Three Kingdoms Part 3 // A prophecy
The Kasmerian army attacked the city of Maryne without warning and without mercy. The battles were long and bloody and like nothing the neighboring countryside had seen in over one-thousand years. Young men, older men and even some young boys were ordered to leave their homes and fight. In some areas they were forced to fight when their villages were invaded. The violence spread like fire across the forests and plains. It was as if the hate that burned for over a century in the hearts of the people of the two cities had finally exploded and now it was unstoppable.
The sons and daughters of Vinlay, in the kingdom of Vinlands, caught word of the war not long after its terrible beginning. They were both appalled and amused by the actions of their enemies and sent spies to watch the warring from a distance. They wanted to make sure fighting didn’t come too close to their territory. They were also ordered to bring back news of the death and destruction.
A few months into the war, a small group of the spies came back carrying one of their group on a stretcher. The two princes of Vinlay, Vinson and Mason, met with them after they arrived. They reported that they had gotten too close to the fighting. Blake, the unlucky spy, was spotted and took an arrow to his neck. The spies were angered and went to take the life of one of their enemy to even the score. Instead, they were captured in a net and their weapons were taken by a group of Kasmerian soldiers.
“These soldiers were brutes.” said one spy, whose arm was in a cast. “When we told them we were from Vinlands and weren’t involved in their ridiculous war, they laughed and beat us with clubs and burned us with hot pokers. They sent us back with a message carved into Blake’s back.”
They turned over the body of the spy and read the message inscribed in the stiff, putrid flesh.
“If you’re going to send your men to die at least send enough so they have a chance to fight. The people of Vinlands have proven themselves to be cowards led by cow-hearted, feeble rulers.”
The sons of Vinlay couldn’t let the rumor of their cowardice spread through the lands. They assembled an army to protect their borders, but the soldiers on the borders were known to sneak into Maryne and Kasmerian villages and steal from and violate those living there. Soon the fighting began to spread into their land as well.
The terrible war went on for 20 years, at times dying down just to flare up again not long after. A vast and thick forest between the Kasmerian plains and the countryside of Maryne had been almost completely burned down. An old woman lived in this forest in peace and solitude, but she had to leave her home one night when she heard the sounds of fighting getting closer and closer. She didn’t want to be one of the innocent people to lose their lives, so she quickly packed a few sacks and escaped further into the woods.
This woman’s name was Valda and she was a healer who helped the people in the nearby village. She was known for her practical herbal healing methods, as well as her more magical techniques of fortune telling and helping barren women conceive. All through the night, she heard the screams of the people in this village and felt helpless as all the people she had been close to were killed or driven from their homes.
In the morning when the terror ended, she carefully made her way back to her home and cried when she found it had been burned down, with many of the people from the village huddling around. They had been looking for her and were overjoyed that she was alive. After she grieved and helped as many people as she could, she sat under her favorite tree, which also survived, and went into a trance state. She wanted to find out if there was a way to end the fighting between the three kingdoms. After three nights of sitting under her tree, her eyes shot open. She had an answer.
“Mother Valda, what have you seen?” asked one of the men who sat close by to protect her while she was in her trance.
“An orchard far away… the family who owned the orchard bound vengeful spirits to their land to protect it.” She grabbed a stick and began tracing a rudimentary map in the dirt. “They cursed the founders of the three kingdoms and their families. The hate and bitterness of these bound spirits have poisoned their hearts. The spirits must be released.”
“How would one release spirits without being cursed themselves?” asked one of the other men.
“A member of the family who owned the orchard must be the one to release them into the underworld. But this orchard has been abandoned now for almost 50 years. The family has moved elsewhere, but I might be able to find them.”
“There’s hope for us then?”
Valda sighed. “Unfortunately it won’t be as easy as finding the family and making them release these spirits. It has to be the firstborn male of one of the female descendants of this family. He will be the only one who can do it. I’ll do my best to track him down.”
Valda and a few of them men got ready and made their way into the wilderness to find the family in her vision. She did not know yet that the young man in her prophecy had not even been born yet.
To be continued after the end of November. I had to bring this to a stopping point before NaNoWriMo! I’m also going to be participating in the Spooktacular Halloween Short Blogfest over at Melissa’s blog, with a short horror story. I’m trying not to get writers burnout here.