My Ranking Points
“Tell me what happened,” said Gemini, sitting next to her.
Danae took a breath. “Do I have to?”
Gemini stared into Danae’s eyes. “Yes.”
“Fine,” said Danae, looking at her skirt. The pattern whirled in front of her eyes. “We were sparring with a private sparring tutor, me and Aries–”
“Hang on,” said Gemini, sitting down next to Danae. “If you sparred privately with Aries, you’d know his true name!”
“Tell me!” begged Gemini, widening her eyes.
“I’m not sure I’m allowed to,” mumbled Danae.
“I won’t tell anyone vowed Gemini.
“His name is… Haruto.”
“I’m not really sure you should tell other people my private information, Danae ,” came a bitter, familiar voice behind them.
A cold, sinking feeling growing in her stomach, Danae turned around to see Haruto standing there, eyes cloudy.
“I’m sorry–” she whispered.
“Don’t blame her! Blame me, if you want to blame someone!” demanded Gemini.
“I blame you all,” muttered Haruto.
“If you will,” said Danae, anger growing, “but blaming the person you tried to kill, kidnap and ransom their parents… that’s a bit… over the top.”
“So your name is Danae?” said Gemini after Haruto had left.
Danae nodded, miserable. “But don’t tell anyone else that. Keep on calling me Libra.”
“Fine.” Gemini rubbed her hands together, getting out her shawl and putting it around their shoulders. “Let me tell you a story.”
Deep in the woods, Karissa, the woodcutters daughter danced between the trees. Every leaf-bare, she planted new trees as a symbol of thanks for giving her fruit in the summer, and she’d care for the wolf cubs, bear cubs and baby deer, until the tree spirits and animals forgot her name and called her Amare, meaning love in Latin.
After three years of kindness to the forest, replacing the trees her father cut down, the tree spirits and animalsbegan to call on her for help.
“Amare!” they’d cry. “The lime tree is dying! Heal it!”
And, happily, Karissa would dig up the roots, cut the tip and rub healing herbs, singing songs for the soul.
“Amare!” a wolf mother would cry. “My cub has broken a limb! Heal her!”
And, happily, Karissa would give the cub pain numbing seeds and bind the cub;s leg, singing songs for the riddance of pain.
Soon, the king heard of a girl with auburn hair and light feet, healing trees.
“Nonsense!” he scoffed. “Nobody heals trees and animals for no reason! Bring her to me, and I will cut her head off for spreading such rumours.”
But as the kings soldiers approached the forest, the animals and tree spirits heard their coming, they heard their plans to kill Karissa.
“We must save her!” they agreed.
As the guards entered the forest, a willow tree sang, “Beware, for Karissa will kill you with her magic!”
The guards continued.
“Beware!” warned a beech. “For Karissa will bind you up and leave you for the wolves!”
The guards hesitated, but continued. Desperate, a pack of wolves encircled the guards.
“Beware!” they howled, canines flashing. “For Karissa is our mistress, and to kill her is to risk your life!”
Petrified, the guards fled the forest, and Karissa the woodcutters daughter became queen of the woods.