Gathering

Posted on August 31, 2010

8


Today marks the end of #WeSeWriMo, or Web Series Writing Month. I’m delighted to announce that I’ve met all my goals and completed my challenge. My final word count: 14,000. That’s 12 new episodes written for #WeSeWriMo.

Congratulations to all the participants. It has been great fun, and I’ve learned a thing or two. 🙂

Now, Fire and Water continues…

* * *

This story is Part 19 in the Fire and Water series. It follows Damages. To read from the beginning, please visit the Index Page.

* * *

They reached the edge of the barren expanse that was Sulinor’s prison when the rest of the world was emerging from its winter sleep. Behind them, they could sense the green stirring, the snows melting, life beginning again. Before them lay emptiness and bare, dead ground that stretched to the horizon. Findol could hear the brittle, unnatural hum that bound Sulinor.

They arrived at midday, and found others waiting for them there.

Yryn and Eron flew toward them out of the expanse, which they had been circling, examining it from above. They met Griel and Aurmid loudly, overjoyed to see their father again.

Jal greeted them, and a tall man with wild, long hair the color of fire strode up to them. His eyes were fierce and blue as the inner cone of a candle flame, and his golden skin radiated heat. He embraced Zaghran.

“My friends, this is Madan,” Zaghran told them, grinning. Then, to Madan, “You’ve traveled a long way to meet us. What brings you here?”

“We felt the old magic stirring a few days back, even as far south as the Great Desert,” Madan said. “Whatever happened, the whole world felt it. It was a beacon summoning us all like the rising of the sun.”

“The more of us who can help, the better the chance of bringing her back,” Jal added. He looked up at Griel, cavorting with his children. “And somehow, someone’s managed to restore the guardian of Earth.” He smiled at Findol.

“Guardian?” Findol echoed.

“Ah, how much the world has forgotten,” Madan sighed. “The dragons are all Guardians, the watchers, the protectors. Before the Nurain duped us so thoroughly, they were the only caretakers Vael needed. Griel’s realm is earth, Yryn’s, water, Eron’s, the air. And Aurmid’s realm is fire. She is my oldest friend.” He smiled up at her.

“As Griel is Zaghran’s oldest friend,” Varala said.

“You’re one of the Storykeepers,” Madan said, looking at her with interest. “That means you have fire in your blood. One day soon, you must meet the Sorcerers, the keepers of the Library in the Desert. There is much they could tell you.”

“And then you’ll become a sorcerer, too, just like Findol,” Coanh sighed.

“Not a sorcerer,” Findol chuckled.

“No, you’re something else,” Jal said, studying his face. He exchanged a glance with Zaghran and Madan. “You’ve learned a thing or two since last we met.”

Findol shrugged and said, “Yes, I suppose I have.”

“So, Zaghran,” Madan said, “tell us about this surge of magic that’s drawn us here.”

Zaghran told them how they freed Griel from the scale, and how the Nurain murdered the Varzil rider and used him as a lure. He explained the way the magic had flowed through them to thwart the trap.

“And you’re sure it was Peldanir who sent the rider to you?” Jal said, frowning.

“He wanted to warn us of the immediate danger we were in,” Findol said. “He meant us no harm. I believe the Nurain ship that attacked us had been watching him. That’s why he tried to hide his warning by sending someone else. But the Nurain took advantage of his good intentions.”

The dragons landed near them, and Yryn approached Findol.

“The Queen of the Deep sends her greetings to you, Findol Grey,” she said. “She would have come to take council with you all herself, but she and the Lulirnyn folk are vigilantly guarding the place where the Nurain last entered this world. I also bring word that your father and mother and her kin, as well as the people of Lualor and Coanh Thunder’s kin, are all well.”

Findol and Coanh grinned.

“The Queen also wishes you to know, Findol Grey, that you will carry the full power and blessing of the Water realm in the work that is soon to be done. It is necessary that you take her place, since her work is elsewhere.”

“I’ll do whatever I can,” Findol said, and looked at his feet.

“It’s well that Aubele is waiting for the Nurain,” Zaghran said. “They will return soon, and it won’t be just one ship. She has some preparations to make.”

“Then you must tell us everything you have learned of the Nurain’s methods, Zaghran, so that she can prepare well.”

They sat and discussed what they knew and what they had discovered. As Findol recalled the memory of the sound of Sulinor’s prison and the blank paralysis the ship tried to induce, they all began to hear what he heard, and feel what he felt. As he spoke of Coanh drumming the earth to break the ship’s grasp on them, they felt and heard the unnatural silence shatter.

Jal, Madan, Yryn and Eron all gazed at him in wonder when he finished.

“I will take this knowledge to the Queen,” Yryn said. “Because of you, Findol Grey, we shall know how to resist them now.”

“Eron and I will fly on every wind to take this information far and wide,” Jal said. “The more who know and remember, the more help we’ll have.”

“And I’ll take this message to the sorcerers, and they will incorporate it into the Library,” Madan said. “And every time a fire, a lamp, or a candle is lit, it will ignite this knowledge and kindle the memories of our people.”

Zaghran looked at the friends who had journeyed with him to this place.

“This is where we’re needed,” he said. His companions nodded. “It’s time to do the task we came to do. And once Sulinor is free and is able to join us, we’ll rid ourselves of the Nurain for the last time.”

“Oh, you’ll have some help with that,” Jal said, and stood up. “Eron and I will return as quickly as possible, and we’ll bring the Varzil, too.”

“And I shall not leave you for long, either,” Madan said. “The sorcerers and I will return to aid you in this, as well.”

“Thank you, my friends,” he said. “We’ll use the time you’re away to prepare ourselves.”

Jal disappeared in a swirl of wind, and Eron flew after him, trumpeting his goodbyes to his family.

“Farewell,” Madan said with a grin. He erupted into a column of flame which vanished as soon as it appeared. Aurmid hooted her goodbye after him.

Zaghran gazed at his friends.

“Now we begin,” he said, and smiled.

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