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Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Storyseekers Part 4: Cheydine

"Where in the world are we?" Dallian glanced quickly around him, hurrying to catch up with Melodica and Jayrin. "This doesn't even feel like Estrellica."
He's right. Jayrin had to admit to herself. Spearhead Forest definitely felt like a different world from what any of them were used to. The muddy ground beneath their feet was scattered with leaves and a few wild flowers. The trees had thick, wide bases and moss hanging from the branches, sheltering the undergrowth of ferns and other exotic looking plants. Strange bird calls echoed through the air, and the plant life around them rustled as unseen animals passed through them. Fear pricked Jayrin's mind as she considered what kinds of carnivorous creatures lived here, but her adventurous spirit kept her going.
Melodica looked around, trying to decide how much further they had to go until they reached civilization. "If you prefer to stay here, Dallian," she said with a mischievous grin, "Then I'm sure I could leave you and Jayrin together."
Glancing quickly at Jayrin, Dallian shook his head. "No thank you!"
Melodica laughed, but Jayrin obviously didn't think it was funny.

It had been two hours, and Melodica was beginning to wonder if any of the forestdwellers still lived here. Just then, a long spear flew out of the trees in front of them. Melodica, Jayrin, and Dallian all jumped to the left as the spear whizzed past their heads, embedding itself in the soft ground behind them.
"What was that?" Jayrin gasped, looking toward the tree from which the spear had come. Just as she began pulling back leaves to search the branches, something hit the ground behind her. Turning with a start, she realized it was a blond-haired boy about Dallian's age. Jayrin looked back at the tree, which soared high into the sky, and then back at the boy.
"Did you jump out of that tree?" She asked, wondering how he had done it so expertly. He just smiled.
"Sure. I do it all the time." Watching the three of them closely with his bright blue eyes, the boy nodded toward the spear. "I'm sorry if I scared you. I didn't notice you were there until I threw my spear. I promise I wasn't trying to hit you."
Dallian looked suspicious. "And just why should I believe that?"
"Because if I had been trying to hit you, you would be dead right now." The look on the boy's face told Dallian that he was serious.
"Who are you?" Melodica asked, speaking for the first time since they met the boy. His countenance brightened immediately.
"My name is Cheydines Estrasis Treesis." He replied with a smile, "But everyone just calls me Cheydine."
Melodica felt relieved. This quest had been much easier than she had thought! This must be the third Storyseeker, and it had taken her no time at all to find him. "Tell me, Cheydine," she said, "Where do you live?"
Cheydine pointed behind him. "Back there, in the village. All of the forestdwellers live there.
"He's the one we're looking for!" Melodica turned to Jayrin and Dallian. Cheydine looked confused.
"Why are you looking for me?"

Cheydine's excitement grew with each word. By the time Melodica was done telling the story, he could barely sit still.
"Mama used to tell me stories like that when I was little! Are you sure I'm the right one?"
Melodica nodded. "Positive."
Cheydine bounced up onto a tree branch above them. "Then come on! We have to tell my parents!" He raced off through the trees so fast, Melodica, Jayrin and Dallian could barely keep up.

The forest opened into a large open area surrounded by trees, a bare circle in the midst of the dense forest. While Dallian would have expected the buildings to be on the ground, he was surprised to discover that they weren't. All of the houses-more like tree houses-were built into the leafy treetops. For the first time in his life, Dallian wondered if maybe there were others in Estrellica who would understand how his people lived. After all, living in a treetop wasn't that much different than living on a a mountain. At least Cheydine was as far from living in a city as Dallian himself was. As far as he knew, cities were terrible places. Oh sure, Jayrin was raised in a city, but he didn't really like Jayrin, so that just supported his view. Turning, he watched Jayrin land on a tree branch beside Princess Melodica. Watching her, Dallian wondered how Jayrin could possibly have kept up with him and Cheydine. They were used to climbing, she wasn't. Still, she seemed to believe that she could do anything.
Throwing aside her brown braid, Jayrin's green eyes sparkled with adventure. For the first time, Dallian wondered what color his eyes were. Of course, he couldn't see them. People said they were green, but he really hoped they weren't. That would mean he had the same eye color as Jayrin.
Dallian looked up when Cheydine landed beside him.
"Do you Jayrin?" Cheydine asked cautiously. Dallian shook his head.
"Not really."
"Why not?"
"Because she's a stuck-up city girl." Dallian looked angry at the thought of it. Cheydine looked confused.
"I don't think so. I like her. I like everyone."
"Never would've guessed." Dallian's answer sounded more sarcastic than he meant it to, though Cheydine didn't seem at all angry. He watched Dallian intently for a moment before speaking.
"Dallian, there's only one thing you're missing."
"What's that?"
"A friend."
Dallian tried not to let his surprise show in his face. "What do you mean?"
Cheydine's face remained completely serious as he answered. "I mean that you need a friend. You seem lonely to me...don't you have anyone to talk to?"
Dallian wasn't able to answer the question at first, as he had never been asked it before. "Well...not My parents died when I was little. Most of the children in our village were orphans. I was always the oldest, so I looked out for all the rest of them. That's why I hated to leave. I really don't know what will happen to the others..." Though he didn't want to, Dallian began to think about the other children in his village. He tried to push their memory out of his mind, but it was much harder to do then it seemed. Suddenly, he wondered why he was telling Cheydine all of this. Why was it any of his business? Still, Dallian felt as though he needed to finish answering the question. "So, like I said before, I talk to no one because I don't need anyone. I 'm fine on my own."
Cheydine sat quietly, thinking about what Dallian had said. "You need us to help you find the Story of Shaddi." he said finally. Dallian shrugged.
"We'll see."

Though Cheydine and Dallian believed no one could hear them, they failed to see the glittering black eyes watching them through the thick foliage. Commander Kylin was so engrossed in the scene before him, he forgot to be careful. Letting go of the branch he was holding back, he carelessly let it fling backwards into General Sebel's face. Upon realizing his mistake, the commander turned quickly around.
"Forgive me, General." he apologized immediately, fearing the evil look in the Sebel's grey eyes. "I wasn't paying attention."
General Sebel narrowed her eyes. "Obviously, Commander. Be sure it doesn't happen again, or it could be your last mistake."
Kylin shuddered, turning his gaze toward the ground before looking through the trees once more.
"General, the Princess and Jayrin have joined them now. It appears that they are making plans to find the fourth Storyseeker. We must report this to King Lucien! The only reason he couldn't guard the fourth Storyseeker is because he could never find her!" Kylin's enthusiasm was cut short by a glare from General Sebel.
"No, Commander, we will not tell Lucien. It is imperative that only I receive this information." Sebel leaned in closer, straining to hear what Melodica said. After a few moments, she leaned back to address the small group of warriors surrounding her.
"The fourth Storyseeker has been placed on a farm in western Estrellica. There are few people living in that region, therefore, Lucien never looked very hard there. That, of course, is why he never found her. Furthermore, he never will. None of you are permitted to tell him. Ever!"

When the others had left, Sebel remained alone. Peering through the trees again, she laughed to herself. "King Lucien is foolish enough to believe that I will actually help make him king. Of course, he won't ever rule Estrellica. As soon as he wins this battle, his blood will adorn my sword."

Pronunciation Guide:
Cheydine: chay-din
Kylin: k-I-lin

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