I forewarn you, this is a bit lengthy. I am looking for feedback though, and would greatly appreciate any input. I wrote this over just over an hour and think I may continue with it. Please let me know on Facebook, or if you’re registered, comment on the blog. Thank you!!
My room is dark. I can feel the weight of the empty space surrounding me. The silence is all-consuming and briefly causes my heart rate to quicken.
The beating of my heart thrums too quickly at my pulses. The pumping pulses against my skin feeling as though it will break through. Thumping resounds in my ears from the tattoo.
Air rushing into my lungs joins the thrumming. It is too loud. The combined sound of heart and lungs is overwhelming. For a moment, the desire to scream comes upon me.
Heart rate slows. Inhale.
Breathe is softer. Exhale.
The all-consuming silence is not so oppressive. In fact, it is peaceful. The bounding heart has calmed to an easy, steady rhythm. The sound of mechanical breathing is soft and soothing. The darkness of the room does not press so heavily upon closed eyes. Peace has stolen over my entire being, absorbing distractions and stress and converting them to calm.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Eyes open to the solid wall of darkness the room presents, quickly adapting. An anomaly of birth, they say, that these eyes can see fully in total darkness. My body unfolds from the cross-legged seated position with a lithe grace. With a final deep breath, I move across the floor to flip the light switch. The sudden light causes no distress or lack of sight. I take a final look around the small room.
I’ve kept everything compulsively tidy. The smallest of smiles tugs at the corners of my mouth at the memories spurred from simply being tidy. Shaking my head, dispensing the smile, I step to the door and open it, nearly holding my breath now, before stepping through to the gathering that awaits me in the adjacent room. I’m confronted by a double half circle of men and women seated on various chairs. Some of them appear intent, others uneasy, but none are bored. They’ve given me this time to prepare to speak.
The elder woman in the middle of the front row fixes her hawk-like gaze on my pale face. Silent for moment, only the breath sounds of those gathered heavy in the air, before speaking. I listen carefully to her words, “If you are indeed ready, Lahrya, we are ready to hear your story. The day grows old. We are certain you shall be keeping us here for quite some time. We need to know everything. You do understand?” I did not speak, but did nod. She continued, “What you tell us will determine what happens next. I am sorry to do this to you, young as you are, but you are the only one who knows it all.
With your abilities…,” she paused, gathering breath and I could see the muscles of her jaw tense for just an instant, “Please, take your seat, and tell us your story.”
Inhale. Exhale. Be calm. I stepped forward to the lone chair before the assembled. Beside the chair was a small table with a glass of water. The sight of the water causes my throat to go dry. Swallowing, I will myself to dispel the sensation, and sit on the edge of the chair. My quicksilver eyes focus on the floor somewhere between myself and them. My voice, however, is strong. Normally quiet, I can be easily heard.
“As you know, my name is Lahrya. That is how you know me, although I recently learned it is not my birth name. That will come in time. The story you seek begins after I left here, thirteen years ago.”
They are silent. My gaze lifts to them, and I fall into a story teller mode that I learned to adopt years prior. “When I left home, no one knew when or if I would return, with no family to return to. My parents dead of illness, you all cared for me, providing room and food to the orphan, and I was no burden strange as I seemed. Some were glad to see me leave, others fretting I was too young. Fifteen, not even an adult. My legs dangling from the back of the peddler’s wagon as he drove away, and my eyes watching every face.
We spent weeks traveling, heading further west, and further away. I had been gone from you about five months when the peddler left me leagues away in the city Halnon. This is where I begin.”
– 1: Halnon-
The fifteen year old girl with large quicksilver eyes watched the peddler drive away from the south gate of the city. They had entered from the east, and unlike the small towns he had gone through over the past five month, the city entranced the girl. He stopped only to purchase supplies for himself, the horse, and to sell. When she noticed him watching her astonished fascination of the buildings, he knew she was no longer going to travel on his wagon. She asked him to stop once more at this gate to let her down. Standing on the edge of the road until she could no longer see the wagon, she watched him leave.
The peddler had been a kindly, older man. He didn’t know that he had no choice but to let the girl travel with him. When she had asked, those brilliant silver eyes searching the depths of his own, he felt compelled to say yes. She hadn’t been a burden and was quick to help in any way possible. He would miss having her along.
Lahrya turned away from the south gate of Halnon. She swept the street with eyes afire with curiosity. Having helped the peddler, he had given her a share of what she sold in the towns. She knew it wasn’t much in the pouch at her waist, but she had no intention of spending anything on a room and meal. Quick, measured steps soon had her at an inn she noticed earlier. The sign above the door read The Fool’s Dance with a jester painted in mid caper. Pushing the door open, Lahrya stepped inside to a common room with few occupants. The day was not yet old, and most of the city folk would not be completed with their day’s work.
With a confident air she did not completely feel, the girl made her way across the room to a serving girl busily cleaning tables. A quick inquiry had the serving girl fetching the owner, a stocky man she called Sawl Newhin. Lahrya dropped into a half curtsy with a smile lighting her pale face as she looked up at the man, “Good day, Master Newhin. I was hoping to inquire after a room and meals in exchange for my services. I would like to provide your patrons with entertainment this evening and the next few as well.”
Sawl Newhin was caught up in the quicksilver gaze of this slight girl. He doubted greatly if she was any older than his youngest daughter whom he would have nowhere near the rowdy bunch that often gathered at The Fool’s Dance.
“What is it you do, girl?” he asked, not realizing his first instinct to turn her away was overridden.
“I sing, Master Newhin.”