At the River Crossing
His father had told him numerous times to be mindful of the boarders. Within the village of Moor the boy was safe from the violence and prejudice of the outside world. Here, secluded and protected by the wilds they were free to live without fear in the open. The boy however could not be tamed, he craved adventure; daring, bold; courageous; his elder brother often remarking the brawn substituting for a lack of brain.
It mattered little to the boy of ten summers. He caused ruckus, but hardly trouble for his fellow villagers, though as he grew so did the quality of ‘ruckus’. His father was away much for the war, a cheery and jolly man of round and stubby features. Lord Oric was their father, a man the younger takes after far too much for anyone’s own good. His hair was thick and golden, waving behind him with each charge like a banner on his head. Many knew this man, a renowned knight in his youth; charming, protective; the only thing that had changed of him was the shape of his belly do to increased time on his horse in his advanced age.
In his absence his eldest son enforced his word, though often the son interpreted it far from Lord Oric’s meaning. Of course it was expected of his eldest to be stern law-biding, and enforcing, that personality and trait he shared of his late mother. This was also a root of the discourse between the two brothers--sharing the same father, but different mothers. While Lord Oric hoped his second union would help mend his eldest’s heart...time will only tell.
His father was at a meeting, his elder brother as well, allowing the youngest the sliver of freedom necessary to make a break for it.
Moor was as the back of his hand, there was not a single place he did had not seen nor people he did not know. A village of manageable size, a select few of which were...muggles, as Lord Oric referred to them as. The boy raced past the straw huts that acted as farm tool storage, thru the heavily padded paths thru the main space where the small market, the village square where meetings and announcements were held; the village hall, the only building of pure, sturdy, and carved trunks of the nearby forest and the earth's stone.
By Lord Oric’s law, the forest was was not touched unless for necessity and nothing more. This law was created for two reasons: one, the local beasts of muggle and magical were not ones to be tempted with an easy meal for violating an already uneasy truce. The second: the threat of the enemy spies could lead the unweary right back to the village’s concealed location.
He knew than to allow such a thing to happen--small he maybe, the boy was far from the fool his elder brother made him out to be. Passed the village’s main entrance, he sprinted left, making for the lower valley, prosperous in farm lands; he made for the forest on the far-end of the village line-of-sight. It was to be the furthest today so far, on his last adventure he heard a river--to his knowledge of maps he peaked between people’s arms it was the limit of his father’s lands. Once he had seen a pack of wolves hunting a fox, from the trees he evaded becoming their meal as the critter had. Another time he heard the late night sounds of the same pack’s howls, an owl’s hoot, but as they are silent flyers he never located the source. His father spoke of the magical creatures, but the most interesting he had known for this warmer region of the island is of the fairies that fair-ed to hide themselves until spring normally.
The boy carved into the trees to find his way to and from, to know where he had been and will be; his marking of the last adventure assured him the sounds he heard were not false.
At the break of tree lines was that very river, nothing large, else the village would have located it, but something he was brave enough to discover and was proud to call his own. This place was perfect, miles from the village, but upon the scaling of a tree, easy enough to remembers land-marks to travel home. As he was about to step out into the open, a sound had him climbing a tree as though the pack of wolves was upon him.
The sound was not of a hungry beast, but of the disturbance of the water’s tune. Thru the adjustment of branches he saw its source: a girl on his side of the river skipping stones; a small pup was eagerly running in into the water to fetch the same stone she thru, but to no avail.
Her aim was precise and focused in on the sound. The rock and her hand found its mark, hitting the disturbance and sending it to the ground with a loud “Woah!” Followed by the breaking of branches, the ruffling of leaves and a loud *Thump*.
Whatever it had been had dropped into the bush, her disgrace of a guard now at her side with his ears perked and tail wagging--if this was an enemy, the best he could do was lick them to death. Groaning came from the brush, as its leaves and branches shuddered by the creature’s movement.
“Come out at once!” She demanded forcefully.
“What you have to go and do that for!” The figure was a boy of similar years.
Stroking his sore bum, he stood up right and moved past the brush. A skinny twig of a ‘boy’, he was the same height as she, but possessed curly golden hair nearing a length that touched his shoulders. He wore clothes of casual attire, too colorful to be a peasant, but not elegant enough to assume him to be the son of any official. His cheeks were rose by numerous unprotected abuses of winter winds, but his dull-blue eyes had been unaffected by any trifles of his youthful years.
“You were spying on me!” The girl accused.
The fire in her hazel eyes was as red as her braided hair. She was shorter than him when he stood, sticking his face in hers when defending himself. She was no different in his skin tone, but her personality and speech was his polar in opposition. Dressed in clothing fit for a boy such as he, it was only by her face figure that he could have correctly assumed her to be a girl. The color of her clothes was dull, a faded scheme of what could be It was certainly unusual to see a girl dressed as a boy, but not unheard of...in the case of the Northerners his father and brother spoke of in their battles. He made that assumption of her, a stranger, a foreigner to his village--she, like he was certainly a warrior.
“I was doing no such thing! I had only come to find this river and did not expect to see another--” the boy cut himself off when seeing her untrusting gaze.
She blurted out her next question, “Who are you!”
“You first! You were the one who attacked me!”
The girl drew her dagger and aimed it at the boy, “I will do much worse than strike you with a stone.”
The boy stood his ground, until his footing was placed off balance by the puppy that ran them under. The supposedly wild beast then mounted the boy and attacked him with that vicious tongue, covering his face in drool. Without losing her bearing, the painted-girl walked over and lifted the pup by the scruff of his neck and replaced his presence with her dagger. The golden-haired boy kept his arms out in the open, showing no aggression, but certainly unease at his situation.
“I do not want to fight--my name is Godric.”
She was silent and motionless for a time, pondering over what her next action should be. Father always taught her to kill an enemy before they can try at her life, but all the while as she sees this boy she cannot find any ill-intent. One-second, that is all that determines death or survival and a single misjudgment can mean the end of her and those around her. The dagger was pulled back, returned to its sheath at her side, under her cloak before stepping back; no eye-contact was broken until she changed her gaze to the pup in her palm.
“This one is Fenrir.” She said setting him down to resume his assault, “Sorry about the rock.”
The boy was surprised and stopped scrapping the pup asking, “It did not help I appeared hiding in a tree...”
She nodded, “And necessary.”
Suddenly the pup ceased his attacks and growled at the river with ears down in an aggressive fear. He was the first of them to notice it, a body flowing down the river they had come to play. The girl moved first, treading the water’s surface and inspecting the body.
“You can use magic?” The boy called out, unknowingly, out loud, catching himself too late when revealing his own nature.
“We better go--this place may be a battlefield soon.” She explained when calling Fenrir to the opposing side of the river.
“Wait!” The boy called out without care, “Will I see you again!”
The girl stopped, turning halfway with a suspicious glare. This Godric is either a fool or...sorcerers are not to be trusted, but he...if Fenrir likes him then there perhaps is something father did not know about mages.
“I am Avalon, remember my name.”