CHAVIAS - A Dark Encounter
Night Manor, Mane Country
Days had gone by since Sabine saw Chavias. Before she’d received the warning in his journal. By day four she was gravely concerned. “Has anyone seen him?”
The housemaid shook her head. “No, Mum.”
Sabine cleaned. Wandering the chambers aimlessly. Wandering the corridors to inspect for dust. Filling vases with the few flowers left in the storeroom. Finding her way into Chavias’ chamber she grabbed his journal and sat before the window to stare at the frosty needle trees littering the grounds around Night Manor.
The last brown and orange leaves of Fall blew over the dulled grass this midday. Carrying the threat of Winter.
She was aware that the Winter brought the risk of being trapped in Night Manor.
“Another log to the fire, Mum?” A maid asked as she knelt next to the fireplace next to her.
Sabine nodded. Rubbing her upper arms, she lifted her wrap and draped it over her pink gown in an attempt to stave off the chill. The warmth eventually seeped into the room from the fire and despite herself she dozed off.
When she awoke she noticed a brightly polished silver tray laid on the round table near her. Yellow flower petals bordered the lid. Inhaling deeply, she smiled at the smell. Gently sweeping them aside she lifted the lid. Revealing a small meal baked to perfection. Partridge with delicate eggs to the side beckoned her. Next to it was glazed vegetables.
Her mouth watered.
Everything in Night Manor was well cooked. Delicious. But Sabine had directed meals this fanciful to be reserved for when the Lord of the House returned.
Only he could’ve overridden her direction.
She realized then that today was the anniversary of the day Chavias had brought her here. “An Anniversary present?”
Thinking it might mean he was back but she checked once more and found he was not. Sighing she sat down and partook of the meal.
Rubbing her full stomach, she stared out the window longingly as the sun lowered. The wind slowed but still rushed now and again. Tree branches waved gracefully, and the remnants of leaves tumbled in a wild dance. She glimpsed a bush still thick with foliage. It happened be lilac.
Biting her lip, she squared her shoulders and eased outside. Drawing a long breath to take in the crisp scents. She wandered carefully to the bush. Touching the rough bark of a skeletal trunk and staring up at the last leaves as she made her way. Outlined by the descending daylight.
Night was falling so fast she struggled to see her hand before her.
Reaching the lilac she parted the branches to smell one lingering bloom. Instead she encountered shining orange eyes. Nearly nosing into the creature, she backpedaled. Screaming as it burst from the bush on bony elongated limbs. Bat wings snapping out as it lunged flapping after her.
She jerked her head and sent a surging wind to throw it back in a tree as she ran back to the house. Her feet tangled in her skirts and she tumbled.
The Sarabi attacked again, staying on the ground to run on its spindly limbs. Dragging its front legs and grunting as it charged her.
Tossing her head one way and arm the other she made icy spikes surge from the trees and intertwine to block it’s path. From the ground to well above the trees.
The Sarabi squawked and clawed at it.
She sent more spikes swelling from further back in the trees but seeing them the Sarabi dropped flat to the ground and slinked around her wall.
Sabine was crawling backward. Her fear making the snow from the mountains surrounding the valley rumble and began to descend in a river of white, toppling over itself to clamber toward them.
She looked everywhere seeing it wasn’t moving fast enough.
The Sarabi scrambled around her wall and went to chomp on her but she screamed and kicked it in the lower jaw. Making its face and mouth freeze. Locked open with ice separating it. It gargled and shook its head, scratching at its face but when she turned and tried to run back inside it planted a front claw through her skirt and into the ground.
Sabine’s face had turned blue, snowflakes crystalized in silver blooms of frost on her cheeks. Blue eyes nearly white as they froze over. Frost covered her entire body and her hair tossed snow as she moved.
She twisted out of its reach as it swung its other claw, managing to tear her skirt free as the snow arrived and billowed over the Sarabi. Pinning it down then swelling over it.
Sabine ducked and through her arms over her head. Making the avalanche rise over her head and pour down around Night Manor and roll down the back as it continued its destructive path.
Terrified, Sabine fled into the Manor. Glancing over her shoulder she stumbled up the hill and burst through the door. Whipping around to lock it. Falling backward against it praying.
Looking up she saw the stunned servants standing in a line staring at her.
“What was that?” One man asked.
Sabine shook her head fervently.