Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quests Episode Thirteen: New Orders

Read the series prologue.

Read episode 12.

Episode Thirteen: New Orders

Beritta woke early. Her mind was filled with thoughts of the day to come. The day before she and Faralasa had briefed the king and elders on all they knew about the situation in Fairy Wood. The council had spent the rest of the day debating the best course of action and had informed her that they would be summoning her and Faralasa sometime this morning to inform them of the decision which had been reached.

Beritta dressed quietly, grabbed a handful of nuts to munch and went outside, walking aimlessly down the hillside until she came to the southern lake. The sun had just risen. A reverent silence hung over the land as it always does at the times of the sun’s coming and going. An early morning mist hung over the lake, rising in ever thinning wisps to the heavens. Beritta stood still at the water’s edge letting the peace of the morning sweep over her. She continued to stand there even as the world around her began coming to life. Birds trilled happily in the trees, small animals moved through the grass, a few deer walked to the lake to drink.

As the deer moved into the woods, Beritta heard another animal coming up behind her. She turned and saw Mist.

“It’s a beautiful morning,” Mist’s words floated into her mind.

“Yes, it’s wonderful,” Beritta replied sighing with pleasure.

On the hillsides the elves were rising and starting their day. Before long Faralasa and Oakley appeared, trailed by Glibbin.

“I was informed late last night that I will be working as an animal handler for a group of scouts which will be using winged horses to patrol along the edge of Fairy Wood,” Oakley announced as the friends moved into a large meadow behind the southern lake.

“That’s wonderful!” said Beritta.

“Yeah, I’m glad you may finally be joining us on a quest in Fairy Wood,” agreed Lasa.

“Well, that all depends on what the elders tell us this morning,” Beritta warned.

The others nodded.

A noise behind them caught their attention and they turned to look. Mist was absently running her horn through a stream which ran through the center of the meadow. Beyond the unicorn Glibbin had moved into the woods where he was playing, which explained the noise.

“You okay Glibbin?” Beritta called.

His smiling green face appeared between the trees.

“There’s a little animal with a big fury tail,” said Glibbin.

“It’s called a squirrel,” said Beritta.

“I’m going to catch it so it can play with me.” cried Glibbin and ran back into the trees.

Lasa snorted.

Just then a young golden-haired elf boy in a green tunic trimmed with gold appeared at the end of the meadow. He bowed and said, “The council of elders wishes to speak to Lady Faralasa.”

With an excited glance at her friends, Lasa followed the messenger out of the meadow and around one edge of the southern lake. On the far side of the water they entered the woods and followed a well-worn path. They continued on this trail until they came to the place where the elders sat on chairs of exposed roots around a table of melded stumps beneath a canopy of short leafy trees. A cool breeze drifted to them off the lakes, setting the leaves rustling.

After formally greeting Faralasa one of the elders said, “In reviewing the happenings in Fairy Wood we have received reports of a few strange and amazing acts you performed. We would like you to do something for us. Jump into the air. See how long it takes you to come back down.”

With an uncertain glance at the faces surrounding her, Lasa leapt into the air. To her surprise, she hung there for three minutes. It was as though gravity had lost its hold on her.

Intimidated by this strange new ability Faralasa dropped back to the ground.

“Excellent,” said the elder who had made the suggestion. “Now I want you to do one more thing. Jump into the air again but this time, instead of hovering, see if you can move.”

“Move, you mean in the air?” Faralasa clarified wondering if she had heard him correctly.

“That’s right.”

Lasa jumped into the air again, this time moving slightly to the right. Suddenly she found that she was floating, moving easily through the air as though some unseen force lifted her. She dropped to the ground once more staring in confusion at the elders.

“It is as we thought,” one of them said. “She’s been showing signs of it for months.”

“They always do,” murmured another.

“Showing signs of what?” asked Faralasa in frustration. None of this made any sense to her.

“You’ve been showing signs that you are light enough to walk on air,” one of the elders explained. “You have graduated to the level of Airwalker. Barely anyone ever does.”

“I’m an Airwalker, really?” Lasa asked in excitement.

“Yes indeed. You will have to be trained by one of the older Airwalkers in aerial fighting and how to get airborne without jumping, but there is plenty of time for that. To begin with you will train for the following week after which you will join a scouting group heading to Fairy Wood. However, whenever you are not engaged in scouting operations you should use all your time to learn from the older Airwalkers and hone your new skills.”

“This is amazing!” cried Lasa. “I can’t wait to tell my friends!” she stopped and looked uncertainly at the elders. “I can tell them can’t I?”

“By all means,” the elders replied. “May Light bless you as you discover how to use your new ability. You may go.”

“Thank you,” said Lasa and dashed to rejoin Oakley and Beritta.

“I’m going to be part of the group that will be scouting to find the goblins,” she said, “and I’m an Airwalker!”

She hovered in the air above them just to prove she could. Beritta and Oakley were still congratulating her when the messenger reappeared.

“The council now wishes to speak to Princess Beritta,” he announced.

When Beritta came before them the elders proceeded to tell her, “We have heard how you acquitted yourself in Fairy Wood. You have shown great leadership potential. However, we cannot forget that some of your recent actions here in Wilderlah have been reckless and irresponsible. You see, we would like to assign you leadership of the scouting group which will be sent to find the goblins invading Fairy Wood but we need to know we can trust you. Can we?”

Beritta took a deep breath and let it out before speaking.

“I understand how important this quest is. I’ll do my best to act the part of a responsible leader and live up to your expectations.”

“So be it,” said an elder. “You will lead your scouting group to Fairy Wood in a week. Use the intervening time to make all necessary preparations.”

Continue to episode fourteen.

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