Following the Wind: Part Six
Also by noob
Illusen led the way to the chambers of the eldest of the councilwomen with Elora and Fyora following close behind. Her room was located towards the top of a large pine tree, the space carved directly into the trunk of the tree. On the way they past several groups of Earth Faeries who glared angrily in Illusen’s direction for keeping the company of an Air Faerie and another Faerie who didn’t even have an element.
When they got there, Illusen took flight, heading for the room without a second thought, as did Elora. A moment later, however, they noticed that Fyora hadn’t take off with them and was instead looking towards the ground, her ears turning red. The two doubled back and landed beside her, both of their expressions puzzled.
“We have to fly to get up there; aren’t you coming?” Illusen asked gently, reaching her hand out and patting her reassuringly on the back.
“I-I don’t know how to,” Fyora said, the words softly falling from her mouth. “I never learned how to fly... I was in that castle all the time. I never got the chance to...”
“It’s okay, we’ll teach you right now... flying isn’t hard to learn when you were born with wings,” Elora said, smiling warmly and grabbing one of the girl’s hands while Illusen grabbed the other.
“Now, on the count of three, start flapping... we’ll help you up,” Illusen said. Fyora closed her eyes as she counted. “One... Two... Three!”
Her eyes still closed, Fyora moved her wings with all her might, and before she knew it, her feet were dangling in the air. When she opened them up again, her stomach fluttered into her throat as she noticed she was more than just a little ways from the ground. Slowly Fyora’s nerves floated away and she sheepishly grinned at Elora and Illusen, who took that as a cue to continue going upwards.
Higher and higher they rose until they made it to the branch that served as a balcony leading into the hollowed out chamber of the councilwoman. From outside the three cold hear voices resonating from within; neither seemed to be happy.
“Why do you insist on being so stubborn? I head this council and you need to back me on the choices I make!” Elora instantly recognized the voice to be Thestra’s, only this time she didn’t sound quite as pompous.
“Thestra, dear... I have been a leader of the Earth Faeries for a very long time... and though we stand at odds with our Air Faerie sisters, I would never condone going to war against them,” an older woman replied, her voice cracking with age and her tone laced with wisdom.
“Lady Vasai, we must appear as a united front to our people! You need to back me without question!” Thestra hissed in frustration.
“And what is it you require to represent my allegiance?” she asked calmly, a suspicious edge to her tone.
“I already told you, I expect you to entrust that worthless staff to me; it’s an heirloom you’ve possessed for a long time and since it is obviously sentimentally important to you, it will show your support,” Thestra snapped.
“That cannot be done,” Vasai replied gently, as if she were talking to a child. “That staff is waiting for its owner and it has been my job over the years to protect it and wait for that day. You are not that owner, Thestra, so I cannot give it to you.”
Thestra cried out in anger. “So be it then! Perhaps I should have reduced you to a pile of dust long ago, you old bag of bones!”
The three Faeries listening outside looked at each other in alarm. That was clearly a threat and all of them expected her to follow it through. It looked like the old Earth Faerie wouldn’t need to be convinced that Thestra was evil after all.
Without hesitation, Elora, Illusen, and Fyora rushed into the room together, ready to defend the old Faerie from Thestra’s attack. Their entry startled both of the women; Vasai looked mildly surprised, but Thestra’s face went red with rage when she saw Fyora standing there.
“You! What are you doing here brat?” she spat viciously in Fyora’s direction. “You’re worthless and weak. Go back and hide in that little room of yours if you don’t want to get hurt.”
“I’m not,” Fyora said fiercely, more to convince herself than Thestra. “I know you lied to me! All you Dark Faeries lied to me! I’m not weak! I’m not!”
“A Dark Faerie?” Vasai asked in surprise. “Oh Thestra, of all the things I thought you were, I never would have guessed that.”
“So what if I am?” she snarled, letting her disguise as an Earth Faerie melt away to reveal her true form.
“So it is true,” Vasai said sadly. “I should have done more to stop you... you’ve led everyone astray.”
With a wicked smile on her lips, Thestra swirled her arms around to create a ball of darkness that sizzled with power. “You won’t live long enough to tell anyone what you’ve just learned, you old crone... and I can blame your death on these three that I will also valiantly take down in your name.”
Quickly Elora cast an air spell that swirled around Vasai like a shield, her brow furrowing in concentration and effort. “Fyora! Illusen! I’ll protect the councilwoman! You have to take down Thestra!”
Then Fyora and Illusen looked at each other and nodded, before taking off and surrounding Thestra on both sides. Illusen raised her hands in the air and cast a spell that caused the floor to sprout tendrils that curled up and around Thestra’s legs, pinning her to the spot. Fyora stood there, unsure of what to do. She felt like she had to do something, but she didn’t know any good spells.
