Part One

Part One

A Chapter by Aianarie (INACTIVE)


A Short Story Comprised of Three Parts




            It was a quiet day in the woods.  Nature was making its transition from autumn to winter, and the subtle changes were evident everywhere.  The air was crisp and heavy with the smell of dampened foliage.  The animals were hushed.  And there were hardly any travelers or passerbys during this time of the year.

            It was Jared’s favorite time of the year.  He enjoyed the peace and quiet, the tranquility of the dormant forest.

            He was out on a hunt.  He didn’t expect to find anything and have to resort on vegetables and broth for supper, but he decided to go out and try anyway.  Every footstep of his was quick, steady, and meticulous, with bow and arrow ready in hand.  He had hunted countless times before.  He knew what to do.

            Then he heard a surprising sound; the sound of horses galloping very fast.  He turned to see who it was but could see nothing due to the light fog that had settled closer to the ground.  He squinted as he walked cautiously through the mist.  His forefinger and middle finger held the fletching and mocking point steadily but loosely, ready at any moment to let a perfect shot fly.

            Movement to his right.  He turned accordingly, bow up.  Something wasn’t right.  Something sinister floated in the air, and he could sense it.

            It had been a long time since he had even felt nervous, let alone afraid.  Many years of hunting and fending for himself had made Jared the solid man that he was.

            And yet, he could feel the beads of sweat rolling down his neck and arms.

            “Who’s there?”  he called out.  “Quit playing this silly game and show yourself.”

            The forest stilled.  There wasn’t a sound.  Jared dropped his bow and took a good look around.  Nothing out of the ordinary, and the uneasiness within him subsided.

            “Strange.”  he muttered.  Up ahead, he noticed a small buck.  He readied to shoot again.  Such an easy kill--

            --He was intercepted by something hitting into his left side.  He let the arrow fly, but the fingers of his shooting glove slipped and the arrow hit a tree, ricocheting and scaring the buck off.

            “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.  Please, please help me.”  A young woman panted.  Her very long, straight black hair was escaping from its braid.  She had the appearance of someone who had been running for many miles without stopping.  She broke into a tearless sort of sobbing, and Jared felt sorry for her.  He grabbed his canteen and held it out to her.


            “Not here.”  she said immediately, her eyes full of varying emotions.  “It’s not safe.  Please, you must hide me.”

            Jared stared at the girl.  “Hide you from what.”

            Horses neighed and whinnied off in the distance.

            “Them.”  she said,  “They are looking for me.  They musn’t find me.  Please!”  Her voice was barely past a whisper.

            Jared was at a loss.  He never had interaction from anybody.  She looked helpless enough, but could he trust her?  He knew too much about the fragile thread that was human honesty.  He couldn’t be fooled yet again--

            “Please, sir, I beg you.  You must have lodgings.  Hide me, and I will do anything for you in return.”

            The horses started galloping again, coming closer and closer.  Jared didn’t have time to think about this anymore.  He grabbed the girl by the arm and they hurried off towards his house.  It was tricky path through the woods and up a cliff to get there, and he was sure that the horsemen would not find them so quickly.


Jared’s home was a humble one indeed, not more than a few hundred square feet, comprised of a main room, a bedroom, and a small loft.  He had built it himself many years ago when he was a teenager, and it held out against raging storms, animals, even several trees had fallen on it without causing much damage.

            When they arrived the sun had set.  Jared closed the door silently behind them and pulled the girl through the darkness before he sat her in a chair.  He then proceeded to light a single candle.

            He crossed his arms and studied this girl carefully.  She was wearing a silk shirt, a tunic, breeches, and worn-out boots.  She had gray eyes, which he had never seen on someone with black hair.  Her skin was clear and her build sturdy.  She wasn’t panting, crying, or shaking anymore.  In fact, she seemed rather fearless, which Jared found very odd.  She sat straight and still, her hands on her knees.  A serious expression graced her face.

            “Why were they chasing you.”  said Jared, his usual statement-question.

            “I ran away.”

            Jared laughed a dry, humorless laugh.  “From home?  Well…you must be some noble’s daughter, then.”

            She looked at him crossly.  “What makes you think that?”

            “Judging by the soft hair and makeup--and perfume.”   he said.  “I did my share of the court life thing.”

            The girl obviously expected more information than that, but Jared turned and took off his quiver, setting it and his bow on the table.  Afterwards he crossed his arms again, leaning against the kitchen counter.

