< Return to It’s a Trap! Part 1
I saw G.I. Joe Retaliation and I’m just too confused to post anything. So here’s some D&D.
The village of Galt was peaceful. Perhaps that is what drew so many people to it. There was nothing remarkable in its countryside. No fabulous ruins of an ancient civilization with legends of promising forgotten treasure lured adventures to the hills. No strange arcane towers jutted from the wilderness begging people to wonder what occurred within the sequestered walls. No castle of a feudal lord broke the horizon reminding the peasants of the divine protection and the weekly tribute demanded of them from some absentee ruler.
For the villagers of Galt, there was nothing but placid farmland and serene wilderness branching out in all directions. Nestled among the distant woods and sloping vales lay other quiet settlements. Possibly as content as Galt but never as pleased.
The villagers always maintained some extraordinary tranquillity welled up from the land like some miraculous brook they all savoured. But they needed no ghostly lights or monuments to highlight it. They had the very villagers themselves to attest to this strange power.
For whoever set foot in the small village found it almost impossible to leave. Travellers were rare but rarer still were those few that could resist the pleasant charms and carefree spirit of the village. And no suspicion or doubt clouded the minds of the residents. They welcomed each wanderer as if they were some lost kin. And that hospitality brought more to roost than not.
Jeremiah knew his family came from elsewhere. That much was certain with his family’s darker complexion and thicker frames compared to these pale, slight people. But Jeremiah could count the number of times his strangeness was remarked upon and usually such taunts were hastily reprimanded by the offending youth’s parents.
Jeremiah remembered little of where he did come from. The youngest of his kin, his recollections of that early time were little more than some shaky visions of a covered cart and the whiff of some peculiar roasted meat. His mother never spoke of that place and his eldest brother always hushed any questions of their origins.
He was told, time and again, he was a member of Galt. And for the Pitmans that was enough. Jeremiah had far fonder memories of being educated in the local town hall than whatever place actually gave birth to him. He could recall sermons in the tiny parish and of rolling down green meadows surrounded by colourful flowers. He loved the two hounds his mother let him keep, the poor pups found one sunny afternoon lost in the wilderness.
Jeremiah took an interest in the power of plants and herbal remedies. And while the situation that spurred his study of salves and concoctions were tinged with bitter emotions they landed him a respectable apprenticeship with the local apothecary. And there was this lovely girl from the parish who made him smile and feel all funny in his stomach. They laughed and played beneath the maypole and frolicked in the quiet groves.
But that all ended when he arrived.
There was nothing auspicious about his entrance. Much like others before, he had come quietly in the night. Found sleeping in his mother’s arms as she appeared humble before a homestead pleading for a safe place to sleep. Perhaps the only peculiar note was the scar she bore down her neck, a long and old wound that hinted at a past to be fled.
But who in Galt didn’t have some ancient spectre they wished to be forgotten. So the mother was welcomed and found the perfect place to raise her two children that was both understanding and secure. Her eldest was a girl with long brown hair and inquisitive eyes. She seemed to take to the village and its ways quite willingly, laughing and playing with the other children.
But her brother was the odd one. A dark shadow seemed cast over his demeanour. He was quiet and reclusive and sneered or turned away those that approached him. Only his sister seemed to pierce that shield he’d raised about him. He seemed to loathe the village and everything within. He was the single black spot on a sunny day. He was the dark cloud that hovered in the horizon as a portent of an encroaching storm. He was trouble and Jeremiah would often wonder what cruel twist of fate bound his and that boy’s destinies together.
For the children Kait and Keirn were the village’s small trouble that they wished not to discuss. Their pivotal years were filled with whispers and gossip. Never before did Jeremiah hear of questions or concern over a strange arrival. Where did this family come from and why did they come here, people whispered. None would dare finish their thought or voice that one idea that every one shared.
What would it take to get rid of them?
For even if the children were peculiar, it was the mother that kept the villagers at bay. Jeremiah had little interactions with the elder Faden but she was a formidable woman. It would have been nothing for her to take control of the village, assert her will and have all people bow before her directions. But while she unnerved and cowed even the boldest man, she kept to herself. Only when her children seemed threatened did some dark fury bubble just beneath her eyes.
And none dare raise a weapon against her. For one doesn’t receive those scars by toiling in noble’s fields.
It was at Jeremiah’s mother’s insistence that the boy approached the lad. She seemed convinced that all the other boy needed was a friend and with that small gesture the entire clan would ease gently into the simple village life. Their first interactions were brief but it was his mother’s vow that dark night that convinced him to get close to the youth.
His persistence was rewarded. But only just. While the young Keirn did finally allow the other boy into his life, Jeremiah always knew he was kept at arms length. He didn’t recall his own past, but he wondered if the other boy did. And if it were those memories that forced him to shut all others out.
But time passed and the boys grew older. Then, out of the blue, Keirn announced he was leaving for the strange Academy. Few knew what that meant, they were just happy to see one of the Faden clan leave. Jeremiah felt sad and even slightly betrayed by this sudden proclamation. But he was one of the few to actually see the youth off. He could still remember his sister quietly weeping as her brother shouldered his pack and headed down that trail with nary a look back. Everyone, including his sister, felt that this was the end of him. He’d gone and would never return.
And for that year and a half, the village seemed much like Jeremiah remembered. Quiet. Peaceful. Serene. Kait took the post at the town hall, schooling the younger children in their letters and numbers. Jeremiah spent much of his time with that red haired beauty.
But then he unexpectedly returned and Jeremiah’s life seemed like it would never be the same
Continue to It’s a Trap! Part 3 >
Return to the Short Story hub