The Rowan Tree: Chapter 24Thea smiled and took a deep bow as the audience on the street clapped and cheered for her, throwing a few coins her way. It was nearing the end of the day, and this always proved to be a profitable time to perform in the street right across from the tavern as many people were usually on their way there to drink away their troubles after a long, hard day’s work. Now that it was getting colder though with the approaching winter, business was a bit slower, so she did her best to make sure that she performed as often as she could and in the most populous parts of town.
As the audience dispersed, the young Gypsy knelt to the ground to gather up her day’s earnings until she felt a shadow looming over her. Looking up, she found herself gazing into the hard, leathery face of the tavern owner, known as Bromley. The large, burly, middle-aged man was scowling hard down at her.
“Thea, you little tart!” he growled with breath that wreaked of gi
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 23Seamus sat alone in his chair in front of the fire, slumped over with his hands on his head and eyes fixed on the floor. His whole body was trembling from head to foot, his heart was pounding, and his stomach was in knots. He’d felt this way ever Padraig and Dougal had come bursting in, crying and hysterical, and told him that they couldn’t find Rowan a few hours ago. Their parents along with Ronan and his family were all there by then, and as soon as the boys had told them what had happened, they had all become deeply concerned.
Seamus, of course, was beside himself with worry, and after thoroughly and intensely questioning the young boys about where they’d last seen his beloved girl, he had quickly stormed out the door to go looking for her, only to be stopped by Eamon. “Seamus, calm yourself now, boyo!” he’d said to his frantic younger friend as he put his hands on his shoulders.
“The hell do ya mean calm meself?!
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 22By the time Thea finally made her way back to town, it was nearly dark. This was hardly an issue though; she was quite used to making her way around in the dark. In fact, she often preferred the cover of darkness to the glaring of daytime; it meant she could move about a bit more freely and without having to constantly be stopped by suspicious figures of authority who always assumed she was up to some sort of crime. Such was the life of a Gypsy.
She quickly wove her way through the streets and dark alleyways, trying to make it back to her camp without arousing suspicion. The good thing about the Gypsy camp that made it a safe-haven was that no one, other than the Gypsies themselves, knew where it was. Thea intended to keep it that way. She was cutting through the final alley in town which served as a short-cut to the camp when she suddenly felt a strong hand catch her arm. Gasping with shock, she turned with wide, fearful eyes towards the face
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 21“Rowan,” the woman repeated softly as she held the small child closer to her, eyes scanning over her body and pushing her wet blonde curls out of her face. Her one hand then moved down to Rowan’s forearm, causing the child to wince and yelp with pain at the sudden sensation she felt. “You’re alright, Rowan, you just have a small cut here,” the woman said. Looking down, she could see a long stream of red blood mixed with water was running its way down her arm from a cut near her elbow.
“Don’t worry, we can fix that right up,” the woman then said, offering her a small smile. She then reached over and grabbed what appeared to be a large knapsack which she began digging through. As she searched for whatever it was that she was looking for, Rowan took the opportunity to fully observe the person who had rescued her for the first time.
It was surreal for her to see someone close to her size for the first time
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 20A loud, eager knock sounded at the door, causing Rowan to immediately jump up with excitement from where she sat at her small table upon the giant one. “Seamus!” she called out. “Paddy and Dougal are here!” She watched the door with anticipation, but when her giant guardian didn’t immediately appear, she grew impatient. A second knocking then came. “Seamus!” she called out again, this time a little louder.
“Aye, aye! I’m coming!” she then heard the giant’s voice call out from his bedroom. “Just hold yer horses, will ya?” he then added as he entered the room and looked over at Rowan with an amused smile. “Jeez lass, ya look as though yer ready to burst!” he said to the excited child, but Rowan just pointed at the door and gave a stomp of her little foot, urging him to just go and open it already. Seamus raised his eyebrows at this. “
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 19The Fomorian chief woke from his sleep with a gasp. For the briefest of moments, his arm searched for another body that he expected to be lying beside him, and he felt a slight sense alarm when he discovered there was none there. But as his eye adjusted to the darkness and looked around, reality soon came flooding back into him, and he breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
“Just a dream…” Cillian grumbled to himself, running a hand over his face. He could see that it was still dark out. He assumed it had to be the early hours of the morning, and yet he was not unused to restless nights such as these. For he had known many over the past several years and had grown somewhat accustomed to them. Knowing he would be unable to go back to sleep, he heaved himself up off of his bed and headed over to the small wooden wash stand in the corner of his room.
