Chapter I - Pendant of the Witch - Part one: The Journey of the Stone (pt 1)
by, 6-3-12 at 10:41 PM (313 Views)
Fele-Hoon & the Festival
Amphi was already impatient, waiting for Chime to return with the water. The dinner was ready to cook, but the vegetables needed the water to boil. Chime had been in Amphis' care for over six Circular. Amphi walked across the well-lit kitchen impatiently, her bare feet gently pressing on the wooden floor. She leaned her head out of the small, curved square window. As her long webbed fingers pushed the window open, Amphi was careful not to catch her long blonde hair on the window frame.
As she gazed through the trees that sheltered Fele-Hoon, she gave a gentle sigh, as if someone should hear her. ‘Rein is getting low. Bein will be out soon’ she said, seeing the daylight growing dim.
As she leant further out her window, Amphi looked across the small village of Fele-Hoon, hoping to catch Chime walking back with the water she asked for. Chime could not be seen, but the quietness of Fele-Hoon relaxed Amphi. Most of the homes in Fele-Hoon were made from giant trees in the forest, hollowed out and shaped inside to make comfortable and spacious homes.
Being high above the ground, Amphi could see the wooden bridges that connected some of the homes and other buildings in Fele-Hoon. Despite the large trees, and the heavy foliage that crowned them, light pushed through from the sky.
The window was closed impatiently, Amphi shaking her head and nipping the corner of her bottom lip. ‘Where is that girl? I expect she’ll only complain when dinner is late, again!’
Rein had vanished behind the horizon, allowing Bein to fill the sky with night and the stars. Fele-Hoon had gotten quiet for the time being, quieter than the slow paced bustle of every ones daily activities. Within Amphis' home, the front door squeaked open, before the click of the lock gently echoed up the wooden stairs.
A young, slightly breathless voice called from the staircase, the owners’ footsteps creaking on each step in turn. ‘Amphi, I’m back!’ the voice said, nearly at the top of the stairs when the announcement was over.
A young woman moved clumsily through the curtain of the kitchen, her slim body battling against a heavy bucket of water. As she poured the water into a large basin under the window, she placed the bucket next to the basin and brushed her long, straight black hair from her face.
She turned to Amphi, whose arms were crossed, her eyebrow rose to a point. Chime took a breath or two before speaking, knowing an explanation was expected ‘sorry Amphi, It’s a long story’ she said, apologetically and still catching her breath.
Amphi unfolded her arms and moved to the water basin and began filling up the boiling pot. She broke her silence whilst she poured the chopped vegetables into the water. ‘We have a long time before dinner is ready. Why not pass the time and tell me your tale, Chime?’ She closed the lid on the boiling pot and moved it over the fire, trying not to spill any water on her long, emerald green dress.
Chime brushed her black top clean from the dust she gathered during her errand. She pulled out one of the small oak chairs and sat down at the tiny square table. ‘It was Mrs’ Nisco again’ she started.
‘The old lady, the one near the pond?’ Amphi enquired.
Chime smiled and nodded, she often liked talking with Mrs’ Nisco. ‘Yes, I haven’t seen her for some time. It was nice to catch up with her’ she said.
Amphi smiled and joked ‘oh I see. While Mrs’ Nisco gets her daily gossip, I grow increasingly hungry’ she said, letting out a small laugh from her thin, blue lips.
Chime laughed, trying to justify herself ‘no Amphi, it wasn’t like that. She was trying to introduce me to her grandson again, Sonthal.’ Chime looked up at Amphi from the table, her yellow eyes meeting Amphis green eyes.
‘Well, if I was a little younger, I wouldn’t turn up an invitation like that, Chime. Sonthal seems very respectful, and you have known him since you were thirteen.’ Amphi pursed her lips and raises her eyelids for a moments before smiling ‘he’s quite a catch too Chime, don’t tell me you haven’t noticed’ she said, sitting in the chair opposite Chime.
