Fantasy Story

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
I don't know what will happen yet, bear with me.

Submitted: June 15, 2017

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Submitted: June 15, 2017

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Prologue

 

The sound of horns pierced through the air, blasting the peaceful silence into oblivion. It was a noise that hadn’t been heard for several decades, not in a place so apparently safe and undisturbed.

The sound of screaming followed, as the people inside the settlement realised what the noise meant and rushed to get away from the oncoming danger.

They hadn’t been seen in over 35 years, and no one had expected to see them again for years longer. And yet here the Hunters were, the sound of their marching feet getting nearer, about to seize as many homes and families as they possibly can.

Gathering up the bundle of cloths she had wrapped her child in, the woman attempted to leave her small, humble tent, whilst avoiding the onslaught of people who were also getting their children to safety. The cry of the Hunter’s horns were rapidly getting louder, as were their footsteps, as the baby’s mother cradled her daughter’s head against her. The cries and screams of her woken child made her wince, her daughter’s pain her pain also. The noise of the horns had aroused her from her sleep, just as they had aroused the fear in everyone else's hearts.

She had heard so much about these Hunters. For centuries, there had been stories told of them, tales of their violent pasts and the wrath they unleash upon people. Her herself had considered them mere myths, a story meant to scare people, and nothing else. All the written records of them belonged to people who were long dead, who could have easily made all the stories up.

Now though, she knew they were very well not made up.

Amidst all the carnage, she was trying to find someone. The one person she could trust with her daughter’s life. Florence considered herself an old woman of ill health, and wasn’t well enough to run for her life, taking her child with her. Pushing her way through the crowds of screaming people was exerting her enough already, and she knew she had to look through the masses of people to find who she was looking for.

The screaming started to get louder, as the first people began falling around her. Out of the 625 or so people who lived there, Florence wondered how many would have perished at the end of this.

There were arrows everywhere, slicing through the air, and through people. Her people. The children, who didn’t understand what was happening, cried as they stood over their fallen parents, weeping and exposed to the Hunter’s weapons. Her heart broke even more, but she didn’t stop to help them. She couldn’t.

Shielding her daughter with her body, she went and hid behind one of the few tents still standing. That was when she couldn’t stand being silent anymore, and she started screaming out a name.

“Annalise!” She cried as the bodies rushed past, and she got her first glimpse of the Hunter’s hunting her.

She let out a sob, as the small, marching figures became bigger, as they moved swiftly over the plains. She didn’t even know if Annalise was still alive at this point.

Hearing her mother’s cries, the child in her arms let out another heart wrenching wail. Florence’s tears fell onto her daughter’s head, as she leant her head down to plant a kiss on the middle of her forehead.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered quietly, her throat closing up as she shut her eyes, the image of the Hunter’s replaying in her head.

She went to look again, and this time, was greeted with a sight that made her heart soar with relief.

“Annalise!”

The young woman standing in front of her looked urgent, as she took the baby from her hands, and looked Florence in the eyes. She opened her mouth to say something, but Florence cut in before she could speak.

“Go. Take her, please.”

Annalise tightened her grip on the child, but didn’t move.

“I can’t go any further. Please, just take her.” Florence begged.

Annalise looked for a bit longer, battling with her thoughts, and Florence reached out and gently pushed her forwards. The Hunter’s were close enough for her to see their faces, their lips pulled back in feral snarls, and their pale skin stood out from underneath their armour as they mercilessly slaughtered dozens of innocent people. They hadn’t seen them yet, but it was only a matter of time.

“Look after her.”

With one last respectful and despaired nod, Annalise looked her in the eyes one last time, before she turned and fled. Florence watched her dearest friend run up the hill, towards the huge, lonely forests. She saw her stop briefly, look down at her beautiful baby Deanna, before she disappeared between the trees, not once looking back.

And even as one of the Hunters noticed her, and shouted at the rest of his kin before lifting up and aiming his bow at her, Florence was still grateful. Her daughter was still alive, and even if she herself wasn’t for much longer, that still didn’t matter. Nothing did anymore.

The sigh of relief she let out was the last breath she ever took.

 

15 Years Later

 

Deanna turned abruptly into the hallway, her laugh echoing through the walls surrounding her. She tried not to run into anything as she wound her way through the many different corridors, the sound of Castor’s footsteps following her the whole way. They had both been told multiple times that they were too old to be chasing each other around the palace, but both of their rebellious natures meant that they were constantly defying their parents orders. Even the high rank of their families didn’t stop them from having fun and irritating everyone else around them.

Deanna skidded around another corner, her shoes finding no grip on the slippery floor. Desperately trying to hold on to the door handle that was just out of her reach, she promptly began falling towards the ground. Just before she collided with the hard surface beneath her, a pair of strong arms wrapped around her, preventing her from hitting the floor. The air rushed out of her as her fall was so suddenly stopped, and she looked up into the grinning face of her friend.

“Honestly, you’re terrible at this!”

Castor helped her to her feet, and Deanna scowled at the amused twinkle in his eye as she brushed the dust of her skirts. “I’m just helping you to improve your reaction time.”

He snorted. “Yeah. Accidentally.”

Deanna sighed in exasperation. She DID trip over a lot, and he never let her hear the end of it. Spinning around on the balls of her feet, she turned to leave, not wanting to hear the rest of his mocking that he had to say. In her haste, she didn’t think to hold her skirts, as the material swept several vases of flowers off a small table next to her, and they fell to the ground with a deafening crash, the glass and china shattering into dozens of small pieces.

Both their eyes were wide, as they looked at each silently over the large pile of glittering, smashed glass in front of them.

The silence was broken, as Castor smirked at her. “Those were your mother’s favourites.”

Deanna reached out and hit his shoulder. “Way to make me feel worse!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to you.” His eyebrows were raised, and she could see by the angle of his lips that he was struggling to hold in his smile.

Deanna knew she should leave. Maybe then, the blame would be put on Castor. But she stayed where she was. “How?”

“By defending your case when Abe comes in to lecture you about the fragility of vases.”

As if on cue, the door behind Castor suddenly opened, catching him on the shoulder. He yelped in pain, moving backwards and almost stepping on the glass shards.

The royal servant just looked at them with disgust as he entered through the doorway, his glance instantly directed at the broken vases, his top lip curled up in a snarl that showed just how yellow his teeth were. Deanna noticed, he even had a green bit of food stuck in one, and thought that it really did help add effect.

“How many’s that you’ve broken now?” He looked up at her, ignoring Castor completely, who was still clutching at his shoulder.

Deanna’s face went warm as the blood rushed to her cheeks. She opened her mouth to say something, anything, but then Castor piped up.

“I pushed into the table. I didn’t mean to, it was an accident but I still did it.” He looked down at the floor bashfully, and Deanna couldn’t help but wonder at his acting. He was convincing, even to her. “She fell against it and they toppled off,” he continued. “It wasn’t her fault.”

He really was making it up to her, just as he said he would, but Deanna still didn’t want him to get the blame and punished for what she did.

“Don’t believe him, it was me, he’s ju-”

“Oh don’t worry, I don’t believe him.” Abe looked at Castor, who was still busy trying to look ashamed. “If you were half as good at acting as you thought you were boy, you would be twice as good at it than you actually are.”

Deanna thought this was a bit harsh, as his performance had been a good one in her opinion. Castor just looked confused, and his lips were moving as he repeated what Abe had just said to himself, trying to work out what he meant. After a few seconds, a look of realisation passed over his face, before that looked turned to an offended one. “Hey! I AM good at it! You just don’t know talent when you see it!”

Abe just sighed, then jerked his head in the direction of the door. “Out.”

Castor started to argue in earnest, but the butler just cut him off. “Now.”

He really did like his one syllable words, didn’t he?

With a pitiful look at Deanna, he slunk out of the room, the door closing with a thud behind him.

Abe looked at her distastefully. She gave him the same look back.

“You need to be more careful.” He started. Deanna rolled her eyes, and he took her roughly by the shoulders. Startled into looking at him, her evil glare was met with his icy one.

“Your mother told me to ground you if you broke anymore of her things. So I’m afraid, that this is what I’m going to have to do.”

Deanna started at him incredulously. Ground her?! HER!? Did he REALLY think she would believe him, that her own mother, the Queen, would ground her?

Seeing the look on her face, Abe looked down at her triumphantly. “Two weeks.”

She stammered “T-two weeks? But- but what about-”

“No games, no eating out, and…”

She shut her eyes, trying to block out whatever other thing he was about to say she couldn’t have.

“...no Castor.”

He snapped her head up to look at him. “No Castor? But, you can’t do that! He’s my best friend, the only entertaining thing in this entire castle! If I’m grounded, then what do you expect me to do?!”

Abe stepped out the door, his hand resting on the handle as Deanna glared daggers at him. She had no idea WHAT she was going to do, what she could POSSIBLY do for that time.

Before shutting the door, Abe looked at her another time, then pointed down the the broken vases.

“Two weeks can be a long time for a spoiled brat like you, I know.” He winked knowingly. “Why don’t you start by cleaning that up?”


© Copyright 2017 Claire Leffly. All rights reserved.

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