Cupping his hands, he scooped up some cold water from the bowl onto his face before toweling
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 18Telling someone to keep an eye out was pretty useless advice. Any creature, no matter how helpless or stupid, knew how to look around and survey its surroundings for potential danger. Naturally, sight was very important when it came to assessing threats and keeping yourself alive, but it was the things that you didn’t see that were the most important to be aware of. That’s where listening came into play. The chief always said that a warrior’s ears were just as important as his eyes; that’s why it was of vital importance to keep both sharp. And right now, it was his ears that was were providing the chief’s young son with all the information that he needed.
The thirteen-year-old boy stood still as a stone as he scanned the stillness of the woods around him. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But as he held his breath and his keen, sensitive ears twitched ever so slightly, picking up even the faintest of sounds, he s
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 17As the Fomorian chief departed and the rest of the crowd began to slowly disperse in order to have a final drink and bid each other good-bye, Seamus found himself just standing there dumbfounded for a moment. It was a bit difficult to know how to feel with all the various emotions that were swirling around within him. He had been both horrified and worried when he realized that Rowan was in trouble. He then became furious upon seeing what Diarmuid’s son was doing to her. He was relieved soon after to discover that she was alright, and still seemed to be as he felt her huddling against his chest in his cupped hands. But then when Cillian had appeared, looking angry and disapproving as ever, his heart sank with fear as to what his brother’s reaction would be. Just when things had actually seemed to be going well for the first time, it figured that something like this would happen, doubtlessly ruining both his and Rowan’s chance of bei
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 16While dancing with Padraig was a bit strange at first, and she’d be lying to herself if she didn’t admit that she was slightly nervous as she stood on the Fomorian boy’s flat palm while his large feet shuffled on the ground far below her, it wasn’t long before Rowan was having the time of her life. As soon as her giant friend took her tiny hand between his thumb and forefinger with the utmost of care to help steady her, she knew that there was nothing to fear. When he twirled her around, she couldn’t help but giggle with delight as she smiled up at Padraig, who was beaming back down at her with a big smile so like his father’s.
Rowan was surprised at how unexpectedly steady and light on his feet Padraig was for a boy of his age and size. He never once faltered or stumbled as he carefully moved about while keeping her perfectly balanced in the palm of his hand. The swift, graceful movements of the Fomorian boy almost made her f
The Rowan Tree: Chapter 15“Oi! Seamus! Ya in there, boyo?!” Seamus then felt a thump to the back of his head, snapping him out of the trance of fixation he’d fallen into while closely watching Rowan as she sat a few feet away with Padraig and the other Fomorian children. In spite of the speech Cillian had given, the singing, and now, the lively music and dancing, he hadn’t been able to take his eyes or focus off of her. Shifting his gaze to the side, he realized that it was Eamon who’d spoken and thumped him on the head.
“Hmm? What’s that now?” Seamus asked in confusion. He was aware of Ronan and Eamon talking on either side of him, but being so focused on Rowan, he had absolutely no idea what either of them had said.
“What’s the matter with ya, mate? Yer a million miles away!” Eamon said with a frown. Seamus suddenly felt embarrassed and guilty.
“Sorry, lads,” he said sheepishly.
The Giant of Rainy Grove (GT) - Chapter 6Alistair stepped outside and closed the door softly behind him. The dew on the grass caught the early morning sunlight and sparkled like hundreds of diamonds. He crossed the garden without looking around him and stopped in front of a tall tree with a small house nestled in its branches. He stooped to knock. He waited for a few moments and knocked again, louder.
“Just a moment.” The petite woman yawned and padded across the treehouse floor. Alistair’s large form greeted her as she opened the door.
She rubbed her eyes. “What’s going on? I thought my house was about to be knocked down again.”
“That’s not funny, Dewdrop.”
She giggled. "I mean even if it did, you'd have to build it up all over again. I need a bigger kitchen."
She almost caught Alistair grinning, but he quickly wiped it off his face.
Dewdrop's expression became somber. “I saw Paul in my dream last night, and his expression was that of pure happiness and bliss. That'
The Giant of Rainy Grove (GT) - Chapter 5Grace fastened the buckle on her satchel with a snap. Inside were three well-worn dresses, an intricately carved comb that had belonged to her mother, and a few other keepsakes.
She looked around the wooden house she had called home all her life. The ceilings were so low that she could touch them with her fingers if she stood on tiptoe, but the house was immaculate. In winter, the smell of the fireplace greeted her when she came home. In spring and summer, the kitchen smelled of seasonal flowers, and in fall, apples.
Her father had carved the chairs of dark oak, like the tables, and forest green cushions rested on them. A large oval window let the afternoon sunlight in, illuminating Grace’s friends and Owen, who stood apart, gazing outside.
Grace’s best friend Jane watched her, teary eyed. With a quick movement, Jane unclasped her own necklace and fastened it around Grace’s neck. “So you won’t forget me. Or us,” she added, nodding to Maria and Diane.
The Giant of Rainy Grove (GT) - Chapter 4Emery led Grace, Owen, and Will across the clearing to the giant. “Just to clarify, you were on your way home when Randy’s men killed the child, right?” Emery asked in a low voice.
They approached, sidestepping Roland’s twisted body. The corpses of the other men lay scattered around the mountainous figure of the still-kneeling giant. One was draped over a tree branch like a piece of discarded clothing. Randy yelped in horror as the giant crushed the last of his men in his fist. The giant’s ice blue eyes narrowed. “My son was five years old,” he growled. “Before I kill you, I will break five of your bones. Slowly”
“Giant!” Emery’s authoritative, baritone voice rang out in the night.
The large head turned, cold eyes scrutinizing the group of humans who dared to approach him and his prey. “Speak, human.”
“On behalf of the village of Rainy Grove, I am deeply sorry for the death of your so
The Giant of Rainy Grove (GT) - Chapter 3“What is this?”
Grace’s jaw dropped. A large, wooden cart sat behind Woodcutter Sam’s shop. Something huge covered with a white cloth lay on top of the wooden cart.
Could this be his son?
Grace did not want to know what was hidden under the cloth. She looked at the man next to her, only to see his eyes widen with rage. He snarled, “Remove the cloth!”
Owen, his body shivering in terror, untied the ropes that bound the covered body. As he removed the white material, Grace gasped and placed her hand over her mouth, fighting the urge to scream.
It was a giant. A giant child. Cuts and scratches marred the dead boy’s face, and Grace stared at Owen in complete horror.
“Owen...did you do this?”
Owen dropped to his knees, covered his face, and began sobbing.
Grace refused to believe her brother was a killer. She glared at Randy, who was still in the man’s grip. The stranger’s reaction astounded her. What had begun as pure rage fa
The Giant of Rainy Grove(GT) - Chapter 2“Grace!” Will called from behind the bar. “I’ve got five ale specials for Randy’s table. Run them on over.”
Grace sighed, her chocolate brown hair falling over her shoulders. She pulled it back into a bun and picked up the tray full of glasses. The ale sloshed onto the wood as it so frequently did. She made her way to the table in question, doing her best to keep smiling. Randy was a man that Grace was not in the mood to see or interact with. He and his men had just returned from their hunting trip and she dreaded the loud boasting that would soon follow.
Her brother Owen had tagged along, much to her surprise. When Grace didn’t see him sitting with the group, she became worried. Randy and his men were in high spirits, beating tables, singing, and chanting loudly. He turned and met her gaze with a smirk as she approached with the tray of drinks. His eyes lingered on her breasts, sending a shiver of disgust down her spine.
“My dear Grace,
The Giant of Rainy Grove(GT) - Chapter 1Owen Blue gulped as he followed Randy and his henchmen, stomping deep into Rainy Grove Forest. He would normally never have ventured this far in and was starting to grow anxious. Randy led his men every week or so on a hunting spree. Having just turned sixteen, Owen took his sister’s advice to follow them and observe how hunting works.
But everyone knew Owen was nothing but a coward; he made no claims otherwise. When he tried to hold a dagger, he almost always dropped it on his foot, overwhelmed by its weight. He was also wary of animals, especially the predatory ones. The villagers snickered, probably thinking how worthless he was. For the most part, he kept to himself. Owen didn’t mind being the outsider.
“Now, now, men. This is only Owen’s first hunt. We don’t want to overwhelm him,” Randy said, smirking, “Right, my boy?”
“Yes, sir.” Owen slowly nodded.
Deep down, he despised Randy and his condescending tone. Randy was cons
The Forest- Chapter 10 (END)
Thomas desperately searched for his small friend as he moved aside heavy pieces of the crumbled wall. He could feel tears collect in his eyes as fear and horror took over his being. He couldn’t hear a thing around him. There was only silence as he scrambled to check beneath every rock. Every pebble.
“Faye,” he mumbled. “Faye, where are you? Oh, please, God...”
Kine and Lenny also dug through the remains of the wall before Brogan eventually joined the search. Thomas could feel his lungs tighten with fear at the thought of losing his friend. He had to find her. She just had to be alive.
“Thomas!” Kine called. “Over here!”
Thomas stumbled across the mess of land to his leader. When Kine turned around, Thomas’ heart stopped. It was Faye. Bruised, broken...motionless. He edged closer with shaking limbs. “Faye...n-no.” Kine, as carefully as he could, placed the girl in Thomas
The Forest- Chapter 9
Faye felt relief hit her at the sight of her friend. She smiled as tears of joy slowly made their way to her blue eyes. “Thomas...” she breathed, and then raised her voice. “Thomas! You came back!”
