Unknown

An interesting girl is born in a strange land, not knowning what she is, who she is and whether or not she has a life in the village which has shunned her all her life.

One day she makes a terrible mistake...

Then she's taken... and meets the lands king who is very interested in her.

But time is running out, and someone is out to get her.

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3. Chapter Three

Chapter Three

 

There was a cool breeze whistling through the tree branches overhead. The light of the moon poked through in splotches onto the rocks and pine needles scattered throughout the forest. The only sound was the wind. Forteé sat cross legged admiring the peacefulness, she took a deep breath and started to sing, there were no words and she varied her pitch placing the emotions she felt into it, the wordless song wooed and swayed, twirled and leaped then she held a long note the wind carried her voice far and wide telling the world how she felt. When she was done she got up and skipped back toward her house humming elated by the fact that her second wedding gift to Azariel and Ismira was done she knew where to find the first but how to get it out was a mystery. Forteé stepped into the clearing and saw that Azariel wasn’t home, he’d been in the village for a day and a half and, Forteé began to wonder if he had moved in with them she decided to go find him and ran pass the house and into the other side of the forest, dodging tree’s and roots before she ran into them after several minutes she arrived on the road and walked leisurely toward the village upon reaching it she took a back alley until Ismira’s house was in sight.

Forteé’s ears pricked up as she heard screams coming from the house, most of the top windows candles were burning and the consent sound of footsteps were to be heard. Entering the woods again she circled the house until she came to a back window and used the ledges as platforms to launch herself the window, she looked through and saw Cesh pacing his room she tapped the window and he jumped slamming into his bookshelf causing something’s to fall, he frantically looked round the room until he saw Forteé waving at him, shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter. He walked over and slid open the window, Forteé entered and closed the window behind her

“What’s the screaming about?”  She asked for the screams were louder now but muffled through the closed doors

“Mum’s birthing” he said face pained, Forteé nodded and looked about his room, it was simple with an oak bed with cotton bedding

“She was going to give birth soon anyway” she said quietly, Cesh looked at her then bellowed

“Why didn’t you say?”

There was a knock at the door then Asar’s head popped round

“What’s the shouting about C…” he said but stopped when he saw Forteé’s body press up against his brother hand over his mouth “when did you get here… and why is she in your room?” he quizzed standing fully in the door and addressing both of them

“She was outside my window and don’t glare at me like that!” retorted Cesh holding Forteé’s hand away from his mouth, Azariel’s head popped over Asar’s shoulder

“Forteé?” he asked looked at her as if she appeared out of thin air “when did you get here and why are you in his room” Both Cesh and Forteé rolled their eyes.

 

Uma gave birth to three health babies, two girls, one boy. The family stared at Forteé like she’d grown two heads when she entered the room to look at the new arrivals only Azariel was calm about it assuring everyone that she wasn’t always right

“Like how early they were born, she didn’t guess that” he had said though Cesh paled at that but did say anything. Everyone apart from Uma and Ulhart were downstairs having and early breakfast of bread and cheese and drinking a tea Asar had made, Ismira had popped upstairs to check on her parents then come down frowning

“Forteé my parents want you” she said “and everyone else of course” suspicious everyone trudge upstairs when they entered the bedroom, Uma smiled but didn’t say anything Ulhart looked and his wife and they both nodded

“You wanted me?” Forteé said

“Yes” replied Ulhart softly and cleared his throat “Uma and I have thought much on this and have agreed… Forteé we would like for you to be the triplets godmother” Azariel’s mouth dropped open. Ismira, Asar and Cesh were as equally shocked. Forteé’s face was blank.

“I would be honoured” she said bowing her head

“Fantastic” replied Ulhart smiling at her. On the walk back home, it was silent between Azariel and Forteé; she couldn’t believe she was a godmother! A smile spread across her face

“What are you thinking about?” asked Azariel though he already knew

“That I feel old” she replied, he burst out laughing and smiled at her

“Why?” He asked breathless, Forteé took her time to answer absentmindedly plaiting her hair

“Because if all of you die…Maker forbid” she said the last bit quickly when he did a double take “I’ll have three energetic kids to look after and what will I do for money” she groaned then looked at Azariel “you thought the same thing when I dropped into your life” he nodded slowly  then said

“Apart from the triplet thing, I was more worried about what to feed you and when that was sorted and you started to walk a do other things… I panicked you were a lot more intelligent than a human baby and knew straight away I wasn’t your father”-he looked at her-“You kept trying to leave the house and when a put you in the crib you wailed and made strange chirping sounds all in all when you reach two months you calmed down and were a strange but beautiful child after that.” They were walking over the hill now and had fallen into silence. 

