Chapter 1 - Where is home?
Chapter 1- Where is home?
My name is Adirasea Purdigrate, I’m a fifteen-year-old girl, and I live in the small village of Myrefall. It was a quiet town that most travelers just passed through, or used as a place to rest. This day had been like the many others before it, but something wasn’t right this time. The wind was singing a different tune as it gently shook the trees. Villagers were acting strangely and keeping a closer eye on their children. Most days, kids would run around throughout Myrefall playing hide and seek and tag, but parents told their kids to stay close to home today. I lived in a small cottage on top of the grassy hill just north of the town. It wasn’t large, but it was home to my parents and me. My mother was a beautiful woman by the name Sersana. She had long brunette hair that ended in the middle of her back. She was tall with lovely features such as her blue eyes and sweet spoken voice. My father was an adventurer who would bring home treasures of all kinds! He wasn’t like mother and me, he had short black hair and a slightly rounded tummy. His eyes are chocolate brown, and he was taller than my mother and me. The only thing we had in common was my hair, which was short and up to my ears, but his hair still had less in length. He also had these silly unusual glasses that would make him stand out anywhere! Father was usually gone all day until the sun would peek over the horizon. My mother and I would wait at the top of the hill for my father to show up. When the sun would pour its rays onto the hill, everything seemed so surreal in those moments. Right before the sun would set, my father would appear out of the city and walk up the dirt road leading to our cottage. That’s why today was so different, that is why today was so odd. Mother and I waited for him to come out of the city, but he never did. The sun was almost behind the horizon, and he was still nowhere to be seen. My mother’s gentle and kind face seemed so fearful at that moment. The way her blue eyes searched the crowds of people below was filled with panic, or how she held me close with an iron grip. “Where’s father?” I asked, turning my head to face my mothers’ tear-stricken face. She never responded to me as her focus was set on the setting sun. The grass on the hill shimmered as the sunlight spread its rays upon it. Just as soon as it came, the sun fell behind the horizon bringing night to the small town of Myrefall. My mother told me to head inside, so I did. I walked past the old tree that had overgrown so much its limbs hung over the thatch roof. I stared out of the window to see my mother running down the dirt road. She had her gown balled in her fists so it wouldn’t get in the way as she ran. I watched her become smaller as she ran further down before losing sight of her when she entered the village. The stars were so bright out when night came along. My mother would tell me about the elders in the stars above who would watch over us. She told me my grandfather was up there and was helping to guide me down the path to my destiny. “Elders, if you’re up there, guide my father home” I begged as I looked up at the stars. Today was off, very off, and the wind seemed to be blowing a different tune. The old tree violently swung its leaves than before as the wind began to pick up. I did as I was usually told when a storm was near. I closed the shutters putting the small hook through the loop, making sure each one was shut. Our cottage was about average size. The hearth was to the right of the cottage which is what kept us warm on cold nights. My parent’s beds were in the center of the cottage pressed against the opposite wall of the door. To the left we had a wooden table with ordinary wooden chairs. There was a wooden cabinet pressed against the wall that held all of our food and bowls. There were shelves everywhere covered in my father’s trinkets. All kinds of books, stones, and magic powder littered the walls. There was only one chest in the whole home and that was where he put all the serious treasures. Jewels, jewelry, and enchanted things of all kinds! I was never allowed in the chest unless my father told me I could look, but no touching. He said certain items in the chest contained unimaginable power and that if I touched it I could be cursed for all eternity. My room was downstairs in the home. My father did dangerous work and sometimes had fights with the other adventurers. My parents decided it would be better if I wasn’t the first thing the bad men would see if they tried to break in. My mother still hadn’t returned and this made me fearful. What if the bandits got her? What if they got my father? I went downstairs to my room and laid down on my straw bed. The only light was a lantern on the nightstand next to my bed. I waited on my bed for what seemed like hours until I heard the door open upstairs. I quietly sneaked up the stairs to see who it was. It was my parents! I sprang to my feet and rushed over to them. “Father you’re home!” I called out hugging him. My face sunk into his tummy as his arms wrapped around me. “Where were you?” I asked, pulling away. My mother and father shared a similar look before he pulled a small necklace out of his pocket. “This is The Crescent Moon Adriasea, and it holds the power of the moon goddess, Indu.” My father’s voice was raspy and excited as he told me her tale. “She was a beautiful young lady with hair as white as snow, and eyes grey like a stone. She was a woman of purity, but evil men wanted that pureness to themselves. So, she fled her town in search of help, she would show them her magic