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In the Sway of Storms - ch. 5 (Interlude)

    • 140 posts
    July 21, 2021 7:07 PM PDT

    Part Two

     

    Chapter Five - Interlude

     

    She came for me in the night.

    I awoke to her song and quickly strayed from sleep. The world lay around me in the red and blue light of both moons near full. Around the clearing were forests we had never seen, rivers with no name, and hills with strange paths and hidden wonders.

    Sunlight Sparkling in the Grass nuzzled my arm, curious. I scratched in the fur behind her ears while telling her that I must journey for a time, to a place she could not go. She whimpered and laid her head against my arm. She hates it when pack is away, too far to hear or scent in the wind.

    I promised I would return. I promised that I would always return.

    She moved from me then and went to lie next to Slumber. The wolf liked Slumber, and I was happy that they got along.

    I stood up then and prepared for my journey. It did not take long, for I would travel light.

    I heard her sing again. I looked back once toward Sunlight Sparkling in the Grass, who pretended to be asleep, her nuzzle resting upon Slumber’s arm. But I knew she only pretended. I nodded and sent a thought of love and companionship to her.

    Then I disappeared into the woods. Not far, not far at all, I saw her head, larger than my whole body, peering between the boles of twisted trees.

    I do not know her name. She looked something like paintings of dragons that I had seen, though more snakelike and without wings.

    I bowed as one does before the face of Ancient Ones. Then she turned and allowed me to climb into a cleft behind her neck. I had learned which strange things growing from her head that I was allowed to hold onto, and which would anger her if I tried.

    She rose into the air with perfect movement, and I never felt that I might fall. Her long body trailed behind us like a snake moving through water.

    In the air I looked around at the landscape of our new lives. The landscape of our exile. From above I could see no end to the forests and the rolling hills, no signs of civilization now that we had left Faerthale far behind.

    We sped above the night lands so fast that rivers and lakes appeared among the trees, then passed swiftly beneath us. I did not understand how such rushing wind didn’t rip me from the back of my guide. Perhaps it is a thing with dragons, or dragon-like beings, that protect the ones they deign allow to ride.

    We rose higher into the dark, passed through clouds like fog until we rose above, and rode upon the clouds.

    Through gaps in the clouds I noticed that the trees were gone, and beneath us, grasslands and marsh as far as I could see. Silver and blue and carnelian shined from pools amidst the grass, moonslight to light our way.

    My guide turned to the north, toward the north star we call Dewfollow among the elves. Still the clouds swept away beneath us, thinning now and then to reveal the unknown lands.

    As the clouds disappeared behind us, a pale horizon shone in the moonslight. At first I wondered what sort of day might break in the deep north, until I realized we were coming upon a sea of pale stalks and flowers like I’d never seen. Plants washed in palest yellow like the spring sun on a river. A blanket of amberdown in the dark.

    My guide never spoke. She never has. Her message, her voice is in the wonders that she shows me, the secrets of the world above. A dragon’s road, perhaps.

    Then I saw the city.

    I knew it was a city before the shapes became distinct. Something in the ordered lines and curves, something in the feel of hive of minds whispering and scurrying together in one place.

    I saw buildings like giant urns of malachite and silver, each three stories high. Upon the roof of each, a light blue crystal shining with some light within. Blue and amber lit the streets. Beyond the houses I could see huge domes with strange sculptures or mechanisms of silver and bronze. Here and there a thin spear of light from the domes threatened the sky.

    There were few people about this deep into night, but I could see some tiny dots moving in the streets. We were too high up to see their forms, but they appeared to walk on two legs.

    I had no name for the power I could feel pulsing beneath me, some form of magic I had never felt thrumming through the air. I wondered if we could get closer, if I could see, or even greet, someone in this magic city.

    No.

    I did not hear the word in Elvish, or in any language. It was not a word at all. It was a certainty that came from without.

    Nenufarn.

    As we passed over domes with intricate arabesques of light within their structure, I knew the name of this city. I wondered of the land around, the land of pale yellow grass and flowers.

    Irilanssa.

    My guide turned, her long body curving toward the east again. Toward home? I wondered.

    But then I saw a single mountain ridge, set apart from any others, stretching north to south. The ends dipped low toward the hills, and in the middle it rose into a peak.

    As we neared the mountain I could see a darkness, a void against the mountainside. Closer still and I could see that it was no natural formation, but a leviathan gateway into the mountain. There were markings along the edges of the gate, but when I tried to read them, I felt pain beneath my thoughts.

    Does something live there? I wondered.

    My guide did not answer.

     

    * * * * *

     

    I awoke in my bedding on the ground, with Sunlight Sparkling in the Grass nestled by my side. Morning sunlight brushed against the eastern trees.

    “Where did you go?” asked Crowdancer. “You were gone for a while last night, but your wolf was still here, so I assumed you were just meditating by the river.”

    I had to think a moment before it came back to me.

    “Irilanssa,” I said.

    “What is that?”

    I sat up, frowning. “A land I think we need to find.”


    This post was edited by Crowsinger at July 22, 2021 4:19 AM PDT
    • 140 posts
    July 21, 2021 7:09 PM PDT

    Aovyn's Flight

     

    https://imgur.com/Q9hL9CH.jpg


    This post was edited by Crowsinger at July 22, 2021 4:50 AM PDT