Prelude: Soryn Fields
It was cold.
Nick grumbled as he got out of bed to rekindle the dying embers in the fireplace. Wrapping his blanket around himself, he slowly crossed the room.
As he poked and prodded the embers back to life, he heard ruffling sounds outside of his cabin.
“That crazy woman” he thought, not for the first time. With a deep sigh, he opened the door to go outside. A strong gust of wind sent shivers to his bones. “Maybe building a cabin here was a bad idea,” he muttered to himself.
In the distance, at the cliff of the hilltop, sat a familiar silhouette. Despite the cold of the night, she wore very little, the thin silk hugging the curves of her body. Deep in thought, she didn’t seem affected by the cold at all.
Slowly and quietly, Nick walked towards the figure. Shaking his head, he turned and plopped down behind her, back to back. Unfortunately, he landed harder than he anticipated and his head slammed into the back of his companion’s head.
“Hey! Watch it!”
“Sorry. So, what brings you to my humble lodgings, my dearest Cianna?” Nick started.
“You know the answer,” she replied.
He remembered. Not too long ago, Cianna offered Nick a place in her forest, land, she added, without restrictions. To Cianna's dismay, he chose her sanctuary. Her sacred spot where she had lived her fondest memories with her Grandmother Soryn.
She never spoke a word while he chopped wood, gathered materials, and built his cabin home atop the island hilltop. Only later, when he found her too frequently near his home, had he asked and realized the significance of the land where he'd built his new home. Though she often showed her annoyance about his living there, he also realized that deep down it wasn't heart-felt. More often than not, she seemed to welcome his presence.
Nick unfurled his blanket and offered an end to her. She gladly took it and pulled it over.
“Not the whole blanket!” Nick shouted. “Its COLD!”
Cianna giggled. “That’s for hitting my head!”
With their backs to each other, and the blanket covering both, they stopped talking and enjoyed each other's company. The silence was comforting. Cianna closed her eyes and rested the back of her head on Nick’s neck, a moment of weakness that she didn't often show. A moment that they both briefly enjoyed.
“Missing her again?” Nick finally broke the silence. There was no reply, but it had been a rhetorical question. He was merely stating the obvious.
Just as he was about to fall asleep, he felt something tapping his shoulder. “What’s that?” he asked, as his hand slipped out of the comfort of his blanket to take what was passed to him. Instead of trying to read it, he took the parchment and quickly moved his hands back within to the warmth of the covers.
“It’s a land deed that belongs to my Grandfather Soryn.” Cianna began. “I need a favor from you, Nick.”
It was abandoned land that belonged to Cianna’s grandfather, Nick knew. A piece of land that sits near the garrison of Resolute. Fertile it was, but with the many years of neglect, it had become a large swath of abandoned land. Once, merchants from all over the land, from as far as Solania, used to gather there to buy and sell. Now, it was forgotten, overrun by crawlers and weeds.
“It was once a land of great beauty," Cianna said. "Acres and acres of flowers covering all that I could see. But the last time I visited, it had become a sad sight, probably thanks to my father having taken over the land stewardship from my Grandfather. He never could abide that place. Said it was too full of outlanders and their strange ways. Help me restore that piece of land, Nick. Build a town maybe, a haven for the newly arrived outlanders. Call it. . . . ,” she paused.
She thought about the fields of gold, littered with multi-colored butterflies, and her fond memories of her grandparents and her cousins, long before things went wrong, before her father became mad for power and influence. She thought about the once proud family name she'd been forced to abandon.
“Yes, fields," she said softly, thinking again of the shimmering land. "Call it Soryn Fields.”