Brey- Part 8

Fiction By Anna // 3/9/2009

Part Eight: Strange Matters of Some Large Concern

Rhys swung Beriadan around. Each slash became more assured. It felt so good to have that infernal cast off! Especially since it had itched like hay in a shirt collar toward the end of the healing process.
If only he could get used to the sight of all his new fire-given scars. If we had a Medicine Magician- his thought broke off distractedly as he remembered that Chliara, who hadn’t been mentored in anything beyond crafting, showed interest in healing. A pity he couldn’t help her. She would have to work as the Magicians of Old had… coming up with tools and inventions on her own. She’s smart; it shouldn’t be a problem. Then, with a sigh, he thought of his own student. Brey is smart, too… so why is it so hard for her?

In another part of the camp, Brey cast her staff and bag to the ground in frustration, nearly tipping out of the tree she sat in. What’s wrong with me? I went along so fast at first, she thought.
Brey’s mentoring had been progressing well. Then, she had suddenly stopped advancing. No new ideas occurred to her, no techniques would stick in her head. At first Rhys had dismissed it as a temporary phase, similar to Writer’s Block. But as time passed and the problem persisted, he had stopped giving Brey that assurance. And because he didn’t say what the problem was, Brey knew something was terribly wrong.
Brey herself had her own name for it: Unmagic. Unmagic, because it was slowly undoing even the skill she had already procured. This was more than a complication or dilemma. This was a crisis. She rattled the branch she was sitting on, showering leaves below.
"Och, Brey!" cried a voice from below.
Brey looked down to see Chliara brushing leaves from her hair and shoulders. Brey scowled. She didn’t want to see Chliara right then. They were friends, but Chliara was so talented in magic. She was already coming up with her own cures, and kept a garden full of herbs and other plants that seemed charmed out of the ground. Brey had no tolerance then for any Magician not struggling the way she was. "I didn’t see you there," she said sourly. She did not apologize.
Chliara wasn’t a very ready hint-taker. She just hiked up her skirt and climbed into the tree with Brey. "What’d be troubling ye, now?"
Brey shifted her seat on the limb. "It’s just not fair."
"Ye’d be daft if ye thought life was fair," said Chliara gently. "Ye must ken that."
Brey shook her head, searching for the right words. "I mean, I know life isn’t fair. There are always problems. But why do some problems have to be unsolvable?"
"Nae problem is unable to be solved, Brey," said Chliara seriously. "Sometimes the answer just isnae to our liking."
Brey banged her head against a branch. "Why? Why can’t things just go the way they should for once?! Just for once, can’t it be…"
"Perfect?" finished Chliara. She put a compassionate, pitying arm around Brey’s shoulders. "Brey, everything’s broken. Sometimes in places that ye can hardly ken."
Like my old Shaping, thought Brey.
Chliara wasn’t done. "It seems to ruin the pattern of things, to spoil the plan of the One who made it. But it doesnae. The One kenned ‘twould happen; it didnae catch him by surprise."
"It still hurts," said Brey. "I still want to be perfect. I just can’t stand this inability to retain anything I’ve learned!"
"We all want to be perfect." Chliara blinked her blue eyes. "’Tisnae a bad thing. We’re all made to long for more." She sighed. "I’ll be going, then, lass. My garden needs tending, and I’d better see to it…" She lowered herself slowly from the tree.
"Chliara?" said Brey softly.
Chliara looked back up. "Aye?"
"Thank you," Brey whispered.
Chliara’s face broke into a smile. "Ye’re welcome."

