Another excerpt from my new project: Grayden’s Tale (which is just my working title) – it’s the same one I’ve been posting excerpts from for a while now…
The first rays of sunlight crept over the horizon, illuminating the thin layer of frost that covered the ground. Each blade of grass glistened in the nacreous light of dawn. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the warmth of its rays gradually melted the frost into crystal beads of water.
The village was draped in garlands of late-summer flowers. Unlit lanterns lined the walkways of the town. Multi-colored ribbons fluttered from various doorways and were wrapped around fence posts, swaying gently in the morning breeze. The town was a veritable wash of color and cheer.
“Grayden! Wake up! Wake up! Today is Harvest Festival.”
Grayden groaned and threw an arm above his head, squeezing his eyes shut and pulling his blanket over his face. He did not know what time it was, but he was certain it was earlier than he wanted it to be. A small, but powerful force landed on his stomach.
“Oof,” he grunted.
The covers were pulled back and he squinted blearily into a pair of bright green eyes. He sighed, he would never get back to sleep now.
“What time is it, Seren?”
“I don’t know, but the sun is up. Today is the big celebration.”
“I know, Seren. Do you know what happens today?”
“We celebrate the harvest, and we throw a party for you and Wynn.”
“And we also generally rest, Seren. That means we get to sleep in.”
“I slept in… well, a little. Mother said I couldn’t wake you until the sun was all the way up, I waited a whole hour.”
Grayden grinned, “Well, for that incredible feat of patience, I suppose I should thank you.”
Seren nodded, her blond curls bouncing around her small face, “You’re welcome.”
“Know what else happens on Harvest Festival?”
“Big brothers are allowed to tickle their annoying little sisters who wake them up early.”
“No…” Seren hesitated.
Grayden grinned and formed his hands into claws, growling. Seren shrieked and threw the covers over his head, diving towards the edge of the bed. Grayden caught her leg and started tickling the bottom of her foot. Seren squirmed and giggled, kicking at him with her free foot, shrieking and laughing.
The door to Grayden’s bedroom swung open and Grayden looked up at the cheerful face of his mother. He let go of Seren who half clambered, half fell out of the bed. Their mother put her hands on her hips.
“Grayden was demonstrating one of the Festival traditions, I see.”
“Mother! You mean it’s true?” Seren said, eyes wide.
“I’m afraid so… but only once during the day,” she winked at her son and Grayden grinned. “Come on, Seren, I need your help stirring the biscuit batter, and Grayden needs to get up and get dressed for his big day.”
Seren stood up and bounced out of the room. Dara smiled after the little girl and then met her son’s gaze. Grayden saw all her emotions jumbled together in her forest green eyes. They mirrored his own emotions: pride, fear, joy, sorrow, happiness, and a little bit of wistfulness.
“Your father’s out milking the cow. He thought you should get to sleep in this day, but he said there was a pile of wood that needs chopping after you have breakfast.”