An Owly Prophecy
A tale directly from medieval times
“ You are late, again!” said Miranda as Jakob arrived huffing down the slope to where the picnic lay.
“I’m so sorry, my love, duty calls” Jakob apologized bringing his fingers to touch his earlobes and a look that said I love you and I know I am late, this will never happen again.
“Fine, I’m forgiving you one last time, since it is a lovely day and I don't want to ruin it by arguing with you. What was the big emergency anyways?``asked Miranda.
“The king wanted me to run an inventory in the kingdom funds, it’s not easy being the kings most trusted general” returned Jakob
“ sure, but you better start prioritizing this relationship too or I will make the king's life living hell,” said Miranda
“ yes, of course, my highness” mocked Jakob
“I’m serious, you don't know what I’m capable of,” Miranda said.
They both exchanged a look and burst out laughing. The sun shone bright and the birds chirped, everything was rosy and romantic. It was indeed a good day to be out with your lover.
The Village had never seen bad days, everything was joyous and perfect until it happened. The village men were making their way inside the mining tunnel when suddenly one of them heard a low rumble. Vincent, the man leading the mining team was made aware of it. At first, he didn't think much of it, but only a few minutes after the first sign , was when the trouble began. Small stones and dust were flying around and everyone was aware of what this meant. The tunnel started shaking from the back end making all the miners get on their feet and ready to escape. The rumbling grew louder and just as the team made it out of the tunnel, it fell with a loud thud. This is it, they thought, their means of income to feed their families and survive had just collapsed and turned to dust. Vincent took a look around and did a quick headcount to make sure no one was left behind. Soon after a frown took its place on Vincent’s face as the team was one person short, and that one man was likely inside, crushed by the weight of the tunnel and forever lost.
in a deep low voice he said,” Stephen,h-he has passed.”
The look on everyone's face had changed, no one was worried about their loss of employment anymore but that they had lost their companion.
A few days passed and the whole village was mourning Stephen's death, but reality hit, and the villagers were running out of resources in their houses. Food which was stocked was almost finished and they had no money. The villagers collectively decided to take their problem to the king. The next day all of them marched toward the king's castle hoping to get an audience with the king. They were mesmerized by the mighty castle. The walls were made up of sandstones and the guard towers stood tall in the sky. They were introduced to the king in the great hall of the castle.
“We will forever be thankful to have been recognized by you, my lord!” started Vincent,” we are in deep trouble. sir, the Mine in our village has collapsed and all of us are now jobless. Please, show grace on us and provide us with some money to feed our stomachs, or appoint us with jobs in your castle, for we will starve to death if we don't earn soon.”
The king thought about it for a moment and said, “I hear your plight, although I have no jobs to give you in my castle but I have been thinking about getting a bridge built connecting your village to the castle grounds over River Perle. How would you like to take up that duty and build the bridge? I will pay each one of you 10 gold coins in advance to buy materials and the rest you can use to feed yourselves. Let me know when the job is done and I will pay the rest after.”
The villagers returned hopeful and started prepping for their new task.A wave of enthusiasm roared through the men. The materials were bought, stomachs were fed and the work began. Nearly 15 days into the hard work a beautiful bridge stood proud on the river bank. The villagers were overjoyed and stood admiring their work. They had done a good job.
It was a group decision to take a good night's rest, get re-energized and then go to collect their fortune the very next day. The next day all of them had decided to gather up around the bridge to take one last look before informing the king but were heartbroken to find all their hard work destroyed to the ground. The bridge was demolished and its broken pieces were scattered all around. Some on their side of the ground and some over the castle grounds. A few pieces could even be seen floating in the river. They were devastated, confused, and totally losing their mind; they rushed towards the castle, now in a panic.
The king too was bewildered and understood the villagers' state. He immediately ordered for the bridge to be built again and gave out more funds to the villagers. A similar thing happened. They tried about 4 times and the bridge just kept falling again and again. every time they built the bridge and waited eagerly to inform the king the bridge would be found demolished the next morning. The king finally appointed a bunch of guards and his most trusted general: Jakob to stand guard around the bridge and try to catch the person responsible. As the bridge was built for the 5th time and stood ready the guards took their places hiding behind nearby trees to watch over.
