Farm girl (1613) 9 yrs old – a story from Varanis’ childhood
I am always looking over my shoulder. Always staring at what is behind me.
I think it started when grandmother Mirava decreed that we were moving to Nochet, to live in the Palazzo. She made us pack in the night and we were on the road as Yelm climbed the sky. Only a few months before, we had learned that my father wasn’t coming home, having fallen to the Tusk Riders. I was devastated. After my father’s death, mother left me with grandmother Mirava and grandfather Kesten. My siblings, those who had survived to adulthood, were living their own lives, and so it was just me and my grandparents on the family’s holdings. It was much like the home of my early childhood. There were chores and grandmother had more expectations about what I should be learning than my mother had. But whenever I could slip away, there were fields to run in, dogs to play with, cats to follow, and adventures to be had. Grandfather would only laugh whenever I was caught sneaking into the house, head to toe in mud. Grandmother would have me stripped and scrubbed by the serving woman, but it was worth it anyway.
It all changed the day I came home and told them about the man I’d seen on the hill. I’d been pretending that I was Vinga, wielding my blazing sword and handfuls of lightning in glorious combat against the Red Goddess, when I spotted him. He just stood there, watching me. He was strange, dark and silent. His gaze was cold, so cold it made me shudder, though I couldn’t even see his eyes. I thought about confronting him; I felt drawn towards him. But something stopped me and as he took one step in my direction, I turned and fled home.
Grandmother confronted me as I came gasping into the courtyard. I had missed an afternoon lesson on managing some boring aspect of the holdings. Her lecture stopped mid-yell when she took in my apparent panic. She summoned grandfather and the two of them queried me endlessly about what I’d seen, but I could only describe the darkness and the cold I felt from the man. They sent me to my room, and I could hear the argument start even as I turned down the hall.
Grandmother won. She always wins. We moved to the City and left the holdings behind.