A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writing Wednesday - A Sample from "Beauty and the Beast"

It was a little past midnight when something woke her. She opened her eyes to a faint greenish glow from the remnants of the fire that her servants had left burning. She pushed herself up on her elbows to get a better look.
A hunched and tattered figure was prodding at the fire, muttering under its breath. “Who’s there?” Caitlyn called.
The figure stood. Caitlyn screamed. An apparition stolen straight from her most terrifying nightmare lurched and staggered towards the bed. “Foolish girl,” it rasped. “Leave this place before you die. See what the lord of these lands did to me.”
The door to Caitlyn’s room burst open. “My lady,” Grace cried as she ran into the room. “What is it?” The invisible maid saw the strange creature. “Oh no you don’t. We’ve learned to counter that trick.” A small pouch appeared in the air as if thrown by an invisible hand. It struck the fire. The apparition shrieked and vanished in a puff of putrid green smoke. “My lady, are you all right?”
What was that?” Caitlyn asked, throwing back the covers and lurching to her feet.
It was a wraith,” Grace said grimly. “An apparition that occasionally haunts these halls. They try to blame their deaths on my lord, but he had nothing to do with it. Not even in his most terrible rages would he harm any of those who stand as guests in his house.”
A cold wind blew through the room. “You can say that all you want, servant girl. But the truth of it is your lord steals maidens from their homes and destroys the lives of those they love by taking them and never giving them back,” a harsh voice whispered.
Only because of you,” Grace said, and Caitlyn felt Grace’s hand on her shoulder. Caitlyn also heard the faint sound of footsteps running down the hall. She had a suspicion that Sarah was running for help. “You and your wife, though at least your lady tried to leaven the curse you placed on our lands.”
Your lord is a murderer and I will never let him be free,” the voice hissed.
Caitlyn realized where she’d heard the voice and felt this malevolence. This unseen voice was the evil that stood watching behind the stained glass window in her dreams.
My lord never harmed anyone. It was you who killed so many that day,” Grace snapped. She was trembling and Caitlyn realized her seemingly unrufflable maid was terrified.
Before the apparition could make any reply, they all heard the bellowing roar of the Beast. “Your lord will end up killing you all and there is nothing that will save you,” the evil voice said as it faded.
My lady, are you all right?” Sarah asked breathlessly as she ran back into the room. The Beast was right behind her.
Caitlyn, did he hurt you?” the Beast asked.
Caitlyn shook her head. She was shaking badly and she sat back down on her bed. “He just scared me, that’s all,” she said. “Who is he? What is he?”
His name, when he yet lived, was Arkadiy,” the Beast said. “He and his wife were powerful mages. I made a mistake, and for that error Arkadiy cursed me and my people. Lady Rosa stopped him from destroying all of us, but she couldn’t completely reverse what he’d already done. He tried to kill her for her interference. She rebounded his curse and it destroyed his body. I fear it did nothing to purge his soul, however, and he has haunted my home ever since.”
He made it sound as if my being here was part of that curse,” Caitlyn said.
Don’t listen to him,” the Beast advised. “Those that have either have gone mad or have been driven from my home within the first few days of their being here.”
Caitlyn shivered a little. Grace, who hadn’t left her side, said, “My lord, we should let my lady try to get back to sleep. Sarah and I can stay with her, if you wish.”
Yes, that would be best. I’m hardly the most comforting of creatures to have around,” the Beast said harshly.
My lord,” Caitlyn said, looking over at him. “Thank you.”
For what?” he asked.
For driving him away,” she replied.
The Beast nodded. “Good night, Caitlyn. For what it’s worth, he should not return this night,” he said before leaving the room.
Sarah built up the fire. “I think a cup of tea would help soothe your nerves,” she said.
Grace moved away to join her. “And a little more light is needed,” Grace added. She took a thin piece of wood from the jar on the mantle and lit two of the oil lamps.
Is there anything else we can get for you?” Sarah asked as she set the kettle over the fire.
I’m cold,” Caitlyn said.
A shawl was procured from the wardrobe and it was wrapped around her shoulders. Grace handed her a pair of slippers and Caitlyn slipped her feet into them. “Here, my lady,” Sarah said, wrapping a quilt around her as well as Caitlyn moved from the bed into one of the easy chairs near the fire. “You just sit quietly for now and we’ll get you some tea here in a bit.”
They tidied up the room while they waited for the kettle to boil. The two young maids chattered about the other servants and what scrapes they got into behind the scenes, and the rather favorable reports of the silent ones who’d served Caitlyn’s dinner. Once the kettle was piping hot Sarah poured the water into a ceramic tea pot. A cunningly wrought tea ball in the shape of a key was packed with tea leaves and dropped it into the tea pot.
A few minutes later, Caitlyn was presented with a cup of tea laden with cream and honey. “Can we get anything else for you, my lady?”
No, that’s all right. I’ll finish my tea and then go back to bed,” Caitlyn said. The warmth from the fire and the tea were already easing the chills. “I may sleep late tomorrow though.”
Don’t worry about it, my lady,” Grace said. “Either Sarah or myself will be here when you wake.” The two maids settled into the rocking chairs and began hemming another pair of the dresses from Caitlyn’s wardrobe.
Caitlyn finished her tea and set the cup on the table. One of the girls took her extra quilt and her shawl and Caitlyn slid her feet out of the slippers before curling back up under her blankets.

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