Gara & Garan

Fiction By Lucia // 12/2/2007

I wrote this when I was twelve, so forgive the bad spacing, choppy sentences, and misplaced modifiers. Please comment and let me know if I should rewrite this is my fourteen year-old self's words, or just let it die.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It was in a time before men took note of time, in a place that no one knows today.
Zara, Queen of Melengarth, held her newly born child in her arms. The baby was wrapped in a white blanket, her sweet infant pinkness contrasting sharply with the cloth around her. The baby had a dark red blemish covering half her face, but to the queen it did not matter, she held her child close. Zara turned her head to the doctor who stood beside her. “Jrim, tell me the truth. Am I dying?” The good doctor put his face in his hands, and Zara knew. Jrim looked up, eyes glistening. “Do you wish me to bring the king?” “No,” Zara was breathing heavily. “He is too far to be fetched in time. I need you to remember the name I give to my daughter. It will be my gift to her.” Jrim nodded. Zara groaned, and then spoke. “Her first name is to be Gara, to link her to her brother, Garan, and to follow the age-old tradition started when the first princess of Melengarth was named Ara. Her second name will be Eve.” Zara took a breath, and sighed. “It is the oldest woman’s name in the world.” Zara looked at the doctor with beseeching eyes. “You’ll remember?” “Yes,” the doctor’s voice was choked with tears. “Bring me my son,” “Of course,” Jrim answered her command, and made a motion to an attendant nearby, who left the room quickly. Garan, a small boy, and the prince of Melengarth, was brought in. Zara pressed his head against her chest, his dark curly hair making a brutal contrast with her pale skin. The queen uttered her last words, “My God, I love you!” The servants wailed in the halls of the palace, for the beloved queen of Melengarth was dead.

When King Brenec came back from his business trip to find his wife dead, he grieved deeply. “My lovely queen, who was the most beautiful wife in all of Melengarth, has left me,” he wept. When the child was brought to him, he was repulsed. “Why, her face is as blotched as a puppy’s!” He gasped. The king would not see her again. “Such a child is not fit to be seen near me.” He declared. “I will give her to the car of my servants at my late Queen’s mansion by the sea. As long as she lives there I will not have to see her again.” And it was done as the king said. Gara was separated from her father and her brother, and sent away. Servants only served, but did not care for her, and no companion was provided. She lived a lonely, loveless, life.

