Back in March I posted a story for the March challenge. Here is a link to that post.
Those of you that commented said that you would like to read more. Well here it is. Consider the story from March, "A Legend of The Beast", as a prolgue to this one. Here is chapter 1 of I don't know how many. Your feedback is welcome as I plan to continue writting subsiquent chapters and of course improving what has already been written. I may even look into publication. Thank you for your time.
The smell of over-cooked rabbit wafted from a small fire. Set amongst the ruins of some long dead city, the smoke was hardly visible through the thick of the wild that had encroached for thousands of years to make its home amongst this former bastion of humanity.
A girl of no more than six-and-ten crouched close to the warmth of the flames, stirring the embers with a bit of wood. She watched the tip light up before snuffing it out again in the damp earth. A light Spring rain fell, causing little wisps of steam pop and hiss now and then from both the food and fire making the only noise to be heard.
She shuddered as a drop of rain found its way through her clothes and ran down her back. Not for the first time did she wonder what she was doing out here as she plunged the stick back into the fire. Here in the middle of a city, decimated so long ago that even the Wisdoms had forgotten its name, the air was still and heavy with…something. She could not say what. Anticipation? No. Perhaps longing? Yes, that hit closer to the mark.
She heard him approach though the undergrowth moments before he called out to her. “Syrielle! Look at this,” his voice exploded into the silence as he pushed through the brush into their little clearing carrying a pack full to bursting. The vegetation only allowed the slightest bit of sound to echo off the surrounding stones. So loud and sudden a noise seemed almost unnatural to her, here in this place.
“Please, father, not so loud,” she squeaked in only a half voice. He laughed in response. “My child,” he smiled at her, “There have been no people here for centuries beyond count. We shall not disturb any one. Is the food ready?”
Syrielle could not help but smile back. Her father had such an infectious smile. It would light up his entire face and make her feel warm and safe inside. He was a big, barrel chest man, dark of hair and eyes, just like hers. “Long past done,” she said only slightly reproachful, “I wouldn’t be surprised if has dried out by now. You have been gone for far longer than you said you would.”
“Just like your mother you are,” Royven chuckled, “always telling me either I’m gone to long or am returned too soon!”
She made a face at him, “Please, don’t compare me to her. She’s not even my real mother.”
“Now, let’s not start in on that again, Syrielle. She loves you like her own all the same.”
“Aye, says I,” he replied in a tone she knew meant that the topic was closed.
Her father turned to the fire and lifted the rabbit out by the stick it and held it out for her. Syrielle took out her knife and started carving up the small game into a wooden bowl. When she was done, they made a meager supper of the rabbit and some stale flat bread they had brought from home near a fortnight past. They ate in near silence, listening to the rain drip drop around them.
When they had finished, Royven reached into the pack he had brought back and removed several large pieces of flat stone. He handed one to his daughter and examined another himself. They seemed to be pieces of tablets, or maybe one tablet. The glyphs engraved into the grey stone seemed strange to Syrielle’s eyes. The script was short, lacking the curves and loops of the language that she knew.
“What are they? What do they say,” She asked him, marveling.
“I know not,” he replied, “likely we are the first to see them in a long run of years.”
She turned the tablet over; the unmarked side was a smoky color and felt as smooth as glass. At first, it was cold, but it slowly began to warm as she studied it more. And not just where she held it, it seemed as if the warmth of her fingers was spreading evenly through out the artifact.
With wonder, she gazed down as the color began to change. She wanted to call out, but her voice caught in her throat and all she could do was to watch. Swirling patterns of light and water danced together inside the glass ever roiling and shifting. For a brief moment, she could almost see the shape of a person coalesce in the chaos. But just as she noticed it, she felt a hand on her shoulder giving her a little shake.
“Syrielle, that’s enough now, time to bed down for the night,” her father said to her. “There will be time to study them later.”
Syrielle blinked up at him said, “Yes, father,” hardly sounding herself. He gave her a curious look but said no more.
Once he moved away, she looked around her. The fire had burned low, and the late afternoon sky of orange and yellow had somehow turned into the darkness of full night. How could so much time pass in only just moments?
She laid the tablet aside and buried deep into her sleeping roll. Surely, it was all just her imagination. On the marrow, all would be well and her and her father would be on the way back home.