Well, I'm actually not done with this story at all. This is my NaNoWriMo and it's not over. It's a revamp of a story I posted earlier on this site.
So Concrit is loved, praises are accepted and flames…well, they're taken as well as long as there's merit. If anyone wants to volunteer to be my beta, please feel free to jump on the band wagon. The fun fantasy stuff doesn't happen for…quite a while.
Book One: Damsel
Five shades of white
Tess's mother told her that she was beautiful. The young girl didn't know what to make of that since her mother was saying all matter of things since she had fallen ill. Tess didn't like seeing her mother lying down so, because it meant that something was most certainly wrong. Her mother always worked from the time the sun rose to the time it set. Tess's first memory of her mother was of her coming in from milking the cows early in the morning. Things were fine until one day, her mother just complained of feeling tired. Then she became achy, then came coughing, and chills and a fever, and soon her mother was bedridden for weeks.
Tess assumed chores as they came: tending the garden, to the animals, taking produce to the market and shopping. She didn't mind the work, she only minded that the reason she was doing the work was because her mother couldn't do it. Her mother couldn't do anything but lie in bed and cough. That made Tess sick to the point of making her feel nauseous when she returned home from doing work. She wanted to help her mother, but it soon became apparent that all she could do for her mother was make sure that she was comfortable. There was no direct cure for her mother's illness, she simply had to either tough it out, or die.
Tess and her father would take turns watching over her. They doused her forehead when she felt too hot, they got more bed sheets when she was cold. There was no more medicine to give her, the most they could do was make sure she ate something to keep some of her strength.
Tess didn't sleep much anymore. Her father relieved her from tending to her mother for the night, and she would only sleep for a few hours. She would stay awake watching him care for her mother. He didn't know that she saw the tears he shed for his wife. He didn't know that Tess cried on his behalf. She would wake up and smile just in hopes that he might smile back.
It was one night, when she felt that everything was just hopeless, that she noticed that her father was slumped over in his chair. She got out of her bed and walked over to him. He was fast asleep. She had no desire to wake him up, instead she sat on her mother's bed and smoothed her hair.
Her mother's hair was a rich brown like hers, soft and silky. Tess never paid much attention to her own hair, she was far too busy playing to do much more than put it in braids. On special occasions, she wore it out. Her mother's hair was splayed across her pillow stringy and greasy, a far cry from what she remembered it. Her skin was pale and clammy, she looked like a ghost.
Tess wanted to cry, her mother was so skinny and eerie looking. Her mother was usually rosy and full, her striking eyes contrasting with the lightly tanned and freckled skin of a woman who worked out in the sun. Her lips were always pink and smiling. Beauty was cold and still, her mother wasn't beautiful, she was radiant. Radiance was bright and shining and that was her mother.
Her mother's slim fingers shot up and grasped her wrist, her eyes were open unusually wide, showing her pale blue eyes. Her mother's light blue met her darker azure as the older woman released her grip on her child's hand.
"Oh…Tess…" she said in a strained voice, cupping her cheek. "You're so beautiful."
Tess hated those words by now. She didn't want to hear them ever again. It sounded as though her mother was saying goodbye whenever she said that and Tess did not wish for her mother to die.
"Mother, are you too hot?" she asked. The older woman didn't answer, instead she went back to sleep. Tess continued to stroke her mother's hair and speak softly to her. Her mother became very still, and Tess was worried. She felt her mother's forehead. She was feeling normal, not especially hot, so Tess didn't do anything to disturb her.
Soon, she realized after watching her mother for a while, that she was getting cold. That wasn't good, her mother had to stay warm. She went over to where they kept her extra bed sheets and quilts and she placed them over her. Her mother had to stay warm. Tess took her mother's hands in her own. White…so white and so cold…Tess tried her hardest to warm her mother's hands with her own.
"Stay warm, Mother," she pleaded softly, "Please…"
Exhaustion claimed her as she placed her head on her mother's chest and she fell asleep.
The next morning she awoke with a jolt. Tess was in her own bed, her father must have put her there later that night. She walked out of her small room and into her parents' room to see her mother. Her mother was still white, and as she walked over to her father's side, she could tell she was still cold by the way he held her hand. He was trying to keep her warm. She put her hand on her father's shoulder. He looked up at her, his dark eyes moist with tears. Tess didn't ask what had happened, instead she looked down at the floorboards as her vision became blurred with tears of her own. Her mother was dead. Tess was eight years old and the world seemed to be mounting up against her.
Her mother's ashen face was still captivating. Her cascading brown hair was still lovely despite its unkempt appearance, but Tess would never see those dancing blue eyes again, or see her mother out in the sun, active and smiling. Her mother was no longer radiant, she couldn't shine and bring warmth. She was beautiful, she was still, cold and dark. Tess felt like a void was sucking her down into the depths of despair.
Tess and her father walked out to the main room of the house, which served as a living area and kitchen. Tess rubbed her nose a little as she sat down in a rocking chair. Her father made them breakfast, which they ate little of.
Tess stayed at home as her father went to go fetch the village elder and get permission to bury her in the cemetery. She didn't move, she didn't react; she simply sat at the table, tears falling at will. Alone with her thoughts, she could only think of her mother's face, so white and empty.
Her father returned with the elder. Arrangements were made, and Tess watched it all silently. Her father was having a hard time keeping his composure as they discussed the burial. Tess didn't even look up at the elder when he sat down across from her. It wasn't until her father asked her that she looked up at the older, balding man. The elder looked astonished. Tess wasn't aware of it, but her face was lovely. Her features were well placed and complimented each other quite nicely. Her hair was rich, even in braids and her blue eyes were bright and striking.
She stared at the elder for a while and he stared back. He expressed his sorrow for her loss after he ceased to be captivated by her looks and offered to help in anyway he could. Tess nodded, the words, although sincere seemed empty. He tousled her hair.
"You're a beautiful little girl, Tess," he said. Tess's eyes became wide. The older man took it that she had never been called beautiful before and smiled before leaving. Tess's father glanced at her with worry, he knew when his daughter was troubled. Tess looked down at the table as her father sat next to her.
"Father…don't ever call me beautiful," she told him. He wrapped his arms around her for he understood.
"You're radiant," he told her. Tess shook with sobs. She allowed herself to cry freely as she buried her face in her father's chest. She wished that she could bring the same warmth her mother could when she was healthy. She hoped that she could take on the responsibilities that came before her…Mother was the sun in her father's and her own world, what would they do now in the darkness that would ensue?
Will update with what I have so far about every Monday and Friday.
Remember, concrit is loved, reviews are adored and a beta will gain my undying gratitude.