Today I wanted to share something from my main WIP series. It’s about ferrymen and flames, merfolk, shee, feorns, immortals, talking trees, waterfalls, spirits of the land and pretty much everything else nobody ever writes about but is still super cool.
This is the story of Lotesse, The Emerald Flame, right before she gets captured by the Valtanyana. Enjoy!
Lotesse, The Emerald Flame
Lotesse waited until the maiden left and then pulled the mint green bow off her brown hair. She stamped on it and kicked it under the bed with disgust. She paced around the small room with its chestnut brown rugs and sandy colored stone. She pressed her hands into the windowsill as she undid the latch and gazed out across the lands of Nazole.
Lady Satarine’s kingdom rested in the Gamma quadrant, and Lotesse resented the fact that she had to play princess. She breathed in the fresh scent of hazelnuts and smiled to herself as she narrowed her eyes. She hiked up the skirts of her mint green and royal purple dress and contemplated the drop. Her room was high enough that she could see the tops of trees for acres from her window. She winced but she had done it before. That was before Satarine had ordered the servants to remove the trellises. Without them she had nothing to cling to but the slippery rock.
She slid one slippered foot out of the window, and the other followed. She perched on the windowsill and glanced back into the room for a moment. After seventeen summers, she was being given to someone from the south. She hated his accent and aloof attitude towards her. She wanted to escape.
Lotesse took a deep breath and plunged herself off the ledge, the speed of the fall taking her breath away. She landed on her wrist and heard a loud crack as bones snapped. She rolled away from the castle walls and rubbed her wrist. Without a second thought her blue eyes snapped to liquid emerald and wisps of green energy spiked off her free hand. The bones shifted into place and fused together. It was no perfect fix, but it would do until she was ready to face the medicine man.
She moved to her feet, brushed herself off and then glanced into the tree line. Someone was waving a pair of beige breeches in the air, trying to get her attention. She smiled to herself and crossed the field, meeting her sheepish servant friend, Livinia. She was a couple years older, with a thin frame and light brown hair to her knees. Lotesse grabbed the breeches and eyed her plain beige dress and ivory apron.
“Who did you steal these from this time?” Lotesse asked as she led the way through the forest. Bright sun lit up the ground in patches as they wound through the young trees, staying on the muddy trail.
“I took them from the laundry,” Livinia explained, her cheeks flush with redness. She also had a tunic and belt in her hands, things Lotesse would need for what she was planning.
Lotesse stopped at a healthy looking elm tree and swiveled to face her friend. “Well, get me out of this thing, I cannot breathe,” she said as she turned and waited while Livinia worried through the buttons and knots that held Lotesse’s corset. She shrugged it off and pulled the tunic over her head and pulled the breeches up.
“I do not understand why you insist on doing this,” Livinia said as she pulled the belt around Lotesse’s thin waist and nodded. She turned and Livinia inspected her. She shook her head. “Your hair,” she pointed at the long locks of brown that cascaded down her back.
Lotesse sighed and drew it up into a ponytail. She turned as Livinia pulled a sash from the pockets in her apron and grabbed the hair. She wound it into a large bun and did her best to keep it secure.
“Do you think I can do it?” Lotesse asked, wringing her hands out as prickles ran through her wrist.
Livinia sighed. “Maybe you can do it once, but can you do it twice?”
Lotesse scrunched up her nose as she gathered her dress and pushed the bunch of fabric into the servant’s face. She looked funny in her slippers but the gown was worse. She would go without boots. She hated Livinia’s comment; she was determined to do it twice. If she could do it twice she could do it three or four times and then the kingdom would be the least of her concerns. She took off and stalked through the grass, Livinia on her heels as she moved deeper into the forests.
Lady Satarine owned acres of land; and beyond those acres were peasants. Lotesse had never met them, but she was sick of being cooped up inside and told what to do.
She was a loyal girl that diligently attended lessons and had learned how to harness her inner abilities since birth. She had been born to a peasant family somewhere outside of Satarine’s kingdom, but when her eyes changed instantly from blue to green, and her aura sparked in waves of emeraldness she was adopted and cared for by the royal family of Nazole.
She had known about her kinship as a flame since as long as she could remember. Because of it her life had been a sheltered parade of duty and glory. Every elven on Nazole wanted a chance to meet her, dance with her, court her, and she was expected to play her part in the parade.
With her life being such a fairytale, Lotesse had to learn how to use her real abilities on her own, and that had been no easy task. It took forever to realize that she never got sick, she could speak languages she never practiced and she could heal broken bones with a touch. The last one was a bit of an experiment; she had only tried it on herself and on one of the servant girls when she fell out of a tree.
They reached the small shed in the forest, the one with the servants’ additional supplies. Livinia had been covert enough in securing a horse for her. She lifted the latch and let the brown stallion out of the supply shed. She clucked and ran her hands down its mane, soothing it with her stare. That was the other thing about Lotesse; she had a quiet gracefulness to herself that allowed her to speak to animals, in their own language too.
Livinia trembled as she dropped the garments into the supply shed. She turned around and watched Lotesse, in male servant clothing no less, mount the bareback horse. She pushed her fingers into its mane and beamed. She leaned down and whispered something to the horse. It neighed in response and Lotesse released her hands from its mane. She closed her eyes and the horse began walking towards the edge of the kingdom.
Livinia remained frozen beside the shed, her hand on the wide swinging door. “I cannot watch,” she whispered.
