Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter Five

Fiction By Anna // 12/17/2007

Chapter the Fifth

Just a bit more of castle-doings before Aria must leave, and we shall go on.

It was a fine day. Gilligan was outside, strolling around the open air courtyards, until he noticed Aria, sitting beside a fountain, buried deep in thought.
"Aria? Where are you?" Gilligan sat beside his friend, waving his hand back and forth in front of the daydreaming girl’s face.
The faraway look left Aria’s eyes. "I am very seriously considering running away to become a pirate before it’s too late and I must leave," she said, very seriously indeed, though Gilligan knew she had obviously been thinking of something else and was making it up on the spot.
"Princess Pirate Aria," Gilligan grinned.
"That’s Captain Princess Pirate Aria to you, Gill," she said, her eyes still grave. "If I do end up running away, you’ll come with me, won’t you?"
Gilligan, suspecting, or foreseeing, a good "lark" coming, grinned again. "I’d follow you to the ends of the world, mate!" he declared boldly, and I believe he meant it.
She smiled. "Let’s be off then!" she cried joyfully, jumping up. She drew out a midnight blue ribbon and tied her dark hair back.
Gilligan also stood, saluting. "First mate Gilligan reporting for duty, Captain!"
Aria grabbed his hand and shook it, laughing. "Welcome aboard, comrade!"
"Let’s slide down the banisters!" She exclaimed eagerly, after a pause. "I mean- let’s view our ship. It’s anchored on the west bay."
Gilligan nodded happily and followed Aria’s lead.
Until they came upon the queen, taking a light stroll on her own, as she sometimes did.
The queen looked at Aria’s carelessly tied hair, all in a disarray, with the sun gleaming red on it, and she sighed. Aria caught her eyes and looked down ashamedly, for she though very highly of her aunt’s opinion, and the eyes of the lady implored quite clearly, Won’t you please let the servants fuss over your hair? It would look so pretty dressed up.
Gilligan, quite unaware, swept a fine bow. "Your Majesty," he said politely.
She smiled at the young, gentlemanly knight. If he does intend to court Aria, as Marcus believes, she thought, I certainly have no objections to his manners.
"Good day, young sir," she said, nodding slightly. "Good day, Aria."
"Good day, Aunt," murmured Aria, fumbling over a curtsy. Why am I always so clumsy in front of the person I most want to be graceful before? she thought miserably.
Before the queen left, she had something to say, barely a whisper, so that Gilligan didn’t hear. "Oh, Aria, I do hope you two weren’t planning on banister sliding again. Remember, it’s restricted. I know you forget sometimes…" she said gently.
Aria felt her cheeks grow warm as a cozy country fireplace. She had forgotten. "Of course, Aunt," she mumbled.
Then the queen and company of two exchanged farewells and parted.
****
Two weeks until I must leave, Aria thought miserably.

A veritable army of housekeepers was sent ahead of her that day to sweep through and clean up a little. Needless to say, they were horrified at the state of the rooms. And they had no little trouble with clearing the dust.
But Aria didn’t know this. All she knew was that she would have to leave, and the mission of the housekeepers had reminded her of it.
Rayne was to go with her. Josh was not. Their reasons are to be kept with Rayne and Josh alone. Rayne was going to be sort of a governess. She would teach Aria practical skills, and a different tutor, a man with a bulbous nose and a sharp voice, was to teach her the rest. Aria did not fancy the man and the man did not fancy her, and because of that he was very hard on her. I will refrain from talking much about him. He does not play a very big part in this book.
****
"How long until we reach the old castle, please?" Aria called to their guide. They had been on the road three days. Aria had asked to avoid villages and just camp for the night on the ground, to avoid attention, and Marcus and Eirae had finally conceded.
"Two more days, miss," responded the guide over his shoulder.
Aria had loved the traveling, burying the dread that lay beyond. She looked at her land from horseback, reveling in its splendor.
The country of Llorleya is like its name: A pleasant, roll-of-the-tongue name, flowing and smooth. It is swift and beautiful as a butterfly that rests on your hand fleetingly and flies away to share it’s beauty; like honey: sweet and long-lingering on the tongue. Not a large country, just the right size, perhaps equal to Iceland. A good place, that country. Aria felt fortunate to be next in line to rule it.
****
There it is, Aria thought. To her, here was an end to everything, and yet, also a new beginning.
The old castle loomed before her. It wasn’t actually big or unfriendly in appearance, but she eyed it as menacing because of all the loathing and resentment she had stored for it. But soon she began to like it better. She sensed the magical aspect of the place, but she seemed to welcome it more than ward it off. This may have been partly due to the servants, whose nervous, jumpy talk and stubborn belief that the place was haunted highly amused her, and, as a consequence, convinced her more and more that it was good magic. Rayne was no longer afraid of the magic, knowing it was Wynd’s. She wondered if she would see the fairy again.
**************
It was two weeks after Aria’s fourteenth birthday- and a fairly long time, a few months, even, since we have last seen our characters- that Gilligan received this letter.

