Following the Wind: Part Four
Also by noob
The sensation Elora experienced when she stepped through the portal was far from pleasant. Stifling shadow oozed around her and she could have sworn it felt like some of it had slipped under her skin. Everything around her was black and when she tried to cry out no sound came, it truly felt like she was drowning in pure darkness. Just when she felt that she was likely to go mad, it began to dissipate, leaving her standing in the middle of a huge room.
She looked around in awe, up against the wall and surrounding her were six portals that looked exactly like the one that she had just stepped through. The only difference was that these didn’t look like they were going to seal up again anytime soon and above each of them carved into the stone wall they lay against was a symbol. Elora immediately recognized the symbols to represent each of the elements, except for one where instead the image of a deadened looking tree sat. Elora figured that the one that didn’t fit the pattern lead back to where she had just come from and the other five lead to each respective Faerie city.
“This whole place... it’s a nexus... they can get almost anywhere they want from here,” Elora whispered to herself, almost not believing what she knew to be true. “They must have been manipulating everything for years without anyone’s knowledge.”
Elora would have examined the room further but the sound of footsteps down a hallway she hadn’t before noticed on her right startled her out of her revere. Panic spread through her body as she realized that if she didn’t do something quickly she’d be caught standing in a place where she clearly shouldn’t be.
Elora suddenly recalled a spell she had used a few times in her youth to disguise herself during play and quickly she began to chant. Air whipped around her and coated over her in a fine glaze; its swift weaving movements making it resemble something solid before it dispersed. Elora hoped dearly that the spell would work well enough to make her passable as a Dark Faerie as the owner of the footsteps entered the chamber.
If not for her quick recollection, and even quicker casting, Elora would have been placed in a most unpleasant situation. As it stood, with the Dark Faerie that had come down the hall eyeing her suspiciously, it was already uncomfortable enough.
“Girl, what are you doing here?” the woman snapped. “Nobody has jurisdiction to use the nexus right now, we need to know where all our citizens are and having them run off to distant lands would not be helpful.”
“Ahhhh... sorry, sorry, I just got lost in the hallways,” Elora muttered bowing her head down and hoping that besides looking apologetic it disguised her features.
“Oh? This place is rather separated from a lot of the quarters, you must have gotten really lost,” the Dark Faerie said suspiciously.
“Ah, yeah, I was ummm... looking for someone... you know that girl who isn’t really a Dark Faerie? I can’t seem to find her. I have a message for her.”
The look on the Dark Faerie’s face was one of surprise and mild disgust. “Oh, that girl, no wonder you got lost. Her quarters is separated from the rest of ours; just keep going down the hall I came from then make the first right you can, after following it some you’ll find her quarters.”
“Oh! Thank you!” Elora said, bowing her head down lower.
“There isn’t any need to thank me,” the Faerie said crossly. “If you choose to speak with that girl it’s your own business.”
“Ah, all right, I’ll be going now,” Elora quickly hurried out of the hall, leaving the Dark Faerie behind her.
When it was clear that nobody was watching her, she breathed a deep sigh of relief, if that had been any closer she would have been exposed before she had even been in there for a full minute. Following the directions of the Faerie she walked down the hallway, and then took the first right she could make. Elora wandered around, looking from side to side hoping to catch a glimpse of the girl she had to find and talk to. She wasn’t sure what a Faerie with no element would look like so she had to keep her eyes peeled.
She was so busy looking that she didn’t see someone coming down the hallway right in front of her. They both crashed together and the person had who run into her fell back onto the floor with a thump. Elora looked down to see who she had run into and the sight made her heart flutter with hope.
There sat a young Faerie, about the age Elora had been when she was banished, looking rather dazed and a bit frightened. Her hair was dark lavender, the same as the scraggly dress she wore, and her skin was the color of porcelain, not the purplish hue of the Dark Faeries. The wings that sprouted from her back were also lavender and were like that of a butterfly, not the pointed bat wings that everyone else here possessed.
