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Adventure
Romance
Trailing Turquoise
Writer CJ Gem
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  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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Trailing Turquoise
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#6
Chapter Six
CJ Gem
Apr 2, 2018
1
1
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19 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!5bEuUAGZrkDixl21hnatposted on PENANA

    Sionn felt a strangely detached sort of peace. He hadn’t intended to die today, he reflected as the water rushed around him. He had to admit, though, hearing Elona call out his name was pretty satisfying, as far as it being the last thing he ever heard. Despite his struggles, the water pulled Sionn deeper. Farther. One moment, he’d turned towards Elona, elated to hear her calling for him. The next, his hand had slipped and he plunged into the water. The surface had been initially warm, but once the water had gone over his head it was bone-chillingly cold. He had no idea how far he’d been dragged by the time his lungs gave out. The world through the water around him was a multifaceted blur. A bend in the river thrust him along the riverbed, and Sionn let out the last of his breath in a gasp of pain. The grit and gravel that lined the bottom dragged against his exposed skin, and Sionn felt his vision start to blacken.copyright protection12PENANAmnqyXVdfag

Somewhere in the distance, he thought he heard a distorted splash, like something had fallen in. Elona! Enlivened, Sionn forced his eyes to open farther, willing his limp limbs to do something. How did a human body swim? Whether it was luck or his own sluggish movements, he broke the surface. Swallowing a deep gulp of air, Sionn turned his head, trying to spot Elona. Does she know how to swim? Sionn frantically questioned, ignoring that his own brain couldn’t hope to provide the answer. Suddenly, the peace he’d made with dying, even just for a moment, no longer sat right on his soul. There was so much he didn’t know about Elona, so much he’d yet to learn. Did she fall in after me? Or did she— Sionn’s thoughts were distorted as the current grabbed at his feet and dragged him back under. Water rushed up his nose. He nearly sputtered out the small breath he’d forced into his lungs, but Sionn focused his frenzied energy on searching the water for any sign of Elona.  copyright protection12PENANAcfsQKnqqmS

Even with his human form he could only hold his breath so long, though, and Sionn felt his arms move haltingly against the beating pressure of the water. He felt a pressure in his head, like he was going to pop, but still he forced himself towards the surface as best he could. He had to get another breath, get a chance to see, get even just a single second longer to find her. Elona… With her name as a murmured last thought, Sionn’s body went limp, subject to the mercy of the river. A flutter of deep midnight blue caught his eye just as he began to drift out, and Sionn turned his head. The water, and lack of air, still blurred his vision, but a form all decked out in greens and browns advanced towards him steadily. Their vibrant turquoise and teal sparkled against the gloom that edged into his sight. As he drifted out of consciousness, Sionn reached a hand out towards the splendid vision. copyright protection12PENANAK0aimdkDAu

~*~*~copyright protection12PENANA7XSyvQtJ5E

It was violent, almost, the way that the water thrust itself out of his lungs. Turning to his side and spasming, Sionn gasped for breath, scared to open his eyes. What had happened? Slowly, his memory drifted back to him. The picnic, Elona’s voice, the water… That vivid figure in the water. His eyes snapped open and he sat up straight, twisting sharply. His eyes landed on what he’d been looking for— Elona. She knelt next to him, her hands pressed into the riverbank in front of her. She was looking at him with an expression of pure relief, but the instant his gaze met hers, shame washed over Elona’s. Blinking, Sionn stared at her, making no attempt to avert his eyes. copyright protection12PENANA0hTs8DPz4c

“That’s a really pretty color on you,” He finally said, unsure if it was the right thing to do. After a moment, he added, “All of them.” copyright protection12PENANArPcC7yPscq

Bracing his hands on the ground next to him, Sionn squished his fingers through the mud of the riverbank. The slide of oozy muck was a sensation familiar to him, no matter if it touched paw or palm, and it grounded him. Elona, the beautiful, wonderful woman who had saved his life thrice over now kneeled next to him, her skin a radiant blue-green. While her clothes still covered nearly the whole of her, they were sopping wet and in a disarray. The ends of her sleeves had been tattered, and her gloves were missing entirely. Her scales, which had presumably been the beautifully turquoise glow he’d seen in the water, now shone a dull teal green. They crawled over the back of her hands, and up from the neckline of her top along the sides of her face. Though they creeped over her cheekbones, her face otherwise was still mostly smooth, but the blue-green color was a vast change from her creamy pale complexion. copyright protection12PENANAWkoOSTEmDK

Sionn thought she was absolutely gorgeous, a work of art comprised of so many colors he couldn’t normally see. Water dripping down his face, Sionn started to lean towards her, unbidden, and his heartbeat began to quicken. Reaching up, his fingers still shaking from the cold of the water, Sionn brushed some of Elona’s shoulder length hair behind her ear. Mid-motion, Sionn paused, holding a strand of hair and squinting at it.copyright protection12PENANA0D2U5bxVKC

“It’s different.” He was surprised, but also proud of himself. He’d been right! “It’s not that bark brown anymore.” Her hair had been the midnight blue that caught his eye. copyright protection12PENANA7bskOATD25

“I—” Though Elona finally spoke, it was weak, and Sionn noticed she began to shake. “I—”copyright protection12PENANA4YpsNimsEZ

“I’m a fox,” Sionn said helpfully, grinning at her, hoping to put her at ease. “What are you?” copyright protection12PENANAdECfyIq6Db

“I don’t… know.” Elona burst into quiet sobs, reaching up to cover her face with her hands. copyright protection12PENANAJKmb4aLYON

Sionn’s heart shattered. There she was, soaked, streaked with mud, and shaking like a leaf in a storm, tearfully wreaking havoc on his soul. It’d been infatuation, he’d realized, that had him following her like a little kit. It had only been a mild attachment, a desire to be and have a friend, but now… Whoops. Mom’s going to have words about this. Reaching towards her, Sionn wrapped her in a hug and pulled her close, dragging her through the mud and into his arms. Humans do this, he reflected. I always wondered why, but it’s so… nice. copyright protection12PENANA3TLtlzLI1q

~*~*~16Please respect copyright.PENANAAYwmjPVgYt
    16Please respect copyright.PENANAAKZH0uw6eN
    Sionn wasn’t sure how long they’d sat there, or how many times Elona had mumbled protests that went ignored, but by the time they’d moved, they were mostly dry. It was fascinating to watch the color fade and the scales vanish as Elona’s skin dried. The only remaining mark of of her multicolored glory was a few blue green streaks around her eyes from her tears. It was Elona who finally stood, pulling him to his feet as well. For a moment they only stood, staring at each other. Elona was the first to break the silence.copyright protection12PENANAHe4kuD2VJF

    “We need to make a camp before it gets dark.”copyright protection12PENANA6sqtEvEptt

    Sionn opened his mouth, then only nodded. They walked away from the river, deeper into the forest, and Sionn noticed that Elona didn’t seem as sure of herself as she had before. Her steps weren’t slow for the sake of quiet, they were slow as she looked around her, Sionn supposed to absorb their surroundings. He could guess at the reason, because it was likely the same as his. He’d never been in this part of the forest before, and didn’t know it as well. The trees were taller, older, and as they walked it seemed to get darker and deeper. This wasn’t the woods he’d called home. It was almost as if a completely different forest was nestled inside it. After a long walk, they found a tiny clearing that Elona seemed to consider suitable enough, and he helped her gather some rocks and firewood to build a small fire. copyright protection12PENANAcxmY1IyNqz

    As she reached into the battered bag still clinging to her hip and thigh, looking for something to start the fire, guilt burned through Sionn. How many of her supplies had she lost in that river rescuing him? What about her bag, her bow, even the cloak that had seemed a second skin to her, weren’t they all still resting against that rock where they’d eaten? Even the small scarf she’d loaned him was back there. Closing his eyes, Sionn degraded himself. There you go again, you stupid kit, causing nothing but trouble for those around you. With a sigh, Sionn rubbed the back of his neck, attempting to form an apology. copyright protection12PENANAd7OirjVufF

    “I-I’m sorry that—”copyright protection12PENANAam8APM6ucz

    “I’m sorry that I didn’t warn you about the river,” Elona interrupted smoothly, still shuffling through her bag. “I told you it was one of my favorite spots, but I didn’t warn you of the dangers.”  copyright protection12PENANAXo7kn82VVt

