Brenwyyn woke up the next morning feeling sore and cramped. Just then she remembered what had gone on the previous day. She woke up Garrett. “Garrett, I’m going to try and find Mom and Dad. If I’m not back by sunset, take Mythran, Niilus, and Loranne and leave. Go far away. Who knows what the Torax are here for!”
She started to leave when Garrett grabbed her arm. “You can’t leave by yourself. I’ll go with you.”
“No! You need to stay here and watch over the three of them.”
“Then take Mythran with you at least.”
“No. He’s been through a lot already.” She glanced at Mythran who looked perturbed even in his sleep. “I got this.” They gave each other a hug and Brenwyyn left.
She climbed out of the safe house and looked around. The village was destroyed. The houses were all smashed and some of them were on fire. She walked to the house and decided to start her search there. Some of the walls were left standing, but most of it had been destroyed.
She recognized the front wall to her bedroom, with her shelves still miraculously standing with most things on it. She looked around and noticed her ceramic box of jewellery all smashed on the floor. The necklace her mother had given her when she was three was still intact. The red ruby’s were in the shape of a beautiful flower. The entire flower as a whole was surrounded by a thin layer of gold.
Brenwyyn fastened it on her neck. She decided it would be her reminder of her mother. She would never give up looking for her parents.
Brenwyyn continued her search along what was the rest of the hallway towards the front room. She found other little trinkets littered around like her mother’s favourite pot and Mythran’s play sword. She found no evidence of her parents though.
She moved outside and started walking down the street. There were no signs of life anywhere. It was quiet enough to hear the crackling of little fires around the houses. Most of everything had dyed down into little embers. It was sad to see the village where she grew up so destroyed and crumbling apart.
Brenwyyn passed the little pond where the older women kept up a beautiful garden, filled with every kind of flower and fern she had ever seen. There were rocks and statues placed around the garden as well as the multitude of plants. A little stone path was put in as well, weaving around the garden. In the middle of the garden was a wooden bench that her father had also made. It was one of his first pieces that he had made.
Her father had proposed to her mother on that very bench in the middle of that garden many years ago. It was one of the most beautiful spots for that special moment to happen, especially with the smell of the flowers all around.
She then realised that most of the garden hadn’t been touched in the chaos. It calmed her heart a little, knowing that this garden would give hope to her village if they were to be released. This all happened so fast Brenwyyn knew that it had to be planned. The Torax were never known to have such thought threw and quick take-overs, and never for an unknown reason.
She turned a corner and stopped abruptly, seeing a Torax looking through a bunch of garbage. It heard her and turned its head to see what the noise was. It growled and bared it’s teeth. Her sadness quickly turned into fear that now came from the pit of her stomach.
Brenwyyn spun around and started sprinting back the way she came. She could hear the Torax’s thunderous bounds behind her, coming closer and closer. She kept running, even though she could barely breathe anymore. At one point she noticed she hadn’t heard the Torax’s loud steps anymore. Quickly ducking into a little alleyway, she was able to think again. She tried putting all of the evidence together.
This group of Torax just destroyed a peaceful little village. Why would anybody want to disrupt a peace like that? Besides, Torax weren’t known to come this far north. They were more like animals that hunted on the giant animals of the Southern Grasslands, like Feyssa’s.
The Feyssa’s were almost as big as Torax but ran on all fours. Their teeth were so big that they wouldn’t let their mouths completely shut. Last of all, they had tails as long as their body and were used as a multi-purpose tool. They could grab things with it or use it as a form of a whip against danger.
The Torax loved to hunt Feyssa, mainly because of the reason that they were a challenge to eat. Though they were also a threat because the Feyssa would go after Torax children.
Brenwyyn could not figure out why they would go after Fairewood. How were they a threat to the Torax? The Torax were rarely known to go after humans as well. This whole situation was getting more confusing, but Brenwyyn knew that she needed to figure it all out so she could find her parents before her siblings left Fairewood.
She turned a corner and stopped dead in her tracks. Somehow the Torax got in front of her and knew that she was coming. He grabbed her arms and started pulling her. She tried to get free, but it was of no use. She was way too tired from the last two days of running and being stressed.
Now that she was right beside a Torax, she felt very small compared to the animal. The feeling of being small was a new thing to her, since she was one of the tallest people she knew. His short skinny arms and long fingers would not let her go, but didn’t hold her too tight enough to hurt her. Brenwyyn felt as though the Torax was trying not to hurt her. It also smelled oddly of forest berries. Torax lived in grasslands and not anywhere near forests. This all was making less sense.
When they passed the church, they immediately entered the courtyard of the Town Centre. The Town Centre was where Lord Auster and his family stayed. This multi-use building was also used for banquets and weddings, and when the town council got together, they met here.
