Magga made laps up and down the beach pulling her hair away from her neck in attempts to cool down and regain her sights. It happened to magic users, blindness while the body diverts energy to be expelled in forms of the user’s whims. Least to the natural born elementalists and (in rumors) necromancers who merely suffered from blurred vision for a time.
She’d gone to the stabling tents, all that remained was a line of hoofprints that lead out the back. She took a feather-pick and helped Anfia preen while her falcon’s head groomed through her master’s hair for small bugs. The griffon whistled with annoyance that the iron earrings that she so loved to play with were all gone.
Magga sighed. “Ahh Anfia, wha do I do now ol’ girl? The cycle of destiny never tells me when it’ll go bad.” She ran the backs of her fingers over her feathers, following with the tines of the pick. Getting her cuticles groomed in return.
“Well. Why doon’t we go for a fly? Clear both of our heads” she concluded, putting a harness over the griffon’s head and tightening rustic, braided, belts. Wrapping sandal like shoes on her back paws to protect them from the glare of the sea. Thankfully she didn’t put up as much of a fuss. Though she still didn’t like the hot rocks of the beach on her talons.
Just before take off, Anfia stretched her wings upward, flapping them as though she were still a fluffy feathered fledgeling. Picking up and tasting rocks while putting off the duty of taking off. It was in this way that she liked to toy with Magga, she got even more enjoyment when people approached them that the dwarfess would rather not speak civilly to. Boy did the golden eyed abbess approached alright. Her legs moved but there was no sway, just unnatural stillness, in her shoulders and head. Yet the way it happened seemed as natural to the abbess, specifically, as anyone else’s personal pattern. It remained equally suspicious that she approached Anfia and touched her neck with the palm of her hand without so much as a “How do you do”.
“I take real good care of her feathers.” Magga looked down her cheek at the Eynnic woman, putting her feet into the stirrups of Anfia’s saddle.
“A scabbard belongs here, yet you’ve fitted this with a war hammer’s holster. Why?” The Abbess let her fingers dance along the saddle, pulling on the holster’s loops and touching the embossed stories on the cargo bag.
“’t’s harder tae follow me if yer body is broken. I’d rather let them live and share a lesson than kill any enemy” Magga nudged Anfia’s sides. Bringing gusts of wind under her wings to aid her take off. She smiled to herself as the air wove into her beard while her vision faded. Flowing over her shoulder while her hair tie fell away and plummeted back down to the ground. Through the darkening and the blurriness she made out the white line of the Abbess taking said hair tie and walking away from that spot.
Anfia clawed and climbed higher amongst the clous so that Magga make taste the air and the sunlight and review that which she called destiny. Hovering over the same old images, the ones that were in her memories. Destiny’s ever churning whirl as time marched forward. The first time Magga had heard Destiny’s voice on the wind when she grew attached to an abandoned griffon cub.
Destiny sighed with love when she soared over so many people on these shores. It was gravely silent other than a single utterance that she heard when she reviewed the memory of looking upon the leather cloak of an eynnic mountain scout while she departed this area. “Return or perish” was all that hung in Magga’s ears while she missed her jewelry greatly.
Anfia whistled her bird song into the clouds, climbing higher and higher. The low altitude thinned the breathing air, clearing her master’s head. She panted in the place above the clouds waiting on her master to allow them to touch back down to the ground where Abbess Y’luunara waited with Lavia to one side and Xirril to the other. She held up Magga’s hair tie, the amethyst charms on the ends of sinew string clacked together carelessly.
Lavia looked positively green as she wrung her apron in her fingers.
“We…We need you to talk to Samythiel” she mumbled. “She’s shut us out. We need him to convince Clemnilshala to come back to us.”
Magga crossed her arms over her chest, breathing against the drying piece of low altitude insects that somehow Anfia resisted grooming out of her beard. With a huff she eyed Y’luunara.
“Why? Aint you three good enough tae go yerself?”
“No, she would misunderstand our plea.” Xirril touched her master’s robe “how could she not.”
“Any reason why I should? You, you, and most especially you, used me bother like a pawn and nae ye need me and him tae fix yer mistake”
“She is this planet’s only hope of survival now that our Vaniaal is dead”
“And the one who takes his place is a danger to us all.” Y’luunara spoke at last, kneeling and reaching to return Magga’s tie.
“Good, perhaps yer mistakes will teach yer kind.” Magga refused it. “Keep it. As far as I see it, yer colonies have spread across the lands and done naught but get good folk exiled for not adhering to yer Lanh’s ways. Honest folk. Fathers and sisters and grand children. Exiled by yer orders do ye understand me? Then we wee folk bend over tae appease ye.” She yanked her arm away from the Abbess.
“What gesture can we provide, what thing can we give to you to convince you to go on this quest while we go into our great mourning?” She reached for Magga again.
Magga thought a moment, combing her fingers through her beard, causing Xirril to gag.
“Yoo Eynnil like documents, right? I want one. I want one sighed by you, miss Y’luunara, and him…” She pointed downt he beach at the big, scarred male, by the name of Valthran. “And that one, ugly.” Vulac… “I want y’all tae nae be fightin’ when she be givin’ ye tail quarters commands”
“Insolent little” Xirril began, balling her fist before Y’luunara held her arm out.
