書く The Red Dawn (tale)

NordicVeronica1 posted on May 03, 2012 at 02:17AM
(I've got absolutely no clue where this goes, so I'll just try hither and thither? Tell me what you think.)

It was dark, all around me. I was running - but my limbs felt like lead. I couldn't move enough to escape the voices whispering to me. I saw flickering lights of my own soul. Some were blue, some were red, green, and the most uncommon were a blinding white color I could hardly stand to look at.
The red were snapping at me angrily, while the green were issuing chilling groans and screeches like banshees. The blue were weeping and wailing - and the white were singing the melody of a lullaby.
I was trapped, somewhere between the mix of all the spirits. My anger was strong and plentiful, but yet still my torment and sorrow were both close seconds. The smallest, weakest part of my soul was the part that lingered in happiness and safety. The part where hope that I would survive still lingered in me. That smidgen of elegant desperation among all the other parts of my jumbled soul.

- - -

I awoke with a start, almost crying out, but realizing that to cry out would mean changing my location. I stayed still, hoping nothing had spotted my jerkish movement when I had shaken myself out of my restless sleep.
Only a frightened deer bounded away as we made eye contact, and I half-breathed a sigh of relief. I was safe, for now. But all the same, I would have to be more cautious.
I glanced into the sky and bit my lip. The sunrise was red: as it had been these past few months, lately. The Red Dawn had appeared, as predicted, on the night when I had left behind my village and fled.
Ever since, the Red Dawn had been persistant: and growing ever more red. I knew what it meant. I was no fool. I knew it meant that the clock was ticking - and the sand within the hourglass was falling. The scales were tipping to one side. The thread growing shorter.
My life was coming to a close.
For years, I had heard only legends on how the great fighters of many ages had had their lifetime linked by the mysterious Red Dawn. People said that the Red Dawn was actually the given light of a star that was magnetically being drawn to the hero or heroine on the surface of our world that was, somehow, the special warrior.
The magnetically-drawn star acted like a leech: and drained the life of the hero or heroine until there was nothing left - and when the person died, the star exploded in a fantastic supernova.
Only four times before had the people of our world seen the sky light up with a brilliant white light that lasted perhaps half a minute, and then it was gone - and the blue sky replaced it.
Ever since I had realized that this Red Dawn was fixed on me - I had tried to escape my fate. I was slowing the process of my death by escaping the man who wished to quicken it with the endless torture that had caused me so much fear, anger and sorrow: but that slowed process of my explosion with the Red Dawn was even more sorrowful.
Lost in my thoughts, I hardly noticed the voices coming nearer: until they were almost upon me. I scrambled back into the thicket where I had been hiding, and listened closely.
A pair of black boots stopped walking right in front of my hiding place. I caught my breath, hardly daring to look upon feet; for my fear had won against my anger.
"She's here."
I recognized the voice plainly, but kept myself steady. I had to restrain myself. I knew I would be outnumbered, should I attack.
"How do you know?" A second voice asked.
"I've been tracking her night and day - do you think I would lose all trace of her now?" The familiar voice snapped in the same venomous tone he so often used with me.
I heard a mumbled apology, and the boots neared my hiding place. I thanked myself silently that I had chosen the thickest patch of brambles I could disguise and hide myself in.
"She can't hide forever," The familiar voice said in a low growl that I had also heard before. "If we can't find her - we starve her out of hiding. The witch can't be too far, and she can't survive on leaflitter and termites." He sneered.
I felt my heart sank: and the blue side of my soul came out strong. My sorrowful, weeping side. Couldn't I just turn myself in and end my pain? End all of my grief? But I couldn't.
I must stay strong.
The lives of my family rested on my shoulders. Perhaps, if I was lucky enough, I might be the first person to ever outwit and outrun the foreboding Red Dawn.
last edited on May 05, 2012 at 12:15AM

書く 6 返信

Click here to write a response...
1年以上前 NordicVeronica1 said…
(Next part - again, tell me what you think.)

