You may have read me mention before a fantasy series I am working on. Indeed, this whole blog began mainly as a way for me to share that series, but it quickly evolved into what it is today (that is, utter randomness). Well, I have had an idea for this story for a while, which is sort of supplemental to the series. It tells a tale that explains one of the minor countries in Orrok, which is my made-up world, through the characters experiencing it. That country is Marah, and hence the title for this post (“Marahitte” is to “Marah” what “American” is to “Amarica”). As it is now spring break (WOOHOO!), I thought I would try to write this story for you all to read, and to try to keep it relatively short.
Here is the first chapter, which may actually be more of a prologue. Let me know if you like it and want to read more!!
(I promise, it gets more interesting after the first few paragraphs. As the history nerd I am, I basically wrote a textbook summary of Marahitte society, and after much editing, the beginning is as far as I’ve gotten to making it interesting to anyone but me.)
The people of Marah were like their land: spread out, isolated, wild, and sturdy. They lived in eighteen clans, usually led by chiefs, and each believed it had the greatest right to the land. Thus the tribes were engaged in constant skirmishes against those clans they held grudges with, and simple, personal relationships between persons of different tribes was enough to forge or break even the strongest alliances.
Tavish Sherer was the son of Oldon, the current chief of Rhian. In Rhian, chiefs were elected every year, and every man and woman over the age of fifteen participated in the election.
In Marah, there were a few scattered establishments of stone architecture left from an earlier time. Some were single-family houses; but Rhian claimed ownership of a full stone city. This it guarded jealously, with at least half of its people always residing in the city while the others wandered, and with everyone returning there during the cold, dark winter months. That was the reason the Rhians had the luxery of gathering together for their annual elections and spending as many as three months deciding who would be the best leader. For the tenth year in a row, they had chosen Oldon Sherer.
Oldon Sherer’s grandfather’s life had once been saved by a Keiran man, thus forging a bond between the clans of Rhian and Keiran. Keiran was a much more typical Marahitte clan. It was small, and Keirans stayed mostly stayed in family units, not as a whole tribe. Rarely did any family remain in one place more than two weeks; they were in constant motion, wandering the expanse of land they claimed as their own.
Despite this, there was a dear friendship between the families of Oldon Sherer’s grandfather and the Keiran who saved his life, a friendship which remarkably lasted four generations, so that the Keiran’s great granddaughter, Brielle Garvis, and Tavish Sherer—the fourth generation of the alliance—had been friends since nearly childbirth, and the Garvis an Sherer families were almost like siblings, so close was their friendship.
It was the practice of Brielle’s family and of Tavish’s family for those two children to spend weeks of every year visiting each other’s families.
Tavish and Brielle were friends since they first met. Their families rejoiced in this, since it suggested that the link between their two tribes would remain strong in the coming generation. But, with the typical blindness of age that sees only in terms of friendship and politics, their parents missed the day when Tavish noticed that the daughter of an unimportant man from another tribe possessed a certain intriguing attractiveness, was kinder and gentler than most girls, and was by far the person he preferred most to talk with; and they did not notice when Brielle began to think of another tribe’s chief’s son was less annoying than most boys, stood up for her when she was made fun of for being different than the Rhians, and always understood her, even when his fellow Rhians thought her foolish.
It happened the same summer: Brielle was fifteen, Tavish was sixteen, and they both began to realize they loved the other in a way that was more than friends and different than siblings. Their elders cannot be blamed entirely for missing this transformation; the two were desperately afraid of ruining their relationship by making their feelings known, so they did what so many young people do. They hid their feelings inside and spoke more of “friendship” than ever before. “I’m practically his sister” and “I’m like her brother” became frequent phrases they used both aloud and inside their heads to throw others off the track of their true feelings and to convince themselves that they felt only acceptable things.
Such was the state of things two years later. Brielle was spending a month in the chief’s house at the top of the ancient stone city. The first day of sharing news and catching up passed. Oldon included her in his nightly blessing for his family, Tavish and his brothers gave her a good-night hug, and she was integrated back into the family in quite a natural way. Then she headed off to bed to try not to think about how much handsomer Tavish was than she remembered, or how kind he was when he made sure she had all the food she wanted, or the way his face lit up when he first saw her.
While she tried to fall asleep, Tavish climbed onto the roof to try not to think of her. He tried not to think of how long her golden hair was, or how much more beautiful the way she wrapped one thin braid in front of her forehead and one behind her head with the rest down was than the way Rhian girls did their hair. He tried not to remember her laugh that made him want to laugh, too. Then he forgot to try not to think of her and he was terribly afraid for her safety, because he heard the sounds of battle on the south end of the city and knew they were under attack.
Remember, let me know if you want to read more!! And feedback is always appreciated.