Finding the Music

Posted on August 21, 2010


This story is Part 16 in the series Fire and Water. It follows Learning. To read from the beginning, please visit the Index Page.

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“How do you propose to do that?” Coanh said upon hearing Findol’s plan. “You have become a sorcerer, Findol, though you say you haven’t.”

“You’ll have to use the Nurain’s own weapons against them,” Varala said. “They used our strength against us, so we’ll do the same.” She paced back and forth, frowning. “I shouldn’t have fallen asleep that night. I should have kept better watch and held that half-breed Peldanir. He could tell us what the Nurain’s strengths are.”

“No. You did nothing wrong.” Varala stopped mid-pace to stare in surprise at Aurmid. “And Peldanir could not help us with this. He has lived with the Varzil all his life, and has little, if any, knowledge of his father’s kind or their ways. If he did, I would know it.”

“So would I,” Zaghran agreed. “Still, I believe we haven’t seen the last of Peldanir.”

They were all silent a moment, considering the import of this.

“So,” Findol sighed, “any thoughts on how I can release Griel from the scale?”

“It would be of no use to burn it,” Aurmid said. “Our armor resists everything, even another dragon’s fire.”

“And there’s no hammering it apart,” Coanh added. “We’d only wear ourselves out with the beating.”

“I wouldn’t be able to cut through it with my claws or teeth when I’m a cat, either,” Varala said, and the men chuckled. She smiled and sat down with them.

“Well, we can’t drown it,” Findol said. “Griel had an affinity with water. That’s why the dragons have always been allies with Aubele.”

“Wait,” Zaghran said. “You all speak of destroying the scale according to your essences, that which is fundamental to your being. The concept of destroying begins with the Nurain. It does not belong to us. We create, we experience. So, think of how your deepest natures could create a way for Griel to exist outside this one scale.”

They all gazed at him in wonder. He smiled patiently.

“Yes, you are all creators, because you all belong to Vael. You are creators as much as Sulinor, Griel, Aubele, Jal, or I am. Everything in Vael has the same power of creation. You have forgotten it only because the Nurain went to such great pains to hide your natures from you. If you don’t know what you are, it’s much easier for them to take this world. This ignorance only benefits them.”

Still they were silent, pondering what this meant for each of them. Findol slipped the scale’s cord over his head and untied it. He held the unadorned scale in his hand, and all eyes rested on it.

I could trace each of your lineages back to its source for you, said the voice of Griel. So could Zaghran. But it would be a tale too long for the time we have. However, I can tell you what your deepest natures are. Once you remember that, you will each remember your own origins.

Coanh, you are earth. You ground everyone, hold forms steady, provide a point of reference. Varala, while you are earth and have Zaghran’s gift of changing form, you are also fire. You keep the stories and track the truth through all the changes that flow and shape Vael. Aurmid, my daughter, you are very much like Varala, though you are purely fire. Your flame burns away what is false. You are the steadfast light.

But Findol, you contain the heritage of all these things. You are fundamentally water, the deep memory of Vael. You carry all elements and can draw on them all. It is in your power to cleanse, to heal, to restore. There has not been a creator like you in Vael since the First Times, when Zaghran and I were born.

Findol’s hand shook now as he held the scale. With his other hand, he drew Lourlan’s stone out of his pocket. He held it in his fist and heard the voices of his ancestors whispering. As he listened to them, their voices combined to sound a note like music. He listened more deeply, and he heard other notes from other families, then entire races of beings, then every form and element that was part of Vael since its very beginning. He could pick out the notes that defined each of his companions, and could trace them to the moment of their origins, too.

As he listened, he realized the entire world was singing. He wondered at the intricate beauty of the harmonies, and he knew this song was the true creative power of Vael. He opened himself to it, let the song course through his body. He could feel his friends open to it, and knew the song flowed through them all.

A sound like thunder punctuated the music, and the song receded to find its home in Findol’s heart. His gaze settled on his friends. Coanh and Varala sat staring at him, their eyes wide, smiling. Zaghran had shed his human form, and the column of starry smoke that was his true being floated next to them. Aurmid’s whole body seemed to glow with a rosy light, and she trumpeted, answering the music which lingered in the air.

Findol looked down at his hands. He still held Lourlan’s stone in one, but the other was empty. The scale was gone.

A shadow blotted out the setting sun for a moment, and Aurmid screamed and leapt into the air. They looked up toward the shadow.

Black as obsidian, iridescing purple and green in the sunlight, Griel flew above them, greeting his daughter in pure joy. Findol shouted and sprang to his feet in delight.

None of them noticed, in that moment of celebration, that the barren patch of ground nearest them had softened, or that tiny green grasses thrust their tips through earth that was alive and fertile once more.

Posted in: Fantasy