An Unnamed Creatures Tale: Chapter Five

Written on March 20, 2015

Chapter Five

A cry of alarm sounded from far in the distance, and she knew others sensed the Grendel’s presence. Still, it did not move. Parts of the previous night came to her, yet it was impossible to make sense of it all. Dreams and reality sometimes clouded in her mind, forming an inky blob that made it difficult to think. The only thing she was sure of was the rising sound of her fellow Norns.
Midari,” the Grendel whispered forebodingly as he tossed something inside. She blinked, and all the billowing curtains outlined were the peaceful grasses beyond.
Ravella!” the door swung open as Veerin raced in. He held her tightly as if to comfort her, but it felt all too contrived. Sure enough, Johmas was just behind him clutching a sharpened branch dipped in one of his poisons. He looked anything but ancient as he whirled about lithely. “We saw a Grendel on the outskirts of the settlement, heading towards you. Was it here?”
She opened her mouth to speak, but held back for some reason. “No,” she lied.
Veerin took that as a sign to leave, and he dropped his embrace without hesitation. Nor did he bid her farewell, but merely walked into the small crowd of Norns outside. The door swung shut violently behind him.
She walked back towards her bed, conscious of her grandfather’s piercing gaze. “Why are you out of bed?” he queried suspiciously. He placed his spear in the corner and covered the tip with a thick wrap of cloth.
I needed to move after so much sleep,” was all she dared to reveal. He was certain to launch into a discussion about the necessities of her tea. It was a talk she would much rather avoid.
Johmas nodded absently, likely not satisfied with her answer. “To bed,” he gestured. “I have this Grendel sighting to take care of tonight.” She was grateful that this event carried more importance than anything related to her. As the door clicked shut behind him, she found it oddly strange that he had left his spear behind. Shrugging it off, the night air sent another blustery gust through the window. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move. Even with just the light of the rising moon, she could see an object on the floor. A closer inspection told her it had been whatever it was the Grendel had thrown at her. It certainly smelled of Grendel.
Her fingers tentatively reached down to grasp it. As far as she could tell, it was a bit of rolled cloth. The roughness of it was alien to her. Shaking it out in the moonlight, she could see faint lines upon it, but there was not enough light to see. She dared not light a candle, for she was supposed to be deep in sleep already. She rose to look out the window, where a full moon was hiding behind a gown of clouds. If they would only float along, there might be just enough light to bring out whatever was on the cloth.
Impatience pulled her to the window, where she turned the cloth in every which way to try to see what desperate secret it held. Soon she was leaning out the window, hoping that maybe the fresh air would do something for her. The past day had been maddening enough, and she sent an icy look at the lazy clouds that refused to part.
It was at that moment that she realized her feet were hovering in the air, and she fell into the soft bushes that clung tightly to the outside of her home. Some night critter scolded her for disturbing its hunt, and it scuttled off into the tall grass. She rose, shaking out the stray leaves and bits of branches in her fur.
A low murmur of activity was coming from the large room next to the windmill: It was commonly used for Norn gatherings of all sorts. She furrowed her brow in puzzlement. Normally a group would be out hunting the Grendel who had visited the settlement. Holding the cloth close to her like a blanket, she made for the windmill with whatever stealth her bandaged feet could grant her.
She was just steps away from catching the first words when the world became bathed in white. The moon had escaped its captors. Her eyes went to the cloth and she froze in mid-step. It was a drawing of a Norn and a hand. Written beneath it, in ink the color of desperation, was scrawled the word, “RUN.”