Avalon's Hope (Prologue)
Prologue - Interupted celebration
Shadowed by the skeletal remains of what was once the Palace of Whispers, a small gypsy camp is nestled in between the dark woods and the high cliffs of Avalon. It was a traditional camp, not one that blended well with the modern times of a computer age. Their camp was a step back in time, and it refused to let go of the old ways of their people.
Large decorative wagons sat in the grass. They were adorned with bright colors of emerald greens, sapphire blues, and the deepest maroons. Large towering horses graze in the fields behind them. A traveling caravan's high wooden wheels were caked in the stubborn dirt that refused to let go. Each of the five wagons had very detailed carvings along the edges of their curved roofs and down the sides of low hanging steps that led into the back. For almost a year they had stayed in the low valley between the ruins and the woods, hidden from view, and minding their own business.
Tonight, the gypsy camp was alive with the sound of laughter and music. Bright fires flickered, dancing as they fight against the soft brush of wind licking at the flames. A soft melody of beautiful music drifts up the sides of the surrounding cliffs, clawing upward into the dark night sky. The tune carried on the wind, struggling to find an escape out of the valley, as if wanting desperately to share the sounds of celebration with the world. It was a special occasion for the close-knit group. Tonight, it had been exactly one year to the day that their numbers increased by two. Twins had been born in the camp.
A young beautiful woman sits by the fires holding a baby wrapped in a blanket to keep the child warm. She had dark smoldering eyes, long curls of auburn trail down to the middle of her back. She has a glow that lights up her face. The young baby coos quietly in her arms, the gentle music seemed to sooth him. His bright brown eyes already seemed to have the curiosity of a cat, wide eyed with fascination of the world around him. It was his sister that seemed to have defiance in her shimmering dark eyes. Even now she was pushing the blanket away from her to get to her father’s fingers that were wagging teasingly near her face. Her father was tall and muscular, a gypsy of pure heritage. Rough cut auburn hair slithers against his broad shoulders, but its the strange wild look in his grey eyes that catch a second glance.
The celebration continued into the long hours of the night. Even as the telltale signs of an abrupt storm peeked out from behind the ruins. The threat of a thunders rumble wouldn’t be enough to stop their joyous occasion. Unaware of the approaching danger, a boy with wavy black hair that stubbornly slides down to cover his coal black eyes was playing an uplifting tune on a violin. There was a sense of marvel about the skinny kid, a wild- fire of curiosity burned beneath his skin. He eyes a young woman dancing around the fires, her raven black hair slides down her back almost to her waist and wraps around her as she spins passionately to the music. Her flowing skirt lifts some, then wraps around her legs with each turn of her graceful body. She laughs with the delight of a child playing in the rain. As the tune picks up faster and faster, she dances with it like someone possessed.
Clouds begin to creep over the open sky and cover the bright glow of the full moon. Silent lightning flashes in the distance somewhere over the waves of the sea that surround the island. The woods begin to come alive. Tree branches creak in the wind while leaves whisper to each other and hug the limbs for dear life.
A man in his late twenties sits with his back against one of the weathered wheels, long dirty fingers playing in the silver mat of fur on the back of a wolf cub. He barely looks down as he feels the animal lift its head and look out into the darkness of the woods in the distance. The animal acts as if it can hear the leaves talking to it. “What is it hmm?” He asks quietly, as he looks out towards the woods himself. “What's got your attention tonight?” With a glance upwards to the clouds overhead, he notices the ominous storm moving in on them. It was moving with impossible speed. Lightning suddenly flashes overhead, illuminating the valley and the tree line in the distance. Like a flash from a camera, the world around the small camp explodes in light. The cub gives a little whimper and shrinks back against the man’s muscular arm as thunder drowns out the sound of the camp.
A young girl with her brown hair tied back in a deep blue scarf jumps at the crash. Her dark coffee colored eyes stare upwards wide eyed and fearful. Gusts of wind begin to whip at the edges of the fires, making them flap in defiance of the increasingly bad weather. The boy stops playing and looks up towards the angry sky, the light of the moon all but smothered out by the threatening storm. Quickly the gypsies scuttle to tie down their tarps and secure the large wheels of the caravans. The wolf cub ducks under one of the wagons out of the path of fast moving feet.
Cold wet drops slowly start to fall. The sound was like a small army of light footed creatures approaching. Steadily the rain increases, the soft sound turning swiftly to the deafening pounding of a torrential down pour littering the ground around them. CRACK! Another flash of white rips open the black sky and splinters a tree not far from them.
The gypsies run for the cover of their caravans. Drenched and hunched over they try to avoid the soaking sheets of water crashing down upon their heads. The twins are pulled in tight to their parents and quickly taken into their small home just as the last light of the camp fires are strangled out by the rain
The violent sky tears open like a canvas stretched too tight over its frame. For a moment, there seems to be a glimpse of another realm on the other side, and then darkness hides it again.
Suddenly, from the ruins high above the camp four figures cloaked in darkness slither from the rubble. Their black skin seems to suck in the light, eating it with a voracious appetite like a lioness and her prey. Closer and closer they get to the unsuspecting camp, to the twins. Without warning a bright red flash erupts near one of the caravans and the camp ignites in a blaze of fire. Screams of panic and fear ring out in the darkness. Confusion and chaos stab at the night as the gypsies are attacked from every direction.