Writing Dreams

Besides drawing ever since I can remember I also made up stories. I would draw characters and invent stories about them, draw family trees and imagine numerous plot twists.

Even if I rarely wrote stories down, they lived in my head. Even if I didn't think of my self as a want-to-be writer, I certainly aspired to be a story teller.

Recently I unearthed a short story I wrote for writer's craft some years ago at the end of high school. The story and it's characters were well formed in my mind long before that. I had drawn all the main players and developed their cultures with detailed clothing, weaponry and habitats.

I'll have to unearth those pictures, but for now here is the short story:

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Reminiscence                   

by Emily Haig


I liked the way things used to be. Nothing is easy anymore. But everyone in every time has probably said the exact same thing. And that’s probably because they’ve just grown up. Everything is better when you’re kid…most of the time…

Vani woke up with the sun on mid-summer’s morning. As a child this day meant nothing to her or her people, at the time, since it was just like any other day. But to her once and once again people it meant everything.

The light began to creep into the room. Vani sat up and looked up to see her tattooed face reflected in a mirror. She quickly looked away and glanced over at her husband’s highlighted face, covered with sun kissed hair. He was home for once, usually being so busy. The sunlight filled the room and revealed the pastel scar on his slender face. This made Vani shudder. It filled her with so many memories. Painful memories.

The last thing Vani wanted to do is dwell on the past. She took a deep breath and reached for her housecoat. Her bare feet unexpectedly contacted the cold, stone floor. This sent a second shudder through her. Even after enduring two bitter winters while living there, at the L’Avalya manor, she even found it cold in the summer. In fact, everything seemed cold and gray. Where she grew up it had always been warm and green.

She slid on her slippers and then proceeded to put on another robe overtop her housecoat. The clock chimed six times. The maids and servants would be awake already. Since, Vani didn’t particularly want to deal with anyone, she quickly left the room and headed outside.

The garden offered warmth. It was just what Vani needed. She sat down among the wildflowers and closed her eyes. She took a slow, deep breath as she fiddled with some foxtail lilies, and let her imagination soar. All she wanted was to distract herself with thoughts of fairytales and magical lands but her mind just wouldn’t let her. After several minutes of futile attempts to veer away from thoughts of her past she simply gave in, being so tired of always running away from the truth.

Her first thought was her earliest. It wasn’t that it was painful, but what was painful was the fact that her happy childhood would be shattered. She thought of her mother who was a kindly woman, always thinking of others before herself. She remembered how she told her bedtime stories and how she was always there for her. And she thought of her father. He was a large man, but very gentle. He was also very kind and always preferred talking calmly to fighting. He was the chief of the Nikkan village where Vani was raised. Also, though his appearance was so different than her own, as the appearance of all Nikkans, having large pointed ears, long eyebrows and sideburns and a tail, Vani never thought of him as her stepfather. Likewise, Vani never thought of her sister, K’Shyn, as a half sister, being the daughter of her Human mother and Nikken stepfather. She remembered playing with the other village children and learning all the ritual dances. But soon her memories turned to ones of sorrow.

The very first sign that she did not belong was how some of the children teased her. What made it ever so much more excruciating was the fact that it was such a disciplined culture where there was usually little if any bullying. They made fun of her because she was so different, because her ears were so small and she had no tail. Even the authority of her father did not appease them. By the age of twelve Vani’s curiosity longed to be quenched, so she asked her mother where they were really from. Her mother agreed that it was time to tell her daughter.

Vani was born Vaneska L’Erdeleros, of noble parents in the Human Kingdom of Gwesyth. Her father was a highly respected Lord and his sudden assassination sparked the four-year war (as she discovered recently) with the neighboring Empire of Ryandele. Five-month-old Vani and her mother were lucky to have escaped alive. They traveled during the night so as not to be seen and after three weeks they reached the forbidden woods, called so because it was said that those who entered it never came out again. But Vani’s mother was not the superstitious sort and she believed that what ever was beyond the trees could not be as bad as death by war. After three days of journeying within the wood the young mother found the forest floor carpeted with a strange violet colored plant but thought nothing of it. However within the next few minutes she began to get very drowsy. The next thing she knew she was in a strange spherical structure with some strange faces peering down at her. They were covered in paint and had long ears with large earrings drooping from them. But she was not afraid. When she was well enough to walk she discovered they had taken her to their very unusual village. It was not long before she learned the Nikkan language. And soon the Chief fell in love with her and she decided to make this strange new place her home.

Vani was shocked to discover that war was the reason why they were so different from everyone else. She had never experienced war at that point in her life but she knew what it did to people, having often helped care for injured and dying Nikkan Tiger Warriors after battles with enemy tribes (the forest had inhabitants other than Nikkans).

When Vani was 18 she was urged by her parents to choose a husband, but that was when she met Lord Jyrian L’Avalya. He was the first person that looked like her that she had ever seen, besides her mother. And because her mother taught her a little Gwesythian they were able to communicate since he by chance came from her homeland. He had come to explore the forest with a small troop but he met her while he was alone. They met every night and soon she found that she was falling in love with him, but fearing that her village would not accept him she decided to see him secretly. The rest of his group however found her village and approached it with hostility.

The next time Jyrian and Vani saw each other, he warned her of a possible attack and she asked him to come back to her village to tell her father. He did so but the rest of his group had assembled a small army and were looking for any excuse to attack the Nikkans. Somehow they had the misguided notion that he had been kidnapped and they attacked. But the Nikkans were in no way deficient in their tactics and were able to put up a decent defense. Jyrian aided the defense, sustaining a cut to the face, which would be with him for the rest of his life. After two days of fighting he put a stop to the senseless skirmishing by issuing a peace treaty and completed it by marrying Vani.

Vani thought of the bittersweet day that she married her beloved Jyrian, for not everyone was as kindhearted and tolerant as he. They both thought that their marriage would symbolize the friendship of their lands but on that same day the fanatical General Theriphus led his men to the massacre of seven Nikkan tribes including her own. Even though this unauthorized slaughter led Theriphus to the guillotine, Vani could find no consolation. In fact, she would rather have heard the general’s confession rather than witnessing his immediate execution.

She began to cry, even though it had been two years since she lost her village. But this was the first time she had actually thought about her life from start to the present time. “It isn’t fair!” she thought, “Why did I have to loose my family to find love? Why did they have to die and leave my in a strange world? Why does war always uproot the very foundations of my life? I don’t understand. Is this all that life is about? Being born, doing some pointless things and then dying! It is like we are born to suffer. Like we are being tortured!”
Her few tears broke out into a full sob. She then felt an arm wrap around her. She looked up and saw a scarred smiling face. It was a puzzling contradiction. How could the same face carry a mark of pain and suffering and a sign of joy at the same time?

“Life is a trial,” said Jyrian looking into his wife’s eyes, “and suffering only makes us stronger. It might be hard and sometimes we think we can’t take it anymore but when you bear it and hold on you grow in the end. When you think that the only thing left is despair then the only thing you can do is despair. It takes you prisoner. But all you have to do to have hope is believe that there is still some left. If you think life is not worth living because everyone is just going to die, you’re just going to miss everything life is really about. I know you might think I have no right to say that but—”

“No, you said exactly what I needed,” Vani said calmly as her tears of pathos turned to tears of felicity.  
 

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Comments

Nickel Halfwise said…
A beautiful story. And it must be rather interesting to look back at it after your recent experience. I know that has happened to me before: I go back and read a story and realize how much wiser I was when I was younger.

-Jac

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