Dear Gill,
Thank you for my birthday present. I received it only an hour or two ago. I will send this letter with the messenger who delivered you package and letter to me.
You are certainly a chap of one mindset! Do you always give me food as a present? But perhaps you mistake me; your gift was much appreciated. The cook Aunt and Uncle sent finds herself slightly baffled by the rather primitive quality of the kitchen here, so our meals have been… well, less than wonderful. Your lovely (and delicious, might I add) trifles were devoured quite hungrily and delightedly by Rayne and me. To be sure, we should have shared with Becky and the others, but Rayne and I didn’t think twice when the food appeared. It vanished quite rapidly, I assure you, and we had no notion of sharing until quite later. It’s a wonder they weren’t spoiled on the way here, actually.
You inquired about the old castle and how I like it. Hmm, how do I start off? It seems Rayne and Josh’s visit was during a more summery day. Of course the weather would change when I got here. The grounds, which neither Rayne nor her brother explored, are dead and overgrown. Grey, gloomy, lonely- horribly so. Lonely, but not abandoned, somehow. Oh, how I miss color.
But this a depressing topic. Though it is uniformly dull and grey here, it is periodically rainy. I have always loved rain, you know (though here it comes an overdose too often). I love the rhythmic sounds, almost as though it was saying something to me. "Aria, Aria, play with us, Aria," the droplets chant beseechingly, imploring me, beckoning to me. I long to join them in their dance. Occasionally I do- dancing in the rain is simply delightful, Gilligan, you really should try it. You would look perfectly absurd. I am certain the servants question my sanity, but I don’t mind. Rayne, who I’ve found to be a "kindred spirit", is the only one who will join me. We have had such wonderful, blissful frolics! We are always completely drenched when we finally go in, and we look ridiculous. We have never caught cold from doing this (though Rayne has come close).
Nevertheless, I long for the day when sunny days will come around again. Oh, why did summer have to end when I got here? And is autumn always rainy in this part of the country? I know that I just described how I enjoy rain, but in the fall I like to enjoy the crisp, cool days, decorated festively with leaves, brightly painted red and gold like sunsets, not excessive rain and grey, dead plants.
But no more talk of the weather! They say it’s the worst way to fill a letter. See what I mess I’ve made of this? So let us move on.
I have taken up residence in the tower-room, the very highest turret of them all. It’s not too big- actually it’s rather small, and very, very high. It was hidden at first, secret and safe, but I found it. I like that it was secret. It makes it more… well… mysterious.
Do you remember the day Rayne and Josh told us the stories? I do. Before they came, we were in the garden, and I told you that one day I would step out of my window into the arms of the wind. Well, this is where it is going to happen. There is one little window in the room, opposite my bed, that looks out onto the rising sun. I love it.
We have also discovered a cat living here. We’ve decided to let it stay. Rayne has named it Sir Stowaway, and even though we found out later that she is female, the name remains (Though it has degenerated somewhat to "Go-away," at least among the servants). The pretty girl is Rayne’s especial pet, and will even perch on her shoulder, like a bird.
I’d love to have a bird to perch on my shoulder- a sparrow or a canary- Or a hawk or falcon or owl. But here I go again, away from my purpose.
Anyway.
Sir Stowaway only lets a select few touch her and is anything but tame.
The captain of the guard says that we are lucky nothing worse was here, such as a tramp or a criminal in hiding. He also said all the guards are to keep people like that out, but I think they’re there to keep me in.
Well, of course, I have my studies. Books, books, books. All of them boring, practical books. Not an imaginative, interesting one in the whole lot. And I have lessons in being a princess- I even have to learn how to walk! How tedious. It makes me wish I weren’t royalty, sometimes. As though learning to walk and sip tea and host parties will ever improve my character or cause me to be a better ruler! But I suppose I must grow up some time or other.
That is probably the most depressing statement I have ever made.
And of course your cheerful, merry presence is sorely missed. Pray that God would cause me to accept this, even, dare I suggest, enjoy it. And, more importantly, that I would glorify him with what I do- no matter what my feelings are about anything.
Please give my love to Aunt and Uncle, and thank them for their wonderful gifts. I would write to them myself, if I had more ink and paper. Rayne sends a hug to her brother, Josh. I imagine it would be quite a jolly sight to see you deliver it for her. You would look absolutely ridiculous.
All my joy,
Aria

