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More mini-stories, continued from this post!

Same rules as before:
1. Write exactly one page in word processing document (to the line).
2. Write the first thing (that works) that pops into your head.
3. Don't think too hard!
3a. Don't edit, over-editor.

Title: Whisper (suggested by [livejournal.com profile] redvelvetaddict)
Universe: Goldenhour
Character: Ileana, aka. Lily


It's wrong to leave your home. All who live among the highlands of the black rocks know that. Northerners, the lowlanders say: so stoic and strange, but that is their false perspective. It cannot be denied that that there are more closed towns in the north, more dangers, more monsters. That might make northerners appear to keep themselves more distant from outsiders, but it makes them closer to each other.

Northerners consider the people from the south soft and cold, consider themselves warm and close. Hardship makes you stronger, but it makes you love more fiercely. Cold makes warmth, that's what they say.

That's why no one could understand Ileana, why she would wander so far away from the dark castle where her family ruled, all but dancing through the gates in the walls of the village that sat huddled at the castle's feet. At first, the villagers thought her an odd child, then a touched adolescent, but as she grew older and closer to a marriageable age, her will to range and wander so far took on a sinister aspect in their minds. When they looked at her, they saw how wild her eyes were, and how wild her hair was when she returned from her rambles, sometimes with her clothes torn.

No one should want to go so far from home. Not like that. Ileana did not leave for love or family honor. So far as anyone knew, it was for no reason at all. They said she must have heard the voice, the little whisper, that speaks in the ear of certain people. Unwise people, usually, those who wish for things they shouldn't, or those who don't accept things as they are.

You shouldn't listen to the little whisper. It's what leads you astray. Those who hear and listen are those who turn into witches or monsters. One day they will stray too far, and they will never return, not as themselves. They will be transformed.

Ileana's parents tried to bar the doors and gates that kept their daughter from the wild and the whisper, but somehow she always found her way around and out. They had been too indulgent for too long, it was generally thought. Now it was too late. Once she was all grown, everyone began to say that surely, one of those days, she would simply fail to return.

On the day it happened, no one was surprised. Her absence was a shape that had already been traced in the air. She must have become a witch, they thought. That was the most likely conclusion, perhaps the easiest to arrive at. In a way, they were right, but by the time she returned home, Ileana had become a monster.



Title: Goodbye (suggested by [livejournal.com profile] boredgods)
Universe: Goldenhour
Character: Nora, Bertrand, Bevan, Bernard



What was it that brought them together? A crying child whose voice Nora followed. They'd both been searching for that sound, for that which was lost, weeping, afraid. Now a child is crying again, but it is their own child. Who knows why Bevan is crying? He can't be hungry, he isn't dirty. Nora thinks Bevan, born an infant with the gold curls of an older child, sometimes knows and senses things he should not be able to understand. He feels grief more keenly and more suddenly than his older brother. He feels so much more, but clinging to her skirt, he seems like any other crying child, his face red and twisted and streaked with tears.

Bertrand leans down to stroke his head and says something quiet to him, something Nora will soon forget and wish she could remember. She will think they must have been words of comfort, for Bevan stops crying almost at once and gazes up at his father with wide, clear, blue eyes. She will remember what Bertrand says next, for he rises, his words addressed to both of them, though he is still technically speaking to Bevan. "When I come back, we'll go riding," he says.

Bevan loves this idea, loves his lively little chestnut pony. He's cheered.

"Where is Bernard?" Bertrand asks.

"I'm not sure," Nora says, and she will regret her answer later, because Bernard will hate her for it, if only for a moment. "I think he went to play in the gardens."

"I'll look for him," he says. Those two love each other dearly. While Bertrand is in the gardens, Bernard is somewhere else altogether, deeply asleep in the tower room where he likes to play, and Bertrand does not find him. Nora and Bevan are playing a game together when he returns from his search. He is visibly flustered, a state it is rare to find him in. There are grass stains on his clothes, a leaf in his hair. Did he ask the servants to help him look? He doesn't mention it.

"Tell him I tried to find him. I'll make it up to him."

Nora wraps her arms around him. So large, her husband, yet he doesn't make her feel small in comparison. He makes her feel larger. He smells of earth and grass and flowers now. He is the natural world, and so is she. She thinks, how odd it was that something as small and sad as a crying child brought them together when they are now so large. Then she glances at Bevan, half-expecting him to burst into tears again. His eyes remain wide and clear.

"The king needs me now," says Bertrand.

"Doesn't he always?" The little king often makes her laugh, but not this time. In the end, she's glad she didn't laugh. She understands he meant to say, I don't want to go, but then he went.
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