Beware the Stormchaser [Angora & Flourpower]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by LunarLavendula, Apr 18, 2016.

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  1. [​IMG]
    It was the day of the wedding and a light spring breeze drifted through the meadows, the warmth held in its embrace a herald of summer soon to come. The trees rustled quietly to themselves, as children screamed and ran and played among the fields of wild flowers. It was here on this rolling hill, near the border of fairyland, that the human ceremony would soon be taking place.

    Poles had been raised and decorated with ribbon; fabric draped from tree branches. The hillside was littered with makeshift shacks and tent-like structures that had been raised in an afternoon for its inhabitants. Many tribes were present for this ethereal occasion, some out of fearful curiosity, others out of unabashed relief for the end of the Elf Wars. Some had travelled for days with few supplies; over hills, through rivers and snowy plains, to send the Chief’s daughter off on her way.

    Nobody envied her. So few had ever returned from fairyland; and those who had rarely returned home to their own time. When she went, she would be unlikely to return, married off to those bastard faefolk. There had been murmurings on those long, long journeys murmurings of how deep of a shame it was to lose the fine princess to those cruel heathen creatures. Few would send their daughters in her place.

    “It’s your duty.” Declared her father, echoing his private thoughts as they travelled by simple carriage to the site of his goodbyes. They would be there soon, he knew, and his heart wrenched at what was to become of this memorable day.

    It was as if he was saying it more to prove it to himself then to remind her.

    He looked toward his most beloved daughter. Draenir was a bulky man of few words, young for a Chief but feared for his tactical prowess. He was a mass of bronzed muscle and fading battle scars, now hidden under his ornate formal clothing. His long brown hair and beard were braided this day, his simple crown – a band of metal – sitting round his head as always. His face, though young, showed age beyond his years, but his bright eyes shone through at her as he leaned forward and took her hands in his.

    “You have ended this war. Not your brothers or our warriors or any of our swords and bows. He asked for your hand, I could not have said no.” He spoke slowly and with sincerity, a slither of pain hidden in his tone. If only there had been more he could have done; some other way to end this.

    Her father had agonized over the decision for days. Their villages were right on the border of elfland; all the tactics in the world could not have protected all their territories from the war that followed. In the end they had retreated mountain-ward to stave off the invasion. When the peace treaty had been announced they had returned to their homeland where their ancestors had lived and died. Though a great rebuilding effort was needed and many houses had been destroyed, the land trampled to mud, it was a joyous occasion indeed to return to their sacred home, if bittersweet.

    Though his expression was stern and hard, as always, his eyes almost pleaded: just say no to this, and it will be done. Just give me a sign this is not the destiny of your choosing. Perhaps there was still some other way…
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  2. When she was but a small child, Nola had dreamed of her wedding day. Like most young girls, she had imagined it as a celebration of utter happiness, a perfect occasion. As the daughter of a chief she was well used to celebrations, but that did not dampen her excitement for the fateful day when she would be wed. What made girls dream of weddings went beyond the beautiful gown and lavish feast. It was about the romantic notion of a happy ending, a dream come true. Whether simple village girl or crowned princess, the dream was the same.

    Memories ran through her head of herself as a child, auburn hair always tangled from the days adventure and green-flecked eyes peering where they ought not. She would sneak into her mother's chambers and sit at her vanity, preening into the still water of the wash basin. Her small hands would run across her mother's dresses, adoring the texture of a buttery soft silk or a plush velvet. Finally she would pick one of her favorites and try it on, traipsing across the room with a pretend suitor at her arm, trying not to trip over the too long garment. All the while she would whisper her wedding vows under her breath. If her mother had ever noticed that her gowns were in the wrong place or that her rouge had been disturbed, she did not mention it.

    The memories, some of Nola's most cherished, were soured by the bitterness in the back of her throat and the frantic beat of her heart, like an animal trapped beneath her rib cage. She was to be married today, but instead of rejoicing she feared she might weep. The dreams of her childhood had become a very real nightmare. I wish mother was here. Nola thought, mind heavy with sorrow. Even in the darkest of times, she made the world seem brighter. Her father had tried, of course, to help her in his own way, but a father's consolations were the shadow's of a mother's. Nola knew that he loved her and wanted her happiness. She knew it pained deeply to do this too her, knew that he did it only out of sheer necessity. Still, she could not help the resentment that settled sharply in her stomach.

    Nola knew that she must ignore it, let her love for her father dampen the sting of his actions. After this day she may never see him again. She did not want their last moments together to be ones of guile. Nola felt tears burn in the backs of her eyes but pushed them away. When she'd first been told of this fate of hers, married to the dammed king of the elves, she'd felt as numb and cold as corpse. A lesser woman would have fallen into deep grief and depression, apathetic and crying endlessly. Or perhaps such a woman may be struck by great passion, lashing out with rage and violence towards those around her. But Nola was made of sterner stuff. If she had cried she had done so silently in the darkness of night. If she had raged she had screamed into the wind so none would here. Though she may have wanted to, she did not run and she would not run now.

    Nola straightened her back. This was her armor, her battlefield and her sacrifice. This was her war. If this was what she must do to end the violence and to protect her people, then it was what she would do. "I understand father. We do what we must. If it is for the greater good than of course I will marry." She did not look at him as she said it, but rather out as the beautiful day beyond the carriage walls. The blue sky and luminous sun were a sharp contrast to the storm that raged inside her.
    #2 FlourPower, Apr 18, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
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  3. Draenir could see the bitterness in her eyes flash in her eyes – the betrayal, the hostility, the fear. It was crippling to see his daughter in such a position, trapped like a hare. Yet all he could do was hang his head, his long hair restricting the view of his young grizzled face for a moment. His eyes were closed, and in a moment he had regained his composure.