PS- Rayne and I found a most odd and extraordinary book in the library, which is apparently not entirely deprived of books. For all my studies, I can’t make a word of it, unfortunately. ~Aria

Gilligan was very much intrigued by the postscript. While he cannot know the details just yet, we can, and here they are:

It was a slow, boring grey day- I suppose the atmosphere had adjusted itself to match the a slow, steady grey drizzle pouring down outside. With the occasional thunder, of course. That is why Rayne and Aria wouldn’t dance in it after finishing the studies. (Rayne still wouldn’t accept the fact that she was supposed to be a sort of governess- "It’s too much like being your nurse, which I’m certainly not." To which Aria would reply, "You mean you won’t be.) So instead, they were in the sun room, all glass- which had almost no sun in it, only rain, pouring down the glass, glazing it.
"Where’s there’s thunder, there’s bound to be lightening," quoth Rayne dejectedly, gazing out the window, her chin resting on her palm, and her other hand absent-mindedly stroking Sir Stowaway, who purred contentedly as she lay on the windowsill.
Aria’s eyes were closed as she listened to the thunder and rain and wind.
"Rayne," she said suddenly, causing the girl in question to start, "why don’t we explore a little? A little more, that is."
Rayne was silent for a moment. "Did I show you the library?" She knew she hadn’t- she had put it off because of Wynd, for some odd reason.
"There’s a library?" Aria sounded highly interested.
"Well, there are no books…"
Aria sighed.
"…but it still might be worth it."
Aria nodded. "Anything, to get out of this room."
Rayne stood slowly, stretching and yawning. "Goodbye, Go-away," she said, waving slightly as she left the room.
Aria laughed. "You say it as though she cares," she said as their voices faded away.

When they got there, a most odd and extraordinary thing happened.
"Rayne, I thought you said there were no books in the library," said Aria slowly, almost as though she was frightened.
"There weren’t…" said Rayne (Note the past tense- "weren’t", not "aren’t".). "I’m quite certain there weren’t."
"Then…" Aria glided down an aisle some paces to the left, "what is this?" She held something out to Rayne. As Rayne drew near, she saw it was a book, an old, old book, with silver vines and leaves winding around on the covers. Aria began to skim through. They tried to read it, but it was written in a strange tongue- flowing, curling letters that they had never studied or seen before.
"What is it called?" asked Rayne.
"No title page. Besides, I couldn’t recognize the characters even if there was- Wait. Rayne, look at this illustration!"
Rayne leaned over the page to look where Aria pointed. "Why, it’s a drawing of Wynd!" she exclaimed, staring. "Let me look more closely-"
"Wait, who?"
"I’ll explain…"
Neither girl noticed a tall creature with dark hair, blue eyes, pointed ears, and transparent, silver-veined wings that seemed to sing like the wind as they moved. And she was smiling.
************
Aria sat in her tower-room, studying the ancient book. She pored over it, her fingers tracing the bright silver vines and slender, shining leaves embedded on the cover. She flipped slowly through the book and stopped to look at the entrancing illustration of Wynd, and wondered again about Rayne’s tale.
Suddenly she came upon something odd, something she could read.
If you can read this, you have been given the gift of the star-circle. You will begin to see. Use it wisely.
Aria reached up and unconsciously touched her mother’s medallion. The star circle?
Suddenly she gasped, choked for air. Her eyes burned for a moment and everything stopped- even her. She had no ability to move- she was frozen in place, stranded somewhere outside of time, lost to her own world.
And then, she began to see.
A medium-sized room, painted to look like a cloud, soft and comforting. At one side, against a window, stood a cradle, and in it a sleeping baby, enveloped in the white, frothy lace of her bed.
The door slowly opened, and a slight, slender, smallish figure stepped in.
It was a young woman, beautiful as the moon. Aria knew it was her mother, Cera, somehow, though she had never seen her except as a small baby, and she was unable to remember any given time at that point.
She approached the cradle, her eyes half full of sorrow, half filled with determination. She knelt beside it, and with a labored sort of deep breath, she laid a hand on the baby- Aria was sure now it was herself- and closed her eyes, as though she were about to do something right and good, but very sacrificial on her part, that she would really rather not do at all.
She began to shine- slowly at first, but with increasing strength. For a moment her face was twisted in pain- whether emotional or physical or both Aria didn’t know- and streak of light lanced through her arm and into the baby Aria, taking all the light from Cera’s body. The babe in the lacy, frothy white cradle glowed intensely, and for just a moment, she was ethereal as her mother had been when glowing. Then the light faded, as though put out, and Aria was human again, just a small, innocent, sleeping human child, her shine hidden until further notice.
But Cera was changed. She looked older somehow- not old, understand, but older, whereas she had always seemed very young before. She looked- well- more earthly, less ethereal… human, almost. More pale-skinned than fair-skinned, sort of faded, no longer shining with a flame hidden somewhere within. She looked… human. Earthly. Somehow, she was different, though no less beautiful… at least in some ways.
She left the room, and a man approached her, who she knew must be her father, but not the same way she had known her mother. She knew her father only from the king’s description.
Erik looked at her, and he seemed rather astonished. He knew the difference. And what he didn’t know for certain, he could guess.
She went into a room with him and they began to talk, her crying a few silent tears.
"Did you-" he said, and broke off.
She nodded.
"Oh, you shouldn’t have," he cried. "It may not even help."
"Yes, yes, it has to. She will find out!" she said, half-imploringly. "We talked of this when we married- I warned you, I told you-"
"Your father can go on!" he said pleadingly.
"‘No, no he can’t, that’s just it," she said tearfully. "Not forever. He has a drop of human blood- just a drop, so he doesn’t get sick and can trade his race, but though he doesn’t seem to age, not outwardly, at least, he does. And he will die. But we must always have a ruler. And I could not have been that ruler when he is gone. Besides- it wouldn’t be right if- if- if I went on forever, unchanged… eventually I would need to tell someone, and that would be danger for all my folk. This way is better."
"I wish I hadn’t fallen in love with you, for I cannot help feeling that we have sacrificed our daughter because of our love," he whispered.
"My heart would break if I should have to go on without you forever."
"And what of our daughter? Now she will go on forever, as you did not wish to!"
"We will tell her and send her. And from then on her life is hers. I am sorry, Erik. It had to be done."
"But look at what it’s done to you!"
Then Cera broke into crying, harder, and the vision faded. Aria was released, and immediately her complaints stopped- she could breath, could move. She covered her burning eyes with her hands, sinking against the wall as her book fell on the floor. Her hands fell and rested on her lap, her eyes still closed. She then opened her eyes and reached for the book.
Aria was greatly unsettled. Her peace of mind had been very precariously placed at the castle, and now it was shattered. She had successfully forgotten what her uncle had told her of her mother before, but they had all come back with a rush. And now she had even more things, troubling things, to forget, and she doubted she could. What had they meant, that she would go on forever? She shuddered and stood, running down the flight of winding stairs to distract her upset mind.
************

