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*A part of this was submitted a while ago just to see what reviews it got. It now has a different story title, and I am using a different username haha. So here is the first chapter of it!
There were still twenty-one days of the month left, however the atmosphere was deepening to its time of autumn. Appearances evolved rather rapidly when this time came. When the heavy clouds of gray slurred over the sky, covering everything and everyone in its shadow, other effects followed shortly. These clouds occurred to have stricken the heart of the warm summer heat, sending it off to where it belonged—away from the icy arms of winter that embraced the air. No warmth was left over, for these glacial fingers slithered unceasingly, plaguing wherever it could touch with a cold death that remained for the season.
Trees, even the very mighty ones, shuddered at the chilling air, until they could no longer keep the rich green in their leaves; and eventually neither could they hold the leaves at all. Only after a week or so, forest were turned to graveyards of withered trunks that reached their bony branches to the gloomy sky begging for more leaves that they had lost and were scattered carelessly below.
The silent breath of the lightest wind would then carry these crisp, dull leaves to wherever it wished; either stuffing them cracks between cold rocks or piling up on top of each other—the wind had its way at this time of the year. The vapid air suffocated most everything, and even the animals of the woods ceased their dire search for food that might supply them over the season.
This, however, was a much different matter for those who dwelled under the stalwart roofs of the cottages in the town of Wynpen. Slow columns of smoke rose from the chimneys over each home, giving a welcoming sight, and beckoning even the wayward travelers to stop and take share in the simple, yet sufficient meals within each one. And yes, almost every one of them contained a pleasant family.
Each family had its own father; a loyal, diligent man devoted to the needs of both his family and the community, to where he would, without doubt, set of if even the royal personages summoned them to any reason without question. The family then held yet another hard working person within as well; the dame of the home that had a heart of wealth for her family just the same. It showed in the way they prepared such enchanting meals for the family, how they labored away at chores needing to be done, and tending to children—that was if the family had any. And for those that did, the children were no less respectable, helping just as abundantly with the tasks that called to be done.
Some of the children who were still young of age to be capable of doing things that older siblings perhaps could played cheerfully in the best way they possibly could. They explored the woods pretending that they were going on grand adventures most no one ever did in Wynpen. They imagined they met elves, who now had not been sighted for so long it became merely a tale to speak of them. And then feigning themselves to be bearded dwarves who mined under the mountains, who though were not yet a tale—they hadn’t been sighted for quite some time, either, from anyone in Wynpen.
Yes, it was indeed a grand be a child, spending away the time of day in no better way than that. But now it was late in the fall. Children were restricted from doing so at this time of year; for the air was a cold death, the woods looked so much different now—wandering animals were hungry.
This was the typical family of Wynpen, and the community was full of them. Then, of course, no community is without its rulers. There are, as I am sure you know, towns, cities, even kingdoms ruled by leaders that can be brutal tyrants. Dictators of malice who offer no mercy and kindness whatsoever to the people they rule. However, this was not a situation within Wynpen. Its regent was a lady who lived these days in her descending years, and had ruled Wynpen as if it were her child. This was the lady Gwendolyn, the kindhearted person who dwelled under her own residence, it being a grand stronghold to the west of the town of Wynpen. It was a marvelous stronghold at that, made of hardy stone, a suitable garrison. However her Majesty was strongly opinionated against war and the such; therefore her keep was not “unguarded”, but it would never hold up to an attack from anyone.
Gwendolyn was not the only one living under the stone citadels by herself. Other than the sparse sentries posted along the top and before the main gate, she had what she considered a “son” though he never really belonged to her. He had been found left for dead along the river Fenrien some twenty miles from Wynpen, and was taken back on her request. Her Majesty then, upon seeing his pitiful state, insisted she kept him for her own.
The baby had very nearly died, assumed by many that he had been left in a riverboat, fell out and washed up along the banks. And anyone in Wynpen knew that boats that came from upstream usually were those from the Bruinshire, a town of people descending of yore from the land of Lameharrow in the northeast, rarely ever visited now.
The child’s name-to-be had been pondered on much by Gwendolyn as she desired to name him something of resemblance to his discovery on the river shore. Many days and nights she spent smiling sadly down at him in his bed, and thought for hours of possible names for the cherished boy. It was not until the mid of spring one night, that the lady Gwendolyn had discovered a talisman of maple wood, one of her servants had stolen the day of the baby’s discovery. Being of the amiable disposition there was no punishment brought upon the servant—Gwendolyn was too thrilled anyway. For the amulet held the child’s name engraved beautifully on it. Gwendolyn adored the name more than anything, and that was the boy’s name from there forth—he still kept the name even as he now neared the age of seventeen.
This day some close to seventeen years ago in Wynpen, the day the boy was found, was still remembered by most, mainly because it was celebrated—a requested festival by her Majesty herself. A feast now both to celebrate his discovery, and the coming of winter. This feast was a magnificent time in Wynpen, and every family in every home always waited anxiously for the time of the feast to arrive.
A long oak table was set out in the middle of a clearing in the woods bordering Wynpen, and covered in a snow white cloth. Massive amounts of chairs were lined along the side, enough to supply the whole of Wynpen to sit at the table.
Then, the most incredible things came. Cooks within Gwendolyn’s stronghold prepared food like no other seen in Wynpen except once a year on this day. There is no saying how many various kinds of breads were set out on the table. Ones with nuts and cheese on the inside, others that had seeds in the hard crust, but the softest bread imaginable on the inside. Different kinds of cheese were set out alongside in large chunks. Pastries were no less fascinating as they were set out in patterns across the table on brittle glass platters: small pies stuffed with wild mushrooms and poured gravy on top, and then sweet ones like the mini cakes spread with jams. Pigs were slaughtered and roasted whole, and served on the biggest plates imaginable. The same went with turkeys that still had their feathers on, and pigeons basted with a potato gravy and sprinkled with sesame. At least eight to ten different kinds of wine were set out along the table in giant wine bottles that filled each and every golden goblet set next to each chair.
Yes, it was a feast fit for the boy who was discovered—Matthias.
Nathan D. Gage