Here is the first chapter of Truth of Witch. This story is not going to be updated that much. As always R&R please.
The Truth of Witch
Sleeping Somewhere Cold
Definition of Witch – 1. a person who professes or is supposed to practice magic, esp. black magic; sorceress 2. Slang. An ugly or malignant woman; hag. 3. a person who uses a divining rod; dowser. 4. to affect by or as by witchcraft; bewitch; charm.
"I don't even know why Moro even tries. She already knows my answer," Lysandra muttered to herself as she stocked up Brecca Hill that over-looked Eastchester, side-stepping shrubs as she went. Moro Mrent, the one woman that just had to be appointed her Aunt Maya(1); an Aunt Maya was an elderly, single, or widowed woman that the village elected to see to that mother-less children grew properly. The woman would only stay as the child's Aunt Maya until they turned seventeen summers or married.
Lysandra Elise Attleigh was at the prime age to be courted by Eastchester Community's skilled and polished widowed or single men. Ever since she had turned fifteen summers last moon, the men had been looking at her with a sort of gleam in their eyes, that she could only call hope. She shuddered. Whether from the cool breeze or from the idea of marrying, she didn't know.
She knew that her father would not object to anyone who wished to court her but she just wished that she would have a say in the matter but when she'd rise to object Moro would always hush her and rush her out of the room and lecture her on how young lady's should always be seen and not heard. Lysandra spit at the notion, A lady, me?! Pah, ya right! I'd like to see that. The one man who just had to ask permission to Lysandra from her father was the ever famous, Ewan Meetle. Mr. Meetle was a widower ever since his young wife, Abryele Simmer, died during childbirth last spring leaving her newborn son, Hero, behind.
Abbie…Lysandra thought mournfully. Abbie had been her dearest friend ever since the fall equinox seven years ago. Her family had moved to Eastchester from Espiane, the trading area for a span of two hundred miles surrounding. People had said that Lysandra and Abbie were irrespirable. She missed her terribly. Ever since she died, Lysandra had had no one to talk to or to share her fears with. She was the oldest single girl in Eastchester and she hated it. If Abbie was still around, she wouldn't feel so lonely. She blamed Ewan. He had been married once before and his first wife had left him.
Lysandra cursed. She wasn't used to wallowing in self-pity. Her thoughts turned to her mother, Esmee Coralaine. Esmee had died of pneumonia three winters ago. Lysandra could still remember the look on her father's face when he found out Esmee had passed away in the night. He had looked so lost and forlorn. She had never seen her father look that way and it scared her. It had only been a week from All Father Mid-Winter, the holiday celebrating the middle of winter. Life from then on was harsher. Lysandra was in charge of the house duties that used to be Esmee's and their maid, Sari, but after Esmee's death, they had to let Sari go.
Her father worked later and they hardly ever saw each other. They had to cut more than Sari; her father also pulled her out of school. According to him she was already smart enough but Lysandra still went to the school library to read. The librarian, Devon, said once to Lysandra that knowledge was power and she believed that.
Any extra money they made went to her dowry. So far she had a quilt that Esmee had been working on before she became ill, a mirror, Esmee's brush set, and some five hundred dollars. Her books would not be part of her dowry Father had said she would not need them to be a wife or mother and that a husband would not want his wife to be more educated more than he.
Lysandra stopped her wondering to sit down on the trunk of an old oak tree that had fallen down in the last storm. She looked out at Eastchester, sighing and watching as people dashed into their homes to escape the dreads of night. The lights of the town were slowly coming on one by one but people were pulling their black curtains to hide the lights from beasts and other abnormal things that roamed the hills in the dark of night. Shadows were starting to dart here and there, trying to find a spot that suited them.
It just wasn't the beasts that roamed the night; there was also the Witch, a people that devoted their lives to the practice of the dark arts. Mothers, when their children didn't behave or go to sleep, told them that the Witch would come and steal them away. Now that Lysandra thought about it, Esmee never did tell her stories of the Witch and every time she would ask for a story since all the other children's mothers did, Esmee would get a sad look on her face and tell her gently that those types of stories weren't for little girls.
