Earlier this year I posted a couple of paragraphs written by my daughter. This evening she gave me permission to post a story that she’s been working on. Since my schedule has been booked tight I’m glad to have something new to post. Enjoy!
The Council of Ettaldens
My life had never been the fairytale I had always wished for. I grew up on a small farm where my father was a blacksmith and my mother just a wife and mother of two kids. She was also a skilled healer with herbs and home remedies that I never got the chance to learn. The towns folk whispered tales of her being a witch, but when they needed help with a sick child or a dying grandmother they would come to us with no shame.
Everything seemed better when I was a child, the sky was brighter, and the grass was greener, nothing could possibly go wrong in my world. The biggest dilemmas I ever had were the days my brother thought it would be fun to play cruel pranks on me. Even then mama would feel sorry for me and I would be able to get a treat out of it. No, my childhood was nothing to complain about. I also remember the day every thing changed, the day when I was forced to be no longer a child and to think for myself.
It was cold, damp and cloudy, the dark sky hovered over us as rain threatened to make itself known at any moment. A group of men came riding up to our small wooden house, dust flying behind them. They wore silver helmets with black and red fabric starting from the top and falling to the side. I had never seen men like them; they fascinated me but, I was also terrified. They bore no smiles and as my father went out to greet them, he showed no welcome as he always did with others. The largest man in the group, whose long course black hair came peaking out of his helmet, trotted forward and began to talk. He had a deep voice that boomed like thunder but low enough for none of us to be able to make out a word. I shuddered as I clung to my mother’s apron. Tonan, my brother, began to walk down the porch to stand next to my fathers’ side, but mama stopped him by placing a hand on his shoulder. We all stood there silently watching, my mother would gulp for air every so often as if she were holding her breath. My eyes studied the men who sat behind the one who was talking to my father. They sat there with no emotion, stern as the sky above them. Each of them had a hand resting on the sword that hung lazily at there sides, as if there would be a need to use them at any moment. I avoided the thought to even to think about were their swords had been.
My father, usually a gentle man, began to raise his voice. Tonan began to fidget and I looked up at my mother, whose eyes were glued to the scene in front of us. Her curly blonde hair rustled in the wind, she looked down at me sensing my confusion, her pale blue eyes looked sad, but she smiled and whispered me soothing words. I smiled and looked back at my father and felt my mother stroke my head. The leader handed my father a scroll, I watched him try to hand it back to the man but he only shook his head and turned his horse around to leave. The rest of the group followed obediently. My father stood there dazed, staring at the scroll that was now laying in his hands. Tonan ran out to my father, I watched him jump, being brought back to reality, my fathers smile reappeared to his face and he patted Tonan on the head.
“What was it?” My mother called out to them in her soft velvet voice. My father looked at Tonan and then back at my mother.
“Take Aurelia to the forest to gather some berries, tonight your mama can make a treat for us.” He then walked into the house leaving us standing there quietly staring after him.
Tonan began to protest but my mother raised her hand and went into the house too. Tonan glared at me making me stare down at my feet in defeat.
“Well get your basket” he barked making me cringe. I hesitated but then did as I was told.
“You don’t have to be so mean” I said as I ran to keep up with him as we followed the trail through the forest, his long legs glided quickly. Compared to my short stubby legs it was always a race to keep up with him.
He was sixteen years, eight years older then I. A young man in my fathers eyes but still a boy in mine. He had my mother’s features, her blonde curly hair and gentle eyes. He wanted nothing more in life then to be my father.
I stumbled a little and stopped to balance myself. “Just find your berries Aurelia” he sighed and sat down on a large bolder a few feet away from me. My face turned red, I hated to feel like I was being a burden so I quickly went into the forest. I hurriedly gathered as many berries as I could, ignoring the stabbing pain that would go through my hand as I would carelessly shove my hand into the bush. I would stop every few second to sneak a few berries into my mouth and then would go back to gathering. I heard my brother call my name and I grabbed the basket and ran back to the path.
“Come on, I want to find out what’s happening.” He began to walk away. I frowned and went to catch up with him.
“What do you mean?” I asked confused. He sighed and I could tell he was annoyed that he would have to explain it to me.
“Do you really think that Pa wanted a pie all of a sudden?”
I pondered the question, but he didn’t wait for me to answer.
“He wanted to speak to Mama alone” He said quietly. His sudden mood change worried me even more.
“Who were those men Tonan? Why did they give a scroll to Papa?” I looked up to see his face frown but when I stumbled again I went back to watching the ground below me. Tonan grabbed the basket away from me noticing that it probably wasn’t best for me to carry them and I silently thanked him.
“They were men of the Kaldron army, I assume they want to take Papa to war with them.” He looked down at me and smiled a weak smile. “I shall go with him if he does.”
I gasped; I had never heard of a war, why would we need an army?
“Who are we going to war with Tonan? Why does the army need Papa he is but a blacksmith.” I fought the panic that was threatening to take over.
“I will get into trouble if I tell you Aurelia” He quickened his pace.
“Tell me Tonan I want to know. “ I pleaded.
“Kaldron will go to war with its own people and the time is coming to chose sides.” He paused to look at me, I stayed silent, waiting for him to go on. Tonan stopped walking and knelt to look me in my eyes.
“Aurelia they are many things you do not know about Kaldron, rightfully so. You are still very young, what I tell you, you can not tell Mama or Papa that I told you okay?”
I nodded feeling dazed by his seriousness.
“There are such thing in this world called Ettalden, they are like humans but poses the power of the elements. Most only have certain elements but some poses all four. The king of Kaldron, Syrian, views these humans as creatures and wishes to rid all of Kaldron of them. Many people of Kaldron disagree and that brings us to the war.” He studied my face, maybe to search for fear. But my face was stone I would not let him stop.
“Syrian has been killing these Ettalden without the knowledge of the people, now that his secret is out; people are beginning to stand up for the Ettalden. Syrian expects his people to follow him in his decision of murder against these harmless humanoids. That is why I think a few of his army men came to Papa, to tell him to fight with them. I had heard they were coming from some town’s people earlier this week, but I couldn’t be sure.” Tonan opened his mouth to say more but then closed it and began to walk again. I stood there by myself taking in every thing that I had just been told.
“What will Papa do?” I called out, now feeling very small compared to the world around me.
Tonan stopped and turned around to look at me. “He will fight with the Ettalden against Syrian and his evil doings,” and then Tonan disappeared down the trail leaving me standing there.
“But what will I do?” I whispered to myself.