Houston 7

Jadis, Queen of Charn

I am Jadis, the queen of Charn. My life was idyllic until the day I lost my entire family. A band of thieves took their lives, as well as everything that they owned. I will only tell you my story this one last time, for I have turned my back on my ruined past. The past brings too much pain whenever I remember the life I had, a long time ago.

I was only eighteen years old when my life drastically changed. I was almost an adult and I was just starting to enjoy life. I lived with my parents in the woods of Charn, a calm and peaceful place in my busy world. I had rarely been to the capitol, but I knew it was a noisy and crowded place. Little did I know that this great capitol would soon be mine, as well as the rest of Charn.

The only person to keep me company in this world was a nineteen year old boy named Orion. Even though he was a year older than me, he was my closest and dearest friend. He also lived in the woods, like my family. We had grown up together, so whenever we had free time, we would go and explore the woods.

The woods were a sight to see, especially in the spring, when everything was in full bloom. I used to love the woods in the springtime, which was when they were especially beautiful. In the middle of the woods was the most beautiful sight to see: a stream with tall trees surrounding it and casting shadows everywhere.

My story takes place in the fall. November, to be exact. I was out collecting supplies by the stream, such as food and water. I did not realize that I had been followed since I had left my house, until it was too late. My followers were thieves, and they ambushed me before I could resist.

A tall, strong man unexpectedly grabbed me from behind, while another man grabbed my supplies. I tried to fight my way free by kicking the man and screaming, but it was no use. The man held me so tight it hurt to breathe, and covered my mouth so I couldn't call for help. I couldn't calm down because I was afraid of what they might do to me.

Their leader, a short, fat man, said to me, "There is no use struggling. You have nowhere to run to." All that made me do was fight even harder, but something else the man said did make me stop. "You do realize that, as we speak, the rest of my men are searching your house. You wouldn't want anything to happen to your family, now, would you?" asked the man.

Shocked by his comment, I stopped struggling and listened. The man continued by saying, "We've been watching your house for quite some time, and think your family might have some valuable items we could use. If you behave like a good girl, maybe we'll let you live."

Now I was furious; this man had kidnapped me, stolen my supplies, and now he was threatening my family. I'd had enough of these thieves, and I was not going to be beaten easily. "Now you listen to me," I said in a commanding voice, "I've never done anything to you. In fact, I don't even know you, so why don't you let me go and we'll all pretend this never happened." Hopefully, my tone had convinced them to let me go.

To my dismay, it only caused them to laugh at me. "It looks like we've got a strong one here!" exclaimed the leader in a sarcastic tone.

I had to find a way to escape now; it was my final opportunity before they took me away from my home forever. In a final attempt to escape, I managed to unbalance my captor by having my feet get in his way, causing him to trip. As we fell, I broke free of the man's grasp, so he would not crush me. Before any of them could move, I took off running into the densest part of the woods. I knew this was the only way I would lose them. Orion and I were the only ones who knew this part of the woods well enough to run through it.

I soon lost my pursuers in the labyrinth of trees I called home. My next step was to make it back to my house as quickly as possible, without getting caught. I would have to be very swift while still being stealthy. It seemed to take forever to reach my home, even though I knew it had only taken a few minutes. Time wouldn't have mattered anyway, for I did not make it.

When I reached my destination, I gasped at the destruction I saw. Our neat little yard was littered with debris from the ruins of our small house. There were large, gaping holes in the walls of our house, and there were footprints everywhere, left by the men who had ruined my life. I cringed at the scene I saw inside; items had been scattered everywhere, there was blood everywhere, and worst of all, I found the lifeless bodies of my parents. The men had slit their throats and left them in the main room of our little house.

I felt devastated when I realized that I would never see my parents again. I would never come home again, for I now had no home and no family. I sat there for minutes, not moving, before I heard the distant sound of people moving through the woods. Within seconds, I was out of the house and racing through the woods. I did not know where I was going, only that I had to get as far away from the house as possible.

Surprisingly, I found myself heading towards Orion's home. Deep down, I knew that he could and would help me; he was almost like a part of my family. As soon as I saw the familiar sight of his small house, I started to shout, "Orion, I need your help!" Only moments later, I saw him bolt out his house and look around. Once he saw me, he ran in my direction and caught me before I could collapse from exhaustion.

I didn't even give him the time to ask me what was going on, before I started blurting out my story, "It was awful! I tried to get back in time, but I was too late to save them. I don't know what I'll do without them."

To stop me from rambling on, Orion interrupted me by saying, "Slow down, Jadis. Now tell me who you're talking about." I tried to calm down and speak slowly; telling myself that getting hysterical wouldn't help me at all. After I had caught my breath, I calmly proceeded to tell Orion what had happened. Meanwhile, Orion proceeded to help me walk over to his house.

I started out by saying, "Orion, I was out in the woods, collecting supplies, when a band of thieves ambushed me. They said they had been watching my family and me for a while, and they thought that we had some valuable items in our possession." Orion did not interrupt, so I continued on with my story, "They claimed that some other thieves were also ambushing my house as well. I managed to escape by tripping one of the men. Then, I ran home through that dense area of trees near the river."

At this point, Orion did stop my story and ask, "They didn't catch you when you ran off?" Then, he helped me sit in a chair and went to get me a glass of water.

I replied, "No, that's the densest part of the woods. You know that no one but us can get through there while running. Anyway, I ran home, but when I got there, everything had been destroyed. Orion, when I went inside, I found something even worse."

