Social Icons


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Current Chapter in Prince ~ Book Two of Blue Moon Rising Trilogy ~ Part II

Keith took his time, counting his steps to approximate distance between clans. Although he was quite sure Alexander dwelled in a large structure like the Eastern Clan’s, he cold not predict the same for the Mystics.

He stopped just before the trees ended at a clearing and peered through the foliage to a few striped tents lined against a rickety wooden fence. A slight hill rose off to the right side of the road, and with Keith’s angle he could only make out the tops of a few stone huts. Now and then, movement through the fence confirmed it still inhabitable.

“Don’t think you can walk up to the gate and ask for their leader,” a voice came from below, and when Keith looked down he noticed his reflection in a ditch of standing water.

Kneeling beside the ditch, Keith greeted Osha’s illusionistic appearance as himself.

“Not that friendly, huh?” he said, keeping his voice low. “I take it I probably shouldn’t mention the Western Clan then.”

“I wouldn’t count on it,” was the reply. “Alexander’s involvement with the Schevolsky’s pretty much sealed his fate. The Mystics will have nothing to do with him, and he’s run out of options.”

“Any suggestions?”

“Get into their heads. Find out what exactly what they need.”

“I really don’t like invading people’s minds,” Keith said. “Be better if I knew someone.”

“Ah, but you do. Remember Nicolas from Lord Gracie’s?”

Keith’s eyebrows rose in acknowledgement.

“Of course! Nickademis is Nicolas’s father. He’s a Mystic?”

“Should make things a little easier for you. Now hurry! Time’s wasting, and you’ve still the Simpleton leader to meet.”
With a nod, Keith stood and contemplated on a plan.

“Think of what you are, Keith,” Osha’s last words faded from the pool.

A nearby Jay Bird gave way to an idea. A single whistle drew the bird to his outstretched hand.

“I need this one favor from you,” Keith spoke the language only animals could understand. In response, the Jay tucked its head to its feathered breast, seeming to preen until a dab of red flecked its black beak. Wings flapped to reposition itself and get a better grip. When it did, nails dug just beneath the skin to draw blood. A reflection of sunlight hit the ruby droplet as it rolled from the tip of its beak and dropped. The instant its blood contacted his, magic ignited. The form now his own, Keith thanked the bird and let fly for his grasp as the first spasm of transforming magic took hold.

It was a wondrous feeling, that of something not entirely out of his control, but wild enough that his spirit soared before the shifting process had completed. Then he was off. The Jay Bird’s form blended well within the area. All original colors had transferred except for the tip of his head, which remained white. The rest was a soft tan, black on the tail and wingtips, with salt and pepper tufts at the top joints.

The transformation complete, Keith perched on a nearby limb to watch while his sight-reading gathered bits and pieces of information. Accustomed to the brown Jay, clan members merely went about their business without so much as a glance to the animal’s presence. In fact, they barely paid attention to their own surroundings, bumping into people and objects as though their minds were too preoccupied to grasp anything else. Greetings were kept short. A few exchanged nods before passing one another.

Something’s not right. Keith fluttered to one of the tents. It’s too quiet. He hopped along the edge of the roof, eager to catch a hint of conversation that would explain their lack of activity. Even their thoughts reflected a solemn mood.
Several voices drew his attention to a large marquee located at the back of the fenced-in yard. When a name was spoken, Keith perked up. Nickademis!

Hoping this was the answer to his questions, Keith flew the short distance and landed just outside the tent flap. It took only a moment before someone pushed the flap up to come out, and when they did Keith darted inside.

Within the confines of gently wavering walls, darkness was illuminated by a single candle beside a cot. From the ground, the only thing he could see was a mound of blankets piled on top, but from the rasp of heavy breathing, he guessed someone to be underneath.

Two men, one bent over the cot, spoke in hushed tones. Making use of a nearby table to hide under, the Healer waited for explanations certain to come. “Nick.” The one standing sighed and extended his hands in a plea-like gesture. “It’s been two weeks. No one is coming.”

“Nicolas will find someone!” Nickademis, as Keith guessed by his method of doctoring the one on the cot, snapped at his colleague without looking up from his work. Something about the way he treated the herbs reminded him of his kind; the way he laid them out, counted them, rolled them in a pan of water and applied then directly to his patient’s chest and forehead before covering him again with blankets.

The raspy breath only worsened.

“Your son never received the message,” came the reply.

Nickademis halted his water mixing and turned with grim expression to face the clan member.

“We’ve already sent two messengers,” he continued. “None have returned.”

That's all I have so far...more to come soon!

No comments: