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April 15, 2015

Chapter Nine

Climbing the ivy-covered wall that bordered The Village, Bear Maiden paused at the top and sat for a moment on the sun-warmed stone. Glancing up at the stark Tower piercing the sky, she was disappointed to see that the window was empty. Bear Maiden contented herself with sending thoughts of love and acceptance toward The Tower and its lone inhabitant, and turned back toward The Village. In full spirits, and feeling more alive than she had in years, she jumped off the wall and made her way straight to the broken woman’s cottage.

The woman looked on in shock and wonder as Bear Maiden entered the garden and sat beside her on the old stone bench. Skimming over the full details of her past year, Bear Maiden spoke at length instead abou...

April 15, 2015

Chapter Eight

Though he felt angry, sad, and betrayed, Boy Magician was not surprised to learn Bear Maiden was leaving. He had read the signs and had seen her intentions in the sudden calmness of her deep ocean eyes and in the electric poise of her now crystal clear features. Still, he tried as best he could to make her stay, using the power of magic and the power of words to cajole, to plead, to coerce. But neither his magic nor his words had any sway over Bear Maiden. For though her trust in herself was still new and precious, and needed tender care and practice, Bear Maiden felt only certainty and a profound sense of rightness in her decision to leave. She could recognize the truth of things. She could see.

Bear Maiden was admittedly scared...

April 15, 2015

Chapter Seven

Time passed. Trees shed their leaves and modestly wrapped blankets of snow around themselves to cover their nakedness. Bear Maiden grew more and more pale and faded, until she could no longer recognize herself in the broken mirror or even care to look. The bear spirit still emerged each month, but Bear Maiden had grown accustomed to repressing it, not liking at all the beast she became because of it. Bear Maiden spent most of her time in silence, ignoring the pleas of the boy to speak, to communicate, or to share what she was thinking or feeling. In this silence, a new voice emerged.

At first, it only spoke when she was alone. It came when she sat in the windowsill watching the phases of the stone cold moon; when she looked down...

April 15, 2015

Chapter Six

Time went on. Summer came and went, with autumn nipping at its heels. It was on a brisk fall evening, the flame-covered trees rivaling the setting sun for majesty, that something changed in The Tower and its two inhabitants. By this time, the bear spirit was buried deep in Bear Maiden’s chest. Boy Magician’s wayward, subtle magic continued to tighten the shackles holding the bear spirit captive. But Bear Maiden herself sought to push this spirit down. She knew she was incapable of completely hiding her discontent and her desire to be free of The Tower. She knew Boy Magician saw the longing in her eyes, and she knew the pain it caused him. Bear Maiden hurt to hurt him. So she tried to subdue her own wild spirit on his behalf.

But th...

April 15, 2015

Chapter Five

Thus it continued—Bear Maiden would leave in the morning for school, food, and time with the other villagers, and would return in the afternoon for a night with her new friend. They would share stories of the day, and Boy Magician would ask his questions. These questions would always include the who, what, when, and where, but increasingly began to focus on the why. Why did she play with the other children? Why did she spend time with the broken woman? Why did she give other people so much of her attention? Why did she care? Bear Maiden did not know how to respond to such questions, whose answers were so strong in her heart and mind that she could not understand how someone might not simply know them. Did love and companionship a...

April 15, 2015

Chapter Four

One beautiful morning, a gentle breeze drifting through the open window carried the warmth of sunlight, the laughter and ecstatic screams of children, and the aroma of freshly baked honey bread and cinnamon apples. The wind caressed the girl’s face, tangled itself in her hair, and tugged on her dress. The bear spirit inside her chest thrashed and flailed to a nightmare of confined space and stale air. It was too much. Bear Maiden jumped to her feet.

Gently but determinedly, Bear Maiden reminded Boy Magician of her responsibilities in The Village—to watch butterflies with the broken woman, to attend school with the other children, to buy food from the baker’s. He smiled at her exuberance, charmed by the lake blue of her eyes and th...

April 15, 2015

Chapter Three

As she approached the far edge of The Village, The Tower slowly disappeared from view, hidden by the tall wall bordering the town. Bear Maiden climbed the ivy-covered stone and sat down to dangle her legs over the side of the wall. She turned her eyes skyward, expecting to see the boy standing in the small window that broke the monotony of The Tower’s stone façade. But the window was empty and dark. Bear Maiden sat, confused, until a low creak brought her attention to the door at the base of The Tower, which slowly opened. Framed by the doorway was the boy she had seen before. He smiled tentatively at her, but did not cross the door’s threshold, and very carefully did he avoid letting the morning sun reach his skin. He beckoned...

April 15, 2015

Chapter Two

Bear Maiden was a very special girl. She had a dancer’s soul and a healer’s heart and a bear spirit curled up in the center of her chest. That she was different from the adults and other children in The Village was very apparent to her. She saw that difference in her fondness for stories of magic and dragons, warriors and heroines. While she enjoyed playing with the other children, Bear Maiden longed in her heart for the forest outside of The Village and in her daydreams would dance beneath the trees, jumping from sunshine puddle to sunshine puddle and searching for wood-sprites in the underbrush. She knew to her bones that there was more to the world than The Village and she vowed that one day she would embark on an adventure to...

April 15, 2015

Chapter One

On the outskirts of The Village, beyond the flower shop and the bakery and the school, but before the deep woods that bordered the town, there was a Tower. Tall and stately, The Tower was made of smooth, grey stone. It had one small window at the very top, and one sturdy, wooden door at the bottom. The door was always locked. Only one person could open it, and only one person had seen inside. This one person was Boy Magician, and the long, spiraling staircase inside The Tower led to a single room at the very top, which was his home. Boy Magician had not always lived in The Tower. He used to live with the rest of the villagers. At that time, The Tower was simply an overlooked part of the landscape. It had been there since before an...

April 15, 2015

Prologue

Once upon a time, in a land far away from ours, but not quite as far as you might expect, there was The Village. The Village was a normal village, filled with all sorts of shops and buildings and the characters that worked in them. There was the florist with her big, wide hat and big, wide eyes who sold beautifully colored and delightfully scented flowers; the teacher with her crisp words of discipline for wayward children and fondness for only the brightest red apples; and the baker with his big belly laugh and his vast array of delicious foods; to name just a few of the villagers. Like all the people of The Village, they had the habit of wearing their hearts on their sleeves for all to see. This was a curious habit, but one tolerat...

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