~o~

Chapter One
Ten Years Later

Gara lay awake in her large bed. It was nearing midnight, and slumber still did not come. Gara turned of her side and picked at some fuzz on her blanket. It was at late hours such as these that she thought the most about her family. If her father saw her now, would he take her back into the grand palace in Elethlon? Most likely not. If anything, her birthmark had grown darker and larger over the years. Sometimes Gara felt angry at her father, but now she just felt lonely and sad. Then an idea came to Gara’s head. She would take a horse from the stables and ride it along the beach by moonlight! The idea was crazy, but Gara felt the need to do something, to avoid dwelling on her loneliness. Gara jumped out of bed, shivering a little as she left the warmth of the blankets. She then set herself to work unlocking her large, stain-glass window. The window depicted a pretty scene of mountains and flowers. The moonlight shone faintly through the glass, the color of the light making faint patterns on the stone floor. Now, where was the latch? Gara found it in a moment, opening it just as quickly, for it was a simple hook and latch lock. She threw the window open, and looked down. The window was on the first floor, so the ground was not too far down to jump. Still, Gara hesitated for an instant, then jumped down. The shock of the fall jarred her whole body, but she stayed on her feet. Gara quietly walked down the gravel path towards the stables. There were a few fallen leaves on the way, for it was autumn, and when Gara’s foot crunched on one of them she flinched. But no servants had heard the noise, and she kept going. Gara now came to the stable, a large, quiet dark, quiet building, almost frightening now it was night. There was a complicated lock on the stable door, but Gara had opened it before and now undid it deftly. She walked carefully into the stable, her bare feet hardly making any noise on the wooden floor. There were the stalls, straight down the length of the stable, where many beasts were sleeping. Gara went up to the first horse, and placed her hand upon its forehead. Its face was mottled, and it reminded Gara of her own countenance. A tear slid down her cheek. A few stalls down, a horse made a whuffing sound. Gara unlocked the mottled one’s stall door and walked it down the row of sleeping horses. The horse’s hooves clippety clopped on the wooden floor. At the end of the row of stalls, there was a wall of reins, and saddles. Gara took a nice pair of leather reins down, tip-toed to reach the horse’s head, slid the bit into the mouth of the horse, and fastened the reins on. Then she lifted a saddle down from the wall, grunting as she did so, for the saddle was heavy and large, and Gara was small. Then Gara led the mottled one out of the stable. The gravel on the path crunched under the horse’s hooves, making her wary. Gara looked up at the round, full moon. She almost envied it; its face was so white. Gara ears caught a strange sound. Her body tensed. If one of the servants caught her in the middle of the night with a horse, there’d be no knowing what they would do. They would certainly place a guard near Gara’s room, and her nighttime escapades would be impossible to do. Gara heard a sound again, but this time it made her uneasy for another reason. It sounded like a scream. Someone shouted, and the word rang out clearly in the autumn night. “Hraken!” Gara’s heart missed a beat, fear filling her body. The Hraken were a murderous band of thieves, known for their ruthlessness and brutality. But surely there were not enough of them to attack her mansion? She tried to see the great house, but an oak tree obscured her view. She moved to the side to peer around it, and then gasped. Part of the mansion was in flames. It was the Hraken. Gara could see the servants, still in their nightclothes, some fighting the dark forms she knew were the thieves and some fleeing. There were many Hraken. Gara, who had not let go of the reins she had put on her horse, grabbed the saddle and with great difficulty, for she was short, hoisted herself onto the horse’s back. Now she faced a dilemma, should she ride along the beach or into the woods? The decision was made for her. A large Hraken with a flashing sword suddenly jumped out from behind her. Adrenaline rushing, she kicked her horse hard, and it ran towards the woods. She soon out rode her awful pursuer, who was on foot. Gara rode between the trees, her long dark hair blowing out behind her. The horse, which had been spooked by the Hraken man, galloped wildly through the woods until Gara did not know where they were.
Soon the horse, tired, and it slowed down to a canter. The moon’s light was filtered through the trees, and many things stood in shadow. Gara shivered, because the night was cold and she was frightened. The horse slowed down till it barely moved at all. Cautiously, Gara slid off her horse. She took the reins and tied them to a sapling she could barely see in the limited light. Then finding a large tree nearby, Gara gathered some leaves to keep her warm and then huddled up under the maple. It was cold, and at every rustle Gara expected a Hraken to burst into her view. She closed her eyes and tired to think of pleasant things, but the Hraken with the sword kept coming into her mind. When she slept, she had nightmares. The sun rose early next morning. Gara sat up, sore and with goose bumps all up and down her limbs. She wondered what to do next. She had heard that a village was due east, which meant in the direction the sun was rising. Gara felt afraid at the very thought of going back to her home to see if the Hraken had left, she certainly could not go back just to get captured. So she would try to get help from the village. Gara had bruises all over her body from the uncomfortable night on the ground, but she forced herself to get up and mount her horse even though she was in pain. Through a yawn, she said to her steed, “Come on, horse, let’s go,” Gara prodded it with her heel, and it broke into a trot. Gara’s stomach rumbled and she hummed a tune to keep her spirits up. She hoped the village was near. Suddenly her horse stopped. “Come on,” Gara pleaded, “We have to get to that village before I starve!” But no matter how she prodded, pleaded, and tried to persuade, the horse would not budge. Gara heard some rustling, and feeling scared, she looked all around, but could see no one. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. “Probably just a squirrel,” She spoke out loud to reassure herself, but her voice was low and wavery, not very confidant. There was more rustling behind her. It sounded, like it was made by a heavy animal. She turned her head and saw a large black bear. No longer able to contain her fear, Gara screamed loudly. The horse reared, throwing Gara out of the saddle before it galloped away. Her head hit something hard, and she knew no more.

