My name is Rowan but most people call me Red. I live in a village in the heart of the forest. There is no silence here, the forest is filled with clanking and ticking of steam driven machinery cutting down trees. Vibrations shake the earth beneath my feet as the miners drill deeper and deeper under the ground, searching out new veins of precious metal. The sound of metal against metal fills the air near the blacksmith’s forge, ribbons of black smoke curl as they rise from the rooftops.
Today is my eighteenth birthday. Mother says I shall leave now to visit Grandmother in the Cottage. Mother has been up all night sewing me a hooded cloak, the colour of ripe red berries, the colour of my left eye. The one the villagers say is cursed and evil. Mother says it’s nonsense, that it means I will always see the truth of things. I have always been the finder of things, keys, coins, cogs and jewellery. Mother says I could find a diamond in a snow storm or weed out all the lies the peddlers spout and find the truth hidden in pretty words.
Today I leave the forest forever. I leave Mother, our small house and head to the city like my father did before I was born. I have been chosen to go to Grandmother as Father was before me, as so many were. Mother refuses to talk about it, she will only say that those chosen go to serve Grandmother in the Cottage and never return. She fears the truth I will see no matter how honeyed the lies she might speak.
Mother refused to walk with me to the platform. I stand with three other villagers, two girls and a boy, each of us carrying a basket filled with gifts for Grandmother, shiny copper and brass springs and cogs with decorative scrollwork, some with tiny chips of precious gems, and golden threads. I grip my cloak tightly around me the basket heavy over my arms. Leaning against my boots is a worn leather satchel, filled with what few belongings I own. The train whistles before pulling to a stop at the platform, plums of steam bubble around the black engine as the breaks sigh.
A man leaps out from the train a book and pen in his hands. Brass goggles obscure his eyes, he is smartly dressed in a navy uniform with highly polished scrollwork and gears decorating his chest. His left hand is mechanical, a clockwork construction of brass. I tilt my head to catch the faint sound of gears turning as the man examines the clockwork pendants each of us wear. The pendants are the sign of the chosen grandchildren. I am forbidden to tinker with mine though it lies warm against my skin and makes my teeth itch.
to be continued....
Ok that's the first half, I have another paragraph written and extensive notes for the rest of the story I just need a harpy on my back to get me writing again.