As night fell the atmosphere became chilly and fearful. Only rustling of leaves could be heard until an eerie voice of a female singing reached their ears. Jakob and his guards followed the direction of that voice deep into the forest but were unsuccessful at finding its source. After a while when they returned to the Bridge, they saw it was demolished again. It was already dawn so everyone returned to their homes and the next day they went to the king to inform him about the previous night's events. Upon hearing of the incident the king was disappointed at Jakob and his guards for their failure to do the job. After the guards had left the king was sitting alone thinking to himself about who could be doing this, when suddenly an owl flew into the place and sat on a wooden beam opposite to the king and to the king's surprise, it started talking.
It said " It is revenge. Your Ancestors have been killing the family of my mistress for ages. This Village will face the wrath."
The King stood up, shocked, he asked the owl who its mistress was but the Owl was already flying away. The king once again summoned Jakob to personally go and find out what was going on. Jakob accepted his duty but was afraid of something. That evening after sunset, Jakob set out in the forest to investigate the Eerie voice of the previous night and also find out about the owl and it’s mistress. As the moon shone in the sky, Jakob started having an uneasy feeling, his fears were coming true, long hair were growing all over his body. Jakob had the 'not very unknown' feeling over his body. He fell on all fours and long tufts of hair started to grow out of the skin, his body was all itchy, his arms changed into muscular limbs, long nails shot out of his fingers. His face took a weird shape and before he knew it, He had transformed into a snarling werewolf. He had lost all control over his body.
Suddenly, as if by nature's timing, the Eerie lone voice was heard again. The werewolf started running wild in the deep woods, growling and grunting all the way, he ran across the forest, until he reached the edge of a cliff. Standing at the dead-end while staring at the moon, He howled, seemingly in agony. An owl flew past him and surprisingly, he heard the rustling of leaves from behind, before he could turn around, he fell unconscious. Something very supernatural had happened.
The next morning, Jakob woke up in an old lady's cottage at the edge of the village. The lady explained to him how she found him unconscious in the forest, very early in the morning. Jakob thanked his hostess and hurried to the king's palace. He had to answer the king. At the King's court, the King was furious at the failure of Jakob in finding any clues to what was happening. He gave Jakob one week time to report the final investigations to the King, else he'd be sent into exile.
Returning from the king's palace, Jakob realized that, if he wanted to continue working for the king and his livelihood, he must take control over his dark side. Jakob, along with his girlfriend Miranda, went to the village temple to meet the priest…
Following the priest's advice over the next couple of days, Jakob could finally take complete command over his body. He resumed his work on the third day. it was midnight by today he didn't fear the beast in him, he could calmly focus on his work. As he was wandering around, looking for clues, the owl came and sat on a branch right across to where Jakob was standing. At first, Jakob ignored the owl until it started talking. Jakob was taken aback but he kept listening to the owl.
The owl said these words :
"my mistress will hunt you down,
Look at the dark glow to frown
it is revenge of the witches
...Are you terrified yet?"
And it flew away with a creepy cackle. Jakob tried chasing the owl but it disappeared almost instantly. He wandered deeper into the woods to look for the owl or to find any clue as to what happened to the Bridge. After a while, he seemed lost, and there it was again the Eerie female voice, This time He didn't follow the voice, instead, he waited for the voice to get closer to him. Within moments the voice grew louder, he could sense the source was coming in towards him. He heard a slight rustle of the leaves on his left, he noticed a frightening glowing figure in the dark behind several trees. He mustered up the courage and started walking towards the figure but soon froze in his tracks as the voice stopped and the glowing figure just disappeared. Jakob was extremely scared and started backing off in the opposite direction. He was kind of running until he reached the sight of the bridge. There he stopped to catch his breath, he was panting. Near the demolished bridge, He spotted sitting on a small wooden pole, the owl. The owl looked towards him and with the scariest of grins it asked, "are you terrified yet ..?". The owl flew away again but this time Jakob was too tired and scared to chase him. it was almost dawn, sun rays could be seen over the horizon. He decided to return home and come back the next evening to continue his search.
