The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 6

The day had started like any other. Boring, drab, with the threat of rain. But it was a special day. The Rangers were returning from Pelivain. It meant his father would be home again.

Trillian watched out the window at the gates, his young heart beating with anticipation and longing.

“Trillian.” The beautiful voice of his mother sung out to him.

The boy reluctantly pushed off of the window and hurried out of his room to find her.

Her voice continued to stretch through the halls calling out, “Trillian? Trillian where are you?”

“I’m coming, mother, I’m coming.” He tried to follow the sounds of the echoes. Each of the rooms that she usually kept to were empty, and the sound of her voice was getting further and further away, “Mother?” He shouted desperately. The beat of his heart quickened as Trillian left the east wing of the Severum, “Mother?” He continued to call nervously, now aware that he was quickly going to be someplace he wasn’t allowed to go.

Sideon, the Master of the Rangers of Severum, walked out of the library looking for Trillian.

“There you are boy.” His tone was gentle, as though beckoning Trillian to him, “Your mother is here, child.”

The little boy was frightened of Sideon, the Master behaved like a good man, but Trillian knew better. His mother had been called away to see Sideon, coming back crying one too many times. Trillian was right to fear him, and deep in his heart he hated the man for making his mother cry.

In slow, heavy steps, as though his feet were weighted with lead, Trillian moved toward Sideon, not at all trusting the man. The only sound he could hear was his racing heart, as his stomach churned violently.

Sideon held his arm outstretched towards the library door.  The boy continued in his fearful steps, reluctant to see what was behind the door.

Indeed, his mother stood there. Her arms crossed and her eyes seeming sad. She appeared to be unharmed, but the little boy could tell something was wrong.

“Trillian.” She exclaimed, opening her arms to him.

The boy ran eagerly into his mothers embrace, “What? What is it mother?” He asked, trying to swallow the lump gathering in his throat from fear.

She released him, kneeling down to look into his eyes, “Trillian, you father—” She hesitated. Her bright blue eyes looking past Trillian’s to Sideon. “Your father,” she started again, “is—”

Trillian’s eyes stretched open wide fearing what her hesitation meant, “He’s what?” He begged, “He’s what, mother?”

“Now Trillian, you must be brave.” He heard Sideon say, “Your mother is going to need you to be brave for her, because she can’t do it alone.”

“What is it mother?” Little Trillian shouted.

She smiled softly, “He’s not coming home.” The smile fell and her eyes blinked out tears.

“You’re lying.” Trillian started shaking, “You’re lying!” He shouted. “He promised he would be back, and he never breaks his promises.”

“No, Trillian. He doesn’t. Your father never breaks his promises.” His mother’s tears were now streaming down her cheeks, and her lip trembled, “But sometimes, things can happen. And these things cause people to break promises without meaning to.”

“What she means child, is that your father is dead.”

As though a spike were shoved through Trillian’s chest, the boy turned and violently shouted at Sideon, “You killed him. You did this!” Heaving several times, with tears spilling down his cheeks, Trillian ran from the room.

While the boy ran, the floor seemed to swell and blur from under his feet, the stone halls of the Severum shifting into a dark forest.

Just ahead of him, a group of rangers were huddled around something lying on the ground.

Approaching softly, the little boy heard one of them say the man was gone, it was no use. He was dead.

The figures wavered for a moment before disappearing altogether, but the body was still there, lying on the ground.

The boy trembled uncontrollably, weeping as he approached, knowing who it was before he even got there.

“Father?” Trillian walked in hesitant steps toward the body. He had never seen a corpse before, and the graying skin frightened him. He continued to weep, his mind desperately tried to divert his eyes.

 

Trillian awoke with a start, sitting up quickly. His breath hissed through his teeth as he choked back the lump growing in his throat. Running his hands through his long dark hair, hanging loose about his shoulders, he shook his head several times, as though trying to clear out the darkness and clinging emotions lingering from the nightmare.

He always woke at the same moment. Always just before he had the opportunity to see his father’s cold, dark eyes, staring at the sky. Always before he had the chance to know what his father looked like at the moment of his passing. Always just short of coming to peace with the fact that his father was gone.

It had been said that his father died in the skirmishes they encountered with the druids. Trillian, however, suspected that he was murdered.

Sideon was deeply attracted to Trillian’s mother, and whenever his father left, the Master would lure her away for hours at a time. It did not take long after his fathers death for Sideon to offer marriage to his mother. Before he knew it, they wed, moved into Sideon’s wing of the Severum, and Trillian was immediately forsaken by all of his peers.

The awareness of his healing wings came to mind, as a cramp that had built from the way he had to sleep started to spread through his side. They had moved his bed from the wall in order to situate a sort of hammock next to the bed, so Trillian could rest his wings onto it while he slept. This took the strain off of his back, giving him room to relax. In the beginning it took help to figure out, but now he was able to manage himself, and hopefully he wouldn’t have to worry about it very much longer.

It had been three weeks since the injury. A smile tugged on his lips, three weeks since he had met Yulissa. Although there hadn’t been opportunity to see her since their meeting, he couldn’t help remembering the way her hands felt on his back. When the surgeon had finished putting him back together, Trillian had decided he much preferred Yulissa’s gentle, delicate way of attention. She did not cause more pain in the process. Though, he was quite glad they would be healing properly.

Trillian was plagued by the nightmare and wasn’t sure if he could go back to sleep. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he reached out and touched the lamp wick catching it aflame.

Massaging his side, attempting to bend the other direction to stretch it out. With his wings, this proved difficult, but with enough adjusting and shifting, he was able to find a comfortable position to relax in.

He sat back again, rubbing his brow. Morning wasn’t for a few more hours. Maybe after breakfast he would check in on the woman. He found himself strangely curious to know how she was doing. At least she took his mind off of the nightmare. For now.

Advertisements

Rewriting Fairy Tales – The Tin Soldier

Some stories are well known, from beginning to end, and their words play over in our minds.

But sometimes these stories that we know so well, did not happen they were written at all.

Take for instance, the love story of the Tin Soldier and the Ballerina.

What we all remember was an act of love, where you find the smelted soldier and the ballerina burning together, is not how it happened. No, no, my dear friends!

The little tin soldier had been wounded in a battle with the mouseking. Thankfully, the nutcracker and his dear girl had vanquished the foul beast, and ran away unscathed. But not so for our particular soldier. This little soldier of tin had lost a leg in the battle.

When he was found, his friends placed him on the mantle shelf. There he stood in a place of honor above the fireplace.

He was happy and content to watch the household affairs, knowing that he had been brave and true during the battles. Every time the nutcracker and his lady danced, a smile would warm the tin soldiers heart. His sacrifice was worth the effort as long as they lived without fear of the mouseking.

One day, the shelf was being rearranged by a maid as she dusted and cleaned. Gazing softly at the one-legged tin soldier, she happened to notice that he looked quite sad. Of course he must be, to stand there all day with no one to keep him company.

As she cleaned, she looked for something who would make a good companion.

She dusted over faeries, and dolls, dainty animals and beautiful butterflies. It wasn’t until her eyes lighted on a beautiful little ballerina that she smiled brightly, and took the figurine over to the mantle to join the tin soldier.

The maid smiled happily, satisfied with how fine the pair looked together.

When the ballerina glanced at the soldier she was to keep company, the girl grunted.

“And who are you?” She asked bitterly, “And why do you stand as the centerpiece, when you only have one ugly leg?”

Knitting his brow, the soldier was taken by surprise, “I helped save the nutcracker and his lady during the battle with the mouseking. I alone was injured this severely, and they wanted to honor me by placing me here where I could be remembered.”

A laugh bust forth from the ballerina that made the tin soldier angry. Who was she to mock him?

In the following days, the ballerina continued to jab and jeer. She was incapable of kindness. Her words tore his heart to shreds, and the tin soldier became less and less proud of his place on the mantle.

As winter started to make the days colder, fires became a more common occurrence, warming up the mantle above.

The tin soldier would watch the flames, mesmerized by their dance. They comforted him in his growing place of bitter sadness.

One night, the nutcracker and his lady threw a party, and all of the toys were invited. That is, all but the tin soldier and the ballerina, who seemed to have been quite forgotten by the others as time passed by.

“Look at them dance! Look at them laugh! They all have fun, while I am stuck here with you. You, the legless wonder his friends have forgotten.” She sighed, sitting down to dangle her legs over the edge, “You only hobble and would make me do all the work, so of course I can’t dance with you.”

Her words stung, and the toy soldier began to fume with rage.

As she continued to make her fun, she did not notice the darkness crossing his little eyes. She did not notice him begin to hop slowly, deliberately in her direction. She did not see the fire reflect in his eyes as he crept closer to her. She never knew how angry he had become, until she felt him shove her off of the mantle.

With a scream, the ballerina fell down, down, down, into the fire below.

Everyone gasped, looking up at the soldier who was losing his balance, until he wobbled off the edge.

By the time everyone had raced to the fire, it was too late. They couldn’t save either of them.

In the morning, the servants came to rebuild the fire. They found the tin soldier, smelted down into the shape of a broken heart. The ballerina’s plastic body was all mangled and cold. Her expression forever stilled in surprise and regret.

The maid was informed of the findings, and she, my friends, is the one who assumed it was love. For her efforts had put them together. But it was her good intentions, that had lost them both.