Sunday, August 28, 2011


As is my prerogative, I have changed my mind.  I am still going to be posting part of the Elemental Enmity series here, but I am going to be writing the first Elemental’s story.  Her name is Emma (for now) and she is about to embark on a journey she could have never imagined, and that is saying a lot. So here goes:

Chapter One

I scan the crowd of tired, dusty faces and shield my eyes from the glare of the dying sun.  Where is he?  My chest tightens minutely with each breath.  He has to be here.
“Emma,” my mother warns again.
I ignore her.  I am running out of time.  Waiting another day to see him is unthinkable.
A man steps into my view.  My heart sinks.  It is not him.  I smile at his diminutive wife.
She fingers the colorful cloth on the table.  She is trying to appear indecisive, but her eyes betray her desire.  “How much,” she asks, even though the price is clearly marked.
I point to the sign.  I wish she would hurry up and decide.  Mother is impatient to leave.
The woman tries to haggle with me, but I have been instructed to stand firm.  The month just began.  Perhaps in two weeks she could get the price she wants, but not today.  She doesn’t know this, though, because she is a stranger.  She glances at her husband who slants a nod at her.  The tiny smile she gives him makes his eyes dance.  It is a beautiful sight.
I fold her cloth carefully and hand it to her.  She thanks me and hurries to catch her husband who is already weaving through the crowd.
I pack our wares into crates distractedly.  Mother leaves me to it.  This is what she wanted.  I load the last box into the cart.  I turn in hope one last time.
Golden hair glitters in the sun.  Is it him?  I cannot be sure.  My pulse pounds in my ears at the mere possibility.  I cannot see Mother.
I race after him.  I will speak to him today.
The man moves fluidly through the street toward the forest.  I have a hard time keeping up.  Just before he disappears into the thicket I see his profile.  It is him.  I gulp down my fear and follow.
Our town is the last on the trade-route.  We attract two kinds of people:  those who are running from the law or those who are seeking refuge from city life.
I do not know which he is.  Something about him compels me forward.  I have never come this far, and I do not know if I can find my way back.
The forest grows dark and treacherous the further I go.  I see a flicker of light up ahead.  I race toward it but falter when my tunic gets caught on a branch.  Mother will be angry with me if I ruin this one, too.
I have five days until I am to be wed to the smithy’s son.  His name is Abram, and he is the most attractive boy in our village.  All of the girls envy me, so why do I feel as though I can’t allow this to happen.  Tightness restricts my chest every time I think about being held in his arms again.
Last night he came to our hut and insisted on speaking to me.  Mother’s smile for him was broad, and sometimes I wonder if she secretly wishes it was she that was marrying him.  She hurried me out the door with a wink, telling me to take my time.  She also told me to mind my manners for the thirtieth time that day.  I know that she is worried that I will never marry, but she is just absurd sometimes. 
Abram reached for my hand, and I waited for the feelings that were supposed to come but never had.  It was no different this time.  Nothing happened at all.  His skin was warm and somewhat clammy as he led me down the path to the lake.
He seemed different.  I couldn’t quite define how, but it was in the set of his shoulders.
My mother won’t stop reminding me that he chose me out of all of the girls in our village.  I am what some would call old and a little odd.  Other boys have never even courted me because they are afraid of my sight.  I have the ability to know the future sometimes.  I do nothing to make this happen, but most still think I am a witch. 
I should be grateful for this opportunity with Abram, but I can’t shake the feeling that there is more for me than this life.
He took me to our usual spot near the cliff.  We have shared countless meals there over the past few months, and I felt strange just sitting on our rock holding his hand without the distraction of food.
He excitedly told me about the village we would be moving to.  He claimed it was more beautiful than anything I could ever imagine even though he never asked me what sort of things I found beautiful.
He doesn’t ask me much about how I feel or what my dreams are.  He has no idea what my imagination can conjure.
I listened as intently as I could with my mind reaching to recall the golden man’s strong jaw and his ocean blue eyes.  I had been imagining what it would be like to hold his hand instead of Abram’s.  I shouldn’t have let my thoughts follow that course, but I became lost in the image of his hands at my waist, of his eyes gazing into mine as though I were his entire universe, of his lips meeting mine in a soft union of love.  So when I came too and realized that Abram’s lips were moving on mine and his hands had found their way to places they should not have been, I panicked and tried to push him away.  He wouldn’t relent until I forced out a scream.
He chastised me, telling me he had rights as my betrothed.  I ran away from him, but next time he will not let me go so easily.  That is why I have to take this chance.  I have to see what could be before I can settle for what is.
The light flickers up ahead, and I detangle my tunic and continue more carefully.  I am not sure I want him to see me just yet.
I push some branches aside.  Blue light in every hue I could ever imagine is dancing around him.  His arms are raised high above his head, and he is chanting.  The image shifts as though a pebble has disrupted a still pond.  When the image stops quavering, I see trees, but they are not the same as those around me.  They are a kind of pine I have never seen.
Even though my mind is whirling from what is happening, I stay still until he moves forward.  I follow him, careful to not make a sound.  The light starts to fade, and I know I will never see him again if I don’t run.  My feet move faster than I have ever made them before.
By the time I reach the light, I don’t have time to think.  I leap into the void and gasp.

Until next time...


1 comment:

  1. Hi Everyone,

    Judith tried to leave a comment but couldn't so I am posting it here:

    I read your first chapter and tried to reply. Couldn't figure out how to do it. But I liked it. Emma hooked me right away. I liked the idea of starting in a bazaar on a trade route. I like the mystery of the blond stranger. Did she have any fear at all when she followed him? You have plenty of tension, but that would add more. Just some small stuff: I wanted to know that Emma and Abram had gone to the cliff lots of times before to eat together before they went so that he could make his moves on her. I'd like to know why Abram chose Emma when he could have any girl in the town. Her mother or Abram could hint at the reasons why. I'm thinking she's different than other girls somehow since she's still not married and "older." I'd like to know how she's different, or at least get a hint of it. Really picky point: You say that few types of people come to their town, then only mention two. I know. A stickler.

    Thanks for commenting Judith!