Author: WinterIsComing PM
My 2011 submission for NaNoWriMo.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,640 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 11-04-11 - Published: 11-02-11 - id: 2966686
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Wow, is it really NaNo time already? This is my very first year of doing NaNo, and I'm really excited...or nervous. Both really. So here you go, the prologue of Lapis.
The breeze whispered as it darted between the the branches of the towering pines, the familiar sound of a quickly-approaching winter. Fresh snow crunched underneath the weight of the horses, a crisp, raspy sound like steel sliding over stone. She pulled the cloak tighter around her shoulders, tentatively urging the small white mare onward. This was the farthest she had ever traveled from Stormsgate, a fact that was very present on her mind. There was a strange kind of thrill to a small rebellion like this, a frightening exhilaration that couldn't quite overcome her anxiety about disobeying her father.
"Darvos, are you really sure about what you saw?" she asked, nervously toying with her horse's reins. The boy had led her out here promising a surprise. They had been riding for over half an hour, and still he hadn't told her where it was.
The boy halted his horse and turned around. He was tall for his age, three years her senior, with shaggy dark hair and gray eyes. "Of course I'm sure. Come on, it was right around here." He easily dismounted and tied the horse to one of the ancient leaning pines that populated the North. Without waiting for her, he ran off into the trees.
"Wait!" She carefully unhorsed and tied the mare to the same tree before racing after Darvos. When she finally caught up with him, he was standing by a brook of rough black water. "What if we get caught?" she asked, looking up at him with worry. She didn't even want to think about what her father would do if he caught her running around with one of the knights' bastards, much less outside of the castle.
Darvos laughed. "Who's going to catch us? My dad's over in Preyne, and yours never even comes outside anymore. We're going to be fine. Just calm down and follow me." He walked along the riverbank, leading her to a small thicket of young trees. "They were right around here—I found them! Quick, come look before they get away."
Curious despite herself, she walked over and peered into the undergrowth Darvos was standing in. Her eyes widened as she leaned closer. Two snow cats were lying on the ground, mewling helplessly and they crawled across the hard earth. She could see that they were very young, only a few weeks old. "How did you find them?" she asked, reaching down tentatively to brush her hand over one of the tiny creatures.
"I was out hunting with Sir Anselm," he said proudly, slate eyes glinting. "There are hardly any more snow cats left, so I thought I'd take one of these and raise it." He picked up one of the kittens by the scruff. "I think I'll take this one. Do you think one of the dogs would nurse it?"
The cub squirmed furiously in his grip and yowled piteously, scratching at his hand with tiny claws. Her eyes widened as Darvos gave it a rough shake. "Gods, it's a fiery one. Those claws are sharper than they—" He was cut off abruptly by a frightened scream from the cub that was followed by a much higher, louder echo. She barely had time to move before the mother cat leaped down from the trees.
She desperately moved out of the way, screaming for help as the huge feline attacked Darvos. His own screams of pain soon mingled with hers as the snow cat tore at his face and chest with claws as long as her fingers. There was the soft crack, and his screams faded away to a soft groaning in pain before dying off entirely.
The girl huddled against the base of one of the tall pines, trapped. Her friend was dead, and if she tried to move, the cat would probably attack her as well. She watched in silent horror as the mother cat's wrath disappeared and she began ripping off pieces of Darvos' face and shoulders. It's eating him. Oh gods, I'm going to die out here.
She wasn't sure how long she waited there, watching the snow cat alternate in between looking after her cubs and slowly devouring the ten-year-old boy that had been her friend. She simply closed her eyes after a while, silently beseeching the gods. Hunter, make me strong. Swordsman, guide my hand and protect me. Lady, if it is to be, give me a quick death. She huddled into the new snow as if it would hide her.
The sound that made her open her eyes was not the soft hissing of the mother snow cat, but the gentle twang of a taut bowstring being released. She saw the black-feathered arrow pierce the feline's pelt, heard its sharp screech of pain, watched it as it raced away. Numb with cold, she barely felt the hands that brought her to her feet. She was turned, and it was her father's eyes she was staring into, slate-gray and cold with fury.
"We've spent hours searching for you. What were you thinking, going outside the castle? You know it's not safe here." He was trembling with anger, and he gave her shoulders a rough shake. "You will never leave Stormsgate again, do you understand? Never!" He was shaking her too roughly, and she cried out in pain and fear.
Suddenly it was not her father holding her, but a gaunt, faceless man in a hooded cloak. His hands were icy-cold as he shoved her backwards with a laugh, right into the snow cat's waiting jaws. She closed her eyes but couldn't block out the noise of the snow cat's piercing screams and the hooded man's silky laughter as her body was torn to pieces. A soft, haunting singing filled her ears, and the cat tore her throat out.
Lena Tisulin sat upright in her bed, stifling a scream as she trembled in the early morning light. She glanced outside the window to see an endless gray sky, flecked with millions of tiny white specks. The singing, still echoing in her ears, was quickly replaced by the lonely howl of the wind. Winter had come.
Let me explain a bit. This entire prologue except for the last paragraph is my MC, Lena, dreaming of something that happened when she was around seven years old. She's nineteen at the moment. Everything she dreams is true right up until when her father's face changes. As for the rest? We'll see...