Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beyond the Mists of Forres

The village was dark and silent except
for the howl of a lone wolf from across the ravine. The air had turned cool with the approach of fall. The young woman shivered slightly
as her dark green eyes scanned the deep forest.
All was still – it was a good sign.
It was time. Pulling the hood of
her long black cape over her waist length raven hair, she let out a thin
whistle between her small white teeth to summon her beloved black wolf. Moving silently forward through the trees she
treaded lightly in her breeches and boots. Glancing up, she smiled. The light was good tonight. Nearly a full moon, but not yet. She had time.
A rustle in the bushes made her turn to catch the wolf coming to her
side with his fresh kill of rabbit still clenched between his jaws – his dark,
amber eyes gleaming in the dark. He dropped his prize at her feet.
“Ah, there you are.” Kari whispered as she reached for her
bow and arrows, and slung them over her shoulder.
“We must be off Wolf.
Make haste with your meal. It may
be your last for some time.”
A nearby knicker met Kari’s ears and she smiled again. Softly approaching was her devoted steed Dario. His dark bay coat and beautifully shaped head
gleamed in the moonlight as he nuzzled her cloak for a lump of sugar.
“Ah,” smiled Kari, breathing in his scent, and feeling his
energy. “You know my heart well, my dear
friend. I cannot resist you and well you
know it.”
Scooping her hand into a pocket of her cloak, she withdrew a
tasty treat. Dario dipped his head,
sniffed at Kari’s hand and the sweet disappeared. She quietly stroked his forehead, adjusted his
bridle, and spoke softly.
“We must make haste this night Dario. We must make our way home before the moon is
full.”
Kari looked into the dark beautiful eyes of her magnificent Friesian,
and a current passed between them.

He nickered softly, and pawed the ground with a strong foreleg. He understood and was eager to do his mistresses’ bidding. Taking a final look
around the village, Kari swung herself upon Dario’s back and softly called to Wolf. Electricity suddenly filled the night air and
sensing the urgency of his mistress, Dario spun and cantered through the woods
as graceful and silent as a gazelle.
The evening light was good, but it mattered not, as Kari knew
the way well. It was a two day ride home
to her lands. With any luck Dario would get
her there well before the full moon. An
hour into their journey, Kari slowed Dario to a walk, and let her thoughts
wander. Somewhere to her left flank was Wolf,
always her protector. She could sense
when he was near.
Kari made good time stopping only briefly for some
nourishment, and to see to her other needs.
Her excitement grew as she closed the miles toward home. Urging Dario on through the last of the
forest, she broke onto the crest of the small hill where her property
began. The sun was just rising behind
her, and the vision that unfolded before her made her breath catch in her
throat. How she loved her home and her land. She halted Dario to admire the view. Its
beauty never left her wanting. The
lushness of the hills and green grass always brought her a sense of peace. All was calm in the early dawn light. Her well guarded keep filled her with a sense
of pride.
Urging Dario on, her thoughts drifted back to her visit with
the old woman in the village. She had
been difficult to find and surrounded by loyal kinsmen. But once Kari announced herself and requested
an audience, she was welcomed. Her long journey had been worth it. For three days and two nights they
talked. Some of the old woman’s mumblings
and visions puzzled Kari. The place she
described was filled with foreign sounds and edifaces. Kari bit her lower lip in puzzlement. She knew of no such place the woman
described. She could only hope she would
be able to make more sense of it when she reached her home. She would follow the old oracle’s
instructions. Until then, the peace she
so desperately sought would continue to elude her.
Kari stiffened. A low
growl interrupted her thoughts. Wolf was
warning her. She was not alone. Suddenly a sharp whoosh filled the air as an object made contact with a nearby tree. Dario snorted and reared. Kari kept a firm, but calm hand on the reins
and whirled in the direction from which the airborne object had come.
Angered that someone would dare to accost her on her own
lands filled her with fury. She was well
known and only a fool would dare to attempt such an action.
“Who goes there?” she cried, grabbing her bow and arrow. “Make yourself known or suffer the
consequences!” She wondered sharply why she
had not sensed any danger. But she
knew. She had been distracted with her
thoughts.
“Make your presence known!” she called out, scanning the edge
of the forest. “Show yourself!”
A low chuckle and rustling was immediately heard, followed by
more laughter as a dozen men on horseback moved out of hiding and into the
clearing. Kari breathed a sigh of relief
and lowered her bow and arrow. By all
that was holy, she could have shot him.
It was her twin brother, Noel.
“Ah, sister,” laughed Noel, smiling broadly as he approached
her on foot. “Such a fierce warrior you
are! We’ve been tracking you for the last
mile. You did not pick up our
presence? How deep in thought you must
have been.”
“You bloody oaf!” she
cried, rankled that he would choose such a method to make his presence known. “I could have injured you!”
Kari dismounted and was immediately wrapped into her
brother’s massive arms as he engulfed her in a powerful hug.
Noel gazed upon his sister’s lovely face. Her green eyes gazed back at him clear and
open to his close scrutiny. Her
alabaster skin glowed with good health.
“You look well,”
admired Noel with the grunts of the others.
“Your journey has agreed with you it seems. Was it a
success?”
“Aye,” she murmured matching her strides with her brother’s as
they walked across the lush grass. “What news is there from home?”
Noel put his arm around Kari as his men joined them. “There is naught, but that Uncle is frothing
at the mouth to see you.”
Kari smiled and tugged at Dario’ reins to follow. “And, how is our dear Uncle?” queried Kari. “How fares his gout?”
A grin lit Noel’s handsome face bringing forth a flash of
white teeth and a twinkle to his green eyes.
“The same as his
disposition, I fear. He limps with
greater pain everyday whilst he roams the halls grumbling to himself. He has been impatient for your return. He is anxious for the cure you will surely bring
him with your herbs and libations.”
Kari smiled in return as a vision of her cantankerous and
aging white-haired Uncle came to mind.
She would attend to him with the herbs she had acquired first thing.
“So,” continued Noel, halting Kari mid stride. “Was your mission a success? Did you find the old woman?”
Kari stopped and let her gaze wander over her brother and the
men behind him that were family to her.
“Aye!” she breathed anxious to share her excitement. “She was there Noel!” she cried clutching his
arm. “She knew who I was. She had
knowledge of what I sought! She grows
old, but she is well tended.”
“Tis good then,” replied Noel with a nod. “And, what of the other matter we seek?” he asked
in earnest. “Had she any news?”
“Yes,” gleamed Kari. “It
has been as we suspected. Our parents
were not killed. They are alive. She
has had many visions. We sat talking
into the wee hours. Her visions are
strong Noel, and we share the same sight.
She believes they have been held prisoner these many years. She fears for the place they are in. She feels a sense of urgency.”
“Where?” growled Noel,
his jaw tightening, his eyes becoming a hard green glint. “Does she know where?”
“Nay,” breathed Kari.
“But she has described the place, and ‘tis ugly.”
“We must find them,” resolved her brother. “Let us make haste,” he continued as he
turned to his horse and his men. “You
need to get home and rest. Then we will
talk.”
“We ride!” He called
out to his men, swinging up into his saddle, turning his great steed towards
the top of the hill.
Kari eagerly nodded and quickly mounted Dario. All securely mounted, they thundered down the
hill and across the valley towards home; beyond the mists of Forres.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Perfect Daughter

Courtney stood in the doorway.  Her heart pounded with the frenetic energy of a trapped Hummingbird fighting for life.  She tried to conc...