Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chapter Four


Taerith's fist clenched as he watched the crown prince and his men ride away, Lilia with them. His face was impassive. A strange, half-stricken expression in his blue eyes was all that betrayed the presence of emotion behind his gaze. For ten minutes he stood and stared down the road, its mists clearing away before the coming morning. He took a step forward, and then halted in visible confusion. His hand went to his head and he groaned.

Findal stood a few feet away, looking on with sage eyes. "Wait, boy," he said. "Just a few more hours, and you ride with us. Unless you'd rather go the other way."

Taerith shook his head, and turned to meet Findal's eyes. "I'll go with you," he said.

Findal looked as though he wanted to lay a fatherly hand on Taerith's shoulder, but he restrained himself with an instinctive respect. "You keep your own counsel, then," he said. "It seems you always do."

Taerith looked back once more, tracing the steps he had taken when his shadow still covered Lilia with his protection--tracing them to the empty horizon. The sunlight streaking the road was stark. He wished the moonlight back again, falling over whispered words.

Marta had not bothered to go back to bed. She was making sure the wounded bandits and guards were as comfortable as they could be. There was no room for them in the wagons; the troupe planned to send others back for them. They would reach a small hamlet before approaching the castle, and hoped to procure help for the men there. Randal proposed to stay and guard them until help came, lest they fall victim to others as unscrupulous as themselves. Neither he nor Findal would hear of anyone else staying: the troupe was needed to appear in full splendour at Annar's castle. Besides, Randal's sword had dealt many of the wounds he now nursed. He took a strange pride in watching over those he had trounced.

Taerith did not say a word as he helped hitch up the wagons and prepare for the day's journey, but he worked with an intensity that made the others afraid to approach him. When Zhenya limped down to the river to fill a waterskin, he let his eyes wander over the bank. He wondered where Taerith and Lilia had sat--what they had said--if it was possible for men and women to fall in love in a single night. He dipped the skin into the water and reflected while the running water filled it. On his return, Taerith was mounting the red stallion. Zhenya handed the waterskin to him with his eyes full of admiration. The horse was a creature of the sun; Taerith a being of flint and forest. Zhenya's heart longed to enter into something of their spirit.

Taerith saw the look in the boy's eyes, eaten at the edges by the ever-present hunger in the thin face. He stretched out his hand.

"Will you ride with me?" Taerith asked.

Zhenya's eyes widened. "I cannot ride him," he said. "Sol is too mighty for me."

"But we would be together," Taerith said. "The strength of two, to pit against the might of one." He stroked Sol's neck as he spoke, fingers smoothing the horse's silken fur.

A smile broke suddenly over Zhenya's face, and he grasped Taerith's arm. In a moment he had been pulled up and was seated behind Taerith. Sol snorted and pawed the ground, impatient to be off. Zhenya maneuvered his crutch until it lay in the crook of his arm, one end poking out near his chin and the other resting lightly on Sol's right flank. From the head wagon, Findal drew breath enough to shout "Off we go!" They pulled away from the strange camp, leaving Randal with his long arm lifted in farewell.

In less than an hour they reached the hamlet, and Findal, Morris, and Orlin roused the populace with not a moment to spare--as much in a hurry to be off again for the castle as they were to send help to the bandits. Taerith watched them bang doors and loudly ring the bell in the square with misgivings. "They'll run us off," he muttered. Zhenya, whose hold on Taerith's waist had lessened as he grew accustomed to Sol's gait, replied, "They won't. Findal has magic in him. No one runs him off."

It was true. The initially irate villagers melted before the force of Findal's breathless urges and hyperbole, and within the hour a party had been raised to return to the field and bring the wounded back--the bandits to die or stand trial, as they would; the foreign guards to be nursed back to health. Something twitched in Findal's face as he heard the leaders say as much. "Well," he said. "And mind that you treat all men as men. I misdoubt some of you may find friends among thieves."

The speech was enigmatic enough, but even it seemed to strike a chord in the villagers. The leader of the men shot Findal a sharp look, and answered, "It may be."

More than two hours past, the troupe once again put to the road. The wagons could not move as quickly as men on horseback could have, and it was another two and a half hours before the castle hove into sight. A stone fortress, it rose from the only hill in the district, impenetrable and stern. The country around lay low and dark, forest and swampland surrounding a few fields where serfs produced most of the produce that fed the king and his household. The castle itself was surrounded by a high, turreted wall, and behind this rose three towers. One stood higher than the rest, and at the sight of it Taerith's face went ashen. He nudged Sol forward, and horse and riders flew past their companions. Findal watched them thunder past, and shook his head.

The road was full of travelers, heady with the atmosphere of celebration. Taerith urged Sol away from the road, into the fields, where his view of the castle was unobstructed and his mood unmolested. Suddenly he dismounted, throwing the reins to Zhenya, who caught them with a flash of worry on his face. Sol pranced under the boy, and Zhenya held on for dear life.

Taerith was not looking. He stood alone in the bare field, looking up at the grey walls and towers, lost in his own thoughts.

Zhenya let out a sudden yell, and Taerith turned in time to see the boy losing his seat. He rushed forward and caught Zhenya before he fell, propping him back up.

"Forgive me," he said.

Zhenya shook his head, but his eyes did not meet Taerith’s. “Sol will not hold for me,” he said. “Strength does not like weakness. I have learned that.”

Taerith looked Zhenya in the eye. The boy's words had kindled something in his own eyes. "There is more than one kind of strength in the world," he said. "One may be weak in body, or in courage, and yet have a strength of imagination and virtue that makes mortals pale. Learn that, if you want a lesson."

Zhenya raised his eyes to the castle walls. "The wedding will be soon." He was not sure why he said it.

In answer, Taerith remounted. "Findal will be missing you," he said. Both knew he was talking to the horse. They rode back to the others just as the gates of the castle were raised to admit them.


* * *


Lilia stood in a gown of white, outlined by the grey stones that formed the edges of the tall window in the highest tower of the castle, looking down on the stream of newcomers to the feast. It seemed strange to her that they should all come to witness her marriage--she who had lived most of her life in high towers, kept away from the world and all its concerns. She tilted her head slightly as she stood, the fingers of her left hand resting gently against the stone, and tried to make out the faces and characters of people who were little more than moving spots of colour on the ground. Wagons and horses, men and women, freeborn and slaves.

A wind came in through the window, stirring Lilia's long black hair. Three maids had combed it until it shone. It fell in long tresses to her waist, the blue sapphires and deep red garnets the maids had fastened in it catching the faint snatches of sunlight that fell through the window. The wind was cold, but Lilia hardly noticed it. She had lived so long in high stone places that cold was as natural to her as moonlight, a part of the dreamworld that had always belonged to her.

She turned away from the window, and caught sight of herself in the mirror across the circle of the floor. She dropped her eyes a moment later and returned to the window. She was beautiful; she knew that. She thought--hoped--that her husband would find her acceptable. She feared his eyes more than the eyes of the gawkers who came to by droves to the celebration, more than the cold dark eyes of Borden that had bid her no welcome though she would soon call him brother, more than the eyes of the bandits in the darkness who had threatened her with death or a worse fate only the night before. She feared Annar's eyes, because in them she would see love or indifference, and between those two alternatives hung the form and hue of her life to come. Once she knew, she would live with all the courage she could muster. It was the not knowing that strained everything in her.

She had not yet met Annar. When she had arrived in the dark hours of the morning he had not been there to greet the returning party. No one had told her, but she heard them: heard their low, mocking voices. The king had been drunk and would not rise long before the wedding. I wonder, she thought. How much can you read in a drunk man's eyes?

There were tears in her eyes. She was not sure how they had gotten there. She raised her hands before her face and let the tears fall on the white lace of her sleeves. Tears made such a small stain. Surely no one would ever see. Perhaps, after all, the tears would be for nothing.

