#TeamRPG, Elena, part 3

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.



#TeamRPG, Elena part 2

Elena had thought that walking for hours would burn the hate out of her, at least some, but the opposite happened. It seemed that burning the energy catalyzed her hatred, and as two hours became three, she stopped seeing that the plants around her weren’t anything like the plants on the world she came from. She didn’t catch that there were strange animals darting amongst the trees, trying to stay away from her. She just saw the myriad ways life was unfair and how horribly screwed up her life was. She saw the people trying to take advantage of her. The ways in which people who could have protected her had let her down. The ways in which she had let herself down. Lost in that world of hate, Elena had no idea she was being followed, and she was taken completely by surprise when a voice called out to her.

“Halt, or you will get an arrow through your back!” Elena whirled around, too angry to think whether it was a risky move. A small part of her brain wondered by someone was threatening her with an arrow instead of a gun, but before she could speak, she was rendered wordless at the sight of the man standing in front of her.

At least, she thought it was a man. He was dressed all in green and brown, a knife strapped to his belt the seemingly perfect accompaniment to the bow and arrow he held tight in his hands. He stood perfectly still, his eyes locked on her, daring her to move. And he had light green-tinted hair and pointed ears. When he spoke again, he did so with the unmistakable air of someone who wanted very badly to be obeyed.

“Who are you, human, and what are you doing wandering freely through the Prince’s lands?”

“I…uh…the Prince?” His words were perfectly clear to Elena, but the reality of the situation was undermining her ability to process thought.

“Yes, the Prince. You had to know these were his lands – the entire eastern half of the island is his. And the only humans allowed to walk free are those carrying his marker. Do you have one of those?” When Elena didn’t reply immediately, he continued. “I thought not. You are escaped from one of the landowners around here. Your master will be much displeased with you. Stay where you are. I will bind your hands and take you to the castle. There, we’ll find out where you belong and get you returned to your owner.”

That finally broke Elena’s stasis, and the anger she’d been cultivating during her journey burst forth. “I have no owner! I’m Elena Morales from New York, and I’m going back home! You can put your damned toy away and play hunter somewhere else, because I am not going anywhere with you!” Something in her eyes or voice or manner spooked the man in front of her, because the point of his arrow dipped slightly and his eyes grew wide. Unfortunately for Elena, there was a second person she knew nothing about behind her, at least not until she felt the point of something sharp against the side of her neck.

“I’d do as he says, Elena Morales from New York, or we’ll just kill you right now. No human is worth much trouble, and you’ve just about exhausted what I’m willing to put up with. Now, put your hands down in front of you and let my brother bind you. I will be tying a rope around your waist to make sure that you don’t run, and for good measure, I’m going to gag that disrespectful mouth of yours.”


RPG Blog hop, part 1

Elena pulled her thin jacket tighter around her and turned into the wind. She hated every step she took. She hated freezing her ass off because her boss told her that the customers liked to think of her as sexy all the time. She hated the dirty feeling she had every other Friday when she did what she had to do to keep him from turning her mother in as undocumented. She hated the way he said “undocumented,” the way she heard “illegal,” the way she knew that it didn’t matter what she did – to some people, her whole family would always be dirty. She hated that instead of hanging out in the dorms at some Ivy League university, as anyone else with her GPA would have been doing, she was wearing skimpy uniforms and preening for tips from businessmen too cheap or cowardly to go hire an escort and give them what they really wanted. She hated this city, these people, and the knowledge that brilliant little Elena Morales had no future ahead of her except a descent down a morality ladder she’d already seen so much of.

She hated on such a palpable level that she always wondered how people didn’t see it. It felt like it should be shining out of her eyes, her fingers, every strand of hair. But a smile and a low-cut top did wonders to make men ignore the reality in front of them, and the women she knew were in their own hells and knew better than to comment.

Every click or clack of her utterly-inappropriate-for-daily-life heels punctuated the anger she fought to keep contained, at least until she got home. At home, she hated, but she could hate alone. A mile, three deadbolts, and two chains later, and she was finally safe. Elena stripped off her whore’s clothes (as she always thought of them), showered off what she could of her biweekly copulation-for-safety with her boss, put on a long t-shirt, and climbed into bed, ignoring the tears that rolled down her face the whole time. In bed, the cracks in the dam that had been building all day finally gave way entirely, and she wept uncontrollably. It wasn’t the first time she’d passed out from the exhaustion of wracking sobs, and she knew it wouldn’t be the last.

Than night, she dreamed of fire.

Morning came quietly, a sharp contrast to the night before. There were salt tracks on her cheeks, but the sun shining through the window spoke of a cleanliness that superseded small details. Elena grabbed her phone and thought about checking Twitter, but decided against it. She was in no mood for the real world today.

Instead, she checked the weather, then called up the train schedules. Today would be a perfect day for getting out. Getting out of the city, getting out of her life, getting out of her head. She washed her face and started getting dressed in what she thought of as her armor – jeans, flannel, and sturdy hiking boots. Elena knew men could be assholes even when she was dressed as unalluringly as possible, but this way, she at least felt like she could tell them to go to hell. She grabbed her phone, her backpack, and a water bottle and headed down to the deli a couple of blocks away for provisions for the day. ‘Provisions.’ Heh. She felt so alive, going on an adventure, that for a while she started to imagine that it was more than just a stolen day off.

On the train upstate, Elena called her boss and told him that, yes, she knows Saturday is the biggest day of the week, but she’d eaten something the night before that was making her sick (which was technically true), and if she came in today, she’d just puke on the customers. Yes, if she felt better she’d come in. Right. Like that was going to happen. She needed this trip, and nothing – not even threats from that douchebag – was going to stop her. And then she put her phone away and stared out the window at the changing countryside.

As the city changed to suburbs and then forest, she thought mostly of the hate that so often consumed her. It wasn’t doing her very much good to hate, but she couldn’t ignore it. It was too big. A day in the woods wouldn’t get rid of the hate, but she hoped maybe she would start to see a way out. That’s what she wanted most of all – a way to a life that she didn’t hate. Maybe back to school. Maybe to a real job, one where she didn’t have to shake her ass and put out just to keep the wolves at bay. Maybe make some friends, maybe even a special friend. But it all seemed so daunting when she was just barely keeping a roof over her head and her mom out of the hands of ICE.

The train stopped at the end of the line, and Elena got out. She was headed towards an unincorporated area – what she thought of as wilderness – with seven hours before she had to catch the train back to the city. She set the alarm on her phone for half of that, so that she’d know to turn around at some point, and headed out. She walked through the little town at the end of the line, then headed out of town in some direction along what looked like some side road. She didn’t have a plan for where she’d go, but she had food, good boots, and enough on her mind to keep her occupied. At some point, she left the road and began making her way along some long-forgotten path through the trees.

In the first hour of walking, she had to fight to keep herself from turning around half a dozen times. She was never going to make her life better tromping through some trees. She was never going to get away from her awful job and her awful boss and her awful life, and thinking she would was only going to make it harder to get through each day. She could still go back, earn a night’s pay, and not have to eat ramen for a week to make up for this ‘adventure.’ But she kept walking, determined to ignore those voices of failure. In the second hour, she found her rhythm and began seeing the life around her. There was more to the world than a grungy city and a seedy bar. And at the end of the second hour, she didn’t notice when she crossed over from one world into another.