Chapter 2
“I’ve found some tracks!” Tarnin shouted to his brother, Kardu. Relieved, for he had seen no sign of prey all morning, Kardu hurried to his brother’s side. “They’re not deer tracks, though.” Tarnin added. Kardu leaned over look closely at the mussed up leaves, and the indentations in the earth the animal had left. “A horse!” he exclaimed. “Do you think it’s a Hraken?” Tarnin asked his brother. “No, they usually travel in groups. It’s very strange though, only a few hunters frequent this area, and none of them owns a horse.” Kardu was puzzled. “These tracks are still fresh,” he said, brushing aside some of the leaves that hid a hoof print. The horse passed this way about a half hour ago.” Tarnin suggested following the tracks. His older brother frowned. “Well, alright then. But if it takes too long, then we have to turn back and look for deer. We don’t have a lot of time left.” Kardu, since he was the best at tracking, took the lead, his younger brother following. Tarnin was not quite as tall as his elder brother, but he was extremely energetic and had no trouble keeping up with his slightly dilatory brother. Therefore, when Kardu abruptly stopped, Tarnin slammed his nose between his brother’s shoulder blades. “Ow,” he groaned, but Kardu seemed not to notice. “Hey, look over there,” he exclaimed.Tarnin saw what his brother was pointing toward. Among the brown leaves of the forest floor was a patch of white. Kardu and Tarnin rushed over to inspect the object. When they saw what it was they gasped. “It’s a little girl!” cried Kardu. Tarnin knelt down next to the small body. “Poor kid. She can’t be more than four or five years younger than me. How’d she get here all alone?” Tarnin exclaimed. He then asked, with some trepidation, “Do you think she’s, you know, not alive?” Kardu looked closer. The girl was lying very still, and her skin was so pale it almost matched the white of her nightgown. “I don’t know, but aren’t you the one studying to be a healer, Tarnin?” “Right,” his brother replied. He reached out to feel one of the gaunt wrists, and closed his eyes, concentrating on counting the number of times the pulse beat. After a few seconds he opened his eyes and let out a sigh of relief. “She’s alive,” “Is she asleep?” asked Kardu. Tarnin shook his head. “No, I think she’s unconscious. She must have hit her head on something.” Gara had been lying on her side, only the unblemished part of her face showing. But it was not the blemish that, when Tarnin turned her head to see if a bump had caused her to leave consciousness, made him suck the breath in quickly through his teeth. Kardu uttered a low “Yikes.”

It was a large bloody, gash, right above her left temple. It had been made when she fell on a sharp rock embedded in the ground below her. The skin around the cut was as livid as her birthmark. “We’d better get back home,” Kardu advised. “Yeah,” Tarnin agreed. Kardu picked up the small girl with a slight grunt of exertion. The girl did not wake, but hung limply in his arms. “What do you think happened?” Tarnin asked his brother. Kardu shifted the girl so he could see the ground, and answered. “There are bear tracks all over, and sizable ones too. The bear must have spooked the horse, which must have reared, making her fall.” Tarnin nodded. “I guess it’s sort of a good thing she’s not awake. Bears don’t attack things that appear to be dead; if she were awake he might have.” Kardu nodded and the two boys set off toward their home. The leaves crunched beneath their feet, and an autumn wind swept by. A while alter, Kardu’s arms became tired and he handed his precious burden over to Tarnin. “Wonder what mother will think when we come home with no meat and a little girl.” “You know her, she’ll be so overcome with pity she won’t notice we have no kill,” Tarnin was having difficulty keeping up with Kardu, he tried to quicken his pace and nearly tripped over a fallen branch, catching himself just in time. “She’s pretty heavy,” He exclaimed. “I’m glad we’re so close to home.”

She was in a warm, soft place. For a moment she just lay there, enjoying the peace. Then she felt something stirring within her heart, making her feel unrested, insecure. What was it? Had she lost something? Then it came to her:

Who was she? She opened her eyes, and looked at her hands. Small, pale, attached to weak arms. No clue there as to who she was, she kicked the blankets off her feet and jumped out of the comfortable bed. A panicked feeling was rising inside her. She pulled at her hair a looked at it. Dark, curly, long, it was very pretty but she did not think of that as she fought to remember to whom it belonged. She whirled around the room, tears of confusion starting to her eyes. There was a fireplace, a window, a bed, a few rustic decorations; was this her home? She could not remember. Her head hurt badly, she put her hand up to it and felt a bandage. Who was she?

She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to remember but she could not. In despair she sank to the floor in a heap.

Mrs. Ironsmyte showed Healer Cabee along the corridor. Mrs. Ironsmyte’s motherly, plump figure overwhelmed Cabee’s frail, withered one. “We found her in the woods, all alone. My sons thought that she was riding a horse and a bear spooked it, and the poor dear fell off. They carried her home to me, and she had a horrible gash in her head. I patched it up as best I could, but I knew I needed you,”

They stopped at the door of one of the three bedrooms in the Ironsmyte’s cramped house, and paused, for a sobbing sound was coming from it. Healer Cabee opened it slowly to find a little girl collapsed on the floor, sobbing as if her heart would break. “What’s the matter, child?” he asked compassionately. “I- I can’t remember who I am!” she cried out.

