It seems like the overwhelming majority (also known as 100%) of you would like to see PDF files immediately available for printing! I will do my best to honor that!
And now, without further ado, your previously scheduled doll:
Jitka was raised in the foothills of the Great Mountains, an area called the Shadowlands. It is a remote and dangerous land. She is the adopted daughter of Dvokan Kethro'kor and spends her days herding goats.
Jitka's story was first conceived when I was around nine years old. It has taken many twists, turns and dramatic changes since then. If you are interested in reading the story that I am writing to go along with Jitka feel free to click "read more".
A cold sweat covered her brow and trickled down her cheeks. Sleep abandoned, she rose and walked swiftly outside. The moon shone high above, glinting off the waterfall. The soothing sounds of rippling water, crickets, and the wind in the trees reminded her that life was still in balance. Terror and pain would come into the world, but it would never be fully corrupte so long as people fought against this evil.
Although the hour was early, she called for a servant and summoned the chief to be brought to her.
“Olsar,” She acknowledged with a somber face as an unshaven man arrived out of the shadows. “I have had news. The Fey sent me a dream.”
Alarmed, the man asked: “What shall we do?”
“I am to seek out a savior. She has been hidden for the very purpose of releasing our people from this oppression.”
“Where will this savior be found?”
“In the high northern region of the Shadowlands.”
“But it is folly to explore those lands!”
“I will take Kaebrin; he has proved to be an astute scout and hunter. His young blood will be reined in by the seriousness of our mission.”
“Feyspeaker, you are more important to the people than anyone else. Were anything to happen to you the cause would be broken.”
“I am only a Feyspeaker so long as I obey the Fey. In the morning Kaebrin and I will leave. The Fey will protect and lead us.”
Twenty Years Earlier
In the northernmost regions of Onerym lay the Great Mountains. Beyond and above the forests and desert, they rise, reaching up to hold the sky upon their peaks. No one knows what lives within or beyond them. Strange sights have been seen near them, though, and they are believed to be cursed. In the foothills below the mountains a few brave settlements dwell. They live in the area called the Shadowlands, for they lie in the shadow of the Great Mountains.
The villagers there are hardy folk with very little fear. They have lived in this region for generations and rarely have contact with people from the south. Remnants of the old speech still pepper their language and their mountain accent is so thick it is hard to understand. They are a fierce and brave set of people with little room for emotion. They are used to seeing two headed deer with horns or birds with dragonheads and eight legs. Terrible creatures come down from the mountains to hunt and the villagers no longer tremble in their boots when they see one. They simply gather their weapons and go out to face it. Death is always close to them.
One man who was shaped by the Mountain’s cruel trials was Dvokan Kethro’kor. He was a goat herder like his father before him. When he was a child his mother and brothers were slaughtered by a hideous lizard headed horse and a twelve eyed bear. When he was older his wife and three daughters were frozen in a blizzard. Dvokan was a man who had known suffering intimately and it caused him to be a hard man with little sympathy or compassion. He spent his days with his goats and his nights alone in a drafty cabin. After years of living alone, though, one morning changed his lonesome habits.
Dvokan Kethro’kor woke up at dawn and went to rouse the goats. He brusquely herded his animals out of the barn and into the frosty pasture. One stayed huddled in the corner, an old nanny goat who was long beyond the kid bearing age. Dvokan nudged her with his staff but she refused to move.
“Neglum jitok.” He muttered under his breath. Lazy goat. With a groan he knelt onto arthritic knees beside her. “If you’re sick,” He mumbled, “I’ll put you in the stew pot.” The nanny goat glared at him and snaked her head down to hide a piece of red cloth. “You’ve been out stealing shirts from Izren Bagender again, have you?” He angrily grabbed the cloth and was surprised when it cried out at his rough movement. Quickly Dvokan unwrapped it and found a small babe staring up at him with brown eyes. She reached a small hand out to him, giving him a trusting smile. Dvokan glared at it. “And what am I supposed to do with you? A tiny baby whose madda doesn’t even want it.” With a scowl he put the child in the curve of his arm. “I suppose you’ll die on me too, just as my brothers and my own baby daughters did. You’re not worth the pain, kerla’va.” But the child did not mind his harsh words; she simply smiled and jabbered in baby talk. She grabbed a hold of his goatskin vest and squealed.
