A character – just her face – popped into my head a few weeks ago. I spent a long time agonizing over who she was, and then I figured it out. Here, have a look:
Oh, there now. Come here, fy melys. Don’t worry, Dwynny. Papa will mend it.
Dwynwen started awake, and looked after the sound that had disrupted her sleep. The boughs above her still trembled.
“A bird. No, a bat, more like, at this hour,” she muttered.
The moon shone through the trees, the light waxing and waning as clouds drifted across its beam. A cold breeze rustled the branches of the forest, the floor of which Dwyn laid on. She shivered, and pulled her cloak around herself more tightly.
She began to think that perhaps she shouldn’t have left.
As soon as the thought entered her mind, she dismissed it with a small, devilish smile and a brusque shake of her head.
Dwynwen Twylyth was not timid. She was not afraid. This was the selfsame girl who had tormented Brǎn since they had both barely learned to walk. The lass who had toppled a bucket of soot down Matron Eleyis’s chimney, coating every inch of her cottage in gray. The sprite responsible for the disappearance of innumberable trinkets from just about every home in the village – Master Afan’s the most notable.
Dwynwen was the girl who had earned the surname Twylyth, after the mischievous and fearsome Twylyth Teg.
“Don’t worry, Papa. Dwynny will mend it.”
Dwyn walked briskly through the forest, following a faint trail that was more brush than path. Her skirt often snagged and she tripped several times, but a faint smile remained on her face.
The sun shone a dappled pattern through the canopy of leaves above her and warmed the tips of her ears – slightly pointed, they were freed from both her hood and the cover of her hair for the first time in a long time, forever hidden by Dwyn’s habit of pulling her hair over the pointed tips in others’ presence.
Dwynwen Twylyth might regard herself as mischievous and fearless, but she was still aware that she was not like everyone else in her village – and that was often cause enough for unsavory behavior from others.
But there was no one to see her ears now. No villagers, no minstrels, no merchants with their carts. Merely the breeze and the sunshine and the occasional animal marred her pleasant journey.
Dwyn began to whistle a smooth, crystalline tune, and the words her father had taught her as a child wove their way through her mind as she walked.
Huna blentyn ar fy mynwes, clyd a chyness ydyw hon; breichiau mam sy’n dynn amdanat, cariad mam sy dan fy mron; ni chaif dim amharu’th gyntun, ni wna undyn â thi gam; huna’n dawel, annwyl blentyn, huna’n fwyn ar fron dy fam.
Dwynwen found herself singing some of the words quietly aloud. “Sleep, my darling, night is falling; rest in slumber sound and deep – ”
“How prettily you sing.”
Dwynwen did not jump or startle, she merely stopped walking and looked around for the source of the voice, her faint smile gone. Her eyes settled on a young man, perhaps two or three years older than herself, standing to the side of the footpath. He wore all browns and greens, blending with the forest around him, and a smile.
“Suo Gân, right?” He took a step closer, but stopped when Dwyn’s shoulders tensed just a bit. “Name’s Cadoc. What’s the name to go with the pretty voice?”
Dwynwen found his smile quite disarming, which disturbed her. Dwyn did not find much disarming. “Dwynwen,” she said, returning his smile in what she hoped was an off-putting manner. She’d been told by many that her smile could be quite threatening. “And yes, it is Suo Gân.”
He nodded, and she noticed his eyes appraising her. His next question was expected. “What’s your business so far into the woods?”
She sharpened her smile. “I could ask you the same – we are, after all, the same distance into the woods.”
Cadoc chuckled. “That we are. Myself, I’m a wanderer. I stayed in the last town for a few seasons, but I grew tired of the landscape. Time for a change, so here I am, waiting for some new scenery to find me.”
An eyebrow crept up Dwyn’s forehead. “How do you survive? You must work to eat. If you stay nowhere, how do you work?”
Cadoc raised a single shoulder. “I often work on farms. The old farmers can most always use an extra hand. It’s really not all that difficult to find a job from town to town – there’s always some tough work no one else wants to do.”
Dwyn nodded. A silence stretched between them, and though she felt the urge, Dwyn refused to shift in her discomfort.
“So, I’ve told you why I’m here. Fancy telling me what brings a little thing like you all this way? Perhaps the Twylyth Teg are compelling your travel.” He laughed, his words and obvious joke, but Dwynwen slipped and let her shock show for a moment at his unintentional strike upon the truth.
She quickly smoothed over her expression and said, “I’m travelling to see my mother.”
“Oh? Why, did she travel on ahead of you?”
A small, wry smile turned Dwyn’s mouth upward. “She left long before I did. I’ve begun to … worry.” Here Dwyn had to stifle a somewhat hysterical giggle. “I’m off to find her.”
Cadoc’s good-tempered face took on a concerned hue. “Well, where was she bound? Do you know where to begin looking?”
“Oh, I haven’t the slightest idea.” Dwynwen smiled again, this time in all sincerity, somewhat exhilarated with the adventure of it all.
It is nowhere near done – and you all are getting a lot less backstory than a few of my family and friend people who had to listen to and read my original document (which has some solid ground material but I decided the direction I started to take it in was trash).
I might show you some of that, provided you like this. This should turn into a short story, anywhere from 20-50 pages, by my estimation. We’ll see. I just want to get something short done so I can set it aside and continue (heh, “continue” implies that I have been in the past) working on The Psychnomast until that’s actually done.
Anyway. It’s been a while since I let you read something I wrote, huh?