by A Gray
The power of one. Anneliese knows all about that.
|For the first time in seasons the storm clouds lifted over the lands as far as the villagers could see. They came out of their houses with curiosity as the thunder rumbled off in the distance. Something was going on. The skies would not clear without reason. Murmurs shifted through the wind. How long would they see the glorious sun? The forgotten children ran beneath their mother's skirt tails before they could be stopped. Leaves blew lightly in the breeze around them as they twirled with their arms stretched upward, toward the warm rays. Mothers had no choice but to smile and join in. The weary remained in their homes, not chancing the light. The only evidence of their existence was the little movement of the curtains.
On the edge of the meadow, where the daffodils didn't dare to grow, stood a small cottage completely blanketed in ivy. In that moment, while the town's people twirled in the sun, a baby's wail was tenderly quieted. Almost silently replaced by the gentle sobs of her very young mother. Then replaced by the sounds of hooves thundering against the hard earth. The harsh skies parted in front of the winded rider, carrying his pacified cargo. Then just as quickly the storm replaced itself over the forlorn village. Drawn like a ribboned blanket pulled by the last hair of the black stead's tail.
Across the ocean, a world away from the little village, a raft drifted onto the beach of an island. It's passenger lulled asleep by the soft roll of the sea. The keeper of the isle heard the soft bumps of the foreign vessel rolling itself onto the sand. Peering around the stony ridge she had been resting on she saw the small bundle laid gently in a basket on the center of the raft. Surprise did not come easy to her, so she calmly walked over and pulled the raft in. The bundle did not stir when she picked it up and removed the blankets. She knew what they contained but was at mercy to her curiosity. Tucking the sleeping infant into her arms she peeled apart the last blanket. A girl, she thought, Ciarda will be pleased.
Swiftly she carried her into their home, pressing the baby against her to try and quiet the noise of the cascading water which hid the entrance to their dwelling. She quietly walked through the sleeping children until she came to the back of the cavern. The baby stirred slightly as she sat on the side of the makeshift bed where her sister lay. With several excited nudges she shook her awake, speaking in a whisper. “Ciarda, it is a girl.”
“A girl, Eilidh?” her sister replied.
“Yes, see?” Eilidh pushed the baby at her.
Ciarda took the baby into her arms. “Another girl, finally.”
She lay the baby on a bed of down and rabbit fur, by the trickle of a tiny stream. Then she followed her sister out of the cave. “I wonder what is going on in the mainlands.” Eilidh pondered out loud.
“Nothing good I suppose.”
“No...nothing good,” Eilidh sighed. “You think we should name her now?”
Ciarda stopped. “Yes, I think we should. She has a very strong aura. Did you feel it?”
“Yes, I did,” The corner of Eilidh's lips turned up. “We shouldn't wait.”
“What do you suppose we call her?”
“I rather like Anneliese,” Eilidh commented.
“That has a nice ring to it.” And so it was.