Comments

I have a question, is Aria

I have a question, is Aria pronounced Ar ee uh
or Uh rie uh?

Anonymous | Tue, 12/18/2007

I haven't exactly decided...

I haven't exactly decided... in my mind I say Are ee uh but I think that Air ee uh is prettier... I never thought of Uh rie uh, though.

Who are you, again?

Anna | Tue, 12/18/2007

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

Hmmm....

I believe "Aria" as in the song is Are ee uh... not sure if that's what her name is supposed to be or not. Air ee uh is pretty, though.

Kyleigh | Wed, 12/19/2007

Air ee uh is my guess.

Air ee uh is my guess.

Shane | Wed, 12/19/2007

It's all a matter of

It's all a matter of preference for now. I don't have to give pronunciations till the end of the book, so yeah.

Anna | Thu, 12/20/2007

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

I actually looked up aria in

I actually looked up aria in the dictionary, and it listed both, like it lists grey and gray. Are ee uh was the preferred, but who cares, cuz gray is also the preferred spelling, but I only use grey.

Anna | Thu, 12/20/2007

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

Ar-ee-ah it what it seems

Ar-ee-ah
it what it seems like 2 me...........

Sarah | Thu, 12/20/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Anna, isn't Aria from

Anna, isn't Aria from Eragon? just wondering...

Emily-Smileygirl (not verified) | Mon, 12/24/2007

This is Anna but not signed in

Acutally, that Arya... I was gonna spell it that way until I found out...
~Anna

Anonymous | Mon, 12/24/2007

My thoughts

I always pronounce it Air-ree-uh, because I think it's prettier.

The necklace ended up being significant in a different way from what I thought.

Oh jeez, what ARE those fairies up to? I have my suspisions but...

Anonymous | Wed, 07/09/2008

OMG!!!! I'll be at the next

OMG!!!! I'll be at the next chapter, bye!

This comment was made by Erin!

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

Erin | Sat, 03/28/2009

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

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