Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter One

Fiction By Anna // 11/12/2007

Chapter the First

"Aria? Aria, do you want to race?"
A young boy was calling across a grassy field, trying to grab and secure the attention of his playmate, a dark-haired girl with long, dark lashes.
Aria glanced over the top of the book she was reading. The story was quite thought-capturing, but she replied anyway. "Racing isn’t lady-like, and you know it, Gilligan." For a moment her gaze wandered and lingered half-longingly on her book, and for a threatening instant, she seemed to be on the brink of returning to it. She then laid the book to the side, thrust her chin forward, and continued with a laugh and her hands on her hips, "But, then, I defy all rules made to keep me prim and proper!" With her silvery-grey eyes dancing, rose from her grassy seat and bounded toward him with long, striding leaps.
Upon reaching Gilligan, Aria asked, "Where’s the finish line?"
He gazed searchingly about, then pointed to an wrought-iron archway entwined in red climbing roses. "The garden," he said decidedly.
Aria nodded and laughed, "You’ll find it hard to stay ahead of me!" She gathered her dress around her knees so she wouldn’t be hampered by it as she ran, calling out, "Go!"
The twosome charged over the fields at a surprising speed. As Aria ran, her long, dark brown hair bounced in the rush. She might have reached the gate first if she had been a little older, but as it was, Gilligan’s legs were longer than hers, and she lost by about five seconds. Gilligan grinned as the breathless girl reached the gate, his roguish hazel eyes playful. "Yes, it was so hard to stay ahead of you!" he laughed triumphantly and slightly sarcastically, though not meanly.
"Your victory is fleet is passing; success approaches me!" she declared fiercely.
"Of course it does!" he answered jovially. "Someday you will be as swift and graceful as a wild gazelle." He meant it.
Gilligan was a good-humored, good-looking lad of 15 or so, tall, with flyaway brown hair and a pleasant way of speaking. Bright and agreeable, he was usually jolly and had a boyish, teasing smile. His knack for making friends, or "chums", as he called them, was balanced with a fondness of teasing, especially girls.
"You’re hilarious, really, Gill," said Aria sarcastically, sticking out her tongue and flopping down onto a rustic iron garden bench. Aria was nearly 14, with a pretty, slender figure and a small, slight frame; she was, all around, rather small for her age. An ear stuck out from under her straight hair (silky, long hair, and finer than most), which made her, somehow, look like an elf or fairy, though she wasn’t what one would call beautiful. She was pretty and petite, and though her features were plain, she made herself attractive when she her eyes lit like winter snows; she was beautified by her smile and expression. She was a bright, attentive creature with a desire to learn, and her unconscious motto was "Imagine long, smile much, laugh often."
Aria hugged her knees to her chest, letting her head rest. She stared of at the sky thoughtfully, for she was beginning to dream. Beginning to speak absently, she let one of her dear little fancies flit into the world. "You know, Gill, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day you come to find me, and I’m just not there. I’ll have stepped out of my window into the arms of the winds…… and it will have carried me away to the land where it is
‘The colors of the rainbow, and you can
See the sun and rain grow,’
as I like to imagine," she said, reciting an old rhyme from a lullaby that they had learned as children.
"You are always imagining, Aria," -as though he liked it very much and wanted to hear more.
This was the first of many silent reveries that went on that afternoon, for soon, the two comrades were borne on the wings of imagination, soaring above anything commonplace and ugly. The castle garden was such a cheerful, bright place that time of year, just before autumn, with its trees and flowers and scents, the perfect place to lapse into Dreamland. Neither boy nor girl were planning the disturbance; that sort of thing comes anyway, even in their world, sad to say. But they may find it to be a pleasant sort of disturbance.
It is only fair to warn you that this section starts before what we just read, and runs right up into it. This will become clearer as we go on, I hope.

