The Scarred Goddess Chapter 1

Fiction By Bridget // 3/28/2009

You do not know me. I am not your friend, nor your enemy. I am no one’s business. I have no care with anything. All feeling is buried with me, you cannot make me cry, nor laugh, nor strike you in anger. I will tell this story myself. I am called the scarred goddess. You shall know me by no other.

Gods and goddesses are not invincible. They are immortal, but this only serves to create feuding and pain as time goes by.

I was once rather comfortable. My father had a large palace in the center of a lush, fertile valley. My mother was an excellent manager, and managed to get from the servants what no one else could. I was the eldest, Shifa being only 2, and Thosu being 12. All was pleasant, since the Wars had recently ended, and the arguing gods had arrived at a tentative truce, but we all knew it would not be long until our father, Keste, found something new to quarrel about.

If Tukwe had not been sitting with his bottle that night, many things would be different now, but as it was, he came into my father’s study that night, staggering from drunkenness. The next day Tukwe was executed for sedition, and no one knew precisely why.

Rumors flew like daggers: Tukwe was supposed to have angered my father, and my father was supposed to have sworn to have him executed on the morrow; they said it was done in answer to a challenge, the rumors never ended. One even suggested that Tukwe was a goodwill sacrifice from one god to another.

It was true that Tukwe came from the household of Mahye, but he was apparently not a gesture of goodwill. At the time of the execution, I turned my head. I had no wish to see someone die. (It strikes me as ironic that I have seen many people die by my own hand, and stranger yet that I took some strange pleasure at watching them die.)

My brother Thosu asked if I was well. I nodded, though in truth I could feel tears struggling to get out. He walked me out of the crowd assembled for the execution.

When I was fourteen, and upset, I would often go away to a little tree that my older brother had planted before he died. Thosu seemed to know that this was where I would want to go. I hadn’t been here in nearly two years.

Brenf’s tree had grown to be nearly as tall as I. I leaned back against the tree and sighed. I wasn’t deeply torn, simply bewildered at what Tukwe had done to deserve this and fearful of what would happen when Mahye discovered the truth.

I sobbed, my cheek pressed against the short trunk of my brother’s tree. Thosu never said a word. He simply put his hand on my shoulder until I had calmed myself enough to go back.

The crowd was just breaking up by the time we got back, and no one even noticed that we had been missing. Late that night, I had many things on my mind, and the death of Tukwe was not the least. But foremost was the fear that there would be another war.

The soldiers were sighted after midnight, although I knew nothing of it until Tatha, my mother, came into my room and shook me.

“Darling, wake up, there’s trouble and you must get out of here. Even with my sleepy eyes I could see her fear. The candle she was holding cast shadows on her face that danced over the hollows under her eyes, showing that she had not slept well, or at all. She instructed me to put on warm robes and be ready when she came back. Of course I had no idea when she would come back, but it seemed best to simply hurry and not ask questions.

This happened every time a new war started, and I was not terribly scared, having gone through it so many times. What worried me was the destruction of the country, and in turn, the way my life seemed to change, as it had after every war.

My mother came in holding Shifa, my baby sister, and handed her to me. Thosu was behind her. He had a pack swung over his shoulder, and he looked a little nervous, but not scared to death. This had happened to him too. “Go quietly, and keep eachother safe. Do not return until I send for you.” My mother hugged us all one last time and sent us out the side door in the kitchen.

I knew that she would begin arming herself for battle as soon as we left, as she always did. My mother was an excellent warrior.

Thosu followed me as we swept towards the woods. We did not stop running till we were at the edge of the forest, where we waited to watch the war party leave the palace. At first we could see nothing. Then a long, thin flicker of light showed, and we knew that the doors were being opened. Then the marble gates opened as well, letting the first war horses dance through.

Anyone could see they were eager for battle. Their ears were pricked up, and they lifted their hooves in impatience.

In the distance a cloud of dust rose, easily visible in the moonlight. Mahye’s warriors were coming swiftly. They were closer, and closer. Then, led by Keste and Tatha, our soldiers charged. Neither I nor Thosu had seen this much before. I wasn’t sure I wanted to, but I was and I couldn’t make myself leave.

