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Flames to Dust – Chapter 10

CHAPTER 9 CHAPTER 1

Wispy, translucent wings sliced through the air. They vibrated at a vast speed, making a soft pitter-patter sound. The dragonfly found a light blue flower as it’s destined landing spot. Sky didn’t want to catch it, but needed it for the trip. She clasped two hands together in a quick jolt around the insect. She could feel it’s little feet scuttle across her bottom palm, and it’s wingtips kiss the top . The sensation tickled her, and she almost released the dragonfly.

With a swift jerk of her arm she placed the dragonfly in a glass bottle. Red eyes now looked back, how many small individual eyes in the two large ones? Sky never could figure it out.

She packed the bottle in a pouch that hung to her side. It clinked against the other small bottles, vials and mixes in the bag. Forest waited for her up ahead, an impatient hand fiddling with an arrow. A pink glow shrouded over the light blue atmosphere over his head.

Commotion surrounded the elves. Goodbyes were wanted to be made, before the twins took their leave at this early hour.

“I will miss you two.” Roots ran up to the twins and embraced them both.

What if this was their last hug? He didn’t want to think of it, he wouldn’t think of it.

“I have so much faith in you. I know you will stay strong. You have each other, you’re luckier than most.”

With a silent look of morose sentiment stood Naami. The guilt still washed over him. Why should the twins take his place. Everything happened because of him. This had nothing to do with Sky or Forest. It also filled him with pride. They have grown in courage and heart. Of course, the guilt over-weighed the pride.

“I am proud of you, both of you.” He faked a smile. “Your parents would especially be proud.”

Sky noticed something off, her eyes searched Naami.

“What’s going on?”

“Oh.. don’t worry, everything is fine.”

“You can tell us, please.” This time Forest spoke up. He raised his hands, palms facing Naami. “No judgements.”

Naami sucked in a long breath.

“It was my staff.”

“Stop blaming yourself Naami.” Said Forest, Sky nodded in agreement.

“I should have taken care of it, not them.”

“Hey, this isn’t because of you. You never held the blade.” The sudden thought made Forest’s insides churn.

Their mangled bodies were left at the edge of the Moonkara Tribe circle. Just behind Darvin’s hut. Red puss filled slashes covered their skin, making them almost recognizable. Their limbs were bent and broken, each with a sharp bone protruding from the neck. Whoever did this was truly a sadistic soul.

Naami held onto the twins tightly. Their warm bodies gathered as one.

Naami grabbed a sack from behind him, and handed it to Forest.

“These arrows are blessed. Use them wisely. You may need them sometime. I know you will make great use of them.”

“Blessed…”

A sparkle met the corner of Naami’s eye.

“Yes, one shot through the heart, and one would combust into a cloud of dust.”

“Woah, that’s wild. Thanks Naami. I won’t waste them.”

“Sky” Naami grabbed her hand.

“I know you will be a great mage one day. A power shines off of you. You just have to get over that blockage, and keep a clear mind. You have both the mind, and the ability. I am already so proud of you, and how far you have come.”

Sky gave him a tight hug.” I will never forget what you taught me, one day I will learn how to call you with the wind, you will hear my voice soon. Sky kissed Naami on the cheek then turned towards her brother.

“Ready to go,” Said Sky

A burst of energy bubbled out of Sky. She hopped up with glee, and a wide smile to match.

“What’s with the sudden surge of energy? asked Forest.

“I don’t know,” exclaimed Sky.

“I just suddenly feel anew.”

Neither Sky nor Forest, have ever wandered far from the woods, just the two of them. They have never seen a city, nor a town. They only met a small handful of people that weren’t elvish, like them. A new life awaited them, beyond the confines of the familiar woods surrounding them. Goodbyes were said, and they made their way away from the place they call home.

The twins knew to stay low. Best to keep quiet and to not dawdle in the city and towns. Elvish weren’t exactly the most welcome out of their tree-laden dwellings. They would stick between the tribes, as much as they could. The different beliefs between human and elf stirred up a bitter conflict.

Elves felt the so called gods, were nothing but an excuse to fuel hostilities and war. These “gods” they worshipped so were just normal people. Normal people who had strong magic abilities of course, but not gods. People of the green lands of Tranche loved to fight. Many of them also shunned any one different, whether it be being, race or religious views. They were a proud people, and with their own slab of proud they carried ego. Humans ruled over all, and those of Tranche held the reins.

The twins crept up a well known path. One they travelled with their parents on many an occasion. Fragrant lilacs covered the trees, lining their way down the path. The gravel swooshed under their feet. They made their way to a small spring. The crystal blue water had a still tranquility to it.

“Remember when you fell in.” exclaimed Sky.

Forests bottom lip made a slight twitch.

“Yeah, that was fun.”

“You always liked to act without thinking.” sky teased with a wavy grin. “You walked along the edge, and then… oops. Dad always thought you fell on purpose.”

“Yeah he wasn’t too pleased that he had to make a run for it, and take a dive in to get me. It calmed him though when he realized the water didn’t go far past my stomach.”

“Then we all came back on the hot days of Caligne, to cool off. When the frost took over in Frevilinge we would also come to admire the ice, and glide across it. We could find a use for any season, lots of memories here.”