All day and into the night I stayed awake, refusing to let my weary eyes rest and let my frail body recover its strength from my travels. The men were camped out close by, but not directly in front of my hiding spot. I didn't want them to find me - but at the same time, I knew they were correct. I had to come out sometime.
I heard their voices - rattling on ceaselessly about me. I wanted them to stop. I felt weak from running - and from the star that was creating the Red Dawn and threatening to claim my life any day now.
I adjusted my position in the brambles where I hid to hear the men clearer, and to try and catch some scrap of news about my family - or even merely a kingdom near the one where I lived. I wanted to know everyone was alright.
"Rumor has it that Kulaj has broken free." One man muttered.
Another snorted. "Yeah, well, I wouldn't be surprised."
"Why not?" A third asked, sounding a tad angered.
"Kulaj has been rising to power since the dawn of time, Nomis. And his caretaker can only do so much without worsening the situation." The second man pointed out.
Then I heard my hunter's voice speak up about the situation:
"Kulaj is powerful, and merciless, but we have the upper hand. He doesn't know where we are, what we're hunting, or who to attack first if his rule truly is threatened. He'll go for the weaker of the kingdoms first, and get them out of the way. After that - there's no telling what he'll do."
I shuddered at the thought. Everyone knew who Kulaj was. He was a mighty serpent with many heads: a hydra, as some called him. Some said that his eyes were always open - and he never slept. He had come to rule our world centuries ago, but only recently had the people rebelled.
When Kulaj had been captured and chained, he had been young and smaller. Now, undoubtedly, he was older, larger and more powerful. He was ruthless, and thirsty for power and blood. If he knew I was one of the legendary heroines that threatened his life: he would come for me.
As if I already didn't have enough trouble on my hands. As if I weren't already being tracked down by some of the most merciless people on the planet. I breathed a soft sigh. It wasn't possible for my life to get any worse.
Yet still - I had to make my way through it. Perhaps that had, after all, been my secret talent. Managing to keep going even when things were at their bleakest. Perhaps it was just an old habit I had fallen into.
Whatever it was - it was keeping me alive. That was what I truly needed. I needed to stay alive, and I needed to outrun and outwit the Red Dawn. Whether that was possible, probable or likely or not was questionable: but on the whole - nothing is impossible completely if you try to do it.
"What if Kulaj calls us back?" One man asked my hunter. My hunter was silent for a moment. I squinted through the brambles, attempting to see them and the camp clearer.
"If Kulaj calls us back: the rest of you will fall back to his territory. I'll stay on the witch's track and make sure she doesn't go anywhere." My hunter said finally. "But..." One man started uncertainly.
"My word is final!" My hunter snarled, and I could hear the crackling of leaves as the man who had spoken in doubt backed away. They were like a pack of wolves: forever under the watchful and tricky eye of their alpha - who was ceaselessly hunting the poor, weak deer.
The pack of wolves followed the alpha's command - but they were too thick-skulled to learn that they weren't to question his rule over the pack, and often did. When they didn't: they looked up to their alpha with respect and care. I looked at the alpha with disgust, and regretful fear.
I didn't want to be afraid of this man. But for all he had done, and all he was still so eager to do to my mental health: I had a logical reason to be afraid. And afraid I was. Deathly afraid. I had made my escape from his hand once before - but as to if the luck would stay with me was not only unlikely, but almost impossible.
last edited 1年以上前
1年以上前 NordicVeronica1 said…
(Immediate next part).