Somewhere else, a girl, Aria’s age, or perhaps older, was sitting in a wooden rocking chair on the porch of a small, cozy-looking house, apparently absorbed in a book. From her appearance, you might wonder where she had learned to read. Though willowy and quite tall for her age, she was not what you would call beautiful, or even fairly pretty, but she had a certain prettiness that comes with gracefulness. She had a way of expressing herself with her hands and her queer starry violet eyes that made you pay attention to her, so you didn’t mind that her hands were just a little too big and her face just a little too thin, which made her eyes look even larger. While she was not attractive, she attracted; while her eyes were strange, they were friendly; while she has not yet spoken to us, she has begun a story.
Presently she decided she was hungry and stood up, looking for a "smackerel of something," which is what she murmured to herself. As she moved, her long, glossy braid of red-gold hair swayed around her. The girl was dressed in bright, colorful materials that had been layered and sown together into a light, sleeveless dress. It should have looked ragged and trashy, but somehow, on this odd personage, it seemed to be the gown of a queen.
Spotting her snack, a bit of freshly-baked bread spread liberally with butter, she snuggled back into the chair and continued reading. She thought as she absent-mindedly read. How good it was to have plenty to eat! She had never eaten like this when wandering with her brother, Josh. She was glad he had decided to settle down, for she had never really been happy traveling. Especially with no set destination, no provisions (most of the time), and no sure way of getting either. Yes, she liked it much better this way, in a nice house (rather small and cramped really, but it didn’t leak when the rain came), with plenty of food (though Josh had to work all day earning money for it), and time for things like reading, writing, music, and rest. If her thoughts had been written down on journal paper, she would have double-underlined "rest". Not that she had ever minded getting up at first dawn’s rise and walking long distances all day, but it was nice to have change. Yet she missed it, too. She missed the constant companionship she and her brother, Josh, had had. She didn’t see him much now, since he started working in the local village.
The girl, who was called Rayne, at some point tired of the book and laid it aside. Her skirts swished as she swept into the house, and she put herself to work, waiting for Josh to return, but not expecting him. She ate only a bit of meat to sustain her, not having a heart for it at the time. Then evening came, followed by Gloaming, with white jewels in her black-blue hair and wearing the Dark as a robe. Rayne, enveloped in an evergreen cloak, went out to the rocker on the porch to wait for her long-in-returning brother. Without realizing it, she slowly floated into sleep….

A shadowy figure arrived at the little shack late that night. Quietly he walked up the stairs, pausing is passing to look at the girl in the chair, and smiling as he did so. He murmured something, but it went unheard. Pushing a stray wisp of hair from her face, he gently lifted sleeping Rayne from her seat to carry her into the house. Suddenly alert to his presence, Rayne’s eyes opened and she lifted her head. At once she recognized him, and threw her arms around his neck.
Josh laughed as he put her down, saying, "Enjoy this moment, Joshua, for tomorrow she’ll be calling you an imp again."
"Oh, have I really called you that before? Oh, I’m sorry, Josh, really. Oh, It’s good to see you again!" whispered Rayne in reply, as she exercised her use of "Oh" ’s.
"Yes, since yesterday," he said, laughing more.
She clasped his hand and said imploringly, "Please don’t laugh at me, Josh; I detest being laughed at. Let’s forget that, go to sleep, and tomorrow we’ll have a good romp in the meadow for our day together," she said, pointing out the door.
At this he looked a little sad, and his dark blue eyes avoided her large, odd purple ones.
"Why so glum? If……" she suddenly let go of his hand and said reproachfully, with her hands on her hips, "You really shouldn’t stay after work if they’re going to tell you that you must work on the week-ends. Did you say that you promised solemnly to spend the day with your younger sister?"
He looked a bit surprised, but said only, "They don’t listen." His eyes remained downcast.
"This is twice now- it’s not that they don’t listen, they don’t care!" Rayne raged, storming around for a few steps.
Josh said nothing, but he also didn’t contradict her. She sighed deeply, took off her cape, and said she would go to sleep.

