And There Were Three: Chapter One

Fiction By Clare Marie // 4/20/2008

Chapter One

The baying of hounds shook the cold silence of a dark, grim forest as a young woman, barely more than a girl, ran with panting mouth and a baby upon her heaving back; she was running as fast as she was able among the tall trees, stumbling as she tripped over roots and vines. The beams of the night’s crescent moon slipped through small openings in the towering branches of the forest, throwing patches of silver-blue on the fallen leaves. As the girl sped through these soft rays, they cast glances upon her ragged clothes which were stained, not with dirt or filth, but with blood.
The hounds howled again; they were closer. The girl gasped for breath, and suddenly her legs crumbled under her. She fell, and the baby tumbled off her, crying piteously. The girl groaned and tried to move her legs, but one of her ankles was twisted. It was now her turn to weep, and with the tears streaming down her face, she kissed the infant’s plump cheek and set him in a rotted log. She gave him something from a bottle, and his tears stopped. She set down a small gold box with intricate and queer designs beside the baby, and quickly scooped up leaves with which she covered him. The nearing barks of the dogs ringing in her ears, she proceeded to drag herself away from the log with the boy inside. She crawled upon the leaves, to get as far away from the baby as possible, and the hounds were so close she could hear the pattering of their feet upon the ground, also the shouts of their masters. She found herself too weak to move anymore, and sank onto the leaves. She waited, waited for what?…for death.
The dogs burst out of a thicket, sniffing the ground. Close behind them were men on horses, holding flaming torches. The cruel eyes of the bloodhounds reflected the light, glittering with malice and the delight of the hunt. Their cries told the men that the hunted was found, and the riders urged their horses on. Only voices were heard, and then four of the five men rode away, taking the torches with them, and as they rode they threw the dogs some meat, a reward for hunting down the girl. One man remained, hovering over her limp form. In the cold moonlight the naked blade of a shimmering axe rose, and fell with a sickeningly soft thud. A quiet but sharp gasp came from the girl, then nothing more.

The man mounted his horse and rode away, without even a backward glance. By great luck (or perhaps help from a more powerful source), the baby remained unobserved by both the men and their dogs. The child knew naught of what horror had just occurred in the shadows of the forest, for he was fast asleep. Some hours later, near dawn, he awoke confused, for he could hardly breathe and something was tickling his face. He squirmed, trying to get the leaves off his face, but only a few fell off. He started whimpering, frustrated. Suddenly the babe heard footsteps rustling in the leaves, accompanied by soft voices. His whimpers became bawls, and swiftly attracted the attention of the strangers. The leaves were brushed from the baby’s face, and he looked up into a pair of lovely sky-blue eyes gracefully positioned in a small, pretty face with a pointed chin. The baby could not know, but this was the fairy Anomien, the Water Fairy, and also the younger sister of the Fairy Queen. She was clad in a silver dress with a girdle that matched her eyes. Finely shaped ears that formed into a point on their tip peeked out of her glossy tresses which were the color of the sun; these shiny locks framed her face and tumbled down her shoulders like a waterfall. If one were to look closely at these yellow strands, one would see small blue droplets of water nestling among the gold. Her marble hands were small, as was the rest of her body, and her finely shaped feet were bare. This picture of mystical beauty gazed at the baby and exclaimed,
“Why, Syla, ‘tis but a child, a human child, and a pretty one at that. Look at his dark brown hair, and his rosy cheeks, and blue eyes! Is he not a sweet thing?”
Her companion peered searchingly at the boy. She was as dark as Anomien was fair, with wavy auburn hair, eyes as black as the deepest abyss, and a reddish complexion. She was slightly larger in frame than the Water Fairy, and with a more earth-like glance. Her silky garment was the same color as the majestic fir trees which surrounded them, with a gold sash wrapped around her shoulder, across her breast and tied at the waist. Her wings were also green, but a shade darker than Anomien’s, and not as sparkly. She was barefoot as well, and her feet were rather dirty from working in her garden. She was the Earth Fairy, and she looked it. She replied to her companion’s question,
“Oh, he might be sweet, but not to my liking. Babies are loud wee things, and I have no use for them. You can keep him if you like; you will have no argument from me.”
“Syla, how can you say so? It is true they might be a bit troublesome, but they are darlings, and so innocent…I shall ask my lady (the Fairy Queen) if I can keep him, and raise him on the river. I wonder where he came from.” She picked up the boy, and rocked him gently in her arms. “Good babe,” she crooned as she saw him close his eyes. Syla watched her, shaking her head.
“He’ll turn out to be trouble, mark my words,” proclaimed the Earth Fairy. “Humans are rather stupid creatures with usually no sense of right or wrong.” Anomien merely shrugged her shoulders. Syla continued to speak, running her hands over the leaves which had previously been the baby’s bed. “He’ll be playing tricks on the other fairies, running away and…Anomien! Look at this!” Syla held in her hand the gold box with the strange designs. Anomien moved close to get a better look at it.
“How queer, and beautiful,” she said wonderingly. “It looks like there are letters on it, but written in some language I cannot read. Can you make anything out?”
“No, I can’t,” replied Syla. “Perhaps the Queen will know something about it. She is very wise and book-learned. Why don’t we take it to her?”
“Certainly. We have to get back anyway, and this fellow probably needs some nourishment. Let’s get out of this forest so we can fly,” for the overhead branches were so thick the fairies could not fly through them.
The companions started walking, gliding really, in their fairy way, through the wood, Anomien leading, Syla following, when suddenly the latter stopped and said in a low voice,
“Anomien.” The Water Fairy ceased walking.
“What is it?” she answered, almost impatiently. She was absorbed in the baby at the moment, and was in a hurry to get him something to eat. “What’s the matter?”
“Anomien, I think I found the baby’s mother.”

Comments

I like it! Post more please!

I like it! Post more please!

Anna | Tue, 04/22/2008

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

:)

Thanks!! :)

Clare Marie | Tue, 04/22/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

i like it!

i like it!

Sarah | Tue, 04/22/2008

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

...

Thnx!!!

Clare Marie | Thu, 04/24/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Very good

This story is very good. Can't wait to read more!

Kendra | Fri, 03/06/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

Thanks!

Thanks!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Fri, 03/06/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

WOW.

Clare, you're such a talented writer!! I'm so impressed!!

Anonymous | Fri, 08/07/2009

*Shivers. This was fantastic.

*Shivers. This was fantastic. I'm saddened that I hadn't read this sooner. The whole hunt was so eerie. It made me flinch when the axe fell!

Erin | Mon, 03/01/2010

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

...

Thank you. :)

Clare Marie | Mon, 03/08/2010

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]