Continue on with the exciting next chapter of the current Creatures story! Eventually, it will have a proper title. Perhaps its unnamed status makes it all the more mysterious. Indeed, this chapter should offer up a little more suspense and adventure! Make sure to read the prologue and chapter one to catch up with all of the previous action. What will happen this week? Read on to discover a story that is just starting to blossom. Remember to check back each Friday for the next installment. Enjoy the second chapter of this tale!
The sun sat stoutly overhead between two puffy clouds by the time she completed her duties. Sometimes she wondered if any other Norn had so much to do in one day, but then she remembered how many others lived in much worse conditions. There was much to be grateful for.
As she walked through the unplanted meadows of tall summer grass, she found herself humming a little tune to herself. Insects lazily buzzed by, still eternally tired from the warm sun. She snapped one up as it flew by, delighting in its mildly sweet crunch. Off in the distance, a group of Norns was huddled at the far end of another meadow that had been partially converted to a field. Beyond it was the dark shadow of the forest. It always made her shiver, and today was no exception. There was something about the darkness that left her feeling unsettled, though others convinced her that it was all in her imagination. Judging by the stories she could tell, it was not implausible.
She curled up her nostril in annoyance just before she was noticed. “Hello, Veerin,” she managed to say as joyfully as possible. “Planting carrots, I see?”
Veerin was a rather tall Norn, with a brilliant coat of glimmering black sprinkled with white spots. Her own coat was quite radiant in its own way, with its stripes of gold interspersed among deep amber. Veerin never seemed to notice it, though. “No, turnips. Remember what Johmas said at the last council meeting? We have plenty of carrots in storage. You might do well to pay closer attention, Ravella.”
Her ears burned with embarrassment. Had she really forgotten something so simple? It was difficult to listen to lectures like these, though. Every Norn seemed to enjoy correcting her on every mistake she made. She wasn’t the sharpest Norn, but she was far from unintelligent. Details just never liked to stay with her. She blamed it on a fuzzy memory. Besides, who cared whether it was carrots or turnips?
“Furthermore,” Veerin pulled her away from the others, continuing in a tone dripping with irritation, “Why make a fool of yourself? Our marriage is to take place within the next moon. I would so hate for everyone to think of us as forgetful. I am not the forgetful type. Are you?”
The embarrassment reached her stomach, and she felt pangs of pain. Yet looking at Veerin, all she could see was a future with chastising and whining. It was infuriating, and his grasp on her arm was far too tight for comfort. In a wild move, she wrenched free from Veerin and raced into the forest. The dark shadows crept onto her skin, but here she was alone. And safe.
Something urged her on into this seemingly frightening place. The summer sun was blotted out by a dense canopy of leaves, but she found no reason to turn back. Veerin would still be there this evening, and Johmas could save his lecture for tomorrow morning. She kicked at a pile of soggy leaves, imagining them to be Veerin. They exploded into a myriad of colors, and she laughed at the feeling of relief she felt to be away from the world of expectations and foreboding. Closing her eyes against the world, she reveled in her rare moment of freedom.
It was only when her eyes readjusted to the gloomy forest light that she realized she could no longer see the pastures. Behind her… No, that was wrong. That tree seemed familiar… And so did that one in the opposite direction. She tried one way, and simply felt even more lost. Veerin’s remarks about her forgetfulness made her feel awful about the simple task of remembering what direction she had come from. Tears stung at her eyes, threatening to mock her. And through that fresh sheen of tears, she saw a dark shadow in front of her. As she blinked, it moved.