Petpet Adventures: Let It Snow - Part Four
When Tvarla realised that she was up next to the Bori she felt a thrill of fear, but then it gradually faded away. She had seen the Bori try and stop the Eyrie with her own eyes, and it certainly hadn't gotten those wounds on its own. She relaxed, which wasn't the smartest thing to do in the middle of a violent blizzard, because the wind quickly tugged at her, trying to pull away from her anchor on the earth.
She felt her hooves come unstuck from the snow as she was lifted up, but then a sharp set of claws dug into her back, stopping her progress. She found herself staring into the face of the Bori.
The Bori's eyes gazed at her curiously, then they began scanning the landscape. They stopped on an invisible place through the storm, and the Bori began dragging her with it. She could still see the wounds on its paws, and gulped. It must have been made of pretty tough stuff.
Just as she began to wonder where she was being taken, she felt the snow lessen, and realised that they were in the bubble of calm that was protected from the blizzard. She saw Askar in the centre of a circle of mercifully still air, gripping the blue negg so tightly that his knuckles would have turned white if they had not already been that colour. His face was strangely blank, and his eyes were closed peacefully.
Emari was standing to one size, gazing with wide-eyed awe at the storm raging a few metres away from her. The wind was strangely muffled, and there was no sound of the snow hitting a barrier; it simply drifted away from them. Tvarla was amazed that the Bori had been able to spot this in the storm, but she knew that Bori were the oldest inhabitants of Terror Mountain. Emari spotted them and gave a cry of relief crossed with surprise.
"Tvarla?" she asked hesitantly.
The Bori placed her gently on the ground and sat down, staring somewhat sadly at the claw marks on its forelegs. It ignored the petpets completely, and began washing the wounds with ice from the ground. Tvarla was surprised at how quickly the fur began to look clean.
She stepped towards the Bori, and it glanced up and smiled. "Hello," it said in an unmistakably female voice.
Tvarla froze in shock. There was nothing wrong with the voice or its owner. It was the fact that she could speak in a language that Tvarla could understand. The Bori regarded her with piercing eyes.
"I know you can understand me," she said. "I am speaking your language, after all. Petpet, I think you'd call it."
Tvarla now sensed Emari beside her. Her friend's fur was bristling, and she was crouching low to the ground. The Bori continued speaking, the words sounding unnatural from the mouth of a pet.
"My name is Kliaod," she said softly. "I want to know how you found me."
Tvarla looked around for Askar, seeking his opinion, but his eyes were closed and his face was tranquil as he kept the blizzard at bay. She looked at Emari, who shrugged, easing out of her defensive crouch. She still looked suspicious, but also – as usual – curious.
"My name is Tvarla," she said at last.
She could sense the Bori urging her to go on, but she fell silent. Emari spoke instead.
"Why did you have the negg?" she asked.
"The negg?" Kliaod said. "So you know about it? That means you must be looking for it. Do you want it for you own purposes, like that idiot Vrailli?"
"The Snowager sent us," Tvarla said.
Instantly a look of fear appeared on Kliaod's face, and her eyes flickered over to the egg Askar was holding for the first time, realising what it was.
"I stole the negg," she whispered fearfully. "If the Snowager found out..."
"But you tried to get it back," Tvarla said slowly. "Didn't you? Why? And how can you speak Petpet?"
Kliaod smiled wryly. "I didn't get frozen for a thousand years not to figure out what was right and what was wrong. Vrailli tricked me into believing that he was going to use the negg to stop the storms on Terror Mountain that we've been getting so often lately. And fool that I was I believed him. I was the one of those who told him about its powers in the first place."
She shook her head. "The answer to your last question is complicated. Every Bori knows Petpet to some extent. We were all taught it before we locked ourselves away in the heart of Terror Mountain millennia ago. In fact, most pets back in ancient times could speak Petpet. It came as a surprise to me, at least, that now pets can only speak Pet. Petpet must have been lost over the years..."
She trailed off, and Tvarla pricked her ears, listening carefully. The dull throb of the wind behind the impenetrable wall was fading, and the hail-snow had been replaced with soft, downy-looking flakes that drifted with perfect serenity to the ground. She looked at Askar, and was surprised to see the negg crumbling away to snow in his paws. Then he looked up and stared straight into Tvarla's eyes.
"So you've lost the negg again," he said, glancing at her empty hooves.
"The Eyrie stole it," she objected, defending herself.
"Would it be possible for an Eyrie to fly in that blizzard?" Askar was addressing Kliaod.