Lysandra thought that she should probably be going back. If someone didn't get inside before sunset they were at risk of being locked out until dawn and if she did get locked out Moro would be on her case all tomorrow about how day dreamy she was becoming. She had just started to stand up when out of the corner of her eye she saw a shadow dart to hide behind a tree. She turned around to get a better a look but by the time she did it was already gone.
She shook her head to clear it. Too many things were crushing down on her in her life. It seemed there was no end to them. Maybe she was starting to see things. Sometimes she thought she even heard people talking, whispering words of comfort and courage. She'd only told Abbie about them. Lysandra sighed; it seems this night is going to give me trouble. Sometimes she wished that she could just walk away and never look back. She knew she could do it. So why didn't she? There was nothing keeping her here; Mother was dead, Abbie was dead, Father would just cast her off to Ewan most likely and Moro wasn't helping in that department.
The shadows this night were edgy. Something was coming and it wasn't good. Lysandra took one last glance at the forest. The wind was picking up. Trees branches moaned in the breeze as the wind swayed them. She stepped backward hesitantly, her heel getting caught on a root. Whatever was coming, she didn't want to stay and find out what it was. Fear was creeping up her spine. She turned and ran.
She ran like she had never run before. Never in her life did she like to unless she had too. Her muscles weren't used to this kind of excursion so they started cramping up right away.
Running downhill is never a good idea. If Moro had seen her right then she would go into frenzy about Lysandra being idiotic again. Her feet tried desperately to try and find good footholds but there weren't many. She snagged her foot on an upturned root and went tumbling down the side of Brecca Hill, Eastchester getting closer as she did flips and turns. By the time she was at the bottom, her auburn hair was a mess of sticks and cocker burls were caught in the folds of her cotton skirt and dirt was smudged all over her dress.
Lysandra bet she even had a few scratches here and there and she started to feel a gnawing pain in the back of her head. Her hand flew up to rest at the back of her head to try and ease it but to no avail. Shaking her head, she willed herself to forget the pain. Very slowly she hoisted herself up onto wobbly legs.
One fleeting glance behind her told her that there was nothing following her but she didn't trust what her eyes were telling her. Something was coming and she needed to warn somebody and fast. Trying not to fall, she made her way to the outskirts of Eastchester. Her home was located at the other end of town with an open view of the meadow, hence the name, Attleigh.
She slowed down as she got into town. Her footsteps echoed silently around her off the houses' sides. The buildings loomed all around, as if laughing at her. Nobody dared to stay outside and in doing that made Eastchester seem more like a ghost town than an actual one. Knots were starting to form in her stomach as they always did when she was nervous. She tried to slow her breathing but it felt like she wasn't getting enough. Her heart was racing too fast for her to concentrate on it.
After a while her nerves couldn't take it any longer and so she started to jog after walking for so long. Soon Lysandra came to the edge of town. The meadow stretched before her, the breeze silently weaving in and out of the swaying grasses. The grasses were whispering to each other. Words that only the wind could understand. Shadows reached for her.
Franticly her gaze swerved to her home, sitting on the edge of town. No lights were on but smoke was coming out of the chimney. So someone had to be awake, most likely Moro, just waiting for her. The sight of the house was a sorrowful look. Cobwebs hung from the window pains and the boarding was peeling. Everything about it screamed condemned.
She stepped onto the porch, breathing heavily. Sweat was dripping off her brow. She wiped it with the back of her forehead letting out a sigh of relief. Now that she was in the safety of her own home and she thought about it that run seemed ridiculous. There had been nothing chasing her, nothing to be afraid of. So why did she run?
With that question haunting her mind, Lysandra was just about to turn the knob on the door when it flew open to reveal a very angry Moro. "Lysandra Elise Attleigh! Where have you been? For what reason would you be out this late?!"
