Friday, January 10, 2014

The First Journey

Point Seven

Hoe landed and fell and sunk. Then he hit a spring and flew up. He sunk, then flew up. He bounced up and down. Soon he felt the bemused presence of Spy Finn.
“The trampoline is just for safety,” Finn explained.
Hoe realized, somehow, he had fallen through the hollow trunk of the tree onto a bouncy trampoline made of a thin netting. By a glance around at the dirt floor and dirt walls, he realized he was now under ground. Finn shoved him off the trampoline and pulled him to his feet.
“This is my hideout,” she said with pride.
He groggily glanced around at the huge dirt room growing dizzy. An uncanny feeling spun in his stomach. Not much to be proud of, he thought to himself.
“Don’t ever tell another living soul about this place,” yelled Finn glaring at him as though she could read his thoughts. “Make yourself comfortable,” she added as an afterthought.
Hoe plunked onto the ground and tried to get as comfortable as the hard floor permitted.
“So,” Spy Finn’s eyebrows knotted in a dissatisfaction that made Hoe’s sick feeling come rushing back, ”Who are you and what were you doing in the woods.”
“Hoe lost!” growled the indignant captive.
“Where is your home?” Finn demanded. “You had to have come from somewhere.”
“Hoe has no home,” he whispered choking over the fowl words. “Hoe’s home was burned and ruined by enemies.”
Slowly Finn’s face softened and the distrust became pity, “Hoe, did you live in the village at the edge of the woods.”
Tearfully Hoe nodded, “Big, bad knights took Hoe’s Ma and Pa.”
Finn shook her head in disbelief, “No! No!” She flung back and tears drained from her eyes.
Hoe wait watching her in mournful shock.
“No, no!” Finn buried her face in her head then tore at the ground and at herself.
“Can Hoe help?” asked the little boy gruffly.
For the first time since her outburst, Finn’s eyes met his and she whispered, “I am so sorry!”
“For what?” Hoe considered her in puzzlement.
With a trembling hand Spy Finn waved to herself, “I did that, I did that to you.”
“You ruined my village?” asked Hoe.
She nodded, the tears streaming from her eyes.
“You took Ma and Pa away?” asked Hoe. 
Again she nodded. For a moment neither said a word but considered one another in confusion. Then Finn hung her head and mumbled, “Hoe, what you don’t know about me is that I am not just a spy.” She laughed bitterly and spat the words out as though they were disgusting to her, “I am also a Princess.”
Hoe blinked at her, not sure whether to kick her or bow so he just stared.
“The one day father leaves me in charge and I do this! I mess up his orders and ruin so many lives! It’s my fault!!! That traitor! Go on! Kick me. Spit at me. Mock me. I deserve it all. Hiding from it won’t help me now!” Finn cried in agony, half to herself and half to her company.
“Why would you do that?” Hoe hissed unsure of what to think or say.
“A knight tricked me but it was my fault. I thought I was in love with him! And he turned a traitor and now he ran off! Probably causing more problems! But why??? Why? Why? Why did I leave him in charge? All he wants is disaster!” she wept. “I thought he was honest and good but I was so, so wrong.”
“What? What is his name?” asked Hoe but he knew before she said it.
“Sir Icmath,” Finn cried with all the hatred she could muster. “But it was not just his fault… it was mine, mine, mine. Now he is off ruining something else and I… I am here doing nothing. I , Princess Crystal, doing nothing.”
Hoe vaguely remembered the Soothsayer’s stories mentioning that name. He had never expected the legendary princess to look like the swollen faced, tiny, dirty girl that knelt before him. Horror vibrated through his thoughts.
“Well,” He said in a very strong voice, as strong as he could muster, “Hoe may be wrong or Hoe may be right, but Hoe say do not give up. If Sir Icmath is so bad, he must be stopped. Hoe will help.”
“Two kids cannot save the world. I’ve only failed and, no offense or anything but you don’t look much better,” the princess pointed out.
“Looks be deceiving,” Hoe put in and he began to tell the Princess everything that had happened to him and how they had to save Brenda. He knew it was her fault that he had no home, but somehow he did not blame her.
When he had told her everything she finally agreed to find Sir Icmath.
“But first I think you should know something about Sir Icmath,” the princess noted, rubbing her sad face, “I was blind to it before everything,” she trembled and Hoe held his breathe for fear she would cry again but she didn’t, “but he is really good at deceiving. Brenda is in danger, not just physical. He can do something to the mind, make it evil. It takes time but it almost worked on me. I am just warning you, Brenda cannot be trusted either.”
to be continued

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