By. Linda M. Crate
Beneath a sky of champagne sun and crimson, carnelian sunset with a few splashes of amethyst and rosemary sat a girl woefully ignorant of the sorrow that would await her at home.
Here, she sat in the creek. The waters were soothing and melodious and the world seemed calm and tranquil even magical in this quiet place of solitude.
This girl whose name was Nesimne preferred peace and silence. She was the peace keeper among her siblings, and the one that had discovered the wicked scheme of the black faerie before she was able to kill anyone. Subsequently, the fae had lost her life, and though it seemed a sad thought to have any magic destroyed—life was something to be cherished and not so easily squandered as every enemy and fiend of goodness seemed to lack knowledge of.
Life was far more precious than anyone gave it credit for.
As she looked at the roots of trees suspended in air from where the creek had eroded away the soil, she couldn’t help but smile.
It looked as if the trees were walking on air.
She sighed softly, realizing that she had to head home or else she would find it in complete darkness. She knew that her mother wouldn’t be pleased should that be the case.
Nesimne laughed as she ran through the trees in her bare feet and down the hills, as well. She only put her shoes back on once she had reached the end of the hill and walked a few feet down a dusty old road to where the cottage of her parents once had stood.
All the laughter in her eyes faded as she glanced upon the ruins of her house.
“Oh, thank goodness.”
“At least one was spared.”
“What do you mean, at least one was spared?” Nesimne asked.
“A dragon came through our village, and your parents and siblings were lost in the fray.”
“No!” Nesimne shouted, as if her shouts could make this truth. She fell to her knees, tears pouring from her eyes. A dragon?! A dragon hadn’t attacked for a thousand years. Why now?
“The king has been pushing into the mountains of the dragon’s for some time now. They obviously feel threatened, and this was their way of telling him to stop.”
“Then why didn’t they attack the king’s family?” Nesimne demanded angrily. She didn’t like how matter-of-fact her neighbors sounded as if her family were asking to be murdered. It infuriated her.
She looked down as she felt a weight upon her legs and noticed her family’s cat sitting on her lap. Sylvanius was always there to drink away her tears of pain, rage, and happiness; it seemed.
Nesimne laughed sadly at the black cat. “Sylvanius!”
He purred, rubbing against her, almost in a way as if to say everything would be okay. Maybe that was the case, but everything would also be different.
“I’m sorry, love, I agree it’s not right that your family had to pay the price for our greedy king’s actions.”
Nesimne nodded. “Thank you, but my rage and pain won’t bring them back. I guess I’ll just have to find a way to deal with it somehow.”
“Nesimne, I’m so sorry.”
“You are wiser than your years,” another of her neighbors murmured.
“What will you do?”
“I will become stronger. I will slay the dragon that took my family. I am not afraid of dragons. I am not afraid of monsters. I am afraid of seeing evil, looking it dead in the eye, and doing nothing; at all. Avenging my family won’t bring them back, but it’s something I must do.”
They looked at her, stunned.
Here, the peace keeper was insistent upon being a warrior. Her long dark hair seemed to burn red like flames in the dying embers of sunlight that were slowly disappearing to the oncoming darkness.
Nesimne wouldn’t let her family’s memories fall into ruin. They would always live within her heart, and she would allow them to guide her in every path of righteousness and goodness.
Still, she knew that she had to take down this beast to show the dragons that they were messing with the wrong villagers. Because she knew that their cowardly king could not be trusted to take care of it. So she would.
Linda M. Crate‘s works have appeared in many anthologies and magazines both online and in print. Her fantasy novel “Phoenix Tears” is forthcoming through Dream Big Publishing.
Nebelwanderin is a German folk artist.