Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The sky lay open over an empty, grassy, field. The field was surrounded by hills, forming a sort of bowl where, in the center, a small town sat. The fields were perfect for farming and the open space made it perfect for any rancher. Tiny creaks zig-zagged across the face of the field and under the hills into lakes on opposite sides. Around the lakes was a forest that stretched on for what seemed like forever. A low wood fence sat at the tallest hill next to an old willow tree. Roots had taken over most of the sign, but the name etched into the wood could be clearly read. The sign read: "Grange."
The buildings of the town were all made of wood, taken from the forests around the lakes. The people of the town were friendly, helping each other whenever they needed help. They worked to keep the town happy and every person contributed. In the town, everyone was equal, women and children had as much rights as any man, and this kept the people happy. The farmers gave the food to the kitchen, the kitchen served the entire town every day from breakfast to dinner. Nobody in the town of Grange went hungry. There were three classes of people in Grange, though. The Upper, hunters and leaders of the town. The Patrons, farmers, carpenters, and finally the priests. The last and lowest class were the Caste or Cast-Aways. They're jobs varied from gardeners to house maids. Most of the Caste were thrown at the ends of tables, during breakfast and dinner, or ate on the ground if there wasn't enough room.
The Caste were viewed as rats in the town, eating with them without contributing much.
This story focuses on a Caste named Mordred, son of a maid and petty farmer.
"Mordred!" His mother called, "Mordred wake for Gods' sake!" Low thumps were heard as his mother climbed the first two stairs to his room. Isabelle Kain's fiery red hair was in tangles and her clothes were partially stained. Her eyes were brown with tiny emerald specks dotting them.
His mother threw Mordreds sheets off his bed. He raised his head, topped with messy brown hair, and asked: "Why?" In a confused voice. His mother's face went red and she tossed his sheets onto the ground.
"For breakfast, you... you.... Get dressed!" Isabelle stomped out of her sons room and toward her own, picking her cleanest clothes, a white blouse with a log skirt tied around her waste with stains lining the skirt. She wished she could have had more, wishing she'd taken up sewing like her mother had told her.
Mordred, meanwhile, was getting dressed, throwing on a white shirt and trousers with patches on the knees. He'd made his own pockets with table cloth and cut the hole with a knife. He looked at himself in the wash basin and sighed. His face had some dirt where his normally rosy cheeks were. He tried scrubbing the dirt off and partially succeeded. He tousled his hair, trying to bring some stray hairs down. Again, he only partially succeeded when his mother called for him.
"Coming!" He called back, and dried his face. His father was nowhere to be seen again. Mordred asked his mother and she told him his father had been watching the fields and ranches after a group of wolves was spotted near there. Mordred wasn't surprised by his fathers disappearance, and only sighed.
The walk to the center of town towards the giant table was short and the two were waiting in line for their breakfast. Mordred cast a glance towards some of the other boys, who were already eating, and felt some jealousy. He hated being apart of the Caste, being the last in line for everything. Mordred felt someone tap his shoulder and turned around. A Patron rancher stood before him, casting Mordred entirely in shadow. He spoke with an almost southern voice.
"Move, boyah!" He slid his thumbs under his overalls. "Less I move you out the way 'n show you who's the top dog in 'tween us."
Mordred moved back behind the rancher, as was his job, and sighed again. Though there were no rules, there were things that were considered as "Polite" and one of those rules was "any Caste member should move out of the way if their upper asks." Mordred didn't have to follow the rule, it would have just worked better for him if he did.
They ate a basic breakfast the farmers and cooks had prepared for them, eggs and bacon. The entire town sat in the center and ate, Uppers taking the center of the table with Patrons and Castes sitting on the edges or ground. Mordred himself sat on the ground, eating his eggs in single gulps and tearing rubbery bacon apart before eating it. His mother sat on the tiny space left on at the table. She ate slowly, savoring every bit for she would get no more until dinner that night. She thought about what she would serve for lunch.
Mordred finished his food and didn't want to sit around while his elders gossiped and told tales of adventure, instead, Mordred left to go sit on the hill.
Mordred sat at the very top, watching the entire town below eating and laughing, children playing in the streets, adults watching over them. He turned around from the cheerful scene of the town, and looked at the forest instead. He'd heard stories about how far it went, all the way to huge plains of land. He laughed, the thought of something beyond the trees was almost insane to him, Grange was his entire world. He peered into the forest, seeing a few deer and rabbits prancing at the edges. They seemed almost hesitant to go into the forest and those that did went alone.
He was about to turn around when he saw a thin path in the center of the forest. It was made from mossy stone and the forest had taken over it quite some time ago. Mordred's eyes followed the path until it disappeared in the undergrowth. Mordred stood up and was about to take a step towards it, when he heard a shrill bark from beside him.
He'd paid all his attention to the path and not the wolf beside him, which barred its sharp jaws at him. The wolf's fur was dark brown, the color of tree bark, and it's eyes were a strange yellow. Mordred backed away from the wolf but it slowly walked toward him, growling. The wolf seemed to grin before it leaped on top of Mordred, the ferocious jaws tearing at his shirt. Mordred beat at the wolfs head, trying to stun it. The wolf's sharp claws scratched his stomach, tearing through his thin shirt, and drew blood. Mordred's eyes searched around him, trying to find something to beat the wolf with. There was nothing but grass around him. Mordred continued to rain blows on the wolfs head until it decided to snap at his hand, tearing the tip of his index finger off. Mordred heard the bone snap in the wolfs mouth, but he didn't feel anything.
He'd just given up hope when thunder crashed a feet away from him. The wolf made a high pitched arf! before falling off of Mordred. Mordred gazed at the wolfs body, a thousand tiny holes had suddenly appeared in it's brown fur. His index finger was trickling with blood, and a tingling pain had erupted in his hand. He gripped the finger and squeezed. A hand clamped down on Mordred's shoulder with heavy breathing coming from behind Mordred.
"Son," his father said. "We should getchur mother ta' fix ya up." He put his blunderbuss in it's holster and helped his son up. He noticed the wolf was still breathing, it's chest rising and falling in uneven bursts. Mordred watched his father spit on it.
Manage Your Items