Lisle raced to the cave of the healing pool, knowing Ell was there. She caught the edge of the rough stone entry with her extended hand, catapulting herself into the room. “Ell! Ell!” Ell lifted her shining head, steaming water dripping from narrow, scaled jaws, even as the rest of her reclined in the sulphurous waters, her eyes half-closed in relaxation. Lisle knelt at the side of the pool and threw tanned young arms about Ell’s slender neck, hugging her close. Then in a trembling, sweet voice, she sang to Ell of her amazing discovery, making up the tune as she went along. The words flowed, bubbling joyously out of her like the bubbling pool before her. She felt Ell’s love surround her and leaned against her, resting her head against the heat of Ell’s nape.
She didn’t know how long they stayed like that. Ell seemed to be content to stay with her as long as she chose, but her knees started to get sore and she released her hold and stood up abruptly. Ell blinked lazy, golden eyes at her.
Lisle needed to move. The excitement wouldn’t let her be still any longer. She bent over and kissed Ell’s nose, then turned and skipped out into the hallway. Her feet took her in the direction of the kitchen, maybe Terris was there.
Moss flitted up the tunnel toward her, chittering musically.
“Day of the One Moss!” Sang Lisle.
Moss turned and winged beside her as Lisle kept skipping, not stopping for conversation.
She heard voices from the kitchen even before she reached the doorway. Gareth was there. She heard his low rumble and an answering guffaw from Terris. Lisle happily skipped into their midst to see an aproned Terris up to his elbows in flour and sticky dough, while Gareth lounged against the side of the table, gesturing with his hands, obviously illustrating some tale he was telling Terris.
Moss zipped to Terris’ shoulder and looked with interest at the bread dough.
“Now you wait up there, Moss. It ain’t baked yet and you’ll jess get yerself all stuck up like last time,” Terris said around a laugh.
Gareth chuckled and looked up at Lisle as she skidded to a stop. “You look pleased with yourself.”
Lisle grinned, took a deep breath and sang, “I’m to be Ell’s Hands and Voice, and I can do it just about fine!”
Gareth tilted his head, eyes smiling. “Why you can at that.”
Terris gave the beige lump before him a resounding slap. “Well Younger! I see you gots a new way of oratin’. We’ll be expectin’ some good stories out a’ you.”
Lisle’s head jerked back and she blinked her eyes rapidly. She took several deep breaths and relaxed as a feeling of determination welled up inside. She would be Ell’s Voice.
Gran Bryl would have laughed if her dragon body could have done such a thing. It didn’t matter, she long ago came to accept the limitations of the physical. It didn’t limit her enjoyment. She felt Ell’s happiness as if it were her own, and reveled in it. Then she thought back to her son bouncing delightedly along the Pathways of the One. Thank you my One, for your countless blessings. What she hoped and prayed for, had happened. Fal had come back to the One. Ell’s sacrifice made that possible. Gran Bryl sent a heartfelt thought of gratitude to her youngest, as she felt hope awaken within her.
The Gran Eldress adjusted her great bulk to better expose her aching hind joints to the warm shaft of sunlight flowing through the cavern opening high above her, and her thoughts took another turn. It is time. Ell is almost fully healed. Her abilities as a Guardian have grown tremendously. Even with the little training that I’ve been able to give her in her recovery, she is showing great promise.
The sun gradually moved, the slanting warmth shifting and Gran Bryl moved her hips and tail with a heaving effort to follow it. Her thoughts shifted with the sun. Ell’s Contracted, is unsure of herself, fearful of her new responsibilities. Yet, Gran Bryl knew that Lisle longed with all her heart to be Voice and Hands for Ell. That was enough. Lisle needed more training before she would be ready to go out into the world as a Voice of the One. I will make sure she gets what she needs. Gran Bryl took a deep, trembling breath, feeling the sun-warmed air stirring the dampened fires inside her.
A deep groan rumbled through her chest as she had the thought, not for the first time, that even when Ell and Lisle underwent the Ritual of the One, it would not be enough. She felt that rising seedling of hope within her shiver. With Ell and Lisle, the Guardians and their Contracted’s would make eleven pairs, not enough to tip the balance of Gaea to the light and allow the Day of Rising. The shadow of the Others grew in the Pathways. Soon, the Guardians would not be able to hold the darkness back and it would swallow Gaea whole. Then it would move on to the next world and the next after that. Already the insidious influence of the Others spread among the humans of Gaea as greed, anger, fear and jealousy forced the humans apart, creating divisions in their communities and their families. It lured the humans out of the light and into darkness, away from the One.
The Great Council of the One placed the Guardians on Gaea to hold the light and prevent that from happening. But without the twelfth Guardian and his Contracted they would fail. Gaea would be lost, and they would have to start over again, in new bodies, on another world. A shiver ran the length of Gran Bryl’s spine at the thought. Show me the way, my One, she prayed. Show me how to bring Fal back to us, back to your service.
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 Chapter 47 Chapter 48
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