A Mistress of Shadows (Part 2)

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Soren Kvistson
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A Mistress of Shadows (Part 2)

Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:49 am

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"You are free to choose,"



Saun 5th, 681 (Age 12) following A Mistress of Shadows

Later that night, those who had returned to the caravan were now sitting around the fire, telling stories about their days in Desnind or stories of old. Catching up, like they always did, every night. There were a few new faces around the fire, new lovers, new friends, old friends, even a couple family members. That was only a common occurrence when stopped in cities, but it was never unwelcome. If you sat around this fire, you were family.

Soren was left to his own devices at the moment, for on this night, there were no other children around the fire. His siblings, all much younger than him, were sent to bed early, as always. But him, the eldest, was allowed to stay up. And he was bored. The next youngest person was one of the ox drivers and he talked more in grunts than words. Soren often thought he was more of an ox than a man. The thought now caused a grin to creep onto his face.

He reached down next to the stone he sat upon, grabbing a nut of some sort, and threw it into the fire, and waited. He looked into the flames, glowing more yellow than anything else lick at it as it rested atop a log. A bit of smoke, or rather, steam, began to float off the nut. Suddenly it popped and exploded, and the pieces scattered among the fire. The adults all cheered and took a drink at the sound, and Soren could only smile at what he'd caused.

He reached down to grab another, his hand only feeling grass. It patted around until it came across something cold, hard, and long. At one end was something smooth, and his finger found a sharp point. He snatched his hand back, his eyes looking down at the grass, clearly illuminated by the fire. There was nothing there but a single nut. It was a longer variety, one he didn't know, not that he'd paid so much attention to nuts around the world.

He let out a long sigh of relief and reached down and grabbed the nut. His heart was still racing and he knew why. The scary woman's promise. She said she'd return in the night, and it was night. He looked at the nut for a long time, though never really saw it, reliving that moment. He knew he was safe here. They had more look outs at night than during the day, even in Saun. It would be fine.

He threw the nut at the fire and watched it, trying to forget the whole situation. This nut smoked and steamed, just like the other. Then it began to glow, and Soren waited with anticipation for it to explode.

But it never did.

It grew brighter and brighter before it just split in half, and black dust swirled up and out of the fire. The rest of the nut collapsed into ash upon the logs. Soren's eyes were wide and he didn't hear his name being called.

"Soren! Boy, stop day dreaming."

Soren blinked once, then several times in succession. "Yes Ma?"

"What's wrong suga? You look like you've seen a spook."

Soren flashed his best good-son smile, "A strange nut was all. It didn't explode."

Kvista smiled softly, "Alright love." She returned to her previous conversation, though kept a half glance and a whole ear on him. She knew her son wasn't telling the whole truth. But she wanted him to tell her on his own. He was starting to become a man after all. And so, she cast her attention off of him, to give him his space to grow, as much as it pained her to see him do so.

Soren looked back down to the grass to try and find another nut. But much to his surprise, another nut, different from the first two was in the exact same spot the last one had been. Soren looked over his shoulder into the darkness of the forest. He couldn't see anything in there, but he could feel something... something cold. Not the kind of cold that would require a coat, but rather the kind that touched directly onto the soul.

Still looking into the forest, he reached down and grabbed the nut. He turned back to the fire, tossing it in. He grinned. It was all in his head. He slung the nut into the fire and waited, rolling his eyes at himself. When the nut popped, there were cheers around the fire, and Soren watched a few embers rise up through the smoke. His eyes fell on his mother as she tipped back her flagon, when he noticed two crimson embers there, hovering over her shoulder.

He squinted and cocked his head to the side. The embers weren't moving. Soren blinked and looked closer, ignoring the chants of the caravaners encouraging his mother to drink more. The embers were bright and unmoving and looking directly at him. And his heart dropped to his stomach. The two glows were that woman's eyes. She leaned forward, just enough that he could see the faintest outline of her mouth and nose, and a single, long, sharp nailed finger rose to her lips.

The woman's face slipped back into the shadows, and her finger remained, twisting and beckoning him into the darkness, as the cheers erupted louder as his mother finished her drink.





"But you are not free from the consequences."
word count: 965
User avatar
Soren Kvistson
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:51 pm
Race: Mixed Race
Profession: Tavern Owner
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Wealth Tier: Tier 5

Re: A Mistress of Shadows (Part 2)

Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:32 am

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"You are free to choose,"



Even to the modern day, Soren still didn't know why he did it, but he got up from his seat, heading back toward the tents. His mother and father both saw him heading that way and smiled, before returning back to their conversations. Soren stopped by his parents' larger tent, peering inside. All of his siblings were there, sleeping soundly.

He turned away from the flap that he let fall shut and found himself face to face with the red eyed woman. He yelped and took a nervous step backwards. "Come with us." She turned and began walking toward the edge of camp, disappearing into darkness. As she went, Soren only now noticed that she was completely naked, and as she slipped into darkness, it looked as if tendrils were gliding over her skin, turning her into the same, deep black void.

He gulped and followed after her. As he crossed the threshold from the camp, he was plunged into the absolute darkness that could only be found in the deepest, oldest forests. And in that moment, he began to panic. He couldn't see a path in front of him, he couldn't see the woman. He looked back over his shoulder, able to make out just a bit of the light from the campfire. Then there was a breath on his neck, and a whisper in his ear, warm and heavy, "Follow our voice little mouse."

And Soren did, finding his feet carrying him deeper into the perfect darkness.

"Careful..."

"Come along..."

"Wouldn't want you to be lost..."

"Almost there..."


Soren wasn't sure how long he walked through that dark forest, but soon he stepped into a clearing in the canopy and found himself bathed in moonlight. Looking around, he saw a figure huddled in the shadow of a tree's trunk, a figure with dark hair, shivering. As he stepped closer, he heard her voice ring out, the same voice from earlier, "Don't."

Soren stopped, no longer seeing the predator, the monster of nightmares. Now, he saw a scared, hurt woman. He took in a deep breath. She brought him here for a reason. And he now knew that it surely mustn't be to eat him, like he'd originally thought. The simple reasoning was that if she had wished to eat him, or simply kill him, she could've done it a hundred times already. So, he did as his parents had always taught him to do.

He put on his best smile and swallowed down his lingering fears. "My name is Soren Kvistson. I bet you have a story to tell me."

The woman looked over her shoulder at him, showing him the blackness of her eyes. Now that they weren't glowing crimson, she was much less frightful. "What does a child know about stories? You've not lived life. You've not a hair on your chest and still the squeaky voice you humans have."

Soren stepped closer, slowly, edging toward her. "You brought me here for something right?"

She didn't respond. He knelt down next to the woman, putting a hand on her pale shoulder, "And I know the most important part of stories. I know how to listen." He rolled back onto his butt and made a comfortable seat next to her. He leaned back onto his palms and waited.

She turned toward him, her long, greasy black hair obscuring her nubile form from him. "Our name is Salenlia . We will tell you our story."



"But you are not free from the consequences."
word count: 626
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