Orion stopped in his tracks, holding the glass of water. "It can't be, don't tell me the thieves-"

I felt my heart break for Orion as I told him, "Yes, they killed my parents." He had grown up with me, and he considered my parents a part of his family, especially since his parents had died last year in a hunting accident.

The glass shattered into a thousand tiny pieces as Orion dropped the glass and started sobbing. "No, they were the only family I had left. They can't be dead," he wailed.

Deep down inside me, I suddenly felt the desire to have my revenge on the people who had done this to Orion and me. "Orion we have to find these thieves and avenge my parents," I told him.

To my surprise, Orion quickly turned to me and said, "Don't! Don't start thinking about revenge. I know what it's like to lose your whole family at once, but revenge is not the answer. For now let's just go back to your house and salvage what we can find."

I agreed to go back with him, but I did not agree with his attitude towards revenge. At the time, I figured that he would eventually change his mind and agree to help me. When we arrived at the desolate pile of rubble that use to be my home, Orion made me stay back while he went searching for clothing and other supplies that might have survived the destruction. I knew it would be hard for him to see my parents so lifeless and still. As if to prove me correct, I could see tears streaking his face as he carried a very small bag out of the house.

"That's all," I said in disbelief. There were only two items of clothing, some bread, and the bag holding them.

Orion's answer was, "They took a lot of your belongings. The only reason I found these was because they were hidden under a pile of smashed furniture. As for the bread, I guess they just didn't want it." Silently but swiftly, we soon returned to Orion's home to rest after our long day.

The next morning was when everything went downhill. At breakfast, I mentioned to Orion that we should go after the thieves, if only to recover my stolen belongings. "You know you can't afford to buy me new clothes in the city. We have to recover as many of my possessions as possible," I pushed.

This only annoyed Orion, who said, "I don't care. I would rather give you my own clothing than have you put yourself in danger. Besides, you wouldn't stand a chance against a band of bloodthirsty murderers."

At this, I started to become angry; my first mistake. I retorted, "The two of us would stand a chance."

"No! You are not going and that is final."

I could tell Orion was getting mad too, but I didn't care. I practically hollered, "Well I'm going anyway!" I turned towards the door, getting ready to walk out on him.

I could never have imagined the events that took place next, if not for the fact that they actually happened. As soon as I began to move towards the door, Orion raced in front of me and stood in my way. He no longer looked mad, but he wore an expression I had not recognized at that time. I now understand that his expression was one of love.

"Don't go, Jadis," he pleaded, "I could never forgive myself if something happened to you."

"I have to go," was all I said.

"No you don't," he replied. "Jadis, I love you." Before I knew what was happening, he was kissing me. It had felt so natural, yet, it had also made me feel angry. I could not stop myself as I grabbed a knife off of the table next to us and shoved it into Orion's chest. I moved out of the way as he collapsed at my feet. Face first, he fell to the floor with a look of true horror upon his face.

His last words to me as I walked out the door were, "Jadis, I love you! Never forget that." He finally fell silent as his life force slowly ebbed away. That was the last time I would ever see Orion again.

As I made my way into the woods, I tried to make sense of my mixed feelings. I had felt betrayed that he would lie to me and mess with my feelings. I now know that everything he said was completely true. Meanwhile, I felt true remorse, knowing that I would never see the boy I had grown up with ever again.

For the moment, I pushed away those thoughts, instead thinking of where I could find the thieves. I finally decided to head towards the great capitol of Charn. My reasoning was many wealthy people traveled through the capitol all the time. The thieves would surely take advantage of this.

I could not have prepared myself for what happened next. Due to my wandering mind, I did not realize that I had wandered into the very heart of the thieves' camp. I jumped as I heard a chillingly familiar voice say, "Well, well, well. Look what we have here; the 'good girl' from yesterday."

The time had come for my revenge. Instantly, I ran at the leader of the thieves, wielding the knife I had used to impale Orion. I do not wish to describe the events that followed. I only wish to say that I took my revenge upon every single thief in the camp.

I was ready to leave the clearing, until I heard a surprising sound. I turned in time to see the leader, still alive, raise his hands in total surrender. "Please, spare my life," he whimpered.

"Why should I?" I asked vehemently, "You took everything from me: my parents, my home, and my life. Tell me why I should spare yours."

"Spare my life and I will give you something valuable in return," he offered as he struggled to sit up.

"How valuable?" I had already started walking towards him.

"I will give you something magical in return for my life," he stated as I stood over him.

"Where is it?" I asked as I looked down upon him.

"Over there, by the campfire."

I turned and saw the most beautiful object I had ever seen. It was a silver staff with breathtaking carvings all over it. As I picked it up, I could feel power emanating from it.

"It is a magical staff that once belonged to a wizard," explained the thief. He had managed to prop himself up against a crate, but now a thin trickle of blood had started to run from his mouth. "Only now, it has been long forgotten by everyone, except for a few people like me. When used correctly, it has the ability to turn people to stone. Now please, let me live."

"I don't think so. You ruined my life, and for that, you must pay," I told the man. Suddenly, I felt a strange sensation flowing through my entire body. It felt as if all my anger and pain was flowing into the staff. To my amazement, I saw the man turn to stone before my very eyes.

At that moment, something inside me snapped. In two days, I had witnessed the destruction of my entire life. I felt an endless thirst for power, and now, I had the ultimate weapon at my disposal: magic. I was no longer Jadis Brooke; an eighteen year old girl with a mother and a father. From then on, I would be known and feared as the White Witch. Soon, all of Charn would be mine to command.