“Every being has a beast in side of them that will come out one way or another. Sometimes it takes the gift of kindness to turn that around”
They says its the words of the oldbut it never fades from their mind,a time for a better future,a time better for all kind.The one born without wings will fly,the one born without wings will bring a better time;She is the savior of all people,the one who won't wait for mountains to move, but will take the time to climb.They say it's the words of the old,But they are words never forgotten,Hoping their new daughteris the savior of the world, they have brought her in,
She tested them out, lightly. Bone cracked and yawned with each moment, as if unused for so long.
Even though they only grew yesterday...
The shiny, clean feathers, seem a world away from her tattered, mud splattered self. They belonged don't belong on her, but on the shoulder of rich royalty; on the shoulders of those who are above most, as a mark of their birthright.
Yet, they are there. Attached to her. There is no denying that.
She can feel where the bones and skin merged to her back. She can see the brown feathered wings reacting to her mental instructions as they moved up and down.
How am I going to explain this to mom?!
Two hours earlier
Muscles tensed, she lay in the shadows of the forest. Her skin and clothes, splattered in mud, aided her in blending in. The sound of animals surrounded her, playing their song in a strange, natural harmony.
She shouldn't be there, not unless she wished to face the death penalty. But even to not be here, did not guarantee safety. At least here, she can attempt to avoid both routes. Here, the death penalty would only come if she failed.
Which she refused to.
It has been two weeks since proper food has arrived in the dry rocky ground upon which the village of Rusticus had come to form on. The royals, forgetful as their pitiful war raged on, did not remember to send down the weekly ration.
Or more like did not even care to... the girl thought bitterly.
In response to the dwindling supply over the last two weeks, chaos occurred. Children's stomachs cried, as the elders fell to the floor. Chores piled up with the lack of energy. The threats of the guards increased every day, not taking a liking to the so-called disobedience.
The people tried to heed them, as always, but it had become impossible as a storming heat covered the village.
An outcome of the magic power imbalance in the air.
It wasn't long before those threats, turned to action. The royal guard came and took the little people has. From small family heirlooms to the first born children. From the clothes on their back to the shelter they had worked so hard to earn.
But it was all useless, there wasn't much of a change. There couldn't be. It wasn't laziness that resulted in the loss, but an inability caused by the very royals who sent word for punishment.
But even in these trying times, there are two things that you could not take away from the village. Even as their livelihood is taken away, they never sunk into the negativity. Even as the days in their lives lowered in numbers, they sunk into depression.
All because of two things.
Their hope and faith, for a better day to come.
In their hearts and songs, they chanted an old rhyme.
An old rhyme the girl refused to believe.
To her, what use was hoped when all it leads to dreaming; what use was faith when it does nothing?
Actions; those are what get you somewhere. And action is what brought her here, to the Vetiti forest.
Meat and vegetation lay upon these hills, forbidden from entry to the peasants, as the royals stated time and time again. But in times of desperate need, the temptation and need to help people grew too strong for the girl to deny. And that's how she found herself in the last place she should be; according to others, that is.
A growl ran through the air. She tensed. Fear attempted to run through her veins, but she took the steps to hold it. Take a silent, but deep breath she took control over her emotions.
They say they hell hounds are able to smell it. It is a fragrance that drives them crazy with need and fills them with a drive to kill. A drive that could possible lead her mission to failure.
Which she will not allow.
A tree rustled.
There! She thought as she drew her arrow. The handcrafted design creaked ever so slightly, but not enough to alert her surrounds.
A deer walked out of the bush.
Excellent... she thought with giddy joy, that with the vegetables I collected, will be enough to sustain everyone for a week at most.
She watched, silently, waiting for it to come into shot range. It's footsteps, light and slow, echoed around with the beat of her heart, as she focused.
One eye closed, the other focused. String taunt, she counted down.
The deer fled.
Damn it... she thought frustrated as she lowered her arrow, angry.
“Help please!” The voice called again, closer this time.
The girl scanned the area.
The dear may not have gotten far. If I run, I might be able to catch up to it soon...
But I can't just leave someone who needs help, without aid... She thought conflicted, but even then, she was already making move in the direction of the cry.
Slipping through the shadows of the forest, the looming trees provided her strong coverage. The sun here did not seem to bear as harsh as it does in the village, with the magic canopy sent over the land to sustain a different kind of creatures and vegetation here. It is a canopy the royals never thought to spare to the villagers, seeing it as too much of cost.