I don't know how, or when, I fell asleep. With all the pain, sorrow and anger I had been feeling in these past few months - perhaps I had finally lulled myself into a restless sleep, seeing as it was useless to try and listen to the men talk in mutters and whispers.
I dreamed of the fragments of my soul again: constantly prying at me. The red pieces of my soul had now taken on the raspy, deep voie of Kulaj that I had only heard once before in my life. The blue spirit voices echoed my older sister: who had wept and begged me not to leave. She was the only one who had known I was planning to depart.
The green voices were screaming like all the people of villages and cities being destroyed. The white voices sang like my mother, and my best friend - whom I had also left behind. I had planned to, one day, marry my best friend. I had prepared a lifetime of years ahead for the both of us.
Had the Red Dawn stayed absent - those plans might now be setting into motion. But the Red Dawn had come for me, and I had had to drop all that I was doing, plan my escape, and flee. My soul screamed at me in echoing words,
"You should have stayed and face death instead of flee and bring this upon your family - yourself - and your world!"
Over and over the words repeated, and I became far more restless in my sleep. I whispered into the air, begging them to leave me alone. They had tormented me enough - and added onto the pain I had felt when my hunter had tormented me. Could I not get a moment's peace?
Then suddenly, I awoke.
The spirits vanished - and I held my breath. I had heard a large branch snap very close nearby: and I could tell it was no ordinary forest creature that made that sound.
I didn't dare breathe, or move. I stayed exactly where I was - as still as the trees themselves. My hand strayed to my belt, where I grasped the hilt of my dagger. I had refused to use it in plenty of sitations where I could have spared myself a good deal of torment - but my life was on the line, and I would use whatever means I could to stay alive.
"Oh c'mon, it's probably just a hare." Someone grumbled.
"And if it was - you just ruined all chance of getting breakfast. Congratulations, fool." My hunter snarled.
His voice was so close I bit my lip to keep back a cry of pained memory: but I could hear his footsteps retreating. I still didn't move, but I was able to let out my breath. My eyes shot up, as I saw movement in a patch of thicket not far from mine.
I squinted, and saw a small fawn peeking out from its own hiding place. Its beady black eyes were frightened - and I had the feeling that the men camping nearby had already laid their hands on the poor thing's mother - and that she was more than likely to be resting in peace.
The fawn glanced at the men, and then bolted from the thickets as fast as it could - on light, swift feet. I felt as if my heart were following, but my body wasn't. My stomach growled in hunger and my head pounded with desperation.
This was more than likely to be my last chance: and I had to take it. With any luck, the fawn understood my situation and would guide me to a better place of shelter, food and water. I wouldn't kill the orphan - but I could take it in as my own. Forest creatures were dear to me.
I took my chances, and ran from the thicket I was hiding in.
Of course, right then, when the clear sky and forest canopy were open to my survival and freedom, my luck turned traitor on me and decided that my life wasn't worth saving in the very least.
last edited 1年以上前
1年以上前 NordicVeronica1 said…
(Double immediate next part).

My cloth shirt snagged tightly on a thorn of the brambles as I tried to escape from them, right at the neck. I was yanked back - and I choked horribly and coughed. I could hear a commotion from the men. They had spotted me.
I took my dagger and sliced my shirt free of the brambles, and then ran for all I was worth. The fawn was already feet ahead of me - but I was slowly closing the gap between us. Either the fawn was tiring out, or I was sprinting harder.
I could hear a few of the men from the camp following after me, but I refused to stop. My face was cut on a dead pine - and although the pain seared, I kept running. Maybe this time I would lose the hunters.
And then the fawn turned traitor.
A steep hill started to bank up on my right side, and before I truly noticed it was there, the fawn had already bounded up over it and disappeared. The hunters weren't after a pathetic baby deer - they wanted me.
And I had nowhere else to go except forward.
I kept running, but my already weak legs were starting to fail me. Taking a last desperate measure, I leapt onto one of the roots of a tree growing up the hill and scrambled to climb on top of it. I reached the top, and continued running.
But the leaf litter was wet with morning dew, and the ground was moist. The whole world was turning against me now. I slipped on a slick leaf and slid down the hill, accidentally rolling a ways in a rapid somersault before coming to a halt.
My head spun, but somehow I managed to get to my feet and keep going: though undoubtedly I looked like I had gotten a bit too much to drink recently. I regained my regular vision, and continued to run faster.
Then I saw the fawn return. "No!" I yelled to me, in whispers of my sister's weeping voice. "Turn around! They are waiting! Ambush, ambush! Don't go! Stop!" It called furiously.
Before I could fully comprehend what it was trying to tell me, I ran right into a trap. Literally. I stepped on a part of the ground, and dropped my dagger in surprise. The next thing I knew - I was stuck in a rope net trap, unable to climb out, and unable to cut myself free.
The men caught up to me, and, though panting, they laughed at me. The laughter hurt, and it made me angrier than ever. I heard a last cry from the fawn, and it dashed off and away from me once more. "Traitor!" I shouted after it, trying to find some way to vent my anger.
"Well, well, well. Stuck, are we?" One of the men jeered, poking at me with his own dagger. I swatted at him, as if that would defend me in the net trap. The other men kept laughing - and suddenly I found myself in for a surprise.
The camp hadn't been made up of men alone.
There was the distinct face of a woman among them. She was not laughing - but nevertheless she seemed more cruel than the others. The whip she carried at her side should have warned me that she was not my friend, but I cast her a hopeful glance.
She returned it by spitting in my eyes.
While they all shared a good laugh, I wiped the spit away and tried to kick and scramble around in my rope trap. The laughter died away - and I soon realized why. He was there. My hunter approached me.
He hadn't changed from when I had last seen his face: obviously he had spent all that time chasing after me, and only me. He shoved one of the other men aside, and stared up at me.
There I hung, helpless, in the net trap attached to the tree limb the hunters had so cleverly made for me - knowing I would run away from the camp, and most likely right here. But how had they known right in this spot?
My hunter smiled: a sarcastic, triumphant smile that made me look away. He had me now. There was no possible way I could escape, and although I could resist his torment - plenty of times I had come near to giving in.
My hunter chuckled lightly.
"Hello again, Fea."
last edited 1年以上前
1年以上前 NordicVeronica1 said…
(Triple immediate next part).

