Nightmare's Game

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On the Way

      "It was an accident!" Emmelyne had pleaded. Somehow, despite his natural suspicion, Raven believed what the girl had told him. Raven had to admit that there was a lot that he didn't know about Elves. They, after all, didn't exist on Earth.

      Though still, Emmelyne was half human. Very likely, her abilities were different from more normal elves. Weaker in some ways...but perhaps stronger in others. Just like her abilities were not like those in her human heritage.

      Raven shook his head...all the thinking he was doing was beginning to give him a headache. Still, though, he couldn't help but wonder what else Emmelyne had up her sleeve. She might surprise him yet again. Maybe herself as well.

      The sun rose early in the morning, but Raven had woken long before. Taking in the sent of morning dew, Raven quickly relaxed, forgetting about the troubles of the night before.

      Raven made his way just outside of town, to a small, rolling hill that overlooked the plains. He sighed. The grassy knoll was beautiful. He had seen such beauty very few times in the city. Everything around him was always so artificial..so lifeless. Despite their troubles, and their more or less mundane lifestyle, Raven envied the people of this town. It was almost as if they didn't have a care in the world except food and fun.

      He sighed again. Though Raven knew he had overreacted to Emmelyne's mental incursion, he still didn't like the idea of someone knowing so much about him. Especially when he knew so little about her. She was so furtive.

      Raven shook his head, clenching his fists in frustration. There would be no use trying to pry information out of the Elvin girl. She'd just regress and end up not trusting him. No. He'd have to just let her tell him what she would, and hide what she felt like. After all, he wouldn't want her prying into his past.

      Not that it mattered anymore. She probably knew more about him than he knew of himself at the moment. Raven couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of that.

      He sat there alone for some time. Simply waiting to hear the sounds of the day beginning. Raven reflected on the events of the past few days. So much had happened, but much more was yet to come. He sure hoped he was ready for whatever challenges lay ahead.

      True, Raven had fought before. He'd defended himself on several occasions. But still, he'd never killed anyone before. Not with his own hands, or with a weapon. The Skeletal Warriors had been different. They were already dead. He'd thought of them more like practice dummies, and hadn't really been phased by destroying them.

      Slowly, the townsfolk began to rise and go about their business. They ignored Raven for the most part. Tasha, though, did approach him once and began talking to him about some dream she had. The red-haired girl was so engrossed in what she was prattling on about that she didn't even realize that Raven wasn't really paying attention.

      They really are like the girls from home, thought Raven. Tasha squealed at something she thought was funny and ran off laughing.

      Raven shook his head. What on Earth..err..Dragons Breath had she wanted anyway? After a moment of thought, Raven decided that he probably shouldn't have ignored her. She was just so annoying. At least some of the girls here were more subdued.

      "Hey, Raven!" someone called from behind him.

      Speaking of whom..

      "Good morning, Emmelyne," Raven replied, softly.

      "What are you doing out here?" she cautiously asked.

      "Thinking." He didn't even turn to face her.

      "Oh" Emmelyne shuffled her feet a bit. She seemed to be unsure as to what to say to him.

      "What do you want?" Raven questioned, perhaps a bit more coldly then he would have liked.

      "Ummm" she said quickly, "The merchants are getting ready to leave. They should be ready to go within the hour."

      Raven sat there, unmoving, and Emmelyne was about to leave. He heard her stop, and turn around. There was a space of silence.

      Then, Emmelyne began, "Raven...I'm.."

      "No!" Raven interrupted. Emmelyne jumped at the force of his single utterance. Raven continued, "No apologies. No nothing. I don't want to hear it...you did nothing wrong. Not on purpose anyway."

      Emmelyne stood there a moment, eyeing him up. Then, she turned, and went to pack her things.

      And so the journey began anew. It was not quite noon when Emmelyne and Raven set off again. The two rode in the cramped space in the back of a covered wagon.

      "It'll be about four hours until we get to our stop," Emmelyne told Raven, "We're lucky that the caravan is coming within a mile of the forest. It won't take long to get to the portal."

      Raven nodded thoughtfully, "So" He trailed off a bit, but finally finished, "What should we do then?"

      Emmelyne shrugged. Then she looked at him, "Can I ask you something?"

      "Sure, whatever."

      "Why did you walk off so suddenly last night?"

      "I had nothing more to say," Raven replied, simply. Not long after though, he glanced back at her, "How much do you know about me, anyway?"

      With an almost pained expression, Emmelyne replied, "Like I said. Not much more than a jumble of images and emotions. I saw places and things that I never imagined," she paused, "I saw what she looked like."

      Raven nodded and Emmelyne continued, "I know that she was important to you and she died tragically," looking away, she finished, "If you want to get it off your chest, I'll listen."

      Raven looked away as well, "Would you really like to know?"

      Emmelyne nodded, "If you don't mind telling me."

      He shrugged, "You might as well know. You know most of it anyway," Raven sighed, "I really was a sap back then," he reminisced, "I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was three years ago. I was sixteen.."

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