The King glared down at her with frustration. “Shut up, peasant!” The longer he stared at her, the darker his eyes seemed to turn. Eventually his face changed from that of annoyance to something even more malicious. Something vile. And it was all too familiar to Faye. The King grinned in a horrid way as he edged her closer, and lowered his voice into a deep growl that rumbled the air around her. “I’ll admit, Faye. The thought of eating another person never seemed appealing to me.” He paused bringing her even closer. “Until now.”
Faye squirmed in his grip with fear as his mouth began to open wide. Her eyes bugged out of her head at the sight that edged closer. The teeth that greeted h
The Giant of the Sea- Chapter 12 (End)
I watched Ethan lower his arm after Killian’s demise. Something inside of me wanted to scream. I wanted to celebrate. Killian was gone. The monster of the sea was no more. I still couldn’t believe it. I stared up at him with wide eyes in shock at what I had just witnessed. When he turned around, he wasn’t focused on me. I also turned to see the dozens of humans trapped in his air bubbles...and a few that floated lifelessly in the waters.
He didn’t get to save them all. He...he rushed to help me, instead.
I looked over to him with a deep sense of guilt washing over me. But the look in his eyes...he was telling me that it wasn’t my fault. That he did what he could. Earth was still drowning in what Killian had attempted to do.
Ethan lifted both hands to reach out. He closed his eyes. Took in a deep gulp. And began to slowly lower his arms. The strange, thunderous noise around me vibrated my bones. I l
The Giant of the Sea- Chapter 11
It was so quiet. It was as if the entire world had decided to hold its breath. The ocean was so still, the boats all around us seemed frozen in time. I looked over at the Chief beside me to see his eyes dark with thought. He was probably thinking of Angela. My gut somersaulted at the thought of her as another wave of guilt washed over me. I needed to say something...
“Chief Marco?” I murmured, keeping my gaze lowered.
“What’s up, kid?” he replied in a quiet voice.
I stared at the floor of the boat beneath my feet, using everything in me to hold back my tears. “I’m so sorry about Angela,” I whispered. “I’m sorry that I asked you all to come out to sea. I’m sorry that I didn’t see Killian coming sooner...and I’m s-sorry...” I took in a deep breath as a few tears pitter-pattered to the ground near my toes. “I’m sorry that she’s gone...it
The Giant of the Sea- Chapter 10
I watched the boats above me just beyond the surface. The boats that hunted for me. I lowered my head at the anger I felt grow in my heart. Why was I trying to save them? Why would I bother my time and possibly risk my life to even defend them? I looked over to my left...and I was suddenly reminded of why.
Charlie...the girl that had changed everything. She had softened my heart and opened my eyes after the attack at the docks. I watched her stare up at the surface with worry, and my heart skipped. She looked really worried.
“Charlie?” I murmured, gathering her deep blue gaze to me. “You okay?”
She nodded. “Yeah. I just hope this works.”
I wanted to say that it would. That I was sure this time things would work out. But...after I was so sure last time...
“I hope so, too,” I muttered quietly. After a moment of silence between us, I sighed. “Are you ready?”
The Giant of the Sea- Chapter 9
I fixed up the last of my wounds with my magic, feeling better after the relief from the pain I had felt. After years upon years of battling Killian...I had never felt this weak before. Never before had I felt such pain and helplessness. And all from the one species I had been trying so hard to save. I felt angry and bitter every time I thought about them. About the Chief of police, and how he had been so close to taking my life. I have now seen the extent of what humans can do to me. They hadn’t even done that much, and I had been pulled down as if I was made of paper. Never before...had I felt like this.
“You have to bring me back.”
I tried to ignore the small voice that emerged from behind me. I wasn’t angry with her. But I didn’t want to talk right now. I was in a bad place. I was furious, and frustrated.
“Ethan. You have to bring me back.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, holding in t
The Giant of the Sea- Chapter 8
I eagerly waited by the boat that we were going to take to sea. This was it. This was the start of it all. Once we got far enough out, Ethan would give me the signal. I would jump right into the water as soon as he placed his spell on me. Then Angela, Chief Marco, and another officer would get into the shark cage with their scuba gear...and finally see him. And maybe even Dr. Taylor, if Ethan decided to come out of the waters for a moment. Dr. Taylor wanted to stay on the boat. I guess he’s not one for swimming.
My stomach was in knots. My knees trembled with anticipation. And I couldn’t slow my heart rate. I just wanted to see him, again. I missed him. And I hoped...I wondered if he missed me, too. I glanced up to see the Chief and Angela walk up with their other officer. His nametag simply read “Pierce”. Dr. Taylor soon also arrived, and we all made our way onto the boat. While Chief got it started, Angela sa