“The Knight of Xeo” – part 62: “A Budding Self-Reliance”

by Brianna G. Harte

I was inclined to do it again. It was so natural like I was born to do it. Or rather, like I’d been doing it all my life. I must have had a lot of fun before I was taken by the dwarves. The thought depressed my mood. Why did they have to steal this away from me? I shook it out of my head. No. They’re not going to take it away from me again. Not while I’m in this world.

I started leaping from tree to tree, initially just missing the branch I was aiming for each time I tried, but as I got the hang of it, I was able to make it to each tree. In the midst of my discovery and joy, the wind picked up, strong enough to push me off to the side. I lost my footing. I turned my head, hoping there was something I could grab onto. I was going to be too low to catch the lower branch of the tree I was headed towards. There was no time to turn around to grab the tree. There didn’t seem to be any options. I collided with the tree, hard enough for me to not be able to think for a few seconds, let alone move. The ground was rapidly approaching.

Not again! I wish that Torret was around, I thought seconds before the impending impact. The idea of him being nearby was like thinking that anytime now someone was going to rescue me and all the other people who were essentially prisoners in that dark hospital. Well, maybe it’s more likely but still. I shouldn’t hold my breath. I made a quick decision before I became a pancake. I was going to try to save myself for once. Torret wasn’t always going to be there. The problem was time. I had only thirty or so feet remaining. I didn’t have time to waste on thinking. Instincts that the dwarves apparently couldn’t take from me were what I had to use. As I hit the ground, I rotated my body so that my hands touched first but didn’t stay there. Instead, I rolled off them, pushing off with them. The landing wasn’t exactly graceful, but I survived. I could ignore all of the dirt that now decorated my clothes.

“Quite the performance,” a familiar female voice noted.

Copyright © 2018 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Previous (Part 61 – Back in the Other World)

~~~~~~

Jump to the Beginning of “The Knight of Xeo”

Advertisements

“The Knight of Xeo” – part 61: “Back in the Other World”

by Brianna G. Harte

Closing my eyes, I imagined myself seeping deeper and deeper into a void beneath myself, gradually letting my soul feel farther and farther away from my body. Each breath connected me more with that which was outside of myself. With exhaustion weighing me down already, it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep. Just before my body went completely limp, I hoped that I could see Atikana again.

When I woke up, sun streaming through leaves above me stroked my face. As I pushed myself up, blinking profusely, I found my hand touching soft, green leaves. I turned around to find layers of leaves pressed together and acting as a hammock. At least, I thought so. I was free swinging, just hanging from branches. I tried to recall the last time I had been in this other world. The sight of the ground floor far below me shocked me into remembering. Of course. But why was I in a tree now? I remembered that I was on the ground, or at least a boulder on the ground, last time I was here. Despite doubting that I was the princess, did Atikana bring me back up and make this hammock for me? She wasn’t cold. She knew, or at least thought she knew, that I was just like her. A xeonia. . . or xeonian. I still wasn’t clear on what the difference was. Anyway, could she have cared enough to do this for me?

Seeing as she wasn’t anywhere close by, I decided to at least look around. I steadied myself in the hammock that was surprisingly sturdy for only being made of leaves. It swayed back and forth as a gust ran through the treetops, pushing my hair in my face. Taking a breath, I jumped upward, my arms outreached toward the branch above me. Apparently, I still couldn’t figure out how to just land where I wanted to. I overshot, breaching the canopy. For a seemingly weightless second, I was basked in the glow of the rising sun. A lake lay not too far off from where I was.

I came down, landing on a branch in a crouching position. Not really knowing where to go, I thought I should just look close by. I hesitantly took a first leap toward another branch, putting very little effort in. I almost missed. In order to make up for the distance, I instinctively put my arms up, using the energy to swing myself around the branch, and used my lower body to give me the extra energy I needed to bring myself to a branch one over. I landed with surprising ease.

How did I do that? I wondered, looking behind me with shock. It wasn’t scary at all. It was. . . freeing. Freeing and exhilarating.

Copyright © 2018 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Previous (Part 60 – My Verdict)

Next (Part 62 – A Budding Self-Reliance)