            “Now you tell me why I shouldn’t let them find you and take you home, where you belong.”

            “Because.  My father, he…he tried to…make me marry him.”

            A brief cringe of disgust struck Jared’s expression.  “How old are you?”  he asked.

            “Seventeen.”--she stood up then--“Sir, this is why I ran away.  Eighteen days from today is my eighteenth birthday.  If my father’s men don’t find me by then I will be out of their control.  Free.”

            “Why does he want you to marry him?”

            “Because my father is the Lord of Mialta, the town from whence I hail.  Our family line is diminishing.  My mother died just a few days ago.”  she explained, pausing to take a breath, “I have no grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins…just my father and I with the family name, and my father was hoping for a son to carry our name…”  It was quite clear to Jared that all of this deeply hurt the girl, as it should.

            “Why doesn’t he just marry some other random woman, rather than his daughter? Surely he can’t marry you.  Is not that against your law?  It should be.”

            “No.  In the Southern Province, all minors are wholly subject to their parents.  No exceptions.  If your parents told you to commit suicide you would have no choice but to obey.  This has never happened, but if it did, well.  Girls are married off to family members all the time.  My father doesn’t care that I’m his daughter.  It’s disgusting, but it’s the truth.”

            “Hasn’t the King heard of all this nonsense?”

            “The lords of the Southern Province keep their workings as hushed as possible.  Any rogues or rebels are thrown into prison, no questions asked.  And with the Royal Province so far away, it is near impossible for word to reach the King.”

            “Hmph.”  said Jared, staring at nothing outside the window.  “So you’re the first one to stand up against them.”

            The girl nodded and realized that he had his back turned to her, so she said, quite loudly, “Yes.”

            “I hope you’ve started a rebellion that overthrows those idiots who call themselves lords.”  He took a while to think, arms crossed, walking back and forth with his hand on his chin.  The girl sat back down and watched him quietly.

            “Eighteen days…”  he muttered.  “That’s an awfully long game of cat-and-mouse.  If I decided to help you, I would be getting myself involved in dangerous matters.”

            The girl looked up expectantly.

            “Lucky for you, I’m already involved.  I have a score to settle with the Mialtans.”  He uncrossed his arms.  “I will keep you away from them until your birthday.  After that, I will find a place for you to stay in Alcantara, where you will be far away from the Southern Provinces.”

            The girl’s face brightened.  “Really?  Thank you so much, sir!  I am forever in your debt.  But, what do you want in return?  I will do anything.”

            Jared smirked.  “That won’t be necessary.”

            “Please, sir, I simply can’t let you do this for me without me doing something for you in return.”

            “I have a haunting suspicion that one of the men that were chasing you is an old friend of mine.  If I take care of him, that’s repayment enough for me.”

            “Okay.”  said the girl, looking chagrined.  Jared sat in a chair opposite to her.

            “So you got a name, kid?”


            “You can call me Jared.  I’m sure you’ve figured out that we can’t stay here for much longer.  My house may be hard to find, but they will find us if we don’t leave.”  He got up and started rummaging through a cabinet.  He found a couple of rucksacks and shoved various items in them; canteens, food, a skillet, a first aid kit, weapons.

            “Where will we go?”  asked Maera.

            “Alcantara, of course.  Let’s see if those Southerners are brave enough to cross the border.”

            “We’re going to the Northern Province?”  She couldn’t hide the excitement in her voice.  Jared turned to her for a moment, with a fond look on his face like a father’s to a daughter.


            She got up out of her chair.  “I will carry both rucksacks, I insist.  No, don’t worry.  I may not look it, but I am quite strong.”

            Jared nodded, biting off a piece of jerky.  “Can you fight?”

            Maera took a breath.  “Yes.  I learned secretly.”

            He tossed her a knife, which she caught easily.  “Show me what you can do.”

            “I don’t have an opponent.”

            Jared looked around incredulously.  He held his arms out.

            “I won’t attack you.”  she said, but he insisted.  She held up the knife, but instead of hacking him with it she turned around swiftly and threw it.  It hit the candle off the stand in such a way that it split perfectly in half.  The room went pitch black.

            “Hmm.  Nice throw.”  said Jared.  He found a new candle and lit it.  “You said you learned secretly.  What exactly does that mean.”

            “Of course, learning martial arts or how to wield weapons is very unlady-like.  My mother highly disapproved of it, and I respected her, so I refrained as much as possible.  As of a few months ago, however, while my mother was ill…I felt the need to learn.”