    Nola may have been a girl, but she had a warrior’s heart. Even in the face of the unknown, of such strangeness and heathen magic, she would do her duty. Even though it was clear to him that she did not wish to. By honour they were both bound – she bound to marry the Elf King, and he, bound by honour to let her go and watch on as she disappeared across that bright boundary between worlds.

    It was in that moment Draenir saw how much his daughter had grown. She had always held such a precious place in his heart, among so many brothers as she had. Why did it have to be now, that he finally saw in her face how strongly she resembled her mother? The curve of her chin, her cupid lips, her fierce dedication to her clan. If only his dearest were here to see how their daughter had matured, she would have cried with joy.

    “You were so tiny, you know. When you were a babe. You decided to come say hello early.” He recalled sitting at his wife’s bedside as she rocked Nola in her arms, fussing over her sleeping self, swaddling her warm. Barely enough energy to keep herself up, but she had made sure Nola was well tended, not letting any of the womanfolk take her. “A healthy, bubbly little child – but so tiny. You barely cried. You barely ate. Drove your mother sick with worry, that first year. But as you grew – such a curious little thing! – she saw. She saw you better than anyone. How strong you were at heart, how pure of purpose. Nothing could stop you when you put your mind to it!” he paused and a smile turned up the corner of his mouth, a glimmer of a distant time swimming in his eyes. “I remember how you’d sneak into the kitchens for extra food. And wandering out into the fields! You came home muddy more than once. Not fitting for a lady.” He could laugh at that. He’d always given a stern eye at the time but it had filled him with pride to have a daughter with such a strong spirit.

    “A strong spirit…” he said gravely. “Never lose that, Nola. The faewilds are a dangerous place for anyone.” Logically he knew she would want for nothing – The Fae King had given his word, and Draenir had made sure it had been in no uncertain terms. The finest food, the finest gowns, he swore on his elvish life that he’d never raise a hand to beat her like some husbands did their wives. “A strong spirit can help you in that world. Do not be deceived by their words or intoxicated by their ways. They will lure you with sweetness or trick you with their wickedness. Only a strong spirit can see through their tricky nature and a level head can outthink their wicked nature.” There was a seriousness to his voice. If there was only one wisdom she took from her town and into that world, he begged the Gods it would be this one.

    Draenir withdrew his hand and pulled away from her, and as tender as their journey had sometimes been, any kindness was gone from his face to all those who did not know him well. He was austere, he was Chief, the Chief who had kept his clan alive during the great wartime. Many other clans could not claim the same. He exhaled heavily.

    Outside, a knock on the carriage. “The woman are here to whisk you away to the tents and fix you up for the wedding.” He said matter-of-factly. It had been a long journey here, and no doubt the girls would want to take part in placing flowers in her hair and checking her gown.
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  4. Nola, caught between a smile and a grimace of pain, listened to her father reminisce. It had been so long ago, yet the days of her childhood seemed short and abruptly ended as she stared into the uncertainty of the future. Some of the things her father described she herself could remember. Some were foreign, but sounding so much like her that she easily excepted them into her picture of the past. "If you struggled with me," Nola said, a bit of her usual twinkle returning to her eye, "Then I pity you for having raised my brothers. Mother had a spine of steel, I think. If she had not, she would have gone mad dealing with so many rowdy boys."

    Her mirth faded into gravity as he turned the conversation to Fairyland. Nola's brows drew down to shadow her eyes. She'd grown up on stories of the fae, of the Elven King himself. How strange it was to be marrying the creature whom she'd only ever heard of in stories, regarded as more legend than man. A tale about mischievous fairies stealing away babes in the night and leaving changelings in their place made her shudder as she recalled it. For a time she had looked upon her brothers with suspicion, watching for sings that they were not fully human. She had of course grown out of it eventually, but a lingering fear of the creatures had remained. Stories of the faewilds were spoken in hushed voices to scare children into behaving and not venturing where they should not. Yet Nola had always wondered which of them were true. She knew some found the tales to be fantastical and even romantic, but to Nola they had always carried a sinister edge. As if the words themselves held power.

    "I will be careful father. I know better than to underestimate them. Husband or not I will be on my guard." She caught and held his gaze, trying to put conviction in her words. The truth was that Nola had no idea what to expect, what fate awaited her on the other side. What little they knew of the fae was about their military and tactics of war. There were legends and tales as well but finding the truth among them was no easy feat. Nola had to be prepared for anything, she would use every ounce of spirit and intelligence she possessed if that was what was necessary. She knew better than to trust a fae.

    The carriage had stopped while they spoke and Nola near startled when the knock came at the door. She felt tears rush suddenly to the backs of her eyes, but pushed them down. "I must get ready now, father. I love you, and I promise you that I will be strong." With that she pressed a kiss to his wind worn cheek before allowing herself to be assisted down from the carriage. The bustle of activity slowed at her arrival but she kept her chin high and her face serene. This is the mask we women wear, she thought to herself.

    She did not look back as she was led her from her father. She could not bare to. The cluster of women took her into a tent of heavy fabric and immediately went to work on her. There was little conversation and she often caught them giving her pitying looks. It was better than her friends, who had offered to help her prepare for this day. She had turned them away, having already said her goodbyes. She could not bare to have them do this for her.

    The women rubbed lavender oils into her skin and pinned wildflowers in a crown around her hair, which they left in loose curls around her shoulder. A pair of thin sandals adorned her feet and the fabric of her gown flutter like a breeze when she moved. It was time.
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