Beyond the fields around the castle the dark fens lay, blotting out the landscape for miles around, criss-crossed by roads that were torn from the swamps and upheld by hard labour and pain. Farther away, Lilia could see the beginnings of the moors, and there, glinting under the sun's searching rays, the river. Grey-blue eyes appeared before her face: Taerith's eyes. She shuddered and turned from the window. There was a bed in the tower room; she made her way to it, and sat with her head bowed so that she need neither look at the world without or her reflection within. She feared herself just now.

A sharp rap at the door put Lilia's heart in her throat. She rose, smoothing her skirt with trembling hands. A thousand nights at home she had dreamed of a knock at the door and all that it could mean: the mysterious strangers, the legion of adventures that might ever wait on the other side. But the servant who entered, head bowed and voice mumbling and low, carried with her nothing of promise.

"You are wanted below, my lady," the servant said.

Lilia smiled at the woman, hiding her feelings as best as she could so the servant wouldn't feel uncomfortable. "Let me follow you," Lilia said. "If I try to find my way alone I will be lost."

The woman lifted her eyes to Lilia's face for a moment, but no emotion in them responded to the plea in the young woman's tone. She simply nodded and turned to go. Lilia squared her slim shoulders, picked up the hem of her dress, and began her descent from the tower.

Steep stone steps led downward in a sharp spiral, a close, colourless passageway that existed only to transfer travelers from one little world to another. Lilia had often thought of such passages that they did not have any claim themselves to placehood. They led to places full of memories, warmth or cold, horror or happiness, but they were only stretches of grey limbo without sympathy or character. But into what very different worlds they might lead! Her hand trembled as she reached out to steady herself on the stone. The servant woman did not look backward at her. Lilia had hoped that the woman's presence would make her feel a little less alone, but her hopes were as futile as the spiraling stairs were unflinching.

The descent took them down to the realm of celebration. From somewhere below Lilia heard shouts and cheers. Her cheeks coloured--she heard Annar's name in the chorus. He had presented himself to his people. She would be next.

The noise grew louder with every downward step. She felt faint, and tried to calm the fluttering in her stomach by smoothing the satin of her gown over it. At last they were plunged into it; they were on a level with the crowd; the new world was just on the other side of a wooden door. Lilia closed her eyes, drew a deep breath, and heard the creak of the hinges as the servant woman threw the door open. She stepped out into the open air, under the shadow of an awning.

Immediately the old woman was replaced by new attendants, young and fair, with their arms full of yellow blooms and their cheeks flushed and rosy. In their midst Lilia looked like a pale slender flower grown from the frost. The crowd hushed as she stepped out from the shade of the castle into the cold winter sun. They had formed a close-packed circle around a polished platform, built by the king's men at the entrance to the small chapel in one corner of the courtyard. The crowd filled the courtyard to its very edges. Young boys perched in the few trees that graced the ground, weighing down the branches like an awkward flock of adolescent cranes. Others had climbed the steps that led up to the castle wall, and used the stairs as precarious seats while guards patrolled the parapet above them. The rich stood nearest the platform, with military men and representatives of Mother Church, while the poorest tried to worm their way closer. Many stood outside of the castle walls altogether, and crowded the road.

Annar, sovereign of the castle and its varied lands, lord of fens and fields and moors, stood on the platform with his hands neatly tucked one in the other. He was a well-built man, not tall but broad-shouldered, yet his frame seemed slack next to his brother's. His neatly trimmed beard was heavily flecked with grey. It covered a face that beamed with pleasure now, but lacked any firm lines to tell its usual wont. He wore a suit of red and purple, trimmed with fur, and the crown on his head was lined with ermine.

The young, frail thing who came to meet him did not lift her eyes as she approached. He held out his hand and she took it, and dropped into a deep curtsey. He smiled, nodded, covered her hand. She rose and was drawn closer to her master. The voice of the visiting bishop began to drone out the wedding rites.

In the crowd, a thin boy leaned on his crutch and looked up at the faces on either side of him: one a woman's, matronly beauty bent in a compassionate frown, and one an inscrutable young man's. Neither of them had said a word and their silence was enough to drive Zhenya mad.

"Someone should stop it," he said out loud. He didn't think anyone else would hear him.

