A young maiden of immense beauty. Her hair a golden waterfall cascading over her slender shoulders falling to her waist. Her long golden eyelashes framed sapphire eyes and her lips were like a soft pink petal. Her quiet demeanor and a silken walk shouldn’t grab any attention but instead had the opposite reaction.
Daron wondered if she was laconic and shy or if she thought herself above everyone else. Her face held no trace of scorn, but neither signs of bashfulness. Impassive, her willowy form walked though the city at his side. Perhaps that was what drew the stares—the mystery that lingered beneath her serene gaze.
Daron knew her secret. She looked young, fifteen or sixteen at most, she ‘s centuries old.
She was one of the Old Ones. They lived since the genesis and possessed esoteric knowledge.
They once lived among humankind and disseminated their wisdom. The land grew prosperous under their watch. Time passed and humans grew bolder, in their effrontery challenged they challenged the Old Ones. Relinquishing the land, the Old Ones journeyed across the sea to a land they could make their own
Thousands of years after the Old Ones disembarked, drought and famine plagued the land. Daron was assigned an impossible mission: to cross the sea and find an Old One, who would be willing to come back with him and salvage their dying land. To sing the ancient songs that would call down rain for their withered crops.
Daron looked at the Old One beside him and thought himself lucky. He was warned that not all the Old Ones would be helpful. There were some who resented humans for their arrogant ways. Their disdain for humans had festered into animosity changing them. These Old Ones grew cruel and vain. They were so intoxicated with their power and consumed with revenge that they were proscribed by their own kind. If Daron had stumbled on one of them, it would have meant his death.
The danger and uncertainty of that journey had passed. Daron would soon present the Old One to the King as proof he had succeeded in his mission. And she would bring the rain.
Daron and the Old One stood on the steps of the front of the castle; the courtyard was filled with hopeful faces. The bright-haired girl stood in the center with the king standing to the right and Daron to her left.
She didn’t address the crowd but closed her eyes and hummed. Her voice was so low that Daron could barely hear it only a few feet away. Her hum grew louder and her soft, girlish lips opened letting loose a melody of words drifted.
Daron didn’t understand the words. She sang in an ancient language that the Old Ones alone had mastered. Even without the knowledge of the meaning of the song it was entrancing. The song rose and fell in somber minor notes. Her voice softening, then swelling to portray first sorrow, then urgency.
Daron ought to be watching the sky during the Old One’s summons for rain, but he couldn’t look away from the girl. From his peripheral vision, he saw that the others were equally entranced with the golden-haired singer.
Her eyes remained closed and her face focused as her silky voice bounced off the courtyard walls. Small pricks ran up Daron’s arms. As the song went on, he almost forgot why they were gathered or the reason for the song. There was nothing in Daron’s mind but the captivating melody spinning sorrow and hope.
He shook himself when a shadow passed over him. Rain! Rain clouds were forming and blocking the sun.
He looked up and was confused. Something was blocking the sun, but it wasn’t rain clouds—not unless rainclouds were ebony black and moved as one shimmering mass.
Wait. That wasn’t shimmering. It was flapping. Thousands of crows filled the sky. Gasping and whispers filled the courtyard.
“What’s going on?” demanded the King, but the girl continued singing. Daron tried to get her attention. “Old One, the skies are filled with crows.”
She didn’t acknowledge him.
“Thousands of them,” he continued. “They’re coming at us. Take them away!”
Her chilling song mingled with the people’s confused cries.
“Is this some trick?” The King asked, red faced. Daron was sure it wasn’t a trick, but a mistake. Maybe the Old Ones forgot how to call down rain. Maybe in all their years of isolation, they lost their skill. Or maybe this particular Old One didn’t know how to call rain.
The sky was getting darker. The birds would land soon and what little crops they had left would be destroyed. Daron strode forward to shake the Old One out of her trance.
As his fingertips touched her shoulders, a shock went through him and he staggered back. The girl’s blue eyes opened.
“Don’t touch me human snake!” It was her voice, but it didn’t come from her lips which were still forming the words to the ominous song filling the air.
Confused, Daron tried to form words. “Crows. Will eat our crops.”
Her laugh filled his head. The harsh sound didn’t match the softness of the girl before him.
“The crows aren’t going to eat your crops. They are going to eat you.”
He must have heard her wrong. An Old One wouldn’t speak such words.
“You, the humans who destroyed the land and drove the Old Ones out with your haughty ways, they are summoned to eat you.”
In an instant, Daron understood who the girl was. Not an Old One, understanding and willing to help mankind like the Old Ones thousands of years ago, but one of the wayward Old Ones he was warned about. She pretended to help them so she could destroy them.
Before he could call out a warning to the others, the crows fell on them. Shrieks mingled with the incessant cries of thousands of crows. People ran or fell to the ground and covered their face as the winged terrors swarmed them.
Daron ran, but there was nowhere to go that wasn’t already filled with crows. Sharp beaks picked at his arm and shoulders. They pulled his hair and bit the tender skin on his neck. He kept his arms in front of his face but their sharp beaks jabbed at his chin and cheeks. He wanted to cry out, but was afraid they would poke their nasty little beaks into his mouth and rip his tongue to shreds too.
He tried to keep moving, hoping he could find a door that would bring him into the safety of the castle, but the crows were so thick and so many wild thrashing bodies kept jostling him that he didn’t know if he were moving at all.
He fell. He didn’t know if he tripped from the crows gathered around his feet or if his legs gave out from the panic that snared him.
He laid in a huddle, feeling wet, sticky blood run down his back and arms. He was screaming now. His mouth pressed to the ground and his tongue tasted dirt.
He was ready for death. Anything to stop feeling hundreds of holes being dug into his body.
Everything began to fade. A haunting melody sung by a innocent young voice.
I hope you enjoyed reading her fiction. Thank you so much for the support Megan!