A void bird landed on the forest floor; the damp ground was imprinted with the dark talons. I observed the bird scrape it’s beak into the dirt searching as I drew my bow. Arching the smooth wood, I prepared to shoot my target, “Aelin!” The black eyes of the void bird frantically scanned the woods,” Aelin!” The name was repeated as the bird escaped into the sky like a shadow. “Aelin, there you are.” Father sighed as he stood on the path that led back to the house. I eased the bow back to its resting position as I tucked the arrow away. “Come now, supper is ready.” Father said as we trailed up the path. Our home was a two story Victorian styled house with detailed edging and windows. The pale grayish green paint made it look very plain compared to the hosts inside. The first floor had the kitchen, dining room and living room in the front. A bathroom and two guest bedrooms, one housed the ill or hurt well the other was for visitors, completed the first floor. The second story was limited to bedrooms for my parents and I, and a shared bathroom. A study for medical research and various books of knowledge was also on the second story. My parents were doctors who often housed the sick until they were better and took in many travelers who needed rest. My father telling me dinner was ready meant that everyone was already seated, and he was sent to fetch me, so the guests didn’t have to wait.
Our walk back to the house was filled with conversation about our day and exaggerated rumors the townsfolk had spouted recently. As we stepped through the sun yellow door I could here voices from the dining room. Father had told me a young couple from town, Clara and Thomas were staying for dinner along with a pair of men traveling from Mayhon. Mayhon is a flourishing city in the west that had a high population compared to the rest of the region. “Were back!” I called as I leaned my bow and arrows up against the wall and slipped off my coat. I pulled my loose strands of hairback as I retied it in a ponytail to make myself somewhat presentable for the guests.
I slunk into my chair at the head of the table across from my parents who shared the other end. “Let’s eat!”I said as everyone turned to look at me gesture to the steaming food. Creamy stew with thick vegetables and fresh baked bread was soon filling everyone’s bellies and conversation filling our minds. “We stopped at the trading market in the last town, you should have seen all the spices!” Said one of the travelers. His hair was shoulder length deep brown and straight, he had a thin face with sharp features and tan skin. Brown eyes and wrinkle marks appeared when we laughed at a joke. “The foreigners from over seas brought them after the seasons harvest,” He continued to enlighten us with his constant blabbing.
I was not a people person, instead I preferred my peaceful hours in the forest or curled in my room reading a good book. My parents weren’t solitary as much and spent their time socializing with our guests and visitors. I aways had liked being by myself rather than having company but I think everyone else just doesn’t socialize with me because I don’t resemble them. Everyone I have ever met have tan skin, thin hair and brown eyes, I have very pale skin that looks sickly at times with heavy brown hair that is never one shade. My hair would spark red in the candlelight but glisten blond in the sunand turn to milk tea in the forests shade. My eyes completed the look with a leafy green color. I never hated the way I looked but wished people could overlook it instead of getting stuck on it like a dog chewing peanut butter.
“Heading east then, are you excited about the journey?” My father asked the other traveler. He was a stout man with a fluffy beard on his chin and a balding spot on his head, his plump cheeks, rounded nose and bushy eyebrows made his resting face look like a pouty old man. "Yes quite excited, we can’t wait to stop at the next city!” He said, my mother jumped in with a warning. "Be careful on the roads, the few who have passed say the gypsies are heading this way. I’m sure you know to stay away from those cultists though.” The travelers raised their eyebrows, "Gypsies?” said the talkative one, “Haven’t you heard the stories?” My father questioned. They both shook their heads, Thomas who had been listening in spoke. "Then you will be in for quite the story tonight!” He gestured towards me, “She might look young, but her mind holds the tales of the old and wise.” Now all the brown eyes in the room gaze towards me, "The tale of the gypsies isn’t a bedtime favorite, but I suppose I can tell it.” I smirked at the intrigue they showed looking at the pale girl who had scarcely spoke during the whole meal. “Once you finish eating that is,” I continued to eat as they stared. Soon the pot of stew was empty and bowls stacked in the sink, my father left to do the dishes as my mother wished the young couple at safe journey home. I placed the dirty dishes in the sink for my father and headed towards the living room.
The living room was a pale salmon color father refuses to call pink, it had one window straight across from the entry. Heavy brown curtains were draped closed to seal the room from the night. The pink tinted furniture was place around a matching rug, the room emphasized the large fireplace that was used to heat the front of the house on cold nights. I kneeled in front of the red bricks and organized the wood into the opening, lighting the kindling, a fire sparks. The energized flame laps up the rest of the kindling and starts to work at the thick logs. As warmth seeps from the room, our guests walk in. “Please, make yourself comfortable.” I spoke as I settled myself into my favorite chair in the corner of the room. “The young man, what was his name? Tommy, no it was.. Thomas. He said you knew the old stories very well for someone your age.” The stout man dared to speak, “How old are you exactly? Surely the few stories you know, you picked up from your years.” I observed him, was he calling me a native girl! I could tell he was a tad nervous with the pause before my response. “I turned 16 in late fall, but please don’t group my knowledge in with my age. I mean you’re a prime example.” I did not mean it and compliment, and I could tell it wasn’t taken as one by the offended expression he wore. I lounged in my chair as watched the travelers sit stiffly without disrupting the looming silence. “You didn’t start without us I hope!” Father said as he and ma walked and situated themselves on a couch between me and the travelers, directly in front of the fire that they warmed their hands near. “We haven’t, but I shall begin now..” my eyes trailed from the faces to the fire, which I stared at a moment. The slight pause ignited anticipation for me to begin the tale.