The Story of Mena - Chapter One
By Mena Daman the Trooper of Love (KTN)
Mena Dycasu was born on a fine summers day in the year 1449. She was a bonny child, dark haired and bright eyed, and she was managed to keep her parents Ravin and Vianda, very busy! She showed an early ability for thievery, for as soon as she could walk, she would steal treats from her Mothers kitchen, and would conceal herself in the cellar with her goodies!
Mena was blessed with a playmate at the age of two, as her sister Myer was born. Mena gazed with wonder at this new little person who had come into her world.
How can something so small, make so much noise? she often wondered to herself in the small hours of the night when she was woken by the screaming infant. And how can they love that ugly little pink thing more than me? Menas heart burnt with resentment at the amount of attention that her new little sister received. I did not ask for a sister, how dare they give me something that I do not want. Many angry thoughts turned over in Menas head in those first months of Myers life.
But despite Menas ill thoughts towards her sibling, it was not long before Myer was up and about and following her elder sister everywhere! Mena had an amazing ability to think up plans that seemed brilliant at the time of undertaking, but always seemed to wind them up in trouble afterwards! And as the eldest, she was clever enough to pin the blame on her younger, fair-haired, sister.
Mena spent many years frolicking with her sister in this way. They would plot against each other, and try to land each other in as much trouble as possible. They argued frequently, and would sometimes spend days at a time ignoring each other, but they loved each other dearly, almost to the point of obsession, and Menas heart nearly broke when she was informed by her father, one windy Autumns morning, that she would have to leave.
She was to be sent away to learn the skills that she would come to depend on for the rest of her life. Mena was to take the first step towards becoming a thief. She was nine.
There were many tears as she waved goodbye to her family, to make a start towards independence, but also much resentment that her sister was staying behind to absorb all of her parents love and attention. Mena was so absorbed in her own self pity that she failed to notice the satisfied looks that exchanged between her parents, and she did not see the cunning smile that her mother directed at her as she turned and walked away.
Mena spent 4 years away from home, practicing the arts of thievery. She learnt how to hold a weapon for the first time, and where all the most vulnerable parts of creatures bodies were, so that she would do the most damage. She learned that the shadows were able to conceal her from the eyes of common onlookers, and that she could make a tidy profit by pilfering tidbits from careless merchants.
Mena had a lot of fun in those years away from home, but resentment and rejection burned inside her about being sent away. She resigned to save as much as possible, so that when she returned home, she could have the satisfaction of rubbing her sisters nose in the gold.
What Mena did not know, however, was that things had changed at home. Myer had also been working in the years of her absence. She spent day after day in the studies of the archaic language of magic. Her beautiful golden locks were singed from her attempts at potion mixing, and her delicate hands were callused from the hours of writing that she did each day.
Each failed attempt at a spell brought fresh anguish and tears, and her heart ached for her sister. She did have something to distract her from her pain though. For in the spring after Menas departure, their mother had given birth to a bouncy baby boy named Jacob.
Jacob came as a surprise to Ravin and Vianda. They had resigned themselves to the idea that they were to have no son to continue the family line, and so they doted on their baby son. Jacob was a quiet child, and instead of bathing in the love that was bestowed upon him, he hid. He would run away from any new people that came to visit and would throw tantrums if he was forced to meet them.
So, naturally, it came as quite a surprise to Mena when she walked back into the family home on her 13th birthday, to have some young, dark haired boy scream at her and bolt out of the house. Mena stood in the doorway, startled, her pack of belongings slung over her shoulder, wondering who the stranger was. Mena resolved to go after the youngster, and leaving her pack by the entrance to the room, she went in search of him. Mena thought about the places on the farm that would make a good hiding place and crept to the door of the cellar. It was not hard to find the boy, he was hiding in one of her favorite old places, and as she looked at him her heart melted. He looked so scared; his big green eyes flashing like a startled deer, and his cheeks blushing furiously.
Mena knelt down beside the boy and silently held out her hand. The boy looked at her curiously, and after what seemed like centuries, he reached out his own hand and placed it in to hers. As Mena walked back into the house, with the lad close beside her, her father looked in from the kitchen.