Marta nudged him. "Hush, child."

Taerith only turned and looked at him. Zhenya saw it in his eyes--he agreed. Taerith turned back to the ceremony, and the look on Marta's face stopped Zhenya from speaking again. He looked back up at the platform, the king, and Lilia. Her eyes were still cast down. Zhenya's heart went out to her. He knew what it meant when you didn't meet anyone's eyes... he knew what it meant when you didn't have any say in what happened to you. If he had had Taerith's strength, he thought, he would have leaped onto the stage and saved her.

Of course, if he had been Taerith, he would have loved her, and even though he was fairly certain Taerith did, the silent young man had said nothing of the sort. He wanted to ask him, but he bit his tongue. The bishop's voice rose above the crowd again. They were making their vows now.

And then Lilia faltered. Her eyes lifted and scanned the crowd. She was looking for someone. Her eyes met with another's in the crowd--Zhenya looked up; he was sure it was Taerith who spoke silently to her now. For a bare moment she smiled. In the next instant the question had been asked. Lilia turned her eyes to the man who held both her hands. The crowd grew dreadfully silent, and her voice could be heard--quavering a little, but clear. "I will," she said, and her doom was sealed.


* * *


From a distance the castle seemed to buck and heave with shadows in the torchlight. Within and without the walls the celebration raged, much as it had for days: drunk, heedless of much other than its own pleasures. Borden walked through the crowd and despised them all. They grasped at the king's marriage as an excuse for celebration, but they had no real cause to celebrate. The girl Annar had taken to himself would make no real queen. He knew a little of her--she was an oddity among women, brought up by a strange and reclusive father who kept his daughter locked away from the world, in the company of sparrows and a rare collection of books. She knew nothing of the real world, nothing of politics, nothing of harsh reality. She was beautiful, which was what Annar wanted, so she would sit as an ornament by his side until he tired of her.

Borden moved along the wall of the courtyard, his steps growing faster as he went. He had no where to go, but his thoughts drove him to keep moving. It was wrong--it was so horridly wrong. His brother had married a lovely misfit, and for all her unsuitableness she would likely fulfill her main duty: she would give Annar a son, so the damage wreaked by their family could continue on another generation.

A shout of laughter rose up from the crowd. In the center of the courtyard a group of performers plied their tricks. Borden leaned against the wall and peered through the mass of bodies to the gangly freak who twisted himself in a knot to the exclamations of the drunkards who looked on. A short, bald man with impossibly large arms hoisted the fellow in the air as though he was a feather and tossed him from one hand to the other. The crowd laughed and catcalled in appreciation. The circus had performed earlier for the king and his bride, who had disappeared an hour since. They continued now because the onlookers still loved them, and those with money to waste still tossed it to those who worked the edges of the crowd: a wheezy little man, a cripple, and a tall, good-natured sword swallower.

"Enough," Borden said to himself. "I grow weary of this foolishness." He turned to go--up the steps to the parapet, where he so often went to look over life and surmise its grim future, when a sudden clatter near the back gates drew his attention. He heard laughter and drunken shouts, but there was anger in some voices, and the sounds of a scuffle. He put his hand to his sword and ran to the gate, signalling several of his men to follow him.

He was not prepared for the sight that met his eyes. A gang of young ruffians were making their way into the gate, shouting and waving their caps, calling the attention of the crowd to a cloud of dust and confusion just beyond the castle walls. Borden caught sight of stamping hooves and a wildly tossing head, caught and bridled with a length of rope at which seven young men were straining, the foremost of them half laid in the dirt. Three of the white legs, thick with long grey hair that grew over the hooves, had been likewise lassoed. The animal neighed wildly and snorted; its white sides heaved with sweat and dust. The creature's head tossed again, and Borden saw the long horn glitter in the torchlight.

A unicorn.

"Here!" one of the young hooligans shouted. "We've caught us a gift for the king!"

"Fools," Borden said. He held up his hand, calling his soldiers up short. They had been about to run into the fray. "Let us see what they do," Borden said. The crowd had moved in all around, but they moved back skittishly as the young men managed to wrestle the unicorn in through the gates. There was a scream, and one of the ruffians fell heavily to the ground, his side slashed and bleeding copiously. One of his companions grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him out of reach of the stamping hooves.

