Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter Two

Fiction By Anna // 11/26/2007

Chapter the Second

Rayne stroked the cold stone walls, noting how smooth and firm they were. Running a little way down the corridor to her right, her loose, copper-colored hair streaming out behind her, she leaned against a wall and let out her breath with a whoosh. "This isn’t a place you can breathe in," she said in a half-whisper- for it was the sort of place where you must whisper or break the precious, terrible silence. Turning her face so that the warm rays of sunlight streaming in from a nearby window could reach her and closing her eyes, she continued on to herself, as she tended to do, "Magic and folklore are thick here- almost I can see them shimmering in the air and settling onto the ground with the dust."
She began exploring down a long corridor that she almost had to wade through because it was thick with layers of dust and grime that had probably lying undisturbed since the desertion of the castle seventy-two years ago. From it’s size and magnificent frescoes and mosaics (though they were somewhat old and faded), Rayne judged that it had been the main hall. After exploring the art delightedly for some time, she finally came to the end of the passage. Two large doors without knobs loomed above her. When she tried to open it, however, it was either far too heavy for her too push alone or it was barred from the other side. Intrigued but discouraged, she turned down a narrow side-passage at her right, only to find it was a dead-end.
That’s odd, she thought. Why would they build a dead-end?
Being an avid reader when she got the chance, her storybook reasoning led her to look for a hidden door. Her earnest, eager search was rewarded when she discovered a square wooden trapdoor smack in the side of the left wall, in a clever guise as part of the wall. Immediately her strong curiosity overcame her and she lit her candle, crawling into the passage on her hands and knees and leaving the door ajar behind her.
The passage gradually broadened and lengthened until she could stand quite comfortably. It also darkened, until the flickering light of her candle was the only light to be seen.
Then, a winding staircase, spiraling downward. Her curiosity was again heightened by her sense of mystery. What could really be going on underneath this castle? she thought. Goblins’ dances? Trolls’ frolics? Fey stories? She paused a minute to scold herself lightly. Of course not! I’m being silly. But this is certainly exciting! I can’t wait to tell Josh!
The descent stopped abruptly in a room, not a big room, but a room. It seemed to be of no importance at all. "Perhaps this was the treasure room, but the gold and silver and jewels have all been stolen or transported to the other castle. But then, wouldn’t it be bigger?"
The walls of the little room were, for the most part, in good shape- a little worn around the edges, but in all truth, better than the tower walls in our Prologue. Supportable, strong. She brushed them lightly with her hand as she briskly walked around the room, inspecting it, looking for some small clue- if any- to the abandonment of the fortress. Her keen fingers ran in and out of little grooves, suddenly. Holding her candle close to the wall so that the flickering, wavering candlelight would illuminate the block of stone, she could make out an eroded date.
This is the cornerstone of this stronghold, she thought.
Cornerstones, in and of themselves, are not uncommon or intriguing. But this one was, because there was more to it than just the date of the completion of the fortress.
Beneath the date, more words were etched into the wall, and they said something like this:
The breath of the world is the guardian of this place.
This was strange to Rayne. The breath of the world? Did that mean the One who created the world, therefore giving it breath of life? Well, in that case, God is technically the guardian of everything, since he runs the entire world, so that doesn’t make sense, she thought. Another thing that puzzled her was the way it was put- almost like a "here be dragons" scripted on an ancient treasure map.
Odd, she thought. Very odd.
It was all very mysterious and puzzling to Rayne, and she remembered her dream. "This is all very strange- I don’t like it. Not at all," she said under her breath, for that silence had closed in on her again. Suddenly being overcome with fear of the unknown, a feeling that was new to her, a wanderer, she ran back up the staircase, away from the eerie room. She was much relieved at finding the trapdoor still opened. She took sanctuary in a hall far from the trapdoor, but the room, a magnificent ball room, still had an air of mystery about it. Not shelter-like at all, Rayne decided. I must find Josh.
Walking quickly and peering nervously into rooms, Rayne felt a strong urge to walk down certain passages. Rayne was a swift runner, taking long bounds that propelled her toward whatever destination she was going toward. Each lunge brought her closer; she could feel it.
I’m not quite sure where Rayne thought she was going, she just felt that she should go. She stopped short in front of a large room. Rayne slowly walked into the room, which she found to be covered with magnificent shelves rising up from the floor and out of the walls. The room was a veritable maze of bookshelves. This must have been the castle library, thought Rayne. No books adorned the shelves, but that was only to be expected. "That’s sad," she said aloud.
Suddenly Rayne noticed a flash of color behind a shelf and fleetingly glimpsed a figure rushing into the shadows, as though startled by Rayne’s presence- or voice- in the room.
Rayne darted to the figure, not noticing the windy sounds that were like singing coming from the Unknown. The figure ran from shelf to shelf, concealed from sight by shadow and the blur of movement. Extending her arm, Rayne called out, "Wait!" Rayne’s arm shot out all the way and grabbed at the person. The figure cried out in alarm and fell to the floor as though injured somehow. No singing anymore.
Rayne, overcoming her startled bearing, looked down at the figure; it was a girl of average height for maybe seventeen or eighteen, with long, wavy hair of a very, very dark brown… or perhaps it was black. White jewels shined in that hair like stars, glittering, though their was no bright light in the room to reflect. Her hair obscured her face, and Rayne was cautious about touching the girl again, so she did not attempt to brush it away. The girl’s skin was fair and flawless, but pale, like a beautiful white dress that had grown grey and faded over time, but is still beautiful.
The girl groaned softly and started to sit up, slumping against the wall. As her hair shifted out of her face, it revealed pointed ears. The singing sounds had started again. Then, as though suddenly regaining strength, she stood and opened forget-me-not colored eyes, looking at Rayne. Opening her eyes seemed to lend light to the room. Her gaze was soft, beautiful, and sorrowful, like the song her wings were singing as they vibrated like the wings of a flying hummingbird, unfurling from a rather crumpled position.
Her wings? thought Rayne, dumbfounded. I must be… imagining…
They were beautiful, shimmering wings, clear as water. Their transparency was thinly covered with sparkling silver veins. The young woman was very beautiful. But it was a sad beauty, for she herself was sorrowful.
"What are you?" whispered Rayne, although she knew exactly what this creature, not human but human-shaped, must be.
"I am Wynd." The fairy’s voice was naturally soft-spoken, with a musical lilt, like the wind rustling the leaves of a tree.
Suddenly everything clicked. It had been a riddle! The breath of the world that the cornerstone spoke of was wind. But wind really was Wynd, a fairy, and guardian of the castle.
