Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Crest of Thorns

By @

Chapter 2: Vicky

“Vicky, we’ve got to hide!” Sara’s yells don’t register in my mind. I go through the motions. Sara’s gray-haired mother gives medicine to the head of the Nida family, Sara’s father. She struggles to get her husband up, while Sara tugs on my arm.

           “Vicky, we have to hide!” She exclaims frantically. Pixie rushes about the home, hissing and spitting at each person.

           I can’t focus. Guilt is like a wave, washing over me and covering my body.

           “I knew they were coming,” I mutter. Sara stops, her eyes wide.

           “You knew this would happen?” Sara’s voice rises, and Pixie yowls.

           “Yep. Both Zari and I overheard a noble talking about a raid on Village Kel.” I shuffle my feet shamefully.

           “Why didn’t you tell us? Warn the village?” Sara rubs her nose. She’s trying to control her anger, as usual.

           “Well, I’m sorry!” I snap. “I forgot.”

           “How do you forget a thing like—”

           “Girls! Be quiet. Hide in the closet, okay?” Kiranida shoves us into the closet and slams the door. Sara stands still, fists clenched.

           I groan inwardly. My staff is outside, and if I had it right now, I would be able to stop the Silver Knights! I try to open the door from the inside, but it’s no use. Kiranida’s locked it.

           “Your mother can be careless sometimes,” I growl, pounding my fists against the door. I can’t see anything in the darkness, but a small flicker of light emits from one of the walls.

           Sara doesn’t notice it. “Vicky, what is wrong with you? You’re acting brashly!”

           “Stop worrying about things that aren’t important!” I retort, throwing my full weight at the door. It still doesn’t budge.

           My muscles tighten. “Grr, what are we supposed to be doing anyway? Your mother threw us in here for no good reason at all!”

           Sara crosses her arms. “She wants to protect us, and it makes sense for us to stay in here.”

           “No, it doesn’t! We should be helping everyone in the village! It’ll be just like every other time.” Amber magic crackles around my wrists, and I will it to stop. Whenever I get frustrated, angry, or my emotions get out of control, my magic goes wild too.

           “Vicky. Calm down.” Sara carefully steps towards me. I suspire slowly, shooting her an apologetic glance.

           “Sorry,” I mumble. “I just wish there was something we could do to defeat the Silver Knights.”

           A loud scream breaks the tension, followed by another, and another. The villagers are in trouble.

           I drop down to my hands and knees and start crawling towards the small light opening. Sara follows me, but wavers as she does.

           “Let’s stay in the darkness,” she pleads. I ignore her.

           As I peek out of the small crack, all I see is rain. Pouring, horrid, rain.

           But if I’m determined enough, I can make things out through the downpour and observe what’s going on. My breathing catches.

           “Sara,” my words tremble. “Your parents…”

           Sara shoves me over with sudden ferocity and struggles to look out of the crack. It takes her far longer than it had taken me, but she finally notices it.

           “The Silver Knights can’t take them! They are the village’s only healers!” Sara sobs, putting her hands over her eyes. I awkwardly comfort her with a hug.

           “Vicky, we need to go save them,” she cries into my shoulder. I nod, holding back the grin that twitches on my lips.

           “Help me break down the door then. I’ll get your parents back, I swear,” I place a hand on my chest, over my heart. Sara blinks away her tears and wipes her face, nodding.

           “Okay,” she agrees over her sniffles, readying for the impact.

           “On the count of three.”

           “One, two…”


           Both Sara and I smash down the door and hit the ground hard. My shoulder burns with pain, but I ignore it. Sara is a little more hurt than I am, with blood dripping down her robe’s sleeve. I go to touch it, but she shakes her head. Sara points at my witch’s staff and cloak. She wants me to go. And go I shall.

           I stand up and grab my staff while buttoning my gray cloak on. I push open the outside door. It falls off it’s hinges, revealing the outside world which had been so peaceful before I came here.

           The Silver Knights are harder to see in the rain, especially with their silver armour. It takes a keen eye to find where they will strike next.

           They ride on horses, tripping villagers with their whips and roping them up like animals. I grit my teeth, anger fueling my brisk walk and my magic.

           The ground is soupier than before, making my steps lag and my thighs burn. My boots come back up with a suction sound. If this weren’t such a serious situation, I would be laughing my head off.

           This is all my fault. The words echo in my mind again. My knuckles whiten as I grip my staff tighter. A Silver Knight’s horse runs towards me in the rain. The knight moves to whip me, but I hold up my staff. Amber magic zigzags out of it, ripping through the knight and burning him to ashes.

           “Haha! How do you like that, you sorry excuse for a knight?” I shout after the horse. The knight’s armour hangs at the animal’s side.

           I go after as many knights as I can. I’m keeping count of how many I’ve killed; in case I need to brag about it one day, that is. The emotions I’ve worked hard to keep in check are feral. In the distance, some knights are trying to get away. They still have Sara’s parents, roped up and tied to their horses. My witch’s staff pulses with light. I’ve been using the fire and explosion spell too much; it’s sapping my energy. If I want to save Sara’s family, I’ll have to be quick.

           “Maybe if I use a spell that will kill all knights without using the staff myself…” I murmur, lessening my grip on the elm wood. I mutter a spell I taught myself, then I throw the staff into the air.

           Sparks fly from my staff as it hurls about the clearing, spearing through knight’s armour and impaling them in the distance. One by one, the knights fall, and I grin wickedly. Someday, I’ll get them all.

           “Vicky! What is going on? The horses are still dragging my parents away, and some of the knights are—”

           I interrupt Sara, waving her off. “Sara, Sara, Sara. Dear Saranida, the staff will get them back, don’t you worry. It’ll finish off the closest warriors to Kel, and those knights are the last of them.”

           Sara puts a hand on my shoulder and spins me around to meet her severe gaze. “Vicky, those aren’t the only warriors around here.”

           “What?” My nose wrinkles in confusion before I hear it. That sound. The Horns of Valian. Zarridah must have come.

           I gulp, turning back to the battlefield. The remaining villagers watch in amazement as Zari rides to battle, gray cloak whipping in the windy rain behind her.

           “No. They never come. This is bad.” I moan, pulling at my spiky hair in aggravation. My staff will take them on instead of the Silver Knights.

           I’ll need to control my emotions to get it back.

           “Lemme think of the counter curse, alright Sara?” I mumble, recalling the spells I had practiced when I was younger. Now that I’m eighteen, I’ll be sure to get the spells right.

           I hope.

           I mutter the ancient words of the moon goddess and Witch Queen, Aylin. The staff in the distance burns brighter as Zari and her platoon grow nearer. The blonde Valian leader looks like a real warrior, her teeth bared, and sword held up high. I mutter even faster, but nothing changes.

           “No! It’s not working!” I curse under my breath. Sara leans forward, her spectacles sleek with rainwater.

           “You said something about emotions, right? It might be that! Think of something happy—”

           “Stop it! Lemme think!” I bark. My words weave together, becoming more like a song than a chant, though my frustration never disappears. The staff becomes brighter by the minute, and it has stopped spearing the Silver Knights now. Now, it’s flying towards the Valian warriors.

           “Stop! Stop it!” I shriek at the staff. My hands shake like they’ve never shook before. It hurts to stay calm now, and the pain travels from my spine to the back of my head. I crumple to my knees, my clammy palms sinking into the muddy ground. Maybe if I give up, my staff will die down. But as long as my heart beats and my frustration dwells inside me, it will continue to attack the warriors.

           I force myself to look up. Valian soldiers fall to their deaths as my staff spears through them, much more easily than it had with the Silver Knights. Much less bloodier, too.

           The only Valian warrior who is able to avoid my staff is Zarridah, who’s pale blue eyes find me in the muddy village and glare at me with such ferocity. The confidence I knew from helping Zari is still there inside her, but the kindness is dead. Before I can think up a good excuse for what happened, Zari’s stallion gallops to a stop in front of me, snorting and pawing the ground impatiently. I slowly lift my eyes to Zari, smiling weakly at her.

           “Hey there,” I greet. Zari doesn’t say anything, picking me up off the ground with brutal strength and setting me on her horse. I open my mouth, contemplating if I should keep silent, or if I should defend myself at all. I go with the latter.

           “Look, Zari—”

           “Don’t you dare speak until we take you to a Hearing in Valian,” she growls. Her heart-shaped face nods to the dead warriors on the ground. “And why don’t you try calling your staff back now?”

           I stick my tongue out before trying what she says. Of course, my staff flies back into my mucky hand, dormant as it was before.

           Zari continues to ride away from the village, while I glance over my shoulder at it. Sara stands alone in the pouring rain, her brown and silvery hair drenched with rainwater. The question of where Zari is going is on the tip of my tongue, but I don’t know what to do anymore.

           My emotions were uncontrollable. I killed knights and warriors. Only three Valian warriors ride around the village, helping villagers and providing them with assistance. There had been about twelve Valians at the start.

           Something went wrong today. I just proved the superstitions of my kind true.

           Edinsmorians will surely hate Necroca because of me.



Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
0 Likes 0 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.