Miras washed her hands in the creek beside their resting horses. Her hands gently smoothed the crystalline waters over her scars, and as in every time she did this ritual, she prayed to Araia for them to be washed away. Sometimes, if she closed her eyes, dipping her hands into the chill waters, she could almost imagine the pain returning to her; how the flames splashed up her arms, scalded the sensitive area about her shoulders and chest, and singed the fair flesh of her face and neck. Miras could remember how her throat tore from the screams and cries.
“Time to go, Miras.” Her master’s voice came to her over the splashing brook and gently caressed her ears.
Nodding solemnly, she cupped her hands and took one last sip of the refreshing clarity. His voice always chased away the visions of fire. His voice always soothed her anger. And she would follow his voice until the day she died.
Miras got to her feet, fluid as a cat, and cast her eyes about the small glen like a falcon searching for prey. It was clear. They could move on.
“Don’t you trust me yet, Miras? It’s safe to move on.” The voice once again chimed.
She nodded sheepishly, immediately coy.
A hand fell onto her shoulder from behind, rested there and then pulled some of her stray black locks from her neck. Miras felt her shoulders relaxing from the barest touch from him. She did not see his face, not at this moment, but even in her mind it played the same effect on her. The grace of his elegant features, skin smoothed back and pulled into two pointed ears. Glimmering topaz for eyes, cherry blossom for lips, long fingers with the strength of a vice. Beauty and strength, wisdom and whimsy…
“I trust your eyes more than mine at this point, Miras. Allow me to at least poke fun at you out of jealousy of your skills?”
Miras found herself smiling, just the corner of her mouth quirking upwards at the notion. But when she heard him start to come around towards his horse, she immediately became stoic.
“As you wish, Juris.” Her voice croaked out. The damage had been done years ago, and though she had lived with the jibes and teasing all her life, only in his presence did she feel lessened. She detested the grinding, gravel scraping sound of her voice.
Miras took to checking the straps on her horse. As it was every time, she kept sneaking glances over to his. She was pleased to see him doing the same – making sure his two slender blades were still secure by the saddle bags; their supplies were undamaged from their hard ride.
But as with every time, she also found herself glancing at him.
Most Midlanders would have flat out called him an Elf, unknowing of the slight that name carried with it. MIdlanders, most of them grossly uneducated, simply meant it as another word for Fae; unknowing that the word had been ignited and spread by demons to get under their enemies’ skins. True Elves were pygmy sized, skeletal thin, mischievous little sprites that had a penchant for ladies undergarments and causing marital problems. Fae were divine creatures, created by Risael and Araia working as one. One could see the insult.
An ‘elf’ was a slang term for a half-fae, commenting on their lack of grace among their higher born brethren. The careless way in which it was flung around irked a great many of their kind. Miras also took insult to the use of this word, regardless of her rather plain human heritage.
Juris was a half-fae. But Miras did not care nor did she know that he was looked down upon by his Fae cousins. She did not know that he yearned for acceptance among them, though she knew sometimes he was sad because of it. She truly believed that no more beautiful creature existed.
But that was not why she loved him.