He couldn't have left me," I said softly to myself and placed
my back upon the wall. "For I am his only chance of escape from here." But it
was then that I my feelings of foolishness rushed back at me, and I realized how
silly I was to instantly allow my trust to be given to him so quickly. I was a
nitwit and a dunce, and it was while I was thinking these thoughts that I started
to hear another set of footsteps coming closer.
As I continued to listen, I noticed that the
second pair of footsteps where echoes of the first set. They walked on for a
few moments, then suddenly stopped. Finally, I heard a familiar cry and sounds
of metal upon metal met my ears. Scuffling noises were heard, and I heard the
sound of a body hitting the ground when I felt a familiar hand grab my arm and
frantically whisper the words, "Hurry!"
I smiled when I heard Oldraik's voice, and the
foolishness I felt before completely disappeared as Oldraik quickly led the
way towards the stairs. In seconds, I saw the dim shadow of Oldraik's form as
we ascended the stairs in a hurry. Light started to seep into my eyes as we
came closer to the top, but then, the light suddenly disappeared as a body blocked
"Aodain, are you there?" the guard called anxiously
from atop the stairs. "Aodain, is that you?"
"It's one of the prisoner guards!" I whispered
to Oldraik. "We should slow down!"
But Oldraik ignored my calls and continued to
rush forward. I realized in a hurry that our passage out of this castle was
not going to be undeterred, so I drew out my blade and stuffed it into Oldraik's
"It'll work better in it's original owner's
grip," I said to myself as I felt Oldraik release my arm and become airborne.
With amazing speed, he rushed towards the guard up ahead with the blade and
the vanished beyond the doorway's vision.
I continued to rush upon the steps as my eyes
started to become accustomed to the light. When I finally reached the room above
the dungeons, I saw a guard lying motionlessly upon the floor, and Oldraik holding
out his hand towards me, beckoning me to move on.
"We don't have much time, Andra, let's get out
of here," he said. I nodded in response as I took his hand and we rushed down
the hallway. When we finally came to an end which split in two ways, I pointed
to the left and we continued down that passage. It was in this way that we were
able to find our way closer to the doors which led outside. While we wound our
way through many of the castle's passages, I heard rustles of chain mail from
the other side of the wall. I knew that most of the soldiers within the palace
were moving and knew of the escaping prisoner, but I wasn't sure whether they
knew who the prisoner's associate was, and I hoped to Adam that they would never
find out. Just as I was about to have second thoughts about Oldraik's escape,
I spotted our destination right before us.
"We're almost there!" I said in happiness when
I saw the familiar door located in front of us. The door loomed high and wide
before us, and all we had to do was traverse the threshold of the front room
and than Oldraik shall be free. As we quickened our paces, I suddenly felt something
in the air. A sort of danger; a warning, perhaps, and before we were able to
exit the hallway's security, I stopped.
"What is it?" Oldraik said to me as he slowed
his pace and took a step backwards. "What do you sense?"
But I simply stood there, still as a log. "Listen..."
I whispered to Oldraik. It was then that Oldraik heard the sounds which made
me stop in a hurry. Metal clanks and the rustling of chain mail resonated out
of the room where the door was located.
"Guards..." Oldraik growled in anger. "There's
probably hundreds of them from what I can hear...is there any other way out?"
At this question, I smiled and nodded at Oldraik
as I thought of the room which was my only escape. I quickly took his
hand and started to lead him down the corridors which turned west, and Oldraik
followed me faithfully without a moment's hesitation. I passed the room where
the sentencing of our people were done, and I followed the wing along it's west
side. Eventually, we soon found ourselves in a circular room adorned with bordering
windows and cushioned seats. A smile flickered upon my face as we entered this
familiar room; my eyes glanced quickly through the many windows and caught a
glimpse of the gorgeous greenery in the Castle of Erodaire's yard. Sighs of
relief and calmness trickled over me, and I led Oldraik to one of the many windows
which I knew would help aide his escape. I was blind to all else except the
tranquility within me, so I did not notice the stare upon Oldraik's face...
"You're happy in this place, aren't you?" he
asked me as I swiftly opened one of the windows. Gusts of soft air lit upon
our faces, and I felt relaxed and at ease in moments. The cool night air twinkled
above in cascading darkness lit by many lighted stars, and the silent gardens
about us moved gently at the bidding of the wind.
"Yes...I am..." I said back to Oldraik and turned
to face him. "You should go now...you're strong enough to fly back, right?"
Oldraik nodded and stepped towards the open
window, releasing his wings so that they'll be able to taste the cold air about
them. I took a few steps back as I waited for his departure, but he did not
fly away yet. Instead, he withdrew his wings and turned around, his hand upon
the chain on his neck. With one fleeting movement, he tore the chain away from
his neck and handed it to me.
"A thank you gift...and it may come in handy
as well," Oldraik said with a smile.
I smiled at this gesture and took the chain
away from him. It was made of plain silver circlets entwined upon each other;
there were no jewels or fancy accessories, and it was the most simple of all
jewelry which I owned. I cherished it the moment it fell into my hands; it was
the most heartfelt and loving accessory which I now owned. I treasured it more
than the my mother's many adornments; I did not know why I felt this way, but
I did not care.
"I know that it's not much for a princess,"
Oldraik said uncertainly. "But it has my heart in it...this was the chain my
father gave to me on the fateful day...it was a gift, a heirloom to give to
another whom we love and owe our entire life to, and I give it to you, Princess
An even wider smile swept across my face, and
I gave Oldraik a heartfelt hug out of gratitude and happiness.
"Good-bye for now, Oldraik...I hope to see you
again soon," I whispered softly and released him from my grip.
"I'm going to miss you as well, Andra...keep
this window open for me, alright?" Oldraik said with a small chuckle. He lowered
his eyes for a few seconds before he started his departure.
"What's wrong, Oldraik?" I asked in concern
as I sighted his downcast look.
"Do you remember what I said about Sir Barick
and his words?" he asked me softly. I nodded in response. "Well," he continued,
"those words will be explained soon...never mention them to your father." And
without a moment's time, he released his wings and flew off into the night.
I stood near the window for a long time after
Oldraik's shadowy form disappeared into the night sky, and I fell upon the cushions
of the velvety seats behind me. My hand played with the silver chain as my eyes
glued itself onto the night sky. Another cold gush of air rushed in and drowned
me in it's algid bite, but I kept the window open...I kept it open for Oldraik.