Borden saw the victim's face as he struggled to his feet. It was ashen and angry. Likely he was the leader of the gang, and the unicorn had given them more trouble than they counted on--more the fools they, for any idiot knew better than to tangle with the untameable beasts. Breathing heavily, the young man snatched up a spear from a guard who stood close by.

"We'll have its head, then!" he shouted.

He drew his arm back. In the next instant, Mirian had snatched the spear from him. She snapped the spear in two and turned on the lad. "What manner of beast are you?" she demanded. "Let the creature go!"

The ruffian's face grew angrier still. He was still bleeding, and he stood clutching his side and trembling. His face shone; he had been drinking.

Mirian's words galvanized the crowd. They had been too drunk and too shocked to act before, but when the voice of sense fell on their ears they recognized it. Many of them raised their voices in assent. "Let it go... free the beast!" Unicorns, rare, beautiful, and unpredictable, were held in a kind of awe half-sacred and half-superstitious. They were said to be the harbingers of disaster, or of luck, or of otherworldly interference. The sight of the unicorn, lashed and lassoed, standing within the gates of the castle with its sides flecked with sweat and blood sobered the crowd. Some of the boys who had clung to the ropes ensnaring it drew away now. Others surged forward, blood running hot, to take their places. The circus performers had by now come to the scene, and they took it upon themselves to drive the more hot-headed of the crowd back again, away from the unicorn.

And then a boy stepped out of the crowd: the cripple who had solicited money for the circus. He held a bucket of water and a sponge, used for horses many times before. Without a word he limped toward the unicorn. He was a thin waif, Borden thought, with a curiously fearless expression on his hungry face. He ignored the young hooligans who reached out to stop him--they did not touch him, for his circus fellows were quick to stay their hands. The unicorn stood panting as the boy approached. It snorted, and for a moment it seemed as though it would rear up. Instead, it plunged its nose into the bucket and drank deeply. The boy hesitated a moment, and then laid his hand on the creature's blood-streaked mane. There were tears in the cripple's eyes as he stroked the unicorn's neck.

Borden fought to keep a sardonic smile from his face. Something mythic was happening between boy and beast--they were bonding. It happened once in a lifetime, and ruined any hopes the ruffians had for making a glorious martyr of the unicorn. The creature would be tamed now. It would belong to the circus. If anyone tried to separate it from the boy, it would die. So all of the effort the fools had put into dragging the beast to the castle in the hopes of making themselves heroes and mighty hunters had gone to increase the power of a traveling circus to attract passers-by and their coins. It served them right.

Apparently the same thing had occured to the gang of ruffians. Most of them had relinquished their ropes and gathered around their leader, whose angry tone could be clearly heard though his words were thick with pain. Borden sank back into the shadows and sought out the bloodied warrior's face. His eyes were dark with anger, and they were fixed on Mirian. One by one, the eyes of the gang turned to the same place: Mirian, who still stood at the fore of the crowd, her hair blazing under the torchlight, her stance tall and proud as ever. They were angry. They knew better than to tangle with the unicorn now: it had a boy to protect, and would be three times as fierce as it had been before. Besides, the crowd had taken the unicorn's side.

But Mirian stood alone, and they would hold her responsible. After all, had she not wrenched the spear away and chided the leader of the gang as though he were a child, the unicorn would not have had a chance to bond.

Borden's hand tightened on the hilt of his sword as the young men slowly gathered around Mirian, but he did not draw it. He wanted to see what she would do. He told himself that he would not let her be abused too harshly--he wanted to see her blaze to life in her own defense, and best them all.

One of the ruffians reached out and shoved her. Her eyes flared up and she shoved back. One of them grabbed her by the hair; she drove her elbow into his stomach and threw him to the ground gasping for breath. They began to attract the crowd's attention now. Light glinted off of a knife blade. Borden started forward.

