The Chrysalis Emerges
by K Griffin © 1998
"The greatest fallacy of all is to look up for the Light"
extract from 'The Ancient Book of the Magi'
The Wolf headed east towards the high plains. He moved slowly and carefully until he had completely cleared the forest. Once he reached the open plains and there was no longer any danger of a low tree branch sweeping her from his back, his pace picked up. Chrys managed to relax on the back of the Wolf. Her hood fell back from her face and the wind of their passage made her hair stream out behind them like the tail of a kite. She felt like she was riding the very wind itself and a feeling of joy bubbled over inside her. Ahead, a loud reverberation rippled the sea of grass each time it boomed across the plains. There was a comforting rhythm to the noise, like a heartbeat pumping energy back into the land. Before they were close enough for her to find the source of the noise, the Wolf stopped amidst the long grass. She laughed happily as she slid from his back and threw herself full length onto the ground. The tall grass flattened beneath her, making a cushion for her fall. She lay so still staring up at the clear blue sky, that the Wolf might have thought she was winded..
Surprisingly, the earth out here on the open plains was cold, but not frozen. Chrys stretched languorously, drinking in the warmth. "Ryrf", she asked, "Did we head south today after all?" His response was clear in her mind this time "No Chrys, just east." She sat up and turned to face him. Her curiosity must have been plain on her face because he spoke again before she could even frame the question. His words were soft as he said "The more relaxed you are, the more you open yourself to your powers. I've always been willing to talk but you were not ready to listen".
She nodded, refusing to allow the tight little protest that rose in her chest to take hold and ruin the happiness of the moment. The golden rays of the sun danced before her eyes, glinting off Ryrf's white coat. She studied him and realised that not all of the golden strands that danced between them were from the sun. "Knowledge is power, Chrys. Is it so surprising that the golden strands are knowledge?" he murmured. Again she looked at him curiously. Slowly she said "Who are you really, Ryrf?"
"You named me true, Chrys" he replied. "I am Ryrf. Grir'Ryrf , Archon of Clan Wolf, Defender of Yang'Grir, your servant and your guide".
Chrys gasped in astonishment. Archon. Defender. She looked at him quizzically. "Can you..." she started to ask but he interrupted her, reminding her gently "Knowledge is power, Chrys. Those things you can answer for yourself when you are ready."
All the while as they talked, the strange thudding noise continued. Finally she could stand it no longer. She stood and peered eastwards. A deeper rumbling came from behind her. Puzzled, she turned to identify the source of this new noise then realised that Ryrf was shaking with barely suppressed laughter. The new rumbling was from him. He was laughing at her. "You need to see this place to believe it." he said. "It's called Fire Mountain".
Chrys thought of the flat sea of waving grass that stretched seemingly endlessly eastwards and wondered if she'd misheard him. "Fire Mountain?" she queried.
Ryrf nodded and managed to control his laughter. "Its story time, child. There is much you need to remember." he said gently. His teeth, that could rip the throat out of most creatures, gently locked onto the sleeve of her gown, drawing her back down into the little haven of peace. Cocooned in the long grass he began to weave tales of long ago.
Ryrf spoke softly, "Close your eyes and touch the earth, Chrys. Feel the difference in this place. There is no magic here. So many died in the final battles of the Cataclysm that after its baptism of blood, Helena cursed these plains. She didn't name it a curse. She named it a healing and now all magic that is let loose on these plains, bends to her decree. Legend says that only when the last tormented soul who died here has found peace, will her tithe be lifted."
Chrys realised she was being walked through the past by a master DreamWeaver. She rested her palms on the ground and could feel the blood in the earth as though it had been shed only yesterday. She could see the battles that had raged across these plains, but her vision wavered a little at the mention of Helena.
Ryrf must have noticed her hesitation because he paused to explain "Helena wielded power that none today can match. She was the High Cleric of the Silver Path, Keeper of the Key to the Temple of the Forgotten Gods."
Chrys sat silent for a moment trying to re-capture a half-remembered vision of a silver lady. She closed her eyes, trying to focus on Ryrf's word, but something in the air kept breaking her concentration. It wasn't the distant thud. It was something closer. It was a song in the air. A humming that was far hungrier than the song of Yang'Grir. Chrys lifted her palms from the earth and the song faded a little. Intrigued, she again touched the dirt and the pitch of the song intensified again.
She looked up to find that Ryrf had fallen silent and was watching her intently. Almost in a whisper she said "Ryrf, if the healing powers of Yang'Grir were magic, then its wrong to say that there is no magic here." She stood and felt the power of the song fill her. It stirred her blood making her whole body tingle. There was magic here, but there was no balance. The usual kaleidoscope of swirling colours was missing. As Chrys listened to the song, the only colours sparkling in the air were red and silver. She watched as the tiny silver nets snared the hot pulsing red. Each time the red strands collided with the silver net, a rainbow exploded and, for a moment, all the colours were again visible.
Awed by power that could weave such a net of silver over the plains, Chrys did whisper this time when she said "It is a healing, Ryrf. Its not a curse. The silver is all colours. She is washing away the blood." Chrys turned and looked at her companion. The nets were gentler with him, but they snared him too, She'd looked closely once before and seen the colours that swirled around him. She'd only touched the yellow strand that time. This time she looked more closely. The red in the air was mirrored in him. It was blood and power. It was anger and vengeance.
Softly she spoke again "Can't you feel it, Ryrf? The terrible hunger of the earth. Can you see the red haze in the air? Can you hear the calls for vengeance? Only the power of the silver keeps the voices quiet."
Ryrf answered "Helena was the High Cleric of the Silver Path. Its not surprising that silver is her mark." He shrugged then continued "There may be magic here Chrys, but none may use it. Its a cursed land."
Chrys shook her head. She was sick of riddles with no answers, of challenges she could not meet. Here was a challenge that she could meet. She turned and stared across the plains, basking in the red glow. She could feel the hunger around her, but her voice was cool and calm as raised her arms and said "There is magic here Ryrf". Gently, she pushed the silver net aside and touched a few of the closest red strands. She watched in amusement as they exploded into rainbows of colour. Then to prove her point, she opened herself to the song and let the voices sing through her. For a moment they were free to scream their vengeance but then she focused the power and directed a blast of fire at the wall of grass before her. From the corner of her eye she saw Ryrf sprang to his feet in alarm as the fireball leaped from her fingertips. She stopped long enough to soothe the fury that she had tapped, drawing the silver net back, then with a smile she turned back to Ryrf. "So, none may use it you say?" she chuckled.
Ryrf stared in disbelief at the swathe that had been cut in the long grass by the fireball. "That's not possible", he finally managed to say. "None may use magic here."
Chrys answered him and her impatience was obvious in her tone "Your Guardian said those words once before. He was wrong then and you are wrong now. It is not my magic. I have no power. I simply recognised the power that was here. Just as Yang'Grir healed itself, so it was here. That was the victims of the cataclysm screaming their vengeance. It wasn't me."
Ryrf sighed and said "I brought you here to give you peace for a while. I didn't expect this. This is not the place to teach you of the powers that were unleashed by the cataclysm. Perhaps Fire Mountain will give us a moments peace."
She nodded and again slipped up onto his back. His long loping strides soon left the scene of her demonstration far behind, but the memory of the song stayed with her. There was no reason or logic or compassion in that song. The blood in her veins still tingled, answering the call. Red was a dangerous strand. No wonder Helena had cast the silver net. Unfettered, the power here would have consumed the land.
© 2005 Elusive Dreams Mud. All rights reserved.