Click here to read Part One and here to read Part Two.
The tent was quiet but outside the storm raged on. Katarina rose to her feet and set her potato back in the smouldering coals. She was not hungry and she did not have time to spare. She must brave the strengthening storm and find the Midnight Stag before her Grandmother ran out of time.
As she reached for the tent’s door, however, something white and fluttering caught her eye. A scrap of paper was stuck beneath the man’s sitting mat and flapping desperately in the strong wind. She picked it up and unfolded it.
Surely I shall see the sun,
Rise beyond the distant shores,
Flaming red to break the night,
And shatter darkness with the light.
For love conquers the worst
Love endures the worst,
Love touches the worst,
And love heals the deepest wounds.
Love is a sword,
Love is a word.
Love is a smile to the hurting
Love is Light in the Dark.
So carry not hate,
For it is the weapon of True Kings,
And love always wins.
Katarina read the words again and paused thoughtfully, then slid it into her pocket.
Love heals the deepest wounds? she wondered. She bit her lip and breathed in shakily. Was it too much to hope for?
Wind and rain slapped her in the face as she ducked out of the tent. The heavy drops stung on her arms and she hunched over and ran forward against the strong blasting weather. Before her, the shapes of the boulders were only black silhouettes.
And then she stopped and stared.
There was the silhouette of a stag, she could see no features, but it was there. The shape turned and faced Katarina. The girl’s heart skipped a beat and she forced herself to breath. Her hands tingled.
“I—” she stuttered but her words were lost to the wind.
Young one, I know. The words echoed softly in her head.
Katarina blinked. Power. She could feel it on the other side. The mind of the Midnight Stag had brushed against her own.
The Creator is gracious and has told me of your cries.
Again she felt it: power enough to tear down an entire city in a heartbeat; power to bring a storm; power to heal the sick.
Katarina gulped. Her clenched hands felt clammy and her whole body was trembling.
“And?” she whispered.
The power is His, the Stag said gravely. To heal or hurt. To show mercy or bring justice. Today He does not ignore the cries of the others. Neither does he ignore the one that is a dethroner, murder, and thief — all to serve himself, his desires, and his own gods. One day punishment will be brought before him. This is the hope that I pass to you so you may pass it on to others.
Katarina bit her lip as everything around her began to blur. “I don’t understand... but— but my Grandmother? What about her?”
Hope to pass on. Hope to live on--
The silhouette began to fade and the voice grew quieter.
Hope to grow and strength. Hope for the Dawn--
“My Grandmother!” Katarina screamed. “What about her?”
Light lives forever, the voice continued steadily. Light rises even in the darkness. Live that Light and in the dark you shall rise for others… Go home... Live the Light.
The whisperer faded and Katarina was alone. Waves beat against the cliff wall below and wind whipped her cloak.
“The Creator heard my cry,” she whispered, lip trembling. “Then did my Grandmother—” her words stopped short as she remembered what the stag had said: “Love heals all.”
Was it possible...? If the Creator loved her than wouldn’t he heal her Grandmother?
Katarina turned and ran.
Wind fought her flight across the fields and tried to tear her away from the path. The ground was softer and her feet sunk. Mud splattered her dress and her hood ripped from her neck. In the distance she could barely see the lights of the village, blurred by mist and rain. And then the wind carried a distant wisp of mournful music over the fields.
She began running faster and recognized the shape of her own hut. Shadows of people lined at the door, the light of lanterns dancing across grim faces. Many avoided her gaze. Others shook their heads sadly — empathy alight in their eyes.
“No,” Katarina croaked and felt the world spin around her. “No!” She shoved them out of the way and stumbled into the small room.
Isaac leapt to his feet from where he was kneeling with his parents. Tears streaked his face and his eyes glistened with more. “Katarina!” he said and reached for her hand.
“No,” she said and stared at the cot, slowly backing away. Her grandmother didn’t move. “No!” she screamed.
If loves heals the deepest wounds then there is no love here from the Creator.
The girl didn’t answer but turned and ran. The cold air of the night embraced her and the dark of the storm fell around her.
Written by Evelyn Kelly
Illustrated by Jeremiah K.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.