Author: Spideog PM
Whispers of revolt, a tyranny and where your blood means everything two teenagers struggle to find their path. Nobles and peasants aren't meant to be friends but when events begin unfolding an old friendship is rekindled. They struggle to survive and find their way through a world where Kings rule and creatures lurk in the woods. More info inside, set in a fictional world.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,623 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-20-12 - Published: 08-15-12 - id: 3050635
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Any feedback is loved so please give your opinion if you read this story.
This is a fictional story with fictional characters so all ideas, places and people are mine.
Any similarities with known people or other stories are purely coincidental.
There will be nothing to graphic or any m-scenes in this story
He pulled the arrow back further making his bow curve even more. Holding his breath he waited as the rabbit came into a better shot. Lining up the bow came automatically. His fingers moved to release the arrow but he was stopped at the sight of another rabbit, a younger one. It was weaned and old enough to fend for itself at this stage but his fingers refused to move. Despite having hunted for as long as he could remember a killing never came easy and this was one killing that would not happen. Night was fast approaching and he would have to make do with what he had. Everyone knew the woods were not safe but even Jayren didn't feel comfortable there when the moon was high in the sky. Everyone knows the stories of woods and everyone knows that stories have to come from somewhere.
Alana could hear his horse behind her, if she turned left or right or moved fast or slow, Boc and his horse were sure to follow. Her father said it was for protection but she knew that it was also so that she behaved herself. How she longed to just gallop off at full speed and be by herself for just a while but Boc would not allow it. She turned back to look at him and he nodded politely back at her, she returned a forced smile and continued looking forward.
After three years with her overbearing Aunt, she had hoped she would gain more freedom being at home, not to include the fact that she was also now sixteen. Looking at the peasants of the village she knew that in ways she was lucky, she lived a comfortable life and never had to experience an empty stomach but she also envied them in so many ways. They were free in ways that she could only dream of.
Alana turned the horse onto a smaller path, a lesser trodden one for it led to the woods. Here at least she would find some solitude.
"This path leads very close to the woods milady" Boc warned.
"I know" she replied "I still remember."
It wasn't like she was going to go in, everyone knew not to enter the forest for fear of what lay in its dark depts. Her father and other nobles only dared to enter when there was a large group and even then they did not venture far. The villagers collected firewood on the outskirts but she knew that some were brave enough to go hunting in its depts. But that was only the choice of a brave and desperate few, the woods had its dangers but so did hunting with some punishments being as harsh as death. All wild game was the King's by right and killing it was seen as theft. The King was not a forgiving man.
Up ahead she could see a man walking and she could not help but roll her eyes, even here she could not be alone. It seemed everywhere she went she was surrounded
As she passed him he did a small courtesy along with a "milady" as he bowed his head.
Alana opened her mouth to reply to him but could not find words as she saw his face. She stopped her horse to get a good look at him, he had grown, of course, but it was still him.
"Jayren?" Alana asked dismounting her horse.
"Milady" he repeated, just bowing his head this time.
"So its lady now is it?"
He shrugged slightly. "Well, that is what you are" he stated.
"I guess" Alana tried not to show her disappointment; never before had he talked like that with her.
"You're not exactly a girl running around with mud on her face, knots in her hair and holes in her skirt anymore are you?" he asked, a small smile tugging on his face.
She smiled "not exactly" and turned back to Boc "would you walk ahead of us?"
"Of course" his face showing obvious displeasure to her choice of companion.
She took a moment to look at him, he had grown a great deal in three years. He was short for his age as a boy and being only around a year older than her they had competed each other for height but now he stood a good head taller than her. He had filled out too, while he had finally got a growth spurt as he hit his teens he just became more gangly than anything. Now his shoulders had filled out and his arms no longer resembled twigs.
"I hear you work at the quarry now" she started as she began walking.
"But today is a work day" Alana pushed.
"I am not full time, I… had a disagreement with one of the overseers and my hours were reduced."
That's nothing new there, Alana thought. "What about Len, you wanted to become his apprentice?"
He kicked a pebble at his foot "he barely has enough work for himself, let alone me."
"How are your family?" Alana changed the subject "any new additions?"
"Haggen was the last, they are all good."
"How is he?" she was half scared to ask, his mother had been unwell during the pregnancy and while he was just a newborn when she left he had been a sickly one.
"He's still sickly but he's strong, a fighter. What is it like in the South?" It was Jayrens turn to change the conversation.
