|Bringer of Dawn
Author: Flame-and-Fang PM
Raina is a simple huntress living with her mother in an isolated village. When everything she knows is taken from her and she is whisked away to a place where everyone knows her face, it is like a complete rebirth. Especially when she learns what they want her to do. Title and summary are subject to change.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 13 - Words: 21,927 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 03-23-13 - Published: 01-25-13 - id: 3095467
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(A/N) This is my first original story, so please let me know what you think of it. I can guarantee that it's going to be long.
Millie, the local butcher's daughter, greeted me as I drove my cart up to her house. "Hello, Raina!" she called, a smile stretching across her broad face. She was coated in blood from the pig she was cleaning out, but her pleased smile showed her true happy nature. "Papa said you might be around today. Did you catch that deer you were after?"
"I did indeed." I said, hopping down from the cart. "Stay." I said to my horse, Misa, as she started to prance. She was infamous for constantly rushing away, often taking the cart with her. She calmed down, although I knew better than to expect her to stay.
Millie chuckled. "Good girl for keeping Raina on her toes." she said to Misa. "She needs it." She looked at me. "So, a deer? Papa will be pleased. He's over at Nik's shop right now, but he told me to expect you. Let's take a look."
We hopped up on the back of the cart, and I drew aside the cloth that covered my trophy. "Oh, isn't he a beauty!" Millie exclaimed, kneeling down to examine the stag I had taken down. "You always get the finest, Raina."
"I was almost sad to take this one." I said, kneeling beside her. I stroked one of the stag's antlers, remembering how hard it was to track him. A true test of my skills. "He was a worthy hunt, and may the Father of Creation shelter his soul."
"Oh, Raina, don't start on that." Millie said, glancing around to see if anyone overheard me. "You're going to get in trouble with Brother Dael again."
Brother Dael was the local priest of the teachings of the Father of Creation. He didn't approve of my saying that lesser animals had souls, claiming that they existed only to serve men in their service to the Father. I had gotten in trouble more times than I could count for my "flawed" worship of the Father.
I knew better than to try expressing my beliefs to Millie. Although she was a good friend, she was also a very devout young woman. She'd tell Brother Dael about my perceived blasphemy as soon as blink. "What do you think of him?" I asked, gesturing to the stag in order to change the subject.
Millie, bless her soul, was easily distracted. "He looks healthy." she said, examining the carcass with a professional air. "You got him in his prime. He'll make a good many steaks. How much do you want for him?"
Before I could answer, Millie's father came back. "Well, would you look at that!" he exclaimed, nodding in approval. "He is a fine one, Raina. You've proven yourself well in this hunt."
"Thank you, Bert." I said with a smile. "He was a challenge, but I got him in the end." I looked at Millie. "And just a roast is fine with me. We've already got plenty of meat; this is probably my last big game hunt of the season."
"A spectacular end, indeed." Bert said. "Come on; let's get him on the pole."
It took all three of us to get the stag onto the hanging pole Bert used to cure carcasses. "He'll be ready by the Harvest Festival." Bert said, looking at the carcass with approval. "This is a fine example of the bounty of the woods. It surprises me that more people don't take advantage of it."
"Papa, you know that Brother Dael doesn't approve of people going out in the woods." Millie said, frowning. "It is home to ancient demons, a trap for the faithful."
"It is good that our Raina's faith is so strong, then." Bert said, clapping a hand on my shoulder. "The demons would prove no match for your bow."
Millie frowned, and then turned to return to her pig carcass. It didn't take much for me to guess that she didn't agree with her father.
"I need to get home." I said to Bert. "My mother will be expecting me."
"Then you shouldn't worry her." he said. "Thank you for bringing such a fine deer. Give my regards to Lyssa."
"I will." I promised, smiling. I hopped up onto my cart, gathering the reins. "Good day, Bert, Millie." They waved as I drove off.
It was a short drive from the butcher's to my home beyond the edge of town. The sun had just past its zenith as I drove onto my property. My mother was in the garden, her red hair standing out amongst the green of the plants. She looked up and smiled, her arms full of weeds. A small fire burned in the pit near the edge of the beds. She must be doing the final big cleanup before harvest.
I drove the cart over to the barn, hopping down to let Misa into her yard. "Thank you for not running." I said to the horse as I unhooked her from the cart. She shook her head as if amused. Misa was a lovely horse, dark brown with a black mane and tail. Her chocolate brown eyes seemed to hold intelligence far beyond that of normal animals. My mother often said that Misa was far more than her appearance suggested. I believed it. Sometimes she acted as if she really understood what I said, and enjoyed giving me trouble.
"Go on." I said to her, opening the gate to her yard. She loped inside, finding a nice spot and starting to graze. I left her to it and went to drag the cart into the barn.
My mother was waiting for me when I went out to help her with the garden cleanup. "I assume by the blood on your coat that you caught the stag you sought?" she asked.
I looked down to see that my coat did indeed have blood on it. "Yes." I replied. "I already took it over to Bert. He sends his regards."
"As he always does." she said with a smile. "You should get that blood out of your coat before it stains." She dumped her armful of weeds into the fire and brushed the dirt off her hands. "I will go check on supper."
As my mother went into the house, I pulled my coat off and headed to the well. Rolling up the sleeves of my shirt, I filled the bucket with cold water and pulled it up. Luckily, I hadn't gotten too much blood on the coat, and it hadn't had too long to dry. The blood rinsed away easily, and I went in to hang the coat by the fire to dry.
My mother was standing by the fire, stirring something simmering in a pot over the coals. She was a tall woman with deep red hair that was currently pulled back in a long braid. She was slender but strong, her skin only slightly tanned despite years of working in her garden. Her eyes, a strange turquoise color that seemed to glow with an inner light, identified her as being not from the valley where we lived. The predominant eye color here was green or brown, or some mixture of the two.
Nobody really knew where my mother had come from, only that she had shown up about twenty years ago with Misa and introduced herself as Lyssa. She was a pleasant woman, a faithful follower of the Father of Creation and an eager member of the town's society. She had lived alone with Misa for two years after moving here, until she married my father, Samm. They had me, and we had lived here together until my father's death when I was eight.
"Is that rabbit stew?" I asked, sniffing the air by the fire. The question was rhetorical; I knew that we were having rabbit stew today. I had helped prepare it before I went out to the woods.
"Don't be pert." my mother said without taking her gaze from the pot. "It is unbecoming from a girl your age."
"Everything seems to be unbecoming from a girl my age." I remarked, hanging my coat on a hook by the fire. The coat itself was "unbecoming"; one of my father's old coats that I had altered to better fit my slender frame. "It would be a shorter list to ask what isn't unbecoming for a girl of nineteen."
In our village, once you reached twenty years of age, you were old enough to marry. This meant that the entire nineteenth year of a person's life was dedicated to finding their future spouse and wooing them. I found this to be a waste of time, preferring to hunt and help my mother in the garden rather than court someone. I planned on living alone anyway, seeing how successfully my mother did it.
"Weeding the garden is not unbecoming." my mother suggested, finishing with the soup. "And it needs to be done. Come. It will be faster with two of us."