Exile (Book II in The Elder Origins series): Novella (8 page)

BOOK: Exile (Book II in The Elder Origins series): Novella
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“When I need the help of others, I ask for it.”

“But you never ask for it.”

“Does that not speak for itself?” he said.

Jayden climbed the rope of the anchor and Madison did the same just feet above him. She surprised herself with the revelation that she didn’t have fear of the water beneath her that she once possessed as she climbed aboard the ship. The feeling of the water flowing around her was soothing. She still felt the life within its touch as she had on her swim with Jayden. It was the same sensation she felt as they ran through the forest and the mountains around the native settlement. Everything she had once feared left her exhilarated. She hoped it would last as she suspected that she soon may be swimming. The ship didn’t appear as in great of shape as she would have liked. It was still sturdy, but not solid.

“As I presume I will not be left to wait around while you do the heavy lifting, are you going to show me how this monstrosity is worked properly?” she asked.

“For what purpose, mistress?” He loosened the sack and spread about their new belongings.

“Thus I won’t become entirely useless during this journey.”

“I have no mind to teach you everything there is to know of sailing,” he said.

“Then teach me solely what I may do to help you.”

He didn’t answer her. He simply took ropes within his hands and allowed the sails to open. They caught the wind almost instantly and the wooden floor began to move. She couldn’t help but be reminded of how the ground shook from under her the night the Vam-pyr-ei-ak had used the elements of nature to attack her new home.

She leaned against the side of the ship, allowing the heat of the sun to dry the fabric and animal skins against her body. She could hardly feel heat or cold, but the rays gave a sense of being warmed as her skin slowly dried. She watched as Jayden threw about ropes and angled things properly. He made his way to the bow.

“It is likely that we will not move fast enough before our supplies dwindle,” she said softly, scanning the jugs of blood and their few items nearby. She knew that he could hear her.

“If the sea remains calm for too long, then perhaps,” he said.

She then saw what had caught his attention above. The sky was darkening. The clouds appeared thick and nearly charcoal rather than their usual washed grey. She wished she had seen it before they had chosen to set sail that day. But she hadn’t the time to survey the conditions of their journey thoroughly. Jayden took control of almost everything from the start.

“I would be more concerned about the skies remaining calm,” she said.

He turned around and looked at the land slowly becoming smaller behind them.

She sensed his growing concern and couldn’t help but voice the words he refused to say. “You are not having second thoughts, are you? After all, you are the one who insisted that this would secure our survival.”

Jayden ignored her as he listened quietly for the sound he feared they may come across; he had only hoped it wouldn’t be so soon. Thunder came in a dull rasp. It was still a great distance away, but he knew Madison could hear it as well.

“It is fair a distance from us. It may roll passed before we reach it,” she said.

“Or the wind could push us back to shore.”

Madison took her hands to her forehead and ran her fingers through her long hair. Resting them on the back of her neck, she took a long and deep breath.

“Could the powers that be not grant us a reprieve, just this once? If not to return home, then for whatever reason,” she said.

“Our mere survival was a reprieve of sorts,” he said coldly.

“Yet it wasn’t extended to our loved ones.”

“Your loved one,” he said, looking at her with hardened eyes. “We must prepare for the worst. Take of what blood you can now.”

“What do you mean? We cannot take of all our supplies?”

“We may not have that choice,” he said reaching for a jug after he rushed passed her. He tossed one to her and she took it. Drinking from it she felt strength overcome her body. It was a sensation she swore she would never become accustomed to.

“Drink generously,” he said, taking some for himself.

Thunder cracked ahead. This one they were sure was loud enough that they would have heard it even without their superior hearing. The clouds grew blacker and flashes of light peeked through the darkness. Strands of falling water reached down for the seas below.

“That’s an absolute downpour. It will completely drench us,” she said.

“Then go below decks if you’re uncomfortable.”

“I am merely stating such, Jayden. Stop thinking me so weak.”

“We’re still a short distance from shore now. You could still swim back to your precious natives,” he said harshly.

Madison didn’t even think before her arms lashed forward with magnificent force, shoving Jayden backward and through the right side of the ship. He broke through the wooden edged rail and crashed into the ocean water below sending shards of wood everywhere. Shock overtook him as he erupted through the surface. When he didn’t immediately come after her, she quickly rushed to the side’s edge which was now non-existent. He wafted about in the water, rubbing the salt from his eyes. She stood before him as the waves roughly slapped him in the face. The look on his face was one Madison was almost thrilled to see. She would have traded all the blood they had with them to bring out that kind of response weeks ago. He normally covered his emotions so beautifully that she had to touch him to reveal his true thoughts. This was her only chance to make her newly discovered authority known.

“You are never to speak to me that way again. Do you understand?” she said. She need not yell. He could hear every word as it dripped from her mouth. Showing anger would only encourage a fight from him. Of that she was certain. “I’m not that frail, innocent, and sickly girl I was before. That girl died alongside her brother, who was the only person in the world who meant anything to her. Don’t make the mistake of believing that his loss means nothing to me simply because I cannot feel the grief as I once could.” She paused only for a brief second, knowing she had his full attention. “And don’t pretend that those people didn’t help cure you of the tortured thirst that ravaged your body.”

She broke eye contact with him and threw a rope over the side. Walking away from the edge, she took to the bow, gripping its edges in her hands. The wood creaked under her tight grip. She gazed into the storm ahead and waited to hear Jayden approach her. He climbed the rope she charitably gave him and grabbed what was left of the side, pulling himself over its edge. His sopping wet clothes left a trail on the wood as he stepped forward. She could feel his glare on her back. He took more blood from a jug and threw its empty contents to the floor, shattering it.