They only ever see their own need... she thought bitterly as she reached a clearing.
Peering through, she watched in surprise upon the scene.
There are two beings in the clearing.
A woman and a... hellhound.
The aged woman stood, half bent over, under her tattered rags, as she held a stick in a form of defense. Her bony hands held on to the bark with as she shook slightly.
What is she doing here? The girl thought. I thought everyone in the village is too afraid to travel here, so why has she come?
But the questions would have to wait for an answer, as the aged woman attempted to throw off a hellhound with a mere stick. Waving it in front of the beast, she sidestepped in a jagged pattern. The beast's eyes followed the stick with a pointed gaze.
Why is she tempting it?! She should be running!
The hell hound is twice her size, looming over her petite figure. Teeth stained in blood took center stage of its appearance. Spit leaking from between their gaps.Red eyes hung above them, with a shot of madness. A tight spiked collar wrapped around its neck; a chain ran from into the air.
What is that? The girl thought as she knelt further into the shadows.
In the tales of the hell hound, never has there been a mention of this.
Though, no one has really made it back, with full sense, to tell of such a thing...
What many had mentioned, is its beast-like appearance, that is for sure. They spoke of the fear they felt upon its arrival; the angry with which it tainted the air, and the blood trail they it had left across the earth, in its footsteps.
But never that.
And there is something else as well. Something, as the girl watched, she is certain no one had ever really picked up, but she cannot deny.
It echoed in its howl; in the wobble of its steps; in the tightening of its vocal cord, whenever its swiped at the lady in rags and missed.
It's in pain... But why? The girl thought as she peered closer to the best.
Why is it hurting?
The beast took another swipe, but this time with its teeth. It lunged through the air, jaw open wide as it aimed for the woman.
No... the girl thought as she got ready to jump between then, but the aged woman moved with speed. Before the girl could even lift off the ground, the woman shoved the large stick into the jaw of the beast, as she threw herself out of the way.
The stick broke, splintering its mouth.
It howled in anguish. But it is not because of the weapon of choice. It cannot be, that is clear, as Instead of attempting to remove the stick, it clawed at something else.
It's collar... that must be it, The girl thought as the woman stirred slightly. She attempted to get up, but a tattered part of her clock brought her down once again.
Good, less chance of her getting hit... the girl thought as she pulled out her strongest arrow. Though she is known for being one of the top skilled archers, she did not want to take her chances.
This should do the trick...
Drawing it, she took aim at a key hole upon the collar; its weakest point.
The beast recovered quickly as if used to the pain. It hungry red eyes pinned upon the fallen women. Releasing a growl of frustration as it drew back its lips, giving a full view of its main weapon.
One shot... She thought as she drew her string back.
As it got up, she followed its movements readying her aim.
It stood shakingly at its feet.
It took a stance to leap.
She let lose the arrow.
It struck the keyhole directly, snapping the collar at once.
The beast fell.
Not in defeat though, but in evident relief.
The red coating its eyes, dispersed. It's body trembled. Around its neck lay the signature of the collar. Scratched marks decorated the skin, bare of the black fur that covered the rest of its body. The torture and pain is apparent, even without feeling it, for the girl.
Who could do such a thing? She thought bitterly as she made a move towards it, only to stop as a cry caught her attention. She turned to the old woman who has stubbornly attempted to get up.
“Don't move!” The girl called, urgently.
Stepping out the cover, she hurried to the woman's side. Glancing upon her ankle, she recognized the source of pain.
A graze, possible from falling... She thought as she ripped at her clock.
Taking her water sack, she wet the piece before cleansing the peace.
“Thank you, ” the woman said before she sucked in in pain.
The girl nodded, not sparing her face a glance, more focused on her task.
Once the wound in wrapped as best as she could muster, the girl spoke.
“That should do, for now. I have placed some saliva on it, it should ease the pain. But it needs proper attention. Once we get back to the village I will see what I can do”
“Village?” The woman questioned as the girl stood up.
She nodded, not really taking mind to the question, nor the way it is asked. Instead, she turned her attention back to the beast. Reaching for her bottle, once again, she made a move towards it
Black eyes watched her warily as she came closer.
Reaching down, the girl put the water to the beast mouth.“Here, drink,” she said, gently, coaxing it to open its jaw.
The beast eyed the drink with suspicion at first, sniffing it slowly. Once assured it is not to harm him, he licked the open capsule, eagerly.
