I FINISHED PART ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok guys, here it is as I promised!
A Quest for Freedom
By Ryebrynn Lyla Shveer
Dedicated to the Undergrounders for their undying support and inspiration.
(Hooray for HUGE text!)
Ryebrynn ran. She ran from her troubles, she ran from the Orphanage and its commanding Mistress and Master. She was scared of the bite of the Master’s whip; scared that she might be caught by the Mistress’s hunting hounds. Almost too scared, causing her to tremble and trip. She prayed, and prayed, her feet were cut and her clothes were in rags. She stumbled and nearly fell, looking down, and saw something. It was a glimmering purple mound lying solitary on the ground. Curious, she stooped; seeing it was an animal alone in the wilderness, she gently picked it up, wondering what it was. Holding a finger in front of its tiny nose, Ryebrynn felt the faint breath of life. “You’re beautiful,” she murmured. “But what are you?” As Ryebrynn was turning the creature over in her hands, she felt small raised bumps on its skin. Investigating further, she discovered that they were tiny scales… and the lumps of wet cloth-like membrane folded on either side were it’s… wings! Just then, Ryebrynn heard hoof beats and the baying of hound dogs. With a burst of panic, she sprinted off, farther east into the dark forest. The Workhouse had sent men out after her. That must be it. A surge of fear entered her heart as she heard dogs approaching. Oh, so tired! She desperately wanted to stop, to catch her breath, but they were hot on her trail, leaving her no choice but to run, holding the small, purple bundle against her chest. Her feet bled profusely, and she was alone, utterly alone. She wept, and realized she still held the small dragon. Or, at least, she thought it was a dragon. Clutching the dragon closer, she wept for her lost life, she wept for her pain, she wept because she had nowhere to go, and soon the men would catch up. “I… I have to do this,” She muttered, hiding the tiny dragon in her tunic pocket (for it was only a few inches long at the time, newly hatched) and set off to meet with the men chasing her, tears running down her face. The men harshly yelled at her, causing Ryebrynn to flinch. One slapped her, and she barely kept back a gasp. She was quickly led back to the Orphanage—to punishment.
* * *
Ryebrynn awoke to a rough shout “Wake Up!” from the Waker-boy. Groaning, the fifteen year-old girl rolled out of bed—if you could call it that, for it was just a simple, thin mattress—and pulled on her tunic over her leggings and undershirt that she had worn to bed. Wincing from the pain of yesterday’s beatings, she slipped out the door with the seven other girls that shared her room to get to work. They would not get food until noon, and not even then if their work was not sufficient enough. “Get on,” ushered the guards, prodding the girls with their spears lightly. They heard the loud banging of hammers and nails as the boys added on a few more rooms, for the number of orphans being brought to the Orphanage was increasing. Ryebrynn wearily stepped into the sewing room to mend clothes for the Mistress. A tall, gray-haired woman with startling blue eyes handed her a folded dress. “Ryebrynn,” She said shrilly. “You are lucky today. The Mistress has entrusted her feast dress in your care. You are to mend that tear on the arm—” The woman flicked her wrist toward a thumb-sized hole in the seam. “And embroider it more…intricately. If you don’t, you know the penalty.” “Yes, Madam Mar.” Grumbling under her breath, Ryebrynn carried the work over to a corner and sat down, starting to mend the small hole first. But when she yanked a little too hard on the thread, the needle came out of her grasp and fell to the floor. When she tried to pick it up, she accidentally pricked herself, the sharp needle sinking skin-deep. With a cry she dropped it and stuck her finger in her mouth. She finished the dress, passing it under Madam Mar’s inspection. “Good enough,” She said. “Now I need to you to go and buy meat and milk for the feast.” “Yes, Ma’am.” Ryebrynn replied meekly. While the other girls where making new clothes, Ryebrynn stepped outside, breathing in the fresh spring air. With a sigh she walked toward the butcher’s, stopping in to buy food for the Mistress, who was to have a grand feast with all the prominent people of the city tonight. Once back, she went to the kitchen and began putting the food away until it was to be used. Just then the Cook walked in, speaking fast. “I’ve been looking all over for you, child! You are late. Come, come, lets get right to it, now!” figure slouched, Ryebrynn followed him to the pantry and pulled down the thick, musty recipe book. They got to work immediately, not stopping for hours. Her black apron was splattered with flour by the time she paused to push the loose strands of hair off of her face. The Cook scolded and made her wash her hands. Sighing, Ryebrynn obeyed. Most girls would rather cook than read, but she loved reading and hated cooking. When would this stop? But, alas, it was required. Ryebrynn helped the Cook bake cakes and sweets for hours for the feast. She wondered where the Mistress and Master had gotten enough money to afford this, because though they looked rich, they were not as wealthy as they seemed. “Probably from the money sent for the upkeep,” She thought scornfully, her hands buried in the floury dough that she was kneading. When she set the pans of bread out to rise, she took a small break but was once more made to keep going by the Cook. When all was ready, the feast set up, Ryebrynn was sent to retrieve dishes of food to serve the tables. She walked out in a line of servants that dispersed to the different parts of the table and set their burdens down. The Master stood, clapping his hands for silence. He lifted his hands to the ceiling, making a show of his ‘prayer’. Ryebrynn had never been sure if there was truly a god, so she usually didn’t bother with prayer. The Master’s was short, but flowery. “O Dramri of the Heavens, bestow thou blessings upon your humble servants, allow us to partake of this beautiful food that is your gift to us.” Lowering his hands, he sat and took a bite of his food. The others began to eat, and the chatter began. Ryebrynn just stood off to the side and leaned tiredly against the wall. Serving wine when needed and assisting those who needed her, Ryebrynn became even more tired. When she was finally about to drop, she was dismissed and allowed to go to her room. She fell on the bed without pulling up the thin coverlet, almost immediately asleep, dreaming of nothing for the time being.
Ryebrynn hated her life and her promised future. If she stayed, the question would be, “Where would Amethyst stay?” She was larger than a horse, now… way larger. This problem hit her from all sides. What would Amethyst do? This question troubled Ryebrynn. No matter how much she thought nothing could stop her from thinking of running away. Arew wasn’t the place for her, and Ryebrynn couldn’t help but want to run away so badly… No matter how hard Ryebrynn tried, the prodding stayed. Her decision was made. She would run away… after she gathered the supplies. Ryebrynn fell into a fitful sleep full of open jaws, whips, herself, and death. Awakening, Ryebrynn heard a faint whisper in her ear saying: “GET UP! If you don’t… you know the penalty!” Ryebrynn forced herself to open her eyes and look at the figure leaning over her. It was the familiar Waker-boy. Her limbs aching, she stood and slipped into her tunic and brushed her hair, putting it up in a neat, tight bun. She joined the other girls in the hall, the guards doing their daily routine of urging them along with their spears. “Get on,” They always said. Her body protested as she tried to take a step forward, “Get to work girl,” One of the soldiers glared. Madam Mar appeared, commanding Ryebrynn to go join a few other girls in cleaning the remains of the feast from the night before. Ryebrynn hurried towards the grand dining room and saw the Mistress in the hall. She quickened her pace, but the Mistress didn’t seem to notice and caught up, saying, “If you are going to the dining room to clean up the feast, tell the other orphans that I have another guest arriving here shortly and they need to hurry up.” Ryebrynn then answered with a curtsy and a ‘yes ma’am,’ and walked away as fast as was polite towards the dining room. Hardly thinking, she shoved open the doors and let them slam behind her. All eyes were on Ryebrynn, and she shifted and fidgeted, her cheeks reddening. They all quickly got back to work as they heard footsteps outside the door. Ryebrynn joined in helping one of her many roommates, Ruby, move a table. Madam Mar walked in just as they finished, and told them, “The Mistress requests all orphans to disperse so she can talk to the orphan Ryebrynn.” As the children left, the Mistress came striding in. Ryebrynn bobbed a curtsy and said, “Mistress, I am humbled that you request audience with me, your lowly servant.” The Mistress answered shrilly, “Stop flattering me. I have no need of it.” Then she told Ryebrynn what she came for “I have come here to tell you that you shall be transferred to my friend’s Orphanage, The Orphanage in Havariah. There you shall be properly… disciplined. You shall obey my friends Mistress Jezebel and Master Jacob, or you will be harshly beaten.” Leave? Leave everything? What she was leaving wasn’t much, but atleast she knew people here! Holding back tears, Ryebrynn then went to Amethyst and told her the day’s events including her decision and the Mistress’s news. As tears trickled down Ryebrynn’s cheeks, she heard a voice in her mind saying, “Ryebrynn don’t despair! I will stay as you travel to safety. I’ll be safe. No one will find me.” “Yes… that is the only way,” Ryebrynn sighed. “Stay here, please. It is only safe. I’ll come back for you as soon as I can.” “Of course you will. Now go!” “Goodbye!” Ryebrynn called, for she had started to walk away, into the woods. “Farewell! I’ll miss you!” Then Amethyst gave her an answer, “I will miss you too. Just be safe. Now go!” Almost choking in tears, Ryebrynn answered, “Goodbye Amethyst,” One last time. Tears streaming, Ryebrynn grabbed her sack of provisions that she had gotten together, and sprinted towards the forest, not knowing what dangers or perils might lay in her future.
The Portly Monkey
For days Ryebrynn traveled, without rest. She struggled to move forward, hiding in the woods. The farther she got from the Orphanage, the safer she felt. That night, Ryebrynn camped by a riverbank and was about to make a fire when… she saw torches in the distance. Scared, Ryebrynn piled dirt on the pit where, moments before, she had been trying to create a fire. Spurred on by fear, sprinting farther into the forest, Ryebrynn outran the men. Although they were on horseback, they could not catch up. Ryebrynn ran for leagues, finally stopping in the village of Canéadamadé. Weary and footsore, Ryebrynn entered the small village, glancing around. Since darkness had already fallen, she began to look for an inn or a tavern. There was only one. It had a strange name—atleast, it was strange to Ryebrynn. It was called the ‘Portly Monkey,’ and Ryebrynn nearly laughed when she saw it. She walked through the door, straight into a boisterous, loud room, dimly lit and smoky. She could hear men carousing nearby, and the smell of alcohol hung heavily on the air. She could pick out one other smell… food! Hungrily, she approached the counter, where a barmaid, a girl about her own age, stood, serving a rough-looking man. Gratefully sitting down in a bar-chair, she asked what they had. The girl told her they had eggs, bacon, soup, and smoked venison. She ordered a small bowl of soup; handing over a small copper coin as payment, feeling a little guilty for using the stolen money—the money she had stolen from the Master’s safe-box. She savored the spicy soup, recognizing it to be onion and potato soup. She usually never had such luxuries… Then Ryebrynn asked where the Innkeeper might be, so that she could pay for a room. “Aw, ya can jus’ pay me,” The bar-maid shrugged. “How much?” Asked Ryebrynn. One silva’ coin and so Ryebrynn paid, and with the knowledge that her room was room 21, she made her way up the stairs and found her room. She opened the door, and locking it behind her, she flopped onto the bed wearily.
The next morning, Ryebrynn awoke to the sound of a brawl downstairs. She waited until the sounds died away, and then went down. The same barmaid, looking tired and with dark circles under her eyes, served her a breakfast of bacon and eggs. Gulping it down, Ryebrynn planned her day. First, she would go buy a horse… a good one. And then she would get supplies, enough for a few weeks, and then set off. She walked over to an old beggar who sat beside the door of the Inn and asked where she could find horses. He gave her directions, and she gave him a half-copper for his efforts. “Thankee,” Was all he said. Following the directions, she arrived at the stable which not very well kept, but still tidy enough for the horses. Asking a stable-boy where she could find the owner, she finally came to talk to the owner. “I’d like to buy a horse,” Ryebrynn announced. “Obviously,” The owner said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “The best you have.” His eyes widened, “The best?” “Yes the best.” Hiding his surprise under a stern face he said, “Of course…” then he led her to the only fairly good stalls and said, “This is what I have take it or leave it.” Then Ryebrynn said “How much for both the horses?” surprised he asked, “Both?” “Yes both. Well how much?” “Two silver coins.” “I’ll take ‘em.” He took a rope and a bridle from the wall handing them to her, ‘to lead em’ was all he said. Putting the halter on the stallion she thought about the days events. She then walked over to the mare and tied the rope to her halter and led them away, heading towards the butchers to buy meat leading the horses behind her. When she arrived at the butchers shop, she started asking the burly man who ran it, “How much is your meat and what kinds do you have?” But he cut her off saying, “How much money do you have?” then Ryebrynn asked him “Why?” then he answered, “So I can tell you what meat is in your price range. Well, how much?” “Twenty silver coins.” A look of amazement filled his face then he said ‘Twenty, really?” hiding his true emotions behind a suspicious face and said, “Now how did a runt like yu come to possess so much silva?” ‘Earned it’ was her only lie. Then she tasted bile in her mouth she had never lied before she felt guilty, real guilty. She then bought some meat and exited the village. After that she rode bareback till her horse couldn’t gallop anymore. After that Ryebrynn made camp. Then she fell into a dreamless and fitful sleep. In the morning Ryebrynn awoke and made breakfast. She rode all day looking for ways to lose people that may be trailing her. She then made camp in small glen, without a fire it was cold, but if she did make a fire, the Orphanage would trail her and she would be unmercifully beaten. She wanted nothing more than to light a fire and eat a warm meal, but alas that could not be. The next day she covered leagues with the horse, and she decided to travel at night as well, so she could outrun the people that may be trailing her. Night and day Ryebrynn traveled hardly ever stopping, but when she did stop, it was only to sleep and to drink. Ryebrynn became weaker and weaker she slept in the saddle, and she hardly ate anything, and she was so terribly weak. Ryebrynn finally stopped for rest and food nibbling on a piece of bread she went and slept. When Ryebrynn awoke she was so weak and tired she couldn’t move. Reaching towards her forehead, she touched it lightly, she was burning up, and the heat could be felt inches away! Then Ryebrynn fainted remembering no more.
When Ryebrynn awoke she was in a strange room on a cot, wondering where she was Ryebrynn got up and explored, finding she was in a cabin she wondered how she got there. Panic seared through Ryebrynn veins as she realized this could be one of the Orphanages outposts. All of the sudden she felt faint, and then she blacked out. A voice awoke Ryebrynn, it was saying, “Little lady, please eat, you need to keep your strength up.” opening her eyes, Ryebrynn saw a young man standing over her, holding a wooden bowl and a spoon, cautious Ryebrynn opened her mouth to say something but the spoon was pushed into her mouth, sputtering she spit it out, she heard the voice again, “Now, now, none of that.” Then Ryebrynn managed to say “Who… are you?” he then answered, “If you eat this soup I will tell you.” Ryebrynn then ate the soup. Then hesitating he told her, “I am Vrainten Baskewal, of the Livinianal people. And you?” Hesitantly she answered “I am Ryebrynn Shveer, of the unknown.” He then said, “Well then Ryebrynn, will you eat to keep up your strength? Or will you refuse to and maybe die of Noréwa?” She then answered, “I… I… have… N…. N… Noréwa?” he then answered, “Yes you do. Now which is it?” she then mustered an answer, “I’ll….. I’ll…. eat…” he then answered, “Good, good.” Ryebrynn ate and was full. Then she slept. Awakened by the smell of bacon and eggs cooking Ryebrynn thought back to the past few days, remembering the man she got up and went downstairs. When Ryebrynn arrived downstairs, the young man was making eggs and bacon over the fire, he greeted her with a wave and said, “How are ye feeling?” then Ryebrynn answered, “Better.” Walking towards the door she found herself surrounded by pines. She sniffed the air and recognized the smell of manure. Thinking quickly she walked back in and asked Vrainten “Where are my horses?” he then answered, “Horses? Do you mean horse? There was only one horse when I got to you. But anyway your ‘horse’ is in the stable behind the house.” Then Ryebrynn said, ‘Thanks’ and walked out.
The way of the sword
Many days after Ryebrynn recovered she awoke and looked for Vrainten, finding him nowhere she went out side and walked around back she heard steel striking wood as she got closer she saw Vrainten sparring with a scarecrow! Walking over she hid behind a pine watching and noting his every move. Finally he stooped and headed towards the house, Ryebrynn ran over and cut him off saying, “You know the sword Vrainten? You never told me! Will you teach me? Please!” he then said “No. It is too risky.” Then she answered, “Why not? You do it!” she said accusingly. But firmly he said again “No, It is too risky a young lady like you could never do it, ever. I train to hard.” “Please!” Ryebrynn begged. “Fine, I give in. Don’t hurt your self.” Then she—not thinking—kissed him right on the cheek. “Thank you!” she said. Walking inside she asked Vrainten, “How will I get a sword, and what will I use to train?” then he answered “You shall use what I tell you to use. We will probably start with wooden swords, and end with real swords.” Without thinking Ryebrynn jumped in the air and uttered “Yippee!” Then she calmed herself and said, “You didn’t answer my first question.” Then he said, “Sorry, I meant to answer it. You will earn a sword when your training is over.” With that Ryebrynn went to her room and grabbed a new tunic (Which Vrainten had given her.) and put it on ready to train, in a new mode of protection.
Ryebrynn swung at Vrainten. He then parried the blow giving her a bruise the size of a small mouse. She doubled over and said, “Time Out!” Groaning she hobbled inside in search of a bandage. After she had bandaged the wound she walked outside and Vrainten handed her sword back and, then he charged, she blocked and for hours they sparred collecting bruises along the way.
Weeks past. The training gave her something to do. She enjoyed Vrainten’s company, and found him warm and cheery. One day Ryebrynn walked outside and waved to Vrainten. He asked her, “Ready to train?” Cheerily she answered, “Yes!” Then he handed her sword to her, and said, “Today is your last day to train. You have trained better than any other student, I have ever trained.” Somberly Ryebrynn walked over and… BAM! She swung at Vrainten and hit him right in the ribs. He then said, “Ryebrynn, your skill is great. There is no more I can teach to you.” Then Ryebrynn answered “Vrainten you honor me.” Then he answered, “I might but of course, I might not.” Winking he stepped inside and came out with a magnificent sword. The handle was intricately carved with runes and the blade was covered with amazing writing which read: Dramri bless the bearer of this sword. Ryebrynn took the sword and swung it. It was perfect. It fit her arm perfectly. It was like an extension of her arm.
The History of Arew
One day Ryebrynn asked Vrainten, “Vrainten I need to leave soon. I don’t want the Orphanage to come and hurt you.” Then Vrainten answered, “Yes, that wretched accursed Orphanage. You will need to leave soon. Maybe I will consider going with you. Come on let us go back to the cabin tis nearly dark.” With that they headed towards the cabin without a word. Immediately Vrainten started on a supper of, venison and vegetables. As he cooked Ryebrynn was reading some history, here is a sample of what she read: In the early years, Arew prospered till Graceland was formed. Graceland proved to be a dangerous enemy they had good warriors and weapons. That was a dark age for Arew. Always at war. Twas supposed to a paradise, till Graceland ruined all good and prosperous plans. Ryebrynn rolled her eyes but read on. Arew was ruined never to be good. It was considered a cursed land to all Gracelanders. Arew was never prosperous again. Evil men and woman sprung up everywhere. Those men and woman created Orphanages that whipped the children, and made them work like slaves.Tears sprang in Ryebrynn’s eyes and she shuddered. As it brought up memories of the Orphanage, she thought how cruel it was to do that. And how cruel she was to escape not even bringing even one other orphan with her. She read on: Those Orphanages were considered evil and menacing. Arew’s Governors tried to banish all this evil, but alas it has continued till this day. Now we shall move to a happier subject, ‘The rise and fall of power. The history of our past kings and queens’ There is Queen Kathryn, of the Penoso family. She was an evil queen. Her husband King Herciles was a timid fellow they had a son, Diferon was his name he succeeded them and chose a fair maiden named Farhiah was her name. They had a daughter named Rilliana she was a maiden fair many asked for her hand she always curtly said, “No.” and walked away. Her beauty was breathtaking. It was like a flower come to life. After her parents died she ruled independently. Many subjects disapproved, and cursed her. She never married and never made anyone her heir. Soon she died of Noréwa, passing away silently in the night. A man named Anthrow was named king when she died. He ruled a few years, but on his second year he felt the need to marry. So he called all maidens fair to his castle and sent them one by one off till he saw her. She was the fairest maiden of all. She had hair black as night, and lips red as a rose, her face beamed like the sun her name matched her beauty, her name was Hatillianah. He then chose her for his wife, her beauty was unmatched. She was a peasant his parents disapproved, “She might turn on you and overthrow you.” They cautioned. He paid no heed, gave his dear Hatillianah all she wanted, and especially spoiled his son, Jovano. He died and his son succeeded him ruling evilly and taxing the people greatly. “RYEBRYNN!” Came the call. Ryebrynn heard the call and recognized it as Vrainten’s voice, she took her nose out of the book and said, “Vrainten what in the world do you need?” “I need you to get your head out of the clouds and come eat!” He said. “Oh sorry!” She answered. Getting up she walked over and sat down Vrainten gave her some venison and asked, “Do you want vegetables?” “Yes.” Answered Ryebrynn.
Ryebrynn ran there was a woman on a black war horse chasing her. The woman had her sword upraised, it glinted in the bright sun she raised her own sword and found herself saying with a sneer “Get away from me, Queen Jazaroonaé! I have the power of Dramri on my side!” The woman’s answer was cold and shrill. She said, “You and you fake Dramri cannot defeat me!” with that a bolt of lightning flew from the sky and she fell limp to the ground. Ryebrynn ran not knowing which direction she ran. She just wanted to get away from the woman’s limp form. Ryebrynn woke sweat beamed on her forehead and her heart beat wildly. She heard a noise, it was quiet but she could tell the noise was of someone jiggling the doorknob. She stealthily dressed and got her sword then she woke Vrainten and he did the same. Together, they walked towards they door keeping in the shadows. When they arrived, they saw a band of thirty or forty men outside. The leader had a knife and was slowly cutting a hole beside the doorknob. Then a gloved hand reached in and unlocked the door. The men swarmed in and saw Vrainten and Ryebrynn. They leader flicked his wrist towards them and all the men ran towards them and surrounded them. Then the leader—not seeing Ryebrynn’s sword—walked over and grabbed her by the waist and held his long curved sword to her neck, saying, “If ye don’t drop all arms and let us capture you, I will kill your beautiful companion.” Laughing, he brought the sword closer to the skin, hot blood trickled down and stained her tunic. Then she managed to say, “Vra… Vra…Vrainten, don’t…. do …. It ….” Then she unsheathed her sword and swerved around stabbing the leader through the chest/heart. His sword fell to the ground and the men cornered them in, Coming closer and closer. Vrainten then said to Ryebrynn, “Did you have to do that? Now look what a problem we have on our hands!” as he said it he flicked his wrist towards the menacing figures that cornered them. All of the sudden a man snuck towards Vrainten and BAM…. stabbed him. :O :O :O!!! He screamed in pain, Ryebrynn screamed in rage and she charged the man.
The Death of Vrainten
As Ryebrynn fought she acquired many bruises and flesh wounds. But that didn’t stop her she fought through the night, and sunrise soon came and shined through the open door. It gave her hope, she fought harder and harder soon she felt as if they were she to drop. Blood was splattered all over the wood floor, men littered the ground, but she fought on once all the men were dead she ran to Vrainten, and he said, “Ryebrynn…. Do not weep. For… when… I die… I go to… the… a…a….a…almighty…. Dramri. I have something I meant to give you long ago….” Then to Ryebrynn surprise he took a necklace off his neck and gave it to her saying, “When in great need say the words to this necklace and the huntress will come.” And with that he died in peace. In agony Ryebrynn yelled, “VRAINTEN WHAT WORDS?” Weeping she went to the shed and got a shovel she then started to dig, she dug for hours. She was determined to make Vrainten have a perfect grave. She dug and dug. Finally she finished. Then she went to the shed and put away, the shovel and then she grabbed the ax after that she went to the forest—that so-rounded the house—and then she cut a tree down and went back and brought back a wagon and four horses—to pull the tree back—and than she brought it back, and then she made a coffin and laid Vrainten in it. Then she prepared some spices and sprinkled them on his body then she got the horses—again—and she had them pull the coffin to the grave. Then she put a whole lot of dirt on the hole she had dug—which now had Vrainten in it—and then she got some stone and made a gravestone and inscribed on it: This is the grave of Vrainten Baskewal of the Livinianal People. He saved my life and taught me swordplay. I loved him like a daughter would love a father. He was my friend and companion. I will forever miss him.
-Ryebrynn Shveer of the Unknown
Then she pounded it into the ground and left weeping.
Ryebrynn knew she would need a map, she didn’t know where to get the map from, so she decided to search the whole house through, every nook and cranny. So she did. But in most of the nooks and cranny’s she found cobwebs, SPIDERS, and old musty junk, but in one unparticular, she found something of interest! It was an old drawing; it was of a man and woman. The man was Vrainten, but she didn’t know who the woman was. “Who could the woman be? Is she a friend of Vrainten? Should I find her, to tell her of Vrainten’s death? Is she still alive?”Thought Ryebrynn, confused. “I don’t want to meddle. I should get back to finding a map. I am becoming a very terrible child. I meddle, steal, and some other stuff. What made me like this?” She thought. Though she was thinking those things, she was actually slowly turning the photo over in her hand. Soon it came to the back, written on the back was in faded writing,Vrainten and Victoria Baskewal. Husband and wife. “Stop Ry, you’re meddling!” She thought, sharply to herself. “This is none of your business! Stop! Go and find the map!” Again she thought, sharper than ever. So she put the photo back and went looking for the map again.
On the road again
Ryebrynn woke with a start. She had a nightmare that men invaded the house and killed Vrainten, and then she buried him. It was creepy. Then she had to find a map and found a picture of Vrainten with some lady. Then she packed up to go to Graceland. It was SUPER weird. Dreams like that were unusual to her, really unusual. Ryebrynn crawled out of bed expecting to see Vrainten cooking happily by the hearth. But no, he wasn’t. “Vrainten?” Called Ryebrynn. Ryebrynn went towards the door. She saw a hole beside the knob. Then her dream came back to her. It really happened. Vrainten was dead. He was really dead. She sat down at the table and wept. Then she remembered her pack. She went and grabbed it. Then she went to Vrainten’s grave and said goodbye. Then she heavily walked to the barn to get her horse, WhiteRosé. Then she saddled her and put her pack and supplies on it, and then she rode WhiteRosé out of the barn towards the forest. The Orphanage men might have caught on her earlier trail, because she stayed at Vrainten’s so long. Soon she was on the road again and humming a hymn to herself.
Ryebrynn yawned and stretched. It was a beautiful morning. WhiteRosé was gone! Ryebrynn remembered she had forgotten to picket her the night before. Ryebrynn looked around Jaxiné was still there! “Morning Jaxiné! Where is WhiteRosé?” The horse pointed her muzzle at some hoof prints leading away from the small camp. “Oh well,” Muttered Ryebrynn, “I can always keep Jaxiné. Anyways, I don’t have time to find her now.” Ryebrynn gave a Jaxiné another bucket of oats and an apple and a smaller lump of sugar. Ryebrynn dressed as the unicorn ate and then Ryebrynn made a
Non-smoking Fire and cooked some bacon. The bacon smelled heavenly. Ryebrynn soon took the bacon off of the fire and pleasantly chewed on it. Then she got her saddle and her saddlebag and put it on Jaxiné. She didn’t protest. “Wow. I wonder who trained you,” Muttered Ryebrynn to herself. “Let’s go Jaxiné; I need to get my mind off of Vrainten. I think the road will do the trick.” Ryebrynn clucked to Jaxiné and she went forward. Days past, Ryebrynn and Jaxiné stopped every night then in the morning they carried on. Despite their rest at night they were horribly tired, everyday they got up and everyday they traveled. Soon a town came into sight! It was the town of Tri. They came there and got a room at the ‘Caring Koala’—A Tavern/Inn— Ryebrynn kept Jaxiné in the stable. Though Ryebrynn hated the thought of Jaxiné sleeping in a barn, she allowed it. Thankfully in the morning Jaxiné DIDN’T hate her.
Too much attention!
The people always gathered around when Ryebrynn rode Jaxiné, or even brought her out. It was annoying. It was giving them TOO MUCH ATTENTION! They couldn’t EVER go anywhere ALONE. It was TOO MUCH, just TOO MUCH! So one day, Ryebrynn was by Jaxiné in her stall. “Jaxiné, I need to take you somewhere else while I’m here. You’re drawing TOO MUCH ATTENTION. I need you to go.” Then Ryebrynn led Jaxiné back to the forest and put in a grassy spot there. “Bye Jaxiné, see you later,” Said Ryebrynn to Jaxiné. Then she walked back to Tri. Once back she was pelted with question like, “Where is the unicorn?” or, “Where did you go?” or “What happened?” or exclamations like, “The unicorn isn’t with her!” or “Uh, Oh! No unicorn!” people wagged their fingers and stomped their feet. It was terrible. Days past Ryebrynn hoped that Jaxiné was sentient enough to stay. It would be unsafe for Ryebrynn if she didn’t. The day were TORTURE for Ryebrynn, they were days spent worrying about Jaxiné. It was horrific.
Ryebrynn needed a JOB. She had very little money. Soon she might have to leave Tri penniless. The tavern/inn was taking up A LOT of money. So, Ryebrynn checked out to look for a job that provided lodging. She soon found one. It was a temporary one, but alas, it would have to work.J Soon Ryebrynn had started and it went well. A week past and she had made 100 gold so far. Ryebrynn was worried about Jaxiné the whole time. Atleast she wouldn’t have to leave penniless. Ryebrynn sighed as she patched a dress. It brought back memories of her days spent sewing at the Orphanage. Her mind wandered into the unknown and she was lost in thought.
“GIRL!” Ryebrynn was jerked awake by the sound of her temporary boss’s voice. “You should be sewing! I don’t pay you for sitting around and lazily sleeping!” Ryebrynn could tell she was mad. She got up and curtsied. “I’m sorry ma’am! I didn’t mean to.” Ryebrynn hung her head. “You irresponsible insolent girl!” Her boss carried on, angrily. “Ma’am I’m terribly sorry.” Ryebrynn grimaced, trying to re-apologize. “Sorry, you say? I’ll show you sorry! You’re fired!” Ryebrynn held back tears as her boss took her ear and threw her out the door. “DON’T COME BACK!!!!” She yelled after Ryebrynn.
The Black Plains
Ryebrynn ran to the woods where she had left Jaxiné. Once there, she was surprised to see Jaxiné and buried her head in her mane. Ryebrynn had brought her stuff and told Jaxiné everything while she made something to eat. Ryebrynn ate and gave Jaxiné some food then she saddled her and got on, they traveled for awhile eating the food sparingly, soon they enter the Black Plains. It was dark, dreary, and gloomy. The cliffs hung over her like hands trying to catch her, it was always freezing and sprinkling, and it all put her in a bad mood. She wondered when she would be able to get out of that accursed place. She remembered her history, this was the place the Arewian’s had taken from Graceland, when King Jacob ruled. She shivered and pulled her cloak around her. She could hear Jaxiné breathing hard, for the air made it hard to breath. I now knew why it was called the Black Plains. I listened as I made a fire out of some grass stubble Jaxiné was eating.
Ryebrynn at this time had been wearing Vrainten’s necklace in memory of him, she knew not why it had been of importance to him, but, since it was his, and he gave it to her, she wore it. It was of much importance to him, she knew that. But how much? Ryebrynn decided when she camped that night she would look at it. When she had camped, she built a fire and started her supper. Then she took the necklace off, turning it over in her hands she —unintentionally—said, “Dramri, summon the huntress, please, O, Dramri.” She queried at the words and sent a quick prayer up to Dramri that these words weren’t bad. She gulped and gathered her stuff—so she could sleep—and fell asleep.
The Summoner/The arrival of Amethyst
It had been days since the ‘Necklace Incident’—As Ryebrynn called it—Ryebrynn still queried about the necklace. Many times she thought she should throw it off the road and forget about it. But it would hurt her heart that she knew, for Vrainten’s last words haunted her mind. Many nights she would sit by the fire and think, sometimes she even wept. But she would never ever wept for Vrainten, but for her loss of a friend. Dramri, is a God right? She thought one night. If he is, then those words shouldn’t be too bad. Ryebrynn looked up. What was that? She thought when she heard a weird flapping noise. It probably just a bird. But though those thoughts were in her mind, she heard another noise, a buzzing noise. It was the necklace! She pulled it out, the flapping noise got louder. The necklace was a hot as a kitchen fire! She screamed as it burnt her skin. She fell to the ground trying to tear off the necklace, warm breath came upon Ryebrynn and the necklace was as cold as ice. Ryebrynn looked up. “Is that you Amethyst?” She gasped. *Aye, Ryebrynn! It is me, Amethyst. So, you found a unicorn? Or did you buy it? I didn’t think you stole enough money for a unicorn.* Came a voice in Ryebrynn’s mind. “No, I didn’t, she was in a forest close to Tri.” Ryebrynn said, running up to her and hugging her, she started to cry. *Don’t cry, child. I missed you too, but, am I crying?* “No.” Ryebrynn wiped her eyes. “I guess not.” She started to laugh. A deep rumble came from Amethyst. *I am glad we are together child.* “As am I. But, how did you come?” *Do you not know of The Summoner?* “No…. What is The Summoner?” *Child, that necklace, where did you get it?* “Oh, I got it from a friend.” Ryebrynn hung her head. *Child, that necklace is The Summoner. If you have a connection with a dragon, and you speak the words, ‘Dramri, summon the huntress/hunter, please, O, Dramri.’ Your dragon will be summoned and when they arrive a buzzing sound comes to your ears from the necklace and then it gets as hot as a kitchen fire, then the dragon will know what is happening and breath upon you and then the necklace is as cold as ice. “Wow. That explains what just happened.” She grinned. *Is that friend still here? Who is the friend?* Ryebrynn grin vanished and a sad look covered her face. “Um, the friend is dead, and his name is/was Vrainten Baskewal.” *For that child, I hope you have overcome your grief. But, very few necklaces like the one you have ever, ever were made. You are holding one of the four necklaces that exist.* “Wow.” Ryebrynn looked at the necklace. Ryebrynn got onto Jaxiné and Amethyst took flight. Ryebrynn looked above her and grinned. They soon were out of the Black Plains. And most important, they were together.
The Austra Desert
Ryebrynn and Amethyst had traveled for miles and stopped to rest. Both Ryebrynn and Amethyst fell asleep. Ryebrynn soon was jerked awake by the sounds of roaring and the clinking of chains. Ryebrynn sat up and looked around. She tried to stand up and grab her sword, but she was assaulted by rough shouts and the pulling of chains. She struggled against the chains, but she cried out when she was struck with a whip. Her head swirled and she fell unconscious.
Ryebrynn groaned and here eyes fluttered open. She looked around. “Boss! She’s awake!” Shouted a small man, with a bald head. A broad shouldered, skinny man came forward. “She’s fine specimen. But, she’ll need training.” Said the Boss. “Aye, that’s true, but just examine her! She’ll get us a lot of money.” Said Baldy, grinning. “Up, girl!” Shouted the Boss. Ryebrynn stayed where she was. “UP! I said, UP!” He cracked the whip by her ear. She yelped and jumped up. She scanned the camp for Amethyst. She winced as she saw her chained to thick metal bar. “Boss, what do we do about the dragon?” Asked a Ryebrynn stayed where she was. “UP! I said, UP!” He cracked the whip by her ear. She yelped and jumped up. She scanned the camp for Amethyst. She winced as she saw her chained to thick metal bar. “Boss, what do we do about the dragon?” Asked a lanky, handsome man. “Kill it. We’ll need food.” Answered the boss. Ryebrynn grabbed her javelin from inside her tunic and threw it at the boss. “NO!!!!!!” She shouted. The Boss fell to the ground, dead. She grabbed a keychain off of his belt and unlocked her chains. She looked around and groaned. Millions of men, women, and children sat in cages all around the camp. Both the lanky man and the bald man rushed at her. She found her sword and killed Baldy. She charged Lanky. He produced a sword off his back and stabbed at her leg. It left a gash. Ryebrynn fell to the ground clutching her leg. More men rushed out of the bushes. They chained her up and knocked her unconscious.
Ryebrynn groaned and she looked around herself at her surroundings. She was no longer in the camp, but in a vast land full of sand. “Welcome to the Austra Desert.” Grinned Lanky. Ryebrynn glared at him. At the crack of a whip she stumbled to her feet. Around children, woman, and men all stood around her shuffling forward. She started at a fair pace and vowed to herself to escape and to rescue all the people around her. “We’ll be rich!” Said Lanky to a friend, glancing back at her. She sent him a glare and turned away. She glanced forward and saw strong men pulling a cart full of wailing babies. Ryebrynn winced as the whip went across her back; the stroke drew blood and put a cut in her tunic. Lanky—whose real name is Jake—grabbed her and strapped her chains to another cart, this one drawn by women, she was forced to pull it this cart was full of men and women that couldn’t walk till they healed more. It was heavier and she and the women strained against the weight. Jake laughed and drew the women’s attention to a cart full of bread and food and such good things. Ryebrynn groaned as she saw her weapons there. A troll pulled Amethyst and Ryebrynn cried out. The driver of their cart laid the whip against all the women’s backs. They all cried out but Ryebrynn bit her lip. Jake glared at her when she didn’t cry out. All the women started to weep and kept pulling. Ryebrynn also pulled and it responded with another stroke of the whip. Ryebrynn fell to the ground, unconscious.
The next thing Ryebrynn knew was being pulled in a cart. She was huddled in a corner surrounded by men, women, and children. Where am I? She asked Amethyst through their connection. *Don’t you remember?* Amethyst asked her. It all came flooding back. *Now I do.* Ryebrynn answered. *So, how’s your day been?* Ryebrynn asked. *Worrying, what do you think? I worried about YOU all day.* Amethyst answered. *Geez Louise, Amethyst. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.* Ryebrynn glanced at Amethyst. Theirs eyes met, Amethyst’s were sad and worry-full. Ryebrynn’s filled Amethyst with hope. *I love you. We’ll get out of this, I promise. Just keep calm and stop worrying, and I’ll think of a plan.* A whip stung on Ryebrynn’s back. “Out, Girl! Get back to pulling this wretched cart!” Came a harsh voice, another whip lash came and went. Ryebrynn climbed out of the cart and Jake grabbed her chains. He chained her to the cart and had the driver whip her. “Get going!” Shouted the driver. “We don’t get healthy one like you for laziness! We get you for WORK!” Her back stung with another whip lash. She strained forward. Ryebrynn fell again. Her vision went black.
Ryebrynn lifted her head. Geez. The cart again. *Wait! Amethyst!* Their minds connected. *What is it, child?* She asked. *I know how to escape! You will be part of my plan, but we also have to rescue those around us. Will you do it?* Ryebrynn answered. *What is your plan?* She asked. *Weellll… Ok. My plan Is, that since I am in the cart again, I will, when one of the slave traders takes me down, I will run for the cart with my weapons and grab them, grab the keys, unlock your chains, we kill all the slave traders, grab the rest of the keys, and unlock all the other peoples chains, claim them to be free, run off towards Graceland, and mission accomplished. How does it sound?* Ryebrynn answered. *Child that is some plan. Great, let’s do it!* Ryebrynn grinned. The whip stung her back. “OUT!” Jake shouted. She climbed out. Ryebrynn broke for her weapons. She grabbed them and started using them. She grabbed the keys and ran to Amethyst and unlocked her chains. Amethyst finished off the rest of the guys and Ryebrynn grabbed the other keys. She unlocked the other people’s chains and said, “You’re free, Dramri keep you safe!” The people stared at her. “Um, you can stop staring now. I just needed to say, Bye, and YOU’RE FREE!” Ryebrynn gulped. She grabbed Amethyst, and then Jaxiné, saddled Jaxiné and made for the end of the desert the rest of the people scattered. Ryebrynn reached a wood. A sign before the wood said,
The Windblown Forest…
Beware of Wyverns, for you may meet your death if you encounter one.
Ryebrynn gulped. “Some forest and some suspicious person to put that up….” She said, trying to laugh. She led Amethyst and Jaxiné in, maybe even leading them to their deaths.
Ryebrynn fought. “Foul beast! Be gone! Leave me alone!” She shouted, blocking an attack from the Wyvern. She grabbed hold of the Wyvern’s clawed foot and twisted. The Wyvern screamed out in pain. Ryebrynn grinned. All of the sudden, another Wyvern, the first ones mate, knocked her out. Ryebrynn collapsed to the ground.
Ryebrynn lifted her hand to her forehead. Her surroundings had changed, instead of the dark forest; she was in a cave, one big enough for two million humans. She heard the clank of chains and looked around for the source. In front of her eyes, there was a chain. *Oh, wow, how brilliant. I’m the one chained. Geez.* She frowned. Her connection with Amethyst was fuzzy. She saw a huge animal advancing on her. The animal grinned, blood framed its teeth. Another of the same kind was advancing Jaxiné. Amethyst was unconscious in chains at the other side of the huge cave. She remembered the sign. That person was smart……… A wolf ran into the cave and killed then Wyvern that was going towards Ryebrynn. The other roared and charged the wolf. The wolf finished off the other Wyvern. The wolf handed Ryebrynn her blade and unlocked her chains. Ryebrynn stared at the wolf. “Why’d you save me, and who are you?” She asked, thinking the wolf wouldn’t answer. The wolf cleaned her shimmery pitch black coat. “I am Shymmer, daughter of Syndra and Midnightfog. And I saved you because I sensed your pure heart.” Ryebrynn got up and stepped back, “You… you… you… talked!” She said. A look of pure amazement crossed her face. “I always did, and I always shall.” Shymmer answered. “Are your mother and father dead?” She asked. “No, child, no,” laughed Shymmer. “They are merely hiding, their limbs aren’t as nimble as mine.” Shymmer howled. A midnight black wolf stepped out of and bush and a pure white one jumped to go beside it. “Welcome.” They said. The white one stepped forward. “Forgive me, I have forgotten my manners. My name is Syndra.” The black on also stepped forward. “And mine,” he rumbled. “Is Midnightfog.” He grinned. “Come, shall we escort you out of this wretched part that is full of Wyverns?” Syndra asked. “Uh, yeah. Sure. By the way, my name is Ryebrynn Lyla Shveer.” Ryebrynn managed to say. Syndra lay down and Ryebrynn climbed on. She got back up. Syndra, Midnightfog, and Shymmer sprinted side-by-side into the forest.
“Thank you, guys. I really, um, liked that.” Ryebrynn said to her rapidly disappearing, into the forest, friends.
Yotaiah and Bilthros
Yotaiah scanned the forest for the Wyvern that she was chasing. She grinned. She put a finger to her lips and used sign language to tell, her hawk, Bilthros, to stay. She attacked with her bow and soon the Wyvern was died with one last roar. She grabbed her game bag and cut up and cleaned the meat.
Ryebrynn stared after her friends. She heard a roar and headed towards it quietly. She saw a dead Wyvern and a girl about her age, with wavy red hair and kind blue-gray eyes. A hawk was perched in a tree not far away. The girl whistled and the hawk came. She handed the hawk a cleaned strip of meat and he started to eat it. Ryebrynn’s black hair glinted in the sun and the girl looked up and drew her bow. In seconds she had it trained on Ryebrynn.
“If you move a muscle,” The girl said. “You will be dead before you know it.”
“Whoa, I, um, come in peace. I’m Ryebrynn Lyla Shveer.” The girl studied her.
“I’m Yotaiah Gwendolyn Hijalosoé.” Yotaiah lowered her bow and pushed back a strand of her hair. “And this,” She pointed to the hawk, “is Bilthros.”
“Bilthros, Bilthros,” Squawked Bilthros. Yotaiah laughed.
“All I can remember from the days before my escape was the orphanage, but somehow, I remember a sister, a relative I don’t remember much, but she has waist long flaming red hair, green eyes, tan skin, and a bracelet much like this one,” Ryebrynn pulled away her sleeve to reveal a bracelet that was almost all the shades of green. “But, hers was different colors of blue. It was always a mystery. But in my dreams, I see her and me playing together. Then, a fire, then her calling, ‘Ryebrynn! Ryebrynn! Help me! Save me!’ And I would not hear her and shout, ‘LUCY! HELP!’ and fall into a great pit, then scenes of my life would flash in my mind, and I would jolt awake, sweat streaming. Those were the nightmares I never forgot.” Ryebrynn found herself telling Yotaiah.
“Really? That sounds torturous. I wonder how your parents died.” Yotaiah said.
“So, who did you learn archery from?” Asked Ryebrynn, trying to change the subject.
“A woman name Gretchen. She is/was the best archer in Graceland.” Yotaiah answered.
“Graceland?!” Ryebrynn’s eyes widened. “Do you know the way back?!” She asked, alarmed.
“Yes. Would you like me to take you there?” Yotaiah asked.
“Would you? Oh, please do!” Ryebrynn said, excited.
“Sure, are you ready to camp?” Yotaiah asked.
“Aye, where do you have in mind?” Ryebrynn asked.
Yotaiah pointed to a clearing almost surrounded by a wall of trees. “There.”
“Whoa, how’d you find it?” Ryebrynn asked in amazement.
“I hunt a lot and go beyond the borders of Graceland, most hunters don’t.” Yotaiah grinned.
“You prepare everything and I’ll get kindling.” Yotaiah headed towards the wood leaving Ryebrynn with their horses and packs.
“Oh. Bye.” Ryebrynn muttered as Yotaiah disappeared into the wood.
Yotaiah was deep in the woods and grabbed a stick off the ground. She looked up to see she was surrounded by men. “Who are you?” She asked them, her eyes narrowing.
“Tell us the information we want and we will let you go, don’t tell us, and we will beat it out of you and leave you to die.” The biggest one said, stepping forward.
“What is that information?” Yotaiah asked them.
“It is about a girl. Ryebrynn is her name, she escaped from our bosses Orphanage and we are here to recover her.” He said in a hoarse whisper.
“Oh, then I have nothing to tell you.” She said, turning her head away.
“But you do!” He shouted, grabbing her by the collar of her tunic. “You’ve been traveling with her most of the day, you are smuggling her to Graceland! That wretched country is no place for a young orphan like her! She is fragile and the Master and Mistress of the Orphanage are worried sick, if you heard the Mistress cry, you would give us the information out of pure pity!”
“I shan’t tell you where she is.” Yotaiah whispered.
“Then you will die!” The man bellowed.
“I shouldn’t be traveling with her,” Ryebrynn muttered. “I’d just endanger her life. If the Orphanage finds her I’ll be doomed.” Ryebrynn said, making a cloth tent and setting up Yotaiah’s bedroll in it. She quickly made her outside of the tent so she could watch from the outside to make sure no one came to hurt them. Ryebrynn set up a fire and waited for the kindling.
Ryebrynn fell asleep and Yotaiah stayed in danger of death.
The men surrounding Yotaiah grabbed her and blind folded her. The biggest one again stepped forward and knocked Yotaiah out with the butt of his sword.
Yotaiah groggily lifted her aching head. The men had dispersed leaving two to guard her. She was a in a large cavern and chained to the floor. She remembered the leaders threats. If you don’t give us the information we need, we will beat it out of you and leave you to die. She shivered and curled in a ball. The men at the door of the cavern started at the sound of her clinking chains.
“She’s awake!” They shouted to the leader. He walked towards the door and walked in.
“The information, girl, or die!” He bellowed at her.
“I’ll never tell you!” She shouted with more bravery then she felt.
“Then you will die! And the girl will be found!” He yelled, she could tell he had a bad temper.
Ryebrynn awoke with a jerk and looked around. Yotaiah hadn’t come back. “YOTAIAH!” She shouted hoarsely. No answer came.
“YOTAIAH!” She shouted louder. Again, no answer came. Ryebrynn decided to go and look herself. She jumped on Jaxiné and tied Yotaiah’s horse, Sadé, to Jaxiné’s saddle. She galloped away shouting all the while.
Ryebrynn came upon a valley with a cave down the side; two men stood guard by another, larger, cave this one with a door. She reined Jaxiné in and sighed. She recognized then men’s tunics, a setting sun with a blue sky behind. They were from the Orphanage. They’ve found me. She told herself. I’ve got to rescue Yotaiah and go. They’ll capture me, I can’t bear going back. Ryebrynn rode back to camp hot tears running down her cheeks.
Ryebrynn sat down in camp and tried to swallow down her tears. “The Orphanage, Yotaiah, oh no, this can’t be happening.” She said. “Bilthros? I need you,” She said, hoarsely. She pulled out a piece of paper and grabbed some charcoal she quickly wrote.
Try to stay alive, I am sending Bilthros with this message, dispose of this right away after you read it, I am planning to rescue you tomorrow night, please survive until then.
Ryebrynn rolled it up and tied it with string; Bilthros came over and pecked at it. “I need you to take this to Yotaiah.” She said, tying it to his foot.
Ryebrynn stealthily climbed towards the cavern. Bilthros flew over her and landed. “Bilthros! Your back!” She whispered, happily. There was another not tied onto his foot, her eyes widened. “A note?!? How could she risk it?!?” Ryebrynn asked the hawk. She grabbed it and scanned it.
I come to warn you do not try to rescue me, you will be overwhelmed and sent back to ‘The Orphanage’ I send this message back with Bilthros, I… I… am glad I met you and hope you make it to Graceland. Again, I warn you, DO NOT COME! Farewell, I shall miss you,
Then there was a rip in the paper and a place where someone tried to burn it, Ryebrynn guessed that they found her and tried to burn it, and then she snatched it back and sent it. Ryebrynn hoped she had disposed of the other message. She crawled forward and grabbed her sword. She jumped into the cave and was attacked. She killed all the men but one and forced information from him. “Where is the girl?” She asked.
“The… the…. The…. Boss took her to force information out of her. He planned to kill her afterwards. He left us here to capture you because of the message you sent.” Ryebrynn screamed in rage and pierced his heart.
Beaten for Answers and Left to Die
Ryebrynn traveled for weeks searching and searching. Finally she hears something, someone was muttering her name! She hoped it was Yotaiah and rode towards it, “Yotaiah?” The voice carried on. Soon a girl with red hair, and blue-gray eyes comes into view her tunic stained with blood and her hair mangled. Yotaiah? The resemblance is unmistakable! It is Yotaiah! Ryebrynn ran forward and untied her. She pulled suave out of her bag and applied it on her wounds. “Yotaiah! I’m here! What happened?!?” She said, hot tears splashing and streaming.
“I…I…I… was beaten for answers and left to die.” Yotaiah murmured.
“No! I’ll take care of you and we can go to Graceland together! I couldn’t bear it if I caused your death! I owe it to you!”
“No, Ryebrynn go, please! Leave me! They’ll find you!”
“No! I’m not leaving you!” Ryebrynn whistled and Sadé galloped over. Ryebrynn grabbed Yotaiah and cut the rope that bound her. She draped her over the chestnut-brown horse and jumped onto Jaxiné. She galloped off to find where she could nurse Yotaiah back to health.
The Weeks that Followed
In the weeks that followed:
Ryebrynn frequently found herself returning to Yotaiah and kneeling she would repeat the prayer she had heard the Mistress and Master say when they were in need of help. She hoped it would work and healed Yotaioah as best as her suave let her. The more frequently she prayed the more she felt it helped. One day Yotaiah raised her head and got out of bed! Ryebrynn rushed to her. “Yotaiah, you don’t have enough strength!” She cried out. She steadied her and made sure she didn’t fall.
“Ryebrynn they’ll find you.” She kept muttering.
“Yotaiah! Your feverish! Get back in bed!” She cried.
“No, they’ll find you.” Yotaiah muttered again, and with that she fell to the ground unconscious.
“Yotaiah!” Ryebrynn screamed, lifting her from the ground and laying her back down.
Finally, Yotaiah healed enough to travel. Soon they had set off and had gotten far.
Ryebrynn and Yotaiah traveled for weeks. Ruts and hoof-marks began to appear and they mostly stayed off the road. The girls hoped to arrive in Graceland the next day, to Yotaiah’s calculations, they should. The girls talked and laughed. But, whenever the Kings soldiers passed by, they were as quiet as mice. The men always were talking about Orphanage’s. Ryebrynn brought into memory all she heard. She hoped and hoped the information would stay. The next day, rolling green hills and farms came into sight. “Graceland.” Ryebrynn gasped.
“Aye, tis my homeland.” Yotaiah pointed to a forest.
“Kajilimaé Forest. I, my neighbors, Brittlynn and Zrannah, live there peacefully. Brittlynn’s father died in the war for the Black Plains. Don’t mention him. They take it seriously.” She grinned. “I’m taking you there. We can rest there.” She spurred Sade forward. “Come, we shall now enter Graceland!” They rode on, Graceland now had a place in Ryebrynn’s heart, and Yotaiah was her friend. She felt ready to defend this country, and risk her life just to save it. She now felt like she had a home and place were her heart could have peace.
Ryebrynn and Yotaiah traveled for the rest of the day and arrived in Kajilimaé Forest. Zrannah and Brittlynn were out watching the road. Brittlynn ran to Yotaiah the second she saw her. “Yotaiah! Your back!” They hugged.
“Brittlynn! Zrannah!” She hugged them both. ”How’s Windstrum? Is she fully healed yet?” Yotaiah asked.
“Fit as ever! Her red-brown coat shiny and soft, her horn sharp and brilliant white!” Brittlynn said, again hugging Yotaiah. Brittlynn drew her sword. “Who is this?” She asked, her face darkening.
“That is Ryebrynn, she has escaped from an Orphanage in Arew and is a dragonrider and unicornfriend.” She grinned. Brittlynn sheathed her sword.
“My apologies, Ryebrynn. I feared you to be one of the BlackDoomed.” Brittlynn said, curtsying. Yotaiah stepped forward.
“BlackDoomed? Has Jazaroonae struck again?” She shook her head. “Dramri forbid it. I hope the One Who is to Come appears soon. For we may very well him/her.”
“Aye.” Zrannah put in. “I don’t want Brittlynn to have to join the fight.” Brittlynn looked quizzically at her mother. “Mum, you said when my birthday comes ’round, I could train to be a sword maiden! Why now do you contradict yourself?” Whined Brittlynn.
“Brittlynn, you contradict yourself! We agreed on the next time the three kings called, though King Chrys, King Herbert, and King Tirad are readily preparing for battle they have yet to call for more warriors and sword maidens!” Zrannah yelled at her daughter.
Chrystillion paced. “Sister, calm, I’m sure we will have warning before the next attack.” Tirad soothed his sister.
“Tirad! Listen, I know the Chosen Elf is here, we must call her! She is our only hope!” Said Chrystillion.
“I agree with Chrys,” Said Herbert.
“Herbert, my brother, are you and Chrys sure? If you aren’t what, a disaster this could turn out to be!” Said Tirad, grabbing both of them. Laelyn and Ryla watched from the door.
“Ryla, Chrys and Herbert are right!” Laelyn said. Laelyn motioned for the guard.
“Send a message to the household of Yotaiah, a commoner, tell her to bring her guest to us and also tell her her guest is the ‘Chosen Elf’. Make haste! Go!” She whispered. The guard ran off.
Later on a message arrived at Yotaiah’s.
Miss Yotaiah, It read.
Bring your guest to Queen Ryla and Queen Laelyn, make haste with the Chosen Elf.
A servant for their Highness’s.
“Chosen Elf?” Ryebrynn said. She laughed.
“But, Ryebrynn, you are summoned, you must go!” Yotaiah said.
“Fine!” Ryebrynn said. But promise me Brittlynn and Windstrum will some with us.” She tried to bargain.
“Fine,” Yotaiah groaned.
Brittlynn and Windstrum came along.
The Heat of Battle
Ryla and Laelyn welcomed the guests heartily and gave them food and lodgings.
“We are honored with your presence, Elf. There are not many Elves left in this world.” A sad look crossed her face. “Us queens and our husbands are some of the only one left.” Ryla tried to comfort her friend.
“I’m not an Elf!”
“Why dear, of course you’re an elf.”
“What about King Chrys?” Ryebrynn asked.
“Oh, Chrys? Um, she, he, isn’t married.” Ryla said uncomfortably.
“No, I mean is he Elven?” Ryebrynn asked, apparently annoyed.
“Ah, yes, sh- I mean he, is Elven.”
“Ok. I was just, um, wondering.” Ryebrynn went out of the room. After Ryebrynn left. Rulsen, Laelyn and Herbert’s son came in. “Mother, Aunt Ryla.” He bowed. “Jazaroonae’s army’s are coming! We either flee or fight. Please ask father, Aunt Chrys and Uncle Tirad to consider it.” He rushed out. Ryla and Laelyn stared at the doorway.
Ryebrynn paced. “Yotaiah, Brittlynn. I was summoned here. You were not. I made you come, Zrannah sent a message to Brittlynn, she is dreadfully sick! Yotaiah you may stay, but, Brittlynn, I order you to return to your Mother, take Windstrum.” Ryebrynn’s friends stared at her.
“I’ll stay.” Yotaiah finally said.
“I’ll go.” Brittlynn said.
“Then go pack my friend, you shall need supplies.” Ryebrynn sat on the bed in the room she was sharing with her friends, they had told her to have the bed. Brittlynn said she would sleep on the couch and Yotaiah on the chair. She sighed. Brittlynn was packing, Yotaiah now pacing, and she just sitting. A man appeared in the doorway. Ryebrynn stood. “Rulsen!” She said, bowing.
“M’lady.” He too bowed. She smiled. His face remained grave.
“Rulsen,” She said. “There is something wrong. What is it?” He frowned.
“Jazaroonaé’s army’s are on their way.” He rushed out the door before Ryebrynn could say anything. Ryebrynn stared at the door after him. “Yotaiah! Smuggle Brittlynn out of the castle! Quick! Jazaroonaé’s army’s are coming!” She shouted. She jumped into action. She grabbed her sword and scabbard, strapped them to her waist, and ran down the many stairs to report her loyalty. She reported for duty and the plan was laid out.
Ryebrynn saw a flash of jade and a man in a Jade tunic appeared before her. “Hello.” She muttered. Soon he was on the ground dead. She charged at the closest man in a jade tunic. He blocked. He charged her. She parried. Soon he was dead and she had headed on to another man. Ryebrynn was beginning to tire and the men were thinning out, she was tiring too fast. She blocked a blow and quickly disarmed the man, she drove her sword through his heart, drew it out, and left him. She wondered if all this fighting was legal. She saw Yotaiah with Jaxine on the edge of the fight and headed towards them.
Ryebrynn told Yotaiah of her tiredness, Amethyst relayed to her that she too had seen the armies weakening from above. She also continued to tell Ryebrynn of Curros, coming to attack. Jazaroonaé had sent reinforcements. “Retreat! Retreat!” She heard someone calling Amethyst took flight, Jaxine understood and ran for the castle, Ryebrynn and Yotaiah sprinted towards the castle as fast as they could. The army fled, the other army rejoiced. Clear as a bell, the man kept shouting. The whole army didn’t make it. Many were slain while retreating. Soon, every living person of the army had gathered in Terramont castle. Watching. Waiting. Chrystillion Grace had organized all the women and children. She sent them out of the castle, guarded by seasoned warriors. Soon, only the army, a few select women, Ryebrynn, Yotaiah, dragons, unicorns, Tirad, Herbert, and Chrystillion remained. They were surrounded. They were under siege. Only Dramri could save them now. There was no glimmer of hope shining, or at least they thought. One morning they awoke to hoofbeats, warcries. They were saved. The Wood Elves had come to their aid. Who by some miracle had made them come? They all knew the answer; Dramri. Dramri had saved them through the Wood Elves. But, by some weird, outlandish reason, the Curros didn’t die, the arrows glanced off their skin, the sword missed their marks. All hope died, then and there. What were they to do? If by some accident, one man hugged a Curro, no one knew why. The Curro then turned to a pile of dust, as if disintegrated. Again they were saved.
The Battle comes to an end
One after one, they hugged the Curros, soon, all that was left of the beasts, was a huge pile of dust. They had won, the battle was won, at last, they had been saved by their one glimmer of hope. In celebration, a feast was prepared. Everyone was invited. Ryebrynn looked in the mirror, her dress was magnificent, it was a long purple one, with orange embroidery, and long sleeves, under she wore slippers of silk. Never had she felt such soft material. Her hair was in a long braid down her back, ribbons woven into it. Ryebrynn went off to the feast, though, she had to admit, she didn’t like the dress, no matter how beautiful. She took the place a servant guided her to, beside Yotaiah and an Elf named Dray. The feast began with music, singing, and dancing. The Elf named Dray offered to dance. Ryebrynn accepted. Who was this man who danced with her? Dray, he was part of Chrystillion’s counsel. He was the son of a nobleman. Soon, the feasting began, there was pork, and swan, an soup, and bread, and sweets for desert. Ryebrynn was full by the end of the meal. She went to her room afterwards and dressed in a silky nightgown. She fell asleep the moment her head hit the heavenly feather pillow.
Is she dead?
Ryebrynn jerked awake. Where was she? Graceland. She was in Graceland. How had she awakened? She had heard something. Wait. There it was again, a muffled cry? A grunt? She jumped out of bed. She started for the door but remembered she was still in the silky nightgown. She quickly changed into a tunic and leggings. What time was it? No light was coming into the room, all was dark, she settled that it was 5:00 AM. She hurried down the stairwell, and into the courtyard. Soon her eyes adjusted to the darkness and she hurried towards where she had heard the noise. She saw something she knelt. Blood. It was blood. Who had been hurt, and where was the person now? Ryebrynn bit her lip to stop her nauseated stomach from dumping her dinner. She hurried back inside before it had a chance. She hurried upstairs to her room and closed the door. All she could think of was the unfortunate victim. Who had it been? Where had the body gone? She shivered. It was all her imagination. She needed sleep. It was all delusions. She sat on her four poster bed and stared out the window. She needed sleep, she needed food. She knew she was too nauseous to eat, but she was hungry. She watched the sunrise then she went down to breakfast. She smiled at everyone she saw, but inside, she wasn’t as cheerful as she looked. A buzz of words entered her mind. She ignored them. They went away, as she got closer to the dining hall, they came back, again she ignored them. She looked for Yotaiah. She wasn’t there. Ryebrynn, worried, went to Queen Ryla. She knelt beside her ear. “Queen Ryla, Yotaiah isn’t here, I’m going to go look for her.” Ryebrynn whispered. Queen Ryla merely nodded. Ryebrynn rushed out of the dining hall and back up the stairwell. She ran to Yotaiah’s room and knocked. “Yotaiah? Yotaiah?” She opened the door. Yotaiah wasn’t there. She rushed back out, down the stairwell and out the doors. She searched everywhere. Yotaiah wasn’t there. Is Yotaiah dead? Ryebrynn asked herself. Was she the person I heard, the person who left blood in the courtyard? Ryebrynn shivered. The body hadn’t been there. Had she been captured? Ryebrynn wouldn’t know. She sighed. She’d count Yotaiah among the dead until she found out otherwise.
Ryebrynn smoothed her dress. It had been weeks since Yotaiah’s deathly disappearance. She had applied to be part of King Chrys’s court. Nothing could get Yotaiah out of her mind. Nothing. She hoped this would free her of the terror of not knowing anything about Yotaiah’s deathly disappearance. She was IN King Chrys’s throne room, trying to find out if she was allowed into the court. King Chrys finally acknowledged her.
“Permission Granted.” He said with a smile.
Ryebrynn grinned. “Thank you, sire.” She said and backed out of the room. Her hair flew behind her as she rushed to her room. Her heart sank when she realized, as part of the court. She would have to wear dresses more than ever. She groaned in protest. That was not good. She HATED dresses. The only thing she liked about dresses was that she got to wear silken slippers with them. Ryebrynn hurried to where there was meeting she was invited to, but, not before she combed her hair and braided it. She arrived just as it was starting. She curtsied to all the Lords and Ladies in the room and took her seat. The person at the head of the table went over his introduction, his name was Trawai. Then he went over matters of the kingdom. THEN he was finished. He motioned to Ryebrynn as she tried to leave. She walked over to him. He looked at her and sighed. “Lady Ryebrynn, have you ever considered why your hair never moves from your ears?” He cocked his head.
She frowned. “No, why?”
He smoothed her hair off her ears. “Because you’re an Elf.”
She gasped. “What?!” She reached up to her ears. Sure enough, they were pointed. She looked him in the eye. “Then why don’t I have powers?” She asked.
“You do, you never knew you did so you weren’t trained, and you never did need them.”
“Then what are they?”
“Simple. Mindreading and healing.”
She looked at him suspiciously. “Oh really?”
“Fine! I could be an elf!”
He grinned. “You may leave now, Lady Ryebrynn.”
She started towards the door.
She turned.“Try to keep the hair off your ears.”