This is a new story I am working on. The first chapter is to set up the story line. I hope that you find it enjoyable.
I apologize if there is anything I missed correcting in my editing.
Helena walked on bare feet up the hill side. There was a golden glow over the dark outline of the top of the hill. The night sky was filled with dark clouds that reflected the glow of many fires back, making it easy for her to see her way with no moonlight.
As she crested the hill, the wind whipped at her night shift as though trying to pull it from her body. Her hair blew about her face and her breath caught at the sight before her.
Down in the valley she knew to be just a few weeks ride from her home was an army the size of which she had never seen. She was a child born of war yet her mind faltered at the sheer number of men, torches and fires blazing as their camp for the night filled the enormous stretch of the grassy valley she had seen many times through her life.
"They are coming. On the next full moon, your people will die. You must flee," said the familiar deep voice behind her.
She did not need to turn to see his handsome face filled with worry. She did not need to for she could close her eyes and see him in perfect detail. His green eyes rimmed in gold, his auburn hair whipping about as much as hers and his well shaped body covered in simple but clean clothing. There was always a glow to his moon kissed skin that was reflected in the gold and jewel encrusted sword at his hip. He had begun to show up in her visions just a few years ago but he was familiar from the beginning and she never questioned his presence. The spirits worked in mysterious ways.
She shook her head in shock, "Why do they come? I don't understand."
He stepped up next to her and she could feel heat coming from his body. He felt so alive to her that sometimes she wondered. She turned to look up at him, "Is there no way? No chance we can win?"
He looked down at her with that look in his eyes that made her turn away every time. She hated the way he made her feel sometimes. It was not right to have a spirit pull at ones heart strings.
His voice was soft when he spoke, "No. You must flee. They travel to a greater war and your home means nothing to them. They will rape and pillage with no care for the lives of your people." He paused a moment and his blood boiled, "No care for your virtue."
She stood up straighter suddenly, "That means they will come and go. Perhaps that will convince the others to flee but only for a moment. Allow them to pass and return to our homes to rebuild anything they destroyed in their passing."
He nodded, smiling with pride at her. She was a true leader though she did not honor to hold such a position. But he hoped someday she would.
"It is a good plan." He touched her arm lightly and she turned to look at him with tears in her eyes. This made him pause. She very rarely cried and to see her do so now made his heart ache. He stepped up to her and put his hands on her arms.
"It will be alright Helena."
She closed her eyes as he leaned forward and laid a gentle kiss on her forehead. They stayed like that a few moments, Helena choosing to forget he was not a living man for a short time as he wrapped his arms around her and held her.
He took in a deep breath and sighed. He kissed her head again, not letting her go just yet and then whispered, "I am sorry for what else you must see tonight."
She opened her eyes to look up at him but he was gone. Instead she was standing in the center of her own village as it burned. There were screams all around her and the smell of smoke filling her senses. She could hear a mans grunts of passion and a steady sob of a woman from a hut near her that did not burn and then the vision changed and she went from calm observer to pure panic.
She was strapped to a table with only a fire set into a stone wall for light. She couldn't see around her but the room was large and the deep shadows danced from the flames of the fire. A dark shadow stood over her and she felt a sharp pain on her chest. Looking down at herself she saw she was nude and covered in symbols cut into her flesh from face to toes. The blade being held in the man's hand continued the cutting as she could now make out his voice mumbling in a language she didn't understand. She knew those words and could recite them word for word yet she couldn't understand what they meant.
He leaned down and she could smell blood on his breath and knew it was her blood. His lips pressed on hers firmly and she clamped her mouth closed against the blood he was drawing from his own bitten tongue. He forces her to swallow it by sealing her mouth with his and pressing her nose closed. She would swallow it or drown in it. It was her choice. Helena fought as long as she could until she finally was forced to swallow the metallic liquid before he allowed her a painful breath.
That is when she felt his hand part her neither lips and she screamed, fighting against the straps attached to the table. She fought against the sensation of his finger sliding over her already wet from her blood. As he found her clit he concentrated there and she thrashed more, hating the sensation it was causing to build inside of her. She did not want to give him what he wanted but she was helpless to stop it..
She felt his breath on her face and he whispered into her ear, "Now my little Prophet. Tell me what you see of me or I will insure that you have no visions to tell of again."
She woke screaming and thrashing in her bed. Esma had come running at the sound of her sister's cries and stood back from the bed, waiting for the village prophet to wake from her vision so she could comfort her. Esma knew what was needed as she had her own visions. But she was still new to the gifts unlike Helena who had started having the visions at a young age. Esma had just started her training when the old Prophet left to the mountains to die. Just as all the other Prophets before him had done.
Esma rocked Helena until the woman stopped sobbing and had quieted. The two women were not that far apart in age. Helena was just a little older. It was the first time in the history of their village that two sisters so close in age had found themselves in a role normally seated by the old and the young. Instead the two women would share a single apprentice one day as they both grew old together.
"What did you see," Esma asked in a quiet and calm voice, still rocking her older sister.
"I saw the man with the knife." She shivered as she remembered the terror of it. This was not the first time she had experienced this vision. Even at a very young age she had repeated this particular dream and always she had been a grown woman in the vision, just as she looked now. But this time there was something new and different. She had no doubt that the army that approached had something to do with this man.
Esma petted her sister and nodded, "Did you see the battle again?"
That was another difference. There had always been a battle after the man with the knife. A clash of two enormous armies that made the ground shake and blood pool on the ground.
Helena shook her head, "No. It was different this time. We must go see Lucas. Events are being set in motion."
