5th Teayu, 1470 TH
Padrig and Rhyawdd find me even when I try to hide. Today as I was bringing water back from the village well for Ma, Padrig snuck up behind me and shoved me down. I spilled all the water. Then Rhy broke Ma’s pail with his big heavy boot. I had two skinned knees and I was angry. So angry I cried. That made them laugh at me even harder. Padrig smeared mud in my hair and pushed me down again. I thought Rhy was going to kick me but then Faela was there. Padrig and Rhyawdd never laugh when she’s near. She scares them. Bad. Sometimes she scares me too, but not in a bad way. I know she’ll protect me. She always seems to know when I’m in trouble and comes to get me. Today she helped me up and looked me in the eyes with her one red eye and her one green eye. It was windy and her white hair was flying around like snow. Faela’s not old even though her hair is white – whiter than Gran’s hair. Ma said she’s seventeen but she’s not married yet because everyone in Caodor is scared of her. Anyway, Faela looked at me and she was angry. She said, “Willem, why do you let those boys do that to you? You could…” but she trailed off, both eyes blazing as she looked down the road where the boys had run. “What could I do, Faela? What?” I yelled. I couldn’t help it. I started crying again. She looked at me again and she stopped scaring me. She was just Faela and she hugged me. She dried my tears and sang as she got the worst of the mud out of my hair. She used some of the water from a puddle Padrig had made to wash the blood from my knees. Then she helped me collect the wooden pieces of Ma’s bucket and we walked home.
6th Teayu, 1470 TH
Faela got me this book with empty pages on my tenth Name-day so I could write what’s in my head. What’s in my head is hard to understand, so I mostly write about Faela. Today I was running away from Rhyawdd and was able to keep away from him. I ducked behind Old Man Owyn’s woodshed and he ran right by. Then I heard singing from the forest and I was kind of pulled that way. I don’t know why, but I followed a game trail through heavy trees into a little glade. I stopped in the darkness and watched. Faela was in the center of the glade, covered in green sunlight. She was singing in a weird voice and leaves were whipping up around here in the glade. I felt scared, like when Faela stares at me sometimes, only this time was worse. My heart was pounding and my mouth was dry. Even remembering it, my hand shakes so hard I can barely write. What scared me most was that those things in my head that I don’t really understand were starting to make sense as Faela was dancing and singing in the glade. She had the broken pieces of the bucket from yesterday in the middle of the glade and she was almost gliding around them. And it felt like she was singing to the trees. Like she was asking them for something. What was in my head was different though. It wasn’t trees and music. It was fire and I was mad – mad at Pad and Rhy, mad at how nobody wanted to pay Ma to wash their clothes, mad at all the older boys for not marrying my sister. My arms hurt and I realized I’d made fists, but really hard. I wasn’t scared all of a sudden, not even a little. Faela trailed off and looked into the dark place where I was hiding. The leaves started to fall, scattering around the glade. Everything was quiet now. I felt like I shouldn’t be there, so I ran back to the village as fast as I could. That night I was eating at the table with Ma when Faela came in with a brand new bucket. She looked at me and I could tell she knew I’d been there. She didn’t say anything and neither did I.
8th Teayu, 1470 TH
I don’t know how it happened. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to be in real trouble when the elders find out. I was playing near the brook when Padrig’s younger brother Tren came up and started calling me names. I got angry. Then he called Faela a bad word and kicked over the fort I’d built for my stick soldiers. It was an awful word – a word that can make the elders get very serious. He said it again, and I got so angry I couldn’t hear him anymore. All I could hear was deep and rushing, like when Baddon’s Brook ran really high in spring all mixed up with a bunch of horses galloping down the road. I looked up and I wasn’t one bit scared. I could see Tren’s face laughing. And then his hair turned into fire and I could hear again and Tren was shrieking and then Faela was there and she threw Tren into the brook. She didn’t wait to see if he was alright. Faela whipped around and told me to run home. I was scared again and I did – I ran all the way home. I was huddled in bed last night when I felt Faela sit on my pallet. I pulled the covers down from over my head and Faela had a sad look on her face. I asked about Tren and she just shook her head. I couldn’t talk. She stroked my hair and kissed my forehead and then she got up, saying she had to go see Elder Parnell. I told her no, don’t go. I said it wasn’t her fault. It was mine. I don’t know how, but I knew it anyway. It was my fault. She shushed me and got up to leave. As she was climbing down from the loft, I asked her. I felt awful asking, but I remember saying the words. “Faela? It’s not true, is it? You’re not a witch? The Horrors aren’t in your head?” She said, “No Will. No Horrors. But witch? I don’t know, Will.” Then she was gone.
13th Teayu, 1470 TH
I have a fire in me. I can’t hold it in anymore. Will it help if I write about it? The elders let Faela go today. A crazy-looking man came to Caodor two days ago and went into the gaol with Faela. When he came out yesterday, he said to everyone gathered, and I was there too, that Faela was clean. No Horrors were in her head. He also said that the village was clean too. But that didn’t make anyone happy. Tren was still dead. I didn’t let the man get close to me in case he might find a Horror in me. It didn’t matter that he said the village was clean. I didn’t feel clean at all – I felt rotten. When the man started to walk through the crowd, I ran home. The noon bell hadn’t rung yet, but it’d been awhile and Faela wasn’t home yet so I decided I’d better go find her. I snuck out of the house and didn’t see the crazy man. I looked for a long time. It was late and I still couldn’t find her. I was going to check at home again when I walked by Old Man Owyn’s woodshed again. I thought I heard something like a scream out in the woods. Then I remembered the glade and started to run. When I got there a sound started to come out of me. It was like a high little moan and became a roar. There was Faela, staring up at the last bits of green sunlight. But her eyes would never close again. The black parts were so big, there almost wasn’t any color left. She had blood on the side of her head, like someone had hit her with a big rock. Her dress was torn bad and her smallclothes were off. I covered her up while I yelled and yelled and yelled. I don’t know how long I was there, but she got cold. Icy cold. I think the elders came sometime later. It was dark and there were lots of people from the village in the glade. A big hand grabbed my shoulder and tried to pull me away. My voice was gone now. I screamed so long my throat hurt bad. Real bad. I held on to Faela as hard as I could but they pulled me away from her. I kicked and punched and bit, but then Ma was there and I don’t know what happened next. I woke up a little bit ago and Ma was rocking in the chair that Pa had made for her before he died, and she was crying and holding something in her hand. I asked her where Faela was and she opened her hand. There was some of Faela’s hair. She told me that the elders decided to burn Faela and it was already happening. They wouldn’t bury her with Pa. Only witches got burned, and I know what else they do to witches’ bodies before they burn them. I started to get mad. Faela, I won’t be scared anymore. I’m so sorry, big sister. I wish I could have saved you just that one time that you needed someone. But I saw the boot in the hedge on the edge of the glade. I know who it belongs to. I’m not afraid of him anymore. I’m going to go see him now.
I love you, Faela.