Hunt

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Mist and the last of the smoke blended together when Eli looked back down into the valley at the manor. Beyond that, the fog completely cloaked the river and what he knew would be the boat house at the crossing. He was grateful to be above the stench of the charred remains of animals that they could not save. Eli shuddered as he wondered if some of the burned flesh smell was from any of the people who lived at the manor. Possibly even the master, if the rumors he’d heard in the night were true.

There was a chill in the air, but Eli’s skin still felt the heat of the fire of the night before. His right hand was burned from when he pulled on the iron closure of the last of the horses’ stalls. It was a wonder the animals hadn’t run him down in their panic to be free of the heat and flames that covered the back of the stables. He touched the gash near his temple. The gelding just missed killing him when he leapt past the gate that Eli was trying to open.

They’d managed to save all of the horses that were in the stable. His father and his brothers were collecting the ones who wandered back to the manor when the flames finally subsided. Eli was sent to the hills to start rounding up those animals who had not returned. As the youngest of the farrier’s sons, he did what he was told.

Eli chewed a piece of bread as he checked over the fourth horse he’d tied to the makeshift corral in his temporary camp. It would likely take a few days to gather up the lost horses. He hoped that the missing ones would smell the others and start coming back together on their own.

He had a little bit of food with him; the kitchen was still intact and one of the maids handed him a bundle as he left. He was on foot – his father didn’t want to spare any of the horses for him. Besides, he would find horses that he could ride if he needed to. That meant that he couldn’t carry much for supplies, but his father didn’t seem to care.

“You’re strong and summer is still with us. You don’t need much.” he’d been told when he asked.

And so Eli climbed up the mountainside on foot, searching for the horses. He was a good tracker; not that his father knew. Eli spent most of his life ignored by his father. His older brothers taught him their family’s farrier trade when they had time and Eli begged them to. His tracking skills came from when he’d been a child and served with the master’s hunting parties. Eli paid attention to what the men were doing and saying. He was quiet and no one ever noticed the boy hovering as they discussed hunting and tracking while he poured their wine.

Eli checked his burned right hand. It didn’t burn as much now that he’d been applying the salve that the master’s wife left with him years ago on one of the hunts. It was almost all gone now. He always carried it with him, just in case. Eli doubted that she remembered that day. He would never forget it.

The other men didn’t notice when the wine-boy tripped over the carelessly discarded coat one of the men had cast aside. When he fell, Eli’s leg brushed against the hot rocks of the cooking fire and burned. But she noticed.

The master’s wife – Eliza – rushed to his side and helped him up and back to her tent. The 16 year old “boy” was taller than she was and he felt silly limping along beside her, feeling every inch of her arm around his waist. His face burned more than his leg did as her soft hands applied the salve to his injury. He prayed that she wouldn’t look up to see his embarrassment pressing against the front of his breeches. Eli gripped the wine flask close to cover himself.

“There. Now keep putting this on for a few days and it will heal well.” Eliza stood up from where she’d been kneeling and offered him some water from the bucket beside them.

Their eyes met as he drank and Eliza quickly looked away from him. Eli guessed that she couldn’t be much older than he was. She always looked sad whenever he glanced her way on the many hunts they’d been on. The master rarely went anywhere without his wife coming along behind him. She’d been with him for a little less than a year, but never did she seem to be a blushing bride.

Many rumors fluttered around the manor about where the master’s wife came from. No one knew the truth and the master did not tell anyone. He’d returned from a journey over the pass with her in his group and claimed only that she was now his wife. The Brute was so close to her side that everyone wondered if she was with the Brute or with the master. The only time anyone saw her was when she came on the hunts with them. Out there, the Brute seemed to leave her alone.

The Brute wasn’t with her last night. Last night, when Eli saw her jump down into the hay wagon. He couldn’t imagine what she was doing, he just knew that he needed to help her.

Even in the darkness, he knew it was her. He knew every curve of her body. He couldn’t see her dark eyes very well, but the outline of her face was unmistakable. Especially to him who had looked her way so many times.

