I stand in the Castle of the Lost Ones, eavesdropping on their conversation. They’ve all come for some reason, across the landmass of the Eastern World, to a tiny island called Wind Fresh. The castle is drafty, enormous and empty, what they hope to accomplish is unsure. Their faces twist with questions, one has anger behind his brow, running like the great white horses dash across a plain.
My pen twitches in my hand as their voices rise and fall, sharp and angry, soft and gentle, charming, persuading. There’s one with kind eyes, he carries a sword he seems intent on hiding, brushing it gently with his fingers under the table where no one can see.
I’ve seen him before it seems, during the winter months when cold clung to the north and he stood in his furs, watching a Treasure Hunter flee from the Truth Tellers. Words come to me and although I’m not sure if they want their stories told, I began the tale of the Lost Ones and what happened to them in the Eastern World.
An excerpt from The Blended Ones:
He ran in the gloom, bare feet fleeing over the ice fields. Despite the fear that drove him forward, he glanced back, his heart torn, desiring to return when he knew he should run. Any moment he expected to see a crown of leaves smash onto his head, but there was nothing but the eerie silence.
Blinking, he ducked from invisible branches, his frantic heartbeat reminding him the past weeks weren’t fragments of his scattered mind. He clung to truth as a hungry child clings to the last crust of bread, fiercely, ready to destroy anyone who would take such a treasure away. He stumbled on uneven shards of ice and flung his hands out, attempting to keep his precious face from hitting the ice. He went down hard, his chest exploding in pain as he struggled to suck breath back into his failing body. At least one rib was broken, but there was the possibility his wounds extended much deeper than that. Warm blood dripped out of his mouth as he rose to all fours, his bony fingers searching for traction in the ice.
Surely he would freeze without clothing, food, and shelter. He took a rasping breath, his vision blurred in exhaustion as he remembered the words of the creatures of the forest. He could hear their odd voices, hollow and terrible as they stared at him out of lidless eyes. The chant they spoke echoed in his mind, confirming his worst suspicions.
The words they spoke dazzled his mind, although he was not dead yet, the forest had tried its best. Lifting his head he squinted as he thought he saw his salvation. Light danced before him, a warm, yellow light, unlike the cold, dead white ones of the forest. He stood, shaking, his limbs crying out against movement. Even though he knew it was not possible, he glanced behind, but this time the trees aren’t following. His body tells him to lie down, his mind screams for him to run aways as fast as he can, to spread the truth of what he knows. When he turns back to face the light, he sees them.