Game Of Hearts
Author's note: i was bored and this is what helped me understand that i love to write.
The PrideWe walked into a huge clearing and as I looked around all I could see were people, running everywhere. Some women, some men and lot of children. As one bumped into me I recoiled, it felt wrong, like I wasn’t supposed to be near him. I looked up into a pair of sky blue eyes and saw an apology in them. I just nodded and caught up to Faelyn. He held out his hand and I took it without a single thought, knowing it wouldn’t be like that man back there. I don’t know why, but I just knew. I looked to my right and saw a big group of women walking away from us with piles of clothing in their arms. “Probably to wash them”, I thought. Faelyn looked at me and smiled mischievously, “Ready?” he asked.
“For what? I asked, bracing myself here, it couldn’t anything from wrestling with 12’ alligators, to cuddling with kittens. But he smiled wickedly and said “You’ll see” then took off like lightning with me in tow. I laughed and ran with him as a guide. We ran through or around big tents, or groups of people. We started to head to the biggest of the tents. We walked inside and a whole bunch of mouthwatering aromas hit me full in the face. I looked down at my stomach when it growled, then at Faelyn. He laughed and started to head towards the back of the tent where the smells only got stronger. Faelyn stopped for a second, looked around, and for some reason over people’s heads, almost at the ceiling and smiled. He weaved through all the pots and pans and food and different things towards the very back, to a giant fire, where an even bigger woman stood cooking steaks. She looked down at us and said “Well, you’re actually early”
He smiled and looked up at her and smiled “Well hello to you to Mareana. Oh, this is Anna, Anna, Mareana.” He introduced us. She held out her hand and I took it. Mine disappeared, entirely engulfed by hers. I knew I would not want to make this woman angry, or even play tug-of-war against her.
“Well, where did you find this little pretty thing?” she asked once she had let go of my hand.
“She’s only little to you Mar.” he said teasingly. I looked up at the woman, afraid she’d be insulted but instead, she laughed.
“So, what’s for lunch today?” Faelyn asked.
“Food” she replied.
Faelyn sighed. “Ok then, what’s the food that we are going to be eating for lunch today called?”
“Steak, rice, corn, and to drink, well I don’t supply that you’ll have to get it yourself”
“What kind of steak?” he asked excitedly.
“Jara” she said it like she was bored of having to explain something over and over again.
I looked up at Faelyn and asked “What’s a Jara?”
“A Jara” she said before Faelyn could “my dear girl, is a deer-like animal”
“Oh, well sorry I didn’t know-“
Faelyn cut me off,
“Well since lunch isn’t ready yet, let’s go introduce her to Aptura” he said.
“Yes, yes, he will want to meet this one, she is feisty”
Faelyn growled something under his breath I didn’t quite catch, it sounded something like ‘…keep his hands off her…’ but I couldn’t be sure and I didn’t want to ask either. Then we started walking towards the front of the tent again. Once we were outside again he stopped for a second again then started to head to the second biggest tent in the camp. This one was the only red one. He stopped in front of it and waited silently.
Then from inside came a call of, “Come!” and he walked inside. I could smell the smoke of the fire as we walked towards it. Then a giant figure rose up from behind it (though, I noticed, not nearly as big as Mareana) and say,
“Well, well you’ve decided to come home in less than a week” Faelyn just nodded. The figure started to walk around the fire and as it did I saw a face very similar to Faelyn’s, smiling down at me.
“Well now, who is this pretty little thing?” he asked.
“Well how about we get three things straight first, one, she’s mine, two you will not touch her and three, you will not give anyone else permission to touch her.” He told the man “Her name is Anna, Anna this is Aptura, or my father. He said the last two words icily.
“Oh, you always have been protective of your toys, even with me,” Aptura said “and I’m your father” the man roared with laughter.
I don’t know what he found amusing and I know that whatever it was, if Faelyn got it at all, he certainly didn’t find it amusing, whatever it was. While we waited for Aptura to stop laughing, Faelyn looked at me with reassuring eyes and took my hand. I squeezed his hand as if to say “I’m ok” he nodded and looked back at his father, who had stopped laughing and was watching our silent exchange with sparkling eyes. His father nodded and said
“Don’t worry I won’t touch her, but I can’t speak for everyone.” Faelyn just nodded as if he’d already thought of this, and squeezed my hand again. His father reached out to shake hands with me and I reached out with my free hand. As he grasped my hand he said “Unless she wishes to come to me?” with a raised brow. I wrenched my hand out of his grasp, (not without difficulty might I add) and took a step back and looked up at him with a fierce expression and said icily “No thanks buddy, your little too old for me.” He laughed again and said, “You’ve found a feisty one Faelyn!”
