Where the grass grows tall and the waters clear, stood a placed named Hofgaroar. The days where long and the summers even longer; the sky always blue and the air forever warm. In this sun basked pocket-sized town of Hofgaroar lived a small gathering of people. Simple and lively people who were fishers, tailors, smiths, and many other occupations that helped the town thrive. Amongst the various occupations was a collection of hunters who wandered far into the forest searching for game. These hunters gathered the main food for all the townsfolk and were held in high regard. Amid the hunters was a man who went by the name Hjortr. Hjortr also had a wife, a dashing woman who had been called Idonea. Idonea was one of the many town tailors and met Hjortr when he had needed a new stitching in his sleeve. It didn't take long before the two of them were smitten with each other. Hjortr offered her a long gold and emerald necklace as a sign of betrothal. It was held by a long golden strand which lead down to a center gold diamond shape which framed an emerald. Idonea expected his offering with open arms the two were married. However, Hjortr still had his responsibilities as one of the hunters and often left his wife home alone. Idonea would bide her time making new fabrics or perhaps dying new colors togethers. Hjortr was stricken with immense guilt for leaving his lovely wife home alone and brought it upon himself to bring her along hunting. Idonea was pleased with his offer and the two of them, along with the rest of the hunters in his faction, headed off into the woods. Hjortr kept Idonea close by his side. Although he knew they went after animals that posed little threat, he didn't want his little wife to wander off. Whenever Hjortr and his fellow huntsmen came across something. He would have Idonea stand behind them. Nearing the end of their hunt, Hjortr and the others heard one last faint noise of a boar. The noise came from behind the shrubs. Inching closers, they readied their weapons. However upon further inspection, they saw a sight that was quite peculiar. A boar, who's gut had already been torn open, but not by a blade. It twitched and shook slightly as a mix of pink and red drained and pooled out around it's mangled pathetic body. A loud growl emitted from behind the crowd of hunters. They turned quick and where once stood the beautiful Idonea now stood a large and vile wolf. It had been a long time since they had come toe to toe with this type of wolf. The hunters fought off the wolf and managed to defeat the large beast after a long struggle, but at a great loss. For you see, the wolf swallowed the beautiful Idonea whole while the hunters inspected the pig. Hjortr refused to believe it and searched for his beautiful Idonea, but never found her. The only remnant of her he found was her long gold and emerald necklace which had been snagged in-between the wolf's fangs. Hjortr returned home alone, but the house itself was not empty upon arrival. There in the room across the master bed, laid a small infant wrapped in hand crafted silk cloth. The small babe slept as Hjortr placed his large hand on the babe's tiny head, ruffling the small strawberry blonde locks. The babe stirred and began to cry, struggling against the cloth. Hjortr weakly smiled at his daughter before picking her up and carefully placing her in his strong arms. This infant had only been brought into this world no more than four or so months ago. Idonea and Hjortr decided upon the name Synneva for their small daughter. Hjortr rocked Synneva slowly until her crying ceased. He watched her cornflower blue eyes close and her breathing relax. He softly placed his daughter back into the crib. He stayed here for a moment before reaching into his pocket. In his hand was the gold and emerald necklace; having washed it to be best of his abilities. He looked to his daughter then back to the necklace. He let the necklace slide out of his grasps, feeling the cool gold run across his skin. It landed gracefully in the crib by Synneva's feet. Hjortr closed his dark eyes for a moment before sorrowfully leaving the room, delicately shutting the door behind him.
The streets of Hofgaroar were buzzing with loud activity as the crowds of people swarmed scurried about. In the tailors shoppe fabrics were being thrown around and sewn to item after item as young women were being fitted for wedding gowns and such things. The men in the smith shoppe made loud clanging noises as they forged tools and an assortment of metal instruments. In the bakery the scent of dough lingered in the air as the cooks constantly baked loaf after loaf. The doors of the bakery swung open softly. Entering was a young woman with long waved strawberry blonde hair and cornflower blue eyes with a delightful smile on her smooth face.
"Ah Lady Synneva! Come in come in!" The baker greeted loudly.
"Good morning Knutr!" Synneva smiled stepping swiftly to the baker's counter.
"What can I get you?" He said leaning on the counter. "The usually coarse bread?"
Synneva laughed slightly, "Not this morning, I'd actually like a bit of lefse please, for my father when he gets home."
"Lefse eh?" Knutr turned around and began preparing some lefse for Synneva to carry home. "Do you think the hunters found anything this trip?"
