Nova’s Journey

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Hello everyone, I’m a very first time submitter and I’m looking for feedback of every sort. Please rate, comment, etc and let me know if you want this story to continue. This is not a really quick paced story, it’s pretty slow, so if you’re looking for something fast, this isn’t it!

Chapter 1

I don’t remember much of my childhood. My parents died when I was very young and left me with no one and nowhere to go. Lios told me that a plague had been spreading across the continent and had ravaged my village. The only survivors were myself and a few other children. Had Lios not found me when he did, I very well may have died.

My earliest memory, before that of the caravan, was hiding in the dark. I was watching the caravan approach the village and I was terrified. I hid in the shadows and awaited their approach. The last human contact I had had, a man had slapped me out of his way while he was fleeing the village, I had learned not to come out into the open and risk another beating. Lios had known better than to approach a burning village with a plague going on, he had entered only with a couple guards. The fleeing villagers had set the rest of the village aflame to purge it, dooming those left behind to a fiery death or a slow painful starvation. I watched these towering men walking through my home, my village. I felt fear when he approached my hiding place, remembering the past beating, but I was overtaken with a rage. This man, this stranger, had invaded my home. I leapt from my hiding place, biting and clawing at him, I latched onto his leg and attempted to pull this towering man down. I heard him yell in fear, possibly in pain. He laughs in his recollection, telling me that the guards would have gutted me had he not stopped them from tearing apart a small child. He grabbed me by an arm and pulled me from his leg, I was still struggling, clawing and wailing like a banshee. He screamed at me to calm down and, despite being very young, I understood his intentions. I had enough fear in me to stop abruptly. He placed me on the ground and reached into a small pouch, removing a piece of bread, he handed it to me and released my arm. I eagerly grabbed it from him and began to devour it. It was the first piece of real food I had had in days. He grabbed me up in his arms and looked me over carefully, terrified that I had been infected by the plague and that he, too, would become a casualty due to exposure. When he was satisfied that he could find nothing wrong with me he placed me back on the ground before him. He tells me that I was a small, grubby little thing, with messy black hair, wearing an oversized, dirty shirt and scrounging through trash and dirt for anything I could find to eat, as most orphans had been doing. When he found me he said he began to have suspicions that he might not find any adults alive, it wasn’t uncommon for the sick and weak to be left behind, abandoned in a panic, when plague broke out. He lead a small search through the village, with myself in tow, and found signs that it had, in fact, been abandoned.

There were others, like me, left behind by the plague. Lios said he found a group of them but they had been too afraid to approach him and once he saw a few bearing the marks of plague: pus-filled boils, red blotchy skin, yellowed eyes. He abandoned all hope of saving the others and left for good, taking me with him. Lios understood the plague, he knew how it worked, how to avoid it. He placed all of us, including himself and his guards, under a quarantine before returning to the caravan.

The first night we camped out between the town and the caravan. I had never seen such a thing, shimmering lights out in the distance, dancing flames and music. This thing I had feared so much in daylight, had turned into a thing of curiosity in the darkness. I wanted so badly to go investigate it. Lios caught me trying to sneak off into the darkness and kept me by his side by enticing me with food. He and the guards set out blankets to sleep and I curled up beside him like his pet, or so he tells me. The next day we trailed the caravan as it moved. I asked Lios if we would ever reach the big city we saw last night and he told me that soon enough we would be able to enter it, it would just take a few days. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the caravan was leaving supplies behind for us. Lios was a very crafty man and he had organized that the caravan would stop for a short duration and leave us rations and supplies before moving forward toward its destination. As it moved forward, so did we, maintaining a distance between us and them, but allowing us to pick up the necessities.

