Sheep shears, excellent for the upkeep of one’s beard. The fresh air feeling entering he follicles of his beard brought clarity to his head. The aching tingle between his eyes ceased. Blonde strands floated away with the ebb and flow of the ocean’s waves before which he knelt. Snipping and pruning his hair like a fine garden, short, in a pattern of shoulder to heart. Others who passed by, those expeditioneers from the mountain, gathered in groups across the morning and groomed one another, clipping each fibrous hair almost one at a time. Socializing. With their friends and their family.
More portals opened, capturing the attention of everyone in the area. Portal keepers were shoved through with billows of smoke at their ankles, legions of eynnil, many of whom were disheartened, scorched, filled with loud cries as they held their kin and children. Among them Xirril, the Colmillo woman from the Lanh while her origin of Brinorion burned with dark black smoke that followed through and stained the sky, came through with the blank look that would qualify her to become golden eyed while she glanced around with grey iris. She shoved humans and dwarves aside, tearing through the crowd demanding to speak to the abbess superior immediately.
Lavia stepped aside, out of Xirril’s warpath. Scuttling to Samythiel’s side where she guided him away. Saving him, in a way, from being shoved to the ground. Medics leisurely came to the scene as scared people caught their breath, stood, sat, and laid, splayed on the rocks of the beach.
Magga sprinted to her brother.
“What happened!?” She demanded, shooting an unfriendly look at Samythiel.
“I do not know.” Lavia replied, straightening her frock. “But I have never seen her like that before”
Samythiel pursed his mouth, looking to his sister. She’d participated in the social circle, most of her beard was in tiny, thin, braids and adorned with metal beads and clamped cuffs. She clanked twice at how he had done nothing with his hair.
Two toadlings, carrying with them a great trunk, approached Lavia, catching Xirril’s attention. Soon a group of the tall and the short alike had converged all looking for the abbess who stood outside a tent and observed. Waiting with patience for her students to take notice. Samythiel eyed her, the way she didn’t have a slight jitter to her stance, not fidgeting, he wasn’t sure she even breathed. He pointed to himself raising his eyebrows, silently gesturing a question of whether or not she wanted him to alert the eynnil and the Colmillo. She merely closed her eyes and shook her head hung low. Too smooth, looking at her annihilated his desired to paint anything. But why, other than being a terrible subject. Lavia continued her defenses, that she indeed hasn’t seen “the exile” while Xirril persisted with her abuses against the girl.
“So where is she now?” Xirril demanded, placing her hands at her waist. Her chest, her face, puffed with pride.
“I, eh, I’m afraid master was indelicate with the exile. She’s…she’s gone.” Lavia wrung the bottom hem of her apron. Rolling it in her fingers while Xirril delivered a harsh poke to the girl’s heart.
“Perhaps it is that you were never destined for this mission, to make that bleeding exile stay in place long enough!” Xirril poked again. “It was you that set her free in the first place. When she’d come so willingly to the temple! It is you that let her go now that the abbess has abandoned Brinorion to burn! Your fault alone!”
Bile rose in Samythiel’s stomach but its release was overtaken by Magga. Magga the magma mouth.
“Now you, yer tallness, listen here tae me. If collectin’ yer exile was so <<damned>> important then why did ye not come out yerself tae see the job done right eh?!” Magga flared, the ends of her air became embers that grew brighter. “I aint seen ye this whole journey and you and whoever those two are show up and decide this quest is yer shiny new colony.”
Samythiel turned to his sister, putting a hand to her shoulder, silently begging her to stop her tirade. Lavia looked to her master across the way. Xirril narrowed her eyes at the dwarves.
“An’ you! Yer so much a coward that you’ll actually side with these people just soo they will continue tae give yer artistry the time of day.” She smacked Samythiel’s hand away. “If yer soo in love with yerself and yer own creations, and if paintin is as much magic as ye used tae say, then ye doont deserve yer eyesight just to watch Destiny retreat!”
“Mighty big words from a laborer, such a small laborer. How dare you speak to the Lanh like this?” Xirril leaned down bringing her tusks close.
“Yer Lanh ain’t nothin but cinders now missy. What are ye goin’ tae do, eh?” Magga taunted with a sweetened tone “Are ye goin tae exile me, hm? Oh I would love tae see ye try.” She did not waver, her eyes only ceased focus, as her hands heated up with fire and electricity. Only then did the Abbess call out to her students.
“Girls! A word please.” She retreated into her tent, Lavia scuttled quickly while Xirril lingered a moment before leaving. The tent flap closed. Magga turned to her brother and made a rude gesture then left him there alone.
Destiny, something in the elements that always eluded Samythiel. How nice it would be to know, just know, that some paths lead to better fortune. He sat on his heels, idly moving the rocks with the little magic he did have. Blindly building small castles and mountains. The sea said nothing while the trimmed hairs of his beard floated away. What more was there to do than go back to the quarters? Past the fiery glares of the smiths who moved the bellows manually in silence. News had rushed the camp, of his status as a baited pawn no doubt. At least, the loneliness of the quarters tent was welcome to him. Something shimmered on his cot which had been neatly made. A silver wreath, a gift, returned to the face of treachery that he saw in the laurel leaves.
3 thoughts on “Snowy Ground: The Coming Day Part 4”
Wow what a great short burst of a chapter this week! This wasted no time in getting me invested in what you are cooking up for next week believe me. I’m glad that you haven’t mended Xiril and Lavias relationship since the first time we saw them interact back in chapter 2 (iirc). Xiril seems cruel but loyal to this abbess. If I understand it right the Abbess and yluu are the same person. It’s good that you remind us throughout the weeks because it can be easy to forget when it comes to week long waits for your updates.
I also like Magga’s outburst in defense of Lavia even if she does not like her. Samythiel’s heartache for what’s been happening is almost palpable and I personally feel so bad for him because the reader knows it’s not his fault.
I would call this short chapter a success!
I too like seeing some of these names pop up again, it reminds me of how far along we have come on this expedition!
Agreed, a great chapter here! I especially applaud Magga for verbally knocking some heads. She is such a great contrast to Samythiel, but so much to his benefit in this troubling time. I hope we get to see more of that, especially if its her butting heads with Xiril.