A world exists just beyond our sight.
Occasionally, it brushes lightly against our senses, calling to each of us sweetly. Somehow, it compels us to join, seducing us into following it eagerly despite its cruel ways. When it finally has our attention, it welcomes us, sometimes gently but most often roughly, because once it has us, there is no escape. It pushes and pulls us until we're driven to the point of collapsing.
There are times that we can ignore its call, keep our peace, and dream about a sweeter world. Those times, it is most often just teasing us, because once it sets its eye upon us, it is only a matter of time.
We can resist all we want, scream and fight, but no matter what, it will eventually trap us. Then we are its toy.
Nuzzling my face against a warm, bristly surface, I did my best to ignore this world. Even as its siren call to my senses crept in, I held fast against it. There were more pressing matters in a different world that called me.
The waking world was much too tiring for me to eagerly join so early.
Though it may have liked to rip me from my dreams and force me to think rationally, I fought like a warrior. Unfortunately, in its war against my dreams, it had an ally, and this ally was rather powerful.
"Echo, get up! It is nearly noon!" Fallen snapped loudly. His tread was purposefully heavy so I couldn't ignore him and slumber on.
Grumbling incoherently, I did my best to so anyway, pressing my face more firmly against Shinichi's shoulder. The sun was viciously glaring at my face, making it even harder, but I wasn't ready to surrender everything completely. All I wanted was to recall my dream, since it didn't seem likely that I would rejoin it any time soon.
Just as the fingers of my mind brushed against the edge of the memory, a loud sound split the air.
Bolting up, my head snapped from side to side, searching. Realizing it was just Fallen slamming things to wake me, I slumped back against my beautiful mare again.
I reached over my shoulder to fiddle with Shinichi's silver and white/cream mane. Cremello; that was the color that her breeder had called it, not that I knew enough about horses to care. Chee was easy to handle, and it had been love at first sight. That was all that mattered to me, and when she twisted her head to touch my knee, a gentle "good morning," I felt that it was still all that counted.
"Where are we going?" I asked as I tilted my head back and closed my eyes, still needing a moment to wake up.
Laughing softly, Fallen continued to pack before remarking, "Shouldn't be too hard to go in the same direction that we have been. Sound good?"
For a moment, I considered it as my eyes opened and I looked upon my fair friend. Since our parents' pack had been in the west when we were conceived, both of us were fair in complexion. My hair was darker than his though, a sandy blonde, while his was snow white. Both of us had hues of blue, though his were darker and mine were grayer. He was nearly a foot taller than myself, but other than that, we were very similar in build and shape.
Since the previous day had been warm enough, we had washed all of our clothing in the stream. It had been a great time, despite the work being difficult. We had more clothing than anything else, because we traveled far and wide and frequently needed change so that we could fit in more easily. Keeping them in order was important.
Having an excuse to have our possessions strewn all over was a bit of a relief, because frequently, we were just being careless. This was only our first year on our own though, so it was understandable that we still had to grow up some.
"Sounds good," I agreed after a moment of a thought. As I shifted to sit up, Thaddues, who was stretched over my abdomen, grumbled in protest. How he hadn't been disturbed when I bolted up was a mystery, but he was just short of snarling when I nudged him. Glaring at the stupid mix breed dog, I gave him a solid push and snapped, "Move."
One sky blue opened, blurred with sleep then focusing on my face in a glare. With a soft huff, he snuggled down against my belly pointedly.
Why we had adopted the stupid dog was beyond me...Actually, it wasn't, but I wished it was. Then I could hate him with a little more ease.
A few weeks ago, we had been staying at a farm. Shinichi and Balaur, Chee's brother, had needed a rest, so we had earned our keep there by helping out on the farm. Our third night there, the farmer had started beating one of the dogs. Now, the dog was a chicken killer, but neither Fallen nor I had been able to sit ideally by. We bargained to take the dog if he spared him...and that bastard farmer had actually charged us for him.
With a huff, I began tugging on his ears. Not particularly rough, but not gently, I attempted to piss him off more than anything. The two of us were still struggling to find an understanding. He already knew it listen to Fallen and be gentle with the horses, but Thaddues stilled pushed it with me.
Just as I was thinking that I'd have to physically move him, he jerked away and stood up. Snarling at me, he turned and trotted over to Balaur, who was grazing near the trees.
Frowning after him, I sat up so that Shinichi could get up and asked Fallen for the twelfth time, "Why does he act like that?"
"Like what, dear brother?" Fallen asked, pretending he didn't see our bickering.
Pressing my forehead against the ground between my feet for a moment, I sprung to my feet agilely, just as Shinichi hopped up. Turning, I patted her shoulder, noticing that there was some wear on her fur. She was in need of a good brushing, but that wasn't the moment, with her eager to move and eat.
She stood still for only a minute before bolting to join her brother. As the two greeted each other, a smile lit my face. They were always so sweet.
Scooping up the blanket I had slept on, I walked over to where Fallen was packing the rest of our things. I considered helping him, but quickly changed my mind out of spite. Dropping everything in front of him and ignoring the sour look, my steps turned towards the stream.
In all of the washing and scrubbing the night before, I had gotten much of the road grime off of me, but there was still a bit more and sleep had added to it. Stripping from the snug, wool sleeping clothes, I plunged into the water, moving quickly to make it less painful.
A shriek still burst out of me.
Fallen's glare vanished as he laughed at me, and I continued to make weak, pathetic noises as I waded farther into the freezing stream. There was a secret smile on my face, as I entertained my brother.
Finally, I was up to my knees and knew I had to sank down. Trying to brace myself, I drew in a deep breath, but it rushed out of me in a tortured scream once certain parts of my anatomy touched the icy water.
Shinichi and Bal had been with us for two years or so. They were more or less used to our antics and didn't even spare me a glance as they had. On the other hand, Tha bolted towards the edge of the water. Dancing on the bank, he barked with worry.
"Damn it, Echo," Fallen cursed me, his laughter dying in the face of the poor pup's worry. Storming over to the golden and brown mutt, he sank down and began to reassure him, rubbing his ears and speaking softly. More than once, the word "stupid" reached my ears.
Grinning and trying not to feel guilty about upsetting the dog, the water suddenly felt a lot less miserable.
A short while later, I was clean, dry, and dressed in dead animal skins. I had brought down the deer they were made from, while Fallen had tanned and sewn the pelts. Even though it was good to use everything, I couldn't help feeling disgusted at parading around in something that once had a heart of its own. Still, it was the best thing to wear against the northern chill.
As we rode, Tha danced between Bal and Chee's legs as we rode. Neither horse shied away from him, already used to him. The siblings were both six years old, born a few months apart, and were oddly mellowed despite their youth.
They were a rare breed of horse and only shared a father. Shereuli were pricey, and their looks alone were worth it. Each horse had two coats, layered over each other. Their primary coat was visibly around the shoulders and front legs, while the secondary coat colored their face and necks, as well as mid-barrel down. They had a stout, strong build that made them perfect for traveling anywhere, and both of our mounts had already proven their loyalty dozens of times over.
The typically, Shereuli wore fancy ribbons and beads, and while both Shinichi and Bal loved theirs, we tended to only put them on for special occasions. It was difficult to keep them clean in the environments we traveled through. However, the delicate headgear, ribbons that were barely strong enough to be pulled on, was always worn along with the light, English-style saddle.
Balaur and Shinichi's father had been a beautiful pale cream with a secondary coat of black. Both of his children bore that pale hue as their primary. Bal had his mother's dark bay on his face and lower body. Shinichi's mother had been silver and gray, and the silver colored her face and halfway down her neck and down from her chest, leaving very little of the cream color showing.
Both of them had blue eyes, though there was something distinctly green about Shinichi's. Fallen laughed at me when I had described them as "kitten" green, but they really were.
Bal's mane was the same dark brown as his secondary coat, while Shinichi's alternated between silver and cream. The hair that fell across her face was completely cream, and we often joked that she was actually a blonde.
In contrast to our beautiful, noble mounts, Thaddues was a truly and purely a mutt. His features combined the best and worst of several breeds, making me uncertain if he was adorable or a monstrosity. It was those dark blue eyes that kept him from simply being hideous.
"Echo, you need to put up your hood, or you'll get sick," Fallen called to me, and I had the feeling that if Chee and Bal were walking closer together, he would have done so for me. "You shouldn't have gotten your hair wet with it so cold."
Frowning and feeling annoyed at being babied, I pulled my hood up and glared at him. Sticking my tongue out childishly, I declared, "I'm a powerful Salpamat! I don't need a babysitter!"
Sighing loudly, Fallen closed the neck of his shirt against the cold wind with a pale fist. Though he didn't shiver, it was obvious the cold was bothering him more than me. In an all too logical tone, he asked, "If Salpamat don't need babysitters, why do we travel together? You can be strong all you want, brother. You still need me."
Rolling my eyes, I snapped, "Of course I need you. That doesn't mean I need you to tell me what to do."
"It is one in the same, lovie," Fallen informed me, his voice soft and tired. It made me wonder if we had the discussion before. That was all too possible, since we tended to run in circles with our conversations after traveling together for an eternity.
It had been a happy eternity, but an eternity all the same.
Not in the mood to fight, which was surprising, I turned my gaze back out towards the forest. Some part of me was annoyed that he was ignoring my point, but I was too used to it to rile anymore.
For some time, we traveled silently, but then one of us laughed at nothing. Abruptly, the woods were filled with our laughter and talking. Chee and Bal took their time, carefully navigating the roots of the trees. There was no path, so the going was slow, but none of us were particularly concerned with haste and the mood was light.
Nothing waited for us in the north, but we went all the same. There was no reason, except that it was our way. It was the same reason that two young boys, still not quite adults, were traveling with no elders. All Salpamat lived this way.
Echo of the PastChapter One: Cute
So here it is: the first chapter of Echo of the Past. This story has twenty-two chapters. With my current upload schedule, it will take eleven weeks to reach the conclusion. Laugh, cry, and fall in love with Echo and Fallen, two brothers on a quest to find what is missing in their lives.
Shereuli (c) *orengel
Fallen and Echo (c) Myself (Hin has no claim, since I designed Fallen. She just inspired him. >D)
DX How dare you steal Fallen from me!
How dare you accuse me of stealing him when you've abandoned him! >D
I didn't abandon him! He was just...in storage >.>
I like it a lot
I loooooove the introduction! This is great! Keep writing!