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Prophecy of the Second Equinox: Part Two

by laurelinden


Image by cuithil

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" asked Aloren softly.

    The faerie Draik and her daughter sat on a soft patch of grass on one of the tallest hills of the land. Above them arced the vast expanse of the sky, colored by hues of navy, violet, and indigo. The last dying light of the sun faded in a pale glow on the horizon, but Azraen knew that it would soon be gone, and the sky would become a perfect, solid black to back the stars.

    "Beautiful," she agreed softly. Her mother gazed fondly at the pale remnants of the day, but Azraen looked instead to where the navy was the darkest. The stars were brightest there, and more could be seen with every passing second, budding like morning glories in the dawn.

    And yet much fairer than flowers, the Draik thought to herself and she counted one, two, three appear. Thousands of years they stood before us, and they will stand for thousands after.

    The black of the sky leaked down, consuming it, pushing away the blues and purples as it claimed its time. The sun doesn't always come, thought Azraen as she peered up. The clouds cover it over, making a day-long haze. But the night... the night never fails.

    Beside her, Aloren shuddered. "It's getting late," she said. "I'll see you tomorrow, my little one." She hurried off quickly to where their family slept, rubbing her claws along her scales to warm them.

    They all thought like that, Azraen realized. All of her family. Night was a time to be slept through, to be rushed past. The hours of light were the ones of importance; night was but a break in the days to them.

    Could they not understand? Could they, with their powers and their songs, not sense the stillness of the night, the peace, the beauty? The daylight hours were pretty in their way, with the pouring sun and the insistent wind and the chattering buzzes of life, but they could not compare.

    In this silence, in this peace, the true glory of magic flowed. Here was its heart; they would comprehend that some day.

    * * * * *

    This night belonged to Rhoan.

    Gone was his hesitancy, his fear, his awe - here, in the warm, silent air, beneath a veil of stars, he found his inner peace. The rush of jubilation at being selected for such an important mission faded into a pleasant confidence; after all, Lord Dusken would not have chosen him if he had not possessed the necessary skills to accomplish it.

    He had the power - he had only to find a way. Here was his chance to serve the Forces, to show his Lord the depth of his passion for their noble ideals. He knew Lord Dusken would be pleased with his results, should he be successful, but that was not what drove his determination or formed his resolve this night.

    Only joy filled him - joy that he was to bring this daughter of the traitor to the side of glory and righteousness at last. Joy that, through her, the entire family, lost in their light-blindness, could be turned. Joy that those of his allegiance would have their due at last.

    The shadow Draik hummed softly in the evening, camouflaging his already inky scales. He was part of the night, immersed in its airs, joined with its mysteries and its depth. A faerie Draik slept off to his right, he noted, but her breathing remained unaltered by his passing. Even the alert blue Draik guard saw nothing but night, heard nothing but the faint whispers of the wind.

    Rhoan looked to the hill, where most of the family slept in a loose ring. They were all faerie or blue Draiks, and even a tiny Draik curled up nearby, sleeping by his mother.

    Most were there, yes, but Rhoan knew the one he sought was not among them.

    On he walked, letting the notes beneath his breath cloak his steps, his presence. He was not far past the sleeping circle that he felt it - a stirring in the night, a concentration of power that the light-following Draiks could not create.

    He had only to let his eyes follow where he sensed she'd be. There, on the top of the tallest hill, silhouetted by the rising moon, she sat. A marked one, from first crack of egg, is this shadowed second one.

    The night was his... and so, soon, would be the girl.

    * * * * *

    It was the strangest feeling that crept suddenly upon her - a tickling at the back of her neck, like someone could see her as she sat. Azraen glanced over her shoulder, frowning faintly, but saw only the sleeping Draiks of her family. Even if one of them were watching her, she knew that she wouldn't have felt this way.

    None of them could ever make her feel this way. It was a new feeling, unfamiliar... and intriguing, almost dangerous. It was the feeling the night always gave her - but intensified.

    A rustle sounded near her; a crackle, reminding her of a footstep. But there was no one there... Only night, only darkness...

    She gasped as a claw clamped over her mouth. Before her eyes a lean form materialized, humming softly, barely above his breath. She felt the sudden jolt of resistance melt away from her muscles as the song infused the air like a drug.

    Dimly she was aware that something was wrong. Through the gentle notes, the pleasant tune, part of her knew that she did not recognize this Draik - she should; only her family had mastered the Song. There were no outsiders with its power, unless...

    The warning faded as the strange Draik lifted his voice. The music all but broke her heart with its beauty, expressing in song the glory, the power, the majesty of the night... The gentle mystery, the tingling danger that only made its loveliness keener...

    Her heart swelled with the knowledge that only she could hear it, or appreciate its power. Her family all around her slept undisturbed. Finally, finally, here was a cascade of the essence of what she had only sensed faintly for all of these years - she soaked it up and brought it into herself like a parched sponge. Tears pricked her eyes and ran in wet lines down the scales of her cheeks, but she ignored them, closing her eyes to the music. It grew in volume as she embraced its notes, filled with the splendour of a side of magic that she had never felt this strongly before.

    It faded away to the sweet whisper that had always spoken to her in the darkness. Letting a deep, slow breath out, Azraen opened her eyes and met those of the stranger. Bright and luminous, they gazed back, shining with knowledge of the power. Some unspoken understanding passed between them, and the took his claw from her mouth.

    "Come with me," he whispered. "Quietly."

    She nodded, hardly able to contain the euphoria rising within her. Here, at last, was the answer of her silent wishes to the stars - here was a creature that could teach her what her soul craved most deeply to know.

    Stepping soundlessly across the grasses, beneath the broad, silver-speckled dome of sky, the two Draiks disappeared into the night they now shared. Azraen didn't once look back.

    * * * * *

    Alone in the dimness of his office, the Lord General Dusken's red-flamed eyes looped slowly up toward the sky, vanishing as they rolled back into his head. Taking several long, deep breaths, the mutant Draik relaxed the walls of his consciousness and lost himself to the winds.

    Two figures ran through the vision of his mind. He did not only see them; he entered them... he felt them... he knew them. His Lieutenant had served him faithfully, but the Lord had always known he would. Rhoan, with his bright gaze, and his true, fiery passion for his cause, was the perfect creature to send on such a mission. The child would sense nothing, if there was nothing to sense.

    By the time she could realize any danger, it would be too late. They would all be his, as they should have been from the start. They would scream for their crimes, their treachery... they would bleed for them, turned by one of their own.

    This daughter could enter their minds, their hearts, in a way that even he could not. He would teach her - he would give her the power she required.

    In return, she would give him what he had searched decades to have. It was more than simply their lands, now... he was after more than magic-infused grasses. Now his heart desired revenge for what had happened to his first entire force: years of study, years of training, all melted away by a single Song.

    He knew the song now - he had tapped into a side of it that even they dared not touch. This daughter of night was their link: by blood to them, by magic to him. He knew from experience that the innate goodness of her heart could not be quelled or blocked against them - her mother had shown him as much.

    He smiled as his eyes returned to their position, to become smouldering sparks of red satisfaction. She would keep her heart, yes. He would simply deny her the chance to use it.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Prophecy of the Second Equinox: Part One
» Prophecy of the Second Equinox: Part Three
» Prophecy of the Second Equinox: Part Four
» Prophecy of the Second Equinox: Part Five

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