Dvokan sighed. He knew he could not leave the baby to die. He stood up and brought her inside by the fire. The goat followed, watching her young charge with suspicious worry. Dvokan fed the baby with goat’s milk and left her with the self-appointed caretaker, the nanny goat.
He silently took the cloth the baby had been wrapped in and hid it. The rich fiber of the garment told him that it was by no mistake the child had been deserted. Her birth had been unwanted, so she had been disposed of. He knew nothing of the world outside the Shadowlands, so the embroidered heraldry meant naught to him.
Because he had found her with the goats Dvokan named her Jitka, which means “little goat” in the old language. So it was that the child was raised by a reclusive widower and an old nanny goat.
Current Era: Onerym
For nineteen years Jitka lived in relative peace with the goat herder. He raised her as best he knew how and she grew strong and hardy. She weathered the storms of the mountains and fought the beasts that crept down from them. Dvokan Kethro’kor was proud to call her daughter, although he would never vocally admit to it. Sentiments were not often expressed within their household. Both Jitka and the old man were the quiet type; their love for each other was a silent bond rather than one shown in hugs, kisses, and words.
“There’s talk of strangers in the area.” Dvokan announced one night when he returned from the pub. “Izren Bagender heard it from his cousin who was trading in the next village over.” He sat down and accepted a mug of goat milk from Jitka.
“Strangers?” She asked.
“Yes, people from the South. Apparently they are looking for someone.” He laughed rudely. “As though they could find anything up here; nothing of worth ever was found in the Shadowlands.”
The next day Jitka was out with the goats. Dvokan had long since grown too old to wander the pastures with the herd all day and had passed the duty to Jitka. The old man sat in the yard mending a barrel when a strange looking man came up the road. He was tall with brown hair and richly colored clothes. Mountain men wore un-dyed cloth of brown and tan hues. This man stood out as an obvious traveler.
“Vanka.” Dvokan greeted the man gruffly.
“Good day.” He replied.
“You are not from around here, dol?” Dvokan asked.
“Ah, no. My name is Kaebrin Yal’Ekhor. I have traveled very far in search of someone.”
“I doubt you’ll find them here. This is the Shadowlands, lad, nothing here but Shader peasants and monsters.”
Kaebrin Yal’Ekhor looked slightly abashed, “Actually, sir, I believe the person I am looking for lives here.” He gestured to Dvokan’s cabin. “Does a young lady of about nineteen years live with you, sir?”
Dvokan stood up quickly, his face a menacing snarl. “What do you want, glani?”
Kaebrin stepped back a stride. “Have you heard of the Feyspeaker, sir?” He asked.
Dvokan snorted, “Who has not? She keeps the peace between the magical Fey-people, the Mahari, and us common folk. I may be a Shader, but I’m not stupid, boy.”
“I beg your pardon.” He apologized, “I have been traveling with the Feyspeaker for several weeks. We search for a girl who was left with no family nineteen years ago.”
“And why do you need her?”
“The Feyspeaker has foreseen that this girl will be in the means of saving the land of Onerym from certain destruction. Please do not ask me for more than that, I do not understand the matters of the Feyspeaker anymore than you.”
“What would happen to my child, my Jitka?” Dvokan growled.
“We would bring her to a secluded haven where people are seeking safety from the sorceress tyrant Melisara. Beyond bringing her there, I do not know. The Feyspeaker only told me part of her vision.”
Dvokan and Kaebrin spoke for a long time, and finally Dvokan came to a decision.
When Jitka returned home that evening Dvokan put a hand on her shoulder and looked her in the eye; slowly he told her what had happened and that she would be leaving with Kaebrin Yal’Ekhor and the Feyspeaker in the morning. He also gave her a cloak, which, he said, had been wrapped around her when he had found her as a wee babe.
About the Artist
I'm a full time veterinary technician who enjoys winding down by creating beautiful costumes and recreating historical outfits on paper.
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