Fesca Chapter 1
Chapter One: The Creature in the Glass
She sat in a grove of trees, a small creek ran through the center and its’ babbling seemed to quiet the quick beating of her heart. She had always been safe here to explore her thoughts, just maybe she would be safe this time. The sound of approaching men seemed loud in the quiet of the small hidden valley. ‘How had they found this place? Here in the shadow of the great Royal Palace of all places?’ Her thoughts seemed to echo through her brain making her freeze for just a second before sweeping the few foot prints and other signs of her presence from view and swinging up into the canopy of one of the giant trees that lined her small creek. Too late, she considered making false prints leading away from the small grove; but she knew as she looked down from her concealed hiding place that this is what she should’ve done and cursed silently at herself. She hid her face as she saw the bushes sway telling of the men’s intrusion of her solitude. She heard the guards enter the creek and decided to get the satisfaction of watching their backs disappear in the undergrowth and right at the second the young guard bringing up the rear of the troop looked at the very tree she had decided would hide her and their eyes met briefly before she had the time to hide her face in the canopy. He took two quick steps, grabbed her ankle roughly in a gloved hand and yanked her down. She skidded down trying to break her fall but only succeeded in bruising her palm and scraping a good layer of skin off her elbow when her right hand decided to give under the weight.
“And what do we have here?” his expression was stern and composed but his eyes seemed to smile at her. Fesca almost found herself smiling back but then the pain of her hand and elbow returned and she decided to glare instead. “What do you think you’re doing all the way out here?” He asked, his voice still stern but his eyes smiling.
She refused to answer and now his stern expression almost crumbled and for a second she thought she saw the edge of his mouth twitch into grin, he managed to keep his voice composed and when she looked at him again his mouth was in a fierce line. The flash of a grin had ignited her anger even more so she remained silent and instead of answering his smiling gaze she looked down and began to brush the dust from her soured evening gown. The men in his party began to break the path back to the castle and he stopped Fesca when she went to follow.
“Oh no, no, no. You think I’d fall for that? You’re staying right here, nice and comfy, next to me.” She again refused to break her own silence but he only shrugged and let his men move past them in silent waves.
He didn’t seem bothered by her silence nor her attitude instead he just grinned at her and this time she couldn’t help but let a small smile show on her face. He motioned for her to cover her ears and when she shook her head he simply shook his own and cupped his hands over his mouth. His shrill whistle was a summons to more than just the group she had seen taking off into the forest. She knew it reached all the search parties in the radius in which he wished it to reach. Surely he had called back every group within ten miles of where they currently stood. No doubt her father and brothers had heard the whistle as well and were relieved to hear she had been found. This annoyed her more than the whine in her ear the whistle had left behind. No doubt she would be partially if not completely deaf for a few days.
The young guards smile broadened as she turned to face him. She hadn’t heard him start to address the group tat had come back from across the creek but he was mid-sentence by the time she noticed they were standing in front of him. They were nodding and smiling and she watched his lips carefully trying to make out exactly what he was saying to them. She glanced around in confusion as they turned and each headed in a separate direction with nothing but a nod to acknowledge their new instructions and each disappeared into the surrounding vegetation at a quick jog. He glanced at her this time keeping his smile tucked behind his lips although it did shine through his eyes and then in a sudden turning of his back he set a good pace and headed in the direction of the Palace. He never looked back to see if she followed, he simply set a pace and expected her to keep it. Her hearing was completely gone and she shuddered to think of being left alone in the forest after dark, even the semi calm forest that reached up the kingdom and ended at the Palaces doors was full of danger after dusk. But she had noticed the passing of time and had been about to head inside the palace gates when the guards had come for her. She rolled her eyes at her father and brothers worry and wondered if it had been her father that had sent for her or if it had been one of her annoying brothers realizing she was not prepared for their much anticipated party. She had a feeling it was her youngest brother who had realized her disappearance and had sent out the search party before dark.
The guests had begun to arrive, this she could see from the side entrance the guard brought her through. Many colored carriages lined the outer walkway and took up most of the front drive. They ranged from bright reds to soft purples and each one was more ornately decorated than the last. Some had lanterns in the front to see by but others had extravagant small beams of light attached to the front that seemed to glisten and flicker as if alive. She stopped to examine one of these close up and found a small being inside of a glass container slowly twirling and as it twirled the light flickered and jumped. The being was so small she could have smashed it in one hand with no effort at all. The glass that held the creature was thick; she had never seen glass that thick before. She was reaching a hand up to touch the glass when she felt the guards’ hand on her shoulder and she turned to face him, he made quick motions as if to be dressing in a gown. His meaning was obvious he wanted her to get inside and get ready before the party officially began. His quick hurried motions of dressing made her chuckle softly and she nodded and turned to follow, but her curiousity was far from forgotten.
She glanced behind her at the creature held inside the glass and was surprised to find it looking at her. She was so surprised by this that she stopped mid-step. She met the creatures stare with her own and then it began to scream and pound on the glass with its tiny fists. This echoed in her own heart, for she had longed for freedom since her mother had passed ten years ago and she turned to go back and kneel beside the creature’s cage and calm it. But this was when the young guard finally lost his patience and put a hand to her elbow half led, half dragged her inside and pushed and pulled her upstairs to her dressing chambers. He made her understand she had half an hour to get ready and that she should wait for a healer to come upstairs before heading down to the party and then he turned and left her. In her dressing room she sat contemplating the small creature what she had seen. What had it been doing there? How had she never heard of such a creature? How did it produce such light? What monster would capture such a beautiful creature and enslave it into a glass ball?