    “... Thank you for saving me.” Choosing not to press the issue of his apology, Sionn’s instead focused his thoughts. Several things were falling into place with the new information. “Oh. That’s why you were so violent last night. You were worried I’d see… what I just… saw.” Groaning, Sionn smacked his face, ducking into himself. “I’m sorry. You plainly didn’t want—”copyright protection12PENANAv9Bkr3DnxT

    “Sionn,” Elona was looking at him now, and Sionn lifted his head. While Sionn could see the hesitation in her expression, there was trust there too. “I—” She paused, “—Only a few have see that. And none have responded the way you did. None. As long as you don’t tell anyone, I don’t… I don’t regret it.” copyright protection12PENANA2Hfbi5Xoza

    Sionn watched her, trying to read beneath her expression, trying to see deep into her shadowed eyes. It always came back to her eyes. What reactions had she seen? Had people looked upon her, shining in all her glory, and thought her lacking? He thought of the way her voice still cracked when she spoke of being alone. How many had turned her away, just for what she was, when whatever she was must be glorious. After all, no matter what she was, she was Elona. copyright protection12PENANAXxy5RWdUS9

    “I… Elona?” Sionn felt awkward saying this now, even though he’d technically said the same words before. “I know I say it lightly, but, I really… I really am a fox, and I really shouldn’t have told you. I only did because… because…” Now. Now is the time to tell her. But… Sionn hesitated. He didn’t want to tell her. She’d already rescued him so many times, if he made her think any less of him she might wash her hands of him entirely. She’d become so important, growing in his heart wistfully since their first meeting and now, blooming suddenly into the very breath he breathed. copyright protection12PENANAnniYHK1l8y

    “What do you mean?” Elona’s voice was quiet, like it always was, but there was a clear curiosity in her tone. “I’ve seen foxkith before, is that not what you are?” copyright protection12PENANAeagumyzjW8

    Foxkith. He’d heard that term, his father had warned him it was what a human would assume him to be, had instructed him to encourage the belief. His mother had been more cynical, had be the one to tell him of the slur he’d be likely to hear on the lips of any human. Beastial. It pleased, but didn’t surprise, Sionn that Elona had used the kinder term. They were both names used for beings born with animal appendages or traits. That was what she thought him, what he’d allowed everyone he’d met to believe. No one had heard of beings who could shift between animal and human form, after all. That was exactly how his family wished it. With a slip of the tongue, he’d broken their greatest rule in his attempts to persuade her. Now that he was going to say it deliberately, now that she might truly believe him, Sionn founded his throat clogged more than when he’d been drowning. copyright protection12PENANAtUF2ZxZcrR

    If she knew what he was, how inadequate he’d been as a fox, would she want to put up with him as a… ‘foxkith’? Sionn remained in thought for a long time, watching distantly as Elona started the fire. He’d had no more than a moment to appreciate that she was letting him take his time before he blurted out, copyright protection12PENANAmOfFMXqOjy

    “I’m… I’m not a foxkith.” copyright protection12PENANAmyJD25bBp7

There it was, out in the open. He held his breath, watching Elona in the glow of the small fire. He expected confusion, perhaps for her to tug on his ears, or demand proof, anything but what she did. She smiled, the expression weary from her earlier tears, and spoke. copyright protection12PENANAKS2qV1XVep

“Okay. Would you like to talk about it?” copyright protection12PENANAMBd2g0ZGOi

Sionn did. That came as a surprise to him. Even as he felt guilty for revealing a secret that wasn’t his alone, Sionn felt an overwhelming desire for her to know more about him. It was a twin emotion, twisted up with his need to know more of her. So he opened his mouth, and allowed his thoughts free reign. copyright protection12PENANAebQYOT30us

“I’m a fox. I mean, I guess I’m whatever I am now, too, but mostly I’m an actual fox. A… magical fox?” Why was this so hard to explain. The words fumbled in his mouth, and Sionn felt like he was only just learning to speak again. “My- My family,” This part was harder, how could he risk his family like this? But they were a part of him, a part he wanted her to know. “We’re a group of foxes. As far as any of us can remember, we’ve all had the ability to turn into humans— mostly.” For effect, Sionn twitched his ears and curled his tail tighter around him. “Most- well, almost all of us stay as foxes all the time. We just use these forms for added protection from hunters, maybe to build better dens. But I… I…” Sionn swallowed, the words that had been flowing freely beginning to dry up. “I was never very good at being a fox. So I decided—”copyright protection12PENANA8flaFgbDcq