Ah, he exclaimed, Welcome home, I see you have met your brother. Jacob.
Mena looked down at the boy by her side in disbelief. She did not have a brother, and if she did, her parents would have written to her to tell her the news, wouldnt they? However, he did look suprisingly like her, and he had that same innocence to his face that Myer had had when she was young, and that smile was the image of her mother.
Suddenly an amazing rage built up inside of her. She had a brother, and her parents had not told her? How dared they? All the pain and anger that Mena had been feeling in her years away exploded outward in that moment in a torrent of insults and accusations. She called them all the names under the sun, and accused them of so many vile and evil deeds, that to this day Mena does not remember half of what she said.
One moment though, that will haunt her head and heart forever, is the look that her parents exchanged between them as their eldest daughter exploded. On their faces they wore a calm expression of indifference, but in their eyes there flashed a glimpse of triumph and this served to anger Mena even more. She stormed out of the house, tears flooding down her cheeks, and ran to the outskirts of the farm. She clambered onto a stile and as she watched the sunset in the distance, she cried. Huge, heaving sobs wracked her body and she cried until the darkness of night enveloped her.
As she looked around her into the blackness, she realised she had no idea where she was. She had run without direction, and the farm was no longer familiar to her. She was sitting on the stile, trying to remember the way she had come when a figure emerged out of the darkness a few yards away from her. Mena started to rise, but on closer inspection realised that the figure was that of the boy, and sank back down again with a sigh.
The boy looked at her with a worried expression on his little face and then suddenly walked to her, and placed his hands in hers.
Sister, he proclaimed Why do you cry? He blushed red as a cherry as he asked the question, and dropped his eyes to the floor.
I cry because of my father, young lad. I cry because my life as I know it is over. I cry because I can not believe that someone I loved so much could lie to me about something so important. Mena replied, subconsciously squeezing the little boys hand.
The boy raised his head to look at her again, and placed her hands onto his chest. Jacob, he said nodding, Your brother. Papa does not lie.
Mena started to reply, but one look into the boys eyes told her he was telling the truth. She had a brother, and she had missed too many years of his life already. She smiled at the boy and lifted him onto her lap. Jacob, I am your sister Mena, and I promise to teach you everything I know, Mena said solemnly, and she knew deep down that this was a promise she would do everything she could to keep. Mena stayed at the farm for three years. She missed her life of independence and she hated being under her parents rule once again, but she found ways to have fun.
She was interested to learn from Myer about the years she had missed, and was shocked to see how much her sister had changed. Myer had been a spoilt, scheming child when Mena left, but she returned to find a fledgling woman, dedicated to the cause of magic. She had learnt a great deal and excitedly babbled various bits of information to her sister. They went on long walks together, usually with their little brother bounding along behind, and sometimes spent hours sitting in each others company, just enjoying being together again.
Mena also had the joy of learning all about her baby brother. He blossomed under her tutolage and began to take an interest in the thief skills that Mena showed to him. He learnt to read, to swim and even to hold a weapon correctly. He perfected hiding in shadows so well, that even Mena could not find him, and showed a keenness for attacking their scarecrow that was sometimes frightening. Jacob and Mena spent many hours together over those years, and a special bond developed between them. It was Mena who had to tuck Jacob into bed at night, and Mena who had to wake him for breakfast in the morning. They would play their special games of hide-and-seek together, and even began to communicate in the secret thieves language.
However, Menas life was to take another drastic turn, on a cold winters day, in the year 1465. She was working in the barn, making sure the horses were fed and watered, when her father approached her. He had that same look in his eyes as that day he sent her away, and Mena knew that it meant trouble. Menas eyes bulged with disbelief at the plans that her father revealed to her. Apparently, the farm had been losing money for a few seasons and they needed an input of money to tide them over to the growing season. Menas father had decided that it was time that she repaid him for her schooling. He stated that the inn in the local town was full at this time of year with rich merchants, taking shelter from the harsh winters weather. He wanted, even expected, Mena to go to the tavern and steal from the merchants. If that was not bad enough, he expected her to gain excess to their wealth by any means possible, even if that meant accompanying them to their chambers. Mena could not believe what she was hearing. How could her father expect her to do this? She looked at him, with as composed a face as she could muster, and flatly refused to do as he ordered.