When Fyora hesitated, Thestra swiveled her waist around and fired the orb of pulsating magic she still held in her hands towards Elora, who was helpless against the attack since all her powers were focused on protecting Vasai.
“No!” Fyora screamed in horror, wishing with all her might that she could stop the spell from hitting Elora.
Much to her surprise it did, the spell freezing in midair only inches away from Elora’s head. Fyora’s face split into a mischievous grin as she eyed Thestra, who was looking at her in stunned silence.
“You see, I told you,” she said quietly, as she pointed her finger at the Dark Faerie and sent her own spell flying into her stomach, “I’m not helpless or weak.”
With a silent gasp of pain, Thestra’s eyes went dull and she collapsed on the floor clutching her abdomen. The threat eliminated, Elora dispelled the barrier she had put up around Vasai and Illusen let the vines that twisted around Thestra’s feet unwind and sink back into the wood floor.
“You will pay very dearly for the corruption you have caused,” Lady Vasai said fiercely, walking over to stand above Thestra. “But now is not the time for such things... first the wrongs you have committed must be righted. Your punishment can wait.”
Vasai reached down, her old wrinkled hands making contact with the bare skin of Thestra’s arm. For a moment the pair glowed and then the Dark Faerie began to shrink. She continued to grow smaller and smaller until she fit into the palm of Vasai’s hand. Slowly the old woman got up and walked over to a shelf where an array of oddly shaped empty potion bottles sat. She uncorked one of them and slipped the unconscious Dark faerie inside before corking it again and setting it back down.
Calmly she turned to face the other three Faeries, a curious look glimmering in her old eyes as she focused on Fyora. “Tell me, what sort of magic did you use just then, dear? I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do that to a spell that’s already been cast.”
“I-I honestly don’t know. I was really surprised when it stopped,” Fyora said biting her lip nervously. “You don’t think I really hurt her, do you?”
“If that wasn’t her own spell, that would have probably killed her,” Vasai said, chuckling dryly. “Since it did belong to her, though, I think she’ll just be aching for a very long while.”
Fyora looked relieved. “That’s good... I didn’t want to kill anybody.”
“I think I have something for you, dear,” the old woman said thoughtfully. “I happen to have a staff in my possession, one that long ago I was told to protect until the rightful owner came to claim it. The color of the polished stone on top on that staff remarkably resembles that of your eyes and hair.”
“What does my eye color have to do with anything?” Fyora asked, completely confused.
“Part of a tale... an old tale that was told... that’s all,” she said simply, turning around and walking towards an ancient chest that was resting in the corner of her chambers.
Illusen and Elora glanced at each other. They were pretty sure they knew what the old Faerie was going to get. Sure enough, when she opened the chest, she pulled out an old rusty staff with a brilliantly glimmering lavender orb set into the top. Cradling it like it was something precious, Vasai walked back over to Fyora and held it out to her.
“You don’t have an element, do you, dear?” the old Faerie asked kindly. “I’ve only seen one other like you, and she has long since turned to dust.”
“You-you mean there was someone else like me, but she’s dead now?” Fyora asked, her eyes wide with surprise. “How did she die?”
“She disappeared during the creation of this staff,” Vasai said, giving a wispy sigh. “Thestra may have called it worthless but locked inside is all the power of that woman who sacrificed herself to see it born... she was also the one who foresaw the unity of the races again.”
“She was a prophet?” Elora asked, her voice hushed with awe.
“Yes, she was a prophet of sorts,” Vasai responded, still looking at Fyora. “She created this so it could channel the power of the Faerie capable of wielding it... and the Faerie who could unlock it had to possess the same element as she did.”
“Me,” Fyora whispered, hardly believing what she was hearing, “this staff was meant for me.”
Vasai smiled and offered it up to Fyora. “It’s been waiting for a long time for its owner to claim it; I think it’s about time you took it.”
Hesitantly Fyora reached out and grabbed the staff, closing her eyes as her fingers wrapped around the cool metal. Slowly she pulled it close to her, cupping the glittering stone at the top in the palm of her hand.
Suddenly Fyora cried out as the orb began to glow where she had touched it, the unearthly light seeping into her skin and winding up her arm. Elora and Illusen watched in awe and horror as the radiant light seemed to enter their companion; even Fyora’s eyes seemed to glow through their closed lids. Elora ran forward to try to help the girl, but before she got there, the light had dissipated.
“Are you alright?” Elora asked urgently. “Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine, Elora,” Fyora opened her eyes, a new feeling of wisdom, power, and confidence emanating from her stare, “and I know exactly what we have to do to stop this.”
To be continued...