she’s strong, but she’s still our baby and I couldn’t bear to lose her.”

“We won’t.” Arrow said. “How is she Peadair?”

“In a lot of pain, but she’s still alive and not scared. I hope that means she’s safe.”

“I’m sure she is.”

“I’m going to kick the shit out of whoever took her.” Jayson said.

“We have to keep a clear head, son, for your sister.”

Jayson sighed sharply “I’m sorry” His father had trained him better than to let his emotions take hold like this but this was his sister. It was harder than he imagined it would be in this situation. Nelly was such a good person. He knew whatever was happening to her wasn’t deserved in the slightest. He’d try to calm down though. Nelly lay there with damp eyes when they finished “you did pretty well just so you know.” Intevar remarked then Folwin added “yeah, I’ve seen big burly men react worse than you did.”

“Thank you so much for doing it” she dared to look at her leg “you really got it straight again”

“yes, please stay as still as possible though. We have it wrapped tight but we should give it a bit”

“My husbands so worried”

“Maybe he’ll find us then before we have to move you”

“Rydel says we’re really far from where I’m from”

“when it comes to their loved ones you’d be surprised how resourceful beings can become” Folwin looked over at Rydel “how’re you feeling buddy?”

“Much better”

“you think you could give her her memories back yet? I think she’d feel a lot better if she knew the people that were looking for her” He got up and walked over to her “yeah, I think I can. That stuff you make works even better than the last time you had me drink it”

“I’m always trying to improve it” Folwin looked down at Nelly “I’m going to give you some too once you’re sitting up. It’ll make you feel amazing”

“relax for me okay Nelly”

“Okay” Rydel put his hands on her head. She half expected some chant or to feel some intense magic but there was nothing but silence. Everything came rushing back like the flood gates had been opened and it was a little overwhelming at first “stay clam Nelly” Intevar said gently so she tried soon finding herself crying again “Oh my god” Rydel opened his eyes “I’m sorry”

“Oh my god” Nelly said again. Shame washed over Rydel again as he saw the emotion of missing her family hit her. She could picture them all now, could remember the amazing day she was having with her husband when he ruined it.

“I understand if you can never forgive me, Nelly, what I did…”

She reached out and grabbed his hand, giving it a squeeze. “It’s okay, I’m not upset at you, I don’t blame you.”

“Nelly.”

“I can see you didn’t want to do what you did, if you were like them, you wouldn’t have even bothered helping me, you wouldn’t have lied about my daughter. I forgive you okay?”

He nodded. “Okay.” It didn’t ease the ache in his heart and he hoped her loved ones were equally as forgiving. If not, he would understand. She let him go and he went and sat back down.

“I’m so glad Peadair is still alive, that he’s safe. He’s worried though and scared, but I know he’s coming for me.”

Rydel nodded then turned his attention to his friends. “You two should try and find other survivors.”

“Not until you’re both safe.” Folwin replied.

Intevar added “yeah, you two are in bad shape. They might be too but you’re one of our best friends Rydel. Once you two are sorted we’ll search around and help any confused beings”

“you need me to fix them though” Rydel protested and Nelly added “my family is coming. It might help for us not to be moving around all the time. If you want us resting for now anyway would you please look for some of the others. They must be so scared” The two men seemed to think a few moments before Folwin sighed “alright but we need you to drink what we gave him. Rydel knows how to use everything in our bag should you two need it” They helped Nelly sit up and had her down the medicine before helping her lay back down “what’re you two going to do if the men Rydel was working for find you?”

“we’ll figure it out” They still didn’t seem to want to leave them so Nelly pushed “They could all be just as seriously hurt. They’d bleed out and die before you came back. I’d like to know we at least tried to help them too. I’ll be fine, I remember all my training now. Even this hurt I’ll make it work and Rydel is in fairly good shape”

“we’ll be back tomorrow. There’s really no telling how many train cars fell off and where so we dont want to potentially waste time and leave you two without able bodies people to defend you.” She could tell they wouldn’t budge on their time line so she just thanked them. “you have good friends”

“yeah”

“does my daughter know them too?”

“No, I’ve done my best to not get her too tangled into my life.”

“we have all the time we could want to talk Rydel. Do you feel like telling me why you had to help those awful men?”

“I guess I do have to talk to you sometime”

“I’m not going to judge you Rydel.”

“My friends were using tact when they asked what were we going to do if those men found us. If you weren’t here they would have said what’re you going to do if your family catches up to you. I’m related to them”

“I figured as much since you share abilities”

“My gift with it was always stronger and it was realized pretty quick within the family how magnified it was in me.”

“so they started using you when you were little didn’t they?”

“Yeah but when I became a teenager I started to realize that my family…well…that we weren’t good elves. I should have never helped them again when I realized but”

“it’s not so easy to go against your family”

“yeah but…well” she could tell how embarrassed he felt “then I met Fionni and…I’ve never wanted to be better more than when I met her so I set my mind to I was done, I wouldn’t be helping them atall but turns out my family is worse than I even realized. My parents were willing to let me go, to free me from the family work but when my cousins found out they were furious since my abilities are so much stronger than the rest of theirs, They worked the rest of the family up, reminding them of how much more profit they’ve been making since I started helping and…I dont know what they’ve done with my mom and dad. They let me see videos of them…especially when they’re mad at me…they show me them getting punished. Aren’t I still a monster if I turn my back on my parents in order to not do bad things any more?”

“They are the real monsters here Rydel, they pushed you into a corner so you had no choice but to go through with what they were doing. No one is going to blame you and I’ll make sure my family understands. You were just trying to be a good son.”

Rydel’s eyes burned with tears, but he wasn’t going to cry in front of Nelly. “I’ll make it up to you, I swear.”

“Just focus on healing, okay?” He nodded and she had to ask. “So, you like my daughter then?”

He gave her a little smile. “I’m not going to sit here and pretend I don’t. She’s everything someone could ever want and everything I don’t deserve. She’s perfect and beautiful and I’m an idiot.”

“No you’re not and once my family gets here, I’ll ask my mom and dad to save your parents then you can start over, you can live the life you want without people using you.”

It sounded too good to be true but Rydel dared to hope it was. The next day Intevar & Folwin came back with only one woman. “she is the only one we found still living”

“she doesn’t even look hurt” Nelly said in shock “she’s essentially indestructible. She was wanted to fight for entertainment purposes. They were going to put her against all kinds of animals and creatures” she was still so out of it she wasn’t even reacting to what they were saying. “Hey, Thessalia” Rydel tried and she actually looked at him “come here” she just stared “that’s your name, Thessalia. I’m going to help you remember” she walked over to him and he stood, putting his hand on her head much like he had done to Nelly and before any of them could register what was going on she punched him. He sighed “I’m sorry”

“where’s my baby?!”

“we left her on your moms doorstep. She’s fine, I promise. Babies are too much hassle for my family. Your mom has her, I swear”

“where am I?”

“In the Chaos wood” Her spirits seemed to rise. “I’ve been here before” she exclaimed before taking off, leaving them all behind.”

“are you okay Rydel?”

“yeah”

“should we chase her?”

“she’ll be fine. Besides, she wouldn’t want to stay in our group”

“I’m so glad a baby wasnt on that train” Intevar now spoke “we should get going. I’ll carry Nelly, Rydel, if you need to, lean on Folwin.” They began moving as soon as Intevar had Nelly in his arms. Rydel lead, his mind busy with what Fionni was going to think of him once she knew what kind of man he had been all his life. That the man that made her laugh ruined so many others lives.

They were about two days into the journey when they heard someone coming and hid. Nelly called out with excitement when she noticed her brother Olynn and soon her parents and bets of all, her husband right behind them. She wanted to run but she had just tried to stand yesterday and that had gone horribly. They came out from their hiding spot and walked over to her equally excited family.

