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A Blessed Curse (Part One)

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Author's Notes

"Part One of the backstory of my DnD character."

Alyss felt restless. Dawn was fast approaching and she couldn’t contain her excitement. She slipped out of bed and tiptoed past sleeping bodies to the window on the far side of the room. Once she arrived, she peered upwards. The high-up wooden sill beckoned her. She could see that the sky was beginning to lighten. If she would want to see the sunrise, now was her chance.

She crept up the wall with ease and as quiet as a spider. The stone walls of the old church made it easy for her to climb up to the window sill. From the high window, she could see the whole sleepy village. The sun was only beginning to peer through the thick purple clouds on the horizon. It reminded her of the morning she was given to the church. 

A hand tugged her through the early morning streets, the fog had set in with anxiety gnawing at her stomach. In the distance she heard a horse pulling a cart from the countryside, distracting her for only a brief moment. “Hurry up now girl,” a hoarse male voice spat at the young child.

He was pulling her small arm so hard that she feared it would come right off. They darted around the streets, ducking through alleys in a twisty maze that was only a blur in her memory. Suddenly, they were on a wooden bridge outside of town. In front of them stood a woman in blue robes with green embellishments that glistened in the new sunlight.

“Go,” the man demanded as he shoved her forward. Alyss fell on her hands. The rough dirt burned her hands. She didn’t want to move, she just wanted to lie there forever. She heard footsteps approach her. She frantically jumped to her feet, her eyes darting around wildly.

“Shh, it’s okay now girl. You’re safe now,” the voice spoke softly. Alyss looked behind her to only find that the man had vanished. 

“Couldn’t sleep either?” Jakob whispered from below. From the high angle, she could see his pointy ears piercing through his red hair tousled from sleep. Alyss liked Jakob. They shared the same amount of curiosity. The priests always shook their heads when they would catch them snooping about.

Alyss waved him up. “Come soon, you’ll miss it!” she exclaimed.

Jakob struggled up the wall so Alyss extended her arm and pulled him up. They both turned to face the sunrise. Sunbeams showered light over the horizon. The sound of bluebirds sang as the town rustled awake. Jakob had his face pressed to the window. His breath fogged up the glass. He would promptly wipe it away with his sleeve and return to the position to keep repeating the process.

She had been living at the church for almost twelve years now. She had seen many people come and go. Some were travelers wounded from battle or adventure. The church would give them shelter and healing. Some were older peers that had gone off to spread the word of the faith to other towns or got promoted to high positions in other locations. The latter would only occur if they passed the “Ritual of  Eldath’s waters”. The ceremony was today.

Alyss would hear the graduates talk about the cooling water they walked through. That’s all she knew about it and for years her curiosity burned. No more secrets, today all would be revealed.

“Are you nervous?” Jakob sputtered, fogging up the glass once more. This time he stayed fixated on the town below.

The truth was, she wasn’t nervous at all. She had been very grateful to the goddess Eldath and the church. She had a bed of her own, food at the table, and had learned so much. That being said, Alyss knew there was more out there. The stories she heard from weary travelers only sparked her interest in the outside more. Today’s ceremony would be proof that she was ready. Seeing his anxiety melted her. “I’m a little nervous but I think everyone is,” she assured.

Jakob diverted his gaze from the beckoning morning to meet hers. Alyss could tell the smile on his lips was forced from his sunken gold eyes. She rolled her eyes with a smile on her face and brought him in for a hug. “You’re going to be great today and they’ll send you to be a mage in a majestic castle. You’ll serve for kings and queens,” she whispered in his ear.

Their embrace was broken by the ringing of the water bell. Standing in the doorway of the barracks was River Killah Nameen. She wore light blue robes with gold embellishments made custom for the ceremony. “Awaken dear children, awaken to the sound of Eldaths waters,” she sang as she paced around the room. Children of all ages emerged from their beds, some wiping the sleep away from their eyes.

River Kilah stood taut in the center of the room and cleared her throat. "Today we need the “Streams” to help with morning mass since I will be at the ritual, and you will be with River Navid,” she paused as the young age group groaned.

Alyss knew Navid and was thankful she was old enough to never of had to be his charge. Navid was known for being quite strict about following the rules and the importance of tradition. “The Rains will be helping with chores and the kitchens. River Mildrid will guide you today. Finally, the lakes will experience the ritual of Eldath’s waters,” she chirped. Alyss felt Jakob’s hand grab onto hers, she squeezed in response.

“Lakes please go to the courtyard immediately. Good luck to you all and may Eldath’s waters cleanse us all!” she exclaimed with an enormous smile.

Chatter between the children exploded. Alyss already longed for the quiet. River Kilah’s smile faded as she stomped towards the back of the room. “Lake Jakob, Lake Alyss, get down from there before you break your neck!” she demanded. Jakob climbed down shakily and fumbled his landing. River Killah tapped her foot against the stone floor impatiently. Alyss jumped down effortlessly and gave a playful bow. “Enough with these shenanigans! Today is an important one!” she pressed. Alyss went to respond but the River put up her finger. “I don’t want to hear it. The courtyard awaits the both of you,” she spoke in a concerned tone.

They both nodded then Jakob turned to Alyss. “Race you!” he shouted over the crowd and darted out of the room. Alyss gasped and chased after him. 

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