"Warm! Too hot though in the Summer, it is nice there if you do not include my aunt and family."
"They did their job though didn't they?"
"Of making me a proper, well-mannered lady? Maybe." Her father had sent her after her mother's death to get more of a female influence and surrounding rather than the one provided by her father and elder brother.
"And the sea, what was it like?"
"Like a huge never ending lake, as far as the eye could see."
"Was it bumpy? Len said it was very bumpy."
"There were few waves, Len talks about the Nyalt sea but the Olim sea is much smoother and bluer. Do you often take walks along here?" she asked in a lower voice.
"It's a nice place to walk" he returned.
"And how often to do you stray from the path into the wood?"
"No one dares walk into the wood" he said looking forward.
Alana glanced at Boc to make sure he was a safe distance away. "But you do, I know you do."
"You are mistaken, milady."
"Don't milady me, for as long as I can remember you have gone into the woods, you even brought me once."
He stopped and looked at her "once, a long time ago." He reached out and took the reins from her hand.
"You should keep going milady, dusk is approaching."
"Remember when we were just Ally and Jay? We used to be best friends once."
"Once was a long time ago."
Alana didn't reply as she put her foot in the stirrup and mounted the house.
Gripping the reins she looked down at him, turned out he had changed more than just physically. As children they had spent countless days in each other's company, now he acted like a pure stranger to her. Turning her head, Alana clicked her tongue urging the horse forward and didn't look back. If this was what he wanted so be it.
Jayren did not slow down until he reached the depts of the forest, at least he was safe from one enemy here. He crouched down beside a fallen tree and pulled out his hunting equipment from its hollow. He never hid his things in the same place twice in a row. You did everything you could to prevent being found out. His grandfather had also taught him to never hunt in the same place too often for both fear of being caught but to also give the animals a chance. "There is enough cruelty in the world without us joining in" his grandfather often said.
Today, he would head to the lake, a hunting ground he did not often visit because of it's deepness in the woods but despite what he had told Alana, dusk was a while away yet. Besides if he jogged he could get there fast enough.
As he pushed deeper into the forest his mind kept jumping back to his meeting with Alana. She had changed so much, her clothing, her hair and how she even held herself. Gone was the girl he played with. She had grown little, upwards that was, she had filled out her once flat frame and no longer could he consider her as just another boy with long hair and skirts. He wondered was she always so pretty or was it just that he had finally grew up. He shook his head, what did it matter now? His once best friend was gone and was replaced with a lady who most likely wanted nothing to do with him and was definitely too good for him.
The lake was more green than anything and could be considered a large pond even but it held some fish, none of which seemed to have gone nears his traps.
Jayren growled in annoyance as he pulled up his third and last trap, there were two small fish but that was it, barely enough to feed one person. And he had spent so long yesterday setting up and making the traps after the gruelling day at the quarry. His grandfather had thought him well to hunt little about fishing, the lake was to far into the woods for a boy of his age. Most of what he knew came from experience and his catch had not been as bad in quite a long time. He knew it was mostly his own fault, he was tired and rushed through the job. It was too late to start hunting so he would have to fall back on his old ways, the ways he used before he mastered traps.
Cold, wet and tired with dusk turning to night he had no choice but to head for home. Fish fetched a higher price in the black market and were usually worth the effort but his pitiful catch would not trade for much tonight.
The canopy overhead was too thick for him to rely on the stars for guidance but he knew the woods well and did not need their directions. A howl echoed in the distance, a noise he had heard all too often in the woods for it to bother him.
He continued further several paces only to hear more howls, this time closer, much closer. He gripped his sword but did not stop walking, the wolves would not scare him. He reached the invisible boundary, the place where the woods were somewhat safe, where the trees were smaller and let in more light, where villagers collected their firewood and the place where he hid his hunting gear, the wolves did not usually venture this close. But there was always a first.
The first approached from behind like a typical predator, his sensitive ears barely picking up the crunch of leaves and heavy pants.
Jayren turned to face them, drawing out his sword as he did so. The wolves of these woods were bigger than any other, certainly bigger than any dog he had ever seen.
He quickly counted five but there could easily be more.
"The nobles worsen it with their hunting, they make it a sport, a pleasure, when the wolves are hunted by the large parties of men on horseback with their dogs the wolves seek every chance they can of revenge." His grandfather's words were as clear to him as they were all those years ago. As for protection? Keep away, first of all, if it's a lone wolf try take it but if it's a pack then you better climb fast and hope you have a good bow with you for the wolves can outlast any human in hunger and will wait at the bottom of a tree for days.