Peadair was the first to his wife, his relief and love washing over her the moment he laid eyes on her. He gathered into his arms, his lips pressing against hers as he cried. “Nelly, you’re okay, I’m so sorry, so, so sorry.”

“Shh, it’s okay, I’m okay.” She hugged herself tightly to him.

It was hard for him to let her go long enough for her to hug everyone else and he had her back in his arms as soon as she was done. She then began to explain who they were and Peadair felt anger bubble to the surface when she told them what part Rydel had played. “Peadair, love, it’s not his fault.” She said softly as she made him look into her eyes. “He helped me, he kept our daughter safe. He could have left me at any time, he could have hurt me, but he saved me instead, even after being injured. He’s not a bad man, he was forced into this.”

“Nelly…it’s…I could have lost you.” His voice cracked.

“I know, but he had no choice. They hurt his parents when he wouldn’t listen, so please, forgive him.”

Peadair nodded. “Alright, I will, for you.”

“Thank you.” She looked to her parents. “Do you think you could save his parents?”

“Just tell me where they are.” Arrow said and Zaylee couldn’t help but crack a smile. Her husband was so ferocious, especially when one of his babies had been hurt.

“I wish I knew, I’ve tried figuring it out but I can’t. I still have videos of them. Maybe you can see things in the background I didn’t.”

“Maybe some of those men on the train are still living. Nothing would please me more than questioning them” Arrow looked over at Peadair “I’d rather you take my daughter home. She needs to heal” Arrow looked at Nelly now “Please, We can all handle this. You have more than enough brothers here with your mother and I. I also swear I wont turn on Rydel and on top of that I’ll make sure he has somewhere to go and all that. If need be I’ll just bring him home and put him in the guard to give him a more honest way of life”

“Thank you dad”

“You’ll go home and let that leg heal properly?” She could see how much her father wanted to demand it. “Okay, I’ll let Peadair take me home. I want to see my daughter anyway. Besides, she’s going to panic if she comes home and can’t find any of the family” Arrow walked over and kissed his daughters head “I love you so much”

“Hopefully I wont be worrying you all again anytime soon” Peadiar barely rested on the journey home. He had felt how bad this break was and he didn’t want something happening to get her in worse condition. Plus, she was absolutely right. Their daughter would be back soon if she wasn’t sitting home alone already. When they arrived he walked the house, seaching for any signs of their daughter “Hm, not home”

“dont let what happened to us worry you. I bet you if we check the mail she wrote”

“where would you like to sit while I check it?”

“our bed is fine. You need to rest too” He carried her to their room then went out to their mailbox, relief rushing through Peadair when he saw a letter from their daughter. He opened it there.

“I hope this doesn’t come too long after I was supposed to make it home! I’m having so much fun and I’d really like to stay longer. I’ll write you often so you know I’m safe. You can also expect pictures so you can see I’m safe. She drew a face with a tongue sticking out of it which made Peadair smile. He looked at the picture and sighed, happy to now know both his little girl and wife were safe. Tomorrow he planned to write Fionni back and hoped she stuck to her word of writing often. She was nineteen, an adult but it didn’t feel like it. He wondered if it ever would. Everytime he looked at her he saw a little girl and wanted nothing more than to keep her home where he could protect her.

Once inside he showed the letter and picture to Nelly “Oh I’m so glad to see her. Even this way. What if she moves there Peadair”

“I guess we’ll have to follow her” Nelly laughed “I was kidding, she’ll come home eventually”

“dont tease me Nelly” she smiled at him and he laid down, pulling her into his arms “how did she grow up so fast Nelly. She shouldn’t be an adult already”

“But she is and she’s amazing. I love knowing her as an adult too. She’s everything I hoped she’d grow into”

“yeah” They just talked until sleep drug them into a peacful rest, still tangled in eachothers warmth.

~ The End ~


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