The next morning, Rayne awoke with excitement, springing out of bed. Then came the remembrance and the disappointment of the night before. "It’s just not fair," she mumbled as she dressed. She brushed through her shiny red-gold hair and braided it as usual, but then she turned back to the mirror and thought, "What if, just what if I pretend that today is a picnic with Josh. I’ll dress up, make a lunch, and picnic in the meadow, just as if Josh was coming." So she twisted her hair around her head becomingly, put on several bracelets and bangles on her wrists and ankles that tinkled when she moved, and clothed herself in a new, bright dress that complimented her figure. After twirling around, laughing gaily as she saw how the dress fanned out prettily, she surveyed herself with pleasure one last time in the long mirror. Content (though with a sort of "this-is-as-good-as-it’s-going-to-get" attitude) with her appearance, she stepped into the adjoining room, completely unprepared for what met her eyes.
It was Josh.
After Rayne ran to Josh and threw her arms around him, she proceeded to bombard him with questions, the last of which and the only one he answered was, "Did they let you have your day off after all?"
He looked down uncomfortably and said quietly, "Sort of…… Well, you might as well know that I quit my job this morning."
Josh couldn’t tell whether, underneath her surprise, she was angry or happy, but he rather suspected the former, so he said, "I had hoped you would be happy, Raindrop." Josh often called Rayne "Raindrop", as a play on her name.
"I- I just- I……" she trailed off. "I hoped something, too. I hoped we could live here for a long time and not have to travel for a while, but how can we do that if you don’t have a job?"
Josh laughed, "If that’s all, then you needn’t worry; I have a job."
Rayne was understandably puzzled. Looking at him quizzically, she started confusedly, "But you just said-"
Josh interrupted. "Yes, I did quit, but I also found a new job…. True, it doesn’t pay as much, but it allows more time to be with you."
A smile lit up Rayne’s face.
Rayne saw Josh more over the next few days than she had in a month when he had his old job. But as she saw more, she noticed more. She noticed he didn’t laugh nearly as much as he had before they had "settled." He worked part mechanically, and he had a habit of looking out the window and sighing. The sharp-witted girl quickly pieced it together: he missed traveling. Of course! Probably you have also figured it out. Still, she decided to ask him about it, in case she could be wrong.
"I don’t know, I suppose I do," he said when she asked. "I’ll get used to it, Raindrop. Anyway, I feel a lot more like staying in one place when I see how happy you are here."
Though I can safely say it was not his intention, Rayne began to feel guilty, as though she was holding Josh back. She was right, of course. He was only doing it to please her. There and then, she gave a great self-sacrifice on her part. "If only to stop seeing that horrible empty look in his eyes," she thought.
When Josh came home the next day, the house was emptied. Rayne was standing inside, holding a weighty pouch. A few sacks and things lay by the door, along with two capes, wooden staves, a sword, and a bow with a quiver of arrows.
"What’s going on, Rayne?" he asked suspiciously.
"I sold our things and packed, just as you said."
"As - I - said?!" gasped poor, confused Josh.
"Yes…. With your expression, if not your voice. It just begged to wander and travel and explore again. So blame your face if you must blame something." She shoved the pouch into his hand. "This is our money- the money I got from the things I sold. You know, the things we won’t need while traveling… and also some money I was saving. By the door are the things we will be needing; the food, clothes, and such-like- And don’t try to argue with me, for I can’t get our things back now that I’ve sold them."
Josh simply whispered, "Are you sure you’ll be happy this way?"
"Of course not!" Rayne snapped. Then, more quietly, she continued, "But you will."
Josh looked at her with nothing short of pure adoration. "Well," he said cheerfully, almost rapturously, "let’s get started, Raindrop!"
Some of you might be saying that he was being insensitive, or that he should have insisted they stay. And maybe he was, maybe he should have. But if he had insisted, Rayne certainly would have broken down. And if she had broken down, we would have no story (as in the case of the girl in the Prologue, if you will remember her). But he didn’t, Rayne didn’t, and we do. So let us move on.
The twosome started yet another journey together that afternoon, traveling at a brisk pace. Rayne tried very hard to enjoy it, or to look like she was enjoying it for Josh’s sake. But then she really did start to enjoy it.