Things had been bad for Brey, but they steadily got worse. Perhaps she should have expected it. Her increasing frustration and depression began affecting everyone negatively. Everyone, that is, except Landon, who never interacted with her anyway, and therefore went on just as cheerfully impassive as usual.
That’s when Brey made an announcement to Rhys.
"I’m leaving," she said simply.
"That’s nice," said Rhys, mind apparently elsewhere.
"Rhys!" She shook him by the shoulder (or rather, tried). "I said I’m leaving."
Now he was listening. "What?"
"I’m leaving," she repeated for the second time.
"No, you’re not," he said.
"Yes, I am," said Brey stubbornly.
He stood. "You can’t leave," he said fiercely.
"I am not you’re prisoner! Are you going to tie me to a tree and make me one, maybe?" she cried angrily. Then, quietly, trying to be calm, "I’m just creating problems here. I won’t be gone for too long. Two months at the most."
Rhys wasn’t planning to let her go, but it was only fair to hear her out. "Why?"
She made a face. "I told you! And… I’m missing something. I have to find it."
"Where do you expect you’ll be going?" he asked.
A spark of hope ignited in Brey’s eyes. "Are you letting me go?"
"No," he said frankly. "I’m just curious."
Her face fell. "Then I’ll leave without your consent."
"I repeat, where?"
"I’m not sure," she admitted.
"That answer is hardly likely to persuade me," he said. "Especially if you go alone." He paused, with Brey nervously wondering what he was thinking.
"I’ll make you a deal," he said at last, running his fingers through his blonde hair. "I’ll trust you to go by yourself on a few conditions.
"One, you stay away from towns where you’ll be more likely to be recognized.
"Two, you take a map of the forest, but protect it- and all other knowledge of it- with your life.
"Three, you take plenty of time to prepare. No rushing out and forgetting anything."
"Is that all?" asked Brey, relieved.
"One more," said Rhys. Brey’s heart dropped. "You come back within a month. If you do not, I will consider you as being in danger and I’ll come after you. I hesitate to make it any longer, in case you run into trouble in the beginning."
Brey was hesitating at making it shorter. One month- was that enough time? Then, with a sigh, "I agree."
"I’d also advise you to leave your staff, but I won’t force you to." Brey started to protest, but he went on. "I told you, I won’t make you leave it. But it’s darkwood, and that alone could get you into trouble with people."
Brey took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. She twisted a lock of hair around her finger. "I just don’t know. It’s also the closest thing I have to a weapon," she said, looking at Beriadan, ready at Rhys’s side.
Rhys’s eyes followed hers. He put a hand on the sword’s hilt. "Hmm… that could be a problem. Chliara has a bow and I have a sword… but you have nothing for your defense."
"I couldn’t shoot a bow or a wield a sword even if I had one," admitted Brey. "I think I’m better off taking the staff… no offense."
"None taken." He put a warm hand on her shoulder. "When will you leave?"
"As soon as I can. Probably tomorrow morning. Don’t worry, I’ll pack well." She smiled. "Thanks."
He smiled back, but it was a very small smile. "I’ll be sure to see you off. Would you like Chliara and Kayelli there as well?"
Brey nodded. "Yes… but it’s not as though I’m never coming back!" she laughed.

Chliara and Kayelli met with Brey later that day as she prepared to leave. They neither tried to dissuade or encourage her; they simply asked questions, curious or otherwise.
"Where will you go?" Kayelli wanted to know.
"Can’t say, quite rightly," said Brey cheerfully. "I’ll know when I get there."
Chliara blinked her serenely blue eyes. "What do ye hope to accomplish?"
Brey took a breath, considering her words. "It’s a search," she said finally. "And no, I’m not sure what I’m looking for."
"Sounds a little silly to me," said Kayelli, frankly and tactlessly.
"You aren’t a Magician," snapped Brey. She instantly regretted her temper, and bowed her head silently.
"I confess, Brey, I donnae ken either," said Chliara. "But I trust ye to ken what ye’re doing."
"Do you?" asked Kayelli bluntly, apparently not as sure.
Brey thought a moment. "I think I know what I’m doing, though it remains to be discovered. I must anyway."
"Even if ‘tisnae wise?" Chliara asked gently, not wishing to ruffle Brey’s feathers.
Brey bit her lip. "Yes. Even then." She spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the night contemplating these things, as well as the inadequacy of words to describe how painfully aware of her shortcomings she was, and how empty they made her feel.

Early the next morning, with her friends’ "Take care!", "Fare ye well!", "Come back soon!" still ringing in her ears, Brey set out. She strolled half the morning away, walking determinedly toward the direction Rhys’s map said was "out". She didn’t walk too fast. This morning, thirty days seemed like plenty of time, and only one was needed for exiting the forest.
By midday Brey was ravenous. She threw her bag down against a tree and slumped against another to rest and eat.
Brey looked up. She could have sworn the exclamation came from her bag.
She crawled over to it quietly and listened.
"Shh! She’ll hear you!"
"I’m tired of being quiet, Georgiana- If we were meant to be quiet we wouldn’t have been born talking!"
"But we’re not supposed to be here, Henry, and Brey’s going to be hopping mad when she finds out!"
"Well, I don’t care what Brey thinks! She’s got to find out sometime, and we’ll be in for it sooner or later! And I’d rather it be sooner, because I’m hungry and thirsty and cramped and tired and I’ve been jostled and towed along all day and just now I was thrown against something very hard! I want to get out of this dank, dark bag to stretch, eat, and lick my wounds!"
That’s when Brey flipped open the satchel, just as Henry sprang out.
"Brey!" they squeaked.
"What are you doing here?" cried Brey. Words began spilling out before she could stop them. "Rhys sent you to look out for me, didn’t he? He said he would trust me to be alone! Oh, just wait till I give him a piece of my mind-"
"Quiet, woman!" Henry yelled over her. "You talk far too much."
Georgiana blinked her eyes at Brey imploringly. She could look quite charming if she pleased. "Oh, Brey, Rhys had nothing to do with this… we just couldn’t bear to see you go."
"Yup, we disobeyed your wishes on our own initiative," said Henry proudly.
Georgiana shot daggers at him with her eyes.
Brey sat back. "Now that you’re here, what am I to do with you?"
"Well, take us along, of course," said the ferrets, almost in unison.
"What makes you think I’d want to take you with me?"
The ferrets looked at each other. "Do you have a choice?"
"I could roast you and eat you," suggested Brey, "But then… you’d probably give me indigestion."
Neither ferret seemed amused. Then Henry said, "Face it, Brey; you’re stuck with us."
She was indeed, unfortunately. A week or so went by, with the ferrets continually talking until her ears itched. Sometimes they tried to sing traveling songs- that was even worse. Finally, Brey threatened them that if they didn’t keep quiet, she’d sew their mouths shut with pine needles.
It was actually rather important now that they kept quiet. Brey was near the edge of Phoenix Forest (she should have been out long ago, but was having more fun rambling down meandering paths), and she wanted to be careful. "Just in case," she told herself. "No one is actually going to be here."
Just as the sun disappeared behind the crest of a hill, the three reached the edge of the forest. "What do you say?" Brey asked the ferrets. "Should we spend the night out under the stars?"
"It’s going to be cold," Henry said disapprovingly. "I say the forest."
Georgiana was opposed to this as well, though not for the same reasons. She sniffed the air. "Something doesn’t smell right. I’d feel safer in the forest, too."
Brey suddenly put a finger to her lips. Both ferrets hushed. Brey drew out Rhys’s map from her bag. Slowly and deliberately, she began shredding it into strips, then small squares, then unreadable fragments.
"Why did you do that?" whispered Henry, forgetting himself.
With a forcibly controlled voice, Brey said, "Because I have to protect my friends. We’re surrounded."

"Rhys! Where are you going?" It was Kayelli who spoke to the outlaw leader.
Rhys was getting ready with a steady, calm, but nonetheless dangerous urgency. "I’m going after Brey," he said.
"You said you would trust her- she hasn’t yet been gone a month!" protested Kayelli.
"I don’t have to explain myself to you, Kayelli- I think it’s best you remember that," Rhys said sharply. "I shouldn’t have let Brey go. We need her here. Especially with Chliara sick-" He broke off. "Oh, you didn’t know, did you? Chliara has a fever. It’s bad. Your mother is with her now, trying the cures Chliara devised herself. Brey may be a little out of whack recently, but she’s another Magician, and that could make all the difference for Chliara. If I wait until all the cures are tried, it may be too late."
Kayelli clamped her mouth shut, nodding.
"It’s not just Chliara," continued Rhys softly. "It’s also Brey herself. I worry about her… She’s-"
That’s when two streaks of fur and wide-eyed fear shot into the camp. One bolted into Kayelli’s arms. Mute with shock and terror and fur bristling, it was Georgiana. The other was, of course, Henry. He stopped by Rhys, panting, but far from mute. "The King’s Men have Brey!"
Rhys demanded information. "How many? Where? You said they have her. I’m assuming they took her alive? Where did they take her? Speak, ferret!"
"I don’t know!" shrieked Henry, sounding like a man being tortured as a spy when he’s really innocent. "We- Georgiana and I- ran. Brey was surrounded, that’s all I know."
Rhys’s face was on fire with anger, though not necessarily because of Henry. "Then I’ll have to find out on my own. Where were you ambushed?"
"Southeast," said Henry. "Near the border of the forest."
"I should have warned her of the King’s high activity there! I have to leave right now."
"I’m going with you," volunteered a voice gravely. Landon stepped out of the gathering crowd.
"You?!" cried Kayelli. "You don’t even like Brey!"
Kayelli’s statement seemed to puzzle Landon. He considered it. "I certainly don’t dislike her. I just don’t think about or talk to her- or any girls except you, Kay."
"Well, Garrett?" Rhys was saying. "It’s up to you."
The boy’s father thought for a moment. "Take care of him."
"With my life," affirmed Rhys.
Another voice spoke. "I’ll come," Ryken said gruffly. Even Rhys was astonished. "It’s the right thing to do," muttered Ryken, by way of explanation.
"You’ll need a guide to the exact spot," said Henry, regaining his composure. "Georgiana, my love, just calm down. I’ll be back soon."
Georgiana, until then unresponsive, whispered something that sounded like "Be careful."
But no one who had volunteered to go went without that thought in mind. The King’s Men had captured Brey, and all knew there would be danger involved in rescuing her… if they ever did.

