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Thread: House of the Bird (completed story)

  1. #1
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    Default House of the Bird (completed story)


    House of the Bird


    It was an unusually cold summer; frost dusted the practice yard each morning. All the other servants dressed quickly and met in the lower dinning hall for a silent breakfast. Often times, I missed it, for it was my duty to see to the horses before breakfast. It was a duty that I relished; for I loved them, each horse an icon of powerful majesty. And by simply adhering to my responsibilities, I found him. The young man was tall and thin; blond hair, the color of the straw ready for harvest, slightly covered his eyes. They were the most remarkable part about him, those orbs. Of such clarity, so startlingly vivid, such a deep blue that even one glance took my breath away. For a few pounding heartbeats, we simply stood there staring?. And then the reaction: "Don't," I breathed as he turned to flee.

    He stopped midstride and turned back to look at me. I sighed inwardly, those eyes. He seemed surprised, caught off guard. His eyes betrayed his wariness. "Why?" he asked, similarly quiet. His whisper was deep and velvety, not really a whisper at all, and seemed to caress the very air.

    We both knew very well that he should not have been there. Before I even consciously knew it, I had already made my decision; almost as if it had been made for me. I checked to see that no one was looking, one quick look over each shoulder. It was probably a needless precaution, not many were ever up at that hour, let alone down in the stable. But caution could have been my middle name. My hand darted forward to grab his, probably an allowance on his part I would come to suppose. We ran back to my room, from shadow to shadow one unused hallway to another. Up close, I realized that he stood a full head taller than me. More than a cursory glance showed him to be more than he first appeared: more bones than muscle; yet, he moved with more grace and controlled power than one of the queen's trained dancers. But, perhaps the most notable trait was his attire. Each piece was tattered and smelled rather like the stable. I wondered how many days he had slept there without me catching him.

    We quickly made it to my room, knowing the indecency his presence could cause. He stood silent, still. If he had not uttered that first surprised syllable, I would not have believed him capable of speech. I did not know his name; I thought about asking him just so I could hear his voice again. But one look into those crystal eyes and I left him to contemplate my possessions without noise. I was rummaging in what passed for my closet trying to find something to replace those rags. (They really could not be called clothes at all, those rags.) I was able to find a few ill-fitting ensembles near the bottom of one haphazard stack. I remember receiving them; some gift for "after my growth-spurt." After tossing the few options onto my cot, I went back out to the common room. Privacy was another small something I could grant, though I did have another purpose: to heat some water. I kept my eyes to the floor; I think I was blushing as I came back into my own room. I filled my shallow wash-basin with the warmed water and then hurried myself back out again. It would be noticed if I did not complete my chores and that would have garnered undue attention. I was not so naive to believe that housing a boy within my quarters was allowed. Thus, for some time, I worked diligently and efficiently, cleaning the stalls and brushing the horses where needed. Footsteps in the hay, quiet enough to miss, alerted me to a new presence. But somehow, even before turning around, I knew it was him. Impeccable timing; I had just finished. Turning around with words on my lips, I hesitated. Again, that gentle, piercing stare.
    "Let's get some breakfast" I tentatively suggested, I could say nothing to him but shyly. It was as if a loud voice would shatter his composed silence and send him back to whichever dream he had come from. He helped me put everything back where it belonged, heeding my direction with reserved obedience. When we were done, I led the way to the dinning hall. His bare feet made only the faintest of sounds, soft scrapes of callused skin on worn stone. Upon entering, none of the other servants looked up; each assuming that another had been added to their drudging midst. They did not care to take his name or note his face; not that morning, nor any of mornings afterward.

    We settled into a sort of schedule over the next weeks, though he never lost his solemnity. He continued to sleep in the stable at night and help me with my chores during the day, be they as disgusting as mucking the stable or tirelessly fetching water; he was there. We did not speak. I thought then, in childish fantasy, that he had been cursed to never speak and that one word I had heard was naught but a slip of memory. Until one morning he came into my room before sun-up. I was startled awake when he sat on the edge of my bed, his eyes were apologetic, no words were needed. I sat up and looked inquiringly at him. He placed a finger gently upon my lips. And then he spoke. His voice was just as I remembered, mesmerizing and gentle yet articulate and authoritative.

    "I must go. But I first wanted to thank you for your kindness," he paused and then continued with great reverence, "My name is Jace. Should you ever be in danger?" he paused again, as if unable to explain something important. "Take this," he said as he pressed a small ring into my hand. I was mute with unspoken sorrow, I could not speak, if I tried. it would never have fit him. I slid it on to my little finger the small insignia cut into the stone appeared to be a bird in flight.

    "Thank you" I whispered looking up, but he was gone.

    Summer ended and fall was even colder, the days passed uneventfully. That is until the day we were attacked. They came out of no where, hundreds of them swarming over our defenses. Some of us survived by hiding in the hay, but the attackers must have suspected that because they torched the entire compound before they disappeared back into the night.

    At first I just ran. When the shock wore off I collapsed in a glade and cried my self out. The horse found me, one I had cared for. A beautiful chestnut mare. We continued on together through the woods. I often thought of the ring and wondered how it might help me. But nothing came to mind, and as fall swiftly changed to winter I knew we would need a place to stay. We came on a road one day and I chose to follow it away from the only home I had ever known. It wound and meandered thought the woods to a small village. Just as I was wondering how I could pay for the food and lodgings the horse and I would both need, I saw that this town too had been hit, it was a chard and empty husk. Leaving the horse in the center of the town as I looked through the wreckage for anything usable I found that one of the buildings was only burnt on the outside. Leading the horse that had claimed me into it was not easy, the smell of smoke still lingered heavily in the air.

    Days passed as I checked the other buildings and surrounding area for usable items or signs of life. To keep the ring safe I had tied it to a bit of rope that I had made and wore it around my neck, inside my cloths.

    Horse and I passed the winter in that burnt out village, and when spring came I felt the need to move on. Taking a road out of the town at random we traveled for weeks never seeing another person. That was until we came to another village, there was an inn with the same bird insignia as on the ring. Dismounting, I tentatively entered and inquired after work to be done, I knew there was no other way I could pay for anything, and was tired of being on my own. There was a job in the kitchens that would just cover my expenses, but I would have to sell my horse. Heart wrenching as it was I found her a home with a local farmer and had to be content with that.

    Spring was just fading into summer again when something odd happened. A noble road through town who looked startlingly familiar, but I had never met any nobles in my life. At least I thought I hadn't til those startlingly captivating blue eyes met mine. He stopped in the middle of the road and we simply stared for what seemed to be an eternity.

    "I know you" it was almost a question, but there was no mistaking the velvet gravel of his voice.

    I couldn't find my own and so the only answer I could give was to slip the ring out of my dress, sliding the cord over my head I held it out for him to see.

    Hes expression unreadable he handed it back and said "follow me" then he remounted and rode on as though nothing had happened.

    With out looking back I obeyed, he rode ahead in silence for an hour taking no notice weather I followed or not. Then turned off the road into a small meadow doted with wild flowers he dismounted and smiling took my hands in his "I thought to never see you again." He stated simply.

    "Nor I you." I replied confused. "Who are you?"

    "King of a shattered people, I have nothing to offer but my heart to you who has always been so kind and trusting I wish I had more to offer but?"
    I interrupted his no doubt well planed confession of love "a heart is all I ask of any man, mine has been yours from the beginning."
    His smile was heaven it self, I know because we died there in that glade, caught by the hunters that had plagued him where ever he went. Died in each others arms, a single arrow through both our hearts, it was still heaven.
    Last edited by Asmo; 01-09-2011 at 04:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    this is the first story i have ever actually completed. please feel free to tell me what you think of it good or bad.
    i might not change anything, but i have posted it up here for a good critiquing.

  3. #3
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    It's kinda sad but i like the picture up top

  4. #4
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    The picture up top is the castle at St. Andrews in Scotland, unless I'm mistaken.

    ... and Gwen, I loved the story. But you already knew that.

  5. #5
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    I personally like the story very much...

    But if I may offer a suggestion, you might edit the part at the end, and continue the story from there.

    I personally like the way the suspense goes: It makes me want to keep reading to see what happens to them in the end.

    Also, I find the style itself to be very enjoyable. I would suppose you have pretty much nailed it when it comes to describing what happens when someone falls in love with another...
    Formerly known as Jurnis

  6. #6
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    i had intended it to be longer, but the story ended and i read a book once that was written well after the end of the story, and it serves as a potent reminder to me never to force the story to go where it doesnt need to.
    thanks to everyone who commented so far, knowing what other people think of my work really makes my day. Bole i think your right about the castle, but really i just looked up ruined castles and found one that looked right for my story so i dont know.
    again thank you for responding, i know i like it, but i'm always afraid its my own conceited prejudice that makes me think so.

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