They met with a clash, and our party was instantly driven back about fifty yards. I heard Thosu gasp beside me. “Shhshh,” I said, “they’ll be fine.” Nevertheless, I crushed Shifa closer to me, and heard her sigh. I did not know how she could sleep; the noise was nearly deafening.

The noise! It had not been that raucous a moment ago, but our troops had fallen back farther, and the battle was nearly on top of us now. Arrows flew past; it was a wonder that none of us had been hit. Thosu grabbed my hand and woke me from the spell of the battle.

He ran away as fast as he could, and I ran beside him. Then a whoosh – a cry – and Thosu was lying on the fir needles, gasping, with a feathered arrow sticking out of his back. I couldn’t even think; I didn’t know what to do, and I stood staring at him while blood gushed out of his heart and he breathed his last breath.

That’s when I screamed. I threw myself over him and screamed until my breath gave out, and then I drew it in and screamed again.
Then rough hands grabbed me, and tore my sister away. Shifa! I should have known they would hear me. Even in my shock I felt fear for her, and I tackled the brute who had snatched her. His friend pulled me off of him and held my elbows behind me.

They heaved us up onto their horses and galloped back onto the battlefield. Then the horse my captor was riding reared and I saw my chance. I slipped out from the man’s arms and fell off the horse.

I hit the ground heavily, but I stumbled to my feet to find Shifa. Her captor was nowhere to be seen. I turned around, my sense of direction entirely disoriented.

A mottled grey warhorse screamed defiantly, at me, I thought. Sharp cries and groans arose all around me. I got the breath knocked out of me with the hilt of a sword, but no one came to help a goddess-child in a battle.

I stood up dizzily, too shocked to cry or be scared of what was happening. For in front of me, the goddess Tatha sat astride on the grey I had seen earlier. I could not think of her as my mother; she looked wild and fierce, ready and eager to kill.

She did not see me; her eyes were on her opponent. She threw herself forward at him and plunged her sword clear through him. I heard his cry of anguish as he writhed in his saddle, and then he slumped over onto his horse’s neck. The horse whinnied loudly and galloped off, his rider bouncing and slipping down in the saddle until he tipped over to the side and hit the dirt with a sickening sound.

A scream split the noise and made everybody look up for a split second, and another followed the first.

Mine. My mother sat with her back arched in the saddle, her head thrown back, blood flowing down her front where the leaden tip of an arrow showed through. Her eyes focused on me, her face contorted with pain. She strained in another breath as I started to cry. She shook her head, and said weakly, “Go.” She repeated this several times, and each time her voice grew softer. Then nothing came.

Her face relaxed, a cold, waxy, blue color. Blood still streamed out of her chest. Her horse nudged her with the tip of its nose, obediently standing still for his next order. He didn’t move till he was stabbed with an enemy dagger.

I didn’t watch, I could do nothing but run. Now, I would have died before leaving, but then, I couldn’t do anything but cry, and covering even that, I feared for my life.
So I turned my back and headed for the woods.

Comments

Very good, but so sad! :( I

Very good, but so sad! :( I don't know, somehow it's hard to think of her as a goddess (except at the beginning). She seems more like a lost little girl. I'm used to thinking of gods and goddesses as being fearless, because no one can hurt them. What kind of deity are you going for here?

Great start!

Sarah B. | Thu, 04/02/2009

This is basically the story

This is basically the story of how she became like she was in the beginning. At this point she IS lost and scared. You'll understand as the story moves along. Thanks!

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute, I am just about to be brilliant." - Cosmo, from Singing In The Rain

Bridget | Thu, 04/02/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

It reminds me just a wee bit

It reminds me just a wee bit of Ever by Gail Carson Levine. Just a wee bit, as it's very original at the same time.
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Thu, 04/02/2009

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

What's it about? I've never

What's it about? I've never heard of it.

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute, I am just about to be brilliant." - Cosmo, from Singing In The Rain

Bridget | Fri, 04/03/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

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