Sunday, January 13, 2008

003 - 005 - Escape

Elyria awoke to the sound of rustling cloth and the shuffle of soft footsteps on thick carpet. What little light was in the pavilion was defused by the pale pink netting curtaining the bed in which she lay all alone. She was warm and nested in the down pillows below, over and around her. Her naked skin tingled against the smooth surface of the silk fabric covering the comforters and quilts. When she shifted her limbs she caught the faint fragrance of roses and lavender. If she did not suspect that something was very wrong with this group of beautiful people, she could easily allow herself to luxuriate in this mindless comfort. She continued to relax in bed, pretending to be asleep until she thought the tent was empty.

When she sensed she was alone, she raised herself up on her elbows. Her head swam in a massive wave of dizziness. She lay back down and turned to her side, curling up in a fetal position until the room stopped spinning. Whatever herbs they had put in the wine she had drunk last night were not sitting well with her body and head this morning. She wondered if it were still morning as she lay there waiting for equilibrium. She couldn’t tell the time of day from where she was.

This time she rolled over and up from her side, her movements slow and deliberate. The silk covers slid off of her body like water, pooling at her feet as she stood up. If she didn’t move her head fast, she was steady and clear headed. She parted the bed curtains and stepped into the room, which was warm and draft free. The large bathing tub had been removed and the carpets that were under the cooper container had been replaced with fresh rugs. There were no signs of an indentation or the water that had sloshed out while the women had been bathing.

There were no other people in the pavilion. Elyria could not find any clothing either. She wanted to dress and sneak out of the tent and down the mountain to the village where she could be sure of safe haven from these unwanted visitors to the mountains. Since she was intimately knowledgeable of the area she felt certain she could escape without notice and be away before they could figure out which path she had taken. Going naked would not be the way to leave and go unnoticed.

She would have to make do with what was at hand and there were plenty of things to choose from here. She would need to work fast before any of the slaves or their masters returned. She used her teeth to rip the seams on a silk comforter, making two large bolts of material. She tore a hole in the middle of one of the sheets of silk and draped it over her head. She tore strips from the second piece of material and used these to tie and wrap the material around her waist and pull the hem up so it did not drag the ground and trip her. While adjusting her makeshift gown, she heard the clang and jangle of metal just outside the tent entrance. She rushed to the bed, crawled under the piles of covers and held her breath.

She heard voices and movement muffled by the blankets over her head. The sounds got closer and she could make out the voice of a woman and of a girl. The netting around the bed shifted and one of the two stroked her hair from her forehead.

“The wine must have been too strong for her,” said the woman.

Elyria thought this was Silva.

“I think we will need to put fewer herbs in tonight’s cup, although the display was quite lovely last night.” Silva chuckled low and with little true mirth. “This one is a good distraction for the ladies.”

“It was good to be able to sleep in peace last night,” said the girl. Hers was a voice Elyria could not place.

“Do you think she would do for the men, too?”

“Only if the Mistress tires of her and I do not think that likely to occur anytime soon. There is something about this one that The Lady wishes to possess.”

Elyria tried to suppress the shivers beginning in the core of her being. Now, she was more determined than ever to escape immediately, if only these two would leave.

“Place the water pitcher on the table and leave her things on the stool. We must go see to the finish of the platters for the evening meal before The Lady returns. They should be back soon. It is almost full dark.”

“Should I wake the girl?”

“When we are done with the food, we’ll come back and get her ready. Come.”

Elyria held her breath for ten heartbeats. She dared wait no longer. She rose up, throwing off the covers. The slaves had left. She did not have much time. She looked for her things on the stool. Everything was there, cleaned and laundered. She took her makeshift dress from her body and threw it on the floor, covering herself with her own shift. Her knife was on the pile too along with its belt. She grabbed them, went to the back of the tent, placed her ear on the wall and listened. She did not hear anything. Using her knife, she stabbed the tent wall and cut down, making an opening large enough for her to step through.

