Group 3: Kat

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Other Writings | 2 comments

Her fingernails bit into the cracked wood of her worn vanity as she leaned over it, gazing into the dirt-frosted mirror with anxiety. Her ragged breathing whispered through the room in stutters and pauses.

I can’t do this. I can’t.

Panic stung her just beneath her sternum like a poisonous Warbird plant, her breath hitching at the knife-like STAB. It had been a near continuous pain for days, driving her into solitude and away from her family’s dining table and her bed. (For days this continuous pain drow her away from her family’s worn dining table, and she descended into solitude.) But, that was normal, they said.(Whatever THAT is…)

One of her hands curled itself into a fist, and she struck the cool wood beneath it impulsively, fighting to withhold the tears of stress that were (searing) in her eyes. What she felt could not change anything;(the fact that) there had never been a rescheduling in all the years that Dragon Taming had been a rite of passage into community life.

No, today was the day.

The door behind her burst open, allowing shreds of light to filter in to the once dusky room. “Ah, goodness, Kenna! Can you even see you’self in this light?” a familiar, high-pitched voice asked. Kenna’s lips twisted into a slight smile as she found comfort in the heavily accented words.

She turned from her mirror to smile her most presentable smile at her family’s elderly maid. “I can see fine, Brita,” she retorted kindly, twisting strands of her midnight black hair.

Her oldest friend was having none of that. “Oh, fine my rear end. What ‘ave you been doing in here all this time? Your hair is still as much of a mess as always, m’lady!” Brita exclaimed in a motherly tone as she rushed forward and pushed Kenna down onto the rickety stool she had been provided. At once, she began expertly twisting Kenna’s silky tresses into a signature bun.

Kenna smiled grimly as she stared at her reflection. “We can’t all be you, you know,” she dared to joke, though her heart wasn’t in it. No, her heart was quaking in the depths of her chest, conjuring images of serpent-like tongues and fiery shards—

A firm whack on her head pulled Kenna from her daymare. “Oh, DO cheer up. Not every day is a girl’s Dragon Taming!” The pure excitement in Brita’s voice was almost infective. ALMOST.

“The Stars be praised if she survives the one,” Kenna muttered under her breath, wincing as her words earned her another whack and a sharp tug of her hair.

Brita shook her head firmly, clearly dismissing Kenna’s dark joke. “M’lady, you know you’ll do jus’ wonderful. Why, you won’t even get a scratch. You’re one of the best trained girls in the kingdom of Antorage, and the hardest worker out of all of ‘em.”

Clawing at the vanity as another wave of anxiety shot through her, Kenna narrowed her eyes at her ashen reflection. Brita was right; she was, undoubtedly, the hardest worker in her kingdom when it came to Training—though it was true Antorage was one of the most lax of the seven sister kingdoms when it came to dragons. All her life, horrific tales of the deaths of maidens and men who ventured into the Dragonian Iguas, or the Dragon Caves, in order to claim and battle their chosen dragon, had spurred her to practice long into the nights, still wielding her sword or unleashing an arrow as the sun began to peek over the horizon.

But what would that matter when the bells chimed at high noon that day to signal the start of her “adventure”? Though the elders fought to keep the death toll out of reach for those in Training, it was rumored two out of five Wentials–those who were of age to tame a dragon—died each year.

“Ah, there you go, m’lady. Don’t you look purty! More like you’re going to a ball than to your Dragon Tamin’, isn’t it?” Wincing as Brita forced the last of her defiant tresses into place, Kenna gave her reflection one last glare. On impulse, she whispered “goodbye” to her reflective twin—just in case.

“Brita, I just…” Kenna spun the stool to face her maid as she fidgeted. “I–”

“Want to make your father proud and fill your brother’s shoes, but you don’t feel ready to do all of that. I know, dear. Believe me, I know.”

Eyes widening and back stiffening, Kenna peered curiously at Brita. “How did you…” she began to ask, but shook her head as her thoughts whirled and changed their course. Of course Brita could see right through her. “That obvious?” she finally settled on murmuring, her lips twisted in a nervous smirk.

Brita smiled a knowing smile and didn’t move a muscle.

“I’m just…” Kenna breathed, her eyes flying to the ceiling as another wave of nausea stung her. “I feel sick. Really sick.More sick than I’ve felt in all eighteen years of my life, Brita. I think I’m coming down with something.” The words flew out of her mouth without her command; she knew they couldn’t possibly change anything.

This was her destiny, predetermined for her and molded to fit the precise package that the Council had delivered to every Wential’s doorstep. If they couldn’t find it within themselves to step up and conquer the challenges that presented themselves during the course of their journey to the Draconian Iguas, then it didn’t matter if they died, as they clearly weren’t fit to move on into Antorage’s community. Council law number 4.

And as the ruling class of the kingdom of Antorage, they knew best—or so Kenna had always been told, always been made to recite at the beginning of Training sessions every day of her conscious existence.

Smiling sadly, Brita shuffled over to wrap her arms around the young girl, whose eyes slipped shut. “I wish you didn’t have to go through this trial. I wish it wasn’t a law that every young person must show their strength in such a gruesome, horrifying way, and I wish Josh was still with us. But, Kenna,” her voice cracked as her face began to shine with a radiant expression. “The way it feels to defeat your dragon, to bond with it… Well, you’ll have to discover it for yourself. All I can say is, it’s worth it.” She paused and pulled back to clutch Kenna’s shoulders, digging her warm eyes into the girl’s frightened, suspicious pair. “I know you don’t believe it, but child, you’re ready,” she whispered encouragingly.

The rawness of Brita’s voice struck a nerve in Kenna, and she felt tears threatening to drown her eyelids.

Suddenly, a loud ringing of bells rattled the frame of the tent. Kenna’s heart took a fall into an unfathomable chasm.

It was time.

Brita’s head whipped towards the entrance at the first toll of the ceremonious bells, then whirled back to Kenna, her eyes urgent and her face flushed. Kenna took an involuntary step back at her abrupt and complete change of emotion. “Here,” Brita whispered as she rushed towards Kenna, tugging a small object out of her apron pocket and shoving it at the girl. “It’ll be easier to find your way with a bit of help.”

Taking the object and turning it over in her hands, Kenna allowed her fingertips to trace the crystallized surface in curiosity. It was a teardrop only the size of her hand, a brighter shade of white than the tips of her fingernails and a duller shade than the whites of her eyes. “What is it?” she questioned Brita as she furrowed her brow, never once removing her eyes from the somehow alluring crystal. It was, she swore, lightly vibrating in her hand, telling her something she couldn’t quite make out…

The tent flap was thrust open once again, the unexpected light blinding Kennaas she instinctively shoved the orb into her back pocket and adjusted her satchel over its placement. “Kenna Stri-vael,” a masculine voice assertively rang as she shielded her eyes with a hand. “Are you prepared for the ceremony?”

“You’ve got to adjust to the dark so the light can find you,” Brita whispered in Kenna’s ear from behind her, filling Kenna with immense curiosity; so many questions that didn’t have answers.

Gathering her wits and the shreds of her shattered mentality, Kenna gave a deep, internal sigh before straightening her shoulders and flashing the guards her brightest smile. “I’m prepared,” she assured them firmly as she strode through the opened tent flap, feeling, for once in her life, completely unprepared.

2 Comments

  1. Your use of figurative language is strong. It helped keep the piece moving and gave it a nice flow. The characterization is strong, but I definatley think you should add the announcement as a prologue.

    • Thanks so much! :D Yeah, the Council announcement as a prologue is definitely an award-winning idea.

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