~~~~~~

Jump to the Beginning of “The Knight of Xeo”

“The Knight of Xeo” – part 60: “My Verdict”

by Brianna G. Harte

With the confidence of Lytos and others at my back, I closed my eyes and waded through all that I had come to know. Initially, they tried to trick me into thinking that they were human doctors. That is, until I began to see them for what they were: dwarves. They kept me strapped against a table against my will. They used fear against me, showing me Lytos in his lamentable state to persuade me not to try to escape. They experimented on me. I was willing to believe that the glowing stone was used to manipulate me, somehow. They did something to Lytos, whatever it was. I was sure of it. It was too convenient that he would forget so much. I wasn’t sure what weapons that had electricity arcing through them did, but it was just too convenient. Even with all of that, they tried to convince me that all was well. While young, I was willing to say that I had to get away from the dwarves. I was going to escape. And if I could somehow manage it, I was going to help the others escape too.

I began to formulate a plan. The hallways were out of the question. I would only be quickly caught, and I’d be back at square one. Or worse. I turned my eyes toward the ceiling. The vent. It was fairly high up, but if I could jump as high as I could far in the other world, then I would be able to make it easy. Trying would be better than just laying here. What after the vent? I knew nothing about them. Then, I realized that very small strands of hair very lightly brushed across my face, constantly flowing up and down. The vents were carrying air into the room. It had to be carrying air from somewhere, right? If so, I could try to go toward where the air was flowing from. It made sense. At least, it would if the dwarves didn’t somehow make it fake. I couldn’t put it past them. Not with the fact that dwarves exist, that I could communicate through nature speak far away, that I could go to another world. I didn’t know enough about the dwarves to figure that out. However, I believed that I knew someone who did.

Copyright © 2018 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Previous (Part 59 – Lytos’ Trust)

Next (Part 61 – Back in the Other World)

~~~~~~

Jump to the Beginning of “The Knight of Xeo”

“The Knight of Xeo” – part 59: “Lytos’ Trust”

by Brianna G. Harte

I sighed. I wish someone would tell me what’s going on.

I may not. . . be able to clarify. . . what happened, but. . .  I would not trust. . . the dwarves, young lady. Lytos paused. If they wished us. . . no ill will, why. . . do they draw inform-. . . -ation from us? Perhaps they will. . . not kill us here. . . but our people will. . . suffer if we tell all. Perhaps they intend. . . to find our weaknesses. . . or secrets we hold. . . firm for our people. That is why. . . I ask you to not. . . give in, young lady.

What do you suggest I do? I asked, though he could probably tell I was exasperated. You couldn’t escape. How could I? I’m just not powerful enough. Anyway, I don’t have any information. I’m probably not even the princess you’re looking for. My memory is gone, so why would they try to get any information from me? And can’t you ask others to try to escape?

I didn’t sense any thoughts from Lytos for several moments. In that time, I began to wonder why I was still kept in this dark hospital anyway. Ad’juk had said a while ago that he wanted to do experiments on me. But what could he find out from me? I still knew nothing. Not since I woke up here. I wondered what happened before I woke up. Did he gain information before that? If he found out what he needed or if he was done, then why was I still being treated like I was back then?

Young lady. . . try to make your own. . . conclusions. Whether you are. . . the princess, whether. . . you have what they. . .seek, whether. . . you can escape. I wish I could. . . help more. But you are. . . our princess, whether. . . or not you believe. . .it, so I believe. . . in your decisions.

Why do you have so much faith in me? I asked, feeling lost, but somehow strengthened by his words. I haven’t done anything special. I haven’t helped you.

Slow, even waves radiated from Lytos’ body, seeming almost. . . peaceful. The royal family. . . has always helped us. . . young lady, you were. . .not an exception, despite. . . your age. We trust. . . in you.

Even though there were so few answers to the boundless questions I had, even though I didn’t have a plan at all, even though I wasn’t sure who I really was, Lytos’ trust in me was like a trove of berries to my starving body that had been seeking nourishment for a long time. Thank you.

Copyright © 2018 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Previous (Part 58 – Lytos Continues His Tale)

Next (Part 60 – My Verdict)

