Echo of the Wind-Prologue

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Looking Glass

Submitted: February 04, 2008

Reads: 50

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Submitted: February 04, 2008

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Chapter 1-Looking Glass
All the people of the world knew one thing. King Ferriah. King Ferriah, who was also known as the White King of Valortia, was a tyrant with an iron heart. He was exceptionally cruel and he held little to no love for anyone or anything except for power. He sought power like it was the elixir of life and he desired it so much, that he craved it every waking hour of the day. In his greed, he conquered the lands and oceans looking for the source of ultimate dominance. Ferriah destroyed anything that got in his way, a path, littered with ruins of once great cities, lay behind the White King as he combed the very edges of the known earth.
It is true to say that the land was slowly turning as black as Ferriah’s heart. The Races tried to resist the authoritarian rule, but they were subdued and soon lost all hope of defeating the King. Across the world, the Free Races were falling, rogues began to appear. Rogues were groups of Races who broke away from their kin and were determined to find power of their own. Years passed, and before long it wasn’t only the King’s Guard who became a major threat, but the increasingly bold rogues who looted and terrorized the lands.
The King grew irritated at the constant threat of the rogues and built high walls around his central kingdom, at the north-western most peak of the West Continent. Within these walls lay the small city of Tigorah.
Tigorah may have been some ways from the King’s Castle, but his menacing influence was still highly pivotal in the lives of the Tigorians. Today, as the new sun rises, was a very special day. The King’s Guard paced and stalked the inner city streets, carrying overlarge swords, staring at the people while they went about their daily chores. Shops opened, vendors erected their stalls in the streets but there were no smiles on their faces this day.The colourful gypsy tents seemed sullen and grey as if devoid of the usual cheer and happiness that accompanied the glamour of the nomadic people. The Gypsy’s themselves walked the dusty roads in small groups, voices hushed and heads together. Normally long black hair, brightly decorated with ribbons and golden rings, waving out under the dark blue bandana’s that the Gypsy people wore, was now tight and tied up in respect for the day’s dawn. It was not the first time the strange traveling people came to Tigorah, but it was the first time they had been in the city on the day of an execution.
Clad in dark reds and browns, matching the grimy hues of the dirt and the soot pouring from the blacksmith’s, the people walked around, inspecting the wares of the vendors, but rarely makingpurchases. The day’s main event was not due to start until just before mid-day, and the people of Tigorah were anxious to get the hanging over with. Soon, the sound of the metal crafter and the delectable smells of the city Baker’s had the people in slightly better spirits. The streets filled with the sounds of the morning bustle, and the execution was pushed to the side of everyone‘s mind. Still, the Guards imposing presence gripped the Tigorians by the necks and duly reminded them of their place.
Two Gypsy girls struck up a dance with some tambourines, trying to earn a few coins before they left that evening. A crowd soon encircled them, watching raptly as the younglings twisted and turned to the beat of the tambourine, a few tossing their hard earned silver into a handkerchief held by an older male Gypsy. Elaborate back flips and somersaults came quickly and with exceptional precision, the crowd ‘ooohed’ and ‘ahhhed’ and when the two girls landed side by side after a particularly complex set of hand springs, the people burst into applause.This caught the attention of two nearby Guards who jogged over to see what was going on
‘Move it you peasants,’ Commanded the larger of the two, ‘Or I’ll have you hangin’ next to the Witch!’ As if under a spell, the people immediately cleared a path for the Guards to the three Gypsies
‘Is there a problem, fair friend?’ Asked the older Gypsy, a smile stretch across his amiable features
‘What do you think you’re doing eh?’ Inquired the second guard, readying his hand on his gleaming sword, the man eyed it warily
‘There is no need for that, as there will be enough murder here for one day,’ replied the male, his smile quickly vanishing into a calm but unreadable face, ‘Go back to the tent girls, and take this with you. Give it to Alddera, miramo’ the two girls quickly took the handkerchief and disappeared into the crowd that was still in a circle around the elder Gypsy.
‘Murder? Perhaps you’d like to be swinging up there next to ’er, what say you to that? You slimy Gyp’ the first Guard countered, malice dripping in his voice. Instead of making the Gypsy man angry, or even cowed, it did the opposite. That friendly smile reappeared and the Gypsy took a few steps forward, pushed up the sleeves of his tunic and raised his voice to the crowd.