“Dear, dear, come to bed and get some rest, that’s the best thing for you right now,” he comforted. He helped her into bed and began quickly and expertly treating the cut on her head. “I can’t remember!” she repeated. “It’ll be all right, dear, all right,” he shushed her, and took an herb from his side bag, and administered it to her. The girl calmed down, and soon closed her frightened eyes, and fell asleep.

Mrs. Ironsmyte and Cabee spoke in hushed tones in the hallway. “What has happened? Why can she not remember?”
“It is a phenomenon I have only seen once in my entire career. A man, who fell of his cabin while he was thatching it, lost his memory. He was a stranger to his own wife and children for twenty years, no matter what they tried to do to make him remember.”
“Then what?”
“He was old, and fell into a ditch, gaining quite a severe blow to the head. When he awoke, he remembered everything,”
“So if this girl hits her head again, is it possible…?”
Cabee shrugged. “No one can tell.”

The girl woke again, and instantly recalling that she could not remember anything, immediately burst into tears again. Then a gentle hand held hers. “Child, my dear, don’t worry, it will be all right!” It was a woman, the one with nice face that she had seen with the man who had put a new bandage on her aching head. “I am Mrs. Ironsmyte, you’re in the village of Tredale, and you are safe, so do not worry,” The girl fought down the panic inside her.
“Do you know who I am? Do I have any family here?”
Mrs. Ironsmyte shook her head. “I’m sorry.” The girl sighed. “What will I do?” The woman brushed away a strand of hair away from the child’s forehead. “My husband, Nic Ironsmyte, and I have eight children. One more child will not matter much.”

“You mean you want me to stay with you?”
“Yes, of course,”
The girls felt tears again, and wiping them away, she said a simple “Yes”
Mrs. Ironsmyte patted her back. “Look out the window, dear, there are some of my children out there.” The girl peered out of the window on one side of the room, and saw three or four very small children sitting in a circle, playing some kind of game. An older girl about her age seemed to be conducting it. A boy was sitting on the ground, fiddling with a stick; he was a little older than the girl. She supposed. And then here was a boy who seemed about fifteen years of age, he was hanging upside down from a tree branch with one leg.

“The little ones playing in the circle are Megael, Ckarl, Jenaul, and Gridlen. The girl playing with them is Annah, she is a great help to me. My son Welleum is trying to make a sword out of that stick, and the boy on the tree who is probably about to kill himself in Tarnin,” saying this, she strode over to the window, opened it, and called out, “Tarnin, stop that! You’ll break your neck!” He promptly obeyed, flipping easily to the ground. Mrs. Ironsmyte smiled at the girl, “I have another son, Kardu, who is helping his father at the forge. They’re all good children.

If I may ask, what do you wish us to call you?”

The girl thought, and felt something stir in the back of her mind. She grasped at it, feeling it was important. “Zara.”

“Zara?”

“Yes, I… I like that name.”

~O~
Two weeks later

Zara and the other children sat at table, waiting for Mrs. Ironsmyte to ladle out the soup.
Annah sat close to her, for they had become good friends. Annah’s quiet gentleness suited Zara; she loved to sit and talk with her, and help Annah with her younger brother’s and sisters. Zara held out a bowl of soup to be filled, and then handed it to Megael. She still felt a hole in her being, but the large family she was with was quickly filling it up. She liked herself, even when she had discovered that she had a blotched face. This family hadn’t cared, and neither had anyone she had met in Tredale. She felt that it was a good village.

A door opened, and Mr. Ironsmyte and Kardu walked in. Mr. Ironsmyte took off his cape, kissed his wife, and sat down to dinner with Kardu.
“Any news?” asked Tarnin. He was always eager to hear about local or national happenings. “Well, yes, actually,” answered his father. “You know that princess of the king’s”
“That one he sent away? I wonder what is wrong with her, poor girl,” commented Mrs. Ironsmyte.
“Well, it appears she went missing, a couple of weeks ago, when Hraken attacked her palace.”

”Oh, dear, I hope nothing bad has happened to her!” said Zara.

~O~

Comments

oooooh

i like this story! write more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah | Tue, 12/04/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
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This is interesting, I liked

This is interesting, I liked it. Only you made me mad when- oh, I can't say, it'll spoil my book. Anyway, there's something in there that's almost copying off of my book. But then, you wrote this first...
Anyway.
I think it would be cool to see how you would write this as a 14-year-old.

Anna | Thu, 12/06/2007

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