the Overlords: III

Submitted by Kathleen on Sun, 05/29/2011 - 20:09

Liadan sighed. Gethin was gone and she was glad of it. I’m free. She was free of Gethin, but more importantly she was free of the ideals that he had tried to impose on her. She knew exactly what she was about to do. She was about to play traitor to Gethin’s loyalties, and become a valued member of the Overlord household. I love you Gethin, and I think you love me, but you would hate what I’m about to do.
‘’ This way,’’ said Elfreda, leading Gethin and Gavon into the forest. She strode ahead of them with a determined step, then stopped. They had come to the clearing.
‘’ This is Raehadon.’’ she said, gently, lovingly, yet when Gethin looked he saw the mark of sorrow upon her face.
Gethin looked around himself, afraid that what he saw couldn’t be real. He stood in awe as he took in everything around him.
He could not imagine a more perfect woodland village.
Soft sunlight glinted through the leaves of ancient trees, trees that stretched to the sky. He saw the small yet finely built houses that surrounded Raehadon, a dining hall and another building further back. He could not tell what it was.
The people astonished him the most. They were not grim or silent, but joyful. He could hear laughter. The boom of man, and the merry laugh of a young girl, fell equally on his ears, intertwined into a song.
Many were gathered there, men and women, the young and old.
While Gethin and Gavon surveyed their surroundings, Elfreda surveyed the newcomers.
Gavon stood tall. His eyes were filled with joy that had been shut away. He was kind of man that kept hope and love, she thought. And brought them where ever he went.
She looked to Gethin, and though she hardly knew him, she could not help but say his name. Gethin, she said silently, tasting it. His face was stern, but his eyes were wide, almost afraid. She realized that he had known little joy in his life. As did I before I came here.
Images of her former life came to mind, the life that she had lead before she had come to Raehadon. Elfreda pushed them aside. Dwelling too deeply on shadows was a luxury that she could not afford. I must live for the dead, she told herself firmly, For the lives that they were unable to lead. Not with them.
Gazing at Gethin’s face, she thought him handsome, in a dark way. She started upwards from his midnight locks, and moved down till she came cheeks. She saw his scar. She stepped back, though Gethin was not looking at her. How did he get that? she wondered. You will not pry, she told herself. And then contradicted her own orders.
I will, just not . . too much.
The festivities were over and there was work to attend to. The overlord, Gnarl, had been informed by Hira, one of the overlord taskmasters that two of villagers, Gavon, and Gethin had escaped. This escape did not bother him unduly. It would mean nothing if there was nowhere to go.
What did bother him were the rumors. Raehaddon. He felt the word coiling around him, like a snake big enough, strong enough to choke them all. He had heard faint whispers, quiet stories, of the rebels that dared defy the overlords, and take back villages that they had claimed.
Was there truth in these stories? Or was it only the wishful thinking of fettered slaves? He tried to dismiss the thought that nagged him.
At that moment a young village woman stepped through the heavy wooden doors. She moved with a steady stride and her auburn hair swayed behind her. How had she gotten past the guards?
He growled at her. ‘’ How dare you come here? What possible business could you have in our domain?’’
She shook, and looked around herself with awe. Gnarl noted this with pride. Doubtless she had never been inside a building so fine. She did something which surprised him. She looked him in the eyes.
‘’ I do have business,’’ she said. ‘’ Business that I think you will profitable, if you will only listen.’’
‘’ Go on.’’
‘’ The two that ran away, Gethin and Gavon, I knew them. They’re gone now, which means I have a good excuse to leave from where I and Gethin lived. I have a friend. I think she knows something. I could be .. a spy.’’
A strange look came over Gnarl’s face.
‘’ You’d betray your own kind?’’
Her voice rang in hall, level and full of steel.
‘’Only if you give me what I want.’’
Elfreda and Gethin walked together in the heart of Raehaddon, away from everyone else. It was sanctuary-a place apart.
Something had struck them as funny. Gethin felt a smile curving across his face and listened to Elfreda laugh. She tilted her head towards the sun and laughed a loud, hearty laugh. Her short hair swished at the nape of her neck, and he watched it catch
a reddish gleam in the sunlight.
Still smiling, she spoke. ‘’ Since you’re going to be staying here, I really don’t want you to call me Elfreda. Call me Elfie.’’
Gethin nodded. Oddly enough it suited her. So unlike Liadan, he thought, then cringed momentarily, ashamed of thinking about her, ashamed that he still loved her. He felt as if her name could destroy his new life, and defile this sacred place. His eyes turned towards Elfie. She still smiled. Right. Elfie.
‘’ So you tell people you don’t know that your name is Elfreda because it sounds more . . . intimidating?’’
She laughed again.
‘’ Exactly. It would not be good if my enemies knew I was called Elfie.’’
‘’ It suits you.’’
‘’ Thanks.’’
For moments neither spoke, and were surrounded by a warm, perfect stillness.
‘’ So what’s your story?’’ she asked.
Her voice was steady, her eyes serious, without a trace of the smile.
‘’ My story?’’ asked Gethin.
‘’ Yes, the one that led you here, to Raehaddon.’’
Gethin started to speak, then paused.
‘’ Don’t worry,’’ she said, her tone bleakly humorous. ‘’ I’m not that innocent. You could say I’ve seen enough.’’
‘’ I came here with Gavon, my father’s friend. My father was killed by the work in the garrod mines. My mother was never well, or so I am told, but when they took over ..’’
Gethin shook his head. He spoke no word of Liadan; there could be no place for her in his story.
‘’ After my father died nothing held me to that village so we left.’’
‘’ Yours?’’ asked Gethin.
‘’ Worse, much worse.’’ she said in the same tone that she had used before. Though he knew her to be strong, at that moment she seemed fragile, and he wondered what she had suffered.
‘’ The scar?’’ she asked, stepping closer, tracing the line. His heart thudded beneath his chest.
‘’ After my father died I wanted him to be buried on the land above, instead of letting his body lie in the garrod mines, those awful pits, so I tried to escape with his body. I ran into the overlord guards. I tried to fight back and failed.’’
A dark silence filled the woods.
For the first time, Elfie saw the flame, the fury, that flickered across Gethin’s dark brown eyes.
‘’ And now I keep this, a symbol, a ever-present reminder of the overlord’s cruelty. I will not forget.’’
She looked at Gethin’s bitter, hardened face and wished that she could show him more than the life that he had known.
‘’ What you attempted was brave, noble,’’ she said softly.
‘’ I failed!’’ said Gethin. ‘’ He’s still down there, still down there.’’
‘’ You must live for them, for your mother, your father.’’
‘’ Who do you live for?’’ asked Gethin harshly, his glare accusing her of all the crimes she didn’t commit, everything she had fought against for most her life.
‘’ My brother. Daire.’’ As she said his name, Gethin saw a haunted look fill her hazel eyes.
She was running, running away from him. He called after her. ‘’ Elfie, wait I-’’
But she was gone.

Author's age when written


 This is the third part of a story I've been writing. I would love any comments. So IF by any chance some one is reading my story, and therefore actually is reading this, PLEASE comment! 

Sorry, I meant to comment sooner, but an evil virus has our computer... so I'm stealing a little time to leave this comment...

It's been long enough since I read the other parts that I sheepishly wondered which characters we (being my imaginary friend and I, I guess) have already met, but now that I've skimmed over the other chapters I think I remember. Anyway, I'm one of those people who make judgments quickly and tend to stick by them. Right now, I don't like Elfreda and I will not call her Elfie. We'll see how she turns out.

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief