Monumental Gift – Chapter 19

Chapter 19

 

The following days after Danaal met the deer he could not stop thinking about the life draining from below his feet. The times he was free he spent in the woods feeling the power around him all the different heartbeats and energy sources. When he needed to chop fire wood he found it tough. After every tree fell he knelt by it and visualised sending it off into the ground, it’s essence finding a path to the power below his feet. He slowly began controlling his emotions using this same visualisation when fighting Balorek. He still could not control each blows power unless he allowed the emotions be at the forefront of his conscious but this was also dangerous, not for him but for Balorek. Balorek knew the boy was holding back so tried his hardest to disrupt the boy getting him up far before dawn and not letting him sleep or rest much. The training slowly wound the boy up and he ended up shattering Balorek’s shin against his fifth practice sword, much to the painful joy of the man. Danaal’s rage was intense more so at the smile on the man’s face as he hobbled off to be laid down by the Elderly woman.

“Why, do you push the boy so. He could kill us all if he holds all that power in him and releases in his sleep.” Lady Vanti said placing the general down on his bed, she got two straight pieces of wood and tied them tight with string and cloth around Balorek’s leg.

“He mus learn to control all e as inside him. Sadly, he wa very late bein given his power. By now e should be able to sense or heal quickly or at least figure it out logically. He’s distracted by tha vision e ad.” Balorek growled as Lady Vanti put a thick poultice over the top of the cloth to seep in. Balorek’s eyes stung form the odour of it.

“By woman, you’re ere to fix im not me. Not sure what tha stinkin mess is goin to do for my leg, amma quick healer.”

“This’ll help either way you old grump. Now lay there and I’ll get you some stew.” Lady Vanti left the room and he shook his head.

“Women…mitherin.”

****

 

While the old ones were busy chatting Danaal had taken his pre-packed bag from under his bed and stolen a few loaves of bread for the journey. He needed answers and all he was getting here were evasions and lies, he was waiting for the day he truly hurt Balorek and then what would he have nobody left with him. He had decided that the Monument City would be the best place to start then he could also look at it for real. Also, his father would be there and even if he wasn’t his father he could help, if he was still alive. It still choked him, he was bred to be a powerful mage, not brought up by loving people, that was all a lie. He knew that his anger was driving him right now but better that than falling to his knees and sobbing, what good would that do.

He jogged for as long as his legs wold allow and then began intermittently jogging and walking, he’d figured out how to use some extra energy from his power to run for longer, but it made him feel so nauseas after a while, he had to sit and get some breath back. He had been told by the Lady Vanti that the shack was a two day walk from the nearest village which was pretty much a straight track from the hut. He was now thinking he should’ve stolen the horses, but they’d have known he was going then. This at least gave him a few hours before they suspected he’d left as he went for long walks into the woods all the time. As darkness and moonlight started eking between the trees above Danaal sat to eat some bread and take some water from his leather water skin. He remembered how his mother used to put half wine and half water into his skin when he was going into the woods as a boy and he’d come back a little light headed because she’d not diluted the wine enough. The unexpected memory made him feel angry, she was not his mother and she had no right to keep the things she had from him. He had not asked how she had kept his power from him if she was not his mother. He rolled out the furs he’d fetched with him and rolled up in them to get some rest, he’d made sure he couldn’t be seen from the track and leant up against a tree. The anger fading to sadness as he remembered her at the end, her body so emaciated and worn, her sunken cheeks not what her remembered of her happier days. The pulse of the tree taking in nutrients and life from deep below eased his anger at both his parents and he felt a cold tear fall from his eye and hang from the stubbly beard he was growing.

The eagle flight returned to him how awesome it was to be flying high above the trees, but this wasn’t what he remembered from the memory of the vision, this was a new memory. Was he simply dreaming he couldn’t control the flight, but he was staring down at Firwood forest the different types of trees and thickness sparking his recognition. The Eagle sensed something and saw another Eagle swooping so dived in to following the other bird of prey. Through the trees they flew, his Eagle trailing then he saw it. It was him on the floor bleeding from the head. The birds senses flared, attacking Balorek the other Eagle protected his lifeless body the other Eagle entered his ether, the air whipping cold around the bird and his body then, blackness.

 

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Chapter 18 – Monumental Gift

18

 

Eara pressed hard against the wall trying to ensure she wasn’t splashed by the guards’ stream, hitting the grate at the top with pressure spraying unpredictably. However, when it simply dropped – falling three times her height straight down into the well – it splashed further covering her and her comrades clothing in yellow stink.