As thought sensing her thoughts, the fairy Wynd said, "I am the guardian of this place. When I was much younger, only forty-two," -Young? At forty-two? thought Rayne- "I chose to be a guardian of living things, because I never had a warrior’s heart. I take no pleasure in attacking and battling and warring. I am a Protector- the Guardian. I gave myself the duty of protecting and defending this castle and all who belong to it, and I have done so from the beginning, when it was first built." -that would make her 248 years old! (the castle, before being abandoned, had been in use for 134 years) thought Rayne with wonder- "But that was long ago, when fairy godparents were common, and fairies openly walked the streets… Before Men forgot us. Their minds became hardened toward fairies until we were invisible to their practical minds, just make-believe stories. They saw us without really seeing us, without recognizing us as fairies. They saw our people but did not allow themselves to acknowledge them as ours. Men have lost their hold on the Fantastical." She was quiet, and her voice had a sad ring to it, as though she was grieving for the race of Men. "But though they abandoned me, I will not abandon them. I still protect this castle as far as God wills me to."
Rayne, though not completely over her shock, still managed to gasp out a few words. "Why did you tell me that? I can hardly begin to understand you- and I’m a complete stranger to you, besides."
"Because," said Wynd, smiling her sad smile, "you can see past the logic Men have invented. You are different, little one." Somehow Rayne did not mind being called "little one" when the fairy said it. "Different from the others. I saw that in you and the young man when you were only opening the doors, though I was not completely certain till now. For one, you can see me as what I am- a fairy. It is very rarely I come across someone like you- very extremely rarely."
"You saw us opening the gates?" asked Rayne, surprised.
"I was sitting on the tower-room at the time," said Wynd, waving her hand in a dismissive gesture.
"Don’t you mean in the tower-room?"
"Don’t correct fairies, little one. It’s a bad habit." Gently. "I was balancing on the peak. Fairies are agile creatures, and besides that I have wings for balance."
Rayne’s biggest impression of this fairy was that she was sad, though for what reason Rayne did not know. "You do not look very happy," she observed. Rayne hoped that this simple observation might open the floor for a wider discussion.
"I’m not, for the most part." Wynd was straightforward with her answer, but she did not expound on why, as Rayne had hoped. The fairy turned away.
After a pause, "Do you ever try to clean in here?"
Turning her head as though surprised at the question, the fairy laughed. She had a clear, pure laugh, as her voice, but louder than her gentle spoken word. It rang and echoed against the stone like a thousand chiming voices, rising and carrying sound to the most winding, forgotten spires of the castle in its flight.
Rayne didn’t see the funny side of her question, and must have looked rather annoyed, because Wynd quieted and said, "Forgive me, little one, but you do not understand. If I cleaned, humans would know someone was here."
"But don’t you want them to come back, so you won’t be lonely?"
Gently, the fairy explained, "It is more likely to attract the wrong sort of attention. There are evil people in the world, little one, and they tend to go where mystery lies. Unfortunately, they also tend to be more imaginative and therefore can see fairies as fairies. It’s also not exactly the kind of dust you can clean."
"Why not?"
"Don’t you see? Some of it is fairy dust. Magical dust. The most common betraying evidence of a fairy is unwarranted dust lying about. Also, fairy dust is extremely hard to clean. Not like ordinary dust at all, really."
Rayne was not yet through. "Magical in what way?"
"I am not inclined to say," said Wynd.
"Is it good or bad magic?"
"Depends on the fairy, I suppose."
"You suppose? Are there any bad fairies?"
"Those are two separate questions. Yes, there are bad fairies, but very few, maybe none, and they are not actually classified as fairies any longer."
"What are they classified as, then? And what do they look like?"
"I am fortunate enough never to have seen one of those traitor fairies who go bad."
"Can fairies do magic? Are they immortal?"
"Yes, we are immortal."
"Does that mean you can never, ever die?"
"We can be killed, if that’s what you mean. But we don’t grow old and we don’t get sick."
"It must be sad, seeing everything change and die."
"Amazing," Wynd mused softly. "That was the first thing you’ve said after thirteen inquiries straight in a row that wasn’t a question."
Rayne looked somewhat sheepish. "I suppose I was being rather childish and inquisitive."
"You were," said Wynd, but not unkindly. "And I hope if you ever meet more fairies you will be less so, because they can have rather short tempers at times, some of them."
"Do you think I might meet more?" asked Rayne excitedly.
"Perhaps you may."
A new voice drifted into the library. "Rayne? Rayne, I think we should leave now."
Rayne detected something urgent in Josh’s voice and quickly called back, "I’ll meet you outside! Only I wasn’t quite finished yet, spoilsport! I might take a minute or so longer."
"Try not to take too long! I’ll be waiting!"
"Your name is Rayne?" murmured Wynd, smiling. "Is he your brother?"
"Yes," nodded Rayne, still turned in the direction of the doorway. "Sometimes he calls me Raindrop."
Rayne turned to Wynd quickly, clasping her hand in a sort of good-bye. "Goodbye, Wynd- I can’t describe what this has been to me."
"You had best not try. And please- please be careful about who you mention me to. Very careful."
"Believe you me, I will." Rayne turned to leave. As she withdrew her hand from Wynd’s, she felt a cold ring of metal had been pressed against it. Peering at her palm, she saw Wynd had given her beautiful little silver ring in the shape of a fairy. The wings wrapped around the finger, making the band. "Thank you, Wynd," said Rayne gratefully, delighted. She slipped it onto her left middle finger.
"Wear it close, Rayne. It’s not a good luck charm, and I don’t think it’s magical, but I wouldn’t like the idea of you forgetting fairies exist. Forgetting I exist. It wouldn’t be right, not for someone like you."
"I’ll cherish it always, Wynd. But- are you sure no one will get suspicious about… about fairies?"
"No, I don’t believe so. They will believe that you like the idea of fairies, and that you’re a fanciful girl. You, of course, will know better than to believe it is simply make-believe. Until we meet again, little one."
"Yes, I hope we do."
Rayne slowly walked out of the room, resisting the urge to look back, then dashed down the hall to the gate, fingering the ring.
Rayne spotted Josh long before she reached the gate. "Josh? Why did you call me- I was just getting to my exploring."
"The place made me uncomfortable." He said no more. Rayne longed to ask what he saw, if anything, but something in his tone stopped her.
Fine, he can be secretive, she thought. He has the perfect right. Probably he was only uneasy about the magical aspect of the place… Besides, it’s not as though I’m going to pour out everything I saw.
The two walked out silently, Rayne all the while contemplatively fingering her ring. Josh simply walked, strong and silent, glancing occasionally at his sister with curiosity in his blue eyes. He did not, however, inquire about he ring, and she did not offer an explanation.
**********
Now it is time to return to our old friends, Aria and Gilligan. I must remind you that the beginning of the first chapter actually comes Rayne’s beginning role, if we were going in chronological order. Actually, a good deal of this story comes before it should, and though this may confuse you, there it is.

