Being cursed by the fairies was the last straw for Alora. An imperfect ending to an overall trying day. Her best friend was angry at her. She had been forced to a moral quandary that divided her friends. Her beloved cat had disappeared, only to come back with news that she was being hunted for a murder she did not commit. She had been punched twice in the face by an aggressive tree. Oh, and there was a bloody undead werewolf on the lam.
The rising cloud of fairies made a halo around her head, chanting and dancing as they swayed in the wind. Their tiny feet lightly touch her shoulders and wings beating against her hair. “Curse you, curse you oh witch! May you never speak the language of this people until atonement! Curse you…lnvpqeruf curse you! ls dcoqiwbe lwibepqiyw witchasncw atonement! sdvpweir wkejfbpqiwef…” The beautiful words slowly faded into obscurity. And a mantle settled on her shoulders, an uncomfortable itch crawling up her neck and burrowing into her skull. The chanting stopped and a green fairy dropped on her knee. With a dismissive flick of the eye, he bid her to leave the glade.
Alora loved fairies. She liked their bright colors and charming personalities. She enjoyed their curiosity and zeal for life. They danced, they sang, and were generally merry. The fey even liked her dancing…no one appreciated her dancing! And now they hated her. They thought she killed their princess. Like a slow boil, it started in her stomach. As she apologized again and walked towards the portal, it creeped up her chest. Watching Buck’s back disappear, Alora felt the heat rise up her neck. As she stepped through, her hair uncoiled and stood on end.
Rage. What an odd emotion. She experienced plenty of annoyances and petty anger. Vanity and sullenness. But such rage was something different. It made her mind cloudy in a way she had never experienced, unable to function until an object of her emotions centered on a single, unfortunate person. Her breaths short. Her spine tightening and relaxing. Her whole body pulsed with action. Memories building silently in her mind, replaying events over and over. She had witnessed the rages of her friends before. Dun was particularly prone. His anger at times seemed endless, making the elf feel a sense of hopelessness for the druid.
“Well…that wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Buck mused as he scanned the area. In a calm corner of her mind, Alora wondered if the ranger had noticed his small passenger nestled in the curls of his hair. The fairy appeared to be mindlessly pointing the human with a twig.
“Where is he?”
“Where is who?” Buck glanced at the elf, only to do a double take at the feral expression on her face.
“Hey there, woh take it easy. Maybe we should—“ Alora swung towards him, hissing. The ranger stepped back, surprised. She took off towards the crypt.
A slight glow illuminated the small mausoleum. The light bouncing off the stones, casting eerie shadows across the faces of the two figures that stood there. If Alora had more control over her emotions, she would have witnessed a silent but tense Lila, the sorcerer’s gaze locked on other figure.
“YOU!” Alora screeched loud enough to startle the dead. As she marched forward, her hair seeming to grow in size, looking like the hood of a angry cobra. Lila attempted to cut off the witch but the enraged elf nimbly sidestepped.
Waving her finger at Halem, Alora screamed, “You! How dare you! Who do you think you are, Mr. I’m-so-dark-and-mysterious! Mr. Assassin-Stabby-stab! I was just accosted by enraged group of fairies who believe that I was to blame for murdering their princess! Even though I died too when Mr. Look-at-me-I-am-so powerful decided it would be a fantastic idea to transform into a stupid dragon and sit on your friends! That’s how I died, You Sat On Me! My last memory is off your butt crushing me to death! And now I’m CURSED! A witch, CURSED!”
The figure just silently stared back at her. Buck came rushing in, took one look, and decided the best course of action would be to save Alora from herself. He grabbed her and began to drag her away.
“What’s this! Back off Buck, I have words I need say to that foolish man!”
“Enough of this! Release…let me go…I am warning you…SLEEP!”
The ranger gritted his teeth and glared at his friend. But he had stopped moving. Lila murmured, “Alora, maybe this isn’t the best time—“
“NO! He is getting a piece of my mind!” She stomped back towards Halem. “Did you even think before you decided to turn into a animal that weighs several tons in the middle of a battle?! Or about exploring an underground cavern with an idiot gnome while I and two innocent orphans waited in the dark?! Or then setting off a stampede of scarabs that almost devoured us?! Or killing a fey princess!? Or Not even asking me out on a date!….No, you clearly did not think of these things! AND now I’m cursed! Cursed by the only people who actually liked my dancing!”
Alora took a deep breath. As she glared at the elf, she began to notice how quiet it was in the tomb…and how quiet Halem was. He simply looked her. No goofy expression on his face. No apology. No emotion really. And just as her rage descended to a manageable level, she realized that her instincts had been screaming at her the minute she entered this place. This man, with no expression, was dangerous. And worse…
“You’re not Halem, are you?” She whispered. The elf who wore Halem’s body shook his head.
And just like that, the bottom dropped out. All the emotion and energy that she had been carrying was released and she was standing on the edge of vast nothingness. Despair was all she knew. She didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. Not to Halem, the bad boy she had watched for so long. Not to life she knew before her death. Not to her mother…her breath caught. When she had come back, there had been so much else going on, other issues to worry about. The Wall, the Drow, the Abbott, the enormous Orc army… and now that respite had come, she had nothing to distract her from thoughts of her mother, stuck somewhere in oblivion, trapped between life and death. Tears welled. She had only she found her, only to lose that bond. Alora did not know if she would ever see her mother again. Or if her last memory would be that of her reaching out grab hold of ghost.
The crying surprised everyone in the tomb, even the deadly assassin. Even as Buck reached out unsure hand, the elf threw herself into the arms of not-Halem. Bubbling out an apology between wails, Alora cried on his shoulder, refusing to let go.
“Drink this.” Not-Halem finally said to her.
“What?” She looked up, confused.
“Drink this.” He motioned towards a vial of dark liquid.
“What will it do?” She asked. He just stared back. Shrugging her shoulders, she drained the vial and immediate passed out on the floor. With a wary glance at the assassin, Buck carried the Alora out of the tomb, with a silent Lila following behind.
The elf suddenly smiled…silence.