Whisper on the Wind: Part Two
Filora's voice trickled softly through the forest, mingling
with the liquid chatter of the tumbling stream, but her heart wasn't really in
it. She was alone, as she had been for the past several months- ever since her
mysterious companion had vanished, without warning and without a trace. The moonlight
poured through the dappled canopy of leaves, the soft silver light caressing the
ground and seeming to shiver in time with the slow, sad melody that haunted the
Somewhere in the distance voices arose, some
loud and angry and others full of fear. Filora's song faltered, and crouching
down she closed her eyes and shivered. Kass's soldiers had come, ravaging the
land and terrorizing the helpless peasants; and although Filora was immune to
their attacks, the cries of those who were in danger tore at her heart, and
she knew that no amount of singing was going to help now.
Looking up, Filora frowned at the sight of a
shadow passing over the trees. It was fairly large for a Neopet- assuming that
was what it was- and it was moving rapidly in the direction of the larger shadow
of Kass's floating Citadel. It's probably nothing, she decided, lowering
her head and closing her eyes. As she did, it distantly occurred to her to wonder
where the Bat-thing was, if he was still alive. I hope he's all right, even
if he's forgotten all about me, she thought; but the memory of him reminded
her only too strongly of her own complete helplessness, and of the fact that
even if he were here right now there would be nothing she could do. Nothing
but watch, intangible and impotent as a whisper on the wind, forgotten by the
rest of the world.
Lord Darigan stood ramrod straight on his balcony,
his arms folded, his wings tucked against his back and his mind sunk deep in
thought. He and Galgarroth had finished their work for that day, and as evening
fell on the Citadel Darigan found himself contemplating the weeks that had passed
since his return, and the months of exile before that. Something was nagging
at his memory, whispering to him like the notes of a long-forgotten tune, and
restlessness stirred within him as he strove to place his finger on the feeling
or thought that was tugging at him.
The sense of restlessness got the better of
him, and rustling his wings Darigan swooped over the edge of the balcony, soaring
over the Citadel a couple times before coasting over the brink, slicing through
the clouds that shrouded the airborne realm and blinking in the sudden light
as land and sunset became visible beneath him. For several minutes he drifted
aimlessly, simply stretching his wings and taking in the world around him. Even
after several weeks of being the lord of the Citadel again, part of him still
thought it strange to be flying around openly when the sun still bathed the
land in light.
Suddenly his ears perked up, swiveling to catch
the drifting traces of a strange sound, which seemed to separate itself from
the rustling of the leaves in the wind even as it harmonized with them. It was
coming from a small forest ahead and to his right; and, struck with a sudden
sense of déjà vu, Darigan angled his wings and glided toward the source
of the sound, which resolved itself as he approached into the clear yet dreamlike
melody of a strangely familiar song. As he drew closer, his large and sensitive
ears picked up the liquid chatter of a small stream, which blended with the
voice of the singer and the whisper of the leaves as if it were meant for them.
Slipping through an opening in the canopy, Darigan alighted so softly that even
his own keen hearing did not detect the sound. The singer must not have heard
it either, for the low, haunting sound of her voice continued to flow among
the trees and bushes, the leaves rustling sadly as if in sympathy and even the
stream seeming to take on a mournfully wistful note.
"Under moonlight, under starlight
Wand'ring aimless through the cold night
Whispers flit through the dim twilight
Drifting by you in their soft flight
A scarce-heard whisper,
A faint feeling that you can't place
And then I'm gone without a trace
O-o-oh, pass me by, pass me by
A faint rustle among
Two watching eyes that no one sees
A fleeting phantom, such is me
Far from me, turn your eye, turn your eye
Silently, my heart
Of things that have been done
Of joys and hurts years bring
Flowing beneath the sun
Of war that follows peace
Of peace born after strife
A cycle without cease
The endless stream of life...
All seen through unseen eyes, unseen eyes
A voice calling across
A child sitting at your feet
A teardrop glistening unseen
Oooh, such is me, such is me
Yet I extend a paw
Will anyone reach back to me,
In answer to my silent dream?
Oooh, reach to me, reach to me..."
For several minutes the heartrending melody
continued; then suddenly the soft voice faltered, the flawless flow of music
distorting slightly and coming to a halt as if the singer had opened her eyes
and been surprised by Darigan's presence. Darigan blinked, suddenly realizing
that the song had carried his mind back to the days when he had come to this
place frequently, hiding here and being both confused and comforted by the seemingly
sourceless streams of music that had poured over him. A slow smile crept over
his face and he said softly, "I remember you."
Perched invisibly on a stone in the middle of
the stream, Filora felt her breath catch in her throat. He had spoken
to her! Nobody had done that in years- not since soon after that day when she'd
as good as ceased to exist. Blinking rapidly, the Kougra couldn't hide the surprise
in her voice as she answered quietly, "I had heard of everything that happened
after you stopped coming here, but I hadn't seen you since. I'd thought you
Darigan shook his head. "A mystery such as you
can hardly be forgotten. I greatly enjoyed your music- and I still do- yet I
have never even seen your face."
Filora hung her head. "My voice is all I really
have to give. I'm invisible- I have been for years. Not many people even know
Darigan nodded knowingly. "Well," he said, "as
one who does know I am glad to have met you. How long have you been coming here
Filora gave him a small, shy, invisible smile.
"About ever since I had an audience."
"You seemed to enjoy playing 'Water Faerie'."
"I'm just glad that what I did helped. It was
good to be useful for a change."
The corners of Darigan's mouth pulled up as
he sat down and leaned against a tree. "Even if you are out of a job as farmer
repellent, are you still open to an encore? My work for the day is done, and
although I am no longer a fugitive on charge of corn theft I have not forgotten
how to enjoy a good song. Perhaps the one you used to end your performances
Filora flushed, briefly glad of her invisibility.
"I'd thought you were asleep for that one. I made it up myself, and it isn't
Darigan arched an eyebrow. "Isn't the audience
usually the judge of that?"
Filora hesitated, then took a deep breath to
prepare herself and let her high, clear voice ring out in a soulful variation
of the song she had sung on that first morning when Darigan had shown up on
her proverbial doorstep.
"Across the earth, over the sea
From land of birth to paths lonely
Unnoticed and forgotten I
Ponder the land, an unseen eye
I'm never seen and
I watch and dream without a word
I watch days come and let them flee
'Til I find someone lost like me;
My songs rise
To the skies
Perhaps not yet forgotten
Deeds I do
Seem so few
Yet someday I will find
One who needs
A kind deed
A purpose well-begotten
'Till that day
A whisper on the wind..."
As her voice continued to ring through the forest,
Filora closed her eyes and allowed herself to get caught up in the sound, the
flow, the meaning of the song. And as the song rose to the sky, she finally
dared to accept the fact that this time she would not be forgotten, even if
she did remain a whisper on the wind.
Obligatory Author's Note: If you're reading this, then not only have I
rather obviously gotten into the Neopian Times, but I can FINALLY send in the
follow-up to this series, 'Rising Shadow' (which, by the way, was written before
'Behind the Forbidden Door' was published, so yes, I've been waiting awhile).
In a typical bout of overambition I have already written the sequel to 'Rising
Shadow' (and that one's sequel, and that one's sequel... and there are more
sequels on the way... ) I've been a busy girl.