After a few days of this, and my constant nagging about entering the city, we finally reached it in the late afternoon. Lios hoisted me up on his shoulders as we entered the caravan to keep track of me. I remember entering between the wagons and horses, seeing the livestock and all the people within the caravan. People were peddling güvenilir bahis wares and goods to each other, there were people selling fruits and nuts from their wagons. Men were haggling at the wagons with goods, children playing games kicked up the sand as they played. I enjoyed the view from up on Lios’ shoulders, I had never had a view from so high up and I sat in amazement that I could see from one end of the caravan to the other. Someone approached Lios and began to speak to him, while I heard the words and comprehended the meaning, I had very little interest in what was going on. I was distracted by the ball the children were kicking in the sand.

This was the first time I saw them. Very quickly, my attention turned to a blue head wandering through the crowd, it was a deep blue, like a lapis lazuli, then there was another, and another. I watched in awe as the crowd parted and they moved together through it, almost like it wasn’t there. As they approached, I noticed that the crowd, the loud rowdy people, even the children, had all stopped and watched curiously, they put everyone in a stunned silence. When the crowd finally parted in front of us and I could see them, I saw that they were draped in blue veils, head to toe. Even the man speaking to Lios stopped, waiting to see what would be said. There must have been 8 or so of them, standing there in the crowd. One approached Lios and I could only sit in wonder. I swear I watched her glide over the ground towards him, then she spoke, her voice like velvet, soft and smooth, I had never heard such a thing and it intrigued me. I could sense the curiosity in Lios’ voice as well. A few of the others approached him and made a gesture I would later learn was that of a courtesy, a small bow of sorts. Lios spoke again, his voice that much deeper and rougher in comparison to hers. She stepped forward, I could see her green eyes burning beneath the thin opening in the veil, and I watched mesmerized as the deep blue ripple and a pale arm emerged, gold bangles and a single, simple gold ring glimmered on her translucent skin. Lios shook her hand gently. I too, in my curiosity, wished to touch her. I heard her velvet voice laugh softly, she muttered something to Lios I didn’t understand, still too enchanted by her tone. Her gaze shifted and her green eyes burned me as she stared, she reached up to me and I grabbed at her palm clumsily, her skin was soft and smooth, cool to the touch.

Lios told me, even then, even when I was very young, she had expressed an interest in me, in taking me with them, but he hadn’t wanted that. Lios firmly believed that everyone should choose their path. But as the woman’s gaze dropped back to Lios and she bowed slightly, I already knew what I wanted, even then. She turned, her long veil flowing in the wind as she and the others moved back through the crowd. I didn’t know who these people were, what they wanted. I wasn’t old enough to understand the transaction that had occurred between Lios and this strange woman. All I knew was that whoever these people were, they held a power I had never seen before. The power to stop a bustling market place, the power to command all the attention and respect of an entire caravan. I wanted that.

Chapter 2

I spent the first few months with Lios, he watched me like a hawk and while he would allow me to go play with the other children, he was never far away, nor were his guards. He determined I must have been about 4 years old at the time, since I had little to no memory and my communication skills were very primitive, so he had no rush to push me into learning. Instead, as I followed him around, I picked up a lot of what he did, I was essentially introduced to the entire caravan as he had dealings with all of them. I learned very early on that he was their leader, the head of the caravan.

Lios came from a long line of merchants, his family had been very very wealthy and affluent, but scandal had struck his father, and his entire family was driven from their home. Luckily, Lios’ father had been involved in dealings with the caravan, so when they turned up in a wagon, willing to help the caravan peddle their wares for the highest prices, the caravan accepted them preliminarily. Following that, the caravan became particularly wealthy, mostly due to the exceptional bartering skills of Lios’ father. When the current leader stepped down, Lios’ father stepped up, and Lios followed in his footsteps, having the same charisma and silk tongue. He was looked highly upon by the caravan, whenever there was an issue, he was always the one to sort it out, social issues, money issues, any problems, he was there to mediate.

I learned very quickly from Lios the basics of dealing with people. Speak clearly, evenly, do not let your emotions overtake your rationality. Be fair and be just, treating people badly will only lead to problems later on. Treating everyone with respect, giving people proper courtesies and displaying the türkçe bahis manners I was taught by Lios got me out of more trouble than I could have ever imagined. Then again, I suppose becoming his adopted child was probably what did the most for me at the caravan.

