Brey- Part 3

Fiction By Anna // 9/15/2008

Part Three: In Which Brey is Utterly Confused About Many Things (and You Probably will be Too), and Things Get Dangerous

Brey walked into the small house where she and her guardian lived. It wasn’t really much of a house at all. It was built into a kind of hill, so that the back end was almost underground. Because of this, most of the windows were on the roof, with special curtains that could stick to the ceiling, and even more special coverings in case of rain.
Yllna was nowhere to be seen in the "common" room (the house had two rooms; the common room was for daily activities, and the other, the bedroom, for sleeping and changing clothes), so Brey went into their room and slipped the staff into the space between the wardrobe and her bed, where it wouldn’t be easily noticed.
When she walked back into the common room, Yllna had appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and was making lunch of some kind.
Yllna was rather ugly; she was bent over, very wrinkled, and had stringy hair that was some nondescript color between grey and black. Her nose was too big and her mouth was too long. But Brey didn’t really care; Yllna had raised her, and Brey loved her.
When Yllna saw Brey’s face, she said, "I see you got my gift."
"Yes, I did," sighed Brey.
"Did you like it?"
Brey nodded.
Yllna smiled. "I didn’t raise you to be a liar, child."
Brey sighed again. "I suppose I liked it okay, but Nobin and Frika saw it, too. Then I told Nobin about the fairytales and…" Brey looked at Yllna’s face. She didn’t seem surprised or worried.
"Why did you give it to me?" asked Brey suddenly.
Yllna nodded as though she expected this question. "I figured it was about time. It was always meant for when you’d come of age. You’re thirteen; they should be waking up soon."
"They? Who are ‘they’?"
"If you don’t have any idea of what they are, then they haven’t woken up yet," said Yllna matter-of-factly.
Well, that doesn’t help at all, thought Brey. "When will they wake up?"
"Probably when you discover what they are."
"Who are they?" Brey repeated.
"Number one, it’s ‘what’, not ‘who’. Two, if I told you that wouldn’t be discovering them. And when you discover them, then they’ll wake up and so will you and you’ll know what they are, and that’s that."
"But if I won’t know what they are until they wake up, and they won’t wake up until I know what they are, then how-"
"That isn’t what I said," said Yllna sternly. "Discovering something is very different from knowing something."
Brey felt positively dizzy. "I’m going to go lie down, I think," she said, and Yllna made no objections.
Unfortunately she had forgotten that the staff was right next to her bed. And as she fell asleep gazing at it, I can tell you her nap was not particularly restful, as it was filled with sleeping dragons that woke up when she touched the staff and flew around her room, burning all the forbidden stories Yllna had told her.

Over the next week something very strange began to happen. Brey wondered if maybe she was "discovering" whatever was "waking up". "I feel like a fish that’s growing wings or something," said Brey confusedly to her pillow one night. "Or something…" she repeated.
She didn’t dare tell Yllna about this for fear of another cryptic series of answers.
Of course, she suspected this change was somehow connected to the staff, but she had no idea how. She felt very uneasy about it all. Nobin never said another word about it, and neither did Frika, but Brey had the uncomfortable feeling that whenever they saw her they were thinking about it.
"I wish I could just toss you away and forget about it," she said crossly the staff, laying across her lap. Then she added quickly, "No, I take it back. I don’t really want to forget about any of this. Somehow or other I think that this is a good thing. Oh, but it so frustrating and confusing!"
Finally she felt so different that not telling Yllna was no longer an option. So that night, she told her. "I hurt and ache all over, but not like I’m sick," she tried to explain. "It’s different. And I know it has something to do with-" she broke off nervously. "To do with magic."
"You’ve discovered them," said Yllna decidedly. "They’ve woken up."
"Really?" asked Brey, unsurprised and confused at the same time.
"Very much so."
"Then shouldn’t I know what they are??" asked Brey.
"You will, because now that they’re discovered I can tell you."
Brey had only a vague idea of what Yllna meant.
"You remember all those fairytales I’ve told you?" Yllna said firstly.
Technically, Brey didn’t remember all the stories, but that was beside the point. She nodded.
"You know that they are connected to both the staff I gave you and your new…" The old woman searched for a fitting word. Finding none, she simply said, "Feeling?"
Brey nodded again. This much she knew.
"Have you ever wondered why I told them to you, despite their illegality?" asked Yllna.
"I assumed you knew they were harmless," said Brey, shrugging, but interested.
"Wrong," said Yllna. "Do you remember anything characteristic of the tales I picked?"
Brey thought a moment. "You told me they were true, and I always believed you. I still do."
"Think harder," urged Yllna. "What were your favorite stories about?"
"The Magicians," Brey answered promptly.
"Why?" Yllna urged.
Brey thought a moment, describing feelings she never could have put into words before now. "They seemed close to me somehow. They were easier to understand, even when you thought a story about them was complete nonsense."
Yllna sighed. "This is harder than I thought. I keep forgetting you’re still a child. Brey, don’t you understand?"
Brey shook her head.
"You’re a Magician, child!" said Yllna. "To state it shortly."
(Recorder’s note: Short, my foot! I think the conversation was anything but short. In my opinion, Yllna could have just said that in the first place.)
"Really?!" cried Brey breathlessly, delighted. "How can I tell for sure?"
"You already do know for sure; dear, stupid girl! The strangeness you’ve been feeling. That’s your magic waking up! Child, don’t look so happy! This is very serious."
"Serious?" asked Brey. "How? This is the best thing you’ve ever told me!"
"For one," said Yllna, her face hushing Brey to a whisper, "you can’t tell a single soul about this- no, not even your closest friends. Brey, if fairytales are outlawed- harmless stories-how much more do you think real Magicians will be?"
Brey sat down, understanding. Her face fell a little. "Oh. Oh dear."
"You’d be killed in a moment if anyone found out."
"Yllna," said Brey after some time, "what was the staff for?"
"I don’t really know. I was told to give it to you when you came of age to feel your magic. I suppose a Magician could tell you."
"You’re not a Magician?" said Brey in surprise.
"Goodness, no, child! Where would you get an idea like that?"
She had just assumed it.
Yllna went on, "But I learned a lot from two who were- your parents."
"You never told me you knew my parents," said Brey softly.
Yllna was respectfully silent for a moment. Then, "Your father is the one who gave me the staff to give to you, and your mother gave you that ball you always play with. In both cases I have no idea why."
My ball was from my mother? thought Brey, startled. What a day for surprises.
"Whatever happened to my parents, Yllna?" asked Brey.
"They died. Magicians are mortal, too. They knew it was coming, so they gave me the staff and ball and you and told me what to do with them. They did not tell me that they were Magicians, but I had suspected that all along. Let’s just say that I was raised the old way, when magic wasn’t illegal."
Brey fiddled with her ball. "So now what?"
"What do you mean, ‘now what’?"
"So I know I’m a Fairy, now what? What do I do about it?"
Yllna cupped Brey’s face in her hand. "I don’t think you need to do anything about it."
Brey sighed. "I mean, what do I do with it? It’s no good being a Magician if I don’t use it."
"Oh, so you want to learn how to use your magic, is that what you mean?" Yllna smiled knowingly.
Brey nodded enthusiastically.
"I don’t know very much, Brey. It’ll all depend on you."
Eagerly she clasped Yllna’s hands. "I’ll work hard, I promise!"
Yllna laughed. It was a dry, crackling sound, but somehow pleasant. "Then I shall teach you what I know," she said.
**********
"This isn’t exactly what I had in mind," said Brey the next morning.
"Making breakfast is the very first thing I learned, so it should be the first thing you learn," said Yllna- stubbornly, it seemed to Brey.
"I thought you weren’t a Magician," said Brey.
"I’m not. But even a non-Magician can learn a few things."
Brey considered complaining, but thought the better of it. "Just tell me this isn’t going to be a non-magical breakfast," she said.
"Almost all of my breakfasts are magical," said Yllna with a tiny wink.
Brey looked over at her guardian, surprised. "So that’s why they’re so good," she said as it dawned on her.
Yllna nodded wisely. "But today I’m not teaching you how to improve flavors. I’m teaching you the Self-flipping Pancake Recipe."
"Self-flipping? What’s the use of that?" asked Brey.
Yllna snorted. "It means you don’t have to flip them yourself, dear, stupid thing!"
Brey frowned. Thrice in a week she had been called stupid- and two of the times from the person dearest to her! That was inclined to make anyone irritable. "I knew that. What I meant was, why not just flip them by hand?"
"One, when you’re old it makes all the difference," explained Yllna patiently. "Two, you can leave the pancake alone and do something while it makes itself. Three, it’s fun. Simple enough?"
Brey shrugged. "Whatever you say."
"That’s what I like to hear," chuckled Yllna.
Brey thought Yllna was going to cast a spell or something to make the pancake flip itself. But she didn’t.
She dug into the pantry and brought out a fair-sized jar that Brey had never seen before. She couldn’t tell how full the container was, because its contents were literally bouncing of the glass walls.
"Don’t open it until I tell you to," warned Yllna. "Better yet, let me open it. Jumping beans will escape quick as anything if you aren’t careful, and once they’re gone it’s almost impossible to catch them again."
"Jumping beans!" exclaimed Brey, laughing. "How odd!"
Yllna smiled. "The Magicians, of course, grew them. The beans would even jump while they were in their pods. The pods would rattle and wriggle, and if you let them get overripe, they would leap away and tear the stalk out of the ground. But other than that, they aren’t hard to grow… The shoots literally pop out of the ground!" Yllna laughed at her little joke. "It’s the planting, harvesting, and using of the beans that’ll trip a person up."
Brey considered this as Yllna proceeded to retrieve some beans.
Yllna expertly twisted the lid of the jar so that it was off, a handful grabbed, and the lid back on again in no time. "One bean in each pancake," she said quickly, slipping Brey a pebble-like, jiggling thing from her fist, which she quickly closed again. "Hold on to it!" she cried.
The order came too late. The bean was gone, bouncing off the walls, colliding into tin pans, and leaping out a window. Brey swore she heard a shriek of laughter from the naughty thing as it left.
Brey started off to chase the bean, but Yllna stopped her quickly. "You’ll never catch it! Which is why I told you to hold on."
"But," cried Brey, "I have to get it! What if someone sees it?"
Yllna laughed. "They’ll think their eyes are playing tricks on them," she said. "If we’re lucky, it’ll get stuck, or an animal will put a quick end to it. At any rate, the local cats are sure to get some exercise out of it."
"How in the world do you get these to stay still while you make the pancakes?!" exclaimed Brey in an exasperated tone, throwing her hands up in the air.
Yllna laughed again and dropped a bean into the pancake mix. "It’s simple, really. Once they make it into the batter they’re no trouble at all. Either they melt, or they get stuck in it."
Gears turned rapidly in Brey’s mind. "Then why don’t you just do something like that to the other beans?" asked Brey. "Squish them into a paste and just use amounts of that!"
Yllna looked surprised, then smiled. "I hadn’t thought of that. Do you understand now why the Wizards and Fairies were- and are- so important to the rest of mankind?"
"’Cause we’re smart and you’re not," said Brey with a smirk. She was inclined to feel a little proud after her first inventive, magicianly idea.
"Something like that," admitted Yllna with a laugh.
****
It was sometime soon after Yllna began teaching her a little magic that Brey became aware that she was being watched. She realized it had started almost as soon as she was given that staff. Had word gotten out? Had Cristoff or Bertolf seen it? Or maybe Frika had said something. The same accusation was impossible to make of Nobin; she knew he would never do something like that. But she didn’t know Frika so well as her other friend.
She first noticed she was being watched seriously when the stranger came. It was a few days after the jumping bean incident.
He was a strange, weather-stained man, and appeared to be a traveler of some sort- and looked to be of a roguish, dangerous kind. He was tall, and he wore a swirling grey cloak. Brey had glimpsed a long sword at his side once; but it was sheathed, and usually hidden. His hood was usually shadowing his face, but once it had slipped for half a moment, and Brey had had a glimpse of his features. He had wavy, shoulder-length blonde hair and thin, rugged stubble. His hair was stringy and wet-looking from lack of washing. His eyes were bright and sharp.
His eyes. They were two different colors: One green, one grey, with a bluish hint.
Brey wasn’t prepared to trust him. Besides that strangers were uncommon in her village, her newly discovered lineage had to be guarded, and she had grown wary of anyone she did not know well.
There were others, too. She never got a good look of any of them, though. Just shadows over her shoulder. Glittering eyes on hooded faces. Then they were gone.
Brey didn’t like feeling watched (which is only natural). But it wasn’t going to stop there.

Comments

Great!!!

Great Anna, really well written. I like it alot.

marie (not verified) | Mon, 09/15/2008

Excellent!

Anna,

I love this! I can imagine this chapter printed on the jagged-cut, paper pages of a beautiful novel, with black-and-white children's illustrations. I want more. I want to know what happens next. You've hooked me.

Now, a word of caution: avoid cliches. Make your characters your own. Let them live their own lives, not the lives of other, famous literary characters. Leave Gandalf, Arragon, and Harry Potter alone. Their stories have already been written. Do not sacrifice the stories of your characters for theirs. Yours must live their own lives, face their own fears, and shine with their own brilliance. Do this, and you will have fashioned the next Gandalfs, Arragons, and Harry Potters. Don't, and you will dilute the power of the unread, of the originality within you that is for you, and only you, to express. Good luck in this.

Taylor

Taylor | Tue, 09/16/2008

I like this chapter! The

I like this chapter! The jumping beans were hilarious! Very cute.
To echo Taylor: yes, be careful about cliched characters. The stranger reminds me a lot of Aragorn, although the eyes were a good differentiating touch. Ummm...unfortunately weather-beaten strangers are much in demand in fantasy. I know, I have problems with this too. :0) You might consider changing the stranger's appearance a bit more.
Other than that, this was great!

Heather | Tue, 09/16/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

*long sigh*

I know the stranger looks alot like Aragorn... unfortunately, that's how I've pictured him. I feel rather torn now- between my desire to have the character the way I've thought of him, and to be original. There's also some despair in the mix.
I'll do my best. That's all I can promise for now.

But thanks... I did say I wanted criticism, and it's EXTREMELY helpful. And thanks for just liking it. :)

Anna

ps- Were there any characters like Harry Potter or Gandalf??? I didn't notice. Not that I've ever read Harry Potter, so in that case I would be clueless...
*********
Love me, love my friends.
-Anne of the Island

Anna | Tue, 09/16/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I didn't see any like

I didn't see any like Gandalf. But anyway, to echo both of the above, avoid cliches! You've been very good so far at making your characters unique, but I thought "Aragorn" as soon as you described your weatherbeaten stranger,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
~William Shakespeare
The Merchant of Venice

Sarah | Tue, 09/16/2008

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

It always seems I have

It always seems I have characters that look like other characters too, and the best part...they are always have cloaks!! Always. What is it with fantasy and cloaked characters! What is it with ME and cloaked characters. it seems like fantasy would not be complete without them. They add mystery. Anyhow Anna, I probally would not worry about the appearence of your character, if thats what you envisioned, then leave it the way it is. It's a really great story ;)

marie (not verified) | Tue, 09/16/2008

wow!!

Anna,
This chapter was so good!!! I had alot of fun just reading it. I hope you continue this story, as well as "Stars over Llorleya". Awesome job! :)

Clare Marie | Tue, 09/16/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Thanks again.

Thanks again.

Oh, I edited the stranger's appearance. Not too terribly much- in fact, very little at all- but hopefully enough. Tell me if it's not...

Oh, and Clare, I definitely plan to continue both this and SOL.

*********
Love me, love my friends.
-Anne of the Island

Anna | Thu, 09/18/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Smiles

I smiled a lot during this chapter. I love the beans!! It was a very nice touch =P

Falling Leaves-unschooler, horse lover, and obsesser over writing, reading and proper grammar.

Erin | Fri, 09/19/2008

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Ha! Jumping beans! The

Ha! Jumping beans! The last part is creeeepy. I love it!

"True love is the greatest thing in the world - except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe." - Miracle Max, from The Princess Bride

Bridget | Mon, 06/01/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya