Ell could feel her Contracted’s roiling emotions from where she floated. Her rapidly healing body was submerged in the steaming, bubbling waters of Guardian Mountain, even as her essence drifted peacefully along the Pathways of the One. Ell was able to maintain a multi-level awareness now. A new skill for her, which she practiced daily since Gran Bryl had taught her the technique. She was fully cognizant of her physical body in one dimensional reality, her light body on another, and her Contracted’s whereabouts, all at the same time. She was quite proud of herself. So, it was with both pleasure because of her awareness, and dismay at her Contracted’s emotional state of upheaval, that she awaited Lisle’s arrival. She had no doubt that Lisle would find her easily. Lisle had perfected that skill long ago.
Lisle burst into the cavern all out of breath. She slid to a stop beside the pool and threw herself down at Ell’s side. Ell lifted her head, steam wafting up to tickle along her jaw line before it evaporated in the hot, muggy air above the pool. She felt the hot water run in comforting rivulets down her neck. She was so accustomed to the odor of it that she no longer noticed the eggy smell, though from the way Lisle wrinkled her nose as she bent close to Ell’s head, her Contracted was not so immune.
Ell’s heart swelled in her chest as she leaned her head close, bending her neck in what she knew was a graceful pose, and touched Lisle’s forehead with her own. She was aware of the growing beauty of her physical presentation and it pleased her in a distant sort of way. Her light body was so much more real to her and so very much more beautiful, that its physical home didn’t concern Ell particularly. Though she did appreciate how quickly this body was healing.
Ell’s tail thrashed in the water of its volition in response to her Contracted’s volatile emotions. She intentionally opened her heart to receive the vibrational upsurge, and listened as Lisle’s anger and fear, the meeting on the mountainside, and the revelation of Fal’s origins all poured out of her, seemingly on one enraged breath.
Ell was concerned for Lisle. She was too serious most of the time. Her young life had been filled with so many demands. Where was the laughter and play that a young human ought to have?
Even as Lisle earnestly put her anger and fears into words, Ell spouted bubbles in the air trying to make her laugh. It didn’t work. Instead Lisle reprimanded her for not listening. Ell tucked her chin down and looked at Lisle with big eyes, a parody of chastened dragonhood, while Lisle continued with her tirade. Then Ell started spouting bubbles again. After that, she flipped upside down in the water and stuck her belly up in the air, waggling her tail, making little waves in the pool. She heard Lisle giggle then, despite what Ell knew was her frustration with her Guardian’s undignified activities. Finally, Lisle gave up with a sharply exhaled breath, and just sat beside Ell, running her fingers over Ell’s brow ridges, a slight smile curving her lips.
Lisle was calm now and Ell had something to show her. She lifted her muzzle and looked Lisle in the eyes. Her Contracted acknowledged the familiar invitation and closing her eyes and holding still as Ell tapped her forehead gently with the tip of her muzzle.
They dove together, deep into the sparkling ocean of the One. Deepest blue-black surrounded them. Pinpoints of light filled Ell’s vision. She saw that Lisle shone beside her, a bright, light azure, and knew that her own dark sapphire shone brighter still, guiding Lisle. They glided along the glimmering web of light together, Ell searching for the one she knew would be there.
Ah, she thought, there he is. She saw his radiant light, greys and blacks transformed to a deep blue now, with darkened edges thinning and transmuting to crystal clarity as he bounced along the pathways. He flitted from one spot to another, playfully dancing, never lingering in any one location.
Ell brought Lisle’s attention to the unusual spark of blue through the intensity of her own focus, and allowed Lisle to recognize just who it was they were watching. Lisle’s light flickered, a rapid pulsation from light to dark to light again, as recognition moved from fear and anger into surprise and then curiosity.
When she felt Lisle was ready, Ell led the way closer to her brother’s light. She knew he was aware of them now, just as he had been aware of her many other attempts to communicate with him since the attack. His glittering deep light stilled for just a moment. Ell felt a rapid succession of impressions from him. She knew that Lisle would feel them too. Shame, regret, a yearning for forgiveness and an inability to forgive himself. Then, beneath it all, a wondering sense of love and a deep reluctance to allow that vulnerability to express through him. Then he danced away from them, off into the eternal depths of the Pathways, not permitting them to come close.
Ell led Lisle away then. Fal wasn’t ready to allow them any closer, and Ell had something else to show her. She was reluctant to place this weight on Lisle’s already burdened shoulders and yet her Contracted needed to understand.
Ell turned and scanned the web that surrounded them on all sides as they traveled rapidly along the strands. Then she could feel it, beneath them and off to the side, the spreading darkness. It obscured the light of the Pathways, and emitted a stench of overwhelming fear. An ominous storm cloud obliterating the light of the One, leaving only that swirling mass of blackness. It was the Others, those who sought to tip the balance of light toward darkness on Gaea. Those who lusted for control and the power it brought them. They were the reason that Guardians took form on Gaea.
Lisle’s small light moved close to Ell’s own, as if hiding from that awful blackness. Ell could see dark tendrils drifting in their direction and she didn’t linger. She wanted only to show Lisle the reality of what they faced. Then, with her intent, she moved them both swiftly away, gliding along the shining strands of the One, back to the light.
In case you missed a post, or if you've just tuned in to Lisle's story,
here are links to previously posted chapters to save you scrolling all the way through.
Introduction Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5
Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27
Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34
Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41
Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46
StoryTime Read Aloud