PETRICHOR

(This is the rough draft version) This will be a story of a girl named Rivka who lives in a village called Ginseng Fréamh, where all the inhabitants, aside from those born within it's walls, appear randomly at the gates with no memory of having been brought there, leading the citizens to dub their new home the Lost Village. Outside this village are beasts and creatures of unimaginable power and unknown purpose. Rivka is the youngest to have ever appeared in the city and has the power to influence organic and earthly matter with her emotions leaving her to be stoic and unfeeling in order to control herself. With her world constantly changing from attacks by sentient beasts, the deaths of those around her, and the loss of her only friend, she finds it harder to find peace with her environment as well as herself.

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2. Sigh No More

Spring had finally claimed the land. The flowers and seas of thick grass covered the rolling hills within the walls of our home, Ginseng Fréamh. Without the dangers of frost and overbearing showers, families and farmers prepared their fields for potatoes and tender tuber plants. The village was filled with so many sights and sounds, the domestics groaning under their yokes, families gathering their supplies for the allotted plots outside the inner gates, the sounds of our lake docks being repaired from the past few storms, and the creaking wooden doors of newly built stone houses being repeatedly slammed shut by the suddenly relocated as they moved into new homes with their donated items.

      Our minuscule kingdom was settled in the middle of a dense forest filled with an assortment of beasties and sentient creatures bent on consuming us for magical power and energy. Our history was vague, our lifestyle based on tradition and precaution. Humans appear often at the gates of our village with no memory of who or where they came from, the only thing they had was their clothes and their name. Lucky for them our village knows how to deal with wondering souls who somehow have found themselves, or lost themselves, in Ginseng Fréamh.

King Craedel (our younger friend Ivan being the II) had stepped into order when our last noble leader found himself unfit as king, leaving his extensive line of birthrights to that of one of the councilmen. King Ivan has been the most generous and sometimes concerning king. His compassion for all of those who find themselves suddenly wondering the streets of the mysterious town of the lost was intense. He had built, within his castle I might add, many and many rooms to serve as the quarters of the lost until they found their place within our village. Before this, families had to give up the space in their beloved farms and homes to the poor souls. With this housing in place, adjusting to this life became easier.

      I was one of the lost, but a peculiar one. 

      The age range of those who have appeared by our village have always been over the age of sixteen. When I was found I was only an infant, just a few days old. I also appeared in the strangest of circumstances. During the harsh winters, all the citizens in our village gather in certain places to maintain heat together. Most employees of the king meet in his home or in the many rooms meant to house the lost. My Momma and Dah were late making their way through a brittle snow storm. To reach the fastest main entrance, they had to trudge through a blanketed garden. 

      Pushing through the storm, they kept their frosted heads down. The sound and the sheer movement of the hollowing wind shoved them over and over, but even with the madness around them, Momma heard a small little cry for help. She whirled around to see nothing. The wailing of an infant child was faint but grew as I appeared, inside the very same hollow willow tree Ivan and I climb and challenge one another. I could've been just another abandoned child from an inhabitant in the village but my Momma knew better, especially with the suddenness in which I appeared.

      She ran to me, although I wasn't in any real danger. Momma claimed that inside the willow tree it was warm like a furnace and that my cheeks were nice and pink. When pulled out of the hollow I was immediately shivering and losing my color. More reason to rush inside.

Dah was displeased.

      He didn't want a child. Not yet. He felt that they were too young, that he was to young, but as my Momma had constantly reminded him, most citizens didn't survive to a ripe old age. Despite this he was constantly angry the next week that was spent in the castle. Every time Momma was asked what she'd name her little blessing, my Dah would snicker and say "It ain't permanent". 

      "It" was literally me. 

      Things are different now.

      I waited just outside the castle gardens for Ivan. Ivan had little to no experience outside his luxurious home and I was declared fit to lead him through the winding of the stone riddled roads and houses. Ivan was never really allowed to leave because of the dangers of a sudden attack. Always, every few years, there was a bloody unsuspecting attack by creatures known as Fomorians, humanoid monsters that roam the seas far past the wood we lived in. They feasted on our flesh and empowered themselves with our emotions. Being nearly impossible to defeat, we have lost countless of soldiers, innocents, and even colonist that had traveled away to take more ground. No one is safe, especially outside the castle. 

      The king had a constant fear of losing his boy, afraid his son would have the same fate as his wife. 

      I tapped my foot angrily. I didn't like waiting, I didn't like the way he ruined my concentration, my control. Ivan was the only other person able to bring about any emotion from me. He made me lose whatever focus I had, I showed my true self around him, that was dangerous. Without control of my emotions, there was no control over my powers. Right now, Ivan was releasing the hot-head part of me. Impatient. Inconsiderate. Not indifferent (which is what I prefer).

      Ivan didn't know me very well, at least I assume that. He doesn't know that I can grow a flower with happy thoughts, or persuade a mockingbird to sing. I considered though, that at some point Ivan was going to realize my power and I was afraid he would be scared. That made me scared.

      Just the deep abyss-like feel in my stomach, sucking every ounce I have, falling, falling and falling, caused a nearby street dog to growl and whine. I harshly shushed the mutt as Ivan came tumbling along, his clean and perfect attire a sharp contrast to my Dah's long stained shirt I wore as a dress. Dah was also a butcher.

      "Hello Rivka! I've missed you." He smiled sweetly, I shook off my tinge of fears and put on a controlled smile.

      "It has only been a day, you can't have missed my that much." Whatever the kind of tone he thought he heard from me did not reflect the joy and thrill of seeing my best friend. His smile grew wider. He may know me more than I thought. 

      He reached for my hand and we started off towards the village market. He responded to my indifference with, "I always miss you when you leave, that is why I have repeatedly asked Mrs. O'Hara to let you stay the night. She INSISTS that the prospect of a young boy, (of only ten years I might add), and a seven-year old girl near each other after dark is unspeakable." My Momma did insist we spend time apart as much as possible. Even though Ivan is next in line to rule our village, she wouldn't trust him with boiling water and an anthill, much less her innocent daughter.

      "Try asking Dah!" I let out a small snicker but maintained the balance. No one would notice a couple clovers under my feet, or if the birds sang a little louder. Wishing I had a pair of shoes I stared at my bare feet trying to hide myself.

      Ivan smiled crookedly at me, a half grin of a trickster and a poet. My favorite facial expression he could give me. Suddenly he stopped gazing at me as we reached a connection/collection of roads, a place of meeting for trade. The Harvester's Square. A place meant solely meant for folks of my kind to make a living. 

      The market was a bit off centered in the village, near the castle and conjoined to a beautiful glimmering lake. The docks were a direct transport of fish to the many tents and stands. There was also many vegetables, fruits, and spices at every corner, the smells overwhelming. Noises of animals and people bidding, chatting, bargaining, pitching and fighting. Ivan could always see from the castle but this was intensely different, a sensory overload for one of quiet gardens and libraries.

      The most "off-putting" moment is when he met his first beastie. It was a giant male, brown and black, buckbear dragging a full cart of farming supplies. Its antlers spread seven feet across, its paws were as big and wide as a human's head and its huge saber-teeth protruded sharply from its bearded maw. Ivan had read books, seen pictures, and knew they were giant, but standing face to face with one for the first time terrified him. They stood over nine feet tall and were very shaggy and their face wolf-like, but they had an herbivore's diet. These beasties were much broader and less lean than a deer. Being bred to pull carts has led these creatures to have a heavy and muscular build with a long thick neck. I pulled Ivan aside to let the man and is buckbear through and we watched as it dragged the cart away, its bunny tail twitching. 

      "They looked smaller in books...cute even" Ivan looked speechless and unsure what to do with himself. Being that he had no experience outside of the castle, there was a bit of uneasiness in him. Ivan was very intelligent I admit, but his experiences only lay in his personal library. 

"Cute? How did you get cute? The young ones maybe, but the adults are like fierce." I enjoyed questioning his thought processes because they were always different and unique to others.

He looked at the long-gone cart and the looked back at me, "they have a beautiful coat, and sheep ears."

      I softly smiled at him, "They are the tamest creatures around. They are sweet creatures, they love children and they are very gentle. I suppose you can call them gentle giants. I've always wanted one but Momma said we don't need it and we don't have the money for it." 

      Ivan pulled out a full parcel of coins, smiling devilishly. "I could help you out, Dah gave me an allowance to buy whatever I want in Harvester's Square. I'm sure he wouldn't mind a new pet, we have plenty of room." I beamed at him, forgetting to control myself, I could feel blades of grass poking my feet between the rocks. I calmed myself down and regained my composure. 

      "For once you actually have an acceptable idea. Let's get a cub!!" My childish glee was unusual and uncommon and Ivan was pleased at the sight of it. I grabbed his hand as we traveled down the cobble streets towards the mid-gates where the farmers and laborers lived and worked. There were huge fields and beautiful open pastures filled with feathered pigs and silky goats. Ivan had never seen so much land and I could tell he was overcome with emotion. As we walked to tour the farms and eventually find a buckbear breeder we passed a huge fountain, worn down from the tragedies that plague our home, built as a tribute to the horrors and losses the people have lived through. Statues stood in the water acting out a battle, water streaming from their open wounds and mouths.

