Victoria Penning

United States of America

b-day is Jan 1st
11 siblings
coffee drinker
fangirl of Keeper of the Lost Cities
a goof
town & country girl
Author of Evidence for Angels
Jesus loves you, and I do too.

Message to Readers

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. I'm not super sure I'm going to continue posting bits of this story, so let me know what you think. :)

The Emerald Goblet: Chapter 4

April 19, 2019


Erin let out a yell as she twisted in the air and swung her heel at her opponent’s face. She caught him in the jaw, and he flew across the ring. She landed on her feet, and stood ready as he wiped the blood off of his lip and stared at it for a moment. He looked back up at her.
   “You’re progressing, but you lack the fire!”
Erin snarled and leapt at him again, hitting him three different times, pounding him in every direction she could. He stumbled around as she beat on him, and then she leapt around his shoulders, swinging her whole body around his neck, then finally pulling down as she landed on her hands and, releasing her legs, she threw the man across the ring once again. He grunted as his body hit the ground, and Erin landed on her feet. She watched him rise once again. A look of satisfaction filled his face.
   “There, is the fire.”
A servant darted over and offered Lord Cleffnin a cloth to wipe the blood from his chin. Erin, having no blood drawn, accepted the cup of water that Everett held out. He gave a tiny nod to let her know that she was doing good, then backed away. Erin pushed back the wisps of hair that had escaped her braid, and calmed her heart rate while Cleffnin gathered himself together. He turned back to her.
   “As the Special Forces leader, you have to be willing to be right in the front of them, no matter what you’re marching into. It shows your loyalty, your willingness to fight for the people, and that you aren’t going to put up with any misbehavior.”
Erin said nothing, but continued to watch and listen. He taught her more combat exercises, and even called in a couple of the members who were sworn to secrecy about the new possible leader. All the men that were called in were at least twice as big as Erin, with muscles rippling through their arms, and an unreadable mask fixed on their face. It took a little more will than it had for Cleffnin, but she eventually got them down. The last man she battled was the biggest. She beat him down after the longest ten minutes she had ever endured, but he did go down. Lord Cleffnin nodded to the man when he stood. A wickedly sharp knife was drawn from a pouch on the muscle mans leg. Erin gasped and took a step back, looking at Cleffnin. She could feel Everett take a step closer.
   “It is no good to go on a battle field and expect that no one will have weapons. Everett will train you in weapons, but you must learn to take him down when he has a weapon, and you have none.”
Erin face set and she stared into the almost black eyes of her opponent. She didn’t look at the weapon. She gathered her scattered thoughts and shoved them to the back of her mind, while she reminded herself, that it was just like sparring with Everett. ‘Don’t let the black hands touch you’.
They began. Erin used the dancing lessons that Willow had been giving her, and the gymnastics that she had learned in her human life. She was graceful, she was quick, she was flexible, she darted here and there, dodging the blade and his other hand as he tried to grab her. She finally swung up his large arm and sat on his shoulders. She tightened her leg around his neck and used her hands to ward off the attacks. His knife came up and she grabbed his wrist with both hands and did what the humans called the ‘indian burn’. He yelled as best as he could through his pinched throat, and dropped the knife. He stumbled around, trying to rid her of his shoulders. She took her cue and leapt off. She rolled in the sand and came to a stop at her feet. The man fell to his knees as he breathed in the glorious air and held his arm to his stomach. He looked up at Erin, but instead of the anger that she suspected would be there, his eyes held respect. He nodded to her then stood and bowed to Lord Cleffnin, and waited for his commands. Lord Cleffnin nodded for the fight to be over, and the man sheathed his knife. Cleffnin stood in between the two fighters. He glanced at Erin.
   “That will be all for today. Everett will begin your training with a weapon now.”
He bowed to Erin, then left as the three left in the ring bowed to his back. The fighter turned to Erin as soon as Cleffnin had disappeared. Erin expected anger, hurt pride, or taunting to come from the big man, but what he said surprised her.
   “If you do decide to be our leader, I would be proud to serve with you.”
He bowed deeply, then left the ring. Erin stared after him, then turned to Everett as he approached her. He held two wooden swords in his hands. After handing one to Erin, he explained what was going on.
   “I’m going to teach you the basic steps first, and then we’ll move on to the more complicated things.”
He taught her the foot positioning, the defense positions, and the basic swings. She caught on very quickly, and was able to block every sharp swing that Everett threw at her. They moved onto the fighting maneuvers and were quickly engaged in a hard, serious combat. They fought each other, and when the swords were knocked away, it turned into a hand to hand combat match. The sun began to set as they darted here and there in the ring, fighting and dodging.