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” the girl exclaimed, getting up and dusting off her dress. When she looked up at Elora, she saw that her eyes were as bright and vibrant as her hair was.
“It’s all right. I wasn’t watching where I was going either,” Elora said gently, smiling.
The girl stared at her for a moment, her mouth hanging open in awe. “Why are you being nice? They’re never nice to me.”
“Ah... well, I have something secret I have to ask you; do you think you could take me to your room?” Elora asked, taken aback by the meek way she was acting. “Oh, and do you mind if I ask you what your name is?”
The girl’s cheeks turned a bit red. “Ah, yeah, sure, come this way... and it's Fyora... my name is Fyora.”
“Fyora’s a pretty name,” Elora said fondly, following her as she led her down the hall and into a small bedroom that branched off from it.
“Ummm... so this is my room... what do you want to tell me?” Fyora asked curiously, her eyes full of caution and a trace of fear.
Elora was wondering why the girl was looking at her that way when it occurred to her that she was still disguised as a Dark Faerie. Nervously she looked around and then began to disperse the spell that encased her and altered her appearance. Fyora’s eyes grew wide with shock as the spell peeled away and left a tired looking Air Faerie where it looked like a Dark Faerie had been standing moments ago.
Elora expected the girl to look relieved but instead she threw herself on the ground and cried out. “Oh, please don’t hurt me! I don’t even know any magic! Honest!”
“Girl, what are you talking about?” Elora asked gently, reaching her hand down to help Fyora up.
For a moment she shied away from the outstretched arm but then slowly she reached for it and grabbed it. “The Dark Faeries... they took me in and separated me off from everyone because I’m a Faerie but I can’t do magic and someone was out there hunting for me.”
“I think they were lying,” Elora said quietly. “Only a few moments ago I heard two Dark Faeries mention a prophecy... and the girl they were talking about who could fulfill it... well, it’s you.”
Fyora reeled like she had been hit. “What? What are you talking about? I can’t do anything! I don’t even have an element! I don’t know why I even exist! How can I be someone special like that?”
“I don’t have all the answers, but I think those Faeries have been keeping you here so you’d never learn magic... I don’t think it’s that you can’t do it, just that you don’t know how,” Elora said, gently smiling at the girl.
“Is this some sort of joke?” Fyora asked, tears starting to stream down her face. “If it is it isn’t funny! You have no idea how much I’ve always wanted to be more than the weakling Faerie that doesn’t even have an element. Don’t get my hopes up for nothing.”
“I’m not,” she reassured her, “but the only way you can find out for yourself is if you come with me. The Dark Faeries are planning on attacking and destroying the Air Faerie Cloud and without you it can’t be stopped.”
The girl looked at Elora nervously. “You mean you want me to come with you? Outside of this castle? I don’t... I don’t know... it’s dangerous out there and I’m still not sure I can do anything.”
“There’s nothing more dangerous than wasting away without ever knowing what difference you could have made.” She looked back at Fyora, her eyes shining. “I can tell you want to live, don’t sit here and waste away... it would be such a shame.”
The girl wrung her hands nervously, lost in thought. Finally she looked up and nodded, a small flame of hope and determination now burning deep within her lavender eyes. Elora let out a sigh of relief and smiled again, the first genuinely happy smile she had given in a very long time.
“Are you ready then? I’d suggest packing anything that you value, I don’t think you’ll be able to return here again,” Elora said, looking around the almost empty room and doubting she had much.
Fyora shook her head and looked embarrassedly towards the ground. “I was never really even given anything, just the clothes on my back and that bed... and I certainly don’t want to take the bed.”
Elora laughed quietly and turned to head out the door, the girl following behind her. “We’ll have to get out of here quickly before anyone notices anything is amiss.”
“Ah! If you don’t mind me asking, where are we going first?” Fyora looked at Elora’s cloaked back curiously, waiting for a response.
Elora pondered the question for a moment, then as she clutched the hem of her old and tattered cloak she replied. “We’re going to go ask a favor of my very old friend.”
To be continued...