The young man raised his knife just as Mirian was occupied with two others who tried to hold her down. Borden's heart suddenly beat faster, and he broke into a run. He needn't have. A young man stepped out of the crowd and grabbed the knife-wielder's wrist, twisting it until the boy dropped the knife with a yell.

The young man held a sword in his hand. He came to Mirian's aid with the flat of it, and drove off her assailants. Borden's eyes narrowed. He had never seen the fellow before. He was tall, but not remarkably so, well-built and strong, but not more than other men. His hair was dark; there was something of flint in his face. He raised his voice and addressed the ruffians in a clear, strong tone.

"You will put down your weapons," he commanded, "and leave the girl alone."

"She's a meddling slave," the bleeding leader spat. "We've a right to teach her a lesson."

The young man's eyes flashed with anger. He seemed to get his words out with effort. "You have no right," he said.

The leader of the ruffians laughed. He scoured the crowd with his eyes, and they grew uncomfortable. Many of them knew him; he was a leader among the common people, young as he was. "Will you stand for this?" he said. "A slave accosts me, and I'm not to have vengeance. What will you say when the beasts of burden turn on you?"

The young man's face grew pale with anger, but he contained it marvelously. Mirian did not speak; she was watching her rescuer intently. Borden saw that she was favouring her right arm; after all, she might have been hurt in the scuffle. The young stranger took in the effect of his opponent's words on the crowd, and realized that he might not win by appealing to their better natures. They were unsettled by all that had happened, and were prone now to assert themselves as lords over something--over Mirian, as nothing else presented itself to be abused.

"You will not touch her," the young man said. "She is the queen's personal attendant. Would you anger your king on the night of his wedding?"

Borden let go of his sword hilt. The crowd was bested, ruffians and all. He smiled as he stepped out of the crowd. Mirian's eyes went to him immediately. There were words in her eyes, and he wanted to hear them--but not now.

"You heard the stranger," he said. "Be off with you, all of you. Go back to your celebrations, and leave the queen's maiden alone." His dark eyes bored into the leader of the gang, who still stood clutching his side, livid and frustrated.

"Get yourself home," he said. "Tend to that wound, and count yourself lucky--the beast might have killed you."

The leader bobbed his head in abeyance, and limped away.

Borden held out his hand to the young stranger who had come to Mirian's rescue. "I am Borden, the king's brother," he said.

The young man took his hand at the elbow. "My name is Taerith Romany," he said.

Borden's eyes narrowed as he looked the young man over. "Yes," he said, "I recognize you now. You were among the queen's rescuers."

Something flickered in Taerith's eyes, but he covered it well. "I had that privilege, yes," he said.

"You must enjoy coming to the rescue of hapless women," Borden said. He saw the way Mirian stiffened, and enjoyed it. He looked at her, sported with her for a minute as she fought to hold her tongue. "Go on, girl," he said. "Make yourself presentable. Your rescuer has given you a fine position, and you'll take it. The queen will have need of you tonight. Go! Report to the head steward."

Mirian gave him one last resentful glare and turned on her heel. Taerith and Borden watched her go.

"They had no right to treat her that way," Taerith said. "She seems a brave soul."

Borden nodded. He held back the words on the tip of his tongue and said instead, "I do not pretend to account for the ways of the world--why she is a slave, and others are not."

Taerith gave him a curious look. The crowd was dispersing around them, leaving even the sight of the unicorn and the cripple for another day. The members of the circus had gathered around the bonding pair, who still stood close together.

"You ask these questions?" Taerith asked. "Not many do."

"It is simpler to take life for granted," Borden said.

"Do you hold with the practice of slavery?" Taerith asked.

Borden laughed, a low laugh. "Bold questions you ask, but I give only guarded answers."

"You are wise, then," Taerith said.

Borden raised his sword arm and gestured toward the circus. "You traveled with them last night," he said. "Are you among the company? You hardly look like a freak."

Taerith coloured slightly. "They have been good to me," he said, "but I have not settled my way."

Borden almost surprised himself with the words that came from his mouth. "Stay here, then," he said. "Join my guards. You have a clear head and a strong arm; we could use you."

