Author's note: I'm basing this off dreams I have all the time and really the inspiration is from everyday things... Show full author's note »
AmilynnThe slats on the small, wooden door rattled under a banging fist. This sound awoke the slowly waking family. Sleepy feet touched the cold floor, and off was the start to another new day. It would most likely be the same as the last, but these farming families never seemed to complain about a hard day’s work. The sun had not risen yet, but that was how each day was here. Mountains and foothills covered the land, and blocked the sun's light from the ground until midmorning, but famers were used to these tricks. Getting up and starting the day's work with firelight and nymphs was how they all worked, and how it had been done for hundreds of years. The nymphs, being awakened, flew nosily and angrily around in their clear jars. Fire nymphs, radiating heat caused their own glasses to fog in the cool air, but this would not matter this morning. The knock to wake the creatures was a bad omen, like a crow caw from overhead.
Dust and dirt from years of neglect filtered down from the cracks around the cracked frame, handmade and ancient. The entire home was built from the materials around it. Stone, dirt, and wood were the basic essentials. Stone and dirt for the flow covered by layers of thing wood planks, and stone and wood log walls. Inside was dark and dirty, but it kept the heat in and the cold out during the winter, and the hot out during the summer. It helped that part of the home was built underground into the hill. Most farms were made this way to keep food and milk preserved.
“Hold on, I'm coming..." yelled the old farmer, who had not had an urgent call in years, from the back part of his home. His aching bones cried out from years of abuse and malnourishment, but he carried on. He had to take care of his family no matter what. Now, with the help from his many children, the work was getting less for him, but there was just so much to be done. Especially in the early spring, like this, there was always something to be completed. Fields needed to be readied, crops to be picked out and planted, herds needed to be moved, and the storage areas needed to be cleared out of last year’s leftovers if there were any. Going through a list of things he would need to get finished on this day he grumbled his way through the home.
His house was centered on a gathering room where a great fire could be built and lit, but that also caused the room to be dark and sooty. Neglect found its way in quickly during the winters. His voice carried across the bare room, but his bones ached and crackled and he clambered his way to the door. Dust scuttled around his bare feet, leaving a trail from the kitchen where he had been eating. The fire had burnt out sometime during the night and was just now being relit by his wife who shuffled around the home.
The sun had not yet come up, but he knew his way around the few furniture items that decorated his living from the years he spent in this home, a place that his ancestors had built. He shrugged into his tunic that lay on the large wooden table where he and his family ate most of their meals. His wife had mended the plain shirt the night before so that he would have it for the morning's work. Great, his aging wife was. She had her own struggles through the days, but she loved and was submissive, which was what every man wanted in a woman. As he reached the door his many children were beginning to stir with the small sounds of patting feet and giggles above his head. The farmer pulled the block locks to the side and jerked the old door open as the fist began to pound repeatedly. "What's the hurry," his deep voice grumbled, but his eyes searched up to a hidden face and a man in an array of black cloaks.
A man of great stature, taller than most men, stood in his doorway, a long sword hung at his belt, and a dark cloak shadowed the features of the strangers face even more than the darkness of outside did. What little sun did shine this early in the morning would not have been able to show the man's face under all the cloth. The man’s cloaks billowed around him in the breeze that had been dying from a previous storm that had ravaged the small town for days. "I've come for the girl," and with that he stepped into the smoky room, knocking passed the old farmer. He stumbled back into the table, knocking over a simple glass vase with wild flowers. The farmer’s wife came into the cluttered room carrying a sack of grain for animal feed. She cast her eyes down to the floor and backed into the room which she had emerged.
The stranger ignored the blind woman and started to walk to the kitchen were several children had gathered to gawk. His hand lay on the glittering hilt adorned with precious gems while he eyed each child carefully. He was here to find the girl and did not care about anyone else. "Where is the girl who is not to be yours?" His voice was deep and throaty. The question was more of a demand as he turned to the farmer once more.
The farmer had just started to get over the fact that the cloaked stranger had invaded his home and demanded a girl. His first thought was that this man might have been drunk or crazy, but there were no weapons to use against this man. Meanwhile his wife's voice had risen in pitch with her panic. Her voice cut the old man’s heart like a dagger, his breath caught in his chest and he thought, Surely I will die here today. “Who are you?” he stammered, voice barely above a whisper.
From the loft above, a young boy clambered down the stairs. He hadn't nearly seen two decades but acted as he had many years of experience. He pulled a dull and banged up dagger from inside his robe and pointed the blade at the intruder. The shadowed man with dark hair and eyes seemed even darker in the light of the hearth while he studied the strange man standing in his home. "Leave, Stranger. We don't want trouble, but I’ll make it if I have to."
