Posts Published by Jessica Stokes

A writer from Guelph, Ontario, Canada

The Village That Burned

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It was cold, not the bitter and biting cold, but the still calm cold that follows after a peaceful snowfall. The kind of cold where you could lay in it until the snow melts. To a passerby that’s exactly what she was doing, spending her free time laying in the snow. It wasn’t until you got closer and realized she was covered only in tattered clothing and warm sticky blood that you realised the truth.

The village of Gable was spread out, each neighbor trying to be as far away from the other as they could possibly be. It was a loveless village, built to withstand the cruelty of those around them. The Dwarves resided in the center, their houses were once stacked together as a community but the empty rooms and buildings left crevasses where families once lived. They made up the smallest of the population, for the very reason that they were the bravest species ever to walk the continent.

The Orcs took up the space closest to the forest, their brutish nature keeping most other creatures at bay. Their watch towers spaced apart to watch the most amount of ground possible, serving as everything to them. If not for their weapons, the watchtowers would be the orcs prize possessions.

The Fae’s or Fairies (depending on your take of the entirety of the race) took the inner west side of Gable. They could be found farming or looking for anything else alive that they could make use of. Not typical actions for the magical creatures. But, after all, Gable wasn’t exactly natural in itself.

Lastly, there was ‘The East’ as it was called. The East was empty, it had been for centuries and would remain that way for eternity. The legends say humans once inhabited the land, but that leaves little room for logic and little explanation for the dark magic that hovers over the area.

It was mid rotation the day it was found, freshly fallen snow covered the village and the smell of smoke was on the horizons, making the orcs ever on edge.

“My dad says the snow is a sign of death.” Dergu said, kicking it with his military boots. orc teenagers were known for their short temper and constant need for altercations. His face was already littered with marks. Rusty red scars contrasting to the dark armour they all had to wear.

“You’d think your kind would appreciate it.” Neglorum grunted. “Being that you hide easier in it.” Ah there it is, the grumpiness and bluntness of the dwarf. Already so clearly ingrained in Neglorum’s personality.

“Some of us, like warm weather and fresh air Neg.” Dergu spat. “We don’t all have our heads affected by metal you know.” If not for their usual banter, one might think the two young adults hated each other. An onlooker would assume so, pale orc skin verses the darkness of a dwarfs. But for these two it was business as usual. (Heavens forbid they actually utilize the word friendship.)

“Insufferable.” A fleeting voice said from behind them. But before either boy could turn around the owner of the voice was in front of them. Ail Stone-Shade, or Stone, to people who knew him better than most, wasn’t as short as Neg or as tall as Dergu but his Big black eyes and pointy ears gave him away.

“Would it kill you not to sneak everywhere you go?” Neglorum asked brushing past him to continue on their way. It was the end of the month, and that means all three boys have been sent by their families to tend to the biggest tree on the edge of the forest. If the species could agree on one thing it was that this tree was precious and the most talented of their young should be tasked with its upkeep.

“Just because you insist on trampling around doesn’t mean I do.” Ail said, his light voice coming out as a song in the winds.

“What’s wrong, Stone? Scared the donkeys on your farm will notice you?” Dergu chuckled, slinging his broadsword over his shoulder. Having removed it in a startle when the Fae had first arrived.

“Trust me,” Ail said. “I’ve been noticed by the two biggest donkeys here already.” he said with a signature smirk. And It wasn’t long before the other two were chasing him down looking to push him into the ground for such a joke. But not as friends would of course, because in Gable friendships just aren’t allowed.

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