            “I see.”  He slipped on his quiver and grabbed his bow.  “We will make a camp on the other side of the cliff for the night.  In the morning, we head for Craymor.”

            Maera nodded.  She grabbed the two rucksacks and swung them over her shoulders.  Before they went out, Jared stood in the doorway, taking a good long look at his house.

            “Well, sad as it is, I may never see this place again.”  he said quietly.


They reached a small cave on the other side of the cliff by midnight, and slept there for the night.  They rose before the sun, packed up, and began the three hundred mile journey to the city of Craymor, which was right past the border of the Southern Province.

            “Our trip will take roughly six days, maybe less.  There are two towns along the way to Craymor, Trellis and Melborne.”  said Jared.  “We can stop there to replenish our supplies.  I don’t know about lodging, however, I think I should hold on to what money I have in case of an emergency.”

            “Don’t worry about money.”  said Maera, looking smug,  “I’ve got it covered.”

            “In that case, what do you think about getting horses?”

            Maera shrugged.  “Whatever you think we need.”

            “Horses would definitely make our trip more expedient.  I believe there is a large stable at Melbourne.”

            “Then we shall stop and get horses, then.”

            Jared nodded.  “We should reach Trellis by nightfall; it isn’t far.”

            “Well then, let’s go.” She walked with such a brisk pace; it impressed Jared so much that he laughed.  He couldn’t remember the last time he laughed, and the thought sobered him.


“There it is.  Trellis.”  announced Jared, none too enthusiastically.  The two hadn’t spoken since the conversation about getting horses.  Up ahead, a small town was visible.  The forest had thinned into a grassy area with a sparse sprinkle of trees and bushes.  Trellis looked strange and out of place with its white-washed buildings decorated with flowers and other plants.

            “The people of Trellis are gardeners.  They are quite proud of their plant life.”  said Jared.

            “Cool.”  said Maera.  “I don’t really like flowers, but it’s nice to see dedicated people.  Besides, flowers bring happiness to a lot of people.  Do they sell them?”

            “Yes.  The soil here is perfect for gardening so the plants grow well.  They are shipped to specialty shops in Alcantara and beyond.”

            As expected, the town smelled quite fresh and earthy, along with the various scents of many different kinds of flowers.  The buildings were simple, yet impressive in size and covered in climbing vines.  Most of the houses had gardens on their flat roofs.  The people seemed cheerfully busy.

            “The people here are so happy.”  said Maera.  “This is so foreign to me.”

            Jared watched her silently as she marveled.  He felt a pit of emptiness in his heart.  He tried his best to ignore it, but the feeling haunted him for the rest of the day.  They slept in Trellis’ inn for the night.


There was a disturbance in the night.  It was just past two in the morning.  Jared woke, sensing a subtly malevolent aura enter the building.  He got up quickly, glancing at Maera, who slept soundly on the farther bed.  He grabbed his bow and arrow, glad that he hadn’t changed out of his field clothes.  He pressed his ear against the door.

            “What’s wrong, Jared?”  asked Maera, her voice muffled by sleep.  He didn’t turn to look at her.

            “Get up and change.”  he said.  “Somebody’s here and he’s not a friend.  We should leave.”  Maera immediately rose and sprinted to the bathroom.

            “Who is it?”  she asked, not too loudly.

            “I don’t know, but his aura isn’t friendly.”

            “You can sense auras? Are you a Bearer?”

            He didn’t answer.

            Maera emerged from the bathroom, brushing her hair.

            “Put your hair up like before and wear your cloak.”  said Jared.  He seemed quite anxious, which worried Maera deeply.  She obeyed.

            “I have to see who it is.”  Jared continued.  “I’ll be right back.”

            “W-wait!”  sad Maera.  “Don’t leave me here!”

            He stared at her.  “Don’t be afraid.  He is alone.  There is nobody else.”

            “I’m not afraid.”  she said.

            He nodded before opening the door a fraction and slipping out.  Maera paced as she waited for him to return, her hand ready on the hilt of her dagger.

            Jared walked down the hall to the balcony, careful not to step on any loose floor boards.  He peered around a corner.  A tall, straight man with curly hair and dressed in a noble’s riding clothes was talking to the inn owner, who was in his nightgown.

            “Sir, we do not accept reservations after ten.”

