A Song for Sulinor, Part One

Posted on September 27, 2010


This story is Part 23 of the series Fire and Water. It follows Holding the Note. To read from the beginning, please visit the Index Page.

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The west wind brought a mist with it, a gossamer net sparkling in the late afternoon sunlight. Aurmid saw it first, leaping into the sky with a hooting cry. Findol knew that call now: she was greeting her relatives. Moments later, Yryn and Eron dove out of the mist, and Griel raised his head and roared his own welcome to his children.

The mist stretched past them toward the eastern horizon. Findol sensed Jal flying above also, though he could not see him. He heard Jal’s voice inside his head: I bring Aubele’s protection. I will return to you when the shield encircles Vael. Begin the work quickly, for the Nurain are following.

Findol saw by their faces that his friends had heard Jal, too.

“Will the shield be enough?” Findol said, feeling tiny droplets of mist sink into his skin.

“It will,” Zaghran said.

“Look!” Varala shouted. They all followed her gaze. From the south, a long wall of fire moved toward them. As it advanced, they saw it was not a wall, but many tall columns of flame, speeding just above the ground to join them. When the columns were so near that they felt their heat, the flames disappeared. Now a score of people stood before them, red-robed and wild-haired. Madan stepped forward and grinned.

“My friends, I told you I would bring help,” he said. “Meet the Sorcerers of the Great Southern Desert.”

Before Zaghran could welcome them, there was a thunder of hooves: an entire tribe of the Varzil joined the Sorcerers. One man jumped down from his horse and came forward, and a few steps behind him, Peldanir followed.

“Vardon is my name,” the man said. “I am chieftain of this tribe. When Peldanir told us of his meeting with the Nurain, we sent someone to warn you. But that man’s shade returned and told us of his fate, and how the Nurain tried to capture you. We’ve sent word to all our relatives, and more tribes will be here soon. We will help you however we can.”

Peldanir came and bowed his head to Zaghran.

“I beg forgiveness for bringing danger to you,” he said. “I crept away that night to keep you safe from my curse, but I failed. Part of my blood is Nurain, but my life belongs to Vael. I will use my life now to make amends for the wrong I’ve done you, if you will allow me.”

Zaghran grasped Peldanir’s hand in his.

“You’ve done us no wrong,” Zaghran said. “There’s nothing to forgive. You’re not at fault for the circumstances of your birth. Part of your blood may be Nurain, but the rest is Vaelan. You’re one of us, by right and by birth. Rest your heart, Peldanir, son of Oma.”

“We should start,” Findol said. “The longer we wait, the better chance the Nurain will have to stop us.”

Yryn landed beside Findol.

“I will stand with you, Findol Grey, in honor of the Queen of the Deep. I will give you the strength of Water.” He smiled up at her, his mouth suddenly dry.

Aurmid swooped low over Varala’s head and called, “You are a Storyteller. Come and sing your stories with the Sorcerers.” Varala laughed and ran after her. Madan followed them.

“And we’ll give you the strength of Fire,” he said over his shoulder, with a smile like daybreak.

Griel stood before Findol. He lowered his head and looked him in the eye.

“I will thank you for setting me free, Findol Grey. You are a worthy ally to dragonkind. It was not by chance that you picked up my scale in the caves. Not only have you freed me, but you have awakened the old magic even when we thought it was dying. You are a true Creator, even as Zaghran and Aubele, even as Madan and Jal the Wanderer. Have no fear now, for you have made it possible for us to free Sulinor. You will succeed, for all your friends are here to help you.”

Findol’s throat tightened; his eyes stung. He nodded and laid his hand on Griel’s nose.

“Coanh Thunder and I will head north a little way,” Griel went on. “Another Varzil tribe, merchants from the Tirmanin Mountains, will arrive soon. They bring Maira, the Lady of the city of Tilminel, and her sisters. You see, Findol Grey, you have friends you have not yet met. We will give you the strength of Earth.”

Coanh laid a hand on Findol’s shoulder and said, “Good luck, then. We won’t be far away.”

“Luck to you, too,” Findol said. “I’m glad you came along, Coanh.” Coanh grinned and walked away with Griel.

Eron hovered above Findol’s and Zaghran’s heads and snorted. They looked up and saw that above the mist, the sky was filled with delicate, feathery cloud shapes. Jal flew down toward them from the midst of the cloud beings.

“The shield is complete,” he told them. “These are the Sylphs, the people of the Winds. If there is need, they will do battle with the Nurain ships. They, Eron and I will fill the skies with the magic we make now. We will give you the strength of Air.” He and Eron flew eastward again, and the Sylphs scattered to fill the sky over Sulinor’s prison.

All along the prison’s edge, the Varzil waited, making a line northward and southward. Findol imagined all those who had come to help forming a whole circle around the prison, and he felt his heart surge with power.

He looked at Yryn, and then at Zaghran.

“You and Sulinor are my direct ancestors,” Findol said. “The stone showed me. I just want to say I’m sorry I didn’t trust you sooner.”

Zaghran’s eyes were weary, but they were warm as he looked at Findol. He clasped Findol to him in a brief embrace.

“Are you ready, my boy?” he said as he let Findol go. Findol took the little blue stone from his pocket. He raised his arms, and Yryn spread her wings behind him. Zaghran became a starry column of smoke at his side.

“I’m ready to help my Great Father,” he said. “Let’s free my Great Mother.”

The old magic surged through him and filled the world.