I stared at him hatefully - wishing he hadn't used my name. Wishing he'd stayed away from me. His ragged look and everything about him. I hated the way he merely viewed me as a ragdoll he could toss around anytime he liked.
I said nothing to him, though I would've loved to kick him in the face. Marfik. That was my hunter. That was the man that had caused me so much grief and pain and fear. That was the man that, with all the looks of an amber-eyed alleycat, was more skilled in fighting than I.
Marfik nodded to the woman standing on the sidelines. "Let her down." He ordered. With one flick and crack of her whip, my netting was cut, and I tumbled out like a freshly killed animal.
Two men grabbed my arms and tried to control me. I was desperately groping for my dagger, but I couldn't reach it. The woman calmly picked it up and pocketed it, smiling coldly and tauntingly at me.
I tried to fight against the two men holding me back, but they refused to let go of me. I elbowed one in the gut, at least, and his grip vanished. I made a furious lunge towards Marfik, but the last man standing that had tried to control me grabbed my arms.
Yanking them behind me, he laced his fingers together in front of me, so he was keeping my arms still, as well as holding me back. I couldn't escape, and cursing blindly wasn't going to get me anywhere.
Finally, I stopped my struggle. The man holding me was too strong, and too clever. The man I'd knocked down, however, was still wheezing from the hit. Angrily, he kicked my shin as hard as he could.
My eyes watered, and my leg throbbed, but I refused to express my pain. I wasn't about to give any of them that satisfaction that they so desperately wanted from me. They wanted me to be in pain, and give in. But I wouldn't. I would hold out.
Marfik watched me as I finally stood still, my struggle ceased. He kept an eye on me: as if my very appearance were a crucial part to my torment. Little did my foolish mind know - it was.
Marfik finally approached me, and stood at a reasonable distance. He looked slightly disapproving. "Cut yourself," He said carelessly, placing two of his fingers on the wound on my face.
I couldn't help it, and inhaled slightly in pain. His fingers were coated with dirt and blood and goodness knew what else: and the contact it had with the wound was like pouring salts into a bleeding gash.
The men chuckled, and a flicker of a smile passed over the woman's face as Marfik took his fingers away, and I bit my lip to try and relieve the pain in my face. I couldn't stand all pain.
Now, Marfik looked highly disapproving, and stared at me. "You ruined your pretty face, Fea. That was one thing I was going to keep about you." He said in a way a father might scold a child, and I snarled at him in reply.
The other men chuckled over his comment, and the woman's smile grew. Marfik lifted his hand again and caught a loose strand of my hair, studying it. "It's grown lighter." He observed. That was news to me. I was under the impression my hair had always been a dirty-blonde color.
Marfik's hand fell to my face again, and he seized my chin in his hand. His grip was tight, and it hurt my jaw. "No trace of sleep, no trace of happiness, no light of life, nothing." He said as if it were the world's greatest tragedy.
I glared at him. "How can there be a sign of happiness when all I hate is standing in front of me?" I growled. The men issued a cat call of threatening 'oohs,' while Marfik merely gave me a sarcastic smile.
"That'll change... that'll all change," He said, grasping my hair again a bit tighter than I wanted him to, and I winced slightly as he twirled my hair around his finger. "Yes, that'll change, my love, when I finally clear up this mess I've been trying to complete."
My teeth closed tight around his hand quicker than any of us expected them to. Marfik shouted in pain and yanked back, away from me. I spat on the ground, unable to swallow whatever his hand might be coated in.
"Don't you ever call me that again!" I shouted. A few birds flew to farther trees, and the men were silent. I could see the anger in Marfik's eyes, but I'm positive it was reflected in my own.
"You... are at my mercy now... and you can't... fight back." He said, his voice wavering as if on the edge of bellowing. He seemed to be restraining himself. "I'll do what I wish." I snapped, tugging myself out of my captor's grip.
I refused to back down when it came to Marfik, and stood close enough to him that I could look him directly in the eye and it would have an affect. However, it didn't on Marfik. He merely gave me another sarcastic smile, and seized my shoulder. "Walk." He ordered.
I wanted to stay put, but the more I thought about it, the more I feared the woman's whip licking my skin off my bones - so I obediently walked. I wouldn't have known it then, of course not...
That tiny sign of obedience would almost cause my death.
last edited 1年以上前
1年以上前 NordicVeronica1 said…
(Next).

