Part 1: Pink Unicorns

Evil pink unicorns, I swore, if one more walked up to me and nudged my shoulder I was gonna snap the lil thing's horn off and shove it up it's-! Wait a second... pink unicorns? Oh...a dream. well okay, now I could torment the unicorns, and not feel guilty about it. Heheheheheheheh come here lil guy...

"Is she alive?" a wispy voice cut through my fun in tormenting the pink and innocent.

"I think so. She's still breathing." Ah, that voice I recognized. It was the wait, it was the elf who rode the horse. ugh everything was still all fuzzy...or was that just that evil unicorn again... stupid dreams...

"Well, let's take that mask off and let her get some air..."

Now that had woken me up, and that poor elf knight may never be able to have children now.

Oops... my bad, but nobody messed with my mask. People were so stupid, why did anyone wear a mask? To hide something! Duh! Why isn't that obvious? Did I need to wear a sign or something? But isn't that what a mask is? A sign that the wearer has something to hide from the world... Ugh... I'm getting all philosophical again; I blame the pink unicorns...

I sat up, and finally noticed the breeze, "...Okay, where are my clothes?"


I was beginning to think this knight, and his family were holding me captive. Yes, it was great I guess, I mean I got free food, and a nice safe place to sleep, though nightmares of the past plagued my every sleeping moment, but whenever that knight asked me why I had been tossing and turning through the night... I blamed it on the pink unicorns... heheh; it was worth it for the look on his face, it was priceless.

It'd been about a week, and I was perfectly ready to go, but every time I tried to leave, they told me I was too weak, and to wait a few more days. It was beginning to go beyond just annoying me. Apparently they didn't know what was going on in their neighboring kingdom of Selats...

Now, that had sent me for a spin when I'd found out I was in the kingdom of Ashert, not in my in my birth kingdom, but that would explain why the goblins hadn't come back for me. I wondered how the others were... No I couldn't think about that right now. I couldn't drag these foreigners into my fight. Foreigners? Are they really that foreign? We're all elves, though I was positive they weren't my kin, I'd guess they were wood elves... If I hadn't known better I would've thought they were high elves, but I knew better. I knew MUCH better than to have thought something that stupid.

Whatever they were, apparently they didn't like getting called, 'hey you' so I had to learn their names. The oldest female elf was Shelia, her daughter was Miko, and her son, the knight who 'rescued' me, was Talli. Whoopee for them, after introductions they all stared at me waiting for me to give them my name. Well, they'd be waiting forever, I don't tell many people my name, and I certainly don't want to get my name flying around in this kingdom too. I had enough trouble with that in my of birth... That's how that goblin horde had found me, the slaves... no, no their not slaves, we're not slaves...

How long had it been since I laid down for bed? Well I suppose insomnia was better than pink unicorns...

I stood up, and stretched glancing out the window at my side, it was pitch black outside, perfect, I couldn't stand the sunlight, and the night would help my escape. Using every ounce of cunning and stealth had, which was quite a lot, even by Elvin standards, I crept out of the small hut, careful not to step anyone.

All right, I made it out of the hut without messing anything up! I promised myself I'd get a big glass of ale as soon as I found a bar...Oh, and I'd have to start barbequing goblins... That would be sure to prove entertaining...

I had nearly jumped four feet into the air when I heard a horse's whinny. hm.a horse? That'd be very helpful... A grin crept onto my face as I grabbed my small pack I'd brought with me. I paused only long enough to put my locket back on; then I'd gotten onto the only black horse there, and started off. They had 13 horses... okay, 12 now, I didn't need to feel guilty...

Then suddenly I had a lot of reason to feel guilty, there was Talli, in all his Elvin knightly wonder, just add a few sparkles, and some dramatic music, and he could have been a superhero...

"You're trying to leave?" he asked.

Okay, his questions had begun to annoy me, "No, I just thought I'd get all my stuff and ride away, then come back. What do you think?" I said sarcastically, shaking my head at his stupid question.

"Why do you want to leave?" okay, finally he asked a semi-intelligent question, not that he'd get a real answer.

"I have things to take care of at my home..." his ears twitched slightly at my gruff voice, I guessed he hadn't gotten use to hearing such a gruff voice from an 'elf maiden' as he called me, but having your throat slit 3 times tends to roughen up your voice a little...

The last word had been stuttered over, and barely understandable. How long had it been since I'd said 'home' out loud Hm. Never, I decided, I had never said it before, I'd never had a home... No wait, I'd never have a home... But I had things to take care of all right.

"Maybe I could help you..."

Gods, what was wrong with him! The sparkle and dramatic music must've melted his brain... or maybe that helmet mashed his brain... hm.

"Either I come with you, or you come back to the hut." he said sternly.

I would've made a run for it, but something in his green eyes told me that he knew who I was now.

I sighed dejectedly and turned the horse back around, and stayed silent the way back. Talli never took his eyes off me; in fact he rarely did now that I thought about it... he was always staring at me... hum.

He tied both the horses up when we returned to the hut, and started a fire; he motioned for me to come sit by him.

Oh boy, just what I needed, to be given a speech by mister righteous knight in rusting armor.

"You said you were from Selats, did you not?" he asked, for once not staring at me.

"Yeah, so what?" I didn't like this already.

"What has happened there?"

I wondered how he'd found out, and frowned, not that he could see my displeasure at his question since my face was hidden behind my hand crafted ivory mask, but my silence must have given me away.

"You talk in your sleep." he said quietly.

I had given myself away. I was so stupid! Ugh, I could've just hit myself! In fact if I would've been alone I would hit myself, but I decided that I'd wait to hit myself until I had gotten my glass of ale, at least. There was no point hiding anything anymore, I sighed, "What all did I say?"

"You were talking about goblins, orcs, and trolls enslaving the elves..." he said gravely.

Oh, that was all, phew, and I thought it was something important. No, seriously, that wasn't a big deal, if I'd said something not think about that right now... I tend to say whatever's on my mind. "Yeah, that happened about oh... I'd say 2,000 years ago."

"What!?" he stood up angrily how amusing, the knight felt obligated to protect even though he'd been failing to for the least 2,000 years.

He calmed himself, and sat back down, "Is that why the goblins were chasing you?"

Oh, this was working out perfectly, "Yes." I nodded. In my pleasure at his question, I hadn't noticed until now that he had been moving closer to me, and was currently sitting right beside me.

"Did they hurt you? Is that why you're wearing a mask?" he asked gently, he acted like he expected me to start sobbing on his shoulder, and he looked like he would enjoyed it too.

I was wearing my mask because of the goblins, trolls, and orcs, yes, but also because of my family... both of my families...Nope, I wasn't going to allow him to break through my hard shell, especially over such a stupid question, "Yes."

"My mom can heal you, really we can help." he said with a comforting smile.

Okay, I stole his horse, and now he was treating me like a princess, what's the deal? Are all Elvin knights this stupid? Or did I get the cream of the crop?

"Here, let me see..." he said softly, and reached for my mask.

I slapped his hand away, he was just lucky I didn't have my dagger handy or else he wouldn't have been very handy. okay that was lame. The lack of ale is getting to me, it's all the pink unicorns fault.

"No, just let me see, please." he said, looking at me with pleading green eyes.

Heh, try the puppy dogface on me would he? Well, he obviously didn't get that by giving the 'puppy dog face' he was implying he was a dog, heh, Talli with a tail, I managed to keep my laughter to myself, my shoulders shaking slightly from suppressed chuckles.

And apparently he thought I was crying, before I could react he was hugging me.

Bad dog! No touchy the elf! No touchy the masked elf! He was ruining my evil, and all mysterious look...not that anyone else was around...

For the first few moments I had let him hold me, okay, so hang me. But I had never had any gentle embraces, even if it was Talli, I wanted to see what is was like to be held, make sure I'd always remembered what it felt like to be held by someone who cared.

Three seconds, his hug had lasted three seconds before I pushed him away, knocking him off the log he had been sitting on. Too bad he didn't land on the fire...

"Don't touch me again..." my already gruff voice became a growl sounding similar to an orc who was being held by his neck over a cliff...Not that *I* would know what that sounded like... heheh...

"You can't push people away forever..." he said as he stood up, and brushed the dirt off of his rusted armor.

"As long as they're sitting on logs, I think I can." I told him bluntly than walked to the small bathhouse across from the hut.

I triple checked on the locks, okay, I finally decided only a dragon on shaman 'magic' powder could bust down the door, and that made me feel fairly safe.

It was interesting how wood elves bath houses worked... It was all done by magic, you just had to pull a lever for hot or cold water, and the tub would begin filling, it was creepy, but I hadn't had a hot bath in so long, I wouldn't have cared if that dragon on shaman powder was the one heating the water, as long as he stayed OUTSIDE.

I folded my clothes and put them far enough from the tub that they wouldn't get wet, but close enough that I could grab them quickly... Okay, so they were on the edge of the tub... I was a paranoid elf, and I admitted it, put that in your spell book and cast it!

I sank into the water, and after relaxing for a moment, I finally took off my ivory mask, something I rarely did. I closed my eyes lightly, unwilling to look at even the slightest reflection of my face.

I sank completely into the water, and sat on the bottom of the tub for a few moments, marveling how deep it was, I was a tall elf...okay...all elves are tall...but still! I was completely submerged in the hot water.

When I finally remembered that air was a good thing, I rose back to the surface, and leaned against the back of the tub, staring at the ceiling. I stayed that way for a while, before finally remembering that people take baths to get clean, and after a bit of searching around the many ledges by the tub I found some soap, and cleaned up, that would probably be my last bath for a few weeks...I got out of the water, and wrapped a towel tightly around my pale skinned body.

I can't hide from myself forever I finally decided, and walked over to the mirror, wiping the steam off its surface, I saw myself for the first time in months.

Yes, that sad creature was me... scars decorated my once beautiful face, part of my left ear was missing, and a large scar across my right eye made it painfully obvious that I only had sight in my left... My hands ran across the scars on my throat, ah yes, from the many attempts on my life...the gashes that had given me the voice of a wolf.

I turned away from that horrible, disfigured face, and sighed.

This was one thing I couldn't blame on the pink unicorns...