The Run for Survival

Chapter 3

Stranger in the Night

Indrene woke to a small light.  The light hadn't awakened her though; Koreen's soft growl had startled her.  Indrene carefully sat up, trying to determine what the light was.  The fire had been reduced to coals, and Indrene carefully placed the last log onto them.  That was when she saw it.  A creature, about nine inches tall, wove throughout the air, glowing faintly in the night.  It stopped near the river and landed.  Indrene stood up silently and walked over to it.

"Who are you?" she asked when she reached the creature.  She saw that whatever it was looked almost like a human female, except for the fact that she was only as tall as Indrene's lower arm, and had wings.

"What?" the creature answered, but never gave its name.  Turning around, it saw her, and then began to glow orange.  Indrene had no idea what was going on, but decided to back off anyway.  It raised its arms and then pointed at her.  A fireball began to take shape, and it didn't take but a second to surpass its creator's size.  The creature threw the fireball at Indrene, who still had no idea what was going on.  She crossed her arms in front of her face and focused with her mind as the fireball hurtled toward her.

At about six inches from her face, the ball stuck a bluish transparent shield and dissipated.  Indrene was knocked back still.  The little creature, however, was unfazed, though it did return to the yellow glow that it had before.  Then, seemingly pacified, it walked toward Indrene.

"You use magic.  Not many humans I know still can," the creature said as it approached.  It seemed to keep an eye on everything at once, not wanting to miss something.

"What are you?  I've never seen anything like you before," Indrene said as she regained her composure and sat back up.

"I am a Sylph.  My name is Aerynne."

"A Sylph?  You creatures are nothing more than legends.  You're not supposed to exist."

"We don't usually show ourselves.  Indeed, I wouldn't have normally let you see me, but I didn't know you would wake either."

"What are you doing out here?  Are you being… chased by someone?"

The sylph thought a couple of seconds before answering.  "Indeed, I am a rogue amongst my kind.  I never liked my people much, and so ran away.  Unfortunately, I had to kill a couple of them while I was leaving, so I know that I was followed.  I think I may have lost them, for the time being."  Koreen ambled over to where Indrene was and stared at the Sylph, letting out a soft growl.  Indrene began to stroke Koreen, trying to comfort the cat before something happened.

"How did you perform such a powerful spell?  I didn't even know that I could block it."

"You shouldn't have been able.  You are strong, stronger than any human that I have ever seen is.  I haven't ever seen a Sylph's spell blocked by anyone other than a Sylph.  I haven't ever seen anyone react that fast either.  Your eyes went from blue to black instantly."

"Why is it your eyes never changed color?"  Indrene asked.  She had been watching the Sylph as she changed colors, and she hadn't noticed any other change.

"We Sylph are creatures of magic.  We do not wield magic, because we are.  So it doesn't have to be channeled through us, because it already is."

Indrene looked over toward the campfire, where Ramel slept, not knowing that anything was different.  "Can you feel the magic inside me?"

"Oh yes, very much so."

"Can you feel it in him, too?"

"Yes, but it is different.  His magic isn't normal.  We don't possess the type of power that he has.  He has regular magic too, but it is uncontrolled, and I doubt he even knows he has it."

"Do you wish to stay with us?  We would welcome the company, and maybe you could teach us something about magic.  Even mine is barely controllable.  I've never used it often, and nobody taught me anything about it, except that it was feared."

"I believe that I will, for the time being.  I could use the company.  Will your cat leave me alone?"

"She should.  Koreen, I don't want you to bother the Sylph, all right?  Leave her alone."  The cat, as if showing her agreement, nuzzled Indrene.

"I am quite tired though, so I believe I'll go to sleep by the fire."

"Good.  I was going to return there myself."  Indrene stood and walked back to the fire, lying next to her husband, who woke only enough to put his arm around her.  Indrene fell asleep, once again comfortable.