~~~~~~

Jump to the Beginning of “The Knight of Xeo”

“The Knight of Xeo” – part 58: “Lytos Continues His Tale”

by Brianna G. Harte

It was sounding like Atikana wasn’t the only one paranoid about information. I began to wonder if every xeonia I came across would be like this.

There came a day, or night – I am unsure. . . when it was as the suns’. . . lights were far from our. . . reach – that I overheard a dwarf. . . talking to another. It was terribly disturbing news. I cannot remember. . . exactly what was said, but I knew that I needed to. . .to tell someone. Whatever information I learned. . . it would affect other xeonia and. . . perhaps others. I apologize for not remembering. . . correctly, young lady.

It’s okay, I assured Lytos. What happened next?

I believe I relayed. . . the information to other xeonia nearby. . . but I was not, am not. . . strong enough to reach out to. . . those of our kingdom. Knowing that I needed to. . .to reach them, the other xeonia and I concocted. . . a plan for me to escape.

Why not all of you? I would have –

Young lady, this was. . . just not feasible. With so few of us. . . but not enough to be. . . a force to be reckoned with. . . against however many dwarves there. . . were, it was not possible, Lytos explained. Additionally, it is easier. . . for one drop of water to breach. . . through cracks unnoticed than. . . a flow of water. I was selected to. . .to go because I was the fastest of us all. . . and best at hiding. I certainly was not the. . . most skilled, so when I was caught. . . there was little hope of escape.

I sighed. How did they find you? And what did they use against you?

I do not know. . . how they discovered my location. . . but they must have used something. . . that made me unconscious and. . . immobile. I wish I could tell you more. . . but I simply do not know.

That’s okay. Thank you, Lytos.

Were you. . . able to learn from. . . my attempt?

Mostly, I admitted. Though I hoped to learn more of their attack on you. It seems that you cannot recall much from that.

No, young lady. I am sorry.

Copyright © 2018 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Previous (Part 57 – Lytos Begins His Tale)

Next (Part 59 – Lytos’ Trust)

~~~~~~

Jump to the Beginning of “The Knight of Xeo”

“The Knight of Xeo” – part 57: “Lytos Begins His Tale”

by Brianna G. Harte

As my heart fell, Lytos quickly changed the subject. You had. . . another question, young lady?

I fought with myself, desiring to and not to dwell on the fact that new developments that I didn’t understand could not be helped. Yes. Ad’juk had told me something that I wanted to check on. Can you tell me again how you attempted to escape and were then captured?

Perhaps.

I narrowed my eyes. Is there something wrong?

It seems. . . that my memory. . . has become faulty. . . as though something. . . partly erased it.

You don’t think the dwarves did that on purpose to you, do you? Shivers ran down my back at the very thought.

I don’t recall. . . much harm by them. . . in the past.

What do you remember? Specifically when you were trying to escape?

No thoughts directly came from him for a few minutes. In this time, I vaguely sensed others attempting to use nature speak with each other. Was this a new development too? It couldn’t be a coincidence that soon after receiving the bracelet permanently attached to me, I’d been developing new abilities, if that was the right word for it. I wondered what else I could do now and if I could use it to our advantages, provided that I found out how to even use what I’d been discovering. The thought brought me both hope and frustration.

Young lady?

Yes?

I can recall pieces and am ready to tell you them. I apologize for the gaps.

Thank you.

Sensations of wistfulness and annoyance radiated from his being as he told his tale. A short while before. . . I began to sense your presence. . . I lay in a cavernous room with a. . . very low ceiling, chained to the wall. Around ten other xeonia were. . . there as well. I cannot recall. . . how we got there. I just know we were there. They monitored us. . . using strange technology I had never. . . seen before to analyze us. What they gathered, I don’t know. We knew that. . . the dwarves had become a very cautious. . . kind after a great war. They would not act. . . without a great deal of caution. I knew, and all of us knew, was that the longer we stayed, the more information the dwarves had on us. And they would not. . . hesitate to use it to their advantage.

Copyright © 2018 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Previous (Part 56 – More Mysteries)

Next (Part 58 – Lytos Continues His Tale)