 Everett got in a lucky hit, and was able to trip Erin. She landed flat on her back as Everett pinned her down. She struggled, but they both stilled at the same time, while staring at each other. They remained frozen, as if they were unsure of what to do. Everett’s grasp became gentle. He leaned down further. His warm breath blew gently across her cheeks. He leaned closer. Erin knew that this probably shouldn’t be happening, but something seemed to be keeping her from stopping him. Luckily for the both of them, a voice to the side of the arena stopped them.
   “Lord Cleffnin has requested his son’s presence. If he’s not busy.
The two jerked away from each other, both blushing bright red. Everett helped Erin up, but they released each other’s hands as soon as she was on her feet.
   “Of course.” He turned and bowed to Erin. “Thank you for the match. We shall further your training tomorrow.”
He left the ring, but Rowan still stood there, staring at her. She stared right back.
   “Are you really going to let him take it further?”
   “Just because you don’t trust him doesn’t mean I can’t make my own decision.”
She turned and picked up the wooden swords. A hand was laid on her shoulder. She looked up. Rowan stared gently into her eyes.
   “My Lady, please just listen for a moment.”
Erin studied his eyes for a second, then gave a nod. He took the swords from her hands and put them away, then led her from the ring. She followed hesitantly, but she was curious to know where he was taking her. They made it to the wall that they had climbed over on her first night. Erin could hardly believe that two weeks had passed since then. Time seemed to fly so fast.
Rowan sat her down on a moss covered log against the wall, then sat beside her.
   “I’ve lived here, all my life. I’ve known Everett for my whole life. We used to be best friends.”
   “I wonder what drove him away. Your arrogance or your sarcasm…” Erin wondered aloud. Rowan flinched gently, but he could hear the sarcasm underlining her voice.
   “Actually, it was Everett that drove me away. He was so close with his father when he was young. He wanted to be just like him. He wanted to be the next leader of the Special Forces. He dreamed of it, talked of it non-stop.”
Erin frowned. “But I thought-”
   “That the next leader comes from a different couple, yes. That is true. But Everett didn’t like it. He thought that it should be past down from one generation to the next, in one family. His mother tried to explain that it didn’t work like that, and that the next leader had already been chosen. He did not like that. He resented his mother, and you. Said that if he ever met you, he would be sure to…”
He stopped suddenly, then looked at her. Horror filled her eyes, and her mouth had dropped open slightly. He reached over and took her hand.
   “I’m not saying this to scare you. I just want you to really learn about the people you meet before you… make a decision, about anything. Ask him deeper questions, solve all his puzzles, but don’t trust him until you feel you have the whole truth.”
Erin was quiet and stared into the distance. “I made my decision about him. He is a dear friend of mine, and… I am attracted to him.” She turned to look at Rowan. “It is not my problem that you have friendship issues with him. I don’t have issues with him, and I would like to keep in that way.”
She rose and headed back for the manor. Rowan leapt up and went after her. He grasped her arm and turned her around.
   “Erin, please!”
She stilled when he used her first name. He hadn’t said it in a while. His eyes begged her.
   “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Erin’s eyes widened, then lowered suspiciously. “Is that one of the reasons that you have problems with Everett? You’re jealous!”
Rowan blushed deeply in the fading light. He looked away, then back. He interrupted Erin’s ranting with, “Yes! I do care about you! I have since I first met you!”
She stopped in a stunned silence. She stared at him. He stared back. His hand gently rested on her shoulder, but Erin turned away.
   “Like you said, I should learn to trust someone before I take it further. And I know there’s one person I don’t completely trust yet.”
She vanished into the manor as the night began to darken, and the cold winds picked up their speed. Wolves howled in the night, and an owl sang its haunting tune. Rowan took a deep breath and headed for the servant’s quarters. Would she ever listen?
                                                                                  ~ ~ ~
   “So? What have you learned?”
Everett scowled at his father. “She’s not like most elves, and neither am I. I’m not going to betray her confidence in me. If you want to learn about her, find these things out for yourself.”
Lord Cleffnin towered over his son and stared down at him, only to quickly realize how tall his boy had gotten. Determination lit the blue eyes that were so much like his own, and his wife’s stubbornness flooded his face. He softened his voice and laid a hand on his son’s shoulder.
