I may not be updating this quite as frequently as I have been after this one as I’ve got to the end of my initial story outline. I have a general idea of where I’m going with it but less of a clear plan for how to get there than I did for the parts I’ve written so far. I’ll definitely continue working on it but possibly at a slower pace. There are, however, other things I’m working on at the moment so I should still be posting things both here and over on Archive of Our Own semi-regularly.
“So once we find the mage and return her to the Queen I’ll still be getting paid, right?” Livia demanded.
“I will die before I lead either of you to my sister!” Nyx was on her feet now, dagger in hand.
“For the last time…” Izzy sighed “I already know where she is.”
“Like hell you do!” Nyx shouted. “There’s no way Cassandra would have told you where she was going.”
“We don’t have time for this.” Izzy snapped, her calm demeanour ruffled for once. “The confusion spell has likely worn off by now and the soldiers who survived it will be coming after us. We need to get moving!”
“I’m not going anywhere with either of you!” Nyx growled, sitting back down on the log, dagger still gripped firmly in her hand. “I mean it this time. Either you can kill me or you can fuck off!” Irritation flashed across Izzy’s face. She fixed her gaze on Livia giving her a subtle nod. The handle of Livia’s sword crashed against the back of Nyx’s head. The forest spun and then faded into blackness.
Nyx awoke, lying on the forest floor to the sound of voices. Her head throbbed. She grimaced as she pulled herself to a sitting position.
“Are you sure this is the place?” Livia sounded mildly disgruntled. Likely from having to carry her here, wherever here might be. Nyx took in her surroundings noting this was definitely a different part of the forest to where they had been when Livia knocked her out. She felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. They were in a clearing in front of a small cave. A nearby rock formation looked suspiciously similar to the one Casandra had described in her letter. How on earth had they found her? Nyx stumbled to her feet pulling a knife from her belt.
“Neither of you will be going anywhere near Cassandra.” She snarled her gaze flickering uneasily between Izzy and Livia. Livia drew her sword and stepped in front of Izzy. The look on her face suggested she would relish the opportunity to use it. Izzy fixed her with a warning glance. Nyx and Livia stood eying one and other, weapons raised, each waiting for the other to make their move. Their standoff was interrupted by an ear-piercing squeal.
“Izzy!” A small elf came hurtling out of the cave, a broad grin plastered on her face. Cassandra threw herself at Izzy, wrapping her arms around her. Izzy returned the hug as their lips met with bruising force. Nyx choked in a combination of confusion and horror. Livia chuckled. Finally, Cassandra broke the kiss. “You’re okay?” She looked Izzy over in concern. “You took longer to get here than you said you would. I was worried.”
“Yes, well your sister managed to get herself locked in the royal dungeon. I thought you might want me to rescue her.” Izzy ran a hand down Cassandra’s arm. Cassandra turned her attention to Nyx as if only just noticing her presence. Nyx lowered her dagger just in time to avoid impaling her sister as Cassandra threw her arms around her neck.
“Nyx! It’s you, it’s really you!” Cassandra squealed. Nyx hugged her back in a state of mild disbelief. This was not how she had expected this day to proceed. Cassandra glanced in Livia’s direction “Who’s that? She queried, keeping her arms wrapped around Nyx. “Is she your girlfriend? If not she should be, she’s hot!” Nyx and Izzy scowled in unison.
“I think I like this one.” Livia smirked at Nyx “She’s more agreeable than you.”
“Might help that you’ve never assaulted her.” Nyx grumbled.
“Can’t begrudge me for me for doing my job, nor for reacting to provocation.” Livia shrugged.
“I most certainly can and will!” Nyx snapped.
“You should all come in.” Cassandra interrupted them, gesturing towards the cave. “I made stew.”
They followed Cassandra into the cave. A ball of light erupted from her fingertips illuminating the surrounding space. The cave was sparsely furnished. Two medium sized logs formed makeshift seating. A pot of stew sat between them with several cups at its side. At the very back of the cave, a pile of furs formed a sleeping space.
“You shouldn’t be using magic.” Izzy frowned in disapproval. “You haven’t received the sufficient training to do so safely.”
“This is an easy spell. I’m quite capable…” Cassandra’s protests were cut off as Izzy landed a warning smack on her bottom.
“Until I decide you have demonstrated a satisfactory level of control you will not use magic outside of our training sessions.” Izzy appeared calm on the surface but greater scrutiny betrayed a dangerous glint in her eyes. Cassandra huffed, sitting down on one of the logs as the ball of light flickered out of existence plunging the cave into darkness.
“Much better.” Izzy recast the spell herself and the room was illuminated once more. Cassandra began filling cups with stew holding them out for the others to take. Izzy sat down next to Cassandra who snuggled up against her side with a contented sigh. Livia sat on the log across from them. Nyx eyed the empty space on the log next to Livia with distaste before opting to sit on the floor.
“So… is the plan to stay in this cave indefinitely?” Livia asked taking a large slurp of her stew. “Because I can’t guarantee the little elf’s safety if I get bored.” She gestured in Nyx’s direction to specify which elf she was referring to as if it wasn’t already obvious to everyone present.
“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” Cassandra coughed, choking on her stew, as she stared at Livia incredulously.
“No, it’s not safe to stay here.” Izzy thumped Cassandra on the back to ease her coughing. “In the morning we will begin our journey to the Dwarven Kingdom. I have friends there.”