“As I’ve heard” he looked up at his father “Is that all? I wish to finish showing Anna around.” Aptura laughed and nodded. As we walked out of the tent Faelyn muttered something under his breath that sounded like “should get a life” and from inside came the call of “I heard that!”
Faelyn smiled and yelled back over his shoulder, “Knew you would” and started running. I laughed as he started to head back to the food tent. “I thought you wanted to show me around?” I asked him, still laughing. “Well that’s later, first you need to eat.” He told me, I’m betting as an excuse to go eat. I laughed again and he started to run faster. When we got to the back again instead of rice, Mareana gave us grapes. I gasped with excitement, I love grapes. I popped one in my mouth and bit down, sweet juice filled my mouth, spreading across my tongue and flooding down my throat.
“Mmmmm! I haven’t had grapes in such a long time! ” he looked at me, mouth full and nodded. I laughed and popped another one in my mouth. As I chewed I thought how my earlier statement of preferring this over reality, was becoming more and more believable. I heard Faelyn swallow loudly and then cough as food went down the wrong pipe. I turned around to see him shoveling in another giant mouthful of food and chewing, acting like he hadn’t eaten in days.
“Pig” I taunted and then laughed when he pushed up his nose and snorted then snorted. I laughed and he finished chewing. I cut a small piece of the steak off and tried it, chewing slowly. I swallowed and ate the rest so fast it was a wonder I didn’t choke (much). Faelyn looked at me and said
“I’m the pig around here huh?” we both laughed.
We finished our meal and we went on a tour of the camp, him pointing things out and telling me what they are.
“Oh, and that’s my tent, we don’t have anything set up for you yet so you’ll be sleeping in there with me” he explained. I looked at him, surprised. “I mean unless, you know, you don’t want to we could fix something up for you.” He said quickly. “No, no that’s fine.” I reassured him, uneasily, things turning awkward instantly. He nodded and we walked on. He showed me Mareana’s tent, his mothers tent, the weapons tent (which was quite dusty.) the food stores, and a few animal tents, set up like stables. When we came to those I stopped. There was a weird variety of animals. Some looked like horses but were gray, had armor like skin, rhino horns on its nose and the end of its tail had a hard ball on it used for hitting enemies is what Faelyn told me. Faelyn called it a stage (It’s pronounced like stag) “The Arnold Swartz nagger of horses” I said.
“Who?” he asked me, looking puzzled. “Oh he’s an actor in a movie, he does the most extreme things, and he’s got a deep voice and an accent.”
“Oh, ok” he said, still clearly puzzled.
“He’s an actor.” I summarized.
He laughed and finished showing me around. I’ll have to admit, it was pretty cool here. The only thing they were missing was a bathroom. I was curious about this so I asked Faelyn “Where’s the bathroom?”
“You go in the woods” he said as if it was the most obvious thing ever. This dampened my spirits. Even in girl scouts I had never gotten used to the leaf thing. We went for a walk in the woods and he showed me more animals that I hadn’t seen yet. I even saw a Jara. It looked like a deer except it was a light green, with golden eyes, and red hooves. When Faelyn told me that they are very friendly creatures, I plucked up a handful of the waist high grass and held it out to the animal while Faelyn was looking for something on the ground a few feet away, his back turned towards me. The Jara walked up to me, totally unafraid and snatched the grass out of my outstretched hand Just as Faelyn started laughing so hard he had to sit down. I turned to look at him, startled.
“Sucks…to…be…you.” He gasped in between laughs.
“What? Why? I asked him.
I waited silently for him to stop laughing. The Jara hadn’t even flinched during all this and suddenly I had the urge to pet the animal standing next to me. As I reached out I heard Faelyn yell “NO!” and I pulled my arm back and turned to look at him. He stood and calmly walked over to the Jara and looked it squarely in the eyes. He stood there for a silent second, staring deep into the Jara’s eyes. The all of a sudden his foot flashed out, faster than the strike of a snake and caught the animal squarely under the jaw. The animal screeched with pain and ran off into the woods, shaking its head vigorously.
He turned back to me with a grin, like he had done something good. I stood there, horrified. Then my horror turned into rage.
“Why did you kick it? It wants doing anything wrong.” I hissed at him as his grin faded, letting some acid seep into my voice.
“Don’t get mad at me! I just helped you! “He said, equally mad now.
“Uh-huh. So explain to me how kicking a poor deer–thing is supposed to help me! Ha don’t give me that load of bull!” I said.
“A poor deer-thing? If you had petted that ‘poor thing’ then you would have gone mad! That’s why we kill Jara’s! They take over your mind. If you feed them then you make a bond with them and they follow you around, but if you touch them, it seals the bond and you will go mad! They take over your mind and they change it around. So yes kicking it helped you.” He said.