in hopes of receiving kindness. She could make flowers bloom with the wave of her hand, and cure pained souls with her song. The world was cruel and greedy and refused her kindness. They tried to take her gift away but she imprisoned herself on the moon. As she cried her last tear bandits captured it and solidified it into the shape of a crescent moon. It was lost forever in the deepest part of the sea, but as punishment she claims the many lives who have searched for it.” Eyes wide in astonishment I held my hand out as he handed me the precious jewel. The moon was in a circular black encasement so it was unable to be touched. The moon itself was pure white and shone with magnificence. “How did you find it?” I questioned running my fingertips over it lightly. “I have friends like my dove, and if they’re a friend of mine, they are a friend of yours.” My father took the necklace from my hands and began to open the chest. “Wait, why are you storing it father?” His rounded figure was hunched over as he placed the necklace in the chest and locked it tight. I could hear my mother behind me setting up the table for dinner, as my father turned to me. “Her tears were a part of her just like her blood was, meaning her power remains on this land in the form of that jewelry piece.” “Oh, so if the wrong people got their hands on it, they would cause chaos?” I questioned staring down at my hands. “That’s right,” he said gruffly. I stared at the chest for a little while, letting the unsettling feeling I had go away. I sat down at the small table we had and waited for my mother to put my bowl down. She made a stew with beans, onions, and cabbage. We had this meal almost every night of every day, and I wished we had something to change it up like cheese or bread. I ate the stew anyway because I was hungry and hadn’t eaten earlier while waiting for my parents to return. “Adriasea, why were the shutters closed?” My mother asked in a silvery as she hummed while cleaning the table. “The wind started to get worse, so I closed them in case of a storm” I responded, handing her my empty bowl. She pointed to the shutters, and I knew what that meant, so I got up and wiped off my gown. I began to open the shutters when I saw something in the far distance crawling around in the night. I squinted my eyes and searched across the land of the hill. Nothing moved again so I opened the rest of the shutters. We all said our goodnight's and went to our beds. Walking downstairs I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about the current situation. Many others had died at sea looking for this item and my father just brings it home? Why wasn’t he home on time like he usually is, and what was that thing moving around in the dark? I had a bad feeling about this, a really bad feeling. I sat down on my bed pondering whether I wanted to tell my parents something didn’t feel right. I took in a deep breath and blew out the lantern. I laid down pulling a scrap of cloth over my body allowing sleep to take over me. I walked around a forest with the greenest leaves I had ever seen. The way the sunlight peered through the trees creating small beams of light gave a comforting atmosphere. There were lovely pink flowers everywhere, and there was the sound of birds chirping all around. I could hear distant humming coming from a clearing in the trees. I slowly made my way to the melodic voice with caution. In the clearing, there was a small pond with the bluest water I had ever seen. Standing next to it was, Indu! “My child, step forward” she softly spoke. I made my way to her feeling the soft grass on my feet. Her hair was almost to her ankles and was just as white as my father had described to me. She was lightly tossing flowers into the pond before turning around to face me. Her skin was fair and her eyes were just as grey as I had imagined. Her eyelashes were white as well and her gown looked like that of someone from a castle. The pretty see through lace ran down her shoulders to the point where it covered her hands if not raised. The gown was long and touched the grass below. There the necklace lay around her neck bouncing ever so gently as she stepped closer to me. Her hands grabbed mine as light as a feather, and her skin was so soft like fresh snow. She raised my hands and looked deep into my eyes as her pale lips parted. “Your family is in danger Adriasea you must wake up and find the marauder who stole my voice” she ushered taking her necklace off and putting it around my neck. “But where would I go to find them, and what do you mean in danger?!” I asked worriedly. She lifted her hand and rested it gently on my cheek with a caring smile. “Do not believe the stories of old my darling, go to this forest and find this pond, there you will be able to find the answers you seek.” Her body started to fade as her hands dropped to her sides. “No, wait come back! Which forest!” I called out but she was already gone. I looked at the amulet that was resting on my chest and examined it. “My father put this in his chest so how is it here?” I thought out loud. I smelt smoke around me to look up and see the forest was on fire! I turned on my heels and started to run in the direction I had come from. The dark smoke created a blanket over the trees making everything go dark. The soot began to fill my lungs and suffocate me. I fell to the ground and started to cough ferociously. My eyes closed as the darkness enveloped me. I sat up in my bed panting heavily and still coughing. My hand instinctively made its way to my neck from lack of oxygen. The necklace was gone, but the smoke had remained! I looked around to see nothing but smoke filling the room. I made a run for the stairs coughing and hacking the whole way. As I made my way up the stairs my eyes began to burn and I could feel that I was suffocating. The further up I got the hotter I began to feel. When I made my way up I could see nothing but fire. The cottage was up in flames! I turned to see my mother on the floor lifeless. I put my arm over my eyes and ran towards her. I shook her, getting a low groan in response. My eyes began to tear up as I knelt to put my mother’s arm around my shoulders. I stood up grunting as I walked towards the door. I could barely see or breathe as I took each step. Beams of wood were falling everywhere spreading the fire in the house. I moved as fast as my aching body would let me and threw my mother and me outside of the house. We landed on the hard ground with groans of pain. I pushed myself up off the ground with shaky arms. My faded gown was all tattered from old age but now it had rips and holes. I turned to my mother as I rose to my feet, we were still close to the roaring flames. I grabbed her arms, lifted her and dragged her further away from the cottage. I fell backward landing hard with a cry of pain. My mother began to cough and wheeze as she rested her head in my lap. I looked up to see the only home I had ever known burning down with the large old tree next to it. Hot tears began to roll down my cheeks as every memory I had in that home began to burn up with the rest of it. “Mom, where’s dad?” I choked out helping her sit up. She had inhaled too much soot and wasn’t responding. Her blue eyes stared into mine as she placed a solitary hand on my cheek. A weak smile played at her lips before whispering, “I love you.” I shook my head slowly as tears poured out of my eyes. “You can’t leave me, mom, please don’t” I croaked out holding her hand to my cheek. “Go find your father” she breathed out before her eyes closed slowly, and her smile faded. “Mom” I whispered as her hand became cold and lifeless. “Mom!” I screamed holding onto her body. People had gathered around to see what was happening to the house and quickly rushed over to me. “Someone please, save her!“, I yelled out as an older man took her from my arms. Everyone stood around watching in fear as my home reduced to ashes. I could feel my body become weak and my vision was blurring. My body was picked up from and was being carried away. I could hear panic as my eyes closed and the consciousness I had started to slip away. My head was pounding, and my lungs felt brittle as if they’d turn to powder with one large gasp. “She’s awake!” I heard a woman’s voice whisper out. I sat up slowly in what I assumed was a bed. I felt a wet rag fall off my forehead and land in my lap. I looked around the cottage I was in to see my mother’s best friend Fantasia. My mother and Fantasia had grown up together in this village and stayed close throughout the years. She was like a second mother to me and was always there when I needed it. She was shorter than my mother and had fine blonde hair that was always in a bun. She had dark brown eyes like my father and a similar build. Her husband was the priest in town, so you could always find her in the church helping out. “How are you feeling dear?” she asked, concerned placing the back of her hand on my forehead. “I feel broken in more ways than one, is my mother okay?” I asked, rising to my feet. “Your mother passed away Adriasea.” I turned my head to her and felt the tears begin to well up again. I wiped them away with my hands and took in a deep breath calming myself. “She deserves a proper burial” I spoke in a hoarse tone. Fantasia handed me a cup with water in it. It was cool to the touch and soothing to my irritated throat. I handed her the cup wiping some water off my dry chapped lips. She placed the cup on the nearby table then placed a hand on my shoulder leading me outside. I had fallen in love with Myrefall and now it left a bittersweet taste on my tongue. Adults and children came running over to me giving me their condolences. I thanked them and returned a few hugs. “Fauntasia, where’s my mom?” She pointed at the house of worship and gave me a warm hug. I could feel my chest tighten as she held me firmly in her arms. “It’s okay I miss her too″ she whispered in my ear while rubbing my back. I made my way down the road to the church where I would find Priest Aldred. I pushed one of the doors open and stepped inside wearily. The long row of seats made the walk to her still body more grueling than it should have been. Aldred stood in front of her staring down at the stone bed she was placed on. He was still with his hands placed in front of him with one over the other. He was wearing the brown robes he usually wears when someone has passed away in town. I took my place next to him resting my hand on my mother’s arm. “I’m so sorry for your loss,” he said in a sincere tone. All I could do was nod my head humming in response. They had dressed her in an elegant gown that made her beauty that much more enticing. She always had the rosiest cheeks with the warmest face, and now she was pale with no life left in her. This stung my heart and left a sour taste in my mouth. “Do you know who did this? Did anyone see where my father went?” I inquired looking over my mother’s body. “No we aren’t sure who did this, and no one has seen your father since yesterday when he arrived in town.” I sighed knowing I wasn’t going to get anywhere with the conversation. When he turned to face me he had a very displeased expression. “You know because you’re not an adult yet you’ll have to live in the orphanage in Dalhurst.” I nodded my head and kept my gaze on my mother. ¨Can we bury her today, I want her spirit to be at rest” I muttered looking up at the taller man. Later that day everyone congregated around the spot where we had buried her. She had been buried on top the hill next to what was left of the old tree. Flowers decorated the hill of dirt in all shades of pinks and whites. I knew she was dead, that was a fact, but I had no emotion. I was cold and expressionless as everyone said their goodbyes and talked about their fondest memories of my mom. All I could do is stare down at the pile of dirt and think to myself that I was going to find the monster who did this. I would make him pay for what he did to my mother, my home, and my father. As people began to leave I stayed standing there in silence staring down. A family would leave and walk down the hill to the town, then another, then another, until it was just me standing alone. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the path ahead of me, but is everyone ever really? I stayed there by her grave until the sun started to set behind the small town of Myrefall. I looked down at the end of the dirt road leading up to what used to be my home silently hoping my father would appear as he had always done. Day turned into night and he never showed. I laid down in the grass taking in the scent of dirt and burned wood letting my eyelids close. I stared up at the dark sky with its few stars. ¨Mom, what are those lights up there?¨ I asked, giggling kicking my feet against the ground. ¨Those are stars, and these stars are our elders looking down on us guiding us to our destiny.¨ I rolled over to face my mother who was gazing up at the night sky. ¨Is grandpa up there?¨ I asked, sitting up to look at the stars more. ¨Yes he is Adriasea¨ she responded in a soft spoken tone. ¨There are so many stars mommy, how will I know which one is my destiny?¨ My mother rose from her position on the grass. She held my face in both of her hands rubbing soothing circles with her thumbs. ¨You don’t know which one is because you never will know if it is, and that is why you must always follow every star.¨ ¨I don’t get it¨ I said trying to count all of the stars. My mother laughed and grabbed my hand leading me inside our home. I opened my eyes to see a sky full of stars as a faint smile appeared on my lips. ¨Mom, if you're up there with all the elders, I hope your destiny doesn’t end here.¨ The star I had been staring at in the blanket of darkness that covered it, seemed to shine a little brighter. I heard footsteps nearing me making my body shoot up on my feet. ¨It’s just me, Fantasia, I thought I’d find you here¨ she whispered in the dark. I said a quick goodbye to the stars and started my way to Fantasia. ¨You leave tomorrow for Dalhurst, you need to rest darling.¨ I simply nodded in response as we made our way down the hill to her home in town. I couldn’t sleep that night as I tossed and turned in turmoil. I had nightmares about the fire, my mother’s death, the goddess Indu, my father, and the crescent moon. I stayed up most of the night pondering all the thoughts my mind could come up with. When sunlight began to fill the small cottage dread was the only feeling I had left in me. Fantasia made a small breakfast for me to eat before I had to leave to the child torturing committee. As I ate my bowl of porridge she handed me an object wrapped up in a small white cloth. I looked up at her from my seat at the table and she just gave me a wink with a slight smirk. I set it down on the table as I continued to down my breakfast. Fantasia disappeared in the downstairs cellar before coming back up with a gorgeous white gown. “I want to give this to you, you have been in the same ragged dress since the fire and I thought you may need a pick-me-up.” She sauntered on over to me examining the dress the whole way. “You are a very attractive young lady and you deserve to feel that way.” She handed me the dress and signaled me to go downstairs and change. I switched gowns making my way upstairs to show it off. Fantasia clapped her hands excitedly as I made my way over to her. Her brown eyes looked as if she were on the verge of crying as she looked me up and down. “You look just like your mother, her blue eyes, the brunette hair” she said in a wobbly voice. We shared a needed sigh embracing each other in a hug. Aldred entered through the door and told me it was time to go. Fantasia handed me a small leather satchel and put it over my head and on my shoulder. I grabbed the small cloth enclosed item shoving it into the bag. “Do I have to go? Can’t I live here with you guys?!” I pleaded the realization of being taken from my home was finally hitting me. Their faces were covered in guilt as they led me to the carriage that showed up at the town everyday at the same time. It was always found just on the outside of town and was pulled by a horse. As we approached it I noticed there were other passengers on board. “Please don’t make me go!” I cried out to them as they forced me onto the wooden carriage. “I’m sorry Adriasea we have to my love!” Fantasia replied sympathetically. I held on to her hands and begged her until the wheels started to move and our hands could no longer touch one another. I watched as their figures became harder to see in the distance the further away the carriage moved. I waited until I had to squint to see them then I stopped looking back. I whipped my head around when I heard someone start to talk. It was a man who looked like a drunk! His white and black hair was all messy and askew. His beard was covered in crumbs