Synneva sighed and shook her head, "I hope they did."
"They've been showing up a bit empty handed lately." Knutr commented.
"I'm sure it was just a stroke of bad luck!" Synneva encouraged.
"You have a better attitude about than me, and here is your lefse!" He turned back to her and handed her a box with a sting attached.
"Oh thank you Knutr!" She gladly accepted it and began to leave.
"Lady Synneva you should really learn how bake this kind of stuff, for your future husband!" Knutr yelled out to Synneva as she left the shoppe.
She tip toed down the stone steps quickly and made her way towards her next stop. She ignored the shouting people and avoided the staggering townsfolk who weren't paying attention. She made her way into the tailor's shop, with the small rusted bell ringing as she entered.
The older woman with pins in her mouth and tried to sew a pink flowered dress together noticed Synneva. The pins flew out of her mouth and she let the pink fabric fall from her fingers, "Lady Synneva! Finally you are hear for a wedding dress fitting!"
"No I'm here to get my father's cloak, Groa." Synneva smiled.
Groa frowned and sighed before pushing past the many women to retrieve the cloak. "Here you are Synneva. Positive you don't need a wedding fitting?"
Synneva simply chuckled in response taking the cloak wrapping it around her arm. "Good day Groa." She waved before leaving.
She continued her way only requiring one more stop. She practically danced around the racing people in the streets and hopped over any object that seemed to get in her way. She pushed open the door of the shoppe.
"Good morning Lady Synneva! Here to pick up a book for your father?" The tall man asked.
"Not this trip Gisl, I'm here to pick one out for me." She replied stepping further in examining the books.
"For you?" Gisl questioned.
"My father usually picks one up for me, but since he's out and I had the urge to read on, I'm here!" She picked up a blue book with yellow bindings and a text that read 'The Adventurer and The Woodlands' "Oh! This one looks divine, I'll borrow this one!"
"Well of course just remember to bring it back." Gisl said.
Synneva only nodded already reading the text. She walked swiftly down the street happy to be done. She twirled around two men carrying large fishing cargo and skipped over a sleeping dog. Her small bare feet landed in a small puddle, but she paid no mind to that. The townsfolk looked towards her and gossiped amongst themselves, although purposely speaking loudly. However Synneva was too invested in her reading to mind. Her short green dress blew in the warm brisk wind and the transparent pale yellow skirt over it clung tight to the green fabric. Her long golden necklace slightly hitting her navel as her steps bounced. The women in the streets often cocked their heads when they would see her come by and give her peculiar looks while wondering where her suitor was. The men stared unsure of what to feel exactly. Some would pick up heavy items in hopes of captivating her attentions while other shook their heads at her. Either way no ones gestures to her went acknowledged. Reaching the end of the town street she turned her direction over towards a small grassy path. The grass tickled the the soles of her feet as she continued to walk over the foliage. Some of the farmers gave her hellos and in return she waved to them not lifting her head from the reading material.
"Synneva!" A loud masculine voice called out to her. She stopped in her tracks and slowly ripped her eyes away from the book. Approaching her was tall and fit young man with long layered blonde hair which waved its way down until resting to his tough and square jaw. Synneva kept the book up, but turned her attention to the young man now in front of her.
"Hello Synneva." He flashed her a smile.
"Good morning Njall." She greeted simply. Njall was one of the most successful hunters in the group. He was tall and unbelievably strong as well as older than Synneva by a few or more years. He was also quite popular among the townsfolk and he knew it. "If you're back, my father must be back too!" She began to take a step forward.
"Now hold on Synneva!" He slinked his arm around her waist, "Now what's this?" He grabbed the book from her hand and examined it.
Synneva sigh, "It's a book I'm reading. May I have it back?"
"Why would you want to read about an adventurer when you have me!" He tossed the book behind him.
"Njall!" She went to turn, but his grip on her was firm.
"Now come on Synneva you know everyone is talking about it." He mused.
"Oh Synneva surely you know." He said with a cheeky grin.
"Not sure I follow Njall." Synneva crossed her arms.
"Tell you what, how about we both go to the lodge and I explain it better there, where all my trophies are. " He trailed on guiding her down the opposite direction she wanted to go.
Synneva slipped under his arm quickly and snacthed the book from the dirt, "I'm sorry Njall but I really should get these to my father perhaps another time. Goodbye!" She quickly turned around, away from Njall, and sped down the dirt road. She only slowed her steps when her home came into view. She smiled upon seeing her father outside tending to some of the farm animals.