   “Everett, you’re a man now. You have the ability to make your own decisions, but if you really care about our nation, and our people, you must make decisions that might hurt other people. We must know more about her, before we allow her to enter the Special Forces leadership. There are things that she’s hiding, I can see that, and I worry about it. She could do considerable damage if she were hiding something important when she goes into this. You must understand the difficult situation I’ve been put in concerning her…”
Everett stared into the towering bookshelves behind his father, and remembered the day they had met here in the library. He sighed, every conversation they’d had, every moment, flashed through his mind. He turned away.
   “I’ll consider what you ask of me, and you give you my answer when I’m ready.”
Cleffnin nodded at his son’s decision, and allowed to leave the room.
                                                                               ~ ~ ~
    “Erin! Lady Erin!”
A hissed whisper came from around the bushes down by the stream where Erin was wandering the next morning. She looked up and saw Everett’s blue eyes gazing at her. She smiled, then instantly frowned, wondering why he was hiding. She hurried over. He grasped her arm and pulled her into the bushes. She stared up at him, confused and concerned.
   “What’s wro- Mmh!”
Everett interrupted her by placing a hand over her mouth. He wrapped an arm around her waist, without moving his hand. He drew her close, his mouth settled right next to her ear. She started to understand what was going on. From a distance it looked like they were having a tender embrace, but Erin could feel the tension in his muscles, and see the tightness of his jaw. His warm breath blew across her ear, gently blowing small wisps of her hair away from her face.
   “I need to talk to you. It’s important, and concerns your safety.”
She tensed, but immediately relaxed her muscles, leaning into him. He removed his hand from her mouth, and gently rubbed her shoulder in a slow circular motion. She took a shaky breath.
   “What about my safety?”
He took a cautious breath. “My father has finally asked me to report what I know about you to him.”
Erin instantly began to pull away, but he held her hand firmly as she looked up at him, alarm spreading across her face.
   “I have told him nothing, except that I was not going to betray your confidence in me.”
Erin relaxed slightly, but her thoughts churned in so many ways. Would she have to watch what she said from now on? Had she already said too much? Would she have to hide her thoughts extremely well, now that Everett could translate her expressions?
She looked up again, with fear in her eyes. His grasp grew gentle, and he softened his voice.
   “I told him I would consider what he was asking of me, and give my answer when I was ready because I wanted to talk to you about. To let you know, and see what you think.”
Erin looked at him, confusion replacing the fear that had almost overwhelmed her.
   “What? What’s going on? Why would you want to talk to me about it?”
   “Because, like I said, I don’t want to betray your trust in me.”  
Erin took a shaky breath as she considered all he had said. She nodded thoughtfully.
   “I have nothing to hide. You may tell him what you like. But,” She grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him down to face her. A fire had been ignited in her eyes. “If I find out that you’ve been telling him lies, telling that I’ve done things that I haven’t, then I will find you, and you will regret it.”
Everett’s insides trembled at the threat, knowing how well she could fight. He gave a tiny smile.
   “Sooo…. I souldn’t tell him that you’ve ridden on a Ferris wheel?”
She released his shirt and slapped his arm. “Did you have to bring that up?”
Everett grinned, feeling more comfortable now. Erin had told him a few days ago that she had never been on a Ferris wheel, but really wished she could. The look in her eyes as she had spoken of it, made Everett wish he could go find her a Ferris wheel, and bring it back. Just for her.
They took a step away from each other, and calmed their heart rates, both for different reasons. Erin for the fear that had raced through her as she wondered what Cleffnin would do if he found something he didn’t like, and Everett for the fact of how close she had been. The sweet scent that came from her hair, the warmth, yet fierceness in her brown eyes, her full lips as they drew into a firm line… He took another trembling breath and looked away from her. Neither seemed to know what to say, so Erin gave him a slight smile, then turned to walk away. Everett blew out a large breath, puffing his cheeks up as he did. Gosh, he’d never felt like this towards anyone before. Lots of girls had tried to gain his attention at Academy, but he was never interested. But now… he rubbed his chest were his heart was racing painfully, then turned and walked away, knowing fully well that the girl walking away from him had stolen his heart.


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  • April 19, 2019 - 8:49pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Victoria Penning

    Aww! Thanks! I've actually been pretty stuck on this one for a while, but I'll see about posting more. :) Hmm.... I'd say he's probably two or three years older, and Rowan is around the same. :) Ha! Thanks! :D

    8 months ago
  • The Dreamer

    Wow! That was great, I can't wait for the next chapter. Just wondering how old is Everett is compared to Erin because he seems to be a few years older ( in any case I prefer Rowan). Great job!

    8 months ago