A gust of warm air hit her as light shown out from inside the house. Moro's shadow blocked most of the light but she still had to squint to see her. Moro roughly grabbed her by the shoulders and dragged her in without even waiting for a reply. She let her go sending Lysandra sprawling to the wooden floor.
She landed on her elbows and spent several minutes rubbing them with a pained expression on her face. "Get that look off your face before your father sees it," Moro screeched. Instantly she stopped and looked up at her Aunt Maya. She was standing with her hands on her hips, scowling down at her charge.
Nothing about Moro was attractive. She had graying hairs at her temples and always had her ragged brown hair back in a stern tight bun. The color of her eyes was the same as her hair. There was such an empty look to her eyes. It gave her the chills to think what had happened to her to make them like that. Along with a narrow face and beak nose. It was surprising that her scrawny frame was able to hold her up so well.
"Now get up, and go greet your father. He was expecting you hours ago," Moro screeched again. She reminded her of a crow, always scrawking. All she needed was the feathers. She already had the look down anyways.
"But...," Lysandra started. She desperately wanted to tell someone what happened.
"But what?! You spent too long day dreaming again? Oh missy, don't you even start that tonight. You have two minutes to get your scrawny little ass in to see your father or else there will be no supper for you tonight. Now get!" Before she made a move to go back into the kitchen, she made a kicking gesture to Lysandra and then went back into the kitchen.
She slowly rose to her knees and stood, dusting herself off. Moro always made displays like that to her but she never dared touch her without her father's say. She knew she was at least protected by that from her Aunt Maya. Everything else was blown in the wind.
Where would her father be at this time? Most likely in the library, sitting in his chair staring into the fire without any other thought of the world. He did that more and more these days. Never even leaving for a meal. She often times ate by herself at the kitchen table. Moro liked to eat when no one else was looking.
Lysandra called what he was doing, pouting. If Moro ever heard her say that her father was pouting like some spoiled little brat she would be whipped. She cringed inwardly at the memory. Last time she had been whipped was when Father had sent her to the market for a special delivery that had to be delivered on time or else the customer wouldn't pay for it.
Instead of delivering it, she had dawdled to look around at all the shops for hours, mesmerized by all the treasures as such a thirteen summers old would be. By the time she got home, Moro had the horsewhip right and ready. She wasn't able to sit properly for a week. That was two years ago. Every now and again Moro threatened to get the horsewhip out but she never followed up.
She looked around taking in a good look of the entryway. The stairs leading up into the hallway that lead to the vast upstairs were in front her. The banister curved down into a swirl at the bottom of the stairs. Elaborate designs of unicorns and dragons in battle were carved into the oak wood.
A red plush carpet crept up to disappear at the top. The same carpet led to her bedroom. An old crystal chandelier hung unlit above her head, collecting dust like a magnet. Whenever someone slammed the doors in the house it would rattle just enough for her to hear it late into the night like a ghost rattling chains.
Moro's bedroom was a room a little off the kitchen that used to be the butler's but since they never had one, she moved into it. Everything in this house was dull and hadn't been cleaned for years. Mother had kept all the furniture and rooms up to date and clean but since she died they just sat unused in the same way she had left them years ago.
To her left was the parlor just as dusty and unused as everything else in the house. The wallpaper was peeling and the cushions on the couch needed a good puff. There was the kitchen to her right that Moro had just entered. The dining room was past the kitchen and then down the hallway that was next to the stairs leads to the back entryway and the library.
She took the hallway, the wooden floor boards groaning as she stepped, and came to the double doors of the library. The light of the fire could be seen from beneath them. Nothing could be heard except for the crackling do to the fire. Hesitantly she placed her hand on the brass knob, taking in a breath. The knob turned and the door swung open. Heat from the fire swirled around her. The shadow of a red plush chair came just barely to her toes. She knew who was seemingly resting in it, her father, Thwaite Attleigh.
Lysandra could hear the silent rasping breathing of her father. On tip-toed feet, she paced to the right of the chair where she could actually get a view of him. All she could really see was the top of his head that was a brown mixed in with grey. The rest of his body was huddled in a giant quilt. The patches all changing colors along with how the firelight flickered.