“Did you have something to eat” Forteé asked as she opened the door

“No but don’t make anything now, I just want to go to bed” he replied walking toward his room, Forteé watched him go but she did go to bed, she spent the rest of the depleting night listening to the cries and calls of the night animals… and wondering what life awaited for her.

In the morning they both ate quickly. The traders had arrived and in good time too, for from a good scent of the air Forteé deciphered that the snow would arrive three days from now, the temperature a sure sign of it as well they both put on their warmest clothes, Azariel put the years wages in a pouch and place it inside his inside pocket and they started toward the village. Along the way they saw the trails of the carts along the frosty road and dozens of footsteps

“We best hurry before all the good stuff is gone” stated Azariel eyeing the road, Forteé stretched her muscles and rolled her neck, shoulder and feet. She walked toward Azariel and he took a step back

“What are you doing?” he asked, Forteé smiled then flipped him over her shoulder; Azariel gasped in surprise and demanded she put him down. Forteé tightened her grip on his struggling body

“Trust me” she said sternly and looked at him over her shoulder, “it will be faster this way and if you keep complaining I’ll carry you like a woman” and rose her non-existent eyebrows for effect. “Now wrap your arms around my back and clasp them tight on my stomach, tighter than that… I don’t want you falling at the speed I’ll be going. Hold on tight” she ran, kicking up dirt as she did so, her hair streaming passed her, feet barely touching the ground as she sailed down the road at a tremendous speed, when the village come into sight she slowed down a fraction then stopped when the traders tents come into view just outside the village in an empty field. She set Azariel down and he swayed as if drunk his black hair messy from the wind, Forteé had to hold him for a while as he regained his balance

“That was brilliant!” he exclaimed sounding like a little boy “we have to do that again sometime” and he marched off with a grin on his face. The village was bustling, crowds milled around brightly coloured tents and booths clogging the main street, Forteé walked through the village beside Azariel, some villagers stopped and stared but all in all they left her be.

Azariel stopped and reached inside his pocket, Forteé seeing this walked on passed taking long strides, she groaned as she was pulled back by her tail and coins were dropped into her reluctant hands

“Get yourself something nice, I don’t care what but make sure you’re at Ulhart’s for dinner” he said and left immediately with a determined expression on his face.  Forteé stood there gazing after him. She pocketed the money and went off in search of something to buy, women were buying cloth, while their husbands were looking at tools, latches and new gadgets some city inventers made. Children ran up and down the road shrieking with excitement and crying when hurt. Perfumes were displayed here and spices there, pots were laid out in leather harnesses on the floor. Forteé once spotted Uma and Ismira struggling with the triplets and Cesh whose face was a sight to behold with Ulhart and Azariel following behind carrying various items the women had bought.

Forteé finally brought a travelling pack with enough space for three weeks food for one person and straps to hold her bow, quivers with several hunting knives. She looked into a pocket and saw she had enough money for two small pies; she went to the stall selling them and bought one, the rest of the coins she would put in her saving pouch when she got home. She sat down on a tree root and watched people carrying on with their shopping eating her hot, blackberry pie. The pie felt good after the long hours of standing and she licked the syrup off her finger wishing for more but didn’t go buy another.

When she heard giggling she looked round and saw a trader’s boy wooing a Piddle-Brook girl with flowers and from the whiff a wind blowing her way a bottle of perfume. Forteé looked away fighting back the feel of longing and wonder in her gut. The sound of something falling toward her made her drop to the ground and turn crouched, growling at the culprit, six boy’s her age and younger stood in a group looking uneasy as she growled at them teeth bared, Fortee made a mock charge and they all stumbled back while one boy ran for the hills

“They’re five of us, you wimps… Get her!” said one boy. Forteé growled in annoyance and ran toward the buildings, shouldering her way through the crowd and then zigzagging between alleys and small openings. A strong hand suddenly grabbed her arm and she was flung into a room, she heard the door close then the sound of the teens running passed shouting in confusion. Then nothing. Forteé stood in a defence position snarling softly.