“So be it”
“And! Since my brother will be, yet again, fetching yer exile, I want his demands and I want her requirements tae be met as well”
“Miss Colmillo, et’s nae my responsibility tae be protectin’ yer futures. All of this I want in writing, on a nice document. All official. By your books. That way I can hold ye tae yer own laws.” She raised an eyebrow to Y’luunara who pulled her head back.
“Agreed” she said at last. “Lavia will you draft the document in question, and my dear Xirril would you kindly witness it?” She pulled her signet ring from her finger, sending her two students toward the tent where she had previously emerged.
“Our leader is dead” Said Abbess Y’luunara, “Whatever did it has deep knowledge of our ways.”
Magga bit her tongue for a time. The Abbess knelt before her, lowering her head below Magga’s
“I doon’t promise delivery but I will go and we will give et our all tae convince her tae come back and teach ye our ways.” She hesitated, putting her hand on the eynnil’s shoulder. The woman didn’t feel like anything. Taking Anfia’s reins she made her way across the camp, passing Vulac and Valthran while they had a sparring session, to collect the rest of her tack for the long flight back to the mountains.
She put a bucket of meat refuse before Anfia, allowing her griffon a meal while she went to take care of business with a certain younger brother.
She peeled open the flaps to the quarters tent to find him packing a rucksack with anything he could get his hands on that he could possibly use. Pages of his sketches and doodles of Clemnilshala scattered across the floor. It amused Magga. She crouched, taking off her boots and crawled forward on her hands and knees. Her behind lifted in the air as though she were a plains cougar on the prowl for the frantic and unassuming prize of her little brother. He was always so mature as a kid, taking company with adults but now acting like a wee rocking biting child, in need to be shown the way rather than be allowed to go and learn by making mistakes that may ruin all of Destiny’s hard work. That is, how she saw it, what a good sister would do when given the gift to not hear just the elementals but Destiny as well.
She snuck up behind his cot, reaching around his ear to grab his face with a great tug. She pulled him end over end onto the floor. His muffled protests were loud and garbled with what almost sounded like eynnil song. Samythiel’s voice shook as if it attempted to split like the Eynnil could innately.
“Are ye one of them or aren’t ye?” Hissed Magga.
Samythiel recoiled and covered his face in his hand, laying, pulled into their game without his knowledge. His voice shook about how much he didn’t know. Magga’s voice softened, she removed her hand from his mouth as she sat back, petting his hair.
“Ahh, ye ain’t a traitor. Nae yoo, never yoo baby brother. Wolves come when it rains, remember? I knew ye didn’t mean to play into their game.” She said.
Samythiel raised his head, wiping redness onto his cheeks.
“Magga I hate tae ask, but it’s plagued me since I met them. What wish do ye hold most dear tae yer heart? The wind of the woods kept askin about wishes. I dunnae wha I want.”
Magga’s lip rose.
“Wish? I don’t think I want anything, other than tae keep touching the sky as I have fer the past sixteen years.” She said at last.
“Yoo don’t want anything?”
“Nae, I have everything I need, I don’t have anythin’ left tae wish fer.” Magga’s voice dropped to a whisper. “I got Anfia, and mama, and our sisters and brothers. I got yoo ye drum headed duster. And fer a while I had that nice Eynnil lady. So, yer comin’ with me tae get her back here. Safe and sound.” She leaned over and grabbed the wreath that Clemnilshala left behind. “Ye gotta return this tae her don’t ye?”
Samythiel hadn’t jumped to his feet so fast in his life. Pulling his rucksack over his shoulder and eagerly scuttling to the tent flaps to get off the ground. Magga chased him. He was a flurry of yellow pollen as his golden hair blew in the windy gusts he put to his back. Like any sort of time he used magic, his blinded state while he touched the elements blocks him from seeing Lavia and Xirril exiting their tent, arguing amongst themselves before he crashed into them.
Magga put her hands to her hips, laughing at how easy it was to forget that many beings that she’d met in her travels were considered past their prime at 53 years old. So many years amongst humans and shiftlings, but little brothers of the dwarvish sort, hailing from the plains, 53 was so young to be adventuring.
Samythiel bounced backward twice with his impack. She snickered to herself and came to his aid. Xirril eyed them both before permitting herself to speak.
“We leave in one hour” Xirril said, passing an envelope to Magga. “Your documents as requested. This quest will take no longer than two weeks by order of the Abbess. Understood?”
Magga and Samythiel nodded in unison. The four departed after being supplied with travel fare, hippogriffs prepared for the tall statured women. Anfia was fed and groomed.
Both dwarves said nothing of how, surely, with Anfia’s skill in hunting, Clemnilshala could be found by the afternoon. Her falcon’s eyes and cougar’s heart she likely could go out on her own and take the eynnic exile right off the saddle of her stag. Two whole weeks however, how leisurely they could travel. They glanced at one another, making a silent agreement to keep this knowledge to themselves.
“Which way did she go.” Samythiel whispered on the wind. Catching Lavia’s attention. Magga nodded to the woods.
“Now.” Xirril clapped her hands together. “Which way do you propose we go?”
Samythiel bunched up his fist for a second before pointing toward the woods. Magga elbowed him, clearing her throat. To which he could only reply: