|Posted on July 5, 2014 at 4:20 PM|
Fanchon sat outside the window listening to his mother cry. She and Grandmother must have been talking about Uncle Sethan again. He and Mother were twins, but he had left the valley about seventy five years ago and never returned. Fanchon quietly got up and went around to the front of the house.
“Out of division will come union, out of death will come life, out of destruction will come salvation, that which was lost will be found. One man, who has forgotten yet who has not been entirely forgotten, will claim one woman who has quested for the sake of all. Thus shall the nation be reborn,” he said repeating the riddle that everyone in Glynis knew by heart as he walked down the street.
Everyone in the valley was aware that the volcanoes that surrounded it created the lush fertile valley and would someday destroy it. Uncle Sethan had left in search of a new home for the people just as others had. Some had returned and some had not.
Fanchon glanced behind him as he got to his favorite tree. No one was paying any attention to him. He climbed the stone wall next to the tree and touched the trunk as he willed the nearest branch to lower. He climbed up the branch as he willed it to return to its natural position. He climbed further up until he reached the platform of woven branches that made a comfortable resting place and settled into watch the storm that was raging to the east of the valley. He heard footsteps and a voice below him.
“Hurry up Aloysia!” a woman’s voice said.
Fanchon rolled to look down at the woman who was facing his house. He willed the branches and leaves to move so he could see where she was looking. Aloysia was looking directly at his house as though searching for something. Her golden hair glistened in the sun as she ran her hand through it. She came to where the other woman waited under the tree.
“You’re hopeless,” the woman said.
“So you don’t think Fanchon is worth my time?” Aloysia’s words made his heart skip a beat.
“Your father would have to approve of him,” the other woman said. “What was it he told you last year? He told you that you’d be married when the time is right and not a moment before then.”
“That’s the problem, Mara,” Aloysia said. “He won’t tell me another word. Not even a hint. Being the daughter of a seer is no fun. He always knows exactly what I’m going to do even before I do. When I do something wrong he’s right there to reprimand me.”
“At least he doesn’t smell like manure and dirt like my father,” Mara replied.
“At least you get some say in who you’ll marry,” Aloysia said as her voice cracked.
“I’m sorry,” Mara said. “Don’t cry.”
The women continued down the street as Fanchon let the conversation run through his mind again. Aloysia was so beautiful, but he didn’t dare even try to be her friend. He had talked to her a couple of times when he was working. Once she had come with a friend who brought a horse to be shod when he worked for the farrier. He had tried to start a conversation with her, but she seemed distracted as her friend answered his questions. When he put on the leather apron to protect his bare chest from the sparks of the forge she seemed to find her voice and began asking him questions. It was the only conversation he actually had with her. He dreamed about spending time alone with her and even kissing her. Everyone respected her father and every man knew he would know if they had any interaction with Aloysia. That was another reason he was planning to leave Glynis with a group of his friends.
They had been planning it for the last two years. There were twelve in all; five women and seven men. All were married couples except Fanchon and Jerron. Fanchon never had much luck with women and Jerron’s red hair attracted too many. All of the supplies they’d need had been purchased and stored in a small cave near the western entrance to the valley. Fanchon had made two carts they could pull by hand or could be pulled by a two horse team. Horses were rare in Glynis, but according to those who had returned from the outside there were many horses roaming freely not far south of the valley. Fanchon’s group had been learning the strange language spoken in the outside world from one of the men who had spent fifty years living outside the valley.
They were planning on telling their families just before leaving tomorrow. He worried about what Mother and Father would say when he told them. He sighed and sat up as someone passed below the tree. When the man turned to walk up the front walk of his home Fanchon saw it was Aloysia’s father. Mother answered the door as Fanchon sat frozen watching. Mother shook her head and the seer gestured as though talking to her. Soon she wiped at her face and looked down. The seer put his hand on her shoulder and she looked up to meet his eyes. She put her hand to her mouth then nodded. The seer patted her shoulder before leaving. Mother stood watching him go before going back inside.
Fanchon wished he could ask Mother about the seer’s visit, but he would have to reveal how he knew. Fanchon’s father walked down the street and into the home. Fanchon decided he’d best wait before going home. He climbed around to the west side of the tree. The sky was cloudy, but there was no storm. He hoped the weather would hold so they could travel safely south through the snow that never melted.
When Fanchon returned home, Mother was cooking supper and Father was working on repairing a wheelbarrow. Both were acting like nothing was up, but he could tell something was different.
“Do you need help with the wheelbarrow, Father?” he asked.
“No, I’ve got it taken care of,” Father said before hammering a nail into a brace attached to the side.
“I could fix it without any trouble at all,” he said.
“I know,” Father said in a strange tone of voice. “Soon you’ll have your own responsibilities to take care of. I need to take care of mine.”
Fanchon watched as Father turned his attention back to the wheel barrow. Something was definitely wrong. He went upstairs to his room and got out the book he had on the founding of Glynis. Their people had arrived in the valley from the east. Their clothing was too thin to protect them from the icy climate outside the valley. Regina Ramiri was near death from the cold when she had her vision that had given them the riddle. She died the next day after passing ruling power to her daughter Regina Lamira. Fanchon was descended from her brother Malak. The book had been passed down from him. He said their true home was unsafe to live in and so they had fled to this place they called Asculum. It was a seldom used term meaning asylum or safety.
“Come down for supper,” Mother’s voice called out.
Fanchon closed the book and put it in the pack with the rest of the books he had collected to take with him. Supper was strange. His parents made an effort to hold a conversation that kept falling silent. Perhaps the seer had told them he planned to leave. He knew Mother would be devastated but she was carrying a child. They would need his bedroom soon for the new infant. Fanchon returned to his bedroom after supper and listened to his parents talking. He could hear their voices but not what they were saying. He really didn’t want to know. He went around his bedroom checking every piece of furniture for defects and repairing the wood with his talent before going to sleep.
Categories: Tales of Asculum