Corren's Tale

This is my story now - although I’m not really sure whether  I should be writing it down. Another one of  Lijsa's ideas - you can count on her having the weirdest notions. She said that it would be time someone wrote about these matters - about  "Fairy Children" - and who'd be better qualified than me . . .

Me, I personally believe, that nobody sane would want to know. Why should they - unless they have their own dealings with the Dark Ones - in which case I’m not really sure, I’d want to give them any information - or they oppose them - which would prove them to be suicidal.

Never mind, the thing about Lijsa is that she's ever so persuasive - stubborn and likes to impose her point of view - or whatever concludes out of it - onto other people. Especially onto me. Ever since we first met she's been trying to re-educate me. Why I keep putting up with it heaven knows.

So, where should I begin? How much should I write? Guess while I am at it, I might as well go into detail - memories - childhood - why would anyone want to know? But who am I to say what is significant and what is not.

I remember nightmares as a kid. Nightmares about running through a forest, being chased - by whom or what I never knew. Nightmares I was so scared of, that I virtually went through pains to avoid going to sleep. This massive dark figure bending over me - and a burning woman . . . Believe it or not, I used to pick a fight just around bed-time so I’d be hurting from the beatings - shit, I’m glad those times are over. The only good thing that came out of it is that I got used to cope with very little sleep.

I don't remember living with my mother. Apparently I was quite little when that was over. I well remember living with the gypsies. Samora's clan, the "Company". They found me in Darkwood, I was virtually running into them, completely freaked out. Take that for chance . . .

They took me in, Samora made sure of that. She was the mother of Pakhos, who's the undoubted leader of the Company, and she was the power behind his muscle. She was a Seeress and she'd had a dream - a vision - that told her to take care of me. And it was as though she'd waited all her life for something like that to happen.

I mean she was real fanatic - sometimes went on raving for hours after she'd beaten me half dead for whatever misdeed I’d committed. Telling me over and over again that I was the uttermost important thing that ever happened to her and she'd have to make me into someone who'd live up to her dream.
After a few years that fanaticism turned to outright madness. Then, it was impossible to work out how she'd react. Sometimes she was uncomfortably friendly wanting  to cuddle me and all that and then from one moment to the other she'd freak and try to rip my ear off my head.

At first most of the clan were really into me, being a cute fair toddler, traumatized enough to get even the toughest guy into protecting mode. Not speaking a single word for more than a year. Mysterious and fragile. But I can't remember any of that. Just being the weird kid. The one that never grew, the one that took ages to learn anything. All the other children would get bigger and bigger, smarter and smarter. Babies being born, growing to be talking and walking while I never seemed to change.

After a while some of the Company got paranoid. More than once there was an uproar in the gatherings - especially the larger ones where the different clans would meet. Once it couldn't be concealed anymore that I was a "Fairy Child", they demanded me to be cast out.
I can understand them now - have you ever seen what happens to a family where they discover a "Fairy Kid"? The mob is never satisfied with just burning the child, they tear the whole lot up limb from limb. Especially if it's gypsies. Everyone looks for reasons to torch some gypsies.

Samora fought like a lioness to protect me. She had my hair dyed black from my
very first day with her so I’d look like one of them - never mind the green eyes. Had me hidden away in towns and villages until I learned to escape from the most elaborate bonds and ran away to hide 'cause I couldn't stand being tied up and gagged for hours.
That was when Samora pulled it through that the clan would change the traditional routes. Take several years to return to the same place so noone would notice. They also started training me for shows so I could pull my weight.

I loved acrobatics - was like coming alive for the first time. Well, it took me ages to overcome my fear and walk the tightrope and I hated working with the crowds - performing for people was never my thing. But I loved to move my body, to get to know it, achieve some goals.
Tumbling and jumping and dancing with more and more precision every day. There at least I found something where I could perceive making a progress. Where my talent was. Where I got better than the other kids. Even the ones that looked older although they really were much younger than I was.

I'd always been very fast - and with the exercises I got even faster, more coordinated. For hours on end I’d be training, repeating the patterns over and over. It's like an addiction - even nowadays I rarely go one day without moving - although nowadays it's the dance with fist or saber I’m hooked on.

I got really good at hiding as well, sneaking through the camp without being noticed. Had to in order to survive undamaged. Well noone touched me when Samora was there. But then she wasn't most of the time. The other kids where worst. Them and Talishija, Pakhos' wife. Guess she felt jealous about me getting all Samora's attention. Me and not her son KÓlish who was just born a few days before I came along.

It was a strange kind of relationship I had with KÓlish. He used to be quite nice with me when his mother wasn't around. But as soon as she turned up he'd do me  in.

KÓlish's seven's Birthday . . . Sun going down, air dry, sky high and almost violet, strange light wood, lithe silvery stemmed trees, dry leaves on the ground; two boys wrestling
Clutching at each other with grim determination, sweat pouring down bare backs, one brown and one fair,  fair lean and brown chunky, green eyes and black eyes locked into each other as steady as the feet hold the ground.
     "I'll have you down today!" brown KÓlish gasps.
     "No way" replies Corren.
Music in the distance and laughter. The camp: colorful wagons, stocky horses and goats bleating. Fire in the center, spit with pig roasting, fat dripping down into the embers. Girls chasing girls or boys and dogs barking. Three jugglers interwoven in a dance of whirling torches. Musicians sprawled around the fire, drinking and smoking and playing merry tunes. An old grizzled woman in a rocking chair brooding hidden thoughts.
KÓlish pushes stronger, gains. Corren breathes heavier, desperation in his eyes that grow darker, blue, still holding KÓlish's gaze but feet loosing ground. Big broad grin on brown face, triumphant. Quick as lightning shoulder down and levering,  fair foot off ground, body falling. Keen fight on the dry soil. Brown up, fair down, rolling, struggling, brown up, fair down.
     "Got ya!" laughs KÓlish.
Corren still fighting desperate, trying to gain leverage, still holding the black eyes, blue locked in black. Then, recognizing defeat he slacks off, his eyes brimming with tears, changing colour again to green.

   KÓlish was a man of twenty-three when Samora died. Me still a boy - the attraction on every performance. After fourteen years of practice  I lost all fear of the rope, My act was almost suicidal - past caring. Samora got more and more difficult with the years and retreated from gatherings and social life. So people weren't as scared of her anymore.

Pakhos still made sure that I wasn't dumped somewhere - I was often wondering whether he did to keep a good face with his mother, or to have me earning good money with my recklessness or maybe he was afraid that something of her vision was true and the Company be suffering bad luck if they didn't look after me fairly well.
But after Samora had died his wife got really nasty. She tried to sell me to some guys from a caravan. KÓlish warned me . . . so I got away.

We were in Taslev at the time just outside the capital, so I fled there. I gathered that I’d be relatively save in the crowd.

to be continued



copyright by scerijne