#31DaysOfWriting: Rewriting Destiny

Doubt and Wisdom

The two trekked in silence for the next while as they navigated what had become a fairly rocky hill that required great effort to climb even with the little they carried for there was no clear trail, although they followed a well-worn footpath when it appeared along their way. Willow considered her dream and considered the creature on the bridge and wondered again why Heyrah had left without speaking with her. It was he, after all, who had made mention that her journey would require her to defeat the angels of darkness. And how was she to defeat anyone if he had taken with him her sword and shield?

Behind her, Poppy trudged on silently and Willow guessed that she, too, was considering this information about the angel of darkness. They were both familiar with the tales of lore that the Elders shared during the Festival gatherings, tales of evil and destruction and the ruin of villages and the stealing of souls. Neither of them had ever taken such tales too seriously, although there were times when Willow had approached her mother on the subject and her mother had not outright dismissed it as Willow and Poppy did. Instead, her mother lowered her voice and said that there were dangers in discussing evil in the light of day while the sun shone so high in the sky. She intimated that there were those who listened to all conversations for such discussions. And now, here she was, walking in a strange region having been confronted with the very idea that the angels of darkness were not necessarily lore after all. A prickling of fear crawled across her skin and along the baseline of her hair, as if someone, or something, was very near to her.

“Shall we rest a moment?” Willow said.

“Indeed,” Poppy agreed. The two sat upon a couple of flat rocks and looked over the rocky crag below that they had just climbed. They were but a quarter of the way to the top and for a moment Willow wondered why they had left their villages for this for this is not what she had pictured in her mind when she and Poppy discussed breaking free of their assigned destinies and heading out into the world to claim new ones.

“Care to share your thoughts?” Willow asked.

“It is a long climb to the top, but I do believe it will be worth every effort,” Poppy said.

“Indeed?”

“Do you doubt the journey?”

“No, I do not the journey,” Willow replied.

“Perhaps you doubt yourself,” Heyrah said from just over the rocky ledge. He and Belac came into view from above them and both girls rose immediately.

“Heyrah!” Poppy cried, a hint of relief and what sounded like joy in her voice.

“Why did you leave us behind?” Willow asked.

“We stand here together,” Heyrah replied. “You are not left behind.”

“You were long departed before our eyes greeted the day,” Willow said. She saw Belac standing behind Heyrah holding the sword and shield and she narrowed her eyes at them both. “And you took my sword and shield.”

“Ah, so you lay claim to the gifts you discovered upon the bridge,” Heyrah said.

“Left so that I might defend myself from an angel of darkness.”

“But did I take them from you or did I reclaim them for their rightful owner?”

Willow looked at Belac, who looked away, into the distance. She said nothing, but stood and watched this man who came from a place she had neither seen nor knew anything about. Finally, she moved toward him and spoke his name, forcing him to look at her and when he did, she continued. “You left them for me.”

He nodded.

“Why did you not fight him in my stead? Why leave me to defend myself from such a creature? Me, who has not training with sword or shield?”

Again he looked away and Willow looked to Heyrah. “Do I not deserve a response?”

“It is not always about what one deserves, young Willow,” Heyrah said. “Sometimes, it is about what one needs.”

“I dare say that what I needed was someone at least to assist me if not to stand in for me. Do I even begin to wonder what could have been had you and Poppy not returned to the bridge when you did?” Willow said.

Poppy approached and stood close to Willow, putting her arm around Willow’s waist. “Perhaps you could be grateful for the gift that was left you to find.”

Willow turned to face her friend, taking in her graceful confidence as she stood beside her. She saw Heyrah smile at Poppy’s words and wondered what the two had discussed during their walk the night prior.

“Your words are wise,” Willow said and turned back to face Belac. “Please accept my thanks for the weapons. Though I do believe I am far more thankful that I did not have to use them.” She smiled at the dwarf and then at Heyrah.

“Let us proceed further,” Heyrah said. “There is a cave a little farther on that will make a fine overnight dwelling.”

Willow began their trek eagerly, anticipating at last the opportunity to talk with Heyrah about her destiny.