What a sorry looking sight he was, huddled in the chair as if trying to escape from the world's misery. It tore her heart. Didn't he realize that he still had her? That he still had a daughter who needed him and his love? He had been such a loving and doting father once but now he was just a shadow. The laughter lines around his eyes were replaced with plain old wrinkles. His smile always turned down in a constant frown and his eyes were hooded.
He looked up at her with pale blue eyes that glared probably angry that she was the one standing. He couldn't much walk these days. So he just chose a spot each day and stayed there. Lysandra kneeled down onto the plush carpet next to the chair resting her shoulder against his legs and spread out her skirt around her. Patting down her skirt to get out all the wrinkles while he sat there quietly. She wondered what he thought. What strange thoughts were roaming through his mind that made him seem so uncaring and ruthless?
They remained that way for several minutes with her laying her head on his knees and him sitting quietly, both lost in the flames. The fire was going out. The light dimming as it went. Looking up at him, she could see the fire's light and herself reflected in his eyes but she knew he wasn't truly seeing her.
He was remembering. Oh how she wished she could reminisce with him about their memories of Mother but she could never reach him where he was now. While she indulged in the good memories, he let himself be captured by the horrible ones of the days before she died and the ones after.
"I'm sorry, Father," Lysandra didn't really know what she was apologizing for but she had to say something to break the silence. She continued to fiddle with the ridges in her skirt when she felt a hand lay on her head. Her eyes widened at the sudden move.
"Where did you go?" he asked suddenly.
She unsure whether she would tell him the truth. Things were so strained between them now. Never did she know what she could confide in him. "I went for walk," she replied quietly after thinking of a several possible answers.
"A walk so long that you didn't even care to tell us where you went?" he asked.
"No not like that..." she trailed off.
"Then like what?!" he yelled, getting so excited that it looked like he was going to fall out of his chair.
Lysandra didn't get a chance to reply for the doors came banging open revealing in their midst Moro breathing heavily.
"He's here, sir!"
"Who would that be, Moro?" he asked solemnly. Lysandra dreaded the answer.
"Mr. Ewan Meetle, sir! Should I show him in? He's waiting at the door this very moment!"
Thwaite just nodded his head slightly as an answer and turned his attention back to the crackling fire. Moro straightened her posture and smoothed down her hair, took a deep breath and walked back out of the library doors. If Lysandra didn't know better, she'd think that Moro had a fancy for Meetle. Of course there was at least a twenty-year difference in their ages. A few minutes later in strutted Ewan Meetle like he owned the place. He probably thought that one day he would. Not that there was anything of value.
He just stood in the middle of the room with a hand on his hip, posing. The way he moved was unhurried, confident in his actions as if waiting. He stood tall with shoulders back. His blue eyes, as hard as stone, gazed around the room as if looking for any flaws. She was sure he found many in her. They passed over her. She kept still, not trusting herself to move. Looking up slightly she could see him through her hair that had spilled over her face when she had cast her gaze downwards.
His pale skin was illuminated by the fire along with those eyes that bore right into her seeing the nightmares of her soul. He smiled, sadistically, at her as if reading her thoughts. Too many times was she reminded of a predator slowing waiting for its prey to make one wrong move and then be snatched up by a mouthful of fangs except the only part was that he was missing the teeth. Too many times did that face plague her at night. She turned her head suddenly finding carpet fascinating.
"Please Mr. Meetle. Sit down," Moro insisted beckoning towards a chair directly across the room from her father.
"Why thank you Miss Mrent," Ewan drawled sweetly as he sat. He turned his attention to Thwaite in the opposite chair of him.
"Mr. Attleigh, you're probably wondering what I am doing here at this late of hour. Lysandra has grown up beautifully. I have watched her go from a young child to a young woman and now I thought it was the best time to ask this. Mr. Attleigh, I came here tonight to ask for your daughter's hand in marriage."
1. Maya - means Mother in Greek