Jayren was in a small clearing however and the wolves too close, his grandfather never told him what to do for this.
The closest wolf gave a low snarl, showing it's teeth while it's eyes didn't move from him.
Jayren stared back, "I'm not scared of you" he said slowly, unsure of what exactly he was doing "I've encountered worse than you in these woods, much worse."
The lead wolf continued growling and the wolf at it's flank stepped forward to join him.
"I make a living here, no more, just like you do. I never hunted your kind and never take more than I need." He stepped forward in an almost trance, staring directly at the wolf "I mean you no harm, don't bring me any, we both go our separate ways here." He reached slowly into his bag so as not to alarm them and pulled out a fish. "A peace offering" but the wolf continued growling.
"You would wouldn't you" he muttered and pulled out the rest of his small catch, dropping it on the ground before stepping back slowly. After several paces the wolves stepped forward to the fish and finaly removed the glaring eyes from him. Jayren finally let out a sigh of relief and began heading back home, empty handed. He would have to go without food again tonight. Hoewever, the fact that the wolves were moving closer to the edge was what worried him most.
"You're hair has become so long" Maga said finishing the plat.
"Too long it needs to be cut!" Alana replied standing up.
"Remember when you were seven when you cut it?"
"Please do not remind me" she blushed as she remember how she cleanly cut off her whole plait at the nape of her neck.
"Weren't you a sore sight?"
Alana watched as Maga folded her dress for her.
"Do you like it here?"
"It is home and it is my job" she replied not turning her head.
Alana often forgot how it was indeed a job and that she was not just simply a substitute mother even if she felt like one. Even when her mother was alive she felt closer to Maga and when her father said she need female companionship she explained how Maga was all she needed. But an old servant was not good enough for a lords daughter.
"It is colder here, especially in the winter. Will your bones not ache more?"
"My bones will ache anyway child, what matters is that I am with you."
"Father...father says I am to marry next spring, I do not wish too."
"You have not much of a choice my dear"
"You never married" Alana replied in half protest.
"I am not a lords daughter, many girls in your position have a child already, your father was wise to let you mature at least."
"So I'm mature now?" she teased.
Maga smiled "remember how you wanted to marry Jayren when you were six? You insisted that you would have a cabin beside the woods with as many horses as they were days in the year. Then when you cut your hair and he teased you, you said you would live alone for the rest of your life."
"Yes, I remember"
"The fight didn't last long of course, you were soon back to frolicking around and breaking your mothers heart with you boyish ways."
"I met him today" she said slowly.
Alana nodded, "he's changed… he calls me milady and everything."
"He's finally learned some manners then has he?" Maga teased.
Alana frowned and shook her head lightly. "No, just acts like we were never friends and never will be."
Maga placed the clothing down and gestured Alana to sit beside her on the bed.
"You were both children when you last saw each other. Having noble children play with peasant children isn't favoured but when there are no other playmates especially for those living away from the large towns it is allowed. Sometimes, the girl may take on her friend to be a servant or the boy make take on his friend and give him a good position and they will remain friendly. Often, the friendship is forgotten, such social differences can only truly be ignored by children. You are a young lady now and he… a poor worker. And he is not a young woman that can be a companion to you and serve you, he is a man by right and you are young lady bethrowed to another… it would be highly improper."
"We are just friends or were, at least, no harm came of it."
"Not everyone is so accepting of the lower classes, it is hard but he is doing the best thing. You each have different paths."
"I guess" Alana responded softly.
"Now, it is time for bed, you must get some sleep"
"Goodnight child" Maga replied fondly, closing the bedroom door behind her.
Alana pulled her braid over one shoulder as she pulled the bed covers over her and settled into bed. Perhaps Maga was right, there were simply playmates and now that they had both grown they shared nothing in common. After all, she was engaged to be married next spring which meant a move to the city. She sighed at the thought, the tpwn of Ashara was a small and quite one and quite clean compared to the overcrowded, dirty capital full of fat lords and starving peasants. She had always imagined living out her life here but then again she had also thought that she would be friends with Jayren for the rest of her life. He had promised that they would be friends forever and ever. Alana was begining to learn that promises and dreams made as children did not always follow through on the rocky path to adulthood.