Hi there, so as you may know this is my first story on this site so I'd appreciate any constructive criticism of any sorts, even if it's just pointing out grammar flaws. Before I start I should let you know there will be POV's for five different people and their name will be that chapter title. Also, this is not going to be the lightest story out there. I'll put warnings for possible triggers at the start of each chapter for people who may be sensitive to it. And before I forget, thanks Fairy Lori for the awesome name, you saved me from a great headache. :) So, here's chapter 1 of A Single Spark.
"Light a fire, will you dear, it's getting cold."
"Of course Mother." I responded, putting wood into the fireplace. I pointed my index finger at the wood and a streak of fire shot from my fingertip and set the wood ablaze. In seconds there was a roaring fire.
"Thank you Alexandria."
"You're welcome Mother." I replied, placing another piece of wood in the fire. I got up to boil some water when the door opened and a man came in, a blast of cold air following him. He closed the door and turned to us, urgent.
"Father?" I said, nervous.
"They know." He said, taking off his helmet. He was dressed in his palace armour, chain mail with a sword on his side, his shield was on his back. Even without looking at it I could still picture the green serpent wrapped around a broken spear, the Kings symbol, symbolising the fall of his enemies.
My dad was about six feet tall, he had blonde hair and green eyes, a scar running down the right side of his face.
"Alexandria, go to your room and grab your bag, quickly." He ordered. "And change into something warm. Now."
I turned and ran, never questioning an order from my father. My heart leapt into my throat. I ran into the basement and grabbed my travel bag that I had packed, in case this had ever happened. I could hear my parents arguing upstairs as I quickly changed out of my nightgown and into my winter clothes.
I put on my winter boots, my only pair of pants that had no holes, my slightly ripped white cotton shirt and my thick wool sweater. I flipped the hood up, slinging my bag over my back as I listened to my parent's arguing.
"Are you sure?" My mother asked.
"Yes Maggie." Father replied. "Dixon warned me. He told me that the King has found a way to capture people's gifts and take them. He said the King is coming for Alexandria, and he will kill her. I cannot allow that."
"Oh Fredrick." Mother sobbed.
"Go get your stuff." Father ordered. "We need to go, who knows how long we have?"
After getting dressed I grabbed my knife and strapped it to my belt, and I looked around my room and bade it a silent goodbye. Then I turned and headed upstairs.
I was near the top when I heard the door get kicked in and my mother scream in fear and shock.
I held my breath as I heard people running into our house, then the sound of two blades meeting. I was scared and curious, I opened the door slowly, peeking out. My father was fighting off two men at once while my mother was hauled out the front door, screaming.
Oh my god. I thought in horror. Mother! Father!
I was frozen in shock, starring as the King's men destroyed my home and fought my father. We had been too slow, they had arrived, it was too late, they were going to take me and kill my parents. Only God knew what he planned for me.
"Where is the girl Fredrick?" A man asked, swinging his sword at my dad.
"She's gone Mark." Fredrick replied.
"Lies." Mark said, blocking Fredrick's attack. "You would never leave her alone." He looked around and noticed me peeking out from behind the door. "There she is!" He bellowed. "Get her!"
I blinked in shock as three men ran at me, my father tried to stop them but Mark clubbed him from behind, knocking him to his knees and ripping a scream from my mouth.
"Father!" I cried.
"Run Alexandria!" He yelled as Mark clubbed him again, knocking him unconscious.
I flung open the door fully and sprinted to the back, running through the kitchen and fleeing through the back door, hearing the guards following.
I fled into the forest, weaving through the trees and crying silently. The snow blasted me in the face, swirling around me and making it hard for me to see two feet in front of myself. I felt like the darkness was suffocating me and the grief at the guards taking my parents overwhelmed me. I stumbled through the forest, knowing that the guards would never find me here, not until the storm passed at least.
I ran until I found a cave, ducking down inside of it, and I shivered in the cold and curled up in a ball to preserve my body heat, waiting out the storm. I could have created a fire but there was no wood, so instead I raised my body heat slightly, fighting off the chill.
It took over a day for the storm to pass, and when it did I set out through the snow, knowing that I couldn't waste any time. I had no food, no shelter. I knew I had to find a way out of the woods.
It didn't take long for guards to find me, and then I was running again, my bag slapping against my back painfully. My heart crawled into my throat as I ran, ducking though any and all small spaces as I tried to lose them.
I ran and jumped, grabbing a vine and swinging over a fast flowing river, remembering all the times that I used to do this with my dad. When I was swinging I pulled my knife out of its sheath and cut through the vine, sailing through the air and landing in a pile of snow. I struggled my way out of the mound of snow and turned to see three guards on the other side of the river, trying to figure out a way to cross without getting wet.
When I was close to the city I hid my knife in my right boot, I knew you couldn't walk through the town visibly armed, especially if you were a girl.
I pulled my hood up more, trying to cover my face so that no one would recognise me. Then I merged with the crowd at the market, passing each stand quickly. I felt my stomach cramp in hunger and – feeling guilty – I managed to swipe an apple from the fruit stand without breaking stride. I ducked into an alley to eat the apple, core and all. Then I scooped up a handful of snow and melted it in my palm, drinking greedily. Then I set off for the market again, managing to swipe another apple and a frozen fish from the stalls. I stuffed them both in my bag and as I searched for a place to stay.
