Following the Wind: Part Eight
Also by noob
Atrik laughed, her harsh voice resounding off the walls in the quiet hall. “So you’ve come here to take your revenge? Ha! How petty!”
Elora bit her lower lip angrily to keep from shouting. “I came here to save this city. The Faeries of other elements are preparing to attack this place right now... but Fyora can put a stop to it. Let us pass!”
“What horrible nasty lies!” Atrik snapped, her eyes bugging out in anger. “There isn’t anyone attacking this place! And that girl you have with you looks like she couldn’t save herself, much less a whole city! Admit it! You’re just bitter and angry and want revenge against me!”
“This city is going to be attacked and we’re going to save it whether you like it or not,” Elora said, coolly looking over at Fyora, who was standing beside her nervously, “and she’s capable of more than you realize.”
“You just want into the upper chambers of the castle!” Atrik shrieked. “So you can ruin my home and my city!”
“The last I heard a council wasn’t composed of one,” Elora said softly.
“You don’t know anything!” Atrik shouted, reeling back as if struck. “The others are weak! You’re just hissing vile words at me like Jhudora was!”
Elora gave Atrik a tired smile. “I’m glad you finally rid yourself of Jhudora; that woman’s words were pure poison, but I’m not her and I’m not lying. I’m asking you for the last time, let us pass.”
Atrik hung her shoulders in defeat and stepped aside leaving enough space to let the two Faeries walk through and approach a staircase that lead to the upper floors of the castle. Elora looked over at her suspiciously but began to walk towards her, Fyora following close behind.
When Elora was directly beside Atrik, she struck suddenly, her old wrinkled hands clamping around Elora’s neck and sending them both sprawling onto the floor. Fyora let out a scream and ran forward to help but was blown back by a huge gust of conjured wind.
“Fyora! Go! Run! I’ll catch up!” Elora choked out, her hands clawing at the old Air Faerie’s back and wings.
“No! I don’t want to leave you!” she said, trying to move closer to help her again.
A second large gust blew her back and Fyora realized that it was Elora who was casting the spells. “You have to go, Fyora! I’ll be okay!”
Tears dripping slowly down her face, Fyora nodded, her hands clutching at her staff so tightly that her knuckles had gone white. Hesitantly she turned and ran for the stairs, her lavender dress and hair fluttering in the magic breeze.
When Elora saw that Fyora was out of harm’s way, she flung all her weight to one side, pinning Atrik to the floor. Now that Elora was on top of her, she took the opportunity to latch her own hands around the old woman’s neck. The two struggled for a few minutes, trying to overpower the other until they both let go, gasping for air.
“You crazy old woman!” Elora coughed, trying to catch her breath. “What do you think this will accomplish?”
“Accomplish?” the old Air Faerie croaked. “You were the one that attacked me; you’re a threat to this whole city! I have to destroy you before you harm our race!”
“I’ve never hated this place or its people even though they abandoned me,” Elora said softly, stumbling to her feet and standing over Atrik. “I did always see you as a blind fool, though, and that hasn’t changed even after all these years.”
Atrik let out a cry of fury and sent a ball of wind hurtling towards Elora. She countered with a stronger gust that mingled with the first attack and then flipped around to strike Atrik. It sent the old woman flying up against a side wall, a nasty cracking sound resounding through the corridor as her body struck stone.
Elora stared at Atrik for a moment as she toppled down onto the floor, then walked over to check on her. The only sign of life was a very faint wheezing sound coming from the unconscious Faerie’s lips but it satisfied Elora. The Air Faerie turned around and began to walk slowly up the stairs when the castle began to tremble and a strange glow started to permeate the masonry.
“Fyora,” Elora whispered in fear, her pace quickening. “I hope you’re all right.”
Fyora wept as she ran, tears blurring her vision as she climbed higher and higher until she reached the tallest tower in the castle. It was a big circular room and she rushed towards the window to look out and immediately recoiled.
Thousands of Faeries were swarming in around the entire city, they had broken down the spell that had protected the wall from being breached and were attacking the city. Air Faerie civilians could be seen fleeing their homes as hoards of warriors came in to attack.
Fyora realized now that Elora had done the right thing, sending her on alone. There was no time to waste if she wanted the spell she was about to cast to work. It would take more power then she thought she possessed already and the task would become impossible if everything was reduced to rubble.
Silently Fyora held her staff out in front of her and closed her eyes, focusing entirely on the throbbing power within the stone at the crest of the scepter. At the same time, she reached deep within herself and found her own magic core, flickering with life. With a deep breath and a last hope that Elora would come if anything went wrong, she fused the two powers.
Everything erupted in violet light that coated the floors and ceiling of the castle and shot out the window to then saturate the air. The light grew brighter and brighter, and by the time Elora raced into the room, all she could see of Fyora was a burning figure of pure light.
Horrified and fascinated, Elora watched, the ground quivering beneath her. After a moment she realized that the ground wasn’t just shaking; it was changing. Elora looked out another window in the tower and realized that the castle wasn’t the only thing that was reforming. The whole city seemed to be growing and the buildings shifting and expanding.
All the faeries that invaded the city stood frozen, they appeared to be unable to run. Then all of a sudden Elora felt something prickle at the back of her skull. A wave of calm and peace washed over her until there was no more room for rage or bitterness.
“Oh my sisters, don’t you think it’s time for us to become one again?” a voice echoed that at once belonged and didn’t belong to Fyora. It took Elora a moment to realize that it was in her own head and that the rest of the Faeries must be hearing it too.
“Hate is such a destructive thing,” it continued in gentle reprimand. “There is no power in spite and malice; only the weak hide behind it. Open your eyes to the gilded wisdom that I will now bestow upon you.”
The feeling grew stronger and stronger in Elora, until it overflowed and she began to cry with joy and sadness. The memories that had been locked within the staff for so long flooded into her mind along with the hopes and dreams that it had for the future. It would be so wonderful if everyone could get along; it’s what she had wished for so long ago before her hopes had been stripped away in one fell swoop.
Then the light simply vanished and the feeling lessened, but to Elora’s relief it didn’t disappear. Exhausted, Fyora toppled over and Elora reached out to catch her, grabbing the girl’s small body before she hit the floor.
Exhausted, Fyora opened her eyes and blinked for a moment before she spoke. “Did it work? Did I do it?”
“Let’s see,” Elora said, smiling and helping her over to the main window that overlooked the city.
The two gazed out and saw the crowds of Faeries looking at each other as if they saw themselves as the same for the first time. Slowly they began to talk, awkwardly trying to look each other in the face and shuffling away.
“Do you think they won’t fight anymore?” Fyora asked, looking at Elora hopefully.
“Of course they’ll fight,” Elora said, smiling, “which is why they’ll need someone to help them sort out their differences, someone to join them together that isn’t biased towards any element.”
“Who can do that?” Fyora asked, a look of concern growing on her face. “There’s nobody like that.”
Elora laughed softly. “Are you sure? I think the most qualified Faerie is standing in this room right now.”
“I don’t think I could do that,” Fyora said sheepishly.
“You didn’t think you could even cast spells a day ago and you just helped dispel a bitter hatred and misunderstanding that’s plagued us for ages,” the Air Faerie said reassuringly. “I think you would make a wonderful queen.”
“That is my story,” the cloaked Faerie finished, her soft voice washing over the children who had sat there transfixed by the whole tale.
“So that’s how Faerieland was created and got a queen?” the Eyrie asked, her eyes twinkling with interest. “Fyora did all that when she wasn’t even a real adult yet?”
“She did,” the Faerie echoed, the soft mysterious smile still on her shadowed lips.
“That was a nice story,” the Scorchio said, a confused look on his face, “but it didn’t really tell what you’re doing here.”
“Ah, well, I thought it would help you understand... you see, ever since that day long ago I never quite felt at ease among the rest of the Faeries, so I decided to keep wandering,” she said, slipping her hood off to reveal tresses of golden hair and eyes as bright as the blue sky.
“Elora? You’re Elora!” the small purple Cybunny squeaked with excitement.
She let out a tinkling laugh. “I am.”
“So you don’t go back there because you hate them?” the striped Eyrie asked.
“Oh no! I hope I didn’t give you that impression,” Elora said, a look of contentment spreading across her face. “It just feels odd to live there... and besides, if I was cooped up in that city I wouldn’t be able to share these stories... I wouldn’t be able to just follow the wind.”
“I’m glad then,” the little purple Cybunny piped up. “I’m glad you wander.”
Elora beamed at the child. “You know what? So am I.”