            “I’m not here for a reservation, thank you.  I’m here for information.  How many occupants do you have tonight?”

            “We have eight, sir.”

            “Have you seen this girl?”  said the tall man, showing the inn owner a photograph.

            “No, sir.  There are only two young women here tonight and neither of them looked like that.  They both had lighter hair.”

            The tall man turned, and Jared pressed his back against the wall silently.

            “Hmm.”  The man said.  “Now that you’re awake, sir, would it be possible for me to obtain a reservation for the night?”

            “I suppose so.  Name?”

            “Lord Mendel.”  said the man.  “Just one night.”

            The inn owner scrawled something in his book and handed Mendel a key, which he snatched without a word or a last glance.   Jared returned to his and Maera’s room before Mendel reached the stairs.

            Jared shut the door behind him, locking all three locks.

            “Who was it?”  asked Maera anxiously.

            “Some nobleman named Lord Mendel.  He doesn’t look--“

            He noticed that Maera had gone deathly pale and stopped.  He watched her curiously as she collected thoughts and sat on the bed, silently.


            “Lord Mendel is my father’s advisor and closest friend.”  she said quickly.  “Jared, we have to leave here now.  I can’t stay here.  I won’t sleep here.”

            A knock came to the door.   Maera jumped up; the sudden break of silence surprised even Jared.  He pointed at the closet.  Maera covered her mouth and hid in the closet.

            Jared cleared his throat and undid the locks.  He opened the door slightly, but Mendel shoved it open, putting a knife to Jared’s throat.  Jared dropped his hands.  Mendel pushed him into the room, shutting the door behind him.

            “Who are you?”  asked Mendel calmly.

            “Why should I tell you?”

            “You have her, don’t you?”

            “Who? I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.”  said Jared, sounding solidly convincing.

            “If you aren’t hiding anything, why are you dressed and armed at nearly three in the morning?”

            “I’m an early riser.  I was going to go out and hunt.”

            “Really.”  said Mendel.  “I don’t believe you.” 

He didn’t waste any time.  Jared made his move, knocking Mendel’s hand away.  He pulled back to punch him in the face, but Mendel caught the punch with his free hand.  They both attempted several times to strike, but none of their blows would land.  Mendel was quite a bit taller and swifter than Jared, but Jared was definitely stronger.

Without any warning, Mendel stabbed Jared above his left hip.  Jared cried out more from surprise than pain, and Maera made a clearly audible sound from the closet.  Jared’s eyes met Mendel’s.  Mendel let out a breath through his nose and crossed his long arms behind his back.

            “You can come out now, Maera.”  he said.  “I’ve come to bring you back home.”

            Something snapped in Jared.  He swiped Mendel’s legs then, causing him to crash to the floor.  His knife flew out of his hand and slid under the bed.  He quickly regained himself, however, and got up, grabbing Jared around the neck with his arm.  Jared struggled fiercely to break the hold, trying to strike with his elbows.  But hot blood was trickling down his leg from the stab wound, and the pain made every move a strain.

            Jared threw himself forward suddenly; Mendel flew over his back and slammed his head on the floor.  His body bent in an unnatural angle on impact, rendering him unconscious.  But only temporarily.

            Jared took a moment to catch his breath while clutching his hip.  He glanced back at Maera, who stood there, quite terrified.

            “I’m alright.”  he panted.  “Quickly gather all our things.  We’re leaving now.”  Maera obeyed.  As she packed, Jared found a towel and worked on staunching his wound.  Before he left the room, he grabbed Mendel’s knife from under the bed.

            They went downstairs as quietly as possible.  The inn owner was still there.

            “What on earth was going on up there?”  he asked, observing Jared’s heavy breathing and sweat-drenched face.

            “No time to explain.  We’re checking out.  Good night, sir.”  said Jared.


            “Lord Mendel’s horse!”  exclaimed Maera when they got outside, pointing at a beautiful black stallion who was tied to a post.  Jared took off the horse’s tapestries and flung them away, leaving the bags and weapons.  Those things would be useful, after all.

            Jared mounted with a bit of difficulty.  Maera attached her bags to the saddle straps and hopped on up.

            They road out of Trellis, heading north, toward Melbourne.  The night was crisp and cold; Maera wrapped herself up tightly in her cloak.  As Maera rested against his back, Jared had a haunting suspicion that his wound would hurt him much more later than it did presently, especially if he didn’t get to a doctor soon.