Becky, a young servant girl and Aria’s personal handmaiden, was a nervous, jumpy, plain girl, not overly clever or pretty, but capable and practical. She, unlike Aria, was sensible, with strictly no imagination, unfortunately.
She was running toward the garden with an important message, her short ringlets bouncing. "Lady Aria, your uncle requests you in the throne room," she called as she ran to Aria and Gilligan, who were still in the garden at this time.
The look that crossed Aria’s face as she awoke from her dream-coma was something between startled and angry. "Oh, Becky, tell him a can’t possibly come," she said crossly, "I’m much to busy, as you can see."
Becky looked at her quizzically and then remembered she should be used to Aria’s odd speeches by now. She only said, "Lady, he said you would quite enjoy it, because-"
"He is the king, you know," Gilligan put in, though a bit out of turn.
"Of course I know," snapped Aria, "after all- I’m his niece. Remember?" She drew up from the garden bench slowly and regally with a proud arch of her neck, standing there in a stately manner.
"It’s rather hard to forget at times," said Gilligan laughingly.
"I won’t go; he will find I can be quite as stubborn as he, when I try." Here she sat back down, nose still turned up.
Now, though Becky didn’t half-understand most of her mistress’s queer notions, knew that if she worded her message just right, with what Aria called "painting words," Aria would be intrigued. "But, Lady," protested the faithful and persistent handmaiden, "they are travelers! Wanderers, Lady, with goods and gifts and stories, Lady! And folklore beyond all imaginings- it is rumored they traveled all the way from the Western Moor-lands, and before that from the Highlands, and no one knows where before that. You’ve always found nomads extremely exciting, Lady."
Now, Aria’s ears had pricked up like a horse’s on "travelers", and had nearly decided to go when "stories" and "folklore beyond all imaginings" were mentioned; now, considering their travels, she was quite in the opposite mind from a few minutes earlier. So much so, in fact, she had leapt up from her seat and shot forward like an arrow from a bow before even saying goodbye.
"That would be Aria for you!" laughed Gilligan carelessly, watching her tear away in an undignified manner.
"Oughtn’t you to say ‘Lady’ or ‘Princess Aria,’ Sir Gilligan?" Becky timidly ventured to say.
"I would, but you know she hates it. The only reason she allows the servants to do it is because she can’t seem to break them of the habit," he said. As an afterthought, he continued, "And you don’t need to call me by a title. I’m only a knight in training. ‘Sir Gilligan’ is a long way off yet."

