“Tales tell of a maid who dwelt in times forgotten,
among the water and the trees.
The land under her dancing feet had not by heavy boots been trodden.
She lived before the very seas.
Her eyes are dark as waters deep,
the sun casts shadows in her hair,
her voice rings high to every peak,
and lingers in the air.
Her dress blows lightly on the wind,
in forests ever-green,
she lives untouched by the hands of time,
by mortal eyes unseen.
There may be one to see her face;
the mortal she will love.
Only then will she leave her place
beneath the trees above.”
A woman finished the poem and shut a large book; two small boys were sitting on either side of her.
“What is her name?” the boy on her left asked. His face is covered in freckles, and he has brown hair and crystal blue eyes that seemed to be shining.
“Her real name is not known,” the woman said smiling gently.
“I’ll bet she’s beautiful,” the boy said placing his chin in his hands.
“Maybe you will see her someday.”
“Yeah right,” the older boy said; he looked like the opposite of his brother with dark hair and eyes, “only the person she loves will see her, and she won’t love you…” the two boys stood at once, but their mother separated them.
“Enough you two, it is time for bed,” she stood and picked up the freckle-faced boy. She placed him gently on his bed on the ther side of the room. “Do not mind your brother, James,” she whispered, “the wind dancer may love you, keep your hope.” she kissed his forehead and pulled the covers to his chest. “Good night,” she said shortly and turned to the other small bed. The by rolled over, away from his mother. She stopped but said good night anyway, the by’s eyes were open but he said nothing.
“Mother,” James said quietly, “I love you.”
“And I love you,” she said standing in the doorway. She blew out the candle and departed.
James opened his eyes and saw his brother’s outline against the window.
“Daniel,” James said, “what are you doing?”
“Why does mother treat us that way?” James looked confused and moved and sat with his brother. “You might like it, but I hate it!” James scowled.
“I love mother,” James said trying to stay brave, “and she loves you!”
“I don’t care!” Daniel said looking out the window into the vast darkness, his hands were at his sides.
“She loves us more than father,” James said, “he doesn’t even speak to us anymore.”
“Maybe not to you,” Daniel said, now standing, “he told me that I can go hunting with him tomorrow, I can’t wait… you know, someday, I will be king, just like father.”
“I’ll bet you’d be a lousy king, but then you really would be just like father!” Daniel’s face flushed and he slugged James hard in the face.
“Shut up!” James stood up, with his palms on his face, blood was dripping down his arms, “go ahead, run to Mommy!” Daniel said, “you always do!”
“No,” James said, “I’m going to fight you this time,” he let his hands down and balled them. The two boys didn’t move or blink.
“Just go to bed,” Daniel said, “you don’t stand a chance.” James didn’t move at once, but he did eventually go back to bed; his nose ached, it was probably broken.
The next morning dawned bright, James awoke before Daniel, his pillow was covered in dry blood. The stone floor had not yet been warmed from the sun, and was cold under his feet. The hall outside their bedroom was still dark, but the servants could be heard somewhere in the castle. James decided to spend the morning with them, better them than his brother.
“Good morning James,” a portly woman said as she walked beside him, “my, you’re up a bit early are’nt you… goodness what happened to your nose?”
“Daniel hit me last night, I think its broken.”
“Come with me dear, I’ll get yu cleaned up.” She led the way down to the kitchen, “you just sit there,” she said as she drew a bucket of water. She rung a cloth and gently wiped the blood frm his nose. “Your mother is awake you know,” she said, “yeah, she’s out in the gardens.”
“Thank you ma’am,” James said running ou the door.
The gardens outside the castle seemed to go on for miles, one could easliy get lost among the thousands of flowers. James soon found his mother, she had a large basket of flowers that smelled as sweet as honey.
“Good morning, James,” she said smiling, “your father told me that he is taking Daniel hunting this afternoon… so it will just be you and I, what would youo like to do?” She sat her basket down.
James only had to think for a moment, “Can we go to Coppacy? I wish to see the mountains.”
“Very well,” she said, “we will go once your father and Daniel leave.” James smiled.
At about noon the horns were blown, James stood at the gate and watched his brother and father leave.
“Will we see the forest where the Wind Dancer lives?” James asked as he and his mother climed into the carriage that was to be drawn by two large horses.
“No,” she said, “the Wind Dancer lives in the forest that is nearer to Norstead, we cannot travel that far today.” James was not altogether disappointed, they were after all going to see the mountains and spend the entire day away from the castle.
Detering was the first town they came upon on the road, though the carriage did not stop, the villagers were all lined up and down the edges of the dirt road to hail the queen and the young prince.
“All these people know who we are?” James asked staring out the small window.
“Yes, they respect our entire kingdom, Mouenep, very highly, ever since your father saved this town from the king of Trewea,” she waved at the people and smiled.
Soon the carriage came to as fork in the road, they turned left, and then it was a straight line to Coppace.
“Driver,” the queen said, “what is that smoke ahead?” The carriage came to a slow halt. Dark black smoke billowed from the villiage ahead. James and his mother climbed out and down from the carriage. They halted around the very edge of the forest they had just passed through. James followed his mother closely.
“Your father did this,” she said picking up a peice of torn fabric with the king’s coat of arms on it.
“Who’s that coming?” James asked pointing to a group of people walking down the path. The leader of the group held high a crown of gold.
“Your husband did this!” He yelled, “then he fled with his son. Your king is a deciever!”
“Forgive me kind sir,” the queen said bowing low, “I knew not, I came to see the mountains with my son James.”
“The innocent-slayer has two sons?!” the man asked outraged.
“He is not like his father,”: she said pulling James closer. Unhindered by her comment, the mob came closer. The queen lowered herself and whispered to James, “run, go back to Mouenep.” She kissed his cheek and did as she said. She watched her son for a while, and then turned back to face the crowd with her head lowered.