After an hour or so, he found a suitable place for them to sleep just until dawn.  Jared, however, found it impossible to sleep.  Instead, he got a small fire going and boiled some water.  He had to clean his wound the best that he could.

            It hurt terribly when he pressed the hot towel to his side.  Trembling and biting his lip, he glanced at Maera, who slept soundly.  The firelight’s shadows danced on her face.

            He decided, at that moment, that he simply had to protect this girl who had somehow been entrusted to his care.  If he got his revenge along the way, so be it.  But regardless, Lockhearst’s men could not find the girl.  She had to make it to Alcantara and expose the evils of the Southern provinces.

            Jared knew of these evils.  He had experienced them.

            Even if it was at the cost of his life, he would protect her from harm.


Jared woke Maera just after sunrise.

            “You look exhausted.”  she said, handing him a piece of bread with butter, which he refused.

            “Won’t lie.  I am.  Didn’t sleep well.”

            “You must rest.  And eat.  Please.”

            He shook his head and stood to pack things into Kohl’s (the stallion) bags. 


“Maera.  It’s fine.  I am accustomed to fasting.  I’ll live.”

“And you’re accustomed to getting no sleep as well?”  she asked.

He ignored her and continued with what he was doing.  When he tried to stretch out his arm, he sucked in a breath as pain shot up his side and down his leg.  Maera noticed.

“It’s your wound, isn’t it?”  she said, worried.  “We have to get you to a doctor.”

“Closest one is in Melbourne.”  he said dismissively.

“That’s miles away.”

            “We don’t really have a choice, do we.”

            She threw up her hands.  “This is all my fault.  I should have faced Mendel.  I could have--“

            “Hey, stop that.”  said Jared.  “Scolding yourself won’t do you--or me--any good.”

            She swallowed hard.

            “And don’t you cry, either.  Everything is going to be fine.  Don’t worry.”

            Maera looked away, making herself busy with adjusting her cloak.  Jared walked over to her and put his hands on her shoulders.

            “Okay?  Don’t be afraid.”  he said.


            “Okay then.  Mount.  We’re going.”

Within two days they reached Melbourne.  Maera had been watching Jared closely the whole time; his wound seemed to be doing better.  But there were times when he was so silent and sullen--even more than usual, at least--that she wasn’t so sure.  Then he would smile slightly, and she was convinced that he was alright.

            The Roth Inn at Melbourne was a very nice place to stay, and after two nights of sleeping in the wilderness, Maera was more than happy to pay a little extra for a soft bed and clean sheets.

            They went to a restaurant for dinner that night.  Maera was very much enjoying her plate of pasta until she looked up and noticed that Jared had barely touched his steak and potatoes.  He poked at it lazily with his fork.

            “Jared.  Eat.”  she pleaded.  “You haven’t had a full meal in almost three days.”

            He looked up at her.  He looked tired.  But he took a deep breath and sat up straight in his chair.  He began to cut his steak.

            “How do you like Melbourne?”  he asked.

            “I like it very much.  It’s so unlike Mialta.  The buildings are so big and tall.  So are the people.”--She laughed at that--“No, no.  I’m just joking.  But I really do like it here.  It’s beautiful and lively.  I can only imagine how much more amazing Alcantara must be.”

            “So you’re a city girl.”  said Jared, before popping a potato into his mouth.

            “Not really.  I like cities.  But I wouldn’t want to live in one.”


            “Yeah.  I’d rather live on a mountain, overlooking the city.”  She smiled at that, and didn’t say anything else.


Maera immediately went into the bathroom to take a shower when they got back to their room at the inn.

            Jared felt very ill, and it wasn’t because of dinner.  His wound felt like it was burning.  It sent jagged, searing sensations straight up to his temples and down his leg.  His whole left side felt numb.

            He sat on the edge of the bed, burying his face in his hands.  Something was wrong.  Something was very wrong, and he needed to get to a doctor as soon as possible.

            Suddenly it felt like someone was crushing his hip, and it hurt so badly that he nearly fell off the bed.

            He noticed that the shower in the bathroom had turned off.

            “Maera.”  he said, as loudly as he could, which wasn’t very loud.


            He couldn’t answer.  He sunk to the ground.  His vision was going foggy.

            “Jared?  Is everything okay?”  When she didn’t get a response, she hurriedly pulled on clothes and went out, only to find Jared semi-unconscious on the floor.