“Why not try being a human?” Elona interrupted, her voice soft and understanding. Suddenly, Sionn realized she understood far more than he might have suspected.copyright protection12PENANA2Z1g1ih0Z5

“Yes.”copyright protection12PENANAjehac53f6y

Sitting down, Sionn stared into the roaring fire Elona had nurtured during their conversation. Finally, he was beginning to feel drained. Between his sleepless night and the events of the day, his endless energy had been tapped. As the fire crackled and popped, Sionn contemplated how long it had been since he’d smelled a campfire. The scent had always appealed to him, despite the danger it presented to an animal. Sionn tore his gaze away from it momentarily as Elona sat next to him, but it drifted back to the fire slowly. For merely a second he dozed off, and his chin pitched forward, startling him awake with a jump. He shook his head, trying to shake free from the grogginess. copyright protection12PENANAHeN2otjA7v

“Go to sleep, Sionn.” Elona’s voice sounded like it was from far away, but Sionn found it compelling anyhow. He vaguely wondered how many times she’d said his name, somehow pleased it’d already been enough times for him to lose count. He closed his eyes and allowed his body to slowly drop towards the ground. There was a frisson of surprise when his head hit something soft and warm, but it was quickly smothered by comfort, and he slid seamlessly into sleep. copyright protection12PENANA1au2rvlIwk

~*~*~16Please respect copyright.PENANAnHdeRTIU3o
There was a soft fluttering around his ears, and Sionn smiled. It felt nice. Blinking his eyes open, Sionn was surprised to see the embers of the fire in front of him were… sideways? Screwing his face into a thoughtful frown, Sionn contemplated the shift of the earth for an embarrassingly long amount of time before he realized that it was because he was laying down. copyright protection12PENANANQy50Ka4Zh

“You awake?”copyright protection12PENANACGvqJTU2u1

All at once, as if in a burst of information, Sionn’s brain caught up with what was happening and overloaded him with sensations. His head was laying on Elona’s leg, using it as a pillow for quite some time based on the rays of light that were filtering through the trees. Her hand was resting softly on his head, her fingers shifting aimlessly through his hair near his ear. Sionn felt a scorching heat drift over his face, and hopelessly pleaded with whatever powers that be that she didn’t see it. Some fur to cover his face right now might be a blessing, for at least that red wouldn’t betray his emotions. Sitting up, Sionn attempted to stretch lazily, turning away from her and willing his face to cool. copyright protection12PENANAyvc2xDyTl5

“Yeah.” copyright protection12PENANAd9WLeXvp1v

Sionn scratched the back of his head to delay looking at Elona just yet. His eyes focusing somewhere in the distance, Sionn tilted his head. There was something in the far distance, barely visible through the trees. Pushing to his feet, Sionn squinted, trying to get a better look at it, but all he could tell was that there was something gray in the distance. Sionn’s inspection of the object didn’t halt as he heard Elona stand as well, but he did speak, explaining himself. copyright protection12PENANAGEcb4V5ZYz

“That’s really odd, there’s something gray that way,” Sionn lifted a hand to point as he took a step towards it. Tearing his eyes away from it, Sionn looked over at Elona. “We should check it out. Maybe it’ll give us an idea of where we are.”copyright protection12PENANA0w4dzCQ7vb

For a moment, Elona looked like she was going to argue that point, insist she knew exactly where they were, before a resigned expression crossed over her. Shoulders slumping slightly, she nodded. As Sionn turned back towards the weird sliver of grey, he heard Elona snuffing the fire. As she stepped next to him, his stomach growled. It was a painful reminder that the last time they’d eaten had been the late lunch the day before, but Sionn ignored it. He’d been hungry before, would likely go hungry again. He worried that Elona might be hungry, though, but as he turned to face her, she was squinting to find what he’d seen. It was obvious to Sionn the moment she found it, because she began to walk forward, as if compelled. There was no recognition in her eyes, and yet she looked entranced. Suddenly alarmed, Sionn followed behind her. copyright protection12PENANAdIl9uz60Z8

Though it had seemed close, it took them nearly an hour to finally break through the thick brush of trees. The clearing they stood in had most likely once been much larger, but now the forest was edging in and pushing close. All around them trees were at war with stone pillars, both reaching for the sky as if the first to reach it might be crowned the winner. Moss covered trees and pillars alike, and Sionn reached out to brush some moss away from the nearest pillar. Though they had been the grey he’d seen, he wondered if their original color might be underneath the gritty layer of moss. copyright protection12PENANAvFMHRRDWQB