“Ease down girl, I ain’t going to hurt you” said a nasal voice a light was struck and an oil lamp lit, Forteé gazed at Carn the butcher and stopped snarling, she looked round the room she was in. Meat hung in a straight line creating a path to the shop door and the cutting room to the left of her

“Why’d you rescue me” she said stiffly

“No particular reason, but I want to talk to you before you make your escape from me” he replied and walked up some stairs, Forteé followed scenting the air for any betrayal when her head popped up she saw a small living area with a small table in the middle of the room with two chairs, behind it was a small kitchen. Two doors were to the right and one to the left of the stairs

“Please sit down” said Carn placing down two mugs of tea and biscuits on the table, Forteé sat down and sniffed the tea

“I haven’t poisoned it” chuckled Carn; Forteé blushed and sipped the scolding tea

“What did you want to speak to me about?” Forteé asked nibbling a biscuit

“I would like you to work for me” he said reaching for a biscuit, Fortee’s ear’s flicked up and turned toward him, Carn watched fascination

“How?” asked Fortee setting down her tea and eyeing him levelly, he smiled

“Some days I would like it if you could look after the store for me, like when I go and see my family for example or when business needs me elsewhere. To tell me which are the best furs to sell at a high price, cut the meat, sell it, make deliveries, and clean the shop for me also to hunt for a rarely seen deer in mountains” he said taking a sip

“That’s a lot from me to do, and the deer you speak of will take days to find and killing it won’t be easy.” She replied

“If you are worried about pay, there is no need you will be paid handsomely, you are the ultimate huntress and what I’ve heard from your father, and you seem too good at everything else.” He said finishing his tea “do you accept my offer?” Forteé thought about it then nodded, finishing her tea.

They discussed when the best time to start and Carn decided next time she was in the village he would have a date. Forteé said her goodbye’s and left via the front door she walked at a leisure pace toward Ulhart’s house, she was already late from discussing with Carn she felt no need to rush. The streets had only a few strugglers left for everyone and left for dinner. She reached the house had knocked, she heard the sound of chair moving and footsteps then the door opened and Asar stared at her

“Where’ve you been” he hissed hand on hip, Forteé was taken back

“Pardon?” she asked confused

“Where have you been, I’ve been worried sick” he said eye’s bit too wide

“Err… with Carn…”

“What you mean with Carn” he said cutting her off, Forteé blinked quickly, Ulhart appeared behind his son and he boxed him round the ears

“Leave the girl alone” he scolded and helped Forteé inside the house, she walked in forehead creased

“We were wondering where you were?” Ismira said from her seat “A search party was being gathered” Forteé just looked at her

“So… what’s this about you being with Carn?” Cesh asked smiling mischievously at his brother Forteé gave a quick glance behind her and Asar was giving a look of death and she didn’t know why. After she sat down and got some food in her she answered Cesh question

“Carn offered me a job”

“Doing what?” sneered Asar

“I was getting to that” replied Forteé pupils going into slits “He offered me a job hunting, cleaning, selling, making delivery’s, some other stuff and looking after the shop when his away”

Azariel whistled

“How much is he paying you?” he asked sternly

“Haven’t decided yet” she replied “though he said he’ll pay handsomely” and put another pile of food into her mouth. After swallowing see turn to Asar

“Would the day after tomorrow be good for our foraging hunt or do you want to get it done tomorrow?” she asked, Asar stopped chewing and looked at her

“Err…” he said with his mouth full then swallowed “Tomorrow would be best, I’ll be busy soon” Forteé nodded and took a sip of water

“Tomorrow it is then”

Forteé helped clear up the dishes and quickly beat Uma to the dishes, reassuring the woman it was no problem at all. The dishes took less time than she expected she could hear them laughing in the living room, she took her time drying, leisurely listening into their conversation and looking out the window as the full moon shone in. Forteé closed her eyes bathing in the light; the feeling of weightlessness spread over her then left her just as quickly she open her eyes slowly. She stood stock still; a face just like hers stood looking at her with blazing silver eyes and dark blood red hair, her mouth open in an ‘O’ and took an intake of breath. She blinked and the face disappeared, Forteé heard running footfalls on the roof she bolted becoming a blur before she even reached the kitchen door, she flung open the front door, the footfalls were reseeding fast she had to get to them had to! She heard Azariel running to the door, him calling, no time to explain she had to catch up, she was in the forest in no time at all, leaves brushed her face, and twigs grazed her body. She was catching up pushing herself faster, her breath came out rapid, and her muscles burned the cold wind biting at her skin.

“Stop please!” she screamed and stumbled then tripped and fell the momentum of her speed make her fly through the air just for a few seconds. The ground hit her hard but she ignored the searing pain and pulled herself along the ground by her fingers and hands, the running footfalls were fading fast now

“Please, don’t go!” she screamed again this time sobbing. She curled into a foetal position and cried herself to sleep. 

 

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