that had been there for who knows how long. His clothes were tattered and he had these awful torn gloves on. “I asked where are you headed?” he said rather stridently. “What’s it matter to you scruffy?” I spat back not really in the mood for conversation. He put his hands up in defense. “I don’t mean no trouble little lady, just want to know where you’re going” he stated amicably. I eyeballed him up and down in a judging manner before shaking off my defensive attitude. “I’m headed to Dalhurst to be put in an orphanage because my mother died, and my father disappeared” I answered wistfully. His eyes were wide, blinking a few times taking in the new information. “Well isn’t that just upsetting?” a woman harshly spoke from the opposite side of me. “Wow I didn’t even notice you there” I retorted, giving her an all too obvious sarcastic smile, while paying no attention to her at all. She made an ugly face at me then returned looking ahead past the man guiding the horse down the trail. She had a mean face with long black hair tied up in a ponytail so tight she looked to be in a constant state of shock. Her ears were extraordinary! They were large and came to a sharp pointy tip. I brought my hand up slowly with an extended finger ready to touch her ear when the same man across from me was signaling to me no. I put my fingers on my lips and did a small, “shh”, before raising my hand back up. The strange woman was too focused on the road to notice I was about to touch her ear. I couldn’t understand why she was so intently looking at the grassy flat lands around us there was really nothing to look at! There was nothing interesting at all, just the sound of the horses hooves and the carriage man’s occasional whistling! Inch by inch my finger grew closer to her pointed ear. “So Dark Elf mistress, why are you here?” the hobo looking man asked. She sighed un-enthusiastically, turning her body to face him. I quickly moved my hand back to my side trying to act as nonchalant as possible. The woman gave me an odd look due to the mischievous smile I was forcing off my face. Her eyes were the color of violet silks you’d only see in castles, but they were cold and shaming. Her skin was a dark grey and unlike anything I’ve ever seen! “I’m here to obviously get a ride to Dalhurst” she replied leaning forward as if she just made the best remark in the whole world. “You’re a dark elf?” I say in surprise as she looks at me dumbfounded. “Was it not obvious, little girl?” she responded to me I guess as nicely as she could. “Well, no, my father always told me stories about dark elves, or sorcerers, and even sirens from the sea! But I thought they were all made up.” Both the dirty man and the dark elf shared a similar look probably thinking I was a fool to not know such things. “Why did you think they were made up?” the man asked with a bewildered expression. “My town, Myrefall only had other people like me and I was never allowed to leave it until now because I had no choice.” It was silent between the passengers, it was quiet besides the noises of the carriage and the carriage man who had been snickering at our entire conversation. “So you don’t know I’m a sorcerer?” the older man questioned me raising a singular dark eyebrow. “No, I just thought you may have been homeless due to your appearance.” The dark elf next to me laughed, “Now that’s funny.” The man gave her a scolding look in the midst of deciding whether or not he wanted to reply. “What are your names?” I politely asked to no longer address them to their appearance. “Windel’s the name, humble wizard at your service my dear” he said in a cheerily voice with a smile that was all too cheeky. “I’m Delphina, future captain of the Dalhurst kingdom’s army.” She looked very prideful as she spoke and kept her chin held high. “You, a future captain of the guard? Now that’s funny, honestly a real knee slapper!” Windel chortled holding on to his torso. The carriage man let out a chuckle as the two started to bicker back and forth. I turned around in my seat to look out at the green plains ahead of us. There were animals of all sorts, goats, horses, deer, and even a few cute little brown bunnies! Far-off further into the grassy flat lands was a huge city! I squinted my eyes to see a larger building connected to the town below. “Hey what’s that large stone building!” I called out pointing towards the large mass of civilization. “That would be Dalhurst and its castle” spoke a rather monotone Delphina. “I get to see a castle!” I exclaimed, almost jumping up and down. “No child you get to see the orphanage and that is where you’ll stay” Delphina spoke in a dead manner. “I’m fifteen” I mumbled crossing my arms. It started to get hotter outside as the sun reached its peak in the sky. Everyone was sweating and urging the carriage man to make the horse go faster. “Be quiet, all of ya, or I’ll kick you off!” he yelled rather nasally. He seemed to be breathing relatively hard for such a thin man, and come to think of it not very friendly either. “Windel you said you were a sorcerer right? Can’t you do some kind of spell?” I sighed out as the sun cooked us to death. “I said I was a sorcerer, not a good one!” he cried out fanning his face with his hand. I grabbed the small object from my satchel so I could use the cloth to wipe the seat from my forehead. It was cheese! I quickly popped the small yellow dairy food in my mouth then cleaned the sweat from my face. The carriage came to a stop as we arrived on the outskirts of Dalhurst. There was a sigh of relief between everybody, but I wasn’t feeling too good about the new home I was being sent to.