Where was she going? What was happening? Why was she choosing to run? Would she make it to wherever she was going? How could she, with so few supplies? His meager food he’d given her would not take her very far. How could a women survive in this wilderness? The master would surely be out looking for her. The Brute was probably already on the hunt.

Eli chewed harder on another piece of bread and re-wrapped his hand. He knew that it wouldn’t take them long to find her. His jaw clenched…he had to find her first.


See the previous part of the story here: https://cevraini.com/2018/08/19/escape/

Photo by Marc Marchal on Unsplash

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Escape

Eliza choked on the smoke that was filling the room as she soaked the piece of cloth she’d ripped from the bedclothes. She tied it tightly around her mouth and knelt beside Robert’s motionless body. Her fingers trembled as she pulled on the ring on his hand. Eliza shuddered when the ring slipped free easily from Robert’s blood-slicked left hand.

The pounding at the door intensified as more smoke billowed out. The Brute called to his master, shouting urgently. Flames from the canopy ignited the straw on the floor. Burning feathers added to the stench as the bedding caught fire. Eliza coughed violently into her bent elbow, hopeful that the Brute couldn’t hear her over his shouts. One more crash against the door and it would break free from it’s iron hinges.

Shoving her thick black braid under Robert’s discarded cap, Eliza pushed the wooden chair under the window and climbed up onto the stone. It was a 5 foot drop to the kitchen’s clay roof below. She could see men running with buckets to the well. Servants streamed out of the kitchen with blankets to soak as everyone raced to keep the fire from spreading. In the rising panic, Eliza’s tumble onto the roof went unnoticed.

Crawling along the gable roof, Eliza made it to the stables.  The farrier and his sons were busy getting the screaming horses out of their stalls. She dropped down into the wagon full of hay that was new from the fields. The landing was soft, but it was difficult maneuvering with her skirts in the way. Eliza couldn’t stop the “ooof” that escaped her as she crashed against the side of the wagon. As she did, the moon moved clear of the clouds. When Eliza stood up, she saw one of them – she thought his name was Eli – pause and stare at her.

Eliza pulled the cloth down from her mouth to whisper to him; to plead with him not to tell anyone. Before she could say anything, Eli glanced around, and raised his calloused hand. Her heart stopped as she was sure that he was about to shout to the others.

Instead, she realized that the young man was signalling her to wait while his brothers pulled horses in the opposite direction. He moved his muscular body so that the view of her was blocked from their sight. Reaching into his pocket, Eli pulled out a small cloth-wrapped bundle and placed it into Eliza’s shaking hand.

She could see the sweat stain on his tunic and his tousled blonde hair and smell the horses on his body. Eli reached out and gentle urged her away from him. He hissed,

“Run!”

With one last look in what must have been his blue eyes, Eliza tried to thank him as she ran down the hill toward the river.

The moon followed her as she wound her way down to the crossing, but disappeared again as she reached the black, calm waters. Behind her now, the sky flickered with red, orange and yellows. The flames seemed to be out of control.

Though she worried for some of the people back there; like Eli; Eliza was grateful for the one little knocked over candle that was giving her this chance. The fire would keep them busy for a while, but she would need to put as much time between them as she could.

A loud crash broke the silence at the river’s edge and Eliza couldn’t help the small scream that escaped her. Two dairy cows careened past her, eyes wild with fright as they fled the fire behind them. She sighed and moved away from the frightened animals.

Eliza felt her way to the boathouse at the landing. She knew that there were a few blankets there for winter crossings. Perhaps there were some other supplies there that she could use for her journey over the mountains. It was summer down here, but there was still snow up in the pass.

The door creaked as she opened it. Eliza held her breath, hoping no one was nearby. The faint light of the moon barely lit her way as she reached along the wall for the blankets. Rope dangled from the ceiling and she pulled down pieces of it. A rusty scaling knife lay on the bench beside the blankets. There was a tangle of fishing line that she thought might be useful. Eli’s bundle was a bit of cheese and bread he must have saved from supper. She wrapped the items into a blanket and tied it with the rope around her.