I had always hated Marfik for his ways of making me feel like I was some sort of property of his and not an actual person - but I hated him all the more for being clever enough to catch me, after all this hopeless time of running.
I had been fairly surprised when we'd walked right past the camp they had set up near my bramble hideout, and continued on through the forest. My legs grew tired quicker than I'd wanted them to.
I had been walking, running, climbing and swimming for miles, and for months. How could they expect me to walk when I was already unwilling and exhausted? But they hardly took notice of my stage of weakness.
Whenever I slowed and fell behind, the woman merely had to flick her whip enough so that the tip licked my shoulder slightly and I almost broke into a dead sprint - had Marfik not been in front of me the whole time.
A marsh was ahead of us, after a few miles of tramping through the forest. Daylight and starlight had all morphed into one thing for me now - and I only barely registered that it was morning again by the time our band reached the edge of the bog.
But the biting insects and marshy land didn't stop us from crossing. Though, to my surprise, Marfik called one of the men further ahead to fall back and carry me across the whole length of the bog.
I argued heartily for a good while, but eventually the woman's whip concluded that I was obliged to follow orders and do as I was told. So, I was picked up by one of the taller, stronger men and carried across the bog.
I never spoke to the man carrying me: though I was suspicious of him. He never made any move to taunt me - nor did he really seem to care that he had to carry me across the length of the bog. It was odd.
After walking through the soggy ground and making our way through various insects biting at our skin, we finally reached a fairly large, quaint clearing of soft but dry ground where a camp was already set up.
Here all of us stopped, and the men wandered off to their own places: some climbed up nearby trees, others disappeared into tents set up around the area. The ones climbing trees were drawing their own daggers.
I was dumped carelessly onto the ground by the man who had carried me, and I shouted a curse at him, blurting out my suspicions on him being a false follower. He turned back to face me, and leaned in close to me, catching my shoulder so that he could whisper to me.
"Shut - up, unless you want both of us to get killed. I'm in as much danger as you are, and you don't need to conclude my already-bleak future!" He hissed just enough so I could hear him.
Confused and bewildered, I watched him walk away - and then I realized that I had hit the nail on the head. He was a false follower and unlikely to be truly loyal to Marfik after all. But how could he be holding out?
Still, I waited for my sign to get up and go somewhere, but it never came. The woman retreated to one of the tents, and soon all that were still outside were Marfik, the few guards in the trees, and myself.
"You'll wait for me in there," Marfik ordered, pointing to a dimly lit tent. I gathered myself to my feet, glared at him, and then stalked off in that direction - thinking how lovely it was that I was about to die in a marsh.
I got a shock when I entered the tent.
The tent was furnished heavily, with an actual bed, a desk, a dresser, fur carpets over the soft, mossy ground. I stood still in the entrance for a moment. This couldn't be my tent. No, not possible.
Still, I slowly took off my shoes and felt the furs underneath my feet. Had I died while walking? Was this heaven? No, I was still alive, most definitely. But this... this was wonderful.
I waited for Marfik to enter the tent for a long time - but I didn't much care. The tent was enough to distract me. There were many small objects on the dresser and on the desk, and the bed was extraordinarily comfortable.
When finally Marfik arrived, my happiness wore away. "What do you want?" I asked harshly, wanting him to go away and leave me in peace to marvel over the little trinkets here and there on the desk and dresser.
If only I had known what he wanted.
last edited 1年以上前
1年以上前 NordicVeronica1 said…
(Immediate next).