            “Jared!”  she shrieked, rushing to his side.  “What is it?  What’s wrong?”

            “Get the doctor.  Hurry.”  he managed.

            Maera went out immediately, locking the door behind her.  She ran down the halls in her nightgown, shoving by people.  She stopped at the front desk.

            “Sir, I don’t have time to explain.  There’s a man in room twenty-three that needs immediate medical attention.  Are there any healers in town?”

            “There are several…but, wouldn’t a doctor be better?”

            “A healer would be better.  Are there any?”

            “Yes, there is one that I know of.  Out the door, go left, second building on the right side of Calvard Street.”

            She barely even got out a ‘thank you’ before she rushed out of the inn.  The night was bitter cold, but Maera didn’t seem to notice.  She followed the innkeeper’s directions and found a small building.  It looked like a house, judging by the gardening and the wind chimes.  Not wasting any time, Maera went up to the door and knocked sharply.

            No answer, so she knocked again.  A woman opened the door a tiny bit, the chain still locked.

            “Yes? Who is it?”

            “My name is Maera, ma’am.  My friend needs you.  He’s at the inn.  He’s been stabbed in the hip and now he’s unconscious.”

            The woman closed the door, unlocked it, and opened it again.

            “Come in, come in, dear.”  said the woman.  Maera hesitated at first, but she stepped in.  The woman hurriedly stuffed things into a bag before rushing Maera back out.  She locked her door.

            “Let’s go.  My name is Cressida, by the way.  Go!  Lead the way!”

            They ran to the inn in the hush of the night.  Maera slammed into a man wearing dark clothes and fell backwards.

            “Oh!  I’m so sorry, sir--“  But then she saw the man’s face.  It was Lord Mendel.  His face hardened.

            “Maera!”  he exclaimed.

            “Cressida!  Help!”  cried Maera.  The healer turned abruptly.  When she noticed Mendel, she shot a ball of light out her palm that hit him squarely in the back and sent him flying over Maera’s head.  Maera sat there, astonished.  She had never seen someone use magic before.

            “Hurry now, dear!”  said Cressida.  Maera scrambled to her feet and the two made their way to the inn.

            When they got to the hotel room, several medics were hanging over Jared’s unconscious body.

            “Stand aside!”  said Cressida.  The medics obeyed, and she proceeded.  Maera sat by his head, trying not to look at what the healer was doing.  She kept her eyes on Jared’s face.  For someone so strong and serious, it made her heart ache to see him in so much pain.

            “It’s certainly infected.”  said the healer.  “One of you medics, bring me some hot water and a clean towel.”  All three of the medics left the room.

            “Cressida.”  said Maera afterwards.

            “Yes, dear?” the healer answered, mixing ingredients in a small container.

            “Did you kill that man?”

            “Which? Oh, no, dear.  I just stunned him.  I wasn’t really thinking at the time; we were in a hurry.  I do hope he’s alright.”

            “I don’t.”  said Maera, swallowing.  Cressida looked up then.  Maera finally got a good look at her.  She had pale skin, red lips, and plenty of dark brown, curly hair that was lazily rolled into a bun, with beads and colored feathers stuck in it.  She could tell that she had to be much older than Jared, but she was so beautiful that Maera wondered if healers could somehow keep themselves looking younger.

            “Whatever do you mean by that?”  responded Cressida.

            “It’s a long story.  I don’t want to distract you.”

            “I’m mixing a topical medicine for his infection.  I’ve made this oh, several hundred times.  I think I can do this and listen to your story at the same time.”

            “Is Jared going to be alright then?”

            “I believe so, yes.”

            Maera sighed.  Right before she began to speak, the medic returned with a basin of steaming water and a few towels.

            “Help me get Jared onto the bed.”  Cressida ordered the medic.

            “Yes, thank you.”  said the healer afterwards.  “You may leave now.  And shut the door on your way out.”  The medic obeyed.  He looked a little alarmed, which made Maera wonder what healers’ reputations were like around these parts.  In the Southern provinces, the healers were simply medics who were also Bearers.  Doctors were wannabes who flaunted a university diploma whenever their skills were questioned.

            “Well then, go on.  Tell me about yourself.  I like to get to know my clients.”  said Cressida, wringing out a towel.

            “I’m from Mialta.”

            Cressida sucked in a breath.  “Mmm.  I’m not fond of the Southern provinces.  I went there when I was a teenager--haven’t been back since.”

