vineri, 29 august 2014

Death is the only god who comes when you call

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

When has breathing become so agonizing? Living and breathing and just surviving until the next day was simply too excruciating.
"I am sorry ... Please forgive me..."
Her words are barely a whisper and her only companion is just an infant, so he doesn't react. He's just sitting there, left hand half in his mouth, because he is probably still teething and he has his own pain to occupy his thoughts with. Her two oldest daughters left early the same morning, probably to search for something to eat.
None of them has eaten in two days and her milk has dried up or maybe she just never had it in the first place, so the baby is squeamish and hasn't stopped crying since she gave birth, three days ago. She's small and pink and wrinkly and nothing like her other children and she simply can't make herself take that strange creature in her arms and feed it. She's spent the last two days watching her, almost begging every God whose name she could remember to take its life so she wouldn't have to do it with her own hands. And, with every breath the fragile creature takes, she becomes even more convinced that the gods must hate her.
It all began when her husband left to fight in that damned war and abandoned with two small children to care for and another baby on the way. Life had been difficult with him too, but without him she was just another forgotten woman. Why did men crave foolish dreams of greatness and bravery? It was nothing but an illusion. What difference does it make to the widows, the orphans left behind and the homeless if some men depart this life covered in glory while others have no honour but survive?
Theirs was one of the villages that held well until the third year of war. Everyone was running low on supplies but somehow they managed and survived. Until that morning when the Duke's men stormed in.
Because their house was out of the way they heard the screams when it was already too late. Some of the neighbouring houses were already on fire and she can still recall seeing one of her friend's younger children flying out through the window and falling directly in a spear. The smell of burnt fluesh was the worse though. And the screams. She hears them every single night. High pitched shouts of small children whose chests were mercilessly pierced by the soldiers' swords and the muffled wails of women.
She doesn't have nightmares about how it happened, but she remembers his face and his sharp features. His scar and his hard lined jaw. And, more than anything, the pure hatred in his eyes.
Later, when he got tired of her, she was left behind in the snow, the throb in her entire body a painful reminder of what took place in her own courtyard.
Her daughters emerged later from behind the barn, carrying their younger brother with them. Her children survived, yet she felt like she lost everything.
Five months later, the evidence was there and the signs impossible to ignore. Three days ago she birthed that strange creature that hasn't stopped crying and now she is exhausted and tired of life.
The rope feels rough around her neck and the trembling in her limbs is slowing her down, but her movements are almost mechanical, so she doesn’t need to concentrate, which is pleasant. She takes one single step forward and in a couple of minutes it is over.  

6 comentarii:

Ekho spunea...

All I can think is what are her children going to do now? I can understand she didn't want to hurt them as well, and she was obviously dealing with serious depression, but I hope someone comes along and takes them in :S

Auteur des Rêves spunea...

Well, her two oldest daughters (Avice and Margery are their names, I think...) became teenagers (they must be around 12 or 13 years old), so they can care for their younger siblings. But I won't lie to you, it's not going to be an easy life for any of them. At least the war is over.
I was thinking about sending the younger siblings to live with a relative (theirs is one of the most 'prolific' families in the neighbourhood - they're practically related to half of the people in my game in some way or another) and maybe let the girls be employed somewhere (I already have too many prostitutes in the cities and even I am not that cruel). Maybe one can work in the kitchen while the other can become a laundress for a noble family. And they would still have their father (actually, I'm not sure if he didn't die in that war ... I have to check). There is also another older brother or something like that.
Thank you for stopping by ^^

Rowena spunea...

Oh... this was so cruel and sad and so well written, so full of emotion, I actually got goosebumps from reading it. That poor woman! I hope her children will somehow be ok and I'm so happy the war is over. The way you describe it... *shivers*

Auteur des Rêves spunea...

Thank you, thank you! You're very kind :)
I can't remember her name right now (unfortunately, her fate seems to have rendered her as another nameless victim of the Tragic War of Lancaster Succession), but I do remember that she was quite beautiful and that her short life was quite sad too. Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised by her father, until he married another woman. Her new mother was a widow and she had children of her own, but she was kind and loving to all children. She didn't live long though. At 15, she got married and went to live with her husband, in a faraway village. Her husband wasn't a bad man, but he used to drink and then he wasn't like her husband anymore. She fell in love with an elf and she got pregnant with his child, but she managed to hide this from her husband by pretending to go and visit her family for a while. She went and lived with her lover's family until she gave birth to a baby boy, whom she left there, having to return to her husband and other children. The boy didn't live for long, as it is known that humans and elves are much too different to produce healthy offspring.
Then came the war and her husband and eldest son went to fight, leaving the women and younger children behind, to be preyed upon by the enemy. Let me tell you a secret: the man that fathered her bastard is no other than the King. No one has any idea, so her daughter is just another nameless bastard.
The children were raised by the oldest sister and some of them have good lives now.

Rowena spunea...

Thanks, it's great to learn more about other people too (not that I don't like Alleken very much!).
I woud ask why don't you write about them more, but I guess you would probably go mad if you had to write about everyone. Still, I appreciate these snippets.

Auteur des Rêves spunea...

I would love to write more about a lot of characters from my game, because each of them has such interesting life stories, but last time when I did this challenge, I found out that it's quite hard (for me and for the readers too) to keep up with each and every one of them. Back when I began writing this, I decided to try (for the first time!) and write everything from one character's prespective (I don't always do that, but I try to stick with it). So it is quite hard for me to write about people that Alleken doesn't come in contact with.
I'm glad you liked the little details :) There are a lot more details about everyone, I just don't manage to find the place to put them there for the readers.
P.S. There's quite a big little 'secret' about another very important character. It's just that the one person who knew it, died a long time ago. I might spill it later in another reply :D

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