Natalie could feel the sand crusting under her nails, but she knew it was a little bit farther down. The sand around her was slowly sliding down; nothing to worry about it was normal.
Today the sand was golden, she felt like she was digging in a treasure trove. Natalie laughs with glee. At that point, the sand under her knees begins to change into glass. Natalie has reached the bottom of the hole.
The glass is so smooth Natalie stumbles as she tries to sit up sending her tumbling back down making Natalie scream with joy.
“Hello there princess! It is quite lovely to see you again.” Beams a little glass boy.
“Kai! I’m oh so happy to see you! How have you been?” Natalie hugs Kai carefully.
“I’ve been on an adventure, I’ve seen monstrous beasts eating majestic ships, mermaids singing men to sleep and little sea elf’s making glass necklaces. I got one for you.”
Kai holds out a colourful mass of sea glass strung into a necklace. Natalie gently took it from him, and her eyes glisten and sparkle with the glass.
“Oh, Kai, they are beautiful, all my friends in school would be oh so jealous of me! Thank you thank you!”
Kai beams at her praise. “How have you been little Princess?”
Natalie groans, “I’ve told you plenty, please don’t call me little, you make me sound like a baby! I’m sure I’m older than you.”
Kai laughs, “But you are so small!”
“Am not! Anyway, my father is off on another adventure and mother has followed. I would be free to roam our home again, and I was thinking of inviting you if you would like to come?”
Kai shakes his head, “I cannot leave the hole and the beach, and you know this for we have tried plenty. Those times were as painful as it will be if we try.”
Natalie sighs, “Yes I suppose, but it would have been impolite if I had not asked.”
Kai smiled, “Thank you for your invitation Princess, I am greatly honoured but I must politely decline. It is time anyway for a story! Would you like to hear it?”
Natalie nodded eagerly, “Is it about the monstrous beast swallowing ships whole?”
Kai shakes his head as he lies down on the golden sand, shimmering against the minuscule crystals in the sand making him look glittery.
“It is of a hero who saved people from a gigantic snake monster. It had fangs thick as a tree trunk and as sharp as a knight’s sword. It was the size of a mountain!”
Natalie slips beside Kai, lying down against him, he was warm from the heat of the sand. Kai was from another place, he guarded something special. He has told Natalie that he comes all the way from the moon’s heart. Although the moon was so far, she was amazed at how it made him feel warm. She loved his warmth; she found it comforting. It made her feel protected.
Natalie dozes off, and Kai watches her for a while then pats her head and dissolves into the glass beneath them. The glass floor shimmers away.
Natalie wakes up to an empty hole, she must have dozed of and Kai could only stay above for so long. She could hear the lapping waves in the distance and the yapping of dogs. Amongst it was the shouting of her name being called. It was time to go back to the big white empty house.
Natalie climbed out of the hole, sand was in every little crease of her dress and skin.
Squinting towards the voice calling her name, she sees Katrina, her face was red with heat, and her brow was scrunched with anger. Catching sight of Natalie Katrina waves her over urgently.
Natalie quickly walks over with her tiny legs, Katrina crosses her arm across her chest and watches Natalie, her brows scrunching even deeper creating more lines on her forehead.
Her lips thin as if she is trying to hold back something she wants to say but it doesn’t take long.
“Natalie Golding, how dare you?” Katrina demanded. Natalie scratches her arm and looks down at the sand.
“I’m sorry Katrina, I fell asleep and Kai didn’t wake me up,” Natalie explains rubbing sand off her dress guiltily.
Katrina harrumphed, “Come, you must get cleaned up quickly, Lord Bard has come to take you for a few weeks. Your father has asked him a favor. Your things have been packed, as always.”
A dark cloud forms around Natalie’s shoulders. A part of her wanted to scream and kick. See what happens if she let Katrina drag her home to Lord Bard.
Natalie was a daughter of a lord who was well renowned and respected by the aristocrats and the peasants equally. He was an explorer, and he has travelled all around the world.
Natalie’s home was filled with artifacts and stories and she loved them all, but what she longed for most was never at home. Her parents were constantly away. That is why she was not surprised Lord Bard was there to take her away again.
Natalie enters her home, walks past the doors to her parent’s private workrooms. It was where all the fragile artifacts and their shelves of journals were stored.
Natalie smiled at the memory when she had slipped in there once before. The artifacts seemed to come alive. The statue of a naked woman holding a baby had smiled at her. There was a giant metal rhino that had snorted at her and she had gotten scared. It was ten times her size but it had simply nuzzled her gently.
Her favorite would have been the crystal queen, she was beautiful and elegant; she had bowed at Natalie and she was the queen!
There were other sturdier artifacts around the house; there was the massive painting of mountains in the dining hall where there was a dragon breathing fire at the town’s people.
As well as the little trolls on different mantles across the home. Natalie had a feeling they moved around by themselves for they always seemed to be different trolls every time she looked.
There were old scrolls as well in the stairwell, scrolls with old writings but some had pictures of gods. There were beautiful lady gods in gowns that draped across their body, not fully covered. There were of men who seemed angry all the time.
Natalie cleans up quickly and is brought to a room where Lord Bard drank and spoke to a mysterious man.
“My Lord Bard, it is lovely to see you again.” Natalie greets with a curtsy.
Lord Bard was a tall, handsome man, he had a chiseled chin with a mustache Natalie liked to imagine to be the one talking and not Lord Bard himself for it moved an awful lot to be just hair on a face.
“My my, you’ve grown up so fast little lady! Had I not only seen you a few weeks back?” he asks taking into a big tight hug.