This guard was the main culprit and she wished for him to fall, shrimp first, so she could dangle from it and do real damage.

“He he, rotters get pissed on because that’s all there worth.” The guard chimed gleefully.

“The day I get out of this hole, I’ll drown you in the shittiest gutter I can find. You’ll be begging for a piss soaked cell.” Eara angrily growled holding onto the chains and unfurling from the wall but only slightly, the yellowy liquid was still draining down a small drain hole at the middle of the cell.

“Aye, when you leave here you’ll be swinging from your neck or burning inside an iron cask, he he he.” The guard left after covering himself and still chuckling.

“That was a colourful threat my dear, however I highly doubt we’ll be much use of anything when we leave here.” Baylor blinked hard, the ammonia hurting his eyes and nostrils.

“I only have to get my hands on them, I can be very persuasive.”

“Indeed, persuasiveness would probably get you not very far with this rabble my dear.”

“Please stop the my dear, I told you my name, it’s Eara.” Eara was reminded of more than one person from the past who’d called her my dear and none of them were as kindly as this old man who looked to be on deaths door. His dark brown hair almost fully aged to grey white and unfriendly looking nose, like an animal of some sort had tried to bite it off at some point. One ear noticeably lower than the other and more protruding. Under the morning light his eyes sparkled green and his scruff grown in so he looked like a common vagrant, piss stained cloak and all.

“Is your persuasiveness a particular skill of yours then my..Eara.” Baylor chuckled at his near mistake.

“Ah no, not really, otherwise I’d have bargained better with the Thief Lord who put me in here why? Do you have any skills we need to know about, please say you can improve the smell in here, I’d be satisfied with that? Or conjure me a tasty piece of apple tart?”

Eara had spoken with the old man frequently and each time he tried to get a reading on her, why she was here but she wasn’t about to let the man know she was a mind mage. He could simply be here to put her at ease or dupe her into telling something they didn’t know. Trust your feelings Eara, only thing that never lies to you. She’d been told by one of the guards she was in the Well of Damnation before her short trial for dabbling in the arcane and illegal arts. That told her she was in one of the southern towns on the edge of the plains and would soon be visited by the Inquisitor Lord Garton.

The Monumental Gift – Chapter 17

17

 

That vision had prompted Danaal to ask about the origins of the Monument the next day. He had come to with a damp back and wet warm face from the deer licking and nuzzling him. He glanced again at the mottled ceiling of branches and leaves, this time they were a green golden-brown amalgamation. He pushed the snout of the deer away from himself and pushed up on his elbows, the saliva from the deer viscous and green from grass as he wiped it away. The haunting vision of the Monument, not the crushing, but the life draining from the ground he had walked upon all his life, it angered and saddened him deeply.

“Where did the Monument come from Balthar?” Danaal asked lifting a spoonful of stew to his mouth the gravy was thick, just as he liked it.

Balthar’s look was a mixture of surprise and confusion.

“Does this ave something to do with ya vanishing into the forest yesterday and wanderin back gormless as an addled steer?” Balthar looked at Danaal the concern hidden by his own amusement in his insult.

“I’ll tell you what happened if you answer my question first.” Danaal said avoiding the old mans’ eye.

Balthar Chuckled.

“Well tha’s a very good question boy, its debated in places where people care about tha sort of thing. Most believe the council of mages made it a long time ago, when they first came to be and others….”

“Believe that it arrived or was sent from the stars as a gift from the heavens.” Lady Vanti entered the room interrupting Balthar mid-sentence.

Danaal was starting to warm to this woman, also like Grodnas, she was mostly harmless. It irked him though that she seemed to be everywhere. Wherever he was she appeared to be. He thought maybe she got lonely like some of the old fisherman’s wives who had chosen to stay in Valour and not move to the sea port Balesk.

“Hello, Lady Vanti, would you like to join our discussion Danaal said overly kindly.” Balthar smirked at the wit.

“Young men aren’t exempt from having flame ants put into their beds at night boy.” The convincing nature of the threat made Danaal drop his hunk of bread into hisbowl.

Balthar laughed hard with a deep hur hur hur.

The old woman turned to him too.

“Neither are old men Bal, don’t you start those games.” She turned away as and gave a smile to Danaal as Balthar’s grin fell also.

“Besides, I think your discussion is one of much interest. People from further out of the plains like Valour, Balesk, even Falconbury has some that believe the Council of Mages built the Monument from the white stone of Narthwich and Kil’am Mountains. Meedon and Greston and the other Towns and villages that are within the valley plains.”

Balthar continued his soup but looked at the woman knowingly, he had meant her when he mentioned the people who cared about the history of the Monument.

“The symbols on the Monument are ancient or foreign to this island or this planet.” She pointed up towards the sky with that.

“And you think tha if some long shard of stone came hurtlin down it would stand perfec upwards, straight as an arrow? Aye, I have no real opinions bar the fact it must’ve been built that way. If no’ by the mages of old then by somebody else.”

Danaal looked at his bowl trying to fish his bread out of the bowl amongst the thick carrot and meat. Oh no, what is this meat?! His thoughts on the deer and the overwhelming life he’d been filled with in his connection to the animal, he pushed the meat away and spooned the bread out. It was wet and cloying but wonderfully rich all at the same time.

“Why did they build it in the first place and what is the symbols on the side of it, what does they mean?” Danaal said after his mouthful.

Balthar looked at Danaal seriously and Lady Vanti saw the youth freeze in the moment.

“Wha writin’s thaa then boy, I don’t remember seeing any symbols except for the engraving at the bottom of the Council names?” His voice steady, wondering what the boy meant.

“There are symbols on the Monument but far above the sightline of any normal passer-by, how do you know of the symbols?” Lady Vanti said catching her face turn red as Balthar turned quickly to her.

Danaal quickly debated on telling them about the deer but thought better of it but he needed to tell them of the flight vision now.

“Uhh yes, I’ve not told you of the vision I had when knocked unconscious yet have I. Well let’s just say I was flying over the Monument and the citadel.” He blurted it out and awaited the shock on their faces. It was clear to see on Balthar but there was something else there on Lady Vanti’s that he couldn’t place which unnerved him. The shock continued for the old man with the whole story, he even dropped his own spoon at one point

The Monumental Gift – Chapter 15

15

 

The rippling looking glass began to show a dishevelled mid seasoned woman with beautiful white hair and sharp features.

“The elemental is here, I saw what he is capable of and it appears that he’s a magnificently powerful earth elemental, her admiration tinged with bitterness. However, he’s unable to control it. His tutor is what used to be Commander Balthar, he’s aged some. He also wise about the boy but keeps much from him.”

A low grumble from the woman in the looking glass she seemed to be remembering the old warrior.

“Stay with him and continue your task as you have been instructed, only use this method of communication if you know that the Balthar or the boy will not find out. I want constant updates. Help the boy control his power so we may use him.”

She watched as the council member bubbled and shimmered out of the looking glass and she was suddenly staring at her old transformed face. She hated wearing the hag but it worked.

*****

Danaal’s practise continued a few days after his head injury which had healed extremely quickly with the old woman around, the herbs she put on the wound had stopped all pain. Danaal was the one insisting to get back into practising control as he felt the building of something within him once again.

On the fifth day since his injury practising had stopped early because Balthar had taken a serious hit to his side from Danaal. He’d remembered how he used to force as much of might into chopping trees as a kid and channelled the feeling. The speed at which Balthar had been hit took him by surprise and the power took him from his feet. Danaal went for a walk in the woods after expelling some of his frustration on the nearest copse of trees, they had plenty firewood for three winters. Danaal came across a deer in the woods and had slowly sat down behind a tree to observe the young animal. As he sat the deer saw him but she didn’t run, Danaal froze and stared into those beautiful eyes of hers. How did he know she was a she? I’m sorry if you’re a male my little friend. How long had they been staring at each other? He wanted to move but didn’t want to scare it?

“We have looked so long for the elemental as powerful as you Danaal, welcome.”

Danaal broke eye contact to look around to ensure he was alone in his insanity. There was nobody there as he thought the deer turned to eat some more grass at the base of a mouldy looking green log. He looked back at the deer and she looked at him souls connecting.

“So, either you can talk to me or I’m crazy which is it?”

“You already know which it is, or you’d have bolted like a skittish deer, I’d know.”

The joke fell away in comparison with the fact he was having a conversation with a deer.

“So, you said you’d been looking for an elemental like myself. Do you mean an elemental mage?”

“Yes, we are in search of elementals as the land is dying, we know not why.”

“What do you mean dying? How do you know it’s dying?”