A lone man stood in the spot where Brey had been taken. He leaned casually against a tree, as though waiting. Rhys, putting a finger to his lips, drew up his hood and advanced.
Instantly the man was at ready, drawing a sword from a sheath at his side. Rhys, too, drew Beriadan, but did not raise the sword in challenge- not yet. "Have no fear," he said. "I only wish to ask you a few questions."
"I know why you’re here," hissed the man. He sounded strangely pleased. "I’ve been waiting for you."
"Have you, then?" Rhys’s voice was impassive- if he was surprised, he did not show it.
"You’re here about the Fairy. Know this, you who are of her kind- the King has her. And what the King takes he does not surrender."
Images assaulted Rhys’s mind. Their source was inexplicable- did they come from the man himself? Who was he, exactly? But under the force of the pictures there was no time to wonder about that. They were this way: Brey, fighting; Brey, winning- Brey, crying out in distress; Brey, overpowered. The next and last one was uncertain. Was it Brey being taken… or Brey being killed? Rhys had to know.
He lunged forward, a roar ripping from his throat. His sudden rage caught his opponent off guard. The stranger dropped his sword. Instantly Beriadan was at the man’s throat, then was still, waiting.
Rhys’s eyes bored into the man’s, their strange intensity becoming almost unbearable. Through clenched teeth, he did not ask but demanded, "Where is Brey?"
The man choked, and Rhys relaxed his sword but a little. "He promised-" gasped the man, his eyes glazing over in fear. He had not expected such skill or ferocity. In terror and surprise he was stammering to himself, yet betraying knowledge. "He pr-promised I would be safe! He said- he said they would not ri-risk harming me b-because of the f-fairy!" He babbled on, the words becoming unintelligible and garbled. He seemed completely unconscious of Rhys anymore.
Rhys threw back his hood. "Look at me," he said, his voice suddenly deadly quiet. The man recoiled, brought back by the change. "Do you recognize my face? Then you know who I am. You know exactly who I am. Do not trifle with me. Where did your people take the Fairy after they captured her?" He spoke slowly and deliberately. "I will not kill you if you answer me truthfully."
"N-not my p-p-people," stuttered the man. "The King’s- the King’s!"
"You are working for the King, are you not?"
The man nodded, then shook his head. "Yes- but not directly… not directly! From the fortress, yes! From Caer Yddwyn!" (Pronounced IDTH win.)
"Caer Yddwyn," repeated Rhys to himself. "If you are lying to me…" Rhys did not finish his threat, casting the man to the ground.
"Do not kill me!" pleaded the man.
Rhys said coldly, "I told you I would not kill you. I keep my word." Then Rhys hit the man over the head with the flat of his blade. "I didn’t say I wouldn’t knock you out." He called into the woods, "It’s safe now… more or less."
Landon, with Henry on his shoulder, and Ryken emerged from the forest. Landon, ignoring the unconscious man on the ground, whispered in awe, "I’ve haven’t been out of the Phoenix for years. The sky… it’s so vast."
Rhys had no time for such reflections. "Come, friends. They’re keeping Brey at Caer Yddwyn."
Ryken shook his head, his red beard wagging. "How are we to break her out of there? It’s a stone fortress, impassable even for some King’s Men!" Henry nodded in agreement.
"You don’t think I know that?" snapped Rhys. "I have no choice. I am sworn to protect Brey, and I must at least try to help her. You three are also sworn for her protection, by agreeing to accompany me."
Landon alone seemed to see hope in the situation. "Surely Yddwyn is not as impossible to storm as you suggest," he said mildly.
"With only three men?" said Ryken dryly.
"And one ferret," added Henry.
Landon cocked his head. "We can figure out something. We’re no cowards."
"You only say so because you are young," muttered Ryken.
"Hush, Ryken," commanded Rhys. "Don’t crush Landon’s spirit. We all need his courage and hope. Come, there’s no time to lose."
The three men- and one ferret- set out for Caer Yddwyn.


EEEEPPP!!! I can't wait to

EEEEPPP!!! I can't wait to see what happens. I can't believe it's almost over!!!!

This comment was made by Erin!

"Never, never give up. Unless you get really tired." -Ellen Degenres

Erin | Mon, 03/09/2009

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


This story is really good. Please continue :)

"I'm a dishonest man, and a dishonest man you can always count on being dishonest, It's the honest ones you have to watch"
-Jack Sparrow

marie (not verified) | Mon, 03/09/2009


Please, you are leaving us hanging by our fingertips! AHHHH!

Laura Elizabeth | Mon, 03/09/2009

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

OH! Please post more

OH! Please post more soon!!!

Congrats on finishing, by the way. You go, girl!! :D
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Mon, 03/09/2009

"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! Don't worry, I'm

Don't worry, I'm dying to post the chapters almost as much as you're trying to read them!
My work here is done.

Anna | Tue, 03/10/2009

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

Yea! New Chapter! Keep up

Yea! New Chapter! Keep up the good work-but Brey better not get killed!

Hannah | Thu, 03/12/2009

You are the master of

You are the master of suspense.

I'm impressed. You haven't killed on person in the whole thing. Great chapter. I go to read more.

"Borrowed, borrowed without permission. But with every intension of returning?" Jack Sparrow

Alecia | Tue, 04/14/2009

It awoke with a shrill shreak that can be trnaslated "How dare you leave me in this bed, when I am asleep and helpless?" My sister


Except Yllna...
I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Wed, 04/15/2009

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


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