"Then put your toy away, child. I am only seeking the female child who belongs with me. I can smell her here, in this house.” He growled in an inhuman like manner. “I've searched for her for years, and I know she is here, somewhere." The stranger had a thick accent, but his voice rang through the house and cut through all the chatter of the many children who had gathered to stare. The house now lay in a thick fog of silence. "She would be nearing her nineteenth birthday on the full moon. Her coming here was an accident by an incompetent comrade of mine,” He strode through the house, looking for signs that the girl would be here. “…who was defeated by a horde of draggs in the foothills near here.” He paused and sniffed the air. “So, I ask again, where is she? I truly do not wish to harm, you or your family, Farmer.”
The old man had started shaking, his pride and joy was going to be stripped away from him in a matter of minutes, and he understood that there was not a single thing he could do about it. His beautiful daughter had to be taken by this stranger because, in his heart, he could not risk getting the rest of his family injured or killed because of one child he took in. Ever since he found her, burned, sickly, and abandoned, he knew that this day would eventually come. One never believes that the day they are living will behold the horrors they know must come true. Children of specialties are not left on purpose with mere farmers.
“Just tell him where she is!” sobbed the old woman as she clutched a small girl to her chest. Though she was blind, she knew just what child this man wanted. She had been against the child staying with them from the beginning, but she would never admit that to her husband. Her kind-hearted husband who took in many orphaned children just could not bear leaving her behind to perish. The old woman knew, too, that this day would come, and she only hoped that this evil would pass over her family and leave them intact.
"She's out in the forest behind the house. There's a path that will lead you there." His words ran together and his eyes widened at how easily he had just given up his daughter. His pointed finger dropped immediately to his side. He was so ashamed at what he had just done, but he felt like he had no other choice. The old farmer’s wife had begun weeping louder and now let out a wail that made him cringe. She had never seen the girl, and the farmer believed that his wife would surely not know the pain this will cause him. He staggered to his wife and held her hand as the stranger turned to leave.
The young boy, who had pulled his dagger, now lunged at the cloaked man with a wild battle cry. In his mind he was thinking about all the things Lynn had done for their family and how close they had become over the years. She was his sister, and he knew what it was like to be orphaned and alone. This intruder was going to have to fight to get her.
With one smooth movement the stranger caught the blade with his hand and knocked the boy on his rear. “Do not tempt me, boy.” The sword clattered to the ground a foot away and left. The silence returned as everyone held their breath. The shadowed man took one last look around and turned to leave
The boy looked as if he was going tear up, but he remained where he was. It was if he was being held down by invisible ropes. The stranger did not then hesitate to continue on his way out of the home. He expected much more violence or struggle from the family, so his job was made easy, for now. He truly would have loved to gut the family, but today was not there day to die. He knew that before the next full moon his men will have to do that job, but the man was glad that the debt of life would not be on his hands tonight, for he was about to complete a very important task for his queen. She would be happy; even though he could tell her mood for him was starting to change. He could feel her mind fading away from thoughts of him, and to some other fellow. This did not upset him, however.
Outside the sun had spread some glow on the world, and his horse waited impatiently as the man swiftly climbed onto its slick back. Tannin, the servant of Lady Morgan, had found the princess, Amilynn, of Wendrenhood and would now be able to go back to his brothers, his debt repaid. He had been searching for years now, and was forbidden to return to his queen until she was found. The girl was special to the queen, but Tannin did not understand why. All he knew was that he would never again have to just follow orders and do what was expected of him. No, he was going to be free.
Tannin, quickly finding the well-worn path that the princess had taken, for her footprints were easy to make out in the soft ground, went on his way. He clicked at his horse to continue forward and watched carefully at the trees around him and his partner. He had known that the man had not been lying about the path and the girl. His gift has always been reading minds, and his infinity was with the spirit, so knowing the truth when spoken came naturally to him. There was no way that any human could lie to him, and that assurance had never led him astray so far in his journeys. He could still hear the cries of the blind woman and her family. Tannin could not help but feel sorry for her, for she was losing a child she had never seen, and her husband was not far from the grave if he had to take a guess. The two had many children together so the woman would not be alone, and the farm would be tended to. Tannin was not worried about this family but it made him wonder about his brothers again. He had been thinking about them much more often these days. Why was he worried about this family anyways? He needed a break from work. Yes, all he needed was time with his own family. He had not seen his brothers for a couple years now... He and his brothers have all been recruited by Lady Morgan and each of their services was met except his. Soon they would all be coming back home where they owned a few shops in their small town.
The path was easy enough to follow as the sun filtered through the trees, casting long shadows across the way. She did not try to hide where she was headed and this made his job more than easy. He wondered if she would run and hide. He smiled to himself and thought about how that would make for an exciting hunt. Many of his jobs like this were exciting for him. The rush of adrenaline and smell of fear really called to his hunting soul and animal nature. The ones who run were always his favorite, for he never liked to kill too quickly. He only grumbled some because this girl was to remain untouched by his desires for now. Lady Morgan told him that he would have his fill once Lynn was housed at the castle. His horse grunted, pulling Tannin out of his mind, and began to move a little faster up a slight hill. The trees began to grow thicker, but that was not what the horse was anxious about. His horse wanted the chase as bad as he did, but for different reasons. His black horse loved to run, and that was in his nature, not the hunt, but he still loved his horse anyways.
About twenty paces up the path was a beautiful spotted mare that stood tied to a tree. Her feet stomping and her tail swatting at her legs as spirit nymphs toyed with her. Her coat, shining in the light sun, and her mane was braided with flowers woven into the different strands. What a silly look for such a beautiful horse, he thought. Thinking about these mundane things helped him to be calm and powerful while he stalked his prey.
Silently, Tannin slid off his pure black stallion and began reading the trail for any signs of the young lady. He would have to use the element of surprise to catch her, but he could persuade her as well. Many women found his looks to be quite charming and handsome. His mind reading powers doubled with mind control; unfortunately, Tannin was told that his powers may not even affect her at all. He would just have to find out for himself, but the unknowing could very well throw away everything he had been working for.
Tannin lowered himself closer to the ground, his footsteps making no sounds on the wet earth. He quitted his beating heart and quick breaths and solitarily focused on the task at hand. His eyes strained to catch any movement as he approached a ring of trees not too far ahead. Sure enough, the girl lay across a large stone slab that jutted out of the ground. The birch trees that formed a circular wall around her shielded her vision from him, but also were going to make him getting to her that much more of a problem. This girl was beautiful with long sun golden locks that fell well past her slender shoulders and down to her waist. Her bare feet swung over the edge of the rock in an innocent manner, her hands folded against her chest where her bosom was hidden under folded layers of a green and white flowing dress. She was slender and lean, but had a delicate and fragile look. Tannin was not yet closes enough to see her facial features well, but he was going to have to make his move before she notices his presence.
Amilynn had always been different. All she remembered from her past was a great fire before the farmer and his wife found her as they walked home from a far off market. She had burns and was sick for over a month after the family took her in, but even though her wounds healed, her memory would not return. She had been young, but like fog, her memory was clouded. Ami never asked anything about her past and grew to love her parents and siblings as if she had always been there with them. Her silk clothes were sold, but she always kept her necklace. She had no choice. No matter what she did it would not come off. When she first tried it cut deep into her skin and burned her, and did the same when her father tried. From time to time she tried to take it off, but for the most part it was left alone. The glowing colors a mystery to her and everyone else. Even the local jewelry seller could tell her nothing about it. Of course she was curious, but this was her family ad she knew that finding out her past was not going to be easy. She also wanted to be accepted, and once becoming friends with the farmer's youngest son, Gregory, she found that living there was quite pleasant. She often brought him here, but he could not see or feel what she did and he quickly lost interest in this place, but Ami knew that there was something special about this sanctuary.
She was a young girl who had never even been to the big town or city, and now that she was turning nineteen, the age of a woman, Ami was going to have to go through the Blood Moon Festival. This festival is for all the virgin women to dance around and show off for possible suitors in a knee high solid white dress. Not only was it going to be cold and unsightly, but the suitors would mark them with colored paints as the night went on. Many men and boys had made attempts to catch her attention but none seemed to faze her at all. Men from all the neighboring villages would come to this festival, and she knew that many would want her. Ami just did not wish to marry any of them, and considered running away. What good would that do? She would then be alone and on her own in the wilderness. She always felt out of place here in this town, even though she could never love her family any more, she somehow wondered if she belonged elsewhere. Her heart always pulled her into the forest where she could be alone with nature. This sanctuary always provided her shelter and with all the years she had come to the sanctuary not a single one of her brothers or sisters could actually enter the circle of birch trees like she could. They had all told her that it was magic, but she had always thought them as being scared until a hunter had tried to stalk her. She could still remember his rough hands pulling at her clothes, the awful stench of mead and urine coming from his dirtied clothes. She had screamed and lashed out, but what she did had no effect on the savage man or his wants. Her strength failed her, but an alpha male wolf came to her aid. The wolf had jumped the man, biting and clawing to protect Ami. She struggled back away from the gruesome scene and watched the man stagger away just to be attacked repeatedly by her protector.