Marfik gave me another one of those sarcastic smiles, and then approached me. "I've talked over your situation with Leslie, my second hand." He began calmly. "Leslie?" I asked, frowning. "Is that the woman with the whip?"
Marfik nodded. "The same." He agreed, and then continued. "I talked over your situation with her - and what I had in mind for the future. She agreed that, temporarily, she would provide you with the little provisions you would need."
I stared at him, confused. "Like what?" I asked warily. Marfik chuckled. "Items that you'll be more comfortable with, I'm sure." He said slyly, and then glanced around at the tent. "You'll be staying here."
I shouldn't have been excited, but I couldn't help it. "Here?" I asked eagerly. Had I known what torment lurked behind Marfik's pleased smile - I would have cut my joy off at the knees. But I didn't, so I remained ignorant.
"Yes, here. You want to temporarily return to your lavish life when you visited the prince of your kingdom, don't you?" Marfik asked in a taunting purr, and then slipped out of the tent. My smile faded.
How had he known about that visit? The prince fancied me, I knew that, but I was a village girl and thus forbidden to see a noble. I already had the one I had liked from my village, yet I had been forced to stay the night at the palace, illegally, on the prince's orders.
All the same, I crawled into the bed and settled myself in, feeling the quilt and the pillows were like heaven. Yet somehow they made me uncomfortable. After all that time of sleeping on leaves and thorns, my skin had toughened. Softness was odd.
That didn't stop me from sleeping.

---

My soul colors finally let me rest - and when I awoke, I wondered if anything had really happened. Had I dreamed up the entire thing? No, I hadn't. I was still Fea, tapped in a camp with Marfik.
The tent flap fluttered, and the woman came in, carrying a pail of water. "Good, you're awake. Less work for me." She said, taking a cloth from the desk drawer and tossing it into my lap.
"What's this for?" I asked, slightly offended by her carelessness. "For you to wash up - what else?" Leslie asked, looking at me like I was crazy. "Wash up?" I repeated, disbelievingly. What kind of game was Marfik playing at where he wanted me to wash up?
"Yes, wash up. Clean your face and arms and whatnot. Oh, and I need to treat that wound. It'll get infected if I don't." Leslie said, rolling her eyes. I stared at her. "Then what?" I asked slowly.
"Then - you get dressed and prepared." She said, slipping out of the tent once more. "For what?" I called after her, but she didn't answer. Maybe that was her intent, or maybe not. Who knew.
Yet, I did as I was told and washed myself: from head to toe. Washing off the dirt felt good, but it stung slightly when it hit my wound. When I had dressed again, I approached the dresser, wondering what they had for me in there.
I opened one of the drawers and found, to my disgust, dresses. Loads and loads of dressed. It seemed I would be obliged to wear one. Hating myself for staying in this tent and letting myself get caught in the first place, I picked out a white, halter long dress that thankfully descended to my ankles.
Once I had tied the strings in the back myself, as had become a talent, I studied myself in the mirror. Leslie came back in, and was surprised to see me looking as I did. "Well - that was fast. Makes things even easier Here, sit down at the desk." She ordered, and forced me to sit down before I gave my opinion.
Leslie picked up a comb from the desk, and yanked mercilessly at my hair until all the many, many knots were combed or pulled out, and she could comb through it easily. I winced as my scalp burned from the pain, but remained silent.
Leslie put the comb aside, and tied up my hair in a braid, making careful work of it. "I'm not done yet," She said fiercely as I tried to stand. So, I remained, waiting. She took a pearl-string necklace, and clipped it around my neck. She placed a healing plant juice in my wound, and then forced me to stand and adjusted my dress.
"Not half bad," She commented calmly. I wasn't so sure. I had just realized how low cut the front of my dress was. It wasn't anything too extreme, but I wasn't used to it.
But that was soon to be the least of my worries.
last edited 1年以上前