Tarquinta looked hurriedly up to the stars, the black of the night surrounding
her. The stars would never fail her. She sought out the brightest star and followed
it - north.
She slipped under the large black gates that had always forbidden her to leave
in daylight. Her hunter green cloak gave off warmth in the cold night, and as
she dropped to the ground outside the gate, panting, she watched cautiously.
Her breath was misty and clearly visible in the frigid night. They were following
Up on wall of the castle, armies were patrolling speedily, calling to each
other. Tarquinta focused on the stone wall that they were running on. Her eyes
glowing, she slowly cracked the wall right in front of the leader of the horde.
The leader halted, trying to warn the others, but Tarquinta saw no more. She
swiftly descended into the dark forest.
She flailed her paws about, trying to discern a path among the bushes and
trees. Her wings disabled by her cloak, she was forced to run through the woods.
Half way through, she grabbed a nearby tree and ducked behind it at the sound
of a cracking twig.
There were more soldiers marching towards her. They were each assigned by
the leader a way to take to find the missing Shoyru. Tarquinta had no time to
panic. A soldier appeared around the side of the tree. Tarquinta scrambled up
silently, and, climbing swiftly branch by branch, worked out a plan in her mind.
Her backpack bounced against her back as she rested on a thick branch high
above the soldiers. One had heard her moving in the sycamore.
The army of Lupes herded towards her, shining flashlights into the high branches.
The flashlight beams missed her by few feet; she was too high. Her cloak was
her camouflage among the leaves but she had to take it off to fly away. She
was faced with an important decision with no time to think. Quickly, she took
off her knapsack and tied her cloak around her thin waist.
The guards were calling for assistance while a Lupe attempted to climb the
steep trunk of the tall tree. She hastily launched herself off of the thickset
branch and soared through the air. There was a burst of commotion as they spotted
her flying overhead. They had lost her; she was free.
She hadn’t flown far when Tarquinta felt a stinging sensation through her wings.
She was too exhausted to continue. Not far ahead north lay a large open meadow.
Tarquinta would have to choose another route to avoid being spotted. She pondered
over her decision of either east or west; in the west was a small brook where
she could soaked her wings in cool water and continue, or east where they were
many trees she could slip between without being noticed at all. Either way,
she was going out of her way and taking a large risk.
Slowly, the young Shoyru tilted to the east. No matter how much her wings
stung, she had to remain unseen while the horde was on her trail. She dipped
down every once in a while, and finally, she realised she needed to turn around.
Perhaps the army would expect her to go into the forest. Her wings were cut
and scraped and her throat cracked at the thought of water.
Gradually, Tarquinta flew downwards into the small field where the brook lay.
She could hear it bubbling as it swiftly sliced through rocks and trickled gleefully
into a clear pond. Her reflection shone in the night.
As she lathered water over her wings, she stared down at her reflection. Her
backpack had fallen as she had landed, and the insides had tumbled out. She
took one glance at the items, turned to the brook, and angrily splashed her
reflection. She was a horrible Shoyru. She was frustrated and confused.
Would the Sorceress be pleased now?
Tarquinta stared at the things she had stolen from the palace. There was a
dagger, jewels upon the golden handle, designs carved on the bronze case, some
food, a Fire Whip, but what amazed Tarquinta the most were three objects. There
was a silver chain with a pendant on it. The pendant was bronze with a symbol
on it. The symbol was new and puzzling to her, but Tarquinta liked it. The only
thing that stole some of its beauty was that it was cut jaggedly in half. Tarquinta
longed to tie it around her own neck, but she thought it sage not to until she
was fair distance from the Kingdom.
There was also sword. It was much like the dagger with a golden blade, but
it was unique and looked like a belonging of royalty.
And last was a staggering orb; purple in colour and completely unbelievable.
Tarquinta was astounded she had successfully stolen it. She gazed at it, wondering
its powers and forgetting all her misery for a moment.
Tarquinta shivered. She was soaked and didn’t realise that the air was so frigid.
Her cloak forbade her to fly and with the army not a mile behind her, she had
no time to waste.
Quickly at the sound of muttering, she seized the dagger and slashed two lines
in the back of her cloak. She folded her wings as she pulled the cloak over
her body then she slipped them through the opening. It fit almost perfectly.
Throwing the stolen articles into her bag, she pushed herself into the air.
Only minutes ago had she committed a crime.
The king of Herongedy had held the annual ball and had invited a numerous
amount of citizens. The Sorceress had given her strict orders not to bother
with houses along the way, though they were easy targets. She wanted something
from the palace – from the queen’s chamber.
Tarquinta had come from a land far yonder where they were trained to steal
there way through life if they had no parent or guardian. Tarquinta was safe,
until her parents were destroyed for refusing to accept the challenge to steal
something from the palace.
So the Sorceress had turned to her, burdening her with the task of traveling
far to the south, and stealing from the king and queen.
Tarquinta was swift, slipping in through the top window. She had fancily greeted
anyone she saw being skeptical on her behalf – she needed to blend in. As she
made her way down to the queen’s chamber, which lay on the middle floor, she
had smiled and tried to look like she belonged.
When she reached the queen’s chamber, she had produced a thin wire from what
she had disguised as a silver bracelet around her wrist and straightened it
out. The lock was easy for her to pick. She slipped in when no one could view
her criminal actions.
She searched the oak drawers, the shiny hutch, and the polished jewelry boxes,
finding many valuables, but none that would thoroughly please the greedy queen.
And then her eyes got a glimpse of the beauty; hovering inside a clear vase,
the orb required a spell to be set free. Tarquinta panicked. She heard voices
coming her way. She had never learned spells from others.
Tarquinta scanned the room. She grasped a silver pendant she saw lying on the
night stand. She stuffed it in her bag and looked at the vase. She picked it
up, and hearing a key being wiggled into the door, and perplexed voices discussing
why the door was oddly unlocked, smashed it on the night stand.
It shattered loudly into slivers of clear crystal, the moon’s reflection captured
upon them. The chandler was turned on.
There was a moment when both the Shoyru and the royal king stared. He looked
at the sack upon her shoulder and then to the night stand. The pendant had been
the gift the king would present to the queen that night, and now, with the realisation
that it was gone, he hollered stridently.
Tarquinta had no time to draw the stolen dagger from her bag. She dodged the
king and ran down the hall.
The king cried piercingly as she ran past dazed bystanders. Quickly, as she
was halted at the conclusion of the corridor, she focused her vision on the
door to her right. A hole burned through it and she jumped into the room.
It was gold in colour with hunter green carpeting. Tarquinta seized a sword
nearby. She removed it from it scabbard and pried the window open with its point.
As people crowded in, Tarquinta held the sword steadily.
“Stand back!” She ordered firmly. “Anyone moves and I will do my worst to your
The king stepped forward, disregarding her warning. “Return our belongings
or I will send my guards after you.”
Tarquinta’s eyes glowed green as she understood she was weak in the eyes of
the king. “A curse on you and your monarchy! You didn’t take me seriously, but
what are you without your orb? Nothing! You will forever regret the day you
dealt with me, for your palace now obtains a hex!”
With that Tarquinta vanished into the night sky, and so begins our tale.
Looking out the cold window into the brisk winter day troubled Bessira, her
breath turning into fog as she sighed. Outside, Happy Valley had abandoned its
cheery manner and replaced it with desolate silence. Signs were hung upon each
shop or business reading: “Closed; Please come again” with the traditional Happy
Valley smiling Chia at the bottom.
Bessira sipped miserably at her hot cocoa. Not long ago had the village been
filled with cheery citizens. It had been rumoured that there was going to be
an evil visitor. Of course, Bessira knew that it had been a rumour spread by
the town gossip, whose name she hated to say, but everyone feared the prophecy
would come true. Apparently, it had been told to him by the Island Mystic while
he had been on vacation and he felt he had to rush back to tell everyone. Taking
caution, they all took shelter in their homes. Also for this cause had Bessira
closed up her little book shop that was nice and heated. Roughly calculating,
Bessira knew that a lot of money could have been raised today, being few days
before the Annual Festival.
Bessira put down her mug of hot cocoa and rose. She pushed in her chair and
stood in front of her window. Her gloomy presence was heartrending. The golden
Meerca turned and pulled her mantle off its hook. Wrapping it around her, she
lifted her tail and walked out into the sharp winter day.
The one thing she would change if she could, Bessira thought as her numb feet
crushed the crunching snow, would be that every day was winter. In summer, the
air was a slight bit warmer, possibly warm enough that you couldn’t see your
breath, but it would never surpass that.
Of course, if she were to move into the Ice Caves, where it was colder, there
would be warmth near the split in the ground. As she passed the Advent Calendar,
Bessira stared at the long slope that led up to the Ice Caves. It was then that
she heard the wind circle around her.
Making her way slowly to her friend’s home, she could see and smell smoke coming
from the chimneys of the startled villagers who were hiding cowardly in their
Bessira sudden knew something was wrong. She stopped dead in her tracks. The
wind whizzed around her and her mouth dropped. She could feel goose bumps rising
over her body.
She turned rapidly in one swift movement. There was nothing before her but
the deserted Valley. Then the echoes of an alluring voice flooded her ears.
“Come closer, my slave… Come stare into the eyes of your master!”
Temptation drew her closer to the circling wind until terror sunk in and she
froze. She tried to scream, but her jaw froze and she could merely squeak.
Then, the smoke from a nearby building churned into the cackling face of a
ghostly Peophin. It grinned and bared its unusually sharp Peophin teeth at the
The wind twirled around her paralyzed body as the smoke became a hole. Bessira
felt the mighty pull as she was sucked into the gap. When she was completely
through, the fissure closed up, and left nothing but the peaceful Happy Valley
To be continued...