A Song for Sulinor, Part Two

Posted on October 4, 2010

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This story is Part 24 of the series Fire and Water. It follows A Song for Sulinor, Part One. To read from the beginning, please visit the Index Page.

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The chants began in the south, and Findol recognized stories of Vael he had never known. He heard Varala’s voice among those of the Sorcerers, and the ancient words energized him. From the north came the percussion of Coanh’s and Griel’s feet, punctuating the rhythm of the tales, invoking the heartbeat of the earth. The Varzil circling Sulinor’s prison sang their own chants, and the Sylphs carried the music wide, enveloping the prison completely in the song.

Findol could hear the prison itself, a high-pitched whine that grated against the rising music. He felt, rather than saw, Peldanir stride out onto the surface of the prison. Peldanir opened his mouth and uttered a long shriek, and Findol gasped. He felt it like a knife pulling at his flesh.

Peldanir kept screaming above the music until his note matched that of the prison. Findol felt the pattern of the prison lurch, and Peldanir, still screaming, ran back to the Varzil at its edge. The prison shifted to follow the sound of his voice.

Amazed, Findol struggled to keep his focus on Sulinor. He felt Zaghran’s own memories of her fill his head, and those memories led him to her, trapped in the groaning prison before him. He let his whole energy flow beneath her to gather like a lake, reflecting her true nature upward.

Peldanir’s voice rose a half note, drawing the false pattern up with a shudder. Findol felt Sulinor’s being loosen and let go at last. Her energy dropped, fragment by fragment, into the healing lake of Findol’s energy.

Peldanir fell silent. The false pattern wailed empty in the air. Immediately, Madan and Aurmid engulfed the noise in a cloud of blue flame until even its echo died away. Jal and Eron blew the ashes of the pattern high into the air, where they dissipated to nothing and were lost.

Everyone hurried to gather around Findol and Sulinor now. As he held her anguished fragments, Coanh and Griel drummed slowly, steadying her with Vael’s rhythm. Varala, the Sorcerers, and the Varzil sang their stories, and Jal and the Sylphs breathed gentle, fresh breezes to soothe her.

Findol felt Sulinor’s fragments slowly come together until she was whole again. He felt Zaghran lift her away from him gently, and he opened his eyes. He was drenched with his effort and the power of Water, but the work was not finished.

Sulinor lay colorless and unconscious, cradled by Zaghran. As they watched, Zaghran’s ethereal form sank into Sulinor’s and disappeared. Findol’s stomach clenched with anxiety, wondering what this meant.

No fear, said Zaghran’s voice, coming from everywhere at once. Madan bent to cradle Sulinor’s head, and Jal and Findol flanked her. Griel and the Lady Maira sat at her feet. As the Sorcerers continued to sing, Findol sensed Madan’s heat warming Sulinor, heard the song flow through her from head to toe. Maira held her feet, and Findol felt the steady energy of the earth calming Sulinor. When Jal blew a soft breeze along her form, she took a breath.

Findol reached out and laid one hand on Sulinor’s heart. With the other, he clasped her hand.

“Remember us, Sulinor,” he whispered. “Remember who you are. Come back to us.”

He felt her remembering. He felt her heartbeat grow strong beneath his hand. Her breathing became even and deep. She stirred and sighed. Her features took on definition, and she bloomed with the green-gold hue of trees in midsummer. She opened her eyes, and they shone with a mossy light.

“Zaghran,” she said, and the name returned the entire song they had sung to her out to echo through the whole world. Everyone fell silent in wonder.

Jal and Findol helped her stand, and suddenly Zaghran was at her side, his smoky form glittering with joy.

“I’m here, love,” he said, and they swirled together in a starlit, green-gray embrace. A great cheer rose around them, and Findol laughed wearily, feeling tears roll down his cheeks.

A roar from Eron interrupted them. Findol looked up to see Nurain ships approaching from the west. A Sylph encircled one of the spheres like a snake and squeezed. It threw off sparks and little bolts of lightning, and they heard it groan and crack as the Sylph crushed it. The Sylph released it to pursue another, and the sphere fell in pieces to the ground.

Findol saw Sulinor’s eyes blaze with fury. She stamped her foot, and the earth heaved beneath them.

“I know them now,” she said. “They will not take my world away from me again.”

She looked at those who surrounded her and continued, “I thank you all for freeing me. I carry all your names in my heart, for I have heard every one of your voices. I will protect you now. Our strength will end these usurpers. Where is Peldanir, son of Oma?”

He stepped forward to face her, trembling, his eyes wide.

“You disrupted the pattern of my prison by commanding it with your Nurain blood,” Sulinor said. “Will you assist me now?” Peldanir nodded mutely. She smiled gently and took his hand. “Thank you, my son. Let us begin.”

She led Peldanir out into the waste that had been her prison. Everyone followed. While the Sylphs continued to break the Nurain ships to pieces one by one, she raised her arms, still clasping Peldanir’s hand.

Sulinor stomped her foot again; the earth shook again. The sky suddenly went black with clouds spitting arcs of lightning at the ships. Peldanir began to shout, and Sulinor filled the black clouds with his voice to lead the spheres astray. In confusion, a few careened off course, bouncing off Aubele’s shield into the clouds, where they burst into flame. Some plunged through the shield and exploded upon contact with the ground, while the Sylphs continued to pick others out of the air one by one.

Still the ships kept coming, their numbers increasing.

“We have to help her,” Findol shouted to Madan. “She can’t hold them by herself.”

Madan’s answer was cut off by something exploding on the ground nearby. At once the world was all fire and noise and darkness.

The chaos of battle began in earnest.

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