Quietly humming to herself, the girl paused outside a door, hand raised to knock at the hard wood. Stopping when she felt fur rub against her, she leaned down and patted the Arkenian Kitsune weaving its way around the girlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s legs. Stifling laughter as the chilly fur tickled her shins, she glared mockingly at the creature sitting below her. With her shoulders shaking in silent mirth, she faced the door once again, knocking firmly enough to hear the dull resonation. Waiting for someone to open the door, she impatiently fidgeted, kicking at the ground in attempt to make time go by faster.
When the door didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t open, however, she knocked again, calling out, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mother! Open up!Ã¢â‚¬Â She got no answer, even when resorting to pounding on the door. A passing magi stared, whispering to her companion whilst eyeing the girl determined to knock down the door, it seemed. Strangely enough, throughout all the commotion, no person had given the girl the passage she demanded. Biting her lip in frustration, she whirled around, nearly kicking her Kitsune in its sitting position, and motioned to the gossiping women with an air of urgency, beckoning them to her.
With an exchange of doubtful looks, one of the women sauntered over, careful to keep her robes parallel to the ground. Glaring down at the girl, she grimaced at the expression on her face, the reddened hand that had smacked against the wood one time too many; clearly, this girl needed to be taught her manners. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Miss? Have you seen the Lady Brianna about the Keep?Ã¢â‚¬Â The lady was startled by the girlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s voice- surely, per her appearance, it should be less childlike? But no, that pestering sound assaulted her ears again, the voice that of a young child. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Miss? Excuse my rudeness, but I simply must find the Lady before sundown, if you will.Ã¢â‚¬Â With a sharp glance up and down the girlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clothes, the older magi glared in disappointment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Princess, who am I to know where your mother is? Are you not your motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s keeper, especially when she is in such critical condition?Ã¢â‚¬Â Icy words spoken, the woman left with flourish, drawing her robes around her and walked away with the other mage; the girl stared after them, mouth open in silent shock. A hand was still stretched forward and suspended in midair, right about where the womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sleeve was moments earlier. Hearing a soft whine, she glanced down at the Kitsune with its head tilted to the side. She smiled faintly, mouth quivering with the effects of the shock, and she shakily bent down to stroke the fur in attempt to calm her nerves.
She should be used to this by now.
But she was not.
Feeling pressure rise up to those delicate cheekbones, she brought the unoccupied hand to rub it away, to banish the thought of even allowing a single trail of liquid to find its way down her cheek. She had no choice now, as the subject of her search proved missing as the day slipped by. The girl steeled herself, getting up with the support of her creature, and took out the wand strapped to her thigh. Flicking it in the direction of the door, a large shard of ice appeared and impaled itself in the sturdy wood. Splintering could be heard as the ice began to melt- the girl cursed, muttering under her breath about faulty magics and haughty women, the pointed remarks forgotten already. But at least the task was accomplished; the large door had collapsed upon itself, unable to withstand the gaping hole in the middle.
Peering into the dark room, she cautiously stepped over the broken door, wincing as she heard it crack under her feet. Instantly, the room lit, and the girl frantically looked around, biting her lip. So, her mother wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t here either. Still, she walked about the room, faintly edging on hyperventilation. Traversing to the double doors that covered one side of the flowered walls, she threw them open with a vengeance. Dusty boxes, untouched by human hands for a while, littered the stone floor of the room. She squinted into the dark corners, logic having disappeared upon the notion of finding her mother in this room.
She shouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve known that no person was in the LadyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s room, seeing as it was dark, previous to her entrance. Even looking in a small closet for a fully grown woman- the absurdity of the action was unexpected of a girl as old as she. Looking around the room one last time, she suddenly felt a bitter loneliness sweep over her- the sun had just started to slip over the horizon, casting the room an orange hue. She sank to her knees, huddling against the plush bed that had belonged to her parents.
Water prickling at her eyes and curling into a ball, she felt chills run up her spine, and she shivered, feeling cold.
Perhaps, it was this chilling sense that had driven her to act so desperately. It was a void, she felt, that made her heartbeat echo in the hollowness that encompassed her body. And she let them fall, whilst shoving her head in her arms, tired and emotionally worn from the dayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s excursions.
And the previous dayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s.
And the day before that.
It was a lie, that bout of sickness that had supposedly seized her parents; it was to give reason to the absence of their presence in the hallways, in the stalls that housed the KeepÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s creatures. She had hidden everything, the fact that even their only daughter- the next overseer to the Keep- was flitting about in a frenzy to find them, the Lord and Lady of the Keep.
For, her parents had disappeared three days ago; tonight marked the fourth as the large clock chimed midnight. Raising her head at the sound, the girl sniffled, and looked up at what she could see of the sky, a faint light shining on her face.
They were gone.
Only the girl was left to stay.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Return quickly, O! Father, Mother, I beg of you! Your child, Ciara awaits; I beg, take a hasty return!Ã¢â‚¬Â
And with this whispered exclamation, she wept, bitterly.
Until she could sense nothing at all.