Foiria in Fend
Clouds of grey loomed over the clear sky which blanketed the massive fields sprawled carelessly across the land. These were times of prosperity and poverty. Royalty and farmers. Classes to separate worthiness.
The fields’ shadowy yellow swayed with the wind, a storm brewing from the east, a show of changes on the horizon with the rising sun of the next day. With foreboding warning, the farmers locked themselves indoors, brewing over old wives tales and finalizing their dying wishes with the younger kin.
“Lewellyn will marry Goroff and take over the farm, as the eldest of the family. Hance, you’ll have the silos as our only son. Foiria, you’ll stay with Uncle Winz until you are old enough to marry. Mother has the horse ready for you.”
Foiria stared at her father in disbelief, eyes twitching in sorrow and confusion. Her brother and sister seeming too afraid of the fierce winds, and so tongues stuck into respective mouths and expecting to hide deep below the house until the storm subsides. From the age of babes, this time had been foretold; the winds of change and destruction, to take over the land and reclaim it for the gods, while sacrificing all those unnecessary for the lands’ survival. Such is the calamity that is Fend.
Taking one last look as she exited the near shackled home, no tears left her face, but an aching in her heart and stomach, knowing for certain no one will survive… perhaps she will meet her demise, she hoped, while traversing the plains in search of her uncle Winz’s home buried deep in the brush, past the family’s plot bounds. Slipping one leg over the saddle, gripping the reins with all her might, Foiria commanded the beast to run as it had never run.
Followed by twisters, pelted by rain, hail, and sleet, sleep poked at her temples as night drew near, as destiny and fate folded its cards, still gripping the horses reins, a roaring ripped across the vast land and engulfed her ears to the filling point. With the roar, pieces of shrapnel wooden bits remaining from the farm her family had encased itself, blood splattered unceremoniously through the whirling air, although she was hours away from her home. The young girl sobbed deep into her throat knowing they were dead, smelling its sickening smell shallowly in her nose and down to her belly, threatening a repressed vomit. Foiria covered her mouth for a mere second and ducked low to hide within the horse’s mane, shelter from herself.
Night drew a bow of bright stars and clear blackness lacking the two moons which normally hung so glowing and proud. Eeriness wrapped the young lass in a veil of chills and silent whispers from nocturnal creatures… foreign to the sheltered pubescent girl as they strode up a beaten path apparently untouched by the storm to the east. With an arm protecting her head from low branches, her back arched and bent with the rough terrain and overgrown ferns.
A clearing appeared past an ancient poplar, as if by a sprite’s spell. In the clearing, directly in the center, lay a pond of crystalline water filled with lively fish of all colours which reflected the light strewn in from the stars above. Next to the ethereal body of water sat a child, a boy child clothed in woven leaves and bark, who stood as Foiria’s horse’s majestic head poked out of the dense forest. He smiled to her as she once was an old friend for whom he was so patiently waiting.
“My loneliness was killing me, Foiria.” He spoke clearly and mirthfully with his eyes smiling their worth in diamonds. “I have waited so long to see you. I do hope the storm was not too inconveniencing.”
The girl’s black hair fluttered mindlessly across her vision, and as she tucked the stray locks behind her ear, the boy had quickly made his way to her and was feeding the horse some grains.
“How did you…?”
He placed a hand over the horse’s bridle and thumbed it gently as Phin looked to him with frustrated awe.
“No. I’m not an angel. My name is Onodus; I am but a humble servant to you.”
Foiria gripped the horse’s reins, preparing a quick escape, thinking the boy had gone mad.
“Yes… I know…” he spoke lovingly while petting the horse soothingly. “It does seem rather odd, doesn’t it? You see,” he paused to set closer to the frightened young lady and offer her his hand to which she kicked in fear. “I’m not here to harm you, simply guide you. Please, take my hand.”
He offered anew, however she kicked it aside a second time, and disembarked from the saddle.
“I don’t trust you.”
She spoke full of conviction, accusingly, certain it was his fault this chaos had erupted in such a peaceful land.
“Foiria, I beg for your trust, as I am the only one who knows of your destiny. It appears as a special gift has been bestowed upon you. You are the only one to survive who does not live inside the Kingdom of Gloen.” Eyes growing somber, he turned from her to retrace his steps next to the sparkling pond.
“You are also the only one uncursed. Pure.” A rustling nearby startled the boy, his eyes darting side to side anxiously. “That’s all I can tell you. Please, carry on to Winz’s house which lies not far to the west. I warn you, they are not loving, but will clothe and feed you willingly. Hurry, you are not within Gloen territory just yet and the storm still rages.”
Dawn sparkled over the hills, unbeknownst to Foiria, whose last memory was of Onodus and his pleas to rush from the forest; apparently she had fallen asleep after their meeting. The trees stood high and noble with the birds of all colours passing between the branches as her eyes slowly opened to the new world inviting her to live.
Her words were cut off by the sounds of town. People talking, carts moving, mules braying, doors closing and opening, bells being rung, children playing, babies crying… sounds unfamiliar to rural ears. Sleep encrusted eyes reeled with the sights of lavish gowns worn by the women and fantastic hats by men. Children dressed in finer clothing than burlap. Carts made of cherry wood and not splintering oak. This was, by mere observation alone, the inner Kingdom of Gloen.
Trotting her way past bakeries, butcheries, and grocers of all sorts, she marveled while allowing her illiterate eyes search for the word “Winz”, the young girl’s father told her long before that his brother was an innkeeper with his brutish wife and pudgy children. Naturally, Foiria’s vocabulary didn’t comprise of the words “ale”, “inn”, or “brutish”. Simply put, her uncle’s home would be amongst the shops of the shop quarter, and that is where she miraculously found herself to be.
“Pretty flower for fair lady?”
An elderly woman stuck a full bouquet of assorted local and imported flowers to the girl’s chest eagerly.
“They are forty percent off ‘cause you’re so gosh darn cute.”
Foiria smiled genuinely, however reluctantly pushed the flowers aside to keep focused on finding her uncle.
The woman hobbled after the horse in attempt to sell her goods while waving the bouquet as aggressively her relic arms could. Feeling pity upon the woman, Foiria halted the horse and disembarked, and strode