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Short Story: Kiara, Episode 9

April, 2016

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Kiara, Episode 9

Annabelle appeared as Matron was having breakfast. Matron rang down for another serving for her adopted daughter, despite her protests about not being hungry. Matron had never been a soft person, but the noisy child with a head full of butterflies had somehow found a caring place in her heart, that even she had never known existed. The child’s arrival, – and the callous instructions to dispose of her, had begun the rift between the matron and the goblin which had led to the events of last night. Matron smiled as the child chattered away gaily. She was obviously totally unaware of the events of last night and her presence created an illusion of normality that matron desperately needed just at that moment.

After breakfast, she sat on the sofa and bid Annabelle to join her. She put her arm around the child and hugged her to her, unsure of how much to tell her about the dangers of their new situation.

The child spoke first. “What’s wrong mama?” Matron looked at her worried face and spoke softly and slowly, “Kiara will not be able to play with you for a few days”. She caught the child as she tried to launch herself off the sofa. “Stay! There is more that I must tell you”. The child settled back in the seat. “There have been intruders in the woods and you must stay in the house until I say otherwise”. “Okay mama!, – may I go and see Kiara?”. “Not just yet. You may see her later when she is awake” I want you to go and pack a case with travel clothes and put a warm coat and your winter boots where you can grab them easily. Tell no one!” Matron went to a drawer and measured out a handful of gold coins into a small pouch, – followed by some silver ones. She wrote a name and address on a piece of paper, blotted it and folded it into the pouch. “Put this in the bottom of your case, I pray that you will never need it. Put only what you really need into the case, you may have to carry it yourself, do you understand?” Annabelle nodded, although she did not really understand. For the first time in her life, the child was quiet as she hugged matron and went off to do as she was asked.

Matron packed a small case and placed the handgun and a bag of gold coins into it. She put it in the bottom of the wardrobe before going to check on Kiara.

The child was hot and feverish when matron returned to the infirmary. She put on a fresh white coat and washed her hands thoroughly before checking the girls wound. The skin around the puncture was red and inflamed, and she could see swelling already beginning to form. “Maria!. Go to cook and tell her to make me a sugar and soap poultice. Bring it back as soon as it is ready”. She cleaned the wound with surgical alcohol.. The child was delirious and totally unaware of her actions as she muttered away in a strange tongue. Matron place a fresh bandage over the wound and cooled her forehead with a damp cloth as she waited for Maria to return with the poultice.

Moira had felt nothing more than a sudden shock as the goblin arrows had peppered her human body and somehow thrown her into the guardian tree. It was a few moments before she realised what had happened. She was caught in the web of the guardian’s energy and watched in horror as Kiara fell to the ground when the arrow had pierced her. She felt the sudden blast of power as goblins began to burst into flames, but that was all she knew of the goblin attack. She felt herself somehow stretched as the guardian drew her up through the tree and transported her back to her own world.

Such was her delight to be back in the primeval forests of her home-world that she forgot all about Kiara and the goblins for a while, as she slowly drew all her energies back together and healed.

Eventually, she remembered and decided it would be best to contact the elders and she focused on the image of Mandral, her own family head. He accepted her touch and in a moment, she was standing before him beneath the giant ancestor tree. Although well in excess of a thousand years old, his long braided hair was still jet black. Tall and muscular, he was again wearing the fabled sword that they called the Reaper. She had only ever seen it mounted in the Hall of Tears before this day, and she realised that things must be serious. Although he had been less affected than many who had fought in the last goblin war, He exuded an uncomfortable nervous energy, as dark as his penetrating black eyes. Many who had fought in the war had become insane and taken their own lives after the realms were again safe. Others had travelled to many worlds and settled on uninhabited planets or in underground cities, far away from prying eyes. It was said that when the ancient lust for blood overtook the Fae, they became fearless, implacable, whirlwinds of death. Moving with lightning speed and incredible strength they killed all around them without pause or pity until there were none left to slay. Some even took their own lives when there where no others left to take.

He listened patiently to her report and thanked her. He explained that the elders were having problems of their own as goblin raiding parties were breaking through the barriers and into their realm with disturbing frequency. Already there were battalions of Dwarf mercenaries being assembled to cover the possibility of a major breakthrough. Neither was Mandral comforted by the apparent death of the goblin prince at the hands of his human helper. The destruction of his bio-energy body on earth would cause him only minor trauma and possibly delay his plans slightly. They needed to know more about the magic that he had harnessed which was allowing him to enter their world. He instructed Moira to try to contact Kiera and find out what was happening. Whatever strange machines he had constructed on earth needed to be destroyed as soon as possible.

War was looming over them. Whether by invasion, – or by retaliation by the Fae for the raids, mattered little. Mandral had little stomach for yet another war, but there were worse things to worry about. Already some of the elders were speaking of using the Dark Magic to totally destroy the goblins. It was true that the Fae had the ability to totally destroy the goblins without needing to resort to crude combat. But, in doing so, they would change the gentle, loving nature of their people for many generations to come, if not forever. In destroying the goblins, they would become the very thing that they were fighting against, and also destroy everything that made their world a place of joy and contentment.