You know, occasionally we here at There & Draft Again come up with some
crazy lunatic insane fun ideas. I’ll take the blame for suggesting this one. We’ve decided to present you with an on-going tale. Each month, one or more of us will add to this tale for your readerly enjoyment (we hope). Of course, it’s a fantasy tale, but it will be totally organic in its growth so who knows where it will wind up. To keep off this little venture, I have written an introduction of sorts. Fine. I’ll call it what it is. *duhn duhn da duhn* The Dreaded (dreaded dreaded dreaded) Prologue (prologue prologue prologue). Do you like the echo machine? It’s cool, no?
Okay, on with the tale which I shall title: Okay, I don’t have a title for it yet. We’ll work on that. Enjoy!
Once upon a time, and a very long time ago it was, too. . .
Isn’t that how all Fairy Tales begin? But this isn’t your run of the mill fairy tale. Oh, there are fairies, and tales by the plenty, but nothing ordinary lies in wait. You doubt, I know, but allow me to set the scene and begin the telling, and let us see where the words will take us.
Under a crystalline blue sky a woman walks amid the runes of a once great fortress. This is Corrin. Dressed in the greens and browns of the forest, lithe, tall, her black hair bound in a tight braid, she is young. Too young to remember when the spires that lay in crumbled heaps beneath her feet once pierced those late summer clouds gathering above her. Nor does she particularly care. Ancient lore never held her interest.
Those clouds, however, and the heaviness to them, those caught her eye and she frowned.
“Rain. It always has to rain.”
Something scampers over tumbled rock and rotted wood behind her, dislodging a small avalanche. She turns her gaze over her shoulder, unconcerned. In two more breaths a long-legged Wolfhound surges over a pile of rubble and bounds toward her, tongue lolling from the side of its mouth.
“Nice of you to join me, Cafyl,” she says, and though her tone drips with sarcasm, her eyes speak of love and the bond of true companionship. She points skyward. “It’s going to rain. Again. There will be no trail to follow.”
She mumbles a curse under her breath, idly scratching the hound behind the ears as he rests his huge head against her waist. After a time, she shoulders her pack and resumes picking her way across the runes.
With my luck, she muses to herself, the rain will hold off until nightfall, and I’ll be stuck in the open with only a pine tree for shelter and no hope of a fire.
But she has no one to blame. She has set this task for herself. There is no fame or glory to be found in its success. There will be no celebration in the city on her return. No statue in her likeness will be commissioned of the royal sculptor. Truth be told, the great likelihood is that no one has even noticed she is gone.
“You, they will miss,” she says to the hound. “Great Cafyl, how will they manage the hunt without you? But Corrin, daughter of dirt and nothing? Too few will wonder where she’s gotten to.”
And so Corrin leaves the runes and continues north, following a trail she will lose to the coming rain.
Less than half a league behind her, a figure pauses in the shadow of the trees, and gazes down the hill at the remains of a once glorious castle. The hooded head turns to track the progress of the receding duo: a girl and a hound. An eager light shines where eyes might be. As the wind picks up, it brings with it the first hint of a coming storm.
And so begins the tale . . .
Watch for the next installment(s) next month. Happy Holidays!
~ K. L. Schwengel