Jakob got there early and hid behind trees. hours passed by and nothing happened, he waited and waited but no one showed up. He hoped that the characters of the previous night would return to the scene, but now that hope seemed lost. He almost returned to go back home and take the disappointing news to the king when he was startled by a sound from within the trees. He looked up and saw the same owl sitting and watching him. It was like the owl noticed because as soon as Jakob made eye contact with the owl it fled. But this time Jakob did not hesitate and frantically started following him. He ran for about a mile before he was somewhere in the middle of the deeper part of the forest. Everything was dark and smelled weird. The owl led Jakob to an open ground where it finally stopped on top of a tree under which was a lonely cottage.
The fire was out and thick fog covered the area. Jakob started moving toward the cottage when he stopped. He saw the same glow coming from inside the little cottage and was nervous, but at the same time, overjoyed as he was going to get some answers.
He knocked on the door but nothing happened. No one answered when he called. He slowly pushed the door open and was once again disappointed by the presence of no one. The hair on the back of Jakob's neck stood up when the same eerie voice called his name.
“Jakob, it is I. Turn around, don't you know me?” the voice said. This was followed by the most maniacal laugh Jakob had ever heard. He was now fully and completely scared to his wits.
He turned around just to witness his worst nightmare. it was her, his loving and caring Miranda but she did not look or sound like her. it was as if she was possessed by an evil spirit or Satan himself. Her legs were crooked and were unable to stay still.
“Evil spirit, that is my Miranda’s body you possess, and I respectfully ask you to return it to her” Jakob had gathered up all his courage just to say the dumbest thing you could to an evil spirit.
“ You are a foolish human, I have come for my revenge and will have it. I do not care for the body or soul of the human I possess because once I enter their body the human will forever be trapped . “ replied the spirit.
Jakob knew better than to argue with an old, angry, evil, and inhuman being yet he had to give it at least one chance as the soul and body of his beloved were on the line. He took a deep breath and although scared, managed to let it out
“So you're the witch the owl talks about. He told my king you had come for revenge, and he told me you would hunt me down. So here I am, ready to sacrifice myself, on one condition give Miranda her life back. She doesn't deserve any of this.” he continued his pleading” your fight is against us, those who work with the king, cooperate with us, you have already cost a lot to the kingdom. The villagers are deeply troubled by the falling of the bridge. They have lost their livelihood, aren't you happy?.”
The witch simply laughed. it was clear she was in no mood for negotiation. Jakob was in a moral dilemma, he thought about killing the witch but was also burdened with the thought that he would be killing his darling Miranda too.
But he had to make a choice, quick! He had to follow his duty and serve his people, they had suffered enough. He pulled out his sacred sword which was very effective against evil spirits and angry ghosts, at least that is what his grandfather told him, and began moving towards the witch. He saw it, she was scared and trembling with fear. The witch had not expected Jakob to be armed. It was all happening very fast. Jakob has come very close now. The witch raised up her hand in an attempt to stop Jakob and then gradually started moving toward the back of her cottage. Jakob followed, his sword still in hand. They were now at the back of the cottage where a cauldron stood on top of firewood burning. Jakob had a bad feeling about this. The witch stood by the cauldron, with both her hands on the black rim as she yelled out
“For power, I will strike,
God hear my plight
I may lose my life in fumes
But I will rise again soon.”
With that she stepped in the cauldron and at once a massive fire erupted engulfing the silhouette of the witch, there was that same dark glow Jakob had witnessed before and the witch disappeared into the fire. Jakob couldn't move, neither could he comprehend what had just happened. It's like his brain had stopped working. He stood there in the silence and the wind passed by. it had not hit him that he had actually won. He rid the villagers of their problem as well as possibly save the entire kingdom of an evil entity but he had just lost the love of his life, and she was never coming back.