When they got closer to the large building, she noticed all of the men on one side and all of the children on the other. Each side was guarded by ten Torax. She tried looking for her father, but couldn’t see him. Their were too many people in such a small area that it was very hard to pick out one person. Brenwyyn wondered where all of them women had been located when she noticed that she didn’t see any of them anywhere.
The large Torax brought her into a side door of Town Hall. They entered into a small side room and then entered into a long hall way. They traveled almost all of the way to the end, when they turned to a door on the right. The Torax opened the door and shoved her inside. There, she found fifteen teenage girls and six older women. The older women were aiding the girls to clean themselves off. There were three tubs of water that they were using to clean, each behind a stand to give them a little more privacy. She got into, what seemed as, a line to wait for her turn.
The Torax left the room but Brenwyyn could tell by its shadow that it was waiting right outside the door. She knew that she had no chance of escaping that way. She decided to see what was going on here first before she would try to take off.
While she waited for her turn to clean off, she looked at everyone in the room to see if she recognized anyone She noticed a girl who had been in her class a few times at school over the years. Her name was Lana but she didn’t really have the same interests so they never talked too much to each other.
A few of the other girls lived around where her home was, but they were all older than her so she didn’t know them as well. Two of the older women, she recognized, were friends of her mother’s, though she didn’t know them that well either. One woman she knew from the Eatery Inn. She didn’t know her name though because her family didn’t go to eat there very often. She and her husband owned the inn. Their place was where people from out of town trading slept when staying overnight.
It was a quaint little place on the south side of Fairewood. It very old but kept in great condition. On special occasions, Brenwyyn’s family would go eat there. The food was fantastic as well. She always had a pita filled with meat and vegetables with home made Kanz spice sauce. It was spicy, which was Brenwyyn’s favourite kind of food.
That woman who owned the Eatery Inn, motioned her over. It was her turn now to clean off. She went behind the stand, took her clothes off, and placed them on the back of the chair beside her. She stepped in the water, grabbed the floating sponge and started scrubbing.
“Do you mind if I come around?” asked the woman.
Brenwyyn sunk more in the water and then replied “No, I don’t mind.”
The woman came around the stand and sat down in the chair and introduced herself. “I’m Mrs. Grennel. I’m going to tell you a few things that you should know about what‘s going on. I am guessing, though, that you’ve been wondering already.”
She paused and Brenwyyn nodded her head once.
“Prince Ruthord is here to claim a wife. He’s demanded that every young woman be cleaned and be deemed appropriately dressed to be showcased for him. Don’t do anything to get yourself noticed. Unless for some silly reason you want to be with him.”
Mrs. Grennel stopped for a second to get some soap to wash Brenwyyn’s hair. Brenwyyn noticed from how murky the water was that she had been really dirty just from the last few days two days. She didn’t really like getting dirty so this didn’t happen very often. Mrs. Grennel started talking to her again while she rinsed Brenwyyn’s hair off with a pail of water beside her.
“I believe I’ve seen you around with your family in my eatery. What’s your name?”
“My name’s Brenwyyn. My family really enjoys the food you and your husband serve.”
“Oh thank you,” she replied smiling. Her smile suddenly turned into a frown. “If for any reason the prince chooses you, take your family and get out of here, and farther the better. He will come after you with all he has.”
“ I will do that, Mrs. Grennel. Thank you for being so kind to me.”
“Nonsense! We’re trying to protect our village! We’re all family. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Brenwyyn suddenly remembered how she came to be here at the Town Centre.
“Mrs. Grennel, have you seen my parents at all? My siblings and I haven’t seen them since yesterday.”
“No, I’m sorry, dear. I haven’t seen them. I’ll ask around for you, though.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Grennel.” She was glad that there was someone she could trust. She finished getting rinsed and dried off, and was handed a new pair of undergarments to wear. After she put those on, she was ushered into the next room through another door.
Here, there were four racks of dresses of all shapes, sizes, and colours. One of the women saw her come in and brought her to one of the racks. “Hi, I’m Ms. Wornz. Let’s just put some of these up to you, and see what looks good, shall we?” Ms. Wornz first picked out a green satin dress that was knee high and had only straps to hold it up. “I don’t think green is your colour, my dear. Well, how about I ask you this question. Do you know what kind of colours look good on you?”
Brenwyyn wasn’t sure what colours but said “My mom used to get reds and purples for me to wear.”
“Alright, that sounds good,” replied the older lady. She grabbed a red dress that was also knee length and had a collar and no sleeves. “Nope, not quite right, but I do love the colour.”