      A man holding in his left arm, a woman bleeding out from her stomach. In his right hand, there was a sword fighting off the most dangerous and feral beastie of all. The fomorians. A humanoid creature capable of human thought, yet void of all emotions aside from hate, anger, and sexual desire. These creatures have a range of characteristics, all types of horns, fangs, leather or feathered wings, claws, and all types of ears, snouts, and eyes. This fomorian had huge feathered wings, large and sharp canines, a long tail with a tuft of fur and huge claws. This marked the death of Ivan's mother, the woman and the man was Ivan's parents fighting to keep themselves alive during an invasion. No one knows why they attack, but every few years they come and kill men and women and kidnap children.

      Ivan slowed, absently letting go of my hand as he stared at the fountain. He was so young when she had died, and there were no portraits of her in his castle. His father couldn't bear to see her face so he had removed all of them. Her name was Babbs and she was beautiful. Momma said she had long black hair, softer than feathers. Her skin was milky white and her lips were a pale pink. She had a temper and was hot-headed like me but was known to be fair and sweet just as often.

      "Ivan?"

      He didn't turn to look at me, he only stared at her. She was still beautiful, even in death. 

      "Ivan, we don't have to go get the buckbear, we can stay here." I pulled him over to the edge and I sat him down.

      "Everything is okay Ivan."

      Only silence.

      I was overwhelmed. Ivan was never sad, never grieving. He never knew her so why cry? Here, there was a face to the woman you gave birth to him and I could sense that he was confused by his own feelings, trying to understand how he feels. How he feels about her and who she was, and who she could've been for him. A loving mother? Without a second thought, I suppose.

      At this very moment, I wanted to show that I cared. I wanted to show that it was fine that he didn't know how to feel, that I would always be here, that we will always be together. How could I really show him without revealing myself too much. Sitting beside him, my hands became nervous balls of fists, little vines creeped their way out but Ivan was still distracted staring at his mother's dying moments.

"It's okay," I whispered looking around nervously, "I can cheer you up, but you can never tell anyone what I am about to show you." He snapped out of his trance, his blue eyes focusing on mine. 

      I had never been so scared and exhilarated my entire life. Short life.

In our silence, I dipped my hand in the water, my other hand on his chest. I considered his eyes, absorbing his sadness into myself, sharing his pain. His pain wasn't for his mother, I could sense that, it was the pain of not knowing her. Ivan was sad because he wasn't sure how to love her or feel about her, I suppose that that is even more depressing.

      Channeling that pain and sadness into my hand dipped in the water, I made pothos and lilies grow and spread throughout the fountain, grew flowers around the statues. I hummed and all the fish gathered at my finger tips and started dancing, swimming together back and forth. Ivan just stared. He smiled but looked confused. Little tear drops fell from my eyes, his tears but from me. 

      "Is everything alright? Besides my parents you are the only one that knows of this...." I became worried, worried that his confusion would lead to suspicion, fear, or even hate. I was able to manipulate emotions, use them to grow plants and persuade animals. The fish darted suddenly and the vines reached around us frantically trying to cover. Luckily, there was no one around being toward the farms on a market day.

      He pursed his lips multiple times, unsure what to say, staring at my eyes and the crawling vines back and forth. Finally, he cleared his throat. 

      "I'm just.... confused."

      "About what? Ask away, although there is not much I can answer, this is a mystery to me as well." I looked away, what else could I do?

      "I am confused as to why you never told me before, I thought you had more trust in me. Am I not close to you?"

      "I was afraid you would stop being my friend." I looked back at him, absolutely terrified that I had made a mistake by trying to comfort him the only tangible way I knew how. If I hadn't done this I would have been an indifferent jerk.

      His expression proved different. Ivan was smiling at me, assuring that it was fine. In that moment, I had never felt so calm and collected, so in control. I ceased my powers before any local farmers noticed and we sat there.

      "I can manipulate plants and animals with the emotions of myself and others through touch......I was so afraid to tell you...."

      "Never be afraid to be yourself with me. Besides, this is amazing, think of all the trouble we could get into and not have and consequences." He beamed reassuringly. 

We spent the rest of our time sitting there at the fountain and sometime later leaving. We never got the buckbear, that was just a part of collected whims children make up to feel as if we had some kind of control in our lives that we really didn't.

      At the Harvester's Square, Ivan bought me new shoes, a dress, and gloves. No more tiny, trailing clovers, or obnoxious mocking birds. That is of course, if we decide not. 

 

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