Tipping the sack, the girl let it flow into his mouth with ease. He drank greedily. Soon the bottle was empty and, thankfully, the beast seemed satisfied.
“You helped him,” the old woman said, abruptly, grabbing the girls attention. Her tone is a mix of confusion and surprise.
“Yes” the girl stated simply as she closed the bottle.
“He needed help”
“But he was a beast, was he not? I thought your people don't treat them kindly”
Your people? The girl thought in confusion
“Every being has a beast inside of them that will come out one way or another. Sometimes it takes the gift of kindness to turn that around” She stated simply as she stood up, before finally looking over to the woman clearly.
She is not of the village, not with those blue eyes... the girl thought.
Only those of royalty have those eyes...
The girl took a defensive stance. Grasping another arrow, within seconds she has it strung.
The old woman looked upon her in surprise. But that surprise slowly turned into understanding. Ever so slowly, gaze connected with the girl's brown orbs, she raised her hands, in an act of no harm.
“Do not worry child" The woman said, her tone low and soothing, "I do not wish to harm you”
“You are a royal” the girl stated, monotoned, not to lay down her weapon to rest.
The crone sighed.
“No, my dear, I am no longer one. But I was once, I will not lie"
“Was? You cannot once be a royal. You are either one or you never were” The girl replied, her disbelief evident in her tone as she started to circle the woman.
She received a small chuckle in response.
“I see you believe the stories, like the others. But yet, you are here. In the forest, where your... kind, is forbidden”
The girl froze in her movement, but only for a slight movement.
Keeping control of her feelings, she stated simply “I need food for my people,”
“Yes, I remember the food cart has not been out recently,” The aged woman said as she tried to get up.
She faltered, tripping on her clock once again.
The girl forgot her stance, for a second, rushing to her aid. Hand under her arm, she helped her stand.
The aged woman, gaze upon with confusion in here eyes, but a warm smile upon her lips.
"Such a kind soul..." she said slowly.
I cannot leave her here, royalty or not, the girl thought, she is old and injured and there are still pain driven hellhounds around...
“What are you thinking of dear?”
“How to get you to my house, without alerting the others. You do not need more trouble then you already are in”
She chuckled. Lifting a bony figure, she lifted the girl's chin.
“You are a different one, my child. Never lose that heart of yours” she said, her confusion fading, and instead replacing with happiness “And I will rid you of your worry. You do not need to take me anywhere, I shall be fine”
“But your ankle-” The girl started to protest.
“Is fine” the crone said, with certainty, as she dropped all her weight upon it.
She didn't even flinch... the girl thought, surprised, as she glanced down to the injury.
Maybe she is just good at hiding pain?
“So there is no need for you to stay with me” the woman continued “But before we part, I must give you something, in return for your help”
“Madam that is not needed,” the girl said, attempting to take a step back, be the woman did not let go of her. With surprising strength, she placed a hand upon the girls back, holding her in place.
“Yes, a gift... but what sort of gift?” She continued, turning a deaf ear to the girls words.
“Madam, please, do not bother yourself with-”
“Ah yes!” She interrupted as her eyes struck with a gleam.
Her other hand, joint the other upon her back. Each took a place upon her shoulder blades with a force that kept her in place.
Are her palms heating up? the girl thought dazed as she muttered some words, too low for me to hear
“Wings of an angel, a gift to an angel”
What? The girl thought in a haze as a light surrounded her.
“These wings will help you fly to your freedom, to a better future my dear”
What? The girl repeated, one last time, before blacking out.
She shuffled the wings awkwardly as she glanced around looked around. All traces of the woman had disappeared.
What am I to do now? If I return to the village... they might throw me out, the girl thought with worry
Wings... like the blue eyes, they are also a sign of royalty; something that she is not.
But now that I have them, does that make me royal too? Thye girl mused but immediately threw out the thought.
That cannot be.
She still has her brown hair, my tanned skin and my eyes don't feel different. And above all, she is still definitely not born to that of royal blood.
So she cannot be a royal, in her view.
But how is this possible? And what am I to do now...
With a sigh, she stood up.
There is nothing more she can do in the forest, to help herself.
Maybe mum can help... after she finished murdering me, that is.... she thought bitterly as she threw a robe over the wings in an attempt to hide them.
Maybe it would have been better to starve...
About the author
Just a storyteller releasing short stories as she attempts to finish editing her first full book, all the while attempting to put out a youtube video every week