Happy Friday Aledans! For those of you doing NaNo, happy halfway point! I hope you have your 25k in already. I’m about twelve days behind due to my trip up north (what a whirlwind trip – I barely remember it!) but since I forgot to put up last week’s FEF, I knew I had to get it up today. So sit back, take a break from NaNo, and meet Tarrin 🙂
Catch up on the story here.
A cry. A cry deep in the forest near the mountains. Tarrin hesitated for only a moment before he snuck forward. Even two summers later he could tell this was the path Coyle took. Small branches had re-grown, but Coyle had been a big man, and the larger branches he’d snapped still showed jagged edges.
Besides, a human cry meant humans, even if they weren’t quite human. Which meant Changelings. Tarrin was trying to find them.
Another cry: he was close. When times got bad the People of the Sea would hunt inland, but it wasn’t natural. They were fishermen and times weren’t bad – Tarrin had never learned to hunt.
He stepped into a clearing and caught sight of a girl his age with a babe in her arms. The babe was crying, and so was the girl, he thought.
“Are you okay?” he said.
The girl looked up, hazel eyes full of fear and tears and surprise. She stood, hugging the babe so tight it began to cry harder.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said, but her eyes travelled to his spear. He laid it on the ground to ease her fear. “Please. I’m looking for my friends. Their names are Faye and Alaric.”
Her eyes remained on the spear, although she jerked and held the babe tighter. “Go away.”
“I just…please…they were my friends.”
She still didn’t look at him. “They were never your friends. They have no friends among the People.”
He stepped forward. “You must know them. They were Changelings.”
The look she turned on him was murderous, at best. “I know of no ‘Changelings’. We are the Children of Mountain. There was no change, only us, and we don’t remember you.”
“Faye?” He could barely remember her, but she was his age – the first Changeling. He had been her best friend, as well as Alaric’s, and the gap they’d left in his life had never filled in.
“The night you left was the worst of my life. I had friends, and then there was shouting, screaming, crying, and my friends were gone. Alaric returned once with his father to tell the Gaerloms to leave them alone, but it’s been two summers since then.”
He stared at her and she was still, as if she was trying to decide between trusting him or feeding him to Mountain.
She turned on him, fire burning through her words. “Go. The People aren’t welcome here.”
He crossed the clearing, and she stood her ground. “Please. If I had been born a moon later I would have been a Changeling too.”
She clutched the babe tight, as if it was the only thing keeping her from attacking him. “Changelings don’t exist. Neither do your friends.” She turned away, then back to him. “Go away.” Then she flew off, the little girl in her arms.
Flew. On wings.