An icy wind blew through the dark corridors, snuffing out each of the fires in quick succession. Only the inner rooms surrounded by stone walls and heavy metals doors remained lit while the rest of the castle was plunged into not quite darkness, but rather a blue and white glow of the moonlight reflecting off the ice hanging just outside the windows. Even after six years chills still swept down Lyra's spine from the eerie sight, under this light everything looked as though it had been abandoned for years and she was a trespasser in such a hallow place. She was scared, but for tonight she would have to cast her fears aside; there was work to be done. Breathing deeply she instead focused on the tapping of her shoes on the cold stone floor as she moved deeper into the castle. Minutes later she stopped at a set of double doors that easily stood three times her height, though purely for show and ceremony. She was met with a loud creaking as she pushed them open, but the noise was swallowed by the emptiness of the large room. Even here all the lights had been blown out; it was then she recalled an old tale she'd been told about the Icelands. They believed that, on the night of a birth, spirits would follow the light to the newborn's room and steal away the child in the night, taking him to live among the spirits of mothers that had lost their children. Therefore any corridors and rooms leading to the child were to be dark until sunrise, as was custom.
Their beliefs would be the one to blind them tonight. At the head of the table sat the King's throne, and behind that along the far wall were two doors, both wrapping around the wall into one corridor that led straight to the King and Queen's bed chamber. Another sharp breath to calm her nerves, and she continued forward. It was foolish to go anywhere near their quarters when uninvited, so no guards were present. It was a reasonable actually, the King slept with a mighty ax next to the head of the bed; and he could easily kill her with one strike or the slightest squeeze to her neck. She was risking her life tonight, and had waited six years to do so. It was almost graceful the way she moved to the door and picked the lock, operating without a sound even when she crept into the chamber and pushed the door shut behind her with a light click. Though he was powerful, he was still a human, and a heavy sleeper at that. His wife and child were no different. While they lay curled together in their bed the newborn son, named Aren, slept in his handwoven basket crib filled with the rarest of hawk feathers, and lined with white rabbit fur. Both of those materials had meaning and were meant to bring good fortune of some sort or another, but neither of those things would keep Lyra away.
Ever so carefully she tip toed to the basket and stopped to watch the child for a moment. He was so innocent, he didn't deserve to be caught up in all of this. But, alas fate would not be on his side. Perhaps their next child would live a full life, but their first born had another destiny to fulfill. She quickly and carefully scooped him up in the rabbit fur, wrapping it around him and shushing him before he could fuss and awaken the wrath of his parents. Casting a nervous look over her shoulder, she judged them to still be deep in slumber before crossing the room to the doors that led to their balcony. The first dangerous step in her journey home. If she tried to leave through the front doors, she would surely be caught by the guards. Six years had given her plenty of time to plan; she would scale down the cliff side to the ice plains and cross the ocean as it still remained frozen in the tenth year of winter. She would arrive at a large ice crystal formation a few miles from the shore of the Icelands, and a stranger would be there to guide her home with the child. Her heart was almost bursting to return home, she longed to see her people and to feel the sun kiss her face, to hear the birds sing to her in the morning and listen to the insects of the night. Her dream was not far off now.
She further wrapped the boy in a strong cloth and tied him securely to her chest, she had to keep him safe above all else. If he died, the hope was lost for everyone who was praying to see another day of summer. Placing her palms flat against the far wooden doors, she exited their room to the balcony shutting the doors again as fast as she could. The sudden cold wouldn't wake them, they were wrapped in too many furs and had lived with the icy wind for too long to be bothered by it's presence. Before her the land stretched out into a painting of white, black, blue, and grey. Ice and show covered everything and the only other structures that could be seen were the stables near the front path of the castle, where their horses of massive size were tended to constantly. Their keepers froze to death on some nights, but the beasts were bred for the cold. Thick skin and thicker fur wrapped around living power and strength with a temper to boot. And one of them would be key in her escape, but her first challenge was the mountain that the very castle rested a top. Lyra leaned over the balcony, hand on the small bundle near her chest; it was quite the drop, one that neither of them would survive if she slipped. She could almost feel the weight of the situation pressing down on her, as if the very thought of failure itself was encouraging her demise. She pushed the voices from her mind and went to her left, climbing over the guard rail and stepping onto the icy outcropping to being her descent. It was little challenge at first, most of the area had been chipped away in the initial construction of the castle for the builders to stand on without much risk. A few feet down, however, was a completely different story. Nothing had been touched so she had to struggle with the natural landscape that was formed over centuries, not to mention such a think layer of ice built up in that time. It was slow going, she always felt before resting her weight on any one spot. The entire time the child stayed sleeping, the swaying motion from the wind and her movements only kept him in a deep slumber. The cold worried her, though his parents could last for days on end with the chill he was still a newborn and he wouldn't last the night with only the rabbit fur and some leather to protect him.
Manage Your Items