The slap that she received across her face sent her reeling backwards. She stumbled over a bucket and screamed as her leg was impaled on a pitchfork. Her father turned toward the door of the barn and stated over his shoulder, If you are not prepared to help your family, then you deserve no family. You are not now, and have never been my daughter. Get out of my house. The words rang in Menas ears, and she passed out to the sounds of their echoes.
Mena came around in a warm room that looked like a study. As she raised her head off the table that she found herself on, she saw Myer sitting in a chair on the far side of the room. With her head in a book, and Jacob asleep in front of a dying fire.
Sis? She said groggily, her mouth felt like it was full of feathers, Where am I?
Within an instant both Myer and Jacob were by her side. Your scream sent us running to the barn, where we saw you unconscious on the floor. Papa forbid us to go to you, and made us return to the house, but we returned when it was dark and brought you here. This is my study, in one of Papas out buildings. I have fixed your leg as best I can, but I am afraid I have not studied much of healing yet. Myers face was filled with concern as she gazed down at her sister.
I am sure it will be fine. I can not believe he just left me there. I surely would have died if you had not found me. Mena stated sadly, the full impact of her fathers words hitting her.
Papa does not like you Mena. Jacob mumbled through his sniffles, He said he never wants to see you again and that we should not either.
Well if that is the case, I am sure it can be arranged. Mena stated bluntly. She had no desire to stay where she was not wanted.
Are you going to leave? Myer asked questioningly, Where will you go?
I am sure there is a place out there somewhere that welcomes unwanted people like me. Besides I have a wish to explore and find some of those creatures that I have read about in books. Mena replied, the idea to explore only just occurring to her.
Jacob screamed at this moment and flung himself at Menas body. Please dont go. He cried, I am scared, what will I do without you? I shall have no one to play with, and I shall never see you again. Mena considered her little brothers words for a moment, and then climbed down off the table. Painfully she got down to one knee in front of Jacob, and placed her hand over her heart.
Jacob, she said sternly, I swear that I shall always love and protect you. If ever you need anything, I will do all that I can to fulfill your needs. All you have to do is ask me. I shall send you notice of where I go, so you can always reach me. Then she rose and smiled at the boy. Jacob nodded and kissed Menas hand, then dashed out of the study into the early morning light. He returned some hours later with a bag full of food, and a change of clothing. He smiled cheekily as Mena looked at the food, and she knew that her mother had no idea that it was missing. Myer added various bottles and bandages to the pack, with instructions that the wound should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Myer whispered the words I will pray for you into Menas ear and with that turned and walked out of the door.
Jacob, however, followed Mena to the farmyard gate. He was crying openly by now, and the sight of him so upset burned in Menas heart , and almost made her stay. Reluctantly she kissed him on the cheek and squeezed his hand. She was shocked to feel a few coins pushed into her palm, and the open look of deceit on his face.
Papa will lash you for stealing that Jacob, I can not accept it. She said firmly and tried to give the coins back, but Jacob just shook his head, grabbed hold of her hand and started to pull her towards the road that ran by their farm.
Please Jacob, I could not bear the idea of you being punished for me. Mena wished that her brother would take back the coins. However, Jacob just winced at the idea of a lashing, but continued to pull his sister away from the farm. When they reached the road, Mena knelt again. She removed one of the little silver daggers from her ear. She had worn the pair since she was a little girl, and gave it to Jacob.
I ask for one more thing from you Jacob, She muttered as she looked into his angelic eyes. Jacob nodded, and she continued, Do not forget me. Remember all the fun days we had playing in the fields, and do not think ill of me for leaving. Jacob nodded again, and then with tears streaming down his face he kissed her once and ran towards the farm. Mena looked at her home one last time, and turned and walked away. Her eyes stung with tears, and her throat was choked with all the words she wanted to say, but she knew she had to make a new home now, and somewhere in the world there would be a place where she was wanted.