“Oh” I said feeling guilty about yelling at him. “Oh, I didn’t know that.”
“Well maybe you should have asked first.” he said
“Ok, next time I will, and I’m sorry for yelling at you,” I said, still feeling pretty guilty.
“It’s fine but next time, think with your own mind please.” He said then, as if nothing had happened, he grabbed my hand and started running into the woods. I laughed and ran with him, the wind throwing my hair back and flinging it out behind me, the bushes feeling like soft caresses against my skin, before I knew what was happening he let go of my hand and started to run off into the woods without me,
“Oh, no you don’t!” I yelled after him and ran to catch up with him. He started to pull ahead and before he could turn I tackled him from behind and we went flying over a hill, getting air that a bike rider would be jealous of. We rolled for what seemed like forever, I made the mistake of letting go of him and I rolled off on my own, away from him. When I got up I could still hear him grunting as he kept on rolling down the hill. When he finally stopped I ran down to him yelling “Faelyn? Are you ok?” Then I got to the spot he should be, and he wasn’t there! I instantly stopped and looked around, knowing he could be anywhere. Then all of a suddenly I heard a stick snap behind me. I whirled around, but it wasn’t Faelyn standing there. I don’t know who was or why they were staring at me like that but all I knew is that he shouldn’t be here and neither should I.
“Who are you?” I asked the boy.
“Where is that person you were with?” he countered.
“I would answer that but-”
I heard someone cough behind me and I looked back and saw Faelyn standing there with a huge lopsided grin on his face, and for a fleeting second I didn’t see him, I saw a child with a goofy grin on his face. I ran into his outstretched arms and he pulled me close and looked at the boy.
“Brother, father has been wondering where you are.” He said.
I looked up at him “That’s your brother?” I said, confused already.
He laughed, “Yes that is my little brother, Jared this is Anna, Anna, this is Jared.” I held out my hand that wasn’t holding Faelyn’s and shook hands with him. He looked up at his brother and said “You know what else father has been wondering about? How I became so much like you.” He said with the tone of someone who knew they were annoying, and embraced it. Faelyn laughed and said “Yes” and started to walk away from his little brother.
“Hey! Where are you two going?” he yelled after us, trying to catch up.
“Away from my annoying little brother.” Faelyn yelled back over his shoulder and started to run. “Hey! Not fair!” I heard Jared yell from behind us. I laughed and went the opposite way Faelyn wanted to go, I heard him sigh, knowing that if he went his way, he’d have to let go of my hand. We ran faster and faster then all of a sudden I slipped and Faelyn fell on top of me. As we lay in the mud, breathing hard, it starts to rain. I groaned and pushed Faelyn off of me and stood, trying unsuccessfully to wipe mud off of my back.
“Now my only pair of clothes are dirty and I don’t have anything to wear while they get washed.” I complained to Faelyn as he tried to help me get the sticks and leaves and mud clumps out of my hair. He laughed and said,
“Don’t worry we’ll find something for you to wear.” I sighed and then started shivering. He sat down and sat me on his lap and I gratefully snuggled deeper into his shoulder, burrowing for the warmth he always seemed to be radiating. When I was warm we just sat there and breathed, looking at the forest, watching the ever-singing birds. We watched the sun set and finally I started to yawn. He laughed and stood up. We ran back to the camp and there was only one tent awake and it was Aptura’s tent. We quietly tiptoed past it to our own tent. When I walked in I noticed that there was only one bed.
“Where am I supposed to sleep?” I asked him afraid of the answer. “We will have to sleep in the same bed for tonight” I looked at him. “Unless you don’t want to, I could get a sleeping bag out and sleep on the floor.” He added quickly.
“No, that’s fine; it is your tent after all.” I said, trying to hide my disappointment. I must not have been doing it to well, but he didn’t say anything. He went and got me some clothes and waited outside so I could change. When I was done he went inside and changed while I waited outside. “Ok, I’m done, you can come in now.” He called out to me quietly. I walked in and said “Do you want the inside or the outside?”
“I prefer the outside, you know, just in case an emergency.” I nodded and got in the bed. It was surprisingly soft and not itchy like I thought it would be. The Hart skin blanket was fluffy and soft. It smelled like Faelyn, like sun, dirt, the woods, and something floral. I scooted over to the wall of the tent and he lay down beside me. I turned towards the wall as he pulled the covers onto himself. He reached around me to get the candle hanging above me and pinched it out with a soft hiss.
“Goodnight Faelyn” I said softly.
“Goodnight Anna. He said even softer.
I smiled. He chuckled and turned over, facing me, he pulled me closer to him. I snuggled into the blankets and into him. I closed my eyes and right before I fell asleep I thought, “This is just the beginning.”