The back of the pavilion faced the woods. A short open distance was between Elyria and the trees. She sprinted for the safety of the dark shadows. She ignored the stones and twigs that gouged her bare feet. She reached the first trees and then cut off to the left and the downhill slope. She ran without looking back, staying deep under the cover of the spruce, ducking low hung branches. She ran until the sharp pain in her side forced her to stop. She found a clump of bushes and sat down behind them, catching her breath. The sun had set behind the mountain peeks and any light shining up from below was blocked by the thick tree limbs. She took the time for her eyes to adjust to the low light. She would need to stay within the forest the whole way down the mountain to make sure she was not followed and caught.

Her breathing steady and her heart beat back to normal, Elyria stood to begin her slow decent down the mountain. She took her time, keeping her tread light and pausing to listen for sounds. She picked up a sturdy branch to use as an additional weapon. She not only feared the pilgrims from Alexandria, but the animals that roamed at night looking for food. She stopped to pluck some onion roots from the ground. A stick snapped behind her.


Tom & Icy said...

Oh, my! A stick snapped behind her. Now I'm hooked. I just have to read the next installment. This was the first one I read, but it was a great first chapter for me! It grabbed my interest and pulled me in. I think I'd rather read on from here than to go back right now. I don't know why. It will be exciting figuring what is going on from here. It just seems so satisfying when I can figure things out without being directly told stuff. Makes me feel like I'm participating with it somehow. Hard to explain. But it's like solving a mystery before I'm told if I am right or wrong. Make sense?

Nessa said...

Tom: Thanks so much for reading here and your wonderful comments. You can read from here. The previous installments introduced all of the main characters and their personalities and interactions. You'll be able to "get it" from here.

I will hurry up and finish the next installment. You will be my inspiration.

Tom & Icy said...

The RSS feed will notify me when you post, so there is no hurry. Just take the time you need to do a good job. When I was younger and could read with my eyes instead of having to use this text to speech program now, I would go into the bookstore and there were hundreds of paperback books lining the walls, if not a thousand different titles. So I would start reading the first part and if it hooked me, I'd buy the book, and if, like most, it started just telling me stuff about the characters and setting, I put it back on the rack. Like I was reading a book and the author told me the character was schizophenic and mental illness ran in his family. That sort of knocked the wind out of the sails for me because I like to be showed his behavior and figure it out for myself before the author finally mentions it. So when I start reading, I like to see the character behaving in a way that will lead to or help them out of a more tangled problem later on. Like when I read your episode and saw the girl was really confused and scared, but overcame her fear and desire to just stay put in bed and she escaped, which leads me to believe that later on in the story there will be something that is really scary and tense that she will have to face. Something like that. I mean, I enjoyed seeing her being inovating with her hands with available items around her to make clothing enough to get away. Hope you don't mind my rambling. I took some writing courses in college and always wanted to write, but never did stick with it long enough, and so when I read things now, I tend to analyze them to death. That's the main reason I like to read, to make me think about it and guess and figure. Like that.

Nessa said...

Tom: I don't think you are rambling. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed your comments and insights. Feel free to critique whenever you like. I would appreciate any advice, comments or criticism you may like to share. And my feelings are not easily hurt.

tsduff said...

Nessa - I don't know what happened to my comment but I'm so sorry, it is gone! I read your entire story in one sitting... and now I remember what I thought about the one you wrote a few years back. I LOVED that one, and was heartbroken when you stopped writing it in the middle of the story! I'm afraid this one will end like that too - so far it is a brilliant story and leaves me wanting to continue reading it. I like to read them (the chapters) all together instead of cliff-hanging it one at a time.

I really do enjoy your style of writing - as Tom said it just flows out as if it were happening. Keep up the great work!

tsduff said...

Oh please tell me you aren't finished with the with the story.... I really want to know what happens!

Nessa said...

Hi Terry:

I have read your comments and I want you to know how much I appreciate them.

This has been an odd year for me. I have been a bit off kilter but I have not been totally away.

I have not finished the story. I do know how it goes though and I will publish the rest. I have taken your advice and will finish it and post it all at once the way I did the NaNo stories.

I got a bogged down in trying to edit as I wrote.

I will be getting back to it soon, but I wanted you to know how much your interst means to me.

Thanks so much.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Nessa said...

Hi Barbara: Thank you so much for commenting. Feedback is greatly appreciated. I will be continuing here very soon.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


weirsdo said...

Very exciting. Of course, I am biased, because I was born in Elyria. Yes, really.