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This is an addition to a story I am writing inspired by a previous Writing Challenge (2015-07-10)


Writing Challenge 2016/02/09

A character writes a book. A character is greedy throughout most of the story. The story must have a hawk in it. The story must involve some incense in it. During the story, there is a dramatic discovery.

Delicately, Relena applied ink to the quill, but hovered over the paper hesitating.  People needed to know what happened, but she was afraid of the telling.  What would the world think once they knew the truth?  With a shake of her head she cast the thought away.  There would be plenty of time to worry about that later.  For now she just needed to get it down on paper.

A young girl was led into her bedroom by her maids (or jailers as she often thought of them).  They dressed her in a white night gown and excused themselves, locking the door behind them.  She sat down heavily on the vanity stool before the mirror; staring blankly at the pale face reflected there.

Tomorrow was her sixteenth birthday and her wedding day.  She was to marry her guardian, her father’s younger half brother.  It was a nightmare, she was living a nightmare.  Before her parent’s death, she had been pampered and loved.  Surrounded by people who cared.  Now, five years later, everyone who had loved her was dead or gone.  Her uncle had swiftly stepped in and within weeks of the funeral, replaced every servant, leaving her staring at strangers.  The home she had gown up in was now a prison.  One that would hold her for the rest of her life, uncle Garn had made no secret of his intentions of never letting her leave.

Numbly she stood and walked to her small bookcase.  Taking down the first book she opened the cover and carefully removed a dried leaf.  Placing the book back she withdrew another and took another pressed leaf.  She repeated the process until she had found all of the plants she had hidden.

Taking the leaves back to the vanity, she placed them in a bowl.  Using the handle of her hair brush she began crushing them into a fine powder.

She remembered her nurse pointing to the little white flowers “Never touch those flowers my dear,” she said, “It is hemlock and very poisonous.”

Going to her bedside table she picked up the glass of water left for her.  Returning to the bowl she slowly dumped the powder in, swirling the liquid in lazy circles, waiting for the powder to dissolve.

Again she looked into the mirror.  She was surprised to see tears running down her face.  The fear and pain was escaping on their own.  She pressed her lips together, determination darkening her eyes.  Long-ago she had decided she would rather die than marry her uncle.  With the glass in hand, it was about to happen.

Deliberately, she raised the glass to her mouth, determined to drink it down quickly and be done with it.

A hand grasped her wrist.

Gasping in fear, she almost lost the glass.

The person was covered in black material, the cloak and scarf about their face hid everything from view except a pair of blue eyes and a couple scars.

“There is no need for that.” spoke a muffled voice.

“What?” she gasped in confusion.

“The wedding will not happen.”

“How do you know?”

The eyes were cold, “I know.”

Fear clenched her stomach, a chill racing up her spine at the frigid stare.  But a small flicker of hope burned in her heart.  “Why should I trust you?”

“You shouldn’t.” the stranger took the glass from her hand.  Walking back to the bookcase, they arranged the books in such a way, that the glass was hidden from view.  “I won’t take your last escape from you.  If they attempt to put you in your wedding dress tomorrow, drink it.” They returned to look down at her intensely.  “For now, wait.”

From within the folds of the cloak the stranger pulled out a couple sticks of incense.  Placing them in the holder on the bedside table and lit them.  “Rest, these will help you relax.  Make no decision till morning.”

She sat on the bed, stunned at the turn of events.  The stranger had moved to stand by the window.  “Lay down,” they commanded.

Feeling a little light headed, she complied.  “Will it really be okay?”

“Yes, I promise.”

Her lids began to feel heavy; the smell of vanilla was strong, but pleasant.  “Thank you,” she whispered, before drifting off to sleep.

Garn closed the door to his study, heading for his desk.  All of the preparations were ready.  Tomorrow at noon Syl would be his wife and his future would be secure.  Others objected that he had no right to marry his niece and take her wealth and property.  His own brother gave him the right.  In James’ will, he left his daughter in Garn’s hands to be cared for.  There could be no greater care or protection than that of a wife.

He stopped half way across the room and looked at the large bird cage in the corner.  The hawk usually made a ruckus when he entered the room, wanting to come at his throat.  It had been a very expensive spell to have his enemy transformed into the large avian.  Now, it was sitting perfectly still.  Watching him with those human eyes, there was a malevolent glee in them.

Disturbed he quickly checked the cage’s lock.  It was in place.  Narrowing eyes at the creature, “What are you up to?” he wondered aloud.  Moving toward the desk, he again stopped short.

Sitting in the middle of his desk was a blood red coin.  On its face was etched the image of The Jackal.  Fear gripped him, a cold sweat gathered on his brow.

“Break it.” a muffled voice spoke.

Garn spun around.  A cloaked figure stepped from the shadows.

“W-why? I have no connection with The Jackal.”  He glanced back at the coin in ever rising fear.  It was The Jackal’s calling card, the broken coin.

“Break it.”

Stumbling toward the desk, he reached out with a shaking hand to lift the coin.  It was warm to the touch.

The strange figure waited silently, the only features visible were cold dead blue eyes.  There was nothing in that gaze to plead with.  His fingers clenched around the coin.  It couldn’t end like this.  He was so close.  Tomorrow everything would be perfect; Wealth, power, and a young beautiful biddable wife.  Why was he being punished like this?  He had done everything in his power to protect Syl from the murderer of her parents.  No one was allowed near her without his approval, she was secure and safe.  What more could he have done?  It wasn’t fair.

He wasn’t going to meekly let it end like this.

Gathering his anger around him, he hurled the coin at the open window.

The figure was there in a moment snatching the coin out of the air.  With a casual movement they tossed the coin to the hawk.  It caught it in its beak.  A hate filled eye stared at him, as the creature bit down destroying the coin.

Garn collapsed on to the floor, falling backward, till only his arms supported him.  His head hung drunkenly as memories flooded his mind.

The meeting with The Jackal, the payment, the contract to eliminate his brother and sister-in-law, he could see it all in perfect clarity.  He had been so jealous of James and everything he possessed.  It was all through James’ own blood sweat and tears, but he had wanted it anyway.

His throat burned with tears. He had spent the last five years believing his brother had loved and trusted him.  Why else would he leave is only child to him?  Even that was a lie.  The Jackal made sure the Will was altered at Garn’s request.

He had duped himself.  Garn did not feel the wetness on his face.  Nor did he see the blue blade that ended his life.

Relena closed the book.  That was enough for now.  One evil memory at a time.