"Father!" She shouted running to him. He looked to her and smiled while extending his arms. She practically flew into his clutches, almost dropping the items she had gotten from in town.
"Good morning Synneva. What are the these things?" He asked examining the items Synneva retrieved from town.
"I got your cloak from the tailors and I also picked up some lefse for you." She handed her father his cloak and the box of lefse.
"You didn't have to do that Synneva, but thank you."
"It's quite alright, while in town I was able to pick up a book for us to read!" She showed him the book, "I've already begun reading it, but it's about a daring adventurer in the woodlands who slays a giant serpent. It's so captivating! And well, I figured you might be tired so I could read it to you if you'd like."
Her father smiled weakly, "Not tired at all I'm afraid."
Her father ran his hand through his long aged auburn hair, "Nothing caught this time either."
"I'm sorry. But I'm sure next time..." Synneva tried to sound reassuring.
"I'm telling you Synneva, the animals have moved further into the woods. We're tracking them all wrong." He sighed frustratedly. "The others don't listen to me, they think some sort of beast is luring them away. At this rate the town will go hungry."
"But father, the lakes are still full of fish and the bakers are always stocked." Synneva reasoned.
"And yet there doesn't seem to be enough for everyone to eat."
Synneva placed her small hand upon her father's shoulder, "Don't fret over it. I'm sure the other hunters will come around in no time."
"Let's go inside Synneva and perhaps share a bit of those lefse?" Synneva smiled before guiding her father inside their comfortable home.
"Did you enjoy your time in town this morning?" Her father questioned.
"No more than usual, although I ran into Njall on the way back." Synneva spoke as she placed a few plates back in the cabinets.
"He's quite the fetching young man." Her father replied.
"He's handsome, but positively annoying." She rolled her eyes.
Her father bit the inside of this mouth. "Synneva how about you go tend to the horses." He changed the subject quickly.
"Of course father." She obeyed exiting through the back door. Some of the chickens noticed her and squired about around her hoping she had food for them. She picked up the bucket hanging from the hook and grabbed some seed. She gently threw the seed to the ground and continued on her way as the chickens quickly crowded around the seed. She entered the brown barn and approached her father's horse first.
"Hello there Herr." The horse chirred in response.
"Dear you are filthy Herr! I guess in those two hunting days father didn't brush you, no matter!" She gently grabbed his brush from the hook. She brushed his thick pure chestnut coat, ridding it of the clumps of dirt that stuck to him. Herr's ears splayed out to the sides as she finished brushing his coat down.
"There you are Herr, more dashing than ever!" Herr responded with a loud and proud nicker causing Synneva to laugh slightly. "Alright show off that's enough attention for you." She left his stall moving to the straight across. Inside held a Brindled mare with a rose gray base coat.
"I didn't forget about you Nanna." Synneva chimed as she stepped into Nanna's stall earning a soft whinny from Nanna. Without warning the barn doors opened sending a gust of warm wind inside the barn.
"Hold on Nanna." Synneva said quietly before leaving Nanna's stall and approaching the open doors. She peaked her head outside but saw nothing; shrugging her shoulders she turned back around but let a gasp. There stood the tall and hardy Njall, towering over her. "Njall what a pleasant surprise."
"I know it is always a pleasure to see me." He grinned.
"Is there a reason you decided to grace me with your presence?"
"Well Synneva about our conversation before, since you couldn't come to the lodge I chose to visit you."
"I know it is. However people are talking about it Synneva." He pulled her close to his side.
"I still don't follow Njall. What are they talking about?" She questioned.
"Welll" He dragged his tongue, "Synneva you still are in need of a suitor and I'm looking for a wife."
"Many girls are in need of a suitor." She reasoned.
"None that are of your quality." Njall smirked.
Synneva stepped in front of him, "What are you saying?"
"It's about time you found a suitor and I think I can help." He said cornering her to the door.
"I don't believe I need a suitor." Synneva stated causing Njall to let out a laugh.
"Of course you need a suitor Synneva. A woman always needs a man to keep her in check."
"Why do you care?" Synneva frowned.
"Well Synneva I have chosen a lucky girl to have the honor of being called my wife."
Synneva gulped, "And who would that be?"
"You of course. Just think about it Synneva."
"I'm trying..." She murmured.
"Actually don't think a girl shouldn't think, I'll just spell it out for you. You would be cooking my meals, washing the clothes, taking care of our animals. And of course bearing my sons." He ended by roughly grabbing Synneva's buttocks.
She gasped loudly and angrily, "Njall!"
"Contain your excitement for now, Synneva. Save it for our wedding night." He sneered.
"And what makes you think I'll agree to wed you!"
He scoffed, "Please Synneva any of the girls would love to be in your position."
"Than ask one of them." She fumed.
"They don't deserve someone like me. Synneva it's about time you had a suitor. I'm the best looking man and you're the best looking girl; it only makes sense."
Synneva pressed her back against he barn doors more, "I-I don't know what to say."
"Say you'll agree of course." Njall leaned in closer to her.
"Well I er," Her hand fumbled about against the door. "You are absolutely perfect in every way."
Njall laughed slightly, "Oh do go on."
"And well," She pushed harshly against the door, "You're just to perfect for just little me!" she quickly stepped to the side as Njall went tumbling about of the barn. She quickly slammed the doors closed and locked the hatch in place. She heard Njall get up and try to open the door. He growled lightly before the sound of his footsteps faded away.
She sighed relieved and returned to Nanna's stall, "Can you believe him! Saying those things about women and his stupid self righteousness!" She grabbed Nanna's brush from the hook, "I mean really he just expects me to agree to him, just because he's well himself."
"Saying we should wed because of our looks." Synneva paused from brushing down Nanna. "I don't need a suitor, right?" Nanna simply nickered in response.
Synneva sighed, "I hope you are agreeing with me. I mean all I want is to help my father and maybe just maybe try and explore around a bit. All my life all I've seen is green grass, blue waters, and a clear sky. Perhaps places are different like in the stories I read. Maybe the sky could orange or purple and grass blue. All I can do is wonder."
Nanna pawed at the ground with her front hooves.
"Sorry you must get tired of listening to me talk about that stuff." Nanna rubbed her snout in the crook of Synneva's neck. Synneva smiled and lightly scratched the short furs on Nanna's snout. "I should be getting back to father now." She got up slowly and approached the door, "I'll be back. You two get along."
She closed the door behind her, but saw some of the hunters walking back to town in the direction from her home. She looked to her home and saw her father outside. Quickly she ran to him. "Where the other hunters here?"
"Some of them."
Her father exhaled deeply, "We were discussing about our next hunting outing. I suggested we go on a different path, but they refused. They think we should skip our next hunting outing. Not everyone can afford the other food, we provide everyone with free meat and at this rate..." He stopped.
"Please father, try not worry."
"How can I Synneva? I'm telling you the animals are moving on. It's only about time they changed their grazing patterns."
"Why do the other hunters think differently?"
"They are convinced a beast is wiping my out, but that can't be."
"Why?" She questioned.
"We killed off all the beasts and predators after..." He stopped.
Synneva averted her gaze away understanding what he meant. "Why don't we go inside? It is getting rather late."
The two of them returned inside having eaten their dinner in a comfortable yet long silence.
"Tomorrow Synneva, we you get up I'll be out."
"Why is that?" She asked.
"I'm going into the woods." He stated.
"I'm going to hunting on a different path." He confessed.
"But I thought the hunters agreed not to go-"
"They did, but I can't sit here after time and time again we end up empty handed."
"You're going alone?!" Synneva asked concern lingering in her words.
"None of the other hunters will listen to me, so yes."
"Well how about I come along-"
"No!" He snapped loudly. Synneva bit her lip and lowered her eyes to the side.
"I-I'm sorry Synneva. I didn't mean to yell, I just...after your mother." He struggled.
"I understand, I'll stay here while you're gone." She said softly.
He smiled and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. "Don't worry Synneva I'll only be gone for two days at the most. No longer."
She nodded her head, "Alright, but father please stay safe."
"I will Synneva. Now you should be getting to bed. I'll return shortly I promise you."
She smiled as she got up and headed towards her small bedroom.
Hjortr waited until he was sure Synneva was asleep before packing up his belongings for the early morning. He knew he would be departing very early. He turned his towards the direction of Synneva's room. He could hardly believe how fast she had grown and which each day he saw more of Idonea hidden in Synneva's fair features. He often wondered how things with his daughter would be different if Idonea was here. However he didn't linger on it; he knew Idonea would be proud of their lovely daughter. He packed up the last of his equipment before retiring for his short hours of sleep.
And that's it for chapter two! Hope you all enjoyed and sorry for the long wait! I apologize for grammar and such!
*I totally did not write this chapter while listening to disney music*