The Arcane Warrior’s Apprentice
Bell sat up in bed covered in sweat. The bedroom was hot and reeked of sulfur which made it hard for her to breathe. She was screaming.
Jotar throws the bedroom door open and glided across the floor to her bed. He sat down and wrapped his arms around her. "Shhh...Bell. You are ok my baby girl. Daddy's here. It was just a nightmare."
"Its gonna take everything from me he said."
"That thing. He said he was gonna take it all from me." Bell begins to cry even more.
"Come on baby girl, it was just a nightmare. You need to get up and get ready. Today is the big day! You only turn five once and you don't wanna to miss the party!"
Bell got out of bed, gathered her party dress and headed for the bathroom.
He stood up from the bed, walked across the floor and shut the door. He pivoted to face the center of the room. Jotar's nostrils flared as he took a deep breath.
Jotar Singer was furious that something like that dared to enter his domain. Whatever was here is gone now he thought to himself.
All Bell could think about is the horrifying image and the words it spoke. Her bones still felt as if they were rattling as she let the water run over her wet hair.
She dried off, dressed and was about to go out the front door when her mother called "Bell, I know ya are not goin out that door without havin ya breakfast. Come on in the kitchen Belly."
She walked into the kitchen as if she were on autopilot. She sat down in the chair as Lily placed a bowl of berries down.
"Happy birthday my darling girl! Tomorrow is the big day for ya. I can't believe how fast you've grown up."
"Yup off to Singertown to start the Bardic Academy tomorrow" she said without any enthusiasm. "Just in time for that thing to take it all away."
The blonde elf woman looked down at her daughter and patted her on the head. "You have such a wonderful imagination Bell! Working on a new story already!"
“Yup, something new” she whispered staring into the bowl.
Lily excused her daughter from the table knowing she wasn’t eating to make room for the birthday feast later in the afternoon as Bell often did on all family parties. She smiled knowing that saving a few extra coin back each month would at least give her darling girl her most favorite food in all of Arret.
The birthday girl went outside to play with her older cousin, Mr. Ian Woon, but he was too engrossed in practicing his musical scales so she made her way over to the gypsy encampment to visit Grammu.
Grammu is the matriarch of the entire Singer clan. No one knew exactly how old grammu is and there has always been a betting pool to guess her exact age.
She lived in a very decorative wagon. Inside there were various herbs in the drying process hanging from the poles and it smelled wonderful.
“Ah there is the birthday girl! Come in and sit down my Bell. It is time.” Grammu said with a raspy voice.
“I always read the fortunes of those about to leave for their apprenticeships. Now it is your turn. Give me your hand love.”
Bell looked nervous and reluctantly held out her hand. She gulped. Even at five years old, she knew all too well that Grammu’s fortunes always come to pass and there is no way to escape what is meant to be.
The old woman looked at her granddaughter’s hand intensely turning it this way and that. Then she picked up a deck of cards and had her little red head shuffle the cards, divide them into three piles then put them back into one pile.
“How many cards do you want me to pull from this deck my dear Bell?”
She knew nothing about cards or fortunes at her age so she laughed saying “All of em?”
“Bellie, this is no laughing matter” her grandmother said in a most serious tone.
“Ok then, you pick cos I don’t know.”
She nodded “As you wish.”
Her wrinkled hands placed seven cards on the table before her face down. She turned one card over at a time, contemplating each card and putting the puzzle that was displayed. The little girl waited for what seemed to be forever for her to speak.
“My dear. You have a decision that you must make. No matter your choice, you will achieve fame. I can tell ya that only one of the choices before you will lead you to your true fate. You are surrounded by three crowns; one of ice, one of shadow and one of passion. If you decide correctly you shall meet, love and marry all of them. You value family more than yourself and this is what drives you. You must not fear the unknown or that which is not tradition.”