Lotesse rolled her eyes. “This is just a test. I am not really going to stay over there. Not today at least,” she said as the horse turned around in circles, anxious to get moving.
Livinia nodded. “Okay, at least I’ll know where you are if you fall into it,”
Lotesse raised an eyebrow. “Right, send help if I need it.” She laughed and the melodic sound trickled through the lands. It was both beautiful and horrible. She pushed her hands into the mane and kicked the horse. It took off galloping through the remainder of forest as Livinia broke into a run behind her, attempting to keep up.
Lotesse soared through the trees while atop the brown stallion, the bun of hair unraveled behind her and waves of hair cascaded down her back. She whistled as she pushed the horse to an unheard of speed and licked her lips. She crouched low as the ravine came into view. Every other horse had paused at the ledge, one almost tossed her into the ravine, but this stallion had power in its legs, it had determination in its heart and Lotesse knew it wanted this as much as she did.
She dug her fingers into the mane and held her breath as the horse leapt off the edge and soared into the air. Seconds ticked by as the ravine passed underneath her. It was deep, a thin line of creek racing over a bed of rocks. She smiled to herself as the stallion touched down on the other side, a patch of green grass that fled into endless plains.
Lotesse pulled the stallion to a halt and laughed out loud. Her heart was beating so hard in her chest she thought it would explode. She shouted incomprehensible words and spread her hands to the sky as she fell back on the horse and toppled off it, landing on her head. She was too high with joy to notice the welt on forehead. She scrambled to her feet, still laughing and looking back at Livinia who was clapping on the other side of the ravine.
“I did it!” she exclaimed.
“Do it again!” Livinia called back to her as she backed away from the ledge and ran towards the trees.
Lotesse turned and pulled herself onto the horse. Its heart was still beating fast and she rubbed her hand along its neck, feeling the green energy move into it to soothe its soul. Shh, she thought as she backed into the plains and prepared to give herself enough room to get the speed she needed.
The second jump was easier than the first. The stallion leapt into the air and landed firmly on the other side. Lotesse yelped in success and hopped off its back. She ran into Livinia and crushed the woman’s body to hers in a hug. They toppled onto the ground and rolled until they were breathless and sprawled out along the grass.
“Twice,” Lotesse said, her eyes glimmering green.
Livinia squeezed her hand and sat up, pulling the princess to her feet. “Twice is good,” she said as she pulled her back through the forest, the stallion trailing behind them.
They reached the shed and Lotesse began undressing. “No,” she said as Livinia held the corset out to her. She tugged off the breeches and tunic and pulled the dress on. “Do I resemble a girl yet?” she asked, her eyes still green, her lips stretched wide.
Livinia moved towards her and placed her hands on Lotesse’s cheeks. “You always look like a girl, even in men’s clothing,” she laughed as she gathered up the clothes.
Lotesse went to follow her back to the castle when she felt something rumble under her feet. She frowned and gripped Livinia’s arm. “Do you feel that?” she said, her senses perking up.
Livinia shook her head, but concern crossed her face.
Lotesse closed her eyes as the ground shook. She pulled Livinia towards the shed as she muttered something under her breath. Lotesse caught the stallion’s dark eye staring at her and swung onto its back. “Stay here!” Lotesse shouted as she kicked the stallion to life and raced towards the ravine.
Livinia didn’t listen to her; she dumped the garments and hiked up her skirts, chasing the girl through the forest.
Lotesse hunched up her shoulders and narrowed her eyes. She let the green essence of her flame spark off her in wisps of green flames. They snaked through the forests, gathering knowledge and bringing it back to her senses. Her breath caught in her throat as she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.
She broke through the tree line and yanked at the stallion’s mane. He neighed in protest and kicked in the air, almost throwing Lotesse from his back. She fought to keep herself on its back and as its hooves hit the ground her stomach leapt into her chest.
There was a massive army of black skinned creatures racing towards the ravine. They were not the peasants. She froze as they spread out along the fracture, snarling and snapping at her with their sharp teeth. She had never seen anything like them before. They wrestled each other along the ledge and one of them tripped and fell into the crack.
The stallion whinnied back at them and snarled. He scratched his hooves along the ground as Lotesse panicked and pulled at him, trying to force him to turn back and go for help. There was a yelp behind her and as she turned she caught the sight of crimson against the beige dress. Livinia’s eyes widened as the hooded beings stalked away from the trees, throwing the servant’s body on the ground.
They surrounded the horse as it rose in the air and kicked at the seven of them. Lotesse felt her hands slipping. She tumbled off the horse and fell into the arms of one of them. Hooves pounded the ground as the stallion shot off.
Lotesse wrestled, trying to punch him, but he pinned her arms behind her back and stood up behind her, pressing her face into the grass.
“Stop fighting,” he hissed.
Lotesse felt her energy flare, green flames soaking the air around her in thick sheets of heat, scalding her captor’s fingers. The hands released her as she pushed herself up and faced the rest of them. She only knew a few combat skills and was out numbered. She either did something drastic or let them take her.
She was about to move into action when another one appeared from behind the trees, his white lightning eyes flaring. A thin current snaked through the ground, creating a fracture as the ground sizzled into ashes. Lotesse felt the energy cascade over her body, throwing it into shock. She fell on her back, her body convulsing, her mouth foaming. She only noticed one thing before she passed out. The trees were rotting from the inside out, leaves crumbling to ash.