After eating my other apple and wandering around for a bit I found a half collapsed hut and managed to wiggle my way in. The ground was lightly coated in snow but I quickly melted it and dried the floor, setting my bag down. I pulled out my rolled up wool blanket and spread it on the floor, then cooked the fish and devoured it.
I yawned and stretched, feeling extremely tired, so I curled up on my blanket and fell asleep.
For a week I lived like that, stealing my food, and living in my collapsed hut. Then I saw the posters.
One poster had a picture of me drawn on it with a description underneath, red hair, green eyes, freckles, thirteen years old, wanted alive for questioning, one hundred gold pieces for delivering her to the King, alive and preferably unharmed. Preferably.
Great. I thought, studying the picture. Now there's no one I can trust. A hundred gold pieces, that's a lot. You'd never have to work again. How rich is the King?
The next poster I saw was an execution poster, I caught my breath as I read the words on it.
Margret Patricia Holt and Fredrick Garth Holt are hereby accused of treason by His Majesty King Hans and sentenced to death by beheading effective tomorrow at noon. All work suspended and all required to attend in the square.
There was more but I couldn't read it, my head buzzing. I felt faint, like I might pass out, but I forced myself to leave, and soon I found myself sprinting to my little hut, crying. I crawled through and screamed into my bag, crying myself to sleep.
I knew it was stupid but I knew I had to go. So that day I packed my bag up, leaving my 'home' and crawled out and around the broken limbs, pulling my hood up and navigating through the crowds on the way to the square.
I weaseled my way closer to the front, knowing his majesty would not expect me to come. I could see the hooded man, holding a long sword, gleaming in the winter sun. I wanted to turn and run, but I was frozen to the spot. Not only because it would certainly blow my cover but also because of need. I needed to see my parents again, I had to.
It didn't take too long. At noon on the dot they were dragged onto the stage and my heart skipped a beat. Tears pricked my eyes as I saw the fear in my Mother's eyes and my Father's defiance. Even at his execution his head was held high and he stared the crowd in the eye. I felt proud to be his daughter in that moment and I vowed silently I would make him proud.
Then the real shocker. The King himself waltzed onto the stage, his purple cloak blowing behind him in the chilly wind, I drew my shawl around me tighter and studied him. I had heard a lot about him but it was different seeing him in person. Dark brown hair and almost black eyes, he gave off dark vibes, standing tall and proud at 6'2". He did not wear the royal robes, instead he wore slacks, boots and a winter coat, he made even simple clothes flashy and expensive. His golden crown gleamed on his head and I felt disgusted, someone as evil as him did not deserve the title as King.
He addressed the crowd, his voice deep and cold. "I – King Hans – herby sentence Margret Patricia Holt and Fredrick Garth Holt to death for treason against the Kingdom."
People yelled, throwing insults at my parents. I felt myself getting angry and forced myself to calm down. When I got angry my flames got out of control, random parts of my body would catch fire and I knew that catching fire in this town would be a death sentence, especially now when the King himself was here and about to execute my parents.
"Their daughter, Alexandria Hailey Holt, is wanted for using the dark arts, the reward for her capture is one hundred gold pieces."
Dark arts? Is that what he thought I was doing? I wasn't, at least, I didn't think so. As far as I've known I've always been able to create fire. Had my parents done something to me? Did they use the dark arts? Was that why I was like this?
My mind raced but I was cut off from my thoughts when the King started speaking again.
"I'm telling you this so that you know, she is dangerous." The King said, starring solemnly out at the crowd. "She will kill you without a second thought, she is a danger to our kingdom and she must be stopped."
People started screaming, calling out for my blood and I flinched, trying to shrink down and make myself as small as possible. The King raised his hand and everyone fell silent.
"I need her alive." He stated. "To see if she's working with anyone and how she has mastered the dark arts so we can put a stop to it."
The crowd roared in approval and I felt faint.
The King nodded at the executioner and the executioner raised the blade above his head to strike, the crowd screaming for blood. I stared at my parents and I caught my Father's eye and he smiled, pride in his eyes, he held his head a little higher before the guard forced his head down.
I stayed still, my gaze on my father unwavering as the blade flashed down, slicing clean through both of my parents necks, killing them instantly, their blood pouring onto the stand.
My scream of grief was stuck in my throat as everyone else screamed in satisfaction. They didn't seem to care that my father was an honorable man, favoured in this village. They didn't seem to care that my mother used to try and feed the poor and volunteered at the local orphanage.
The King said they were traitors and suddenly everything else went out the window. And I realised in that moment that my family name was tarnished, unless I did something about it people would say it in hatred.
I vowed then to clear my family name, no matter what it took. I would not dishonour my father, I would not let the family name be shamed. Not forever. And I would have my revenge on the King, whether it killed me or not.
. . .
It all came crashing down a day later. I was heading to the market, my face covered by my hood. I swiped an apple from the stand and ate it in an alley, before heading back to swipe another for later. But when I touched the apple a hand grabbed my wrist.
"Gonna pay for that girly?"
I made the stupid decision of looking up. I locked eyes with the stall owner and his eyes flashed in recognition. He knew me and I knew him. My father or mother brought me to the market and we always bought apples from him, Gregory McDuff. For a fleeting instant I thought he'd take me in, help me, because he had always been a nice man, smiling and laughing. And on days his business boomed he'd give me a free apple.
He was an intimidating man, six feet tall with shaggy brown hair and green eyes. He was packed with muscle from his old job at the forge and lifting heavy objects for extra money until his accident that took a few of his fingers.
"Alexandria?" He whispered.
I stood, frozen. He looked quickly around the street. "My goodness girl, it's freezing out here. Look, my shift is just ending, why don't you come to my house? You must be starving, poor thing."
I nodded mutely and he led me away, leaving his son Tom in charge of the stall. I followed him to his house and he sat me on the couch. I pulled my shawl down and he prepared a bath for me while making dinner, saying over and over how hungry I must be. I didn't say a word, taking my bath quietly.
When I got out I saw that Gregory had cooked a fish and sliced up an apple. Wow, what a meal. I quickly devoured it and then yawned, suddenly exhausted. He set up the couch for me and I dozed off gratefully, warm and full for the first time in what felt like forever.
When I woke up it was dark out. I pulled my shawl tighter around me, fighting off the chill that got into the room when the fire died. I snuck over to the window, peering out through the curtains. The streets were empty, quiet. I was about to turn around when I saw it. The carriage.
It was drawn by two midnight black horses, guards marching behind it. I knew instantly that they were coming for me, that Gregory had turned me in. I saw the cage on the back of the carriage.
I knew I had to get out of here.
But sorrow routed me to the spot. I began to cry silently, as I dropped the curtain. I turned around and saw Gregory.
"Why?" I whispered.
"A hundred gold pieces." Gregory said. "Do you understand? We'd never starve again, no more poverty, hunger, disease. No more working all day, we'd be set for life."
"What about my life?" I whispered. "What about my parents? He killed them! I saw it!"
"You were there?" Gregory whispered.
I nodded, trying to control my anger and despair.
"I am so sorry Alexandria." Gregory said. "But I need the money."
"I'm sorry." I said. "But I'm leaving."
"I can't allow that." Gregory said. "Do you know what the King will do to my family if you're not here?"
"You should have thought about that sooner." I replied.
Gregory showed me the knife in his hand. "I'll stop you."
I sobbed softly, fear and desperation clouding my judgement. My hands caught on fire. He shouted in shock and tumbled back, whispering about the dark arts.
I turned and ran.
I heard people shout and the guards start chasing me. I quickly extinguished my fire, pulling my shawl up and running as fast as I could. I ran through dark alleys, my only thought was to avoid capture.
I heard the guards' boots slapping the ground methodically and I looked for any way I could lose them. I sprinted out of an alley and immediately screamed and stumbled back when a pure black horse darted out in front of me, the rider on its back swinging their sword at me. I stumbled backwards, holding up my arm defensively and the blade cut through my skin and sent red hot spikes of pain down my arm. I screamed in pain and stared at the blood in shock.
The rider dismounted, coming at me and preparing to swing their sword and I panicked, throwing my good arm up and shooting a burst of flame at the rider, hitting them on the right side of their face and causing them to drop their sword and scream, slapping their hands on their face.
"You witch!" He screamed.
I cradled my arm to my chest, inching away from him. The pain was almost too bad to think through but I was aware of people shouting and the guards getting closer.
Gotta get out of here. I thought, my head swimming in pain and my conflicting emotions.
"I'm so sorry." I whispered, looking around for an escape. No way I'd be able to escape with my injury, I could barely outrun them on a good day.
Then I saw the horse. I knew it wasn't good practice for a woman but my father had taught me how to ride when we had visited my Uncles farm. I managed to haul myself up with my one good arm and I looked back at the man I had burned, I couldn't see his face but I saw his hand tighten around his sword hilt and my breath hitched.
"HIYAH!" I shouted, kicking the horses sides and making it run. I leaned forwards on the horse, leading it through town and hearing the men's shouts fade into the distance.
I rode out of the kingdom and into the woods, flinching every time I heard an owl hoot or a branch snap. I rode on the path as quickly as my new horse could run, until I came across another village, I rode through quickly, taking a right and heading down that path, feeling light-headed as I cradled my arm to my chest and cried silently.
I made it to the next town in a couple of hours and by then I could tell my horse was running out of steam. I found an abandoned shack and slipped off of the horse, collapsing onto the ground. I took the man's bag from the horses side and slapped it in the ass, causing it to neigh and run away. Then I staggered into the house, lighting a tiny fire and looking at the jagged wound on my arm.
I was too tired to even attempt to treat it so I grabbed a musty cloth I found and wrapped it around my arm. I looked around and saw a bundle of sheets in a corner and I crawled over, collapsing on them and closing my eyes, letting the darkness consume me.
Tada! There's the first chapter, as for updating it'll start off at once a week so expect the second chapter on Sunday. :) So, until then, see ya!