Chime looked away from Amphi briefly, trying to hide the blush that came over her milky skin when she heard Amphis response. ‘You always say I’m missing a “catch” Amphi’ she said, hoping to deflect the conversation onto Amphi.
Stretching her long, pale blue arm across the table, Amphi patted Chimes wrist gently, looking into her eyes. ‘Well, I’m just saying what you see, Chime.’ She smirked, standing from the table ‘My point still stands, Chime. I see little in him which you can see as objectionable’ she said, moving across the candle-lit kitchen.
Silence followed, broken only by the sound the wooden spoon clicking against the sides of the boiling pot. Chime watched Amphi as she worked, hesitating to respond. She couldn’t help but think Amphi was deliberately avoiding Chimes concerns when it came to her love life.
Amphi replaced the lid on the boiling pot and leant against the low counter, one leg bent as her foot rested against the side. ‘Unless there is something about him I have overlooked?’ she asked, giving Chime a reassuring but questioning stare.
Chime looked down by her feet for a moment, frowning a little before looking back up. ‘No, he’s lovely, more than lovely; he’s always very sweet to me.’ Chime began, sweeping some of her hair behind her pointed ears. ‘But I don’t know if he thinks of me as just a friend. Even he looks at me oddly at times.’
Amphi did not answer straight away; she had always known Chime had many concerns about her own appearance. Chimes Elf ears were not too uncommon, but her yellow eyes had always seemed to cause a stir to strangers. Amphi considered her answer before answering Chime softly ‘You’re a wonderful young woman, Chime. I don’t think Solthar would be friends with you all these Circular if he had any concerns about you. Do not deny yourself happiness; don’t let your insecurities hold you back.’ She smiled gently, before playfully flicking some water from the basin with her fingers at Chime. ‘And don’t let yourself hold you back.’ She said, giggling as a few drops of water sprayed Chime.
As Chime playfully defended herself against the drops of water, Amphi took the chance to move from the subject. She faced the overhead cupboards and took out two small plates. ‘Dinner should be around twenty minutes. Fetch two small mugs and I’ll fetch some wine from the cellar’ she said, placing the two plates in front the two seats at the table.
Obeying without question, Chime smiled as left the room to fetch the two mugs she was instructed to get.
The meal itself consisted of seasoned vegetables, with a side of pork, roasted earlier in the day over a naked flame. Chime had always taken a liking to pork, and it did not take her long to finish her meal. Amphi on the other hand, took her time with her plate. Although she did not dislike pork, she much preferred to not have meat at all. If Amphi was still living by herself, all her meals would consist entirely of well-prepared vegetables.
As they ate, both Chime and Amphi discussed ideas for new spells. They were both very skilled Witches, a talent which found them both in Fele-Hoon. They both resented magic being banned from the world of Affron, but they very rarely discussed this.
As she was finishing her plate, Chime remembered about the earlier hours of the day ‘I almost forgot, Amphi. I was asked to pass on a letter to you’ she said, looking at Amphi questioningly.
Amphi took a moment to answer as she finished her mouthful ‘a letter, what did it say?’ she asked, playing with the food on her plate.
‘I didn’t read it, the man who gave it to me said that it was only meant for you’ replied Chime, placing both her knife and fork side by side on her empty plate.
Amphi was still playing with her food, struggling to finish her meal ‘what was his name? Where is the letter?’ she asked, only half paying attention, her eyes fixed on her moving her food around her plate.
Chime glanced at the curtain covering the kitchen doorway ‘I left the letter on the side table by the front door. The man was on a horse. He did not give his name. I’m sorry, Amphi’ she said, feeling as if she had let Amphi down.
Amphi half turned her head to the curtain before looking back at Chime ‘It’s ok Chime, I’m sure all the answers are in the letter. I’ll read it later, tomorrow, the latest’ she said, giving up with the last few mouthfuls of her meal. She placed both the knife and fork on her plate, a tell-tale sign that her meal was over. ‘We have much to do before then, it’s the fourth Cycle of the fourth Quarter, Chime. The day of the festival.’ She grinned, picking up both plates as she stood up.