It happened this way. About three weeks after she and Josh set out, they were far away from any large towns or villages, and only green, rolling hills stretched before them. Their food supply had dwindled down by now, but they were still finding supplies as they passed fruit trees or edible animals, which Josh would shoot with his bow. One night, as Rayne stood on top of a great hill and looked into the valley below, she rested her head and hands on Josh’s shoulder and sighed contentedly. One dark pine stood against the sky- a beautiful sunset that the Great Painter had hung, streaked with soft pinks and oranges and dappled with lavender.
"Do you see that song, Josh?" she asked dreamily.
Josh glanced around expectantly, as though he expected a sheet of music to be carved into a tree. "Where?" he asked.
Rayne pointed past his shoulder and waved her arm widely to the side, her eyes never wavering from the scene that so enthralled her. "There- the pink of the sunset, the rich green of the hills, the swoop of the valley... all of it a beautiful medley sung by the One made it. We can’t hear it, but we can see it and feel it. It’s the song that flowers, trees, and brooks sing with their very being, praising the Creator- Their Creator and our Creator alike. We can sing it as well, but not in the same way… Oh, Josh, I can hardly wit for the day when we will hear the melody." Rayne spoke like one in a trance, for these weren’t her words; they had been given to her.
A thrill ran up Josh’s spine. After a long pause in which the two reflected on her words and admired God’s handiwork, he wrenched his mind from the realms they traveled into a more earthly subject. "I think there’s a sort of ruin among the trees at the top of the next hill. I suspect it’s the ruin of the old castle, because of where it’s built."
Rayne’s eyes snapped from cloudy dreams to clear reality. She looked and asked, "What’s so spectacular about where it’s built?"
Pleased at having been asked, he answered, "Right in a place where it can look down on the valley. Can you see how it stands proudly on the hill?"
"It doesn’t quite," said Rayne smilingly.
"It doesn’t quite what?"
"Stand. It doesn’t quite stand," she repeated. "I expect it’s just a lump of disheveled stones and debris anyway, though I can hardly see it at all, especially in this light." For now it had begun to grow darker, and without their notice, the sun had slipped into the earth again, and was gone. After Josh explained that it would look much more like a castle when they ventured further and closer, he and Rayne set up a temporary camp, and Rayne mentally prepared for the morrow’s explorations by imagining what the castle would be like. When she dreamed, she dreamed not that she was exploring ruins, but that the castle was whole and inhabited. She was running down the corridors and hallways, searching and following laughter and voices and songs that seemed to be just ahead. At each room she would rush in expectantly, hearing those pleasant sounds just inside, yet each room was emptied of people.
Puzzling over this, she awoke, but soon forgot her dream in anticipation of what excitement the day might hold. How could she have ever thought settling was better than traveling? Settling was boring- the same routine and drudgery day after day. But to wander- That was exciting and different, with something new to discover each morn. Yes, this was the real life! How could she have wanted any other? She thought these things, smiling at herself as they ate a light breakfast and prepared for the day.
There were many small farming villages abiding in the fertile valley, but Rayne and Josh deliberately chose a path that would avoid them. They traveled all morning until they stopped for a small lunch. Then they set out again. "The valley looked a lot smaller from on top of the hill we were on last night," Rayne reflected aloud.
"I know," said Josh, "but I expected that."
"Well, I didn’t," said Rayne impatiently. "When do you suppose we will reach the top of the hill?"
"Maybe noon tomorrow, give or take a little time, depending on if we make good progress," he estimated.
Rayne immediately quickened her pace, and Josh laughed. "It won’t help, you know. That gait will tire you faster, so you’ll have to go slower, or stop to catch your breath. Then we’ll just take more even more time."
Rayne resumed her regular stride and sighed aloud, "I do wish the castle had been built in the valley, instead of above it."
With his blue eyes twinkling, Josh asked, "Is that what this is all about? The castle, I mean?"
"What else would it be about?" snorted Rayne. "You didn’t think I asked when we would reach the old castle for any other reason, did you?"
"Well, you didn’t ask about reaching the castle at all," he said, "You asked when we’d reach the top of the hill."
"Don’t be smug; you know what I meant," Rayne said, rolling her eyes.
They went on with this sort of playful banter for a while or so, until they tired of it and lapsed into silence, gazing at the beauty of the valley and listening to the sounds it made.

When they finally reached the ruin, they found it wasn’t actually a ruin, but whole and apparently strong, sturdy, and well-built, despite its age, as it was in Rayne’s dream.
Rayne gaped at it, bewildered by its size. "It’s magnificent! I wonder why its monarchs would abandon it?" Rayne thought aloud as they pushed open the rusty black-iron gates. Josh shrugged but said nothing, obviously also confused. Once inside the gates he said, "The castle the king and queen use now has a moat, if that might have anything to do with it. Perhaps they couldn’t dig a moat around the hill."
A moment’s silence for consideration.
"May I," ventured Rayne, almost timidly, "explore? Please, Josh?"
Josh threw back his head and laughed. "And why couldn’t you? Am I such an ogre that I would deny you what you- and, I confess, I too- have been waiting for these last two days? Here, but take this candle," he said, rummaging through his pack, "it’ll be somewhat musty and dark in there."
After accepting the candle, Rayne flashed him a wide grin and took off under the arching doorway.


Wonderful story! Brilliantly

Wonderful story! Brilliantly written..

Sarah | Mon, 11/12/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."

Blogging away!

Great Job!

This is excellent. It really captures the imagination. I look forward to reading more! Oh, just something I noticed--at the beginning you have her lay the scroll aside twice. You might want to clear that up. :)

Anonymous | Tue, 11/13/2007


Sorry. I didn't mean to post an anonymous comment. I'm still trying to figure out how this site works!


Anonymous | Tue, 11/13/2007


Whoopsy-daisy... my bad. Maybe I'll fix it later, but I've got half a mind to just leave it there and read a little.

Anna | Tue, 11/13/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


Thanks so much! I've really been working hard at this story- I think it's the first one I've done that's come so naturally.

Anna | Tue, 11/13/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Thats OK

Thats OK, we all stumble around at first. (at least I know I did.) lol

Sarah | Tue, 11/13/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."

Blogging away!

I love

I love it!!

Megan | Sat, 01/05/2008


Oh, I LOVE IT! You are going

Oh, I LOVE IT! You are going to be a great writer. By the way, is Josh her husband? I probably should have seen that.
Anyways, I have a big story I am writing too. BUT IT STINKS! Yours is awesome! I NEED HELP!

Emily-Smileygirl (not verified) | Thu, 01/10/2008

Rayne is only 15

Josh is her older brother

I dunno about awesome... but if you want help you have to show me the story. *haha*

Anna | Thu, 01/10/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


Your writing style is like...Lemony Snicket and C.S. Lewis combined. (Or I dunno, I think so at least)

I love Gilligan. <3 He makes me smile.

I think Aria ia an awesome name.

Not too terribly much to say this time.

Anonymous | Wed, 07/09/2008

thanks :)

thanks :)

Anna | Wed, 07/09/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Great !!!

Great story!! I love Gill he is really funny, Aria is a good name too by the way.

marie (not verified) | Fri, 09/05/2008

Lovin it!

This is awesometistical!

Falling Leaves-unschooler, horse lover, and obsesser over writing, reading and proper grammar.

E | Tue, 09/09/2008

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


Well Anna so far its pretty good. Are you sure you didn't make aria after yourself? I mean your always reading books. which is not a bad thing because I LOVE BOOKS.

Jack Sparrow: Ladies! Will you please shut it? Listen to me. Yes, I lied to you. No, I don't love you. Of course it makes you look fat. I've never been to Brussels. It is pronounced "egregious". By the way, no, I've never met Pizzaro but I love his pies. And all of this pales to utter insignificance in light of the fact that my ship is once again gone. Savvy?

Abby | Sun, 11/23/2008

to while the day away contemplating evils that might have been is to poison the happiness we already have.


I started reading this after seeing your newer story. At one point you spelled "wait" without an a, but pretty good.

Julie | Wed, 07/08/2009

Formerly Kestrel

Actually, I'm editing the

Actually, I'm editing the story now, so if you could point out where I misspelled wait it would be most helpful.

:) Thanks!

Anna | Wed, 07/08/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


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