The twins took a moment in silence to reminisce, before they continued to walk Northwards, until they reached a large Boulder, shaped like a giant’s fist. Afterwards, they continued on westwards, heading towards the Rooknuck Tribe. Lilya had been a close friend to their parents, and maybe she had some answers.

It’s been a while, but they knew the way like the back of their hands. The twins knew this side of the woods, from the shrub to the rock to the tallest tree. It wasn’t hard for them to make a route, and remember it without the use of a map. They had an excellent photographic memory.

They treaded on through the woods, which started to become denser. The twins came to a fork, and picked the farther path. They began leading the way down the path and towards a field of lilies. There was a portrait of colors ahead. Flowers blooming up to the sun. The buzzing of bees, collecting their pollen reverberated in the warm forest air. Their tiny wings flapping against each other, kissing the flowers, and collecting the sweet nectar.

They continued to make their way and found themselves at a dilapidated lodge. It was an old hunting ground. Forest knew this place well, as he would practice with his bow here all the time. The twins walked past the lodge, and made their way up a hill. From on top of the hill you could easily see Frostcreek. To the left sat the Rooknucks circle. Strings of smoke could be seen rising from the center. only about another mile to go. They proceeded to go down the hill. The trees grew taller, and the woodlands started to get quieter.

The Rooknucks were set up quite similar to the Moonkaras. A firepit lied in the center of their circle, with tents built around the ends. By the firepit was the shamans hut. Vast trees bordered around the open circle. Most elves did not build gates. They kept their own tribes open to anyone who might need refuge, elf or not. Most Tranchians of course prefered to keep their distance. Not travelling far through the thick woods, where most eleven tribes resided.

A short, and plump looking elf made his way to the twins. His eleven eyes were a light brown, and his short wispy hair was black.

“Sky, Forest.” He gave them a friendly smile. “It’s been a while, nice to see you both again. So sorry for the loss, we are all heartbroken.”

The inner corner of his eyes turned downwards. They started to glisten. His arms opened wide then found themselves around the twins. He gave them a good squeeze, and followed it with one more.

“I believe Lilya has been expecting you.” he said.

The twins both became wide eyed, with mouths agape. How did she know they were coming? They planned this visit in the morning before they took their leave. A sporadic decision.

They followed Cliff down a dirt pathway. They strolled past a group of makeshift tents, and passed the firepit. The warm glow of the flames felt comfortable on this chilled morning day. The shaman’s hut rested before them. Sky’s head turned towards forests, and he did the same. They gave each other a small nod, then walked through the door.

In front of a burning incense sat Lilya. Boney legs crossed over one another, as fingers danced in the air. Her hands brushed through the smoke, making it dance as well. She stood up and turned around to face the twins. Long silver hair graced it’s way down her back. Light green eyes sparkled as she moved forward to embrace Forest and Sky with a warm, and longing hug.

“I am glad you are here, there is much we have to discuss” said Lilya.

Her head made a tilt, and her hand waved back coaxing the twins to follow. Lilya made her way through an opening which was covered by long pink wispy vines, the twins tagging behind. The three of them then sat down knee to knee on the floor making a circle.

“I know why your here. I felt it this morning. How are you guys doing, by the way.”

“We’re fine Lilya, thanks.” Said Forest. Sweet And introverted Sky, nodded back to Forest, then looked back at Lilya for a response.

“Your parents were here about 34 moons ago. They were in a rush, but needed my assistance.” Her eyes grew wider, the middles started to blaze.” A man came to them the night before… asking questions.”

“About Naami’s staff.” Stated Forest

“Yes, about Naami’s staff. They got worried, he seemed pretty hesitant. He then started to make threats.”

“I remember the yelling that night.” Said Forest. “That’s when they ran into the tent, said goodbye, and not to worry. They needed to take care of something for the tribe.”

“Yes, they came to me that night. They asked me to show them the way to the Neverending Woods. Only I know the route, and only I can open the door. They needed a place to hide. I don’t know much else after that. That’s the last time I heard from them.”

Lilya stood up, and walked towards a window. She took a quick look outside then turned back towards the twins.

“I did have a dream the other day though. The Neverending Woods, only lets you hide for so long before the fog fades, and the world is back to normal. They went off expecting the heat to be down. Then that’s where I start drawing a blank. With a flash I can see your mom from your dad’s eyes. She was covered in dried blood with a piece of cloth tied around her head at the mount. Her hands and legs are tightly bound by a thick, black rope. She tried to scream, but her tongue had been cut off. Tomas, looked up ahead and a maroon flag is spotted in the distance.”

“So, they where by the Capital at some point before getting murdered.”

“Yes, I believe so.”

“So what about the staff?” Sky’s meek voice questioned.

“I believe they hid it somewhere, but where I do not know, but I do know that there will be a lot of people searching for it. If it reaches the wrong hands ,the world will suffer a great amount of turmoil”

“So then that’s our quest” Forest stated. “Thank you Lilya. We will continue on to find the staff, and protect it. Is there anything else we should know? Anything that you may know, that can help us find it?”

“Unfortunately, I won’t be much help” said Lilya with a sigh, and an apologetic look on her soft face. “All I know is they had it with them when they left. Their blood runs through your veins, let it guide you.”

“Thanks again Lil, said Forest. “We won’t let you down, we won’t let Naami down, most importantly we won’t let our parents down.”

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