Elements by Nia Markos – Chapter Thirteen
Where was I? I turned in every direction trying to get my bearings. I knew this place. It was where I came across Aidan and Elron earlier. I was back in the place they called Deis-dé. Would I be safe here? I sat down heavily on the tall grass. Should I wait or try to explore? Where was everyone? How did I get here, again, on my own? The questions were endless as they ran through me. I decided to sit and wait, hoping someone would find me. It was peaceful, with the warm breeze and the sound of chirping birds. I slowly relaxed, realizing I was safe. Sliding closer to a tree, I leaned against its trunk, pulling my legs towards me. I wrapped my arms around my knees, silently pleading for someone I trusted to come find me.
Time dragged on. A few times I thought I heard my name being called. Feeling it was better to stay put, I waited listening to the sounds around me. I must have fallen asleep for a while. The sound of someone calling my name woke me. Rising to my feet, I readied to run at the first sign of trouble.
“Alexa?” I heard my name just as Aidan appeared from under the covering of the trees. He ran towards me, pulling me into his arms. I stood wooden in his embrace, not sure how to react. Realizing I was not hurt, I felt him sigh against my cheek.
“I couldn’t feel you. I thought I, um, we had lost you.” He said, stepping back from me. His arms dropped to his sides while he looked me over.
“I’m sorry.” I said. “I don’t know what happened.”
He took another step back, putting some distance between us physically and emotionally. I could tell he was just as confused as I was by his reaction. I was relieved to be found, even if it was by him.
“It’s all right.” He breathed unsteadily. “It took me longer than it should have to realize this is where you might be.”
We turned as we heard someone else coming. From the opposite direction Aidan had appeared from we both saw Elron come to a stop as he saw us. Seeing we were both safe, he strolled casually towards us.
“This is amazing.” He chuckled, as he approached. “This is the safest spot for us after all.”
Seeing no one else arrive, I started to worry about my mom. I did not know how I ended up there, but from what Eliana said, my mother would not be able to get here. Were they safe?
“Where’s everyone else?” I turned looking around. “What happened?”
Aidan took a step closer to me; some impulse seemed to drive him to touch me again. He visibly shook himself; aware he had revealed more than he should have. I was curious about what he was feeling. A wall seemed to separate us suddenly. It was as if he was blocking his thoughts from me. His display confused me. Whatever he was feeling, I was not ready to examine it. We were still strangers. I knew nothing about him. The only feeling he seemed to draw from me was annoyance. I was still staring at him when Elron spoke to break the silence.
“We were attacked.” Elron stated the obvious. “They had a warlock with them. He was the one who caused the explosions. After you disappeared we all split up. Aidan and I were sent to find you.”
“What about my mom? Is she safe?” I was worried about her.
“Rider stayed behind to get your mother to safety. We don’t know where they are. We should head to the safe house for now. When it’s safe for the others they will meet us there.”
Elron pointed in a direction to our right. Aidan placed his hand on the small of my back, gently pushing me to walk in the direction Elron pointed at. Just that small touch brought heat to my face. I avoided his eyes and lowered my head to look at the ground. A small growl escaped him as I walked faster to put more distance between us. My steps faltered as I bumped into Elron who stopped and turned back to look at us. His expression was comical as he stared at us. Aidan and I carefully avoided looking at each other. Shaking his head, Elron resumed his trek through the forest. I followed him, keeping a good distance between Aidan and me.
Able to finally appreciate my surroundings, I let myself take it all in. The place was magical. The sun shone through the opening of the tree line above us. Many varieties of flowers bloomed, types I had never seen before. They colored the world around me. My head swiveled while my eyes captured the splendor. I felt amazed by the serene landscape, the way nature magnified the colors around me. The green leaves on the trees gave a glow of emerald prisms. Everything seemed to have an aura around it. I looked down at my hands and saw they had a slight shine emanating from them. Smiling, I continued watching the world through new eyes.
We walked for what seemed like hours before Elron stopped and held up his hand for us to stop. I could see a clearing before me. Listening for any sounds, satisfied that it was clear, he waved us forward. We stepped out from under the cover of the trees into an even more astounding sight.