Oraca

Katherine Ravencry is the changeling child of a sixteenth century king and a beautiful queen of a powerful immortal race. Despite the powerful blood that runs through her veins, Katherine is not important. Until her father is murdered and the civil war breaks out. Katherine discovers that she does, in fact, have a purpose in life that is more than being betrothed to a powerful nobleman. She must fulfill her destiny. Else everyone that she loves will be in danger.

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5. Another World

 

The drizzle came and went and the sun was visible only occasionally through the mist. There was a slight wind coming from the north, and we turned into it. Although it was noon, the courtyard was unusually quiet so our getaway was as sleek and easy as if we had chosen to escape once the sun had gone down.

The air whipped at me as we pummelled down the hill that led to the town. Before me was the billowing black cape that hung around my mother's dainty neck. I felt as though I was being dragged into the dark oblivion. Sand flew from my mother's horse's hooves, rising as we sped on. Some went into my horse's eyes and he shook his head and made a sound of disgust, but he did not come to a halt and rise on his hind legs in protest. Good, obedient horse.

As we charged through the town, people threw themselves to the side in order to create a free path for my mother and I to plough through. When we came close to exiting the town, my mother clipped the side of her horse with her leg and the horse sped up. I was quick in pursuit.

We hit the vacant hillside, the grass a miserable, dull shade of green as the rain came down harder. Little gusts of drizzle stung me slightly as I hit them. I whipped my soaked hair over my shoulders, and my horse did the same with his mane. The forest loomed before us, and we did not slow down to a trot until we reached its dark heart.

My mother dropped down from her black beauty in the most graceful way that I had ever seen. I did not follow immediately. Instead, I watched as my mother raised her arms high in the air, appearing to me as a powerful purple bird, with her bell sleeves as wings. She began an incantation, the foreign words rolling off her tongue. The dark forest was suddenly set alight with beautiful, shimmering light. The colours merged together and sparkled with silver as it formed into a sort of doorway. My mother turned to me and pointed to her side. I dismounted my horse.

Lead your horse into the Veil and I will follow,” my mother said, both her face and voice unreadable.

I nodded because I did not trust myself to speak. I led my horse into the sparkling Veil by holding the bridle. My breath was stolen from me as I was engulfed by the light. I was surrounded by tiny crystals and the very pale spectrum of light. Too soon, the light dispersed and I found myself back in the forest. It took me a moment longer that it should have to realise that I was no longer in Oraca.

The flickering embers of the log fires were the only source of light in this deep part of the forest. Beautiful men and women danced and laughed as the joyous yet mysterious music played. Although not every woman had my mother's long, flowing auburn locks and fair skin, they all shared her slim, feminine figure. My mother, although dressed provocatively, was not dressed indecently. The majority of women here wore thin, pale coloured off the shoulder shifts that were daringly low cut. A few were completely naked.

Every man had a strong and masculine build and, like the women, were beautiful despite their various skin tones and hair colours. Some had a little – but well groomed – facial hair whilst some were clean-shaven; some wore shirts, breeches and knee-high boots whilst some wore nothing at all. Everyone had a pair of striking gold eyes and had been blessed with youthful looks.

There was no mistaking it: I had stepped into my mother's Faerie world, where she was the only Queen, the only ruler.

I could not help but gawk at the indecently dressed (or in some cases, not dressed at all) Faerie people. I was embarrassed. I felt as though I had been stripped naked before so many strangers. And here they all were, acting as though this was the most natural thing in the world. Or, at least, this world.

Quiet!” My mother's voice was powerful, like my father's, and the effect was immediate. “Let us rejoice for my daughter has returned to us!”

The forest was instantly enveloped with the screams of delight and excitement. Bodies swarmed around me and fingers ran through my hair and across my exposed skin. I made out many “Welcome, Princess” and “Your absence has been greatly grieved” from within the muttering and laughter. I stood, frozen, overwhelmed by the attention. When what seemed like an age had passed, my mother called for her peoples' attention and they moved away from me.

It has been too long since we last had a grand feast, and so we shall tomorrow night!” My mother put an arm around me. “My dearest people, you must welcome my daughter. Let the festivities commence!”

The people cheered and crowded around me once more. They kissed my hands, my cheeks, my hair as they thanked me for gracing them with my presence. I smiled tightly whilst silently wishing them all away. The music soon swept them away from me and the strange party atmosphere was revitalised. My mother took me by the hand as though I was seven years old rather than seventeen and led me to the extensive royal tent where I would be staying with her.

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