Yesterday as I said I was feeling like crap. It probably would have been the ideal opportunity to write, but alas I did not until early evening. I did however manage to make it through roughly 2000 words taking my total word count to 32,129. I take joy in watching the “words per day” estimate on NaNoWriMo.org lower. Last night I was at 1300 words per day to finish on time.
Once again here is the story to date, all of it raw and unedited.
- Shadowed Stone
- Little Giant Girl
- Birthday Wishes
- The Gifts
- The Incursion
- The Watch
- Rough Landing
- Dragon Bone
- People of the Storm
- The Lady
- Cambridge Beneath
- Prisoner of War
- Parting the Veil
- People of the Earth
- The Pack
- Brittagus Escape
18 – Lightskimmer
It was nearing high shadow when Josah first saw the familiar glow of the sunwall. He and Torklah had travelled for for most of a day and he knew they had a quite a bit further to go before they arrived. Looking over at the old sasquatch, Josah thought it was probably a good idea for them to make camp for the evening. “Torklah, we should make camp here. We will need our strength when we arrive at the river of sun.” The elder shaman agreed rather easily, and he was showing the signs of the days journey.
The two of them made camp in a small grotto near the trail. It looked as though others that had come before them had camped here. There was a partial circle of stones that obviously housed a fire. “My people uses this camp during hunting trips near the river, we should be safe enough here.” The shaman said as he settled down onto a rock leaning back against a treeshroom. “The fire will keep away anything that might attack in the night.” The elder sasquatched rifled through his pack producing a loaf of bread and some cheeses.
The two of them rested eating in silence for a bit before Torklah spoke up again. “What is it that you intend to do when we reach the river?” Josah thought for a moment and then responded. “I should be able to summon a lightskimmer, and we can ride that to Valkore territory. Once we get there we should be able to determine where the Trogjan will be attacking from.” Torklah let that sink in “What is a lightskimmer? I have never heard of that before?”
“Lightskimmers are magical craft that the elfen employ to traverse the river of sun. While we call it the sun wall your name is actually more fitting. It is in fact a road that connects every corner of the elfen lands back to the capiol of Avalon. While there are hundreds of miles between us and the Valkore lands, it can get us there in less than a day” Josah responded. He thought that it must be an odd concept to a Sasquatch, even a Shaman. As a people they actively shunned using magic to make their lives easier, and as a result they lived very spartan and simplistic lives.
As far as power goes, Josah was not really certain what the Sasquatch had. He knew they were called the people of the earth, but he did not really understand what that entailed. The elfen based their magic on life, or in the case of winter the absense of life. The scions of summer could harnes the power of the sun to create great flame magics. Regardless of the application every last casting was based on some aspect of the cycle of life. It seemed odd to Josah that magic could exist that did not directly involve this cycle.
“Torklah, if you don’t mind me asking… .what is the source of your magic?” Josah asked with honest and curious eyes. The old shaman thought for a moment before responding. “We draw our power from the earth. The ground beneath our feet is alive and speaks to us. We stand as a conduit for it’s will.” Torklah concentrated closing his eyes for a moment. “It’s okay little one, you can show yourself. Old Torklah will protect you.” The wizened shaman addressed an unseen force.
As the coaxing continued there was a stirring in the dirt at his feet. It churned slightly almost like a whirlpool before the dust and dirt coalesced into a form. It was of a crudely bipodal shape with stubby rock feed, a large dirt clod for a torso and bits of vine forming arms. The little earth thing crawled up upon the shamans lap and sat down apparently rather at ease with the sasquatch. “That’s it little one. The earth has guardians with us always. It is just that most cannot feel them like I can.” Josah a little taken off balance stared at the rockling for a moment. “Spirit of the earth I greet you. I am Josah a spring scion of the elfen court of Avalon.” Torklah looked down at the rockling as though listening to it. “The guardian is please to meet you”.
Josah explained to the rockling his plight, how the events of the farmhouse lead him to see the help of the Sasquatch. How he planned to rescue his queen and find his beloved Morrow. When he had finished his tale there was a long and akward silence, once again the Shaman appearing to be listening to the rockling. Finally Torklah looked up from the rockling to address Josah. “The great earth mother has felt your pain, and feels the ripping and tearing of the Trogjan callously cutting into her crust. She offers you her assistance in saving your queen, in the hopes that the cycle of nature and the cycle of earth can live together in harmony.”
