#8 Friend or foe?
I’m still staring at him – this stranger that I’ve apparently flown into unwittingly. I can’t wrap my mind around how it happened. I was so careful reading the winds and the landscape – I should have noticed another flying creature. Well, I’m supposing he flies, how else could he have been up there in my path?
“No one ever sees me,” he mutters to himself.
“Are you invisible when you fly?” I blurt out. I may be ambassador, but I can’