The caravan was very, very diverse. It was made up of people from all walks of life, with different skills and abilities. The one thing we all shared in common was that we had all been displaced by misfortune of sorts. Farmers who had lost their land shares or been kicked out, merchants whose businesses had folded or who had been victims of scandal or theft, Tradesmen, a smithy, whose daughter was killed by an affluent member of the city counsel where he lived, when nothing was done, he swore revenge and left to make the means to do so. A group of masons who were said to be cursed after they built a tomb for a mystic, they were driven out of business by superstition. There were many others, people deemed too off kilter for the cities they had been in, the dancers whose dances were too risque for the locals, the mystics whom no one believed, and of course, the women in blue. I still didn’t know who they were and for a very long time, I was forbidden from going to their wagon or interacting with any of them without Lios present. Of course, once I began my dealings with the other children and found out that each family had their own wagon, the first place I wanted to find was their wagon. I had much difficulty finding it, even the other children were against me, telling me that their parents had forbade them from going near the wagon either, more than that, they feared the wrath of Lios. I had yet to experience it and felt no fear from my protector, the one who had saved me, but this did not sway the other children. I had to abandon my search for a time.

After a time, Lios pulled me aside and told me I would be learning from some of the members of the caravan, that I should go each day to see specific people and that they would teach me and direct me to others for the rest of my lessons. Lios started each day, teaching me to read and write our language. I was particularly adept at this and I excelled faster than he had expected to. After that it was on to the farmer’s wife, Maria, who taught me numbers. She had very little knowledge of math, but Lios had requested that she give me very basic lessons to preface his more complex ones once we finished language. Those were my basic lessons for a time, very simple and very easy, and Lios allowed me to follow him or play with the other kids the rest of the day. I wasn’t that easily entertained most of the time.

I’d follow people’s children home for lunch, meet their parents and watch them working. I learned the art of vending pretty easily, although their parents would never let me assist in sales since I was too young, I assisted in moving smaller crates, barrels, and other small tasks that were assigned to me. The smith was my favorite, I’d watch the flames dance as the smith hammered away and when someone would come to shoo me away, the smith would tell them that he didn’t mind the company and that I reminded him of his daughter. He showed me the different metals he worked with and explained how each was different. I was fascinated by this. I think if I hadn’t chosen my current path, I might have become a smith. I’m not sure which would have been more horrifying to Lios. After Maria’s lessons were exhausted and Lios language lessons became less intensive, he began to show me the merchants log and how it worked. He explained transactions and sales. While the concepts made sense, I was far less adept at math than I was with words. He laughed when I told him this and explained to me that he was as well, it was being able to work with words that led to wealth and understanding the concepts of using money that allowed one to keep their money.

The years rolled on quickly, Lios’ teachings and the information and skills I picked up from the caravan multiplied. The vendors finally allowed me to help sell goods, mostly on account of Lios, the smith taught me the basics of smithing, the farmer’s wife taught me to cook, the masons were shocked at my openness and interest in their craft, they taught me to mix the mortars and to do basic woodworking. I even wandered to the mystic’s wagon on occasion, but usually out of curiosity and less out of an interest to learn. When I inquired about the mystic’s abilities, they looked me up and down: a grubby, rough around the edges kid, and determined that I had little to no abilities and that my studies would lead to very little. However, while at the mystic’s wagon, I found something that perked my curiosity.

The other children and I were kicking a ball around, when it rolled past the mystic’s wagon to what we thought was a second wagon for the mystics. I ran after it to recapture it and continue the game when I watched it roll up to a pair of blue legs. My jaw dropped, I had found them, güvenilir bahis siteleri the women in blue. She stared out at me with her green eyes, they burned holes in me just as they had before. I heard her laugh in that velvety voice.