Ami shut her eyes against the rising sun, feeling its warmth kiss her skin good morning. Ami had always enjoyed the simple pleasures of spring, such as the beautiful sunrises, gentle breezes, and light rains that touched the land around her. She stretched out on the cold stone, feeling it's frigidness from the storms earlier awakened her senses to everything around. Her shoes lay on the ground next to her white cloak, its soft wool made her smile. Her white gown fell around her like a blanket of snow while her necklace lay between her breasts. Ami lay on the rock daydreaming about what her life will become in the near future when she heard a faint sign behind her. Reaching out with her pale hand she just felt the fur of on her fingertips. Shasta sat grumpily down beside Ami and nuzzled her out stretched hand. "Aren't you up early?" Ami giggled as the Shasta yawed. Her wolf stretched and bounded off to the north, probably going to find a meal. The silence the wolf brought did not proceed to leave as Shasta did, but lingered. Not very many animals stayed around when the large, black wolf wandered around, but it is a fact of life. Ami laughed at her companion and rolled on her side. She felt the cool stone against her cheek and was surprised that a single tear had found a way from her eye. Feeling the tear tickle its way down her face and onto the stone's surface caught Ami's attention for she knew that her tears were unlike any of her family’s'. Her tears were rare and few, but they had healing properties, and could grow lilies when they touched the ground. It was an odd thing that Ami kept hidden. Some of the other villagers already thought her as being a witch, but they just did not understand. When was the last time she had cried? Ami could not remember, but there was the proof that someone around her was upset. She always knew, Ami could feel it inside her and the odd weariness that came with it. Fear, sadness, and desperation made their way into her heart.
Blocking out the person's pain was Ami's only source of relaxation, but the nagging feeling settled into her gut. Something was wrong, very wrong indeed. Sighing and closing her eyes to the sound of nature Ami began her search through the different spirits around her. Many of the animals hid in dins while the birds were chattering and spreading their wings for an early morning flight. People in the Village of Lumbridge were just beginning to awaken, but her home, she found, was the source of inner turmoil. Maybe her mother had scolded one of her younger sisters. The young ones cried so often that it made Ami's head hurt just thinking about it.
Immediately Ami shut down her empathy skills and relaxed her mind as she would any other day. She was going to sleep for a while in the sanctuary before heading back home to help with the housework. Her mother would surely scold her for being out so early, but it was worth it to spend just a few hours here daydreaming where other minds did not constantly cross hers. Her mother thinks that the housework is never finished well by her sisters, and always ends up cleaning up after them. Her blind mother just could not keep up anymore. Ami felt like she needed to be home and the despair of people began to grow. Excitement? Maybe the calf was finally born, or the merchants were coming early this year. Sensing that someone was watching her she laid still on her perch. Who was this? This spirit was clouded like a coming rainstorm and odd like lightning. It thundered with greed, jealousy, and lust. Her heart began to pound hard in her chest and she held her breath for what seemed like hours. Was this person watching her? She could not tell and was frightened to find out. Whoever was out there was a stranger, and that was not a good sign for her. When she released her breath she froze, hoping that her breath only sounded loud compared to the thundering of her heart. She did not want to be accused of being a witch, or worse.
Ami struggled with herself. She did not know whether she was in danger or not. Her family was not injured or in physical pain, but she knew that whoever this person was, he had caused the fear that ripped through their hearts. Maybe this man was a vampire, but then, she could not be sure. She had only been told about vampires and had dreamt about them, but this man was defiantly not human in any way. She again took a deep breath and tried to relax. That man surely cannot enter here. No one she knew could. At least not yet, but she did not really want to find out. Ami noticed how the birds were not singing, and the squirrels lay hidden in the trees. This man was putting off great negative energy and the animals were afraid. She was worried in her heart, but he may not have seen her yet. If she moved he may then notice her being there, and that would be the end if he could enter the ring.
Ami closed her eyes and searched for her protector, but could not quite find him. His mind must have wondered a bit too far for her to reach out to him. If she screamed he would hear, but how long would it take for her wolf to get here, and would she be quick enough to make it home if she was to run? Not knowing was her worst enemy, and it was getting the best of her. Ami needed to relax and keep a strong hold of her mind or she would defiantly give herself away.