Comments

Ohhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

I really like this new chapter! Keep up the good work! (please):)

Sarah | Thu, 11/29/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

I've been posting so much

I've been posting so much lately that I promised myself not to post anything major until Dec. 10... sorry! =) Oh you might get mad at me soon because... well... you'll find out. *mwahahahah*

Anna | Thu, 11/29/2007

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

Oh no!

Nothing until December 10th?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! I'll die if you wait that long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*sobs*

Sarah | Thu, 11/29/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

haha

i'm so evil. yess, precious.... we waits in the dark and we laughses at the dirty hobbitses... they'll never steal our book from us, oh no precious... Actually I meant Dec. 3.

Anna | Thu, 11/29/2007

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

WHEW!

WHEW!
At least that's only three days from now!
but you are still mean!
*continues crying*
jk
lol

Sarah | Fri, 11/30/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

That was amazing! Write

That was amazing! Write more!

Emily-Smileygirl (not verified) | Sat, 12/01/2007

I will post the next chapter

I will post the next chapter Dec. 3rd or 4th if I forget. If I've fgured out a name for the queen. Right now it's between Eiraenia, Eireira, and Liliana.

Anna | Sat, 12/01/2007

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

WHAT!?!?

YOU'RE NOT WRITING MORE TILL DECEMBER 1OTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Emily-Smileygirl (not verified) | Sat, 12/01/2007

third

third

Anna | Sat, 12/01/2007

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

Oh right.

Oh right.

Emily-Smileygirl (not verified) | Sat, 12/01/2007

And Kaitlin thought...

If Wynd thought Rayne was bad, she would have hated me. If I found a fairy, I'd be like a million times worse than Rayne. No joke.

Poor Wynd.

I'm not sure, but if my uncle was the king I would do what he wanted, even if I do hate mornings with a passion.

So hey, are you following the Middle Ages system for how men become knights? Like with Squires and Pages and such?

I would so steal Rayne's ring if I didn't think it'd be of some significance later. So she keeps it for now.

Anonymous | Wed, 07/09/2008

WOW! Tis is really really

WOW! Tis is really really good. I can't believe you were only 12 when you wrote this. Great job. Can't wait to catch up.

"This is most inconvenient, as I have swarn to loath him for all eterinty". Lizzy Pride and Prejugdice

Alecia | Fri, 03/13/2009

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

Awesome, I can't believe I

Awesome, I can't believe I took so long to read this!!!! Catching up as fast as I can!

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