“So we meet again,” she said as she bent and picked up the ball with a translucent hand and began to walk toward me, I’d have sworn she glided above the ground, it was like she wasn’t walking at all. The blue veil still covered all but her clear green eyes where it was a thinner, lighter shade of blue. I stood in awe of her, even as she stood before me. She reached out to hand me the ball, but when I stood there flabbergasted she put it into my chest and released it, hoping I would catch it. I couldn’t break her gaze, her eyes, just her eyes, mesmerized me. I stared, lost, as her hand reached up and grabbed my chin. Her cool skin on my face made me shiver. “You are a grubby thing,” she sighed, but even in disdain her voice was elegant. Her thumb and forefinger held my chin, her thumb ran just below my lower lip, I shivered again. She watched and chuckled, “There may be hope for you yet,” she gingerly turned my head, looking me over, “We will meet again very soon.” she stared at me, burning me with her green eyes, as if trying to hypnotize me, I don’t know if she realized she already had. She released me and turned abruptly, the other kids were yelling behind me, asking me what was taking so long. I jolted back to reality, away from what had just happened. I would see her again, I was dazed and I was still too young to understand what had occurred, but I would learn with time.

While the mystics had more or less shunned me, the dancers accepted me wholeheartedly. While I started out klutzy, my coordination developed over time. A group I hadn’t noticed particularly much was the guards, but Lios had them watching me whenever he wasn’t there. He manditorily had me attend their training and learn some swordfighting as well. Lios said it was quite a sight, a bunch of burly men and a small girl with a small sword, all together practicing.

I was always quite big for my age, I outgrew the boys fairly quickly but Lios always warned me that this would not last forever. By the time I was 10, I was silver-tongued, I made even the hardest sales at the marketplace. I was becoming adept at smithing and dancing. I loved that smithing offered physical rewards for the amount of time that you invested in it, similarly to dancing as well as swordsmanship. Lios seemed content with the amount of improvement I was making, with the positive changes. I’m fairly certain, looking back, that he had every intention of making me the new caravan’s leader, but that was short lived, I had other intentions.

Chapter 3

I recall the day well, I was sitting outside at a handmade table with the others my age, eating lunch and talking about the day’s activities. Lios approached, the other kids jumped, as they always did when he came around, but Lios calmed them and lifted a hand, motioning with a finger.

“Nova, I need to speak with you,”

I stood, my partially eaten apple in one hand as I made my way to him. He walked with me to our home wagon with a couple of guards in tow. We had our tent set up in the back, I followed him in, the guards remaining at the door.

“Yes father?”

“The smithy tells me you do exceptional work,” he sat heavily at our table in the center of the large tent and crossed his arms, wearing a contented grin.

“I got to shoe a horse yesterday, It was great!” I leapt with excitement

He chuckled,

“Not only that, I hear the dancers and the captain of the guard believe you have quite the prowess for a little girl.”

I giggled,

“That’s because I knocked one of them flat on his back,” I said with a grin. I had. I had knocked over a full grown man during a mock swordfight by working him backward over a stack of crates, he toppled over and I jumped on him, winning the match.

“That’s excellent,” he said simply, “but I think it’s about time you begin to think about what it is you want to do.” His expression was suddenly solemn.

“What do you mean?”

He shifted uncomfortably from the chair and stood to pace.

“Nova, I’m going to give you some time and I want you to think about what it is you want to do.”

“You mean for work?”

“Yes, as a job,”

“Can I be a smithy?”

Lios frowned,

“You can, I see no issue with that,”

“Then why do you look so unhappy?” I asked simply. My straightforward nature wouldn’t allow me not to ask.

He walked toward me and knelt before me, he was still over a foot taller than I was.

“Nova, I want you to pick something that you want to do for the rest of your life, something you’ll be really content with. Are you sure this is what you want to do?”

I looked at the floor, a little disappointed I had picked something that he didn’t approve of.

“Can you give me some time to think about it?”

He stared me in the eyes, his warm brown eyes reflecting my own, I could see him thinking. He slowly began to nod.

“Ok,” he said beginning to stand, but I leapt into his arms and hugged him.

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