Monday, May 6, 2013

Styx and Stones

Deirdra had never experienced a forest feeling so foreign. It had trees, brush, and rocks like any other forest, but it all seemed tilted somehow. She could recognize the plants, and could even name a few useful qualities some had when she wracked her brain. Despite that, everything was striving to catch the tattered hem of her knee length skirt while at the same time trying to avoid touching her at all. 

It wasn't dark out. Deirdra could see quite clearly, though she had to wonder if someone had placed a blue pane of glass over the sun. Not that she could see the sun through the canopy, or that even the most prominent of kings would be able to afford such a pane of glass. She'd never even seen a window made of the stuff.

The toes of her heavy boots hit water and she nearly splashed right in if she had not grabbed hold of a branch that both offered its assistance while trying to dodge her desperate fingers.

“Where did this come from?” she asked the still air, and realized her voice had a shiver in it. She hadn't even heard the water flowing, but now it rolled over her ears as easily as it rolled over all the dark rocks at the bottom. A thick plunk caught her attention and she watched in horror as the single gold piece she had swiped from the house as she made her escape sunk. Even though she could see straight through, she lost sight of the glittering gold.

It had gone out like a candle being snuffed out.

Deirdra sank to her knees in the remarkably dry grass next to the bank, tucking her hands between her thighs as her shoulders slumped. It had really been stupid of her; to just run away. She had planned to go to the city, try to survive there away from a place where everyone recognized every face, every voice, even every gait. Now she was hungry, tired, and her clothing and hair were in poor condition, decorated with leaves and twigs.

The sound of something gliding through the water made Deirdra pause in her self reproachment and look up. A long, narrow boat came to a stop in front of her. It was made of a gray wood that she couldn't recognize, and she noticed that water around it was perfectly still, while the rest of the river flowed on normally. Her attention was brought to the figure standing in the boat, holding a long pole that was bound in what looked like engraved silver. He wore a traveling cloak, with the hood pulled low over his eyes. The only thing Deirdra knew for sure was that he could do with a good day or two in sunlight.