“All creatures commune, but when it is a matter of our homes being destroyed. We have passed the message far and wide from the furthest mountains to the southern oceans and beyond. We did this also to find you and other elementals who can help renew the land.”

“What makes you think I can help do that? I can’t even control the power, I’ll never help with that.”

“You will when you discover what you can do to that power. Now close your eyes and put your hand to the floor.”

Danaal did not know why he was blindly following the instructions but a saying popped into his head from Valor, never meet troubles half way. He did miss home but there was nothing there for him anymore and he intended to follow the warrens wherever they may lead. His hand sunk into wet pines and leaves resting on soft coarse grass, the earth soft underneath. Danaal closed his eyes and opened something to the ground beneath him. Yanked somewhere behind his navel he was thrust along, below running along the cords and arteries of his home.

“This Elemental is our home, our beautiful planet that you are connected to, now see here?”

He followed the essence of the deer, it’s cadence or vibrations, he didn’t know but he felt the darkness the deer meant, an inner dread. The planet sighed with effort a draining feeling came from the darkness an image of the monument flashed through his mind, the towering hulk or stone. It blackened and became brittle and fell crumbling to the citadel below it, maiming and killing them all. The memory flickered and he was below the falling structure, encompassed by black he collapsed again.

Monumental Gift – Chapter 14

14

 

Danaal woke feeling dazed, his skull may have been ridden over by a horse and quickly followed by the cart. The room undulated as he swung himself from his laying position. He hated headaches, they were the worst type of pain and generally nothing stopped them or the nausea that came with them. Leaning over the side of the bed Balthar came into the room quickly followed by a tremendously old woman. Stooped and fragile looking, just like old Grodnas but hopefully not as irritating.

“Spin yourself round then boy allow me to see your head.” Danaal looked at Balthar who nodded slowly.

“Ok. Could somebody tell me what happened?” He twisted on the bed shuffling his left leg crooked onto the bed he realised he was naked. And his hands shot down to his delicate areas.

“Don’t be coy boy, I’ve seen more of those than you could possibly imagine and each as ugly as the rest.” The old woman gestured towards Danaals hand as she spoke which made him more embarrassed.

She moved forward quicker than he imagined she could and grabbed his head to angle it to her liking.

“Anyway, I could have done anything to you while you’ve been out.” The boys shock and digust registered to Balthar from the side who smirked.

The old woman chuckled to herself and Danaal told himself to stay calm as, she clearly enjoyed making him feel this way.

“So, what happened again?”

“We fought boy an ya fell after I swep you, I hadn a clue we were near anything. You landed heavy on a rock head firs, busted ya cabbage pretty bad. After that even I’m not sure what appened.” Balthar face looked confused but earnest.

“I told you what happened the boy is an elemental mage, and an earth one at that. You are a rare find boy, very rare. Those eagles were protecting him and one gave it’s life for him.”

Danaal turned around stunned, even though the woman was examining him still, “You mean to tell me this woman knows exactly what I am, just like that. How do you know, Balorek said he wouldn’t be able to tell straight away?”

With Danaal’s annoyance growing evident on his face the woman decided to introduce herself, “I’m Lady Vanti, and Balorek was my student once. He would never miss anything like that but what reason would he have to not tell you?”

“Because he is an orphan of the Altyrian’s. The Breeders had hold of him when Alarna and his father took him from there. My brother did not want to tell him as they initially wanted him to be raised away from mages but it seems the world is getting smaller and Mages reach to everywhere, including Valor.” Balthar walked to Danaals bed and plonked himself down next to him.

“Protection is the only reason these people would lie to you Danaal, no other reason.”

Danaal dwarfed the man next to him and also dwarfed the woman who was stood over him attempting to turn him back around. Danaal said nothing and allowed the woman to carry on. He was more aware of his nakedness but it still wasn’t as apparent as the fact he was an earth mage whom had been protected by and eagle. But bigger than that his mother and father weren’t his mother or his father.

 

****

Danaal laid on his bed the old woman had tended him but also told him that if he wished she would stay in the chair next to him if he needed company. She was warm towards him and kind but something deep under his skin told him then he will never trust another human being until he found his father and actually heard the truth, whatever that was.

 

The glamour that sat in the room with Balthar, was otherwise known as Lady Vanti. The glamour was her skill, many faces and many names and never one for herself. The Council will know of what this elemental mage will do with his time. She needed to earn his trust quickly and convince him his father was in Altyria, from there it would be much easier to manoeuvre him to the Council.