The pillars themselves were intriguing, but Sionn glanced past them to find that what they surrounded was doubly, no, infinitely more so. Sunk into the tree-infested hills was an elaborate building made of of stone, vanishing into the ground as if it might be merely a doorway to something greater. copyright protection12PENANAvR7z4GcUOH

Sionn and Elona edged closer, stepping carefully over broken and mossy stone steps that threatened their ankles. The entrance looked like a pair of wide stone doors, but as Sionn got closer, he realized that these doors were only etchings into the smooth stone. The true doors were what he had believed to be the front walls of the structure. The opening they would create seemed large enough for a giant beast to make it through, an entire herd of deer even, all at once. The left door had had a roof cave over it, leaving only a sliver of it accessible. Reaching forward and resting his hand on the handle of the blocked door, Sionn wondered what it would possibly take to open such a thing, let alone build it. copyright protection12PENANA62qrbU1iU0

Next to him, Elona was quiet. When Sionn looked at her, he was relieved to see the bewitched look had left her eyes. Instead, she merely appeared curious, like he, and maybe slightly unnerved. With a soft touch, Elona brushed away some of the moss and dirt stuck to the door. Sionn noticed that aside from the false doors, intricate swirls and designs had also been etched into the stone. Elona rand her fingertips delicately through them, following their shape as if to memorize them, and Sionn watched with fascination. Maybe they were letters? While his family didn’t know any written languages, they did know of it. copyright protection12PENANArpGd7x5KtV

“What does it say?” Sionn asked, breaking into the warm silence they’d traveled in. copyright protection12PENANAlYMtyRaKMZ

“Hmm?” Elona turned her head towards him, her eyes wide and her expression more open than he’d seen it since they’d first met, “I’m not sure. It feels like I should be able to tell, but I can’t. It’s nonsense.” copyright protection12PENANAsS1SkdMmwG

“Odd.” Sionn chewed on the inside of his cheek. “My father always taught to heed little things like that, that it may be the difference between life or death. Maybe it has to do with what you are?”copyright protection12PENANAnX63bdAgY4

The look she shot him was startled and almost astounded, and Sionn wondered if perhaps that had been the wrong thing to say. copyright protection12PENANAbk3YNBQYmC

“Whatever I am is likely a monster. Why would I want to know?” copyright protection12PENANAYOuZGPdsbJ

Her hand had slid down the door as she spoke, coming to a stop as it rested on the carved handle. Whatever Sionn was going to respond with died in his throat when there was a flash of light. The swirls and etchings began to glow a startlingly light blue, brightening in intensity until Sionn couldn’t see anything and had to turn his gaze away. Frightened, he reached out, relieved when he felt Elona’s arm under his hand. Grasping it, he stepped closer and attempted to angle his body to block her from the light. There was a ringing in his ears, painful and sharp, that left a metallic tang in his mouth. copyright protection12PENANA9zHfCStd8r

As quickly as it’d begun, it stopped. As Sionn and Elona stood in front of the odd stone structure, Elona wrapped up in Sionn’s attempt at a protective embrace, the forest was filled with nothing more than the soft noises of birds waking to the dawn. Shaking slightly, but calming quickly, Sionn pulled away to look at Elona. Her expression was stark surprise, and all the color had drained out of her face. Sionn wrapped her hand up in his grip, but her gaze didn’t falter. She was staring behind him, at the doors. Slowly, Sionn turned. copyright protection12PENANAhkLljzW9xj

The carved door on the right had turned inwards, leaving an opening just large enough for Elona and Sionn to pass through. The symbols on the front still glowed, but their color quickly faded. Just inside the opening was a set of torches, casting light upon the wide tunnel within, but beyond the steadily burning torches was dark. It was impossible to see through. copyright protection12PENANALv7gvO5Jhh

Gasping, Sionn gripped Elona’s hand tighter. It had opened to her touch, opened just for her. As strongly as if she were crying again, Sionn heard her sobs from the riverside. Perhaps here, hiding within this darkness, were the answers she needed. copyright protection12PENANAtqQaGt29Gb

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Comments ( 1 )

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