“It took a great effort to mend this vessel without you attempting to destroy it, mistress. Do try to aim better next time,” he said grimacing. With that he yanked a piece of splintered wood from his lower back and tossed it into the open sea. Madison could smell the blood and turned around. He healed almost instantly, but the irritation was written all over his face. He turned away from her and took a seat at the other end of the ship. Madison looked forward again, not wanting to watch him. She knew she could weather anything he could. She was equally capable of violence, but still not as easily persuaded to it. Unless properly provoked.

Chapter 5

 

Ireland’s East Coastline

10 Days Later

 

Grey crags appeared before Madison in great succession. They were steeper than the cliffs she left behind. There was nothing to see beyond their rocky height. The ship had made its use for a solid seven days before showing signs of water overtaking it. Madison found herself unafraid when they had no choice but to abandon their vessel, its timber giving way to the depth beneath them in due time. Jayden relished the idea of testing their skills with the length of their swim. And as unwilling to admit it as she was, Madison in turn was equally curious. The darkness under her that had once been frightening now intrigued her. She often went below the surface with Jayden to see just how deep the water was. To her shock, she couldn’t reach the ocean floor. The ocean was deeper than she ever thought it could be. She even began to like the creatures who ventured to greet her as they swam to the surface. Dolphins trailed them a great distance before losing interest.

It was only after a day’s worth of swimming before they both realized they could have covered a greater distance had they swam the length of the journey. Learning that their bodies were far stronger than the ship they relied on so heavily was a welcomed surprise. And Jayden’s knowledge of the skies proved worthy in their search for the proper direction to travel.

They approached the shore they had longed to see for days and slowly stood as land greeted their legs. Her body needed time to recover, but she was more eager to witness how long it would take. If she required making such a journey again, she wanted to know exactly what to expect from her exertion.

The erratic waves penetrated her nearly ruined shoes. Drenched with water, they barely stuck to her feet anymore. Her deer skin clothing held tight to her body and pulled her down with its weight. If she hadn’t the strength she had now, she assumed it would have caused her to sink. She could feel Jayden’s relief seeping into her thoughts. He was staggered as she was at how quickly and easily they had made the crossing.

“We can take rest here,” she said, not having spoken for over a day.

“No rest. We must find fresh blood.”

“I’m as famished as you are Jayden, but if we stop, I can sense for people nearby. And it’s not yet nightfall,” she said.

“Are we to keep a schedule now for our needs?”

“No, just nightfall thus we don’t frighten anyone,” she said.

“We are to care now if they are frightened. Our entirety of being is enough to frighten anyone,” he retorted.

“That’s why we must remain subtle.”

“Our eyes are violet, our teeth like that of a predator, and our skin paler than any man I have ever seen. And yet you believe that nightfall shall mask these features?”

“Would you rather cause a panic in a small village to spread everywhere?” she retorted.

“That would depend on where we are.” His desperation for instant gratification of blood was beginning to annoy her. She was equally hungry, but would never complain to simply dull the aggravation. She thought he should be more grateful that the thirst wasn’t torturing him as it once had. But the same as any thirst for water she ever craved, she needed her take of blood as badly as he did.

“You can control it, Jayden. Place the thirst to the back of your mind,” she said calmly.

A thin strip of grass lay atop the cliffs before them. White peaks of water began dragging them closer onto the none-existent shoreline. They swam alongside the edge only meters from the tall cliff side. The precipices appeared to dissipate slightly. Madison could see lines of pastures. Darkened outlines of rock trailed across the grasses creating large squares in the landscape. It wasn’t farmland, but it was some sign that people must reside close by.

Reaching the pebbles from under the water, Madison stood for the first time in days. She couldn’t tell if her legs were relieved by the sensation of land or if the motion caused pain. She let out a sigh of relief and assumed that it was a welcomed sort of ache that her body was generating. She didn’t relish in the feeling of energy that the water once gave her as she trudged forward. The waters crashed against her back with a fierce strength that shocked even her small yet strengthened form. She reached the pebbled surface and finally let herself fall to her hands and knees. Bringing herself to a sitting position, Jayden sat next to her with equal relief in his breath. Rocks protruded from the ground. She didn’t notice the discomfort. Being out of the water was enough.

“We became stronger near the end. We gained speed,” said Jayden.

“Motivation from witnessing land,” she replied softly.

“Not that bit, the bit before. Last night as the darkness descended, we gained speed and strength,” he said. They became stronger at nightfall. They had almost always run during the day. Experiencing their abilities at night was new and somehow refreshing.

“Perhaps the night holds greater possibilities for us. Thus why I suggested we satisfy our needs by night,” she said.

“Fine. But as soon as we are recovered, we search for any men we can find. I don’t feel strong enough to be particular to exceptions,” his tone was desperate and somewhat spiteful.

Madison held her eyes back to the water. They emerged from the depths of the abyss that she had one held such reverence for and greatly feared. The land where they now sat was as strange to her as the one they left behind.

Although her thirst was controlled and she continuously kept her yearning for blood in check, she felt little sorrow for whoever they would encounter. As long as no lives were truly endangered by them, then she was accepting of her body’s needs. Her watch was better kept on Jayden’s yearnings than her own. He felt even less remorse than she did. In comparison, she was sympathetic for what she must do, but not remorseful. Jayden merely sought satisfaction and survival.

“Thinking upon what you have left?” he asked.

BOOK: Exile (Book II in The Elder Origins series): Novella
3.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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