Yesterday was a pretty damned good day for me. Firstly I actually went to work, which is a positive as far as the week went. It was a good thing too since I was the only person in my group in the office and we had several crisis to deal with. More important than that I wrote a lot for me at least, over 3500 words. Some of that was in the morning and finishing up the chapter I was working on, but a lot of it was this new chapter. This takes me to 37,364 wordcount. Right now I am hoping I can get to over 45,000 this weekend which will put me on pace to hit 50k at or around Thanksgiving. I am not sure why, but I really want to finish this up before the post holiday craziness sets in.
Here is the story so far, once again super raw and in unedited form. The more I write the more I realize I will re-write.
- 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
- The Lightskimmer
- The Nightlords
21 – Homecoming
The lightskimmer glided on top of the sunwall in perfect silence, if not for the rush of wind Torklah would not have believed they were moving. The pair had been riding for a little over a day when off the starboard bow of the ship appeared what he took to be Valkore settlements. The majority were neat arrangements of wooden lodges around a larger central communal building. The skimmer continued on without stop until on the horizon he could see a much larger arrangement of buildings along the coast. The vessel began slowly just as gradually as it started, and once again Torklah would not have known it were not the speed of the trees passing lessening.
Josah had also sensed the slowing of the skimmer and crawled up from the galley with his and Toklah’s packs in hand. “It seems as though we are here” Josah said handing the pack over to the elder sasquatch. Moving to the bow of the boat, Josah slung his own pack and sent the ladder streaming down to the ground. He descended to the ground below where a crowd of valkore was gathering. He held the ladder steady as the shaman descended as well. When they were both safely on the ground Josah gave the ladder a little tug and it zipped back up into the ship.
He watched as the skimmer started up slowly and before long had zipped out of sight silently along the sunwall. Finally turning to face the gathering crowd he noticed an older man stepping forward from the pack. “I am Elder Torgos, welcome to Hagengarde. We are not used to seeing people arrive by sunwall, it has caused quite a commotion.” He motioned for the townsfolk to disperse leaving only Torgos and a few guards. “I assume you are of the Elfen courts?” the old man queried looking both Josah and Torklah over carefully.
“Yes, I’ve heard story of the Trogjan amazing a force here. I believe they mean to destroy the sunwall” Josah said while accepting the old mans handshake. The old man nodded “Yes that is what we have heard as well. I assume you will be joining the other Elfen then in preparations?” Josah looked at Torgos with a shocked expression. “Whato ther Elfen?” Torgos took a moment surprised that he did not know about the others. “Some days ago a man and a wounded woman were found near Hagengarde.”
Josahs expression of confusion turned to one of desperation. “Morrow? She is here? Please take me to her.” Torgos nodded and began walking off away form the sunwell to a small lodge on the outskirts of the village. There resting in a fur bed was a stocky woman dressed in flowing robes. “Morrow my love! You are alive!” Josah exclaimed rushing to her side and kneeling down beside her bed. The woman opened her eyes, her face slowly turning to one of recognition. She spoke a very weak “Josah, I was worried.”
“No my love it was I who was worried. I had no idea if I would ever see you. Who is here with you?” It was around this time that another person appeared at the door of the cabin. The man rushed in picking up Josah and giving him a huge hug lifting him up off the ground. As he being squeezed Josah managed to give a very strained “It is good to see you too Bemel. How long have you both been here?” Letting him down off the ground he replied “I’ve lost track of the days, but several. The weapon sent me here along the coast. I roamed around aimlessly a bit when I found Morrow severely wounded. I managed to flag down a Valkore skyship, and they have helped us since”
“Josah, there is something you have to know. Baigan intends to attach the sunwall and is amassing a force at Fort Kraken.” Josah nodded grimly “I had heard as much” he motioned to to the sasquatch “Torklah here saved me as well, and mentioned that the forces of winter were growing ever active in this area. I realized what they intended to do.” Looking at Elder Torgos “What is the intended plan? Surely you mean to make a strike against them?” The elder nodded “Yes we mean to lead a strike against the fort. I fear the fate of all the wildlands rests in the balance. If the summerwall falls, so will we all.”
“So it is true then?” the old sasquatch spoke up. “Winter means to destroy the wall? If that is so we do all stand to lose. Once one village falls they will all begin to fall. My warriors are needed for the harvest, but if we lose our lands there will be nothing left to harvest.” Torklah said with a stern face. “I will speak to the earth mother and have her summon our warriors. They will heed her call.” Bemel beamed brightly as if he had just received the best news ever. “The elfen, people of the storm, and people of the earth all banding together. We have the makings of a very powerful army. I too have sent word to Avalon and expect to reinforcements to arrive on the sunwall.”
With the secret weapon Pico brought to the table, and the strong forces they were assembling they might just be able to pull through. He knew that winter would be bringing to bear every backbreaker squad they could spare as well as all manner of other machinations of war. Additionally there would be Baigan who had proved himself to be a more than capable wizard. He never expected that the fates would bring all of them together, but still he was concerned about Jace, Benj and Kale. He hoped that each of them was safe somewhere in the wildlands. Bemel thought it best to leave out the part about Pico being the mastermind behind the weapons that had scattered them across the land.
Torklah moved slowly to the side of Morrow, he knelt on the ground near her. “You too are a child of the earth. I sense it in your nature. The earth mother wants to heal you” He got up and lifted her in his large arms, slowly making his way for the door of the hut. At first Josah tried to stop him, but the old shaman simply gave him a stern look. He carried Morrow out into the open air, laying her body down upon the dirt of the ground. he uncovered each foot, and her hands laying them flat upon the ground. Kneeling beside her he placed his own hands on the ground as well.
“Earth mother, your child is hurting. Bless her with your bounty.” The old shaman closed his eyes and dug his fingers into the earth. With this the ground began to rumble much like it had when he summoned the rockling. Instead of summoning a being, it began to coil around Morrow’s exposed limbs. The earth slowly enshrouded her until she was completely encased in churning rock other than her head. With this her eyes shot open and she gasped loudly as a gasy miasma began seeping up through the earth covering her and spilling out onto the ground in thick green pools. Morrow closed her eyes again, and slowly the earthen covering began to retreat down off of her body and along her limbs.
“Thank you earth mother, you have purged your child of its corruption” The old sasquatch reached down with his hand placing it on Morrows forehead. “Awake child, you are free of your burden” and with that she opened her eyes and sat up, stretching. She looked over at the sasquatch not really sure what had just happened. The only thing she was certain of was that she hurt no more. Where once was pain was replaced with only a glowing warmth. She jumped up from the ground and cheered that she was free of the sickness.
“I am not sure who you are, or what you just did, but I thank you.” Morrow said grasping the great shamans hands. “It was not I, it was the Earth Mother. She has heard your call for years, but only now realized it was you who did not know how to answer.” Morrow looked at him with shock. She had always felt close to the earth and felt empowered being out in the wilds, but she did not realize this was not a normal gift. She was not a woodbinder like Benj or even like Jace would be, but she knew things almost as though she absorbed them from her surroundings. She wondered if this was what the sasquatch meant.
She joined Josah and Bemel, now she felt as though she could actually help out in the effort. The forces combined surely would be a match for that of the Trogjan. She would make Baigan pay for all the pain he had caused. She would make sure the wildlands and avalon were free from the influence of winter. They had much planning to do, and an army to assemble. They did not have long until the equinox, and she knew they had to strike before them. Morrow hoped that the powers they were assembling would be enough to win the day.