She was a lone white figure on a vivid green hillside, wandering as freely as the clouds she stood beneath. Questions buzzed through her head like bees, and a lone voice sought to break through, sounding every bit like the father of her child.
Why don’t you want to leave this town?
She had grown up here, she reasoned. Twenty-odd years in a place had to mean something. She knew every cobblestone, every face. Every mountain peak. She could tell every trail through the woods, and where to find the best herbs and where to bathe in the coldest streams. The summer festival actually meant something to her. Such traditions of evening bonfires and Gypsy caravans made the months fly by easily.
Again, her lover’s critical tone.
But you don’t even like it here.
I do, she argued with the voice in her mind. Of course I do.
But she didn’t. She knew it, even as she thought it.
She was fast becoming an outsider. Too beautiful for the liking of the other village women and too sickly to be much use. She had grown up there, yes, but she was always a bit too smart. And the friends she kept…she recalled the gossiping wives now, their harsh whispers as she and her lover walked past.
She approached a hillside shrine and the scent of its cloying incense and floral offerings filled her nostrils. Meddling…the gods are meddling, she thought to herself. It was because of them she woke up every day longing to be free. Why she felt the need to leave everything she had ever known. If only she could have remained blissfully ignorant of the world outside the confines of her village.
She couldn’t pretend she understood their motivations. Some town preachers talked about the will of the gods…well, whatever their will, she didn’t care. She still left the shrine gods an offering of an orange from the South though, its flesh prickled with fragrant cloves.
Just in case they were listening.
She returned from the shrine, walking in silence, every breath taking in the aroma of the North Mountains. She could go over them, into Northwilde, into the unknown new territories that so many were starting to call home in order to be safe from the Fae. To start fresh.
But was she really so deluded as to think anywhere else would accept her with a babe born out of wedlock and, gods willing, a Mage for a husband? Could life be that forgiving?
Probably not, she reasoned. Everyone would be just as small minded as the townsfolk here. They turned their soil and planted their crops and knew simple. Simple was good, and welcome. Not like the complexities of her life. Living outside of the gates wouldn’t be any different.
And yet…she thought.
She held her stomach, her womb, between her fingertips, feeling the life inside her move at the touch, as tiny and fragile as the heather she stood above. One of the small village children ran past, and she smiled at his unplaited blonde hair as it flew, wild and free, in the summer breeze.
And yet…she wouldn’t know unless she tried.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Michael challenged me with: “’When you begin each day by describing the looks of the same mountain, you are living in the grip of delusion’-Thomas Merton” and I challenged Fran with: “100 Word Challenge: Empty Hallways and Ashen Faces”. This is for the week of December 26-30th.
This excerpt is based on characters and situations from my original YA fantasy series, “Ebony”, which is currently in the process of being sent to agents.
Music listening for this? I highly suggest Solas’ “Lament for Frankie”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt7AzgKAk8c&feature=related
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