The Forbidden Village

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Chapter 16

I hopped down off of the cart and stretched. Sitting on a wooden bench and going over bumps made me feel stiff and sore everywhere. I tried to stretch out as many of the kinks as I possibly could. I also sought to rub out the soreness on my bum from sitting on that uncomfortable bench.

“It’s always rough the first time,” I turned towards the voice and saw that only Avin was in the room with me. Oh, so he was talking to me now? I swear he was going to give me whiplash. He was leaning up against the cart as he worked to unhitch the horses.

“Yeah, I suppose,” I replied and continued with my stretching. There was this one kink that I just couldn’t seem to get rid of. “Hey Avin, do you think that I could have a bath?”

I turned around to face him as I asked this. Avin had unhitched the horses and was leading them to their stalls. He paused and looked over at me over his shoulder.

“Of course, I’ll have one of the maids start one up for you,” he replied and then continued to take the horses to their stalls. He removed their harnesses once he got them into their stalls. The horses whinnied and nudged Avin with their heads.

I leaned up against the stall that was behind me as I quietly watched Avin and the horses. Avin reached up and stroked the one horse’s muzzle gently and then he did the same to the other. He reached down into a small sack that sat on a hay bail in between the stalls while the horses were distracted.

Avin pulled out two apples from the bag and held it up to each horse. The animals happily ate the apples. Avin started smiling when the horses began to nudge him. Probably looking for more treats.

“Sorry, I don’t have any more today,” Avin said apologetically to the horses as he patted their necks affectionately. “I’ll bring more next time.”

Something was different with Avin’s voice. He seemed to be able to speak more fluidly than he had been able to since I got here. It was almost like he was speaking in his native language. I stood up straight and listened more carefully to what Avin was saying.

His voice seemed to switch between his native language that I didn’t know and English. Well, that’s not normal. I relaxed my focus, and I could understand him again. Okay, this was cool. I could understand Elvish now.

I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing yet, but it could help me out around here. I felt some warm air brush past my neck, and then something velvety rub against the back of my neck. I turned my head slowly to the side too, startled by the weird sensation.

Behind me was a stunning white horse. I turned completely around carefully so that I would not spook the horse. I reached my hand out to stroke her muzzle and her face…at least I thought that it was a girl. The horse took a step forward and moved her head down towards my hand.

As the horse moved something glimmered on the top of her head, just a few centimeters before her ears. It was a long, thin, cone-like shape and stopped about a foot above her head in a point. Oh wow, she was a unicorn.

I didn’t think that they even existed. Well, I guess that I should’ve seen this coming with everything else that I’ve seen so far in my stay here. The glimmering horn disappeared, and the unicorn rested her face against my hand, her eyes were closed. I gently rubbed her face with my hand. Her fur was so soft.

“What’s your name?” I asked the horse as I petted her neck. But it wasn’t her that responded, it was someone from behind me.

“Her name is Mirage, and she doesn’t normally like people being near her, or people touching her for that matter,” I turned around towards the voice. Avin was standing just a couple feet behind me.

Avin wasn’t looking at me. I was pretty sure that he was watching Mirage, who was in front of me. His stance was tense like he was ready to jump in front of me if something were to happen. I looked back to Mirage.

Mirage didn’t look all that dangerous, but could she be dangerous? She didn’t even seem to notice Avin; her attention was completely on me. Mirage whinnied and gently nudged me with her head. I chuckled at her playfulness, which is the closest that I’ve come to laughing in a long time.

I gave Mirage one last scratch under her chin before walking over to Avin. He had apparently stopped watching the horse and was now looking at me. He seemed to be rather curious. Almost like he was trying to figure something out.

“What?” I asked him feeling a bit self-conscious under his heavy gaze.

“Your bath is ready,” Avin said to me his gaze never wavering.

“Oh okay, thank you,” I commented feeling slightly disappointed. What was I expecting him to say though really?

I ducked around him and began to climb the stairs back up to the main floor of the castle. I had thought that I had known my way around the castle. Apparently not as well as I had first thought because Avin had to redirect me more than once.

Once I got back to my room, I headed straight for the bathroom so that I could have my bath. I suddenly felt very gross and dirty. Avin sat in my room while I walked into the bathroom after I made him promise to be good. In other words, avoid Amavin and her teeth.

I went into the bathroom and closed the door behind me as quietly as I possibly could. I breathed a sigh of relief once the door was closed. Avin was much more intense than I had first thought he would be. It was both unnerving and exciting. I’ve never had just one guy pay so much unfaltering and non-judgemental attention to me before.

I began to blush the more I thought about how he looked at me. I shook my head quickly and stripped out of my clothes. I tiptoed towards the steaming porcelain tub, across the cold stone floor. On the way to the tub, I passed a rather large mirror.

I don’t look at myself in the mirror but, for some reason, this time, I did. I didn’t look beautiful or unique. These people seemed to think that I was unique for some strange reason. What do they see that I can’t see?

I was starting to get uncomfortable looking at myself in the mirror. I just kept seeing all of my flaws and shortcomings the longer I stared at my reflection. I started to turn my head away but stopped when I saw something very odd on my body. I was fairly sure that it was never there before.

Just above my left breast was a mole, but it was in the weirdest shape possible. The mole was in the shape of a heart. I ducked my head down to look at my chest to make sure that my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Sure enough, the mole was still there when I looked down. Okay, well at least my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. That’s always good to know.

I gently touched the mole, testing to see if it would be sensitive. It felt slightly raised and smooth. It almost felt like it had its heartbeat, and it was hot compared to the surrounding area. I dropped my hand and looked back at the mirror.

I looked at myself in the mirror more carefully, this time, to see if I could find anything else that appeared to be out of place on my body. I didn’t see anything that was too out of the ordinary. My eyes looked a bit different. The blue in my eyes appeared to have gold flecks in it. It might’ve been just the lighting.

I quickly walked over to the bathtub and stepped in. The hot water burned my feet and legs as soon as the water touched them. It came to just above my knees and, even though it burned, it felt good to be in the water. I sighed in contentment and slowly eased myself into the bathtub.

Once I was completely submerged in the water, except for my head, I just laid there and relaxed. I don’t know how long I spent in that bathtub, but when I got out, there were new clothes that were sitting on the counter, neatly folded. Did I fall asleep?

I grabbed the towel like object that was on a rack beside the bathtub and dried myself off as best as I could. I grabbed the new clothes off of the counter and threw them on once I was dry. They were much different than the ones that I had on earlier, and they were also much more comfortable.

I tried not to look at myself in the mirror as I passed by it again. But I couldn’t help noticing how I looked in the new crop top and split skirt. It was a different color than the other one as well. Where the other outfit had gone, I had no idea. I have to say that this one looked much better on me than the other one had. The entire outfit was white with silver accents going across the crop top and coming up from the bottom of the skirt, stopping half-way up the skirt.

I hadn’t thought that I was all that tan. But now seeing myself in this white outfit, I looked tan. Something else was different about my appearance. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something else that I was missing. Something important. I leaned in closer to the mirror to try to get a better look.

I was interrupted by a thunderous noise coming from my bedroom. I jumped and turned towards the door to where the sound had come from. I hesitated for a second before quickly running over to the door and placing my ear against it.

People were talking very loudly in my bedroom. However, their conversation was garbled because of the door, so I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I did know that there were at least two people in the room, Avin and a female by the sounds of things.

I opened my door a crack and peered through the crack. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them better now. The female was speaking the most. She was saying something along the lines that it was his fault that someone had died. The woman sounded very smug and unrelenting. She kept going on and on about it being his fault, and if he responded, I couldn’t hear it because she would just get louder.

The woman just kept degrading Avin, saying such nasty things to him. It had to be Amavin. What she was saying was just pissing me off so much, I wasn’t too sure how much more I could listen to. What the hell was she doing in my room, invading my space?

Was Amavin trying to get Avin back under her control? I wonder if this was how she had gotten him under her control in the first place. Well, I can’t let that happen, now can I? It looks like I’m going to have to make a scene and disrupt their little heart to heart chat.

I backed up and swung the door back to my bedroom open with enough force that it hit the wall beside it with a loud, bang! I stepped out of the bathroom with confidence that I didn’t know that I had and started over to where they had been talking.

I saw Amavin’s head pop up from the other side of the couch. She looked startled like she hadn’t realized that I was in the next room having a bath. She didn’t see me as much of threat, did she? I think it’s about time that I gave her a reason to fear me.

“What are you doing here?” Amavin asked not bothering to hide her disgust. She was just feeding my flames.

“Funny, I was about to ask you what you were doing in my room with my guard?” I replied coolly. I could feel my sword in my arm press against the surface of my skin on my left forearm. I could feel something else happening to me on the inside. My expression shifted automatically. Suddenly I felt like I was someone else like I was just watching what was going on from the backseat.

“Leave my sight now!” I snapped at Amavin. My voice sounded dark and cold even to my ears. Amavin stiffened, and there was a look of fear in her eyes. But it was more like she was seeing a ghost rather than she was afraid of me.

“No it can’t be…you’re supposed to be…” Amavin stuttered as she quickly and shakily got to her feet. I felt myself smile without humor. I just felt cold and empty. I was on autopilot, reacting reflexively to what she said and did. It was a weird feeling. I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked feeling like this. The smiled dropped from my face, and my eyes narrowed at Amavin. Her presence was just bothering me so much right now. I couldn’t stand to have her in my room any longer.

“Now, get out!” I yelled at Amavin as I started to walk forward, towards Amavin. She couldn’t seem to get out of the room fast enough. She didn’t even bother to shut the door in her hurry to escape my wrath. As soon as she was gone the weird feeling faded and I felt like myself again.

Did I just say all of that stuff? I mean like where did all of that even come from? Ever since the vision at the village I’ve felt out of step and have been feeling different about myself. I’ve started to notice weird things about my body too. If more of these episodes kept happening, I might go crazy, or even be killed for the thought of doing witchcraft. I was pretty sure that they still killed people for that. I shivered at the thought of being burned alive.

No one could find out about these episodes. Not until I had better control, and a better understanding of why I saw these things and why these things were happening to me.

I walked over to the couch after shaking off my thoughts. I walked around to the side of the couch that Amavin had been behind a few minutes ago before she had run out of the room. As I peered around the edge of the sofa, I saw Avin sit up quickly. I quickened my pace and walked around the couch so that I was facing him. His eyes looked more hollow than anyone I had ever seen before.

There was such a deep pain and sadness etched into his face, the way he sat on the couch hunched over, and most definitely in the defeat in his eyes. He didn’t even seem to notice me standing in front of him. Avin didn’t even look up as I moved closer to him, in fact, he didn’t move at all.

Avin wasn’t crying; I could tell that much. His mind must be elsewhere. I wonder what exactly he was thinking about. I knelt down in front of him just as he came back from wherever he had just been in his mind.

“Hey,” I whispered to him as he looked up at me. At first, he seemed kind of confused like he couldn’t understand what I was saying. His eyes still appeared to be a bit unfocused. Now he wouldn’t stop staring at me. Avin scrunched up his face in concentration. Then he blinked a couple of times, and his eyes refocused on reality.

“Hey,” Avin replied as he looked at me directly in the eyes. I stared back and felt something in the back of my mind try to claw its way to the surface, but Avin looked away before whatever it was clicked into place. I felt disoriented once he looked away. Man, what was going on with me?

“What happened?” I asked as I tried to get my mind back on track. Avin just shrugged like he didn’t understand it himself. He looked at me for a second, confused.

“Where did you get that?” Avin asked gesturing towards the outfit.

“It was in the bathroom when I got out of my tub,” I explained as my mind started to process what he was saying. Then something else came to mind. “Wait, so you didn’t put it in the bathroom?”

Avin shook his head, and I noticed that he had his serious face back on again. I sighed and stood back up. What more could I do? I knew that he wasn’t going to talk to me again for the rest of the day.

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