~~~~~~

Jump to the Beginning of “The Knight of Xeo”

“The Knight of Xeo” – part 56: “More Mysteries”

by Brianna G. Harte

Lytos?

A few moments passed before anyone responded, and doubt crawled into my mind. But why would the dwarf lie about a name? I saw no motivation for such a deception, though I wasn’t sure anymore what any knowledge or deception thereof could do.

You know my name. . . young lady?

A sigh of relief rang free. Ad’juk told me your name.

Peculiar. Then what is it. . . young lady?

I want you to tell me what really happened when you got hurt, if that’s alright. I need. . . I need to check something. I glared at Ad’juk. Something doesn’t feel right. You said that you tried to escape and found yourself in the state you are in.

Of course . . . young lady. But I must. . . wait. Some are. . . watching closely. My apologies. . . young lady.

“Perhaps one day, you’ll realize that what I say is true.” As his footsteps echoed on the stone floor, I sighed.

My eyes closed. Each second that passed, I allowed my mind to expand further and further out into the void. Slowly, presences such as Ad’juk’s appeared, along with the sensations that came along with them. The more I reached out, the more feelings of hopelessness or loneliness seemed to appear. There were several things I found strange. Ad’juk. . . It’s hard to describe. I think he was ambitious or confident. It seemed powerful, strong. While depressed feelings seemed sluggish and weak, the waves that came off from him were entirely the opposite. It was like a tidal wave was crashing out with him at the center. Was he confident of deceiving me or of his work on me and the others that were in the underground hospital? A second aspect I found strange was that, unlike before, I could somewhat tell slight differences between the energies that figures gave off. In concentrating on what I released, it seemed very different, but I wasn’t sure what it meant. I couldn’t recall being able to do this before. Perhaps it was some new development in my abilities. Then again. . . I looked at the bracelet getting warmer on my skin. Could it be aiding me?

Lytos, do you know how to read energies between different people?

No answer came immediately. Seeing as he was being observed, it made sense it he never responded at all. I can.

What does it mean? What people give off?

Several moments passed.

Sorry, you said you needed time. I just want to figure everything out, and it’s. . . frustrating.

I understand, young lady. Please, just a little. . . longer. Only jittery feelings emanated from his being. I think I could sense those around him, if I was focusing correctly. I was unfamiliar with them. No waves coming off of them seemed to be hostile, but they’d been studying Lytos. Could they possibly know what to mask to deceive? It seemed that Ad’juk was able to read me fairly well, know what to say.

Once those around him no longer surrounded him, Lytos seemed far more relaxed. Expressions and thoughts they have.

What?

What people give off.

No. It’s something different. Almost like it’s. . . I don’t know how to describe it. It’s mostly constant for each person, unlike thoughts and feelings.

I am. . . unfamiliar with this.

Great.

Please understand. I am not . . . advanced in nature speak, Lytos explained. What you sense . . . it is beyond me.

Who can I ask to help me?

Waves of regret radiated. There is no one. Only the royal family. . . could understand such things.

Copyright © 2018 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Previous (Part 55 – A Mystery of Truth)

Next (Part 57 – Lytos Begins His Tale)

~~~~~~

Jump to the Beginning of “The Knight of Xeo”