This story started sometime in late 2015, apparently beginning with a synopsis (that’s unusual for me), and then I worked on it more in-depth as a gift for a secret Santa short story swap that my NaNoWriMo writing group does every year. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t end up short. I never finished it, which I feel bad about to this day because the person I was sending it to never got the whole thing. Although, looking back on my writing, maybe that’s something of a blessing for her? She didn’t have to read too much of that awful writing, lol.) Anyway, I haven’t done much with it since then, but since I’m picking stories randomly for Snippet Sundays now, this was what I ended up with, and I had some fun rewriting it. It’s still pretty cheesy (and somewhat info-dumpy), but the writing style is at least better than it was, and I did trim down the cheesiness, lol. Enjoy. :)
Grey trees rushed by in a blur and Scarlett’s red cloak snagged on rain-soaked branches. There was a single goal in her mind: Get to the treehouse. Don’t think about him yet, don’t think about anything, just get to the treehouse.
She stopped at a gigantic oak and climbed up the rungs into the treehouse they’d built together and, upon reaching the top, leaned against the back wall, rain drizzling down on her. From here she could see everything, a vast expanse of rain-soaked trees and grey sky. Thunder rolled and Scarlett closed her eyes. Why was she even here? He never came. Did he even remember? Eleven years she’d stood in this treehouse, waiting for him just as he’d asked. But he never kept his promise. He never came. Why did she still hold to the shred of hope that he’d show up? Did he really have a reason to come back?
The sound of hoofbeats caught Scarlett’s attention and she looked down into the forest, hoping it wasn’t Susanna – the seamstress – coming to fetch her. A black horse stopped at the oak and the rider dismounted, climbing into the treehouse. It couldn’t be…
He looked at her across the treehouse and her eyes widened. It really was him. Square face, chestnut eyes that had always seemed to be able to see what she was thinking, and cropped hair indicating nobility when he was just an orphan like her.
“Kaysar?” Her voice was quiet, as if speaking would make him vanish.
“Yes, it’s me. But we have to go. I’ve been followed.”
“I didn’t think you’d come-”
“Now.” Kaysar grabbed her arm and pulled her toward the ladder.
“Where are we going?” She followed him down the ladder and he hoisted her onto his horse before mounting himself. She looked behind them, trying to see their pursuers.
“Anywhere but here.” He flicked the reins with a yell and they galloped away.
She grabbed his waist and held on for dear life as they tore through the trees, her cloak snagging and ripping on the branches. This was not how she’d imagined their reunion going. “Who’s chasing us?”
“You know I was taken by The Pack,” he began, referring to the troops of the neighboring kingdom, Dale. “They took me straight to The Wolf’s castle. He told me I’m his son.”
“What?” She was sure the wind in her ears had warped his words.
“I’m his son. He disowned me before I knew him and now he wants me back. I worked for a long time on figuring out his plans and finding a way to get his troops out of Feanor, but they found out and arrested me. I escaped, obviously, and they’re not too happy with me.”
Scarlett realized her cloak was probably serving as a beacon for the Pack and struggled to remove it without falling off the horse, balling it up in her lap. She leaned forward, resting her chin on his shoulder, and watched the trees speed past. “How did you remember me, through all that?”
“How could I forget you?”