Esma sat in shock as her sister climbed from the matt of furs and wool blankets to dress quickly. The two women left their small home to find Lucas, their King. Esma did not press her sister to tell her more because she knew her sister would reveal it soon enough.
She stood before Lucas with Esma behind her, intimidated by the muscled wall of a man sitting in a wooden chair near the fire of the great hall. He had red hair laced with patches of gold. His eyes were such a light blue they were almost gray making them startling with his dark skin. A vicious scar ran down the left side of his face that had just barely missed the beautiful eye. It took everything Helena had in her to stay still under his intense and thoughtful look.
He was a warrior of great renown. There were stories told of his battles every night by the fire. All were stories of his youth when he was still a Prince and would travel the land. He was muscular with big callused hands and small white scars that criss crossed his body. He wore a finally spun tunic died a deep red color. It went just past his knees and left his well muscled legs showing. Yet he was still unmarried with no heir to his small kingdom built atop a hill at the base of the mountains of Aralt.
The hall was empty except for a few guards and the three of them. There were empty chairs around the fire from the night before when everyone had gathered for their meal and drank around the fire into the late hours. But Helena did not take a seat. She stayed standing, looking at him from across the fire that burned in the center of the structure.
"How large an army," he asked, sitting forward to lean his elbows on the arms of the chair.
"Their fires were so great and so many that the clouded sky above them was ablaze with the light." She answered, her voice not showing any sign of the relief she felt that he was not going to dismiss the warning vision. She knew he was a wise leader but sometimes he would surprise her and become hard headed. She was relieved to discover this would not be one of those times.
He frowned and the scar wrinkled a little. Helena had always wanted to touch that scar. To run her fingers over it and see how it felt beneath her lips. But such things were not allowed for a Prophet. She still held her flower tightly to herself and to give it away would take away her gifts. Perhaps that was why the Spirit often worried for her virtue. Perhaps he feared he would lose her when she could no longer see him.
"How long," Lucas asked in his deep voice. It drew her from her thought and she looked at his eyes again. He watched her curiously, wondering if she was having visions even as they spoke.
"The next full moon my King which is not far off. They camp in the valley where the apple trees grow. If we wait until they leave, we may return and rebuild but the spirit warns that to stay is death and sadness."
He nodded his head as though making up his mind and turned to the man behind him, "Call the Elders. We have much to do."
The man nodded and turned to leave. Lucas looking at the fire for a drawn out moment and she heard him whisper to himself, "I have heard of no war. What battle do they go to fight?"
Helena bowed her head and turned to go, hoping to sneak out while his attention was elsewhere. Now that her message was delivered she felt her self control would shatter if she stayed any longer. Just as she reached the entry way she was stopped by his voice.
"Helena," he paused until she turned to look at him. Her eyes looked trapped and she had her hands clasped tightly in front of her. "Stay a moment and speak with me. Everyone else please go."
Helena took a deep breath as she walked slowly back towards where he sat and stood back in the spot across the fire from him that she had previously occupied. Esma had already slipped from the room along with the guards before he spoke again.
"Did the vision shake you that badly," he asked her, concern showing in his eyes.
She nodded slowly and said in a quiet voice, "It did."
Her quiet voice reminded him that she was a woman who still possessed feelings and he hated how her visions affected her. He was reminded of the smiling girl he had watched grow as he reached adulthood. He was older then her but he was not elderly. His father had died from the cough during the winter and he had taken his place. Both of them had changed so much since then. She had become so serious and he had been pained when he learned she had the visions. It meant he could never ask her to be his wife or touch her tender skin.
He stood and moved around the fire but she took a step back, her eyes a little wide.
He stopped but he did not wish to, "What is it Helena?"
She blushed and it set his heart racing, "Please do not call me that. We are no longer who we once were."
He grinned, trying to cheer her. "So your name is no longer Helena?"
She shook her head and he watched a smile appear at the corners of her lips, "That is not what I meant." She had lowered her eyes to his shoes, refusing to look up at his.
He came towards her quickly before she could react and step back. She gasped as one of his hands gripped her arm firmly, his other hand going up to lift her chin.
"You know what I mean and you are changing the subject. What else did you see?"
Helena shook her head and tried to pull her arm away. He released her arm and stepped back, reminding himself that she was gone to him. That the Gods had other plans for the woman he had fallen in love with in her youth.
"I am sorry. I should not touch you," he muttered as he turned away and moved back towards his chair. If he had just watched a moment longer he would have seen her hand lift as though reaching for him. He would have seen her mouth begin to open with heart ache in her eyes. She dropped her hand back to her side and locked away the sadness she felt.
"I have many visions of the future my King. But I only share with each person what pertains to them. Visions of other people are for them alone." In this case she was referring to herself but he did not need to know that.
Lucas sat back down, already tired though he had just woken. He could hear the Elders coming towards the door and sat up straighter in his chair, "You are right. The Elders arrive and I have much to do. Thank you for your warning Helena. I will make a sacrifice to the Spirits in thanks to them."
Helena bowed her head slightly and finally found her exit. She hurried back to her home and her bed. The visions always took so much out of her and often left her tired as though she had never slept. She would spend the day in solitude to allow her own spirit to recover from the ordeal of a strong vision.
She was not surprised to find a steaming cup of the herbs she had intended to use to stave off anymore visions waiting for her. Esma cared for her sister the remainder of the day just as Helena always did for her. She even refused the Elders entry when they came to ask the Prophet questions, reminding them of how taxing the visions were before sending them off again. Helena slept soundly most the day with no more visions to haunt her.