In honor of All Hallow’s eve, sacred to the druids of old, I am submitting a mystical piece instead of my “scary” piece (partly to honor the day as it was, and partly because – well, my scary piece was embarrassing! It isn’t scary at all).
My disclaimer for this piece is that I wrote it as a child, years ago. I had plans to write a novel about the druids, because I was always interested in matters of magic and ancient lands. I still write about magical topics, but I’ve decided to leave the topic of the druids. So far, I haven’t gone back to them; others, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley in her masterpiece Mists of Avalon, have written so powerfully about the druids.
Anyway, here’s my child rambling. It was a story about a noble girl with the simple destiny to get married off to some lord, who finds magic symbols appear on her arms on her thirteenth birthday. So then she runs away to the druids to learn of magic and such:
. I arrived at the stables, and immediately took down my mare’s saddle; it was early morning, and I was excited—voice shrill, hands fumbling with the stirrups—and unwary. As I raised the saddle and rested it on the soft gray coat, the long sleeves of my gown slid down, revealing the symbols on my hands. I jumped as I heard a cough behind me, and turned around in horror to see a stable boy, his dark eyes riveted to my hands.
I stared at the boy, searching for some sign of recognition or fear in his eyes. Did he know the signs, or would he, as all others if they saw, see them as evil, making me punishable? I thrust away the urge to run, to hide, to make sure the boy never saw me again, and waited to see how he would react. I considered this a test of my strength, a test to make sure I would not crumble in despair even if he rejected me and saw me as wicked. I was stronger than the maidens who yielded to all orders, stronger than the tribes’ people who abandoned their gods and goddesses for the new Christian church priests’ ways. This was my chance for discovery, for courage, and for results. I would not turn it down.
The boy was a simple one. He stood a head taller than me, his skin a dark shade showing him to be of foreign or faerie descent, his hair a curly black mess that spilled down onto his shoulders, his eyes so dark that they seemed black. How could the priests and others not call him a demon, with eyes so dark? Those eyes locked on mine were hypnotizing, so powerful that I found I could not look away. Behind me, Sadabha moved to trot across the room. I made a move to bolt as he stepped forward, taking my hands in his. Usually I would be disgraced to dare allow any servant but my personal maids touch my skin, but something in his eyes told me not to leave. He knew something. I stood still.
Voice soft and low, the boy lifted my hands, asking, “Lady, whence came these symbols? I see you try to hide them, but their presence you cannot deny, for though they burn not now, their mystery you find, perhaps, of interest?”
Pulling my hands away, and yanking my sleeves back to cover the symbols once more, I held my chin high. Regardless of the fear that set my hairs on end, I would not forget my place. I was nobility, the blood flowing through me passed down through generations of lords and ladies, and no simple peasant could make me forget it.
“Touch me not. Know you of the meaning of these…symbols? I have dared not search high or low for why they have burned themselves magically upon my skin. Have you knowledge of them? Tell me your name.”
A smile crept upon the boy’s face, alerting me to how handsome he really was. I admitted that the long lashes, femininely full lips, and indeed even those dark and furtive eyes were quite attractive. Leaning down, the boy buckled the saddle snugly on my mare—the job I had found myself distracted from—and then stood back up, his face but a breath away from mine. The stables were filled with the smell of hay and horse dung, but this was not my reason for holding in my breath and refusing to inhale. The sly smile and the way the boy’s dark eyes seemed to know more than I—as if he was a demon powered with magic and with the mixing of our breaths could steal away my life force—made me hesitant to breathe. Those eyes were like dark pools of water, beckoning me to see beyond normal vision, calling me to some mysterious other place and time.
Stepping back, the boy put his booted feet together, and clasping his hands behind his back in the appropriate manner, took a low bow, murmuring, “It is my pleasure, lady, to see I am of interest enough for you to ask my name. Branwen it is, for people say I am like to a raven, and a lady told me once that I possessed a certain beauty. So that is my name, my lady: beautiful raven, Branwen.”
Funnily enough, that character does appear in newer stories I’ve written, the raven boy. Sometimes even old, old writing pieces can inspire new stories or intriguing characters. This is why we always keep our old notebooks, am I right? Please don’t keep them all, though; go through them sometimes. I recently moved across states, and in the end I was glad to abandon many notebooks (which I went through first, and saved pages if they had good story ideas)!
Wishing you all a good turn of the leaf, and a happy NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow!
Until next time,