River Stories

Ari has always wanted to be the one to break free, the one who knows she will be Light and can travel upstream to see where her life takes her. But when the curse of Alvado Falada begins to unfold, Ari begins to discover that life isn't what it seems and sometimes you just need to be yourself.

This is the story of a girl who faces tragedy, love, heartbreak and beauty to get to where she wants to be. Follow Ari on her amazing journey up the river.

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5. Chapter 5

Capri smiled timidly at me, her eyes showing kindness. She offered up both her hands to show she held nothing that could hurt or annoy me. Not that it thought she would have, though it was a nice thought for her to prove it to me.

My thoughts circled dangerously in my head, like sharks around their prey. Capri was a Dark. She could be dangerous. If she had river speech and was a Dark, did that mean I would be too? I shuddered at the thought, though Capri was a Dark but seemed nice enough.

‘You’re a Dark,’ I whispered plaintively, the words tumbling from my mouth forming what sounded like an accusation.

Capri bowed her head, the smile vanishing form her face. Instantly, I felt bad for making her quiet and shy. It was a curse that I had, always speaking my mind. I cursed myself, glancing back towards the river, longing for its cool touch. Capri noticed my glance and said, ‘don’t be afraid.’

Her face was earnest and her eyes seemed to be lit with a deeper knowledge than I had ever seen, even from Sarem, the wisest woman of the Valley. Everyone knew that Sarem was always right. Everyone listened to her but to me, Capri seemed to have more of an understanding of the world as a whole, even more so than that of the older woman.

I started off with an easier question, hoping that I would have all my questions answered. There was so much I wanted to know, beginning with how.

‘When you are born, you are born with the word of a language on your tongue,’ Capri began. ‘We all speak have another language to learn but some of us never discover them. You and I did.

‘You found solace is the cool touch of the river, did you not? I did too. At the age of three, my Mother decided that I was not fit to be the Queen of her land. I had the gift of a second speech and my Mother feared that that would interfere with the way I would rule.’

‘You were going to be a Queen?’ I interrupted, my head beginning to hurt with all the new information I was learning.

‘I was. My Mother the Queen sought out a couple here that she would pay to keep me and my father the King had no choice but to play along. My Mother is very convincing when she wants to be.’ Capri’s voice darkened at the mention of her Mother, her eyes tightening and her eyebrows mashing together under the strange glow of the moon.

‘I was sent here in a wagon along with food, enough for the two month journey and money, to pay the couple with. My only company was the wagon driver and he didn’t speak much. Azul, my grey cat, wasn’t allowed to come with me and I was supposed to leave him behind but I didn’t. I hid him in the back with the food, which was a bit of a mistake but at least I still have my cat.

‘But I think you’re wondering why I’m an Elder, am I correct?’ I nodded. ‘Well, one year ago when it was my Beckoning, I fell in love with… someone. What I didn’t know, what I didn’t realise, is that at a Beckoning time, if a girl falls in love she is bound to become a Dark, no matter what her soul is like inside. Calib was my only friend at the time and, realising my pain, he stayed with me for the first few really bad months of my new life as a Dark.

‘Have you ever really wondered why boys and girls are not allowed to spend time together for the year of their seventeenth birthdays? Have you ever questioned that? It’s an old and traditional legend, or so everyone thought, until I found out the hard way. My soul lashed out for the love that I lost when I was to become a powerful Soul and the one I loved never survived it. I’m cursed to be the Dark girl, the one who was allowed to be an Elder, the one with the mysterious past, the girl who killed her lover.

‘As Calib and I started to spend more time in the Forest just at the lip of the Valley, he began to question my deeper wisdom and the way I always found a way to be with the river. At this time, I hadn’t told anyone of my heavy secret of water speech, thinking they would find me strange, a water whisperer who’s a Dark that doesn’t belong here, which of course I am. But Calib saw beneath all of that and, consulting with the other Elders first, they decided to give me a place in the Circle of Elders. The wisdom I have of the curse and my water speech intrigued them and they offered me a place, sensing the things I knew would come in handy.’

Capri stopped with a sad smile, rubbing her arms to keep away the pressing chill. I sat back on my heels, thinking for a couple of minutes.

‘Sorry we were all so unwelcoming,’ I finally said, truly meaning it. Capri smiled at me shyly, telling me that it was okay. It wasn’t. I knew how it felt to be the new one with no friends, the one who was a little strange and on the edge. Capri might’ve said it didn’t matter but right then I made up my mind to be friends with her. No matter what.

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