As she gathered her meager things, Eliza rubbed the blood from the ring she pulled from her pocket. Robert’s blood. Clenching her jaw, she pictured him lying there on the floor, flames creeping toward his thick body; blood still gushing from beneath the knife she’d pushed deep into his thigh.

The same knife he always threatened to cut her throat with. He laughed at her each time he used her; so confident in his power over her. Her stole everything from her. Her pride, her body, her innocence, and this…

She held it up to the sliver of light that came through the trees…her father’s ring…

———————————————————————

…I have been trying to write this for almost a week! Wow! It’s been a very long time since I’ve been writing on my blog…and I used to write a lot! My goal here is to get back in to the writing habit. It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed and feels like something that I’m meant to do.

This is part of a new novel that I am starting called Too Many Secrets (well…it’s called that for now…who knows what will happen as it grows!)

Thank you so much for following along here and I welcome your feedback. Share and comment! If you don’t want to comment here, you can certainly send me an email to shawna.cevraini@gmail.com

Photo credit: Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Fifteen

Fifteen…I really can’t believe it. She is 15 today.

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Four years ago, I wrote a love letter to my daughter. Today, I write again.

I am so grateful for you. You teach me something every day…

Patience – I am learning to understand how you do things; not necessarily at the same rate or the way I would do them…lol!

True Beauty – Let’s face it, you are absolutely stunning, but most of all, your true beauty is in your heart because you are always so thoughtful and kind. Often thinking of others first.

Individuality – You’ve never followed the crowd. You go where you want to go, you are who you are. That’s just brilliant, especially for a young woman in this day and age.

Perseverance – I’m always amazed how you never settle for less. Not less from others and certainly not less from yourself. For you, it’s always gotta be 110% or not at all. If your heart is set on it, it happens.

Grace – How do you always manage to look so amazing? It’s the weekend or at a baseball game and you’ve always got it together? Incredible!

Confidence – I never had the kind of confidence you have at your age. It continually amazes me how you believe in yourself. I have learned a lot about confidence from you my darling girl.

Warmth – You have such a warm heart. I hear from people all the time who comment on how you are always so thoughtful and gentle and polite with them. I have a hard time thinking of any time that you have spoken harshly about someone. It’s just not what you do. I still talk about the day in the car after I’d “road raged” when you reminded me that my reaction was cruel. That the person going too slow in front of me may be having a bad day. You always think of them first, don’t you? We could all learn that lesson from you.

Generosity – You work so hard for your money, yet you are the first person to spend it on someone else, even your brothers. Not many teen girls would do that.

Love – That early morning 15 years ago when I held you in my arms; all that long and 11lbs 3oz of you, I was changed. I had a girl now too. I never dreamed that I could have a little girl who would teach me so much. Your beautiful eyes and thick hair stunned me that day – so very, very beautiful. I’d never seen that kind of beauty before. It made your father cry and my heart soar.

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Thank you dearest darling girl for coming into our lives. We are forever changed for the better because of you.

You’ll never lose because you lead with your heart.

 

I will be…

…stronger…

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Today, I don’t feel very strong. My CDF’s (Core Desired Feelings) that I just figured out, only a few days ago, seem to be difficult for me to achieve today.

Well, ONE, for sure. I don’t feel strong.

My back is giving me so much pain. Yet, I can’t even allow myself that pain. I feel guilty because so many others are going through worse pain. I feel annoyed because it’s getting in my way of doing what I want to do…

Perhaps that’s the lesson here:

  • I am strong enough to bare the guilt of feeling less than ready for the day.
  • I am strong enough to feel weakness.
  • I am strong enough to allow healing without judgement on the dis-ease.
  • I am strong enough to BE; whatever that may look like. Even if it’s not 100% on.

I will be. I can be…I am.

~this is a post prompted by my Desire Map Journal. Truth & Freedom. Find yours here: 

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Gather with other Goddesses. Be supported, be loved, be YOU

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Our Deepest Fear

“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…”

I know sometimes I’m too much. I try too hard. I talk too much and too loud. I’m tired of shrinking. I’m tired of making myself small so that I don’t stand out. I’m tired of keeping quiet.

There once was a girl who stood up for what she believed in. To the point where some people didn’t like her. This girl believed she could do whatever she wanted. That nothing could stand in her way. But then, she made a mistake and she got afraid. Afraid to try. Afraid to start again. She felt like she needed to fit in; just do what she was supposed to. It was safe. It was easier than fighting the current. She was afraid that no one would accept who she really was. And so she hid. She pushed all of her art, all of herself down, DOWN…deep within her so that it wouldn’t scare anyone off. She desperately tried to please everyone until the girl inside had shrunk so small it was hard to see her.

The light dimmed.

I’ve been afraid to let my light shine. Afraid that it will dim the lights of others. It is so much easier just to keep the light hidden. To be less of who I am so that no one will be uncomfortable around me. I won’t “chase” anyone off if I’m just like everyone else. No one likes to be left out. So I chose to just fit in.

And the light dimmed.

There have been times where that little girl stood up. Where I let my light shine. It did make people uncomfortable. It got me in trouble. It made me stand out and not everyone liked me. It hurt. It hurt that I was misunderstood. I told myself – not again – I’m not doing this again – I’m not shining anymore, I’ll just keep it cool and everyone will be happy with me. Everyone will like me. And so I smile and nod.

And the light dimmed.

Well, you know what? I’m not getting any younger. Some shit has happened to me and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. And still some people don’t get me. I’m starting to realize that’s OK. I see my children being who they are. Unafraid. Not content with blending in. In them, I see that little girl I used to be. I don’t want my children to become who I became. I want to see their light shoot across the Universe, never fading.

They are so special. It’s about time I realized how special I am too. I’m not perfect. My light is sometimes some crazy colors and even a little shaky; even a little dim some days. I will be loud. I will be too much because that’s who I am. I’m shining my light the way I need to shine.

I’m going to help thousands of women stand up and be heard. I’m going to help them find their light and shine for all of us to see. Women will change corporations & companies. Women will create businesses around connection & love. Women will change communities & countries. Women will change the world with their big hearts, big dreams and big souls. I know this to be true. I see it in every woman I know. I see it in the stranger as she approaches me on the street. It’s there in her eyes. I’m going to help her see it too.

And the light will NOT be dimmed. Not anymore.

Join the Divine Goddess Circle and be inspired, nurtured & supported. You are not alone. You ARE a GODDESS www.divinegoddesscircle.com

Our Deepest Fear – Marianne Williamson.

The Magazine Game

Picture yourself on the cover of a magazine. Dream big!

Here’s a great idea from Tonya Leigh (http://tonyaleigh.com/you-on-the-cover-of-vogue/) I just had to give it a whirl, because, yep, it’s all about the dream. You gotta start somewhere…

It’s Tuesday, February 17, 2015 and I’m out and about celebrating my 45 birthday! I notice the magazines at Chapters as I pass through. Oh! I forgot that my article comes out today to celebrate my big day! ;P

I pretend that I forgot, even though I’ve been anticipating it’s release since last month when I did the interview for “O” Magazine. I pick up a copy… “Simple Gal Creates Big Change in Complex World” – I smile as I read the headline; remembering all those bumps along the road and how much I’ve longed to create massive change. I’m excited about how many people I’ve been able to help take baby steps and how that’s snowballed into something really big and really fun!

I laugh when I remember Oprah’s people trying to do my makeup. I wasn’t very cooperative – I would only wear the most basic, simple colors. I insisted on still being me on the cover of the magazine. They’d tried to get me to wear a dress! LOL! Too funny! Nope, there I was in my most comfy jeans and a pretty purple top, curled up on the couch. I loved it! Not glamorous, just me.

Turning the pages to the article, I read about how the interviewer saw me that day:

“Shawna is most at home with her laptop, a latte and comfy clothes. She has spent the time to get herself in pretty good shape, enjoying her varied workout routines and loving her mostly vegetarian meals. She says, ‘I still like the occasional homemade hamburger my hubby makes, but most of the time, I love the simple raw foods I get to eat every day’. You can’t tell that she turns 45 – she looks a lot younger. She moves with the grace of an athlete. A fact she attributes to her yoga practice. ‘I used to be sore all the time until I changed what I was eating and got my body moving – that is one of the things I encourage others to do in the Divine Goddess Circle: Just get your body moving in whatever way makes you feel good!'”

I flip through and see the pictures they’d taken of my house:

“The Cevraini’s don’t have a lot of ‘stuff’ in their house. Nothing fancy – just simple, comforting furnishings. It’s apparent that they are movie lovers when you see the rows of DVD’s arranged by genre and alphabetically! Shawna laughs when she relays how she sometimes forgets which movies she already has and gets duplicates. She always donates those to the local library for their collection. A stack of books are next to everyone’s bedside – an indication of how avidly the family reads. It’s a home set up to welcome anyone who comes by. We felt like we were going to our friend’s house the moment we stepped in. Warm blankets and colors met us with open arms. You could smell the fresh flowers there on the coffee table, newly clipped from Shawna’s own garden.”

“Bruce is Shawna’s husband and “My Rock”, she tells us. They’ve been through some hard times, but they’ve only grown closer in their marriage. She blushes when we ask if being able to work from home has changed their relationship; ‘Yeah, we spend a lot of coffee breaks in our bedroom…’ She giggles. Shawna’s kids love that their mom is usually home for them at the end of the day. They take regular family vacations; their favorite location: Florida! There are office hours posted on her home office door – this was an important tool for everyone, including herself, to keep work & family time separate. ‘It really helps me let go of helping the world, and focus on my family. It all begins at home, doesn’t it?’ ”

“Shawna loves hanging out with her best friends. She tells us of her regular lunch dates with them. They even go on picnics in the park or country drives to favorite spots nearby. As part of her “Goddess” lifestyle she teaches in the Divine Goddess Circle, Shawna hosts monthly creative days with her friends where everyone comes over, has a glass of their favorite beverage, laughs, talks and creates! It’s become a ‘must-do’ on everyone’s to-do list. ‘It’s so important for women to come together as a group. Our ancestors gathered around tanning hides and quilt frames and church lunches. It’s about time modern women realized how important real connection with other women is.'”

I get a little teary as I read the next paragraph. That part of the conversation brought up a lot of emotions for me:

“We noticed how Shawna’s confidence fills the room. Her smile shines so brightly, you can’t help but smile too! We asked her if she’d always been this way. She pauses for a moment. ‘No, no I certainly have not always been happy and excited for the future. There were some very dark days, where I’d even considered letting it all just disappear. I truly felt that I was worthless, a terrible mother and wife. I hated myself, my job and felt so alone. I lived in my husband’s sweat pants and shirt on weekends and secretly cried all the time. I was always yelling at my kids and having to escape before I did them (or myself) serious harm. My relationship was a complete mess. I was a mess.’

‘The turning point for me was that I just couldn’t keep going like that. It was either End This Now or Get Up and Start Again. I couldn’t take my own life or even run away. I just couldn’t do it. So…I had to choose the second option. I started with looking after me. I learned that if I couldn’t love myself, I’d never be able to truly love anyone else. Including my kids! I used my birthday money and paid for 10 personal training sessions. It was the best thing I did. I learned to have fun with my workouts. To try new things. To fuel my body properly. I signed up for events that raised money for causes that meant something to me. It got me outside and spending time with friends. There was no turning back after that.’

‘Being able to learn to love myself was my proudest achievement. Sure, there are still days where I beat myself up, but they are much fewer than they used to be. I’ve become a crusader for helping other women do the same. Women can be so hurtful to themselves. Comparing ourselves to another woman’s highlight reel is the worst thing we could do, yet we do it every day. It’s time we stopped the madness! It’s time we supported each other in meaningful ways. We need to set the tone for our children to believe in themselves and follow their hearts. The only way we can do that is by loving the woman we see in the mirror every day. When we love her, we can’t help but love the others we see each day. And it just grows from there! The love of a woman is truly a powerful thing, don’t you think?’

There is a tear in her eye as she says this. ‘I can see the world changing, becoming more loving all the time. Stories have become less about climbing the ladder and the next best thing and more about getting back to nature and dreams. That is what I wish for; and I think it’s happening! I will teach this until my dying breath. I will teach it not just by talking about it, but by living it myself. The only way to make a change in the world is to start with me. And that’s what I do, each and every day. Who’s with me?’ She gives us all a huge grin and you just can’t help but feel this infectious love from this open, passionate woman. You know in your heart that she’s right, times are changing…and for the better. ”

I close the magazine as another tear runs down my cheek. It’s so amazing to be here, right now. This is where I want to be. This moment. Filled with love for the people closest to me, including the strangers nearby. This is what life really is about. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of this Earth. I bow my head in thanks for a minute and continue on with my day. It’s my birthday after all! Time to celebrate!

How about you? What is your “Magazine Story”. Check out Tonya’s article and  write your own story. Now, what are you doing to create that dream?

I’ve started creating my dream that I talk about in this article: The Divine Goddess Circle – a community for working women who are seeking support and ACTIONS to become the Goddess they truly are. Sign up and start living your Goddess Life!

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The Transformation Arrow

April 23, 2012…My transformation arrow has taken me two weeks to face! I can blame it on the snow – sure – I can’t find a stick in the snow. I can blame it on being busy – sure – there’s always something else to do.

Really? Really?

My visions of Kali at first freed me – I felt courageous and ready…but then the doubt and resentment and fear and unworthiness set in.

Who am I trying to kid?

  • a goddess?
  • an artist?
  • a writer?
  • a creative soul?

NEVER!

There would always be an excuse, a road block that can never be moved…

…Friday night, I left the house. Full of disappointment, resentment, anger…and after such a crappy attitude week. Every day, I intended to be better. Every day, the disappointment set in…

There were so many sticks thrust in my path that night. I couldn’t believe how many. There in the middle of sidewalks, along the sides of the road, in the grass. All beckoning, all ignored as I fumed forward and the temperature in the air and in my heart dropped.

Suddenly, there it was, a spindly spruce branch. Naked of needles, far from the tree. My favorite tree-type; the scent always reminding me of happy childhood days around a campfire.

I walked with it swinging in my hand. My anger turned to regret and sadness. My heart just felt sick and alone; empty as the barren stick in my hand. I set it on my front step; not feeling ready just yet. There, it waited while I spent the weekend soul-searching and reconnecting.

When I went to find the stick, it was gone. It called to me from the garbage bin where he’d thrown it. The bin had just been collected, so there it lay alone at the bottom. It seemed to say, “Ready?”…and so it began…

Transformation Arrow

Strips of paper from a sheet where I’d written words as they flowed in different colored pens. I thought of all the times I worry that my story is not good enough to be told. I wrapped the words around the stick. The colors of them releasing my fears of sharing them with the world. Fabric strips of autumn colors; a season I love and hate at the same time. A season reminding me of my own confusing ups and downs. At one time beauty and warmth, and all at once cold, dead and the end. Fabric strips of precision and accuracy so unattainable in real life…

Purple and blue antique threads. Memories of the past, and the mistakes I’ve made. My past is not who I am, but it made me what I am today. A single safety pin: letting go of so-called security because there is no such thing…not if you really want to bleed and feel and love and live…

And now, as I watch, it burns….releasing all of this. The fears, the anxieties, the unworthiness. Letting it go…It is none of my business. I am not meant to know the destination. I am only meant to learn and love the journey…

Transformation