There weren’t anymore reds in the rack so they moved on to the next rack. She found a red dress that was floor length, sat on the edges of her shoulders, and had red sparkles starting from the left shoulder and went down to the right hip. The dress had more fabric on the bottom, letting it billow out if she twirled in it. “I like this one very much. Try it on,” said Ms. Wornz, handing Brenwyyn the dress. She carefully slid into the dress and had Ms. Wornz tie up the back. It was a perfect fit. Everyone in the room turned around from what they were doing to take a look at her. She was brought to a mirror. She looked in the mirror and thought that she looked beautiful. She had never worn a dress quite like this.
“You look beautiful,” said a girl watching. She gave Brenwyyn a sincere smile. “Though maybe too much.”
Brenwyyn was then brought into the next room. There, makeup was applied and hair was done up. She was finally done. Brenwyyn. looked in the mirror and saw her self completely transformed. She almost didn’t even recognize herself. She really hoped that the Prince wasn’t going to see her any different from the other girls.
Once Brenwyyn was completely finished, she headed off through the next door. On the other side was a line of five of the young women that were washed and dressed at the same time she was.
An elaborately dressed woman came up to inspect the line of young women. When she reached Brenwyyn, she looked up and down and looked satisfied. She looked Brenwyyn in the eyes and winked with a mischievous smile on. Brenwyyn started to become worried. When it was time to go out, a Torax standing guard came and escorted her to the assigned area in front of Prince Ruthord.
She was stopped in the very middle of the room. This room was the one used for weddings and large village parties. Surrounding the room, standing by the walls were mostly made up of women, which she guessed all belonged to Fairewood. There was also a visible break in between the village women and the women that had come along for the trip with the prince. They were also highly elegantly dressed, like none she had seen before. Why didn’t the prince just pick one of them?
She finally turned her gaze to the man sitting on a throne on the large front platform. The throne must have been brought with them because she had never seen it before. She was also pretty sure that it was made of gold.
The man on the throne stood up, and flipped back his cape. He looked like a charming man, but he had this evil look in his eyes. “Spin until I say stop,” he ordered. She did. Brenwyyn and Emillienna used to go star spinning all the time. They would They would have contests to see who could spin the longest without before getting completely dizzy and falling down. Finally he told her to stop.
“Bring her closer to me,” he ordered the same Torax that ushered her out to the floor. The Torax grabbed her arm, his grip firm but not hurtful, and brought her to the prince.
Being so close, she could see the two inch long scar starting from his right temple to the middle of his cheek. His eyes were a cold blue and his black hair was slicked back. He wore a dark blue shirt and matching pants with a red line down the sides of the pants. His robe was the same shade of red and had a blue line going down the sides.
“We will dance.” He took off his robe showing his well-defined biceps and forearms. The music started and they walked onto the floor. They started to dance the traditional dance of her village. Brenwyyn thought that it was really weird that he knew how to do their dance. Since every village had their own dance that they‘d dance at special occasions, other people didn’t usually learn another villages’ dance. It was also inappropriate to learn another dance not your own. By the look on everyone’s faces, they were all beginning to become very angry.
They danced for quite some time. Brenwyyn’s dress swayed and billowed up when he spun her. She almost felt a connection between them, but she pushed those thoughts out of her mind, knowing he was not someone to be trusted.
They finally finished and he went back onto his chair. After a minute he stated to everyone who was watching, “This girl will be my wife. Bring her to her tent.”
His people clapped and cheered, while everyone from her village was very quiet except for one gasp that came from the front corner of the room. Brenwyyn looked to find where the gasp came from and caught a glimpse from her mother. Right before she could run towards her, Brenwyyn was then escorted to the tent that she was assigned to by four Torax.
She wanted so badly to go back and tell her mother that everyone was okay. She wanted to give her mother a hug and to tell her that she loved her. Though she knew that there was no way she was going to get that. It was too dangerous anyways. Once she was able to make a run for it, the prince would try to find any kind of leverage to get her to come back to him. At least her mother was still alive. Which meant that her father was probably alive somewhere too. Just knowing that her parents were alive, it gave her a calm peace inside of her.
When she entered the tent, she noticed that the whole tent was a deep red and had blue chairs and tables. It was a very large tent. In the back was a huge red bed that could be closed off into a room. The whole room was red and blue. She sat down on a big, fur, blue chair. It was very comfortable. After a moment of sitting and admiring the tent, it hit her. She was going to be the wife of Prince Ruthord. Brenwyyn started crying, her makeup smearing. She didn’t care.
“I have to get out of here.” She decided to try to just leave through the front. She stepped outside the door, and immediately, four speared pikes were crossed in front of her. The four Torax who escorted her were the ones wielding the dangerous weapons.
“No!” boomed one of the Torax.
“I’m sorry, I won’t try that again. I guess I won’t be trying that way out.” She re-entered the tent and lay down on the bed. She was exhausted. She tried to plan her escape, but instead, she fell asleep, her thoughts dominated by the ice cold eyes that stared deep into her.