Taerith visibly started. Borden tried to puzzle out the emotion in the lad's face, but he could not. Taerith, in his face and voice, gave only guarded answers.

"Think on it, at least," Borden said. "Surely it will be several days before your friends move on."

Taerith nodded. "I will," he said at last. "Thank you."

The courtyard, on Borden's orders, had nearly cleared. The crown prince nodded in satisfaction and turned to make his way to the wall at last. Just as he began to mount the steps, he looked back. Taerith had joined the circus performers, and together they were crossing the courtyard. The unicorn walked behind the crippled boy, docile as a lamb, and Taerith walked by the child's side. He was silent.

Strange boy, Borden thought. Inscrutable the stranger was, but Borden was sure he knew one thing already--Taerith would stay.

* * *

Copyright 2006 by Rachel Starr Thomson. Do not reproduce without written permission of the author.

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13 Comments:

Blogger The Romany Epistles said...

Nice, Starr. Very nice. You incorporated all four "main" character very well. Yes, yes, Borden has his good points, but I still say that Mirian and Taerith must be together. It's only right! PLLEEEEZE????? :) LOL, I know, you aren't going to say how it will turn out until we read it at the end. Oh well, I can wait. :)

Very good job with Lilia's emotions before the wedding. I felt very much like you captured her mixed fear and apprehension extremely well.

Oh and the unicorn is AMAZING!!!!! What a cool part! Mirian to the rescue, hurrah! ;)

Love lots,
Em

10:08 AM  
Blogger Laynie said...

I enjoyed that immensely. Very well done. I'm quite intrigued by the story and am looking forward to more. :)

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Rachel Rossano said...

Bravo!!!! :) I am very eager for more. I loved the interplay between the characters and the obvious shifting of control from one to the other in the scene with the unicorn. :)

12:34 PM  
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5:19 PM  
Blogger The Romany Epistles said...

WOW! Fearless, you've done it again. And you wrote that in the late hours of the night? You've got super-powers.

Seriously, I loved this chapter! It was nice and long, too! Satisfying, yet leaving room for anticipation.

You wanted to know my predictions? Lillia and Taerith, Mirian and Borden. There you go. I know Lillia's already married and all that, but you've gt lots more story to tell and I think Kingy is not going to last very long.

Great unicorn scene! I think it is adding to the feel of our little world. Mythical creatures are rare but real.

I'm so enjoying both the reading and writing of this project. You've gotten me in the mood to update Ilara... *sigh* if only Clarabelle weren't invading my brain right now. Alas, you probably understand how that goes.

Thanks for the latest installment! Looking forward to more!

<3Libby

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Marsha said...

Wow, I really enjoyed your description of the wedding...especially the adolescent cranes. Very well done!

*sigh* And I am SO glad that you wrote a lengthy chapter...although it still makes me want to read more...right now!

I was not expecting the unicorn. It adds a new dimension to the story and opens the door to greater creative license. Very cool!

1:10 AM  
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7:46 PM  
Blogger The Romany Epistles said...

Beautiful, Rachel, very beautiful. *sigh* Why do chapters always have to end? :-)


I really enjoyed the whole exchange with the unicorn and the way you tied all the characters in. It was rather Brilliant of you!

~Gabi/Arnan

11:43 AM  
Blogger The Romany Epistles said...

I loved this chapter :)

2:48 PM  
Blogger The Romany Epistles said...

Oh sorry, that was me, Rachel B :)

2:48 PM  
Blogger Malachi said...

I know there has only been four chapters so far, but I don't know which is my favorite. I liked the some where he (Taerith) met the circus, (I think that was my favorite,) but this chapter has been awesome!

And, I'm in that stage of life, hanging in the trees, being an Adolescent Boy, my voice breaking and all that fun stuff. I sort of like it when my voice breaks, because then I can make fun of myself. :) Its a lot of fun when it breaks. :)

See you later!

9:27 AM  
Blogger adverse seo said...

Nice story and very well said. Read it with immense joy.


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3:19 AM  
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3:28 AM  

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