Mena traveled for many months, seeking out new places and people. She was fascinated by this new world of exploring. Never knowing from one night to another where she was going to sleep, or when she would get her next hot meal. She talked to many people, trying to find out what lay beyond the boundaries of this Kingdom, and was surprised to learn that there was a large continent that lay to the west, far over the mountains, inhabited with all forms of life. The idea of living in an entirely new continent appealed to Mena. She could start a new life, free from the upset of her past. She could be whatever she wanted to be, and no one would know the difference.
Mena decided that she would head for this new land, and set about getting supplies for her journey. She knew that the trek through the mountains was not going to be easy, but hopefully it would all be worthwhile. Nothing, however, prepared her for how hard her journey would be. She had no money with which to get a horse, and so she set out on foot, planning to cross the mountains in summer, so that the journey would be mildly easier. The going was slow, an overwhelming tiredness settled in her bones, and they ached with every new step she took. She ran out of food, and had to settle with scavenging what she could find from the soil, to begin with this was easy, at the base of the mountain range there was a vast stretching forest, abundant with life and water. Mena found it easy to live on stream water and fungus, but as the land grew steeper fewer and fewer plants grew, and she found herself passing days at a time without food.
The cold was never ending; rain and sleet lashed at her and made her clothes constantly wet. She wept frequently, and would often turn to look longingly at the path behind her, knowing that if she was to turn back she was certain of finding warmth and food, but she was stubborn, and would reluctantly turn her back on her past again, and press on into the wind.
Winter came quickly to the mountains, and with it came almost certain death, as Mena discovered. She realised that her planning had been wrong, and that she would have to spend winter in the mountains. She decided that instead of continuing onwards, the best thing to do would be to find a cave, and barricade herself in. She searched frantically for suitable shelter in those first frosty days, and gathered as much firewood, food and water as she could find.
Eventually she came across a cave, it was not deep, and it was smelly, but it offered shelter from the wind and rain, and Mena set about making a fire to ward off the cold. Knowing that she was safe allowed her some peace of mind, and she was soon to fall into a deep sleep, exhausted from the months of hard travelling. She awoke to find, to her horror, that snow had fallen overnight, and that she was trapped. Desperately digging at the entrance to her cave proved futile, and after many hours, and failed attempts, she sat back and contemplated her fate. She had enough food to last for a few weeks, if she almost starved herself each day, and drinking the snow would provide water. However, her fire was nearly dead, and she did not have enough wood to keep it going. She was going to freeze to death in these mountains, far away from any civilization, and no one would ever know. Mena watched with bitterness as her fire flickered and died a few days into her imprisonment. Her life was never supposed to end like this, alone in a freezing cave. It was all her fathers fault, he drove her away, and now she would die. She lay down to sleep, knowing that she would probably never wake again.
Why she was saved from the fate of death, Mena will never know, but saved she was. She awoke to find a small opening in the snow bank blocking her cave, and set about digging at the opening, slowly making it wide enough for her to crawl through.
Mena did not waste any time in getting out of those mountains, she gathered up her few belongings and began to run. She ran for as far as she could each day, putting as much distance behind her as possible, and walked even further. She was frightened to sleep incase the same thing happened to her again, and so would rest, huddled under her blanket, for a few hours each day, while the sun was at its highest, but would quickly press on again.
Spring came, and the journeying got easier. The land began to slope downwards again, and slowly fresh vegetation began to appear, tipped with the new buds of spring. Mena was overjoyed. She had made it, she was over the worst now, and began to walk with a spring to her step, and a smile on her face. This side of the mountains was definitely different to the other, more familiar side. There was an abundance of forests, and Mena passed many new creatures that she had never seen before. She journeyed for some time in this land, trying to find people to give her directions, but people were scarce, and the few that she saw rushed by without even noticing her.