Josah was not sure what exactly he had expected, but he did not expect to get the help of a primal force such as the earth mother. He had heard stories about her influence, but since the elfen were not able to commune with her he simply was not sure of her power. It was said that the earth mother had the power to move mountains as needed and raise giant golems to battle her foes. The thought of any assistance, let alone a force that powerful was beyond anything he could have imagined. When Josah finally spoke he addressed the Rockling directly. “Guardian, I am humbled by the support of the Earth Mother. It too is my hope to restore the balance of the cycle.”
The little rockling hopped down from the shamans lap and collapsed back into the soil at his feet. By this time the coals in the fire were crackling low, and the deep shadows of the night wrapped in around them. “We should get some rest, the river of sun is still quite a ways off” Torklah finally mused. He slid down off his rocky perch and laid a mat from his pack out alongside the fire curling up under a blanket. It was not long before Josiah had joined him in doing the same, and the two of them drifted off to sleep with the low embers warming them.
The elder shaman was the first to rise and by the time Josah awoke, he was hobbling around camp tending to things. “You should have woke me” Josah said stretching up from his mat. The elder sasquatch gave him a sideways glance before replaying rather flatly “You are still under the influence of the poison, and needed your rest more than I did. Once you pack your bedding, we can get under way. I’ve made us a small roll that we can eat as we walk.” Josah did just that and within a quarter hour they were back on the road.
It had been awhile since Josah had been this close to the sunwall. It of course wraps its way around Avalon, but the walls and spires of the city obscure the view. Seeing it stretching across the wilds, cutting a swath through the shroomspires was an entire different vista. The walked mostly in silence, other than a few one or two word comments back and forth. Josah was fine with this, he really didn’t have much to say, especially since in this thoughts he was still obsessing over the events of the farmhouse and the dread that something might have happened to Morrow.
The last time he had seen her she had been badly wounded. Then they were both struck by the humans weapon that had flung them apparently in completely different directions. He hoped beyond hope that she managed to land near another member of the council. Josah was certain that if Benj or Bemel were near her they would have tended to her wounds. He just realized… he had not thought at all what might have happened to Jace and Kale. The queen sacrificed herself to save them, but he felt horrible that he had not once thought about their safety in this whole ordeal.
Kale looked like she could more than take care of herself, and hopefully she would watch after Jace. In this most recent bout of obsession Josah had not noticed that they had arrived near the foot of the Sunwall. He stepped up to the wall looking batch at Torklah “You might stand back, the Sunwall can be unpredictable” The old shaman nodded and took a few steps back giving him a wide berth. Josah held his hand out to the wall letting his hand dip into the flames as though they were skimming water. He felt out through the surface of the wall and feeling the familiar resistance of a skimmer he gave a great tug with his mind.
The Sunwall began to churn violently like a roaring river. To the east a shape appeared riding along the top of the wall. As it got closer Torklah realized it was some sort of a boat. It slowed to a halt hovering above them at the top of the wall. Josah waved his hand up at the sun ship, and a ladder toppled down to the ground. “My apologies friend, but we are going to have to climb. This is why I thought we needed our strength” Josah said hooking a foot in the ladder and pushing upwards beginning to climb. Torklah thought that the elf did not realize that the Sasquatch were natural climbers, capable of scaling shroomstalks almost from birth.
While it took the Elfen quite a bit of time to work his way up the ladder the elder shaman managed to do it in what seemed like one fluid motion. Torklah stepped out onto the deck of the ship and it looked much like he would have expected a water going vessel to appear. There were a wide array of seats out on the deck under a giant sale like canopy. There appeared to be stairs leading down into the body of the boat, which he assumed would have sleeping quarters. “The lightskimmer is designed to carry both military and royalty alike, so you will find it suited for both purposes” Josah pointed at what looked like crossbow stations up and down the deck.
The elfen walked up to a small perch with a crystal device set into the wall. Reaching out with his hands he touched the crystal and it pulsed to life, Speaking an audible command Josah beckoned the crystal. “Take us to Hagengarde, in the Valkore Territory”, With that the boat lurched forward starting at first slowly, but accelerating rather quickly. Torklah looked over the bow and immediately wished he had not as he watched the tops of shroomspires whipping by at a dizzying speed.
He took a seat towards the interior of the deck, trying to get his balance and calm his suddenly churning stomach. Josah walked over to join him, retrieving a drink from a chest beside the seating and handing it to the big sasquatch. “Drink this, it will help with the nerves. It is a tonic of sorts that we keep on hand for those not used to Lightskimmer travel.” Josah helped himself to a similar looking bottle and leaned back against the seat. “We should be completely safe up here, as we skim along the top of the Sunwall. According to the guidance crystal it will take us almost a days time to reach Hagengarde. I suggest in the meantime we relax. We have no idea what awaits us on the other end.” The shaman agreed and slowly sipped his own bottle.