Natalie beams, “Yes Lord Bard, you let me ride one of your ships and it was marvelous! Are we going to do that again?”
Lord Bard laughs putting her down, “We will have to see, and I’ll try to find a way. For you Natalie, anything.”
He takes her hand and brings Natalie towards the mysterious man. “Come I would like you to meet Lord Marvik; he is also a Captain of his own ship. Just like your father. He has a young daughter just like you, and she is eager to meet you.”
Natalie curtsied, “Hello Lord Marvik, its nice to meet you.” Lord Marvik had a scar on his face, from his right cheek to his chin he would have looked scary, but he seems kind enough, smiling down at her and patting her head gently.
“Did you get that scar saving somebody Lord Marvik, is it a heroic tale?”
Lord Marvik chuckles, “You are a curious little one aren’t you, you and my daughter will get a long well. Perhaps Diana will tell you the story herself. She was the one I had to save.”
Natalie’s eyes grew round; “She was with you on your adventure?” Lord Marvik nods, “Yes, she and her mother.
Natalie feels a twinge, “That sounds lovely.” Envy swirling in her chest.
“I best get ready, are we going soon?”
Lord Bard has a sad look in his face; he nods and lets her go.
Lord Marvik looks at Lord Bard, “I assume, Francis and Genevieve do not take Natalie on their trips?”
Lord Bard sighs, “No, they are afraid she will get hurt. She is a unique child, very different from your daughter who tends to be sharper in situations. Natalie lives in a different world I would say.”
Lord Marvik frowns, “I have a feeling she is more than that.”
Natalie goes to her room and finds all her things packed and ready to go. She sits sadly on her trunk elbows on her legs, her hands cupping her face.
If her parents would only take her on trips too. Fight monsters and discover new ones. She had begged, screamed and cried but they were adamant. Always so adamant it was not safe.
Katrina comes into the room and ushers her out.
“Time to go.”
They travel for days, the ocean growing farther away.
She wonders how Lord Marvik’s daughter was like. From what she could tell about Lord Marvik, it was that he was an accomplished explorer just like her parents. Also that he loves his daughter very much for he takes her with him on adventures.
“Natalie, you are awfully quiet. Is there something the matter?” Lord Bard pats Natalie’s hands.
Lord Marvik watched Natalie and senses a more mature mind behind her sweet-like exterior. It would not be surprising due to her having to spend so much time with adults regularly.
“I am fine Lord Bard, thank you for asking. I was simply thinking about mother and father and their adventures. Hoping they are alright.”
“Ah I see, what a dear child. I am sure they are fine. They always watch each other’s backs. They are on their adventure, and you will soon be too.”
Lord Marvik, nods to Lord Bard’s words, “My daughter has a great love of the sea and goes looking for sea glass every morning. Perhaps you can join her.” He added.
Natalie smiles, she did love the sea. She loved being in the water. She loved to think she was secretly a mermaid who lost all her memory or was a little fish exploring the big ocean.
Looking out the carriage window, Natalie gazes out the window and she points at the moon in the distance delighted to see it through the trees, “The moon is much brighter the closer we get, and everything around it seems less dark!” she cheers.
“You shouldn’t be pointing at the moon. There is a story that if you did you would receive a cut behind your ear. That means you were visited by the moon.”
Natalie tilted her head, curious, “Why would the moon do that for?”
“Some say that the moon is the guardian of the ocean, when it phases it controls the waters levels. To point at the moon would draw the moons attention and its momentum would be altered causing a shift in the water. The moon doesn’t like to be distracted from its purpose. I think the cut behind the ear would be a warning.” Lord Marvik answers.
“That’s just a story isn’t it?”
The next morning Natalie wakes up to a strange feeling she’s being watched. The sky was grey blue and clouds hid the rising sun. Looking around her carriage, she found both lords sleeping uncomfortably in their seats and no one else.
She then feels a stinging behind her left ear. Touching the back of her ear, it is wet. She draws her hand away and sees blood on her fingertips. Her eyes grow round, and she stands to look out the window. The moon was still visible, and it was glowing so bright.
“Natalie, is there something wrong?” Lord Bard stirs from his sleep.
Natalie takes one last look at the moon and sits back down on her seat. “No Lord Bard, I was just taking a peak outside.”
Lord bard himself takes a peek outside, “Ah yes its morning, and from the looks of the lands we shall be reaching Lord Marvik’s home.”
Natalie barely heard the lord lost deep in her thoughts. The moon had sent her a warning, but she wonders why now? She had pointed at the moon before plenty of times.
She begins to worry that she had caused the moon to be distracted and hurt some people out there. Her heart speeds up; her parents were aboard a ship, could she have caused her parents to die?
“Little Natalie why do you look so frightened, my home is safe.” Lord Mavrik shifts uncomfortably in his seat rubbing his back.
“I have a cut behind my ear and my parents are out at sea.” She looks at Lord Mavrik clenching her hands tightly on her lap.
Lord Mavrik was not sure how to react, if she had received a cut behind her ear, it would mean Natalie was more than just a little girl.
“They should be fine, they are well seasoned travellers.” He answers; he had more important things to worry about. If she is what he believes she is, he had to find out more about her past. It all made sense why her parents did not bring her on their voyages. They must know.
Natalie nods, believing Lord Marvik’s words. It was more comforting than the feeling she had in her stomach.
As Lord Bard said, they reach Lord Marvik’s home soon enough. He had a large mansion bigger than Lord Bard’s and the lands around it were full of trees.
Natalie could smell the ocean, which calmed her; perhaps she could visit it and have a talk with Kai. Maybe he had news about her parents.