The orb was high in the sky, parting clouds to cast its strong rays upon the sinners of the Earth; driving shadows into hiding, nothing could possibly escape its radiance. One woman is the exception; she walks through the streets cloaked in black, hiding her pale, unblemished skin. Oh, how the sun longs for that skin of hers, unaffected by its rays. She is quite a view for the villagers, refreshing from the monotonous belles yet dangerous and mysterious by her solitude and her ways. The pale, blue-eyed beauty… that is what they think of me.
I walk through the crowded market place of the village with an empty basket dangling on my arm and some pieces of silver to buy some food. I walk through stalls, avoiding the villager’s eyes. I survey the stalls in search for the healthiest produce and whatnot.
“How much for the tomatoes?” I inquire a vendor standing next to the red plumes.
She turns to me and is petrified by the sight; her eyes grow in fear just as if she had seen a ghost or a spirit beneath the dark cloak. “Nothing for you, go away demon!” she hollers, stepping behind her stall.
I give her a sympathetic smile and bid her a good day before turning once again back into the street. Embarrassment crawls to my cheeks in a rosy tone; rejection is insufferable. Shivers journey through my body as eyes fall to my presence, conscious of being watched I pick up my pace. Whispers erupt around me; villagers gather among themselves and speak with their fingers pointing at me.
“I don’t know why she is still walking around our streets; she should be dead by now.” “Such a captivating beauty only means she is unholy.” “Whatever potion she is drinking must keep her very young.” “I knew her as a child; her pure innocence is gone replaced by dark apathy.” “How she keeps herself safe from trials is a mystery, I bet she hypnotizes and sleeps with the judges.” “She should burn in the stake… that witch.”
That witch. Those words, strongly and clearly, rings in my head. I ignore it all, rounding the corner,away from the market. I am done shopping. I walk back to my home, secluded in the forest, away from hurtful stares and words.
The fallen, dead leafs crunch beneath my footsteps and my cloak brushes against the grass. The trees begin to get thicker, announcing my approach to my community. After walking through some trees I find myself inside my home, a community of stick and hay houses positioned in a semi-circle.
“You are back, Leila,” a woman approaches me, her distinct smell of chamomile and incense is relaxing. “Did you find anything fresh at the market?”
I shake my head and pull the hood away from my head, long silky blonde hair cascades down. “Nothing fresh,” I hand her back the basket and place the silver pieces on her delicate, aging hand.
She stares at me and sees something in my eyes, “Keep away all the negative feelings, they do you no good and withers your heart.”
“Yes Astra,” I am obliged to say, “I try but those villagers get bloodthirsty every passing day. They are not content unless they witness an innocent woman being burn at the stake every day!”
“Hush my child,” Astra strokes my arm, her hand reaches for a lock of hair and pushes it behind my ear. “Everything will be sort out with time. Just wait and light might shine through to the blindness of the villagers.”
“How long Astra?” I ask in an impatient tone, “I cannot bare to lose another one..”
Astra places a hand on my shoulder and looks into my eyes, “we are stepping closer in our attempts to lift the veil.”
I understood her implies and cross my arms across my chest in displeasure and slight reproach. “We don’t need him,” I blurt, “I can take them down.”
“Sweetie, we need him,” Astra says in a low, kind voice. “He has the experience and the skills, he just needs a guide.”
“Him out of all the men we could’ve choose from?!” I erupt in reproach. “Please Astra, he is the main reason for our seclusion, he has endangered us!”
“I know you disapprove of him and therefore you disapprove of my decision,” Astra looks at me straight in the eye, her eyes were pleading for understanding. “We cannot blame him for his blindness no more than we can blame the society for it. Please, be his guide to the light.”
I continue to stare at her and after minutes of excruciating silence I nod my head slightly. She releases my shoulder and gives me an affable smile.
“I am sure he is going to wake up soon, please be by his bedside and explain everything with patience and friendliness. The last thing we want from him is his panicking, as if we hadn’t have enough already!” she chuckles a bit before facing the direction toward the village, “well, I’m off to the market then.”
I smile at her efforts to cheer me up, in a way assuring me everything will end fine. That was the word, fine; everything has to end up fine, never well.
“Oh, if you want to appear less fearsome, you should walk through the market with a smile and without the dark cloak,” she says before disappearing behind some trees.
I find myself smiling at her comment, waging the truth behind it. I hear stirring from inside a house to my right, he is waking up.
I enter the house and look down on the man, his highly scarred chest is bare of clothing, his arms bear many healing lacerations, and his face is contorted in unhappiness. He is having a nightmare.
I sit on a little stool beside him and watch him struggle internally in his dream. A funny thought crosses my mind, wondering what he is dreaming of. His dark, unruly hair is drench in perspiration, his lips are slightly parted. Suddenly his eyelids flings open revealing his dark, sharp eyes. He looks at me with a baffled expression on his face.
“I see you are finally awake.” I greet, forcing a smile upon my face.