Tvarla was confused, then realised that somehow he had managed to listen to their entire conversation despite his trance. She looked up at the small Bori, who seemed surprised at his question.
"Not that I know of," she said. "It would have been extremely difficult."
"So he's nearby?" Emari asked.
"No, he's probably making his way to the Bringer's cave as we speak." Tvarla saw a noticeable shiver run along the Bori's frame.
"So I was right," said Askar. "And you did say Vrailli, didn't you?" said.
"Yes," answered Kliaod. "Why?"
Tvarla turned to the Polarchuck, eager to hear his answer. His eyes were lit up with a wild light and he clenched his paws.
"Because I remember him from a long time ago," was the answer.
Tvarla was surprised at the hostility in his voice, and flinched away, but then his face cleared, and he looked around.
"We should get going," he said.
Kliaod shook her head. "No. I want to come with you, and I need to rest." She shifted her wounded legs. "You can't take on a fully grown Eyrie by yourselves. Not to mention the three other Bori with him. If they had any sense, they would have helped me."
"Help you to take the negg back?" Tvarla asked.
Kliaod smiled wryly at her. "Yes. I realised that he wanted to use the power for himself. He has no idea what it can do. I had to stop him. So I took it, but one of the Bori caught me and attacked me before I managed to escape."
Emari looked up at her. "Uh, what exactly does the negg do?" she asked.
"The Snowager didn't tell you?" Kliaod asked in surprise.
"He told us that it can control Terror Mountain, I think," chimed in Tvarla.
Kliaod nodded. "That's just about right. There is an old... I could call it a prophecy that I learnt form one of the Bori elders." She cleared her throat. "Every thousand years the negg shall crack and the power of the Snowager will be released."
She paused and stared around at them. "The Snowager can cause avalanches with his voice alone. So obviously this power must be extremely potent."
"The power of the Snowager will be released...." murmured Askar. "If the Snowager's so powerful, then how come he couldn't just use his powers to get the negg back?"
"Maybe," Tvarla began slowly "...Maybe the negg keeps the Snowager trapped in his cave. And when it cracks he is released. But that still doesn't explain how anyone could use this power to their own advantage."
"I guess we'll never know until we find the negg," Emari said, yawning. "But right now I need to sleep." She turned to Kliaod. "Could you help us find some shelter?"
The Bori smiled. "Of course," she said. "Follow me."
She led the way through the swirling snow as swiftly and as surely as if it has been a bright, sunny day. Tvarla struggled to keep up. Finally she found herself underneath a large ledge of rock that curled over and formed a cave of some description. She felt the stillness of the cave and relaxed her muscles. Already it was beginning to warm up.
Kliaod had settled down in the far corner, and was breathing peacefully with her eyes closed, although it was hard to tell if she was sleeping or not. Her wounds looked much better now. Tvarla lay down as well, yawing loudly as her body hit the ground.
Beside her Emari sat down, her eyes glazed with weariness. Tvarla could hardly believe that so much had happened in one day. She turned to the entrance, unsheltered and battered by flying snow. Amongst the snow she could see Askar's silhouette, watching. Waiting.
"Aren't you going to rest?" she asked.
He turned to her and shook his head, eyes solemn. "Vrailli could come back again, or the storm might start up again. I'll watch out for anything dangerous."
Tvarla nodded reluctantly. "Wake me up when you get tired," she told him, then closed her eyes and let sleep take her.
Tvarla opened her eyes to see Askar resting nearby. His eyes were closed. She smiled; hadn't she asked him to wake her up when he wanted to sleep? Slowly she crept to the entrance of the cave.
The day was still, and this time there were no storm clouds lying in wait to engulf them, only a few scudding white clouds in a blue sky. She took it to be a good omen, but then she realised that if everyone could see the clear skies, it might not be a good omen just for her.
She shook off this thought and turned to trot inside, but not before she caught sight of the smoke. She strained her eyes to see the location, but already she could guess where it was coming from: The entrance to the caves where the Bringer died.
She froze as a rustling behind her alerted her to the fact that the others were waking. She spun around and saw Kliaod looking at her. "What is it?" the Bori asked in Petpet speech.
"There is smoke from the where Vrailli is," Tvarla answered.
Kliaod frowned, and her brow furrowed into tiny lines. She said something in a language alien to Tvarla and joined her near the entrance, peering over the mountain in the direction of the ice caves.
"I can't think what he could be doing," she murmured. "But we have to find out."
To be continued...