Mena was beginning to give up hope of ever finding civilization, when she emerged from a dense cluster of trees to see the gates to a large city. Her heart caught in her throat. She was here, a new life awaited her, and she walked forward to meet with it.
Mena had never seen such sights as these as she stood near a fountain in the center of this city that she found herself in. She stood and watched in awe as all these wonderful looking people walked by. Some stopped to fill all manner of water containers from the fountain, others stopped to rest their travel weary bones and relay their adventures to their friends. Some people rushed through, not stopping to wave, as they continued on their journeys and quests.
Whilst listening to some of these tales of far-off cities and lands, an overwhelming urge grew within Mena. She longed to be a part of this mysterious occupation known as adventuring. Mena approached one of these people resting near the fountain a few days after she arrived. She was curious to find out the name of this marvelous city, and a thought had occurred to her in her few days of looking around. In a city as large as this, there was sure to be some sort of underhanded thief network that she could, hopefully, feel at home in.
The city was called Riversy, and it was the capital city of the Kingdom of Amaranth, home of His Majesty King Brind. She was given the advice to head to a place called Looney Street for information on thieving. Mena eagerly set off to find this place, hopeful that after so many months she could find a place to call home again.
She got lost many times in trying to find the gathering place of her kind, and almost gave up hope, when she stumbled upon a rank, foul smelling alleyway. Realising that she had not ventured up this way, she held her breath and disappeared into the opening. Her heart skipped a beat as she noticed a small doorway with weasely looking man at the entrance. It took Mena a long time to convince the man to grant her entrance, but eventually she was allowed inside and her heart filled with joy as she looked around. She was summoned to the Guildmaster shortly after her entrance. He asked her many questions and demanded proof of her suitability. Mena was at last grateful of the early training she had received at the hands of her parents. The Guildmaster was impressed with her knowledge and approved of the training that she had received, and he granted her membership to the Riversy Guild of Thieves. Mena was overjoyed. A sense of fullfilness welled up inside her. She had taken the first step in her new, independent life.
It was while she was hanging around the fountain one day that she met the person who would become her first friend in this realm. His name was Gristle, and he was a young ambitious warrior.. Together they ventured to a cave east of Riversy, where a mining colony of Gnomes lived. Gristle assured her that with a bit of assistance from her, he could easily dispatch these gnomes. And so, with his assurance, Mena entered into her first real fight. The thrill of the fight, and the adrenaline pumping through her veins filled her with a new lust for life. So this was adventuring? Now she could understand why the faces near the fountain were normally filled with such excitement as they re-counted their tales. She felt alive, truly alert, and she wanted to kill everything in sight!
Mena eagerly entered into many fights with Gristle, and it was not long before they felt ready to explore a new killing area. They journeyed to a city called Miramor. A place filled with half-elves, hidden away from the humans eyes. The fights here were longer and harder, and it pained Mena to see Gristle endure so many blows, day after day. She helped in every way that she could, but it was not long before she began to notice a significant deterioration in his behavior. At the start of their friendship he had been a lively young man, full of ambition and talk of the future, and it had been a gradual transformation, but Mena realised that the constant blows to the head that Gristle received were damaging his brain. His conversations were slow now, and they spent more time in each others company in silence than in constant chatter.
Mena had grown considerably in the time that she had spent with Gristle. She felt stronger and healthier, and her skills flourished. In fact under the guidance of her Guildmaster she had even managed to perfect many new skills, and she knew with a certainty that came from deep in her heart that soon she would have to leave her friend, and explore on her own. It was while she was wandering around Miramor one day, on one of her frequent breaks form Gristles now quite unintelligible ramblings, that she met the person who would lead her towards the next part of her life.
Mena was doing her usual tour of the city, fetching fresh bread and water, inquiring as to whether the armourer or store held anything new, when she noticed a woman watching her. Hesitantly she approached the stranger and asked her why she was watching. The lady introduced herself as Caron, apparently quite a powerful sorceress and a respected member of the Guild of Wolves. Menas breath caught in her throat. She had heard about this Guild, known as The WolfPack, and she wondered what this lady could want with her.
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