As she carried the plates to the sink, Amphi continued talking, louder as if Chime was in another room. ‘I hope it’s better than the last festival. The third Cycle of the Third Quarter was disappointing’ she said, tailing her statement with a tone which almost sounded like a question.
Chime smiled, remembering the last festival ‘yes, you arrived late and found most the food had been eaten’ she said, letting out a small giggle.
Amphi was washing the dishes, her strong green eyes glancing towards Chimes voice, her head not turning with them. ‘Well, that being said, we have eaten and I have no intention of being late’ she said, smirking into the soapy water.
It did not take long for both women to clear up the kitchen. By nature, both were organised and often tidied as they went about their business. After the kitchen was cleared, both Chime and Amphi went to their rooms. The stairs up to the next floor were slim and spiralled along the inside of the trunk of the tree that was their home.
Along the walls, small candles supported by copper lacing lit the way around the home. Each candle was surrounded by a small, clear glass bulb. Although the rooms and floors were carved from the inside of the tree, Amphi had put in floor boards long ago. She felt more at home when she added her own decorating to the house. Along each varnished staircase, many paintings were hung. These painting were there long before Amphi took Chime in. Throughout the seven Circular Chime had lived with Amphi, she had asked on a few occasions about the paintings. They were various and each one was in a different style, and displayed a different subject. Some were portraits, some were landscapes. Each time Chime had asked about the paintings, Amphi told her she knew the artist, and that particular painting was a gift. Chimes favourite was a painting filled with sand, the horizon having the tips of mountains, grey spikes splitting the orange, wind-blown sand with the twilight sky. The painting looked smudged to most that saw it, but to Chime, that fed her imagination, and gave her wonder of distant lands.
Amphis room was small. When Chime moved in, Amphi gave her the bigger of the two bedrooms. Often, Chime had wanted to swap. She was shorter than Amphi by a clear foot, Amphi standing above even some men at slightly over six foot. Chimes room, despite having many candles was often dim. Chime disliked too much light, so was sure to only light half the candles in her room. She justified this to Amphi by telling her it reduced the amount of candles they had to make or purchase. Amphi knew this was not the case, but did not challenge it. After all, Chime still had a point.
Chimes most favoured possession was an oval mirror she placed on her writing desk. The left side of the top had long been broken, giving a long crack that ran diagonally from that point to the bottom right of the mirror. Despite this, Chime still loved her mirror. Amphi had got it for her as a welcoming present to the house. Unfortunately, Chime dropped it when trying to fix it onto her writing desk. Despite this, Amphi convinced the then, the eleven Circular old Chime, the crack gave her mirror a unique look to it. Chime being only eleven; Amphi worked hard to convince her, this was the case.
It was in this mirror, Chime often revealed the pendant she had carried ever since she was a child. It hung around her neck on a silver chain, and was held in a blunt, diamond shaped silver setting. The main part of the pendant was a dark purple jewel. The silver setting was the top half of this diamond shaped treasure, covering only a quarter of it. The rest, the peak being in the setting was triangular shaped and with a sharp point at the end. Its straight cut always made one edge look white in the light. In the darkness, that side was solid black. On the other edge, strange writing was inscribed into the purple jewel. Only Chime was able to read this writing, although she had not seen this writing anywhere else. She never admitted this, accept to Amphi. Occasionally she would stare at the writing, when alone in her room. Whispering to herself in a strange tongue she would recall the meaning of the text “One for the forest, one for the dead. Two for the moons, the lands and the rest”.
On this occasion, Chime did not whisper the text on her pendant. . She was growing uneasy of it. The pendant had been doing strange things for many Cycles for over a quarter, and Chime did not like that. On occasion, she had noticed it glowed without warning or command. Until the strange glowing, she knew of only one power the stone had. Her stone had the ability to make plants and such like things grow. When she used it in that fashion, the pendant would glow. But when the pendant began glowing on its own accord, that was when Chime began to distrust it.