Her captors were rough with Elena as they tied her, and her wrists hurt where they had tied the rope too tightly. They weren’t gentle as they pushed her along, either. The – the only word that came to mind was ‘elves’ – clearly were able to keep up a greater pace than she was, especially on the uneven forest floor, but she was determined not to let them beat her. After a few minutes of shock at what happened to her, she had found a new outlet for her hate – Ta’la and his sister, Ta’lien. They mostly spoke a language she couldn’t understand (not that she could understand how they also spoke English), but every so often they’d slip back into English, just to insult her, it seemed.
Elena learned that she was somewhere called Kampos Isle, a stronghold of elves, ruled by some Prince. They were taking her to see this Prince, who would then decide what happened to her. It didn’t sound like any of the alternatives would be particularly pleasant. She didn’t have any idea how she’d gotten here, but here seemed just like all the other places she’d seen. The powerful hurt the weak, there were those who had privilege and those who didn’t, and, once again, she was one of the weak who had no power. Well, she wasn’t going to let this new place defeat her – she’d taken too much crap from too many people for too long.
But she didn’t really have a clue how.
That’s when the alarm she’d set on her phone went off.
Ta’la yanked on the rope, pulling Elena painfully to a halt, and yelled – with a hint of worry in his voice – “What in the kingdom is that noise?”
Elena stared at him, then gestured at the gag they’d put on her.
Ta’lien drew her knife and held it to Elena’s neck as she ungagged her. “We’re not afraid.” Then she paused, glaring. “Make it stop.”
“It’s in my pocket. I can’t reach it with my hands tied like this.”
“Oh, ho. We’re not untying you. Ta’la – hold her. I’m going to get this thing out. But I’m warning you, human – if you try anything, we’ll just kill you here and leave your corpse for the wolves.”
Elena nodded, though a glimmer of something was beginning to form in her mind. She didn’t know if they’d ever seen anything like her phone before, and maybe she could use that to her advantage. She pointed as best she could to her back pocket, and Ta’lien reached around to take the phone. It was louder out of the denim, and the two elves were clearly dealing with something unfamiliar – and frightening.
“Witch! Don’t you know that magic is forbidden to humans?” Ta’la’s voice reached a higher pitch. “Make it stop. Make it stop now!”
“She’s no witch, you fool! She stole this from a wizard, clearly. Tell us where you got it!”
Elena began to say something – to deny that she was a thief, or a witch, how absurd – when she caught a glimpse of fire from her dreams the previous night and heard a word in her mind, repeating itself over and over. Fadrain. Fadrain. Fadrain. Fadrain. And she knew what she had to do. Ta’la was stronger, but Ta’lien was the more dangerous one, so Elena turned to her first. Not sure what would happen, she looked Ta’lien in the face and repeated the strange word.