            “It’s terrible there.  Families are dying out and no one knows why.  My mother suspected that it was the workings of Fledglings, although there haven’t been any sightings. People are starving, as the climate isn’t good for neither crops nor livestock.  Unless you were a noble, of course.”

            “You are of noble blood, yes?”

            “Yes.  My father is Lord Lockhearst.”

            “Ah yes, I knew him.”


“Indeed.  He was in a few of my classes when I went there to study defense against dark arts.  He was a terribly cowardly man, but quite kind.  He wanted so desperately to make a change to the rotten society down there, but I knew that he didn’t have the heart for it.”

            Maera was at a loss for words.  She had never heard anyone describe her father like that before.

            “He tried to make me marry him.”

            Cressida looked her.  “To keep his position as High Lord, I bet.”

            “No.  Because he wanted a son to carry our family name, and he figured marrying me would be the easiest way to go.”

            Cressida laughed, which made Maera angry.

            “What about this is funny?”

            “Maera dear.  Mialta is the richest and best maintained of the Southern provinces.  Being Lord of Mialta is a very important position in government.  I assume your mother has died, since he decided to marry you.  In order to remain a Lord in the south, you must be married.  If your wife dies, you have thirty days to remarry.  Now tell me, how many eligible bachelorettes are there in Mialta?”

            “Not many, actually.  Nearly all of them are already married or far too old or young, or betrothed--wait.  Are you trying to justify my father’s actions?”

            “No, I’m not.  I’m just informing you.”

            Maera stared at her and shook her head.  “What--I don’t understand.”

            “Your father may not have had any other choice.”

            Maera shook her head, unbelieving.  “No other choice?”

            “Don’t be unreasonable, Maera.  And don’t pretend you understand what it’s like to be in your father’s position.”  the healer snapped.  She sounded so angry that Maera didn’t retort.  “Tell me, Maera, who would have become Lord of Mialta if your father was forced to resign?”

            Maera thought before she answered.  “I don’t know.  Lord Blackwood, maybe--“

            “Well, there you go then.”  said Cressida, with a tone of dry humor.  She took a knife out of her pocket to cut open Jared’s wound; Maera had to look away.

            “What’s wrong with him?”

            “Blackwood is a fledgling.”


            “Lord Blackwood is a fledgling.” the healer repeated.  “He’s been trying to hide it for years, but when I saw him I knew immediately.”

            “He-he’s a fledgling?  Oh my God…”  She fell backwards into an armchair.  Cressida watched her surreptitiously while dabbing her medicine all over Jared’s side.  She then proceeded to dress his wound with clean linen bandages that she had brought.

            “Anyway,”  she said after a moment, “I’m all finished here.  When he wakes he will most likely develop a slight fever.  Keep him hydrated, even if he refuses to drink.  Put a cool, damp towel on his forehead or around his neck if he gets too hot, and have him take one of these”--she handed Maera a small container of tablets--“every two hours.  It will help with the pain and keep the fever down.  Now, if you’ll excuse me.  I have to go home and feed my cat.”  And without another word she stood, packed her things, and headed for the door.

            “I’m not saying that you should forgive your father.”  she said before going out, “There are just some things that simply should not come to be.”





© 2012 Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Advertise Here
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5

Author's Note

Aianarie (INACTIVE)
First draft of my new short story. :-) I'm super excited about this one. Please note grammar mistakes. Thank you, and enjoy!

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Featured Review

Excellent plot, everything about the first chapter is right, even going so far. It kept my interest till the end. I like the character of Jared, his honesty, his helping nature, the maturity you have shown in his character strongly justifies his acts and words throughout the chapter. It is interesting that how the story is stepping forward. Decent ending of the chapter. I'll be looking forward for the second chapter. Best of luck for it.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Maera is pronounced "MAY-rah". :-)

Posted 11 Years Ago

wow wow WOW!! I love!! Jared and Maera (how do you pronounce this name? xD) are awesome characters. i actually prefer when you write in third person, you're very good at it! this was such an awesome story, i cant wait to read the rest!!!

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

next Next Page
last Last Page
Share This
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


12 Reviews
Added on June 22, 2012
Last Updated on June 23, 2012


Aianarie (INACTIVE)
Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Eugene, OR

**IMPORTANT: This account is inactive. To keep up with me, A.M. Wied, follow me at the Facebook link below! Thank you for your support!** Hello~! My name is Ashley and I am a great many things, .. more..


Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..