‘Tell me, my dark and vile friend, do you keep your silver dreans and gold faliors in a safe place?’
‘What kind of a question is that? Of course I do’
‘Then, tell me, what is this?’ With the last words, the man reached for the Guards armpit and tugged, out came two silver dreans. The Guard and his companion looked dumbstruck at the discovery, ‘Oh, and what about this?’ This time, the Gypsy man pulled on the bottom of the Guards ear, and with it came a gold falior, ‘Tsk, this is no way to hide your money my friend, anyone could find it there!’ A collective chuckle came from the crowd. While the Gypsy continued to pull coins from mid air, his other hand snaked down the Guards belt where a velvet pouch hung. While keeping the Guards’ eyes busy, he untied the pouch and slipped it into his pocket. After a few more coins, the Gypsy stopped, closed his eyes and put a palm to the Guards forehead.
‘What are you doin’ now?’
‘Shhhh, I see something’
‘What?’ The Guard asked, both curiously and nervously
‘You’re about to go have a drink with your friend here, on the coin of the Gyp’ Then the man handed the Guard two gold faliors, ‘for a job well done, give the brave men a round of applause if you please!’ The crowd obliged, and the two Guards seem to have forgotten their earlier anger and blushed slightly at the attention. Then the Guards quickly turned around and walked briskly from the circle while mumbling something about checking out a rumour of a pickpocketer around the Tavern District.
‘Wait! You’re about to lose something valuable!’ The Gypsy man yelled after them, but they didn’t turn. The crowd laughed and said their thanks and goodbye’s to the man and dispersed back into the busy streets. The Gypsy man watched them go, smiling and nodding to each one in turn, he even slipped a few coins from the velvet pouch into the pockets of the children as they shook his hand and went on their way.
*~*
Soon mid-day came about, and the tensions began to rise again. The sun was high in the cloudy sky, rain threatening to pour out at any second. The chilly wind blew the storm in, but it seemed to be content with just being intimidating. Crowds began to gather around the town centre; even the Gypsy Troupe was there, where a large stage had been brought in by a sturdy pair of draft horses. Heavily armoured guards stood at attention around the stage and a tall, black robed man stood his is arms folded gazing listlessly at the people’s faces.
There were those who had their heads bowed, praying for the safe passage of the condemned soul to rest in Nevaeh, others had their eyes on the hangman, glaring in hatred. The barbaric sounding herald trumpets signaled the arrival of the King in his gold wrought chariot. Walking with hands chained and eyes blindfolded behind the chariot, was a tall, blonde haired woman, stumbling every so often on the uneven road. The crowds made a path for the chariot as it pulled to a stop in front of the stage. A Guard opened the door and the King climbed out, a broad smile stretched across his face. There was a unsettling silence throughout the people, but their bodies moved on their own accord into a submissive bow. Still smiling, the King, dressed in a flowing white cloak walked through the bowing mass to a small stand next to the stage. The blonde woman was taken up to the stage, blindfold discarded, and a thick rope noose was tightened around her fair neck.
‘People of Tigorah,’ the King began, spreading his arms wide as if to appear like a caring person, ‘we are here today for an important reason. To show you what happens to Witches!’ The crowd drew a collective breath as the King gestured to the woman on the stage. Her bright blue eyes stared unwavering at the people, searching their faces for the reassurance that they returned.
‘The evidence is clear,’ The King continued, producing a long, rolled up parchment, ‘Razaeleea Lyserih, you are found guilty of practicing Witchcraft, threatening and undermining my rule, stealing from the Royal Treasuries and the murder or three top Commanders of the Guard. In light of these offences, you have been sentenced to hang, any last words?’ The last part was almost spat out; the words were tossed into the tirade to add a bit of empathy that the King was unable to produce without a prompt. The only sound was the wind blowing, more fiercely than before.
The woman, Razaeleea, closed her eyes and called out in an unwavering confident voice
‘I pass in peace, my innocence intact. I will haunt you until the day you die, because then I will be waiting-’ She was cut short by the hangman pulling lever and the floor giving way under her feet. A sickening snap was heard as the beautiful woman dropped and breathed her last breath.
That arrogant smile was still plastered to the King’s face as he climbed back into his chariot and left the city square. The women led their tearful children away; men stared hard at the body before turning away and heading home. Before long, the only person left in the square was a small girl, no older than thirteen. Her dark hair fell loosely around her tiny frame, eyes fixed on the departed, and tears streaked her ashen face leaving her eyes blazing in both fury and pain.
‘Why…mom?’ The question went unanswered as Sahiira Lyserih fell to her hands and knees, choking back tears that fell freely from her bright blue eyes. The sky began to cry as well, heavy rain drops hit the road mixing with the young girl’s tears.
Sitting up slightly, Sahiira pulled her thick, dark green cloak closer around her shoulders as the thunder rumbled through the sky. Overcome by the feeling of emptiness, the child begrudgingly got to her feet and grasped the bag at her waist. ‘It’s all I have left now, don’t worry mother. I will take care of it as I promised. Goodbye, I love you.’
Suddenly, the girl ran off. Careening down alleyways and through the market to the outskirts of town where she finally stopped. Quickly hiding herself behind an empty stall, she peered through the grey din to the Gypsy camp where everyone was packing up their caravans.
Slipping quietly through the bustle, no one realized that she was not one of their kin. Dodging behind crate and horse alike, she managed to steal herself into the back of a caravan. Sahiira covered herself with the Gypsy cloth as thoroughly as she could. She heard several indistinct voices from around her, but she clamped her eyes shut and waited. Ages seemed to go by but before long, a sharp whistle emitted from somewhere ahead of Sahiira and the caravan she was hiding in jolted into movement.
A long moment passed and Sahiira held her breath, hoping that she would not be discovered. When she felt that enough time had passed, she allowed herself to relax, but this let a mixture of emotions assault her as she lay hidden under the cloth, but somewhere between grief and excitement, she let her emotions spill out of her again. Stifling her half sobs in the soft rolls of the cloth, she didn’t bother to wipe the tears from her face, or to make sure that no one heard her. She was sure that in a few moments she would be clear from King Ferriah’s cruelty, but what she wasn’t sure of was where she would go after she got past the wall. Her young mind was so filled with worries and desires that she didn’t feel it when her eyes began to droop and her thoughts begin to go blank. With one last sniffle, Sahiira Lyserih was drifting off into a deep sleep.
The rain had stopped, but the clouds still covered the sun hung low in the sky as the Gypsy Troupe neared the wall that divided The King’s territory from the rest of the Continent. Their bumpy trip through the wood and dirt roads did little to comfort the trailing caravan and its owners. But in a moment, the Gypsy woman placed a hand on her husband’s knee and motioned him to stop; he obliged knowingly and pulled off the road. When the leading caravan noticed that one of their number had gone astray, she stopped immediately. Stepping off the platform of her caravan, Alddera Ri’Carlotta turned and walked steadily towards the stopped caravan consisting of a married couple. The Gypsy woman was leaning down by a wheel near the back of the caravan, and even from this distance, Alddera knew that they would need to fix it.
Calar, Rova,’ she called out in a strong and commanding voice, ‘is it the wheel again?’ The Gypsy man nodded in agreement as he leaned down to join his wife in assessing the damage to the tricky wheel. It had been repaired in Tigorah, but the actual job had been done by a fairly shifty character.
‘I warned you Ali, now look’ Rova scolded his wife as though she was a mere child, but the tough Gypsy woman was having none of that. She stood straight and stared her husband down
‘Don’t you Ali me Rova! You were the one who told me to have that banoi fix the wheel’ the woman shrieked, her dark hair flying angrily out under her navy blue bandana. The silver hoops on her wrist struck one another, emitting a sound much like a light summer rain. Alddera took a step away from the raging Gypsy. Rova, held his hands protectively in front of him and turned to his leader
‘Perhaps it would be best if you went on without us, we won’t be far behind’
‘Are you sure?’ But the angry shrieking and ranting from Aliestanza answered her question and so did Rova’s pleading expression
‘Here, use this to pass the guards at the Gate’ Alddera pressed a golden key with a dark red ribbon into Rova’s hand before marching back to her own caravan. Another sharp whistle, and the procession was on its way again.
Once the dust trails were hanging in the air, and the caravans were nothing more than tiny specks on the horizon, Aliestanza shared a sly look with her beloved. Rova smirked and kicked the wheel back into place and circled to the back of the caravan. Aliestanza joined him, and gently peeled back the layers of cloth they had stowed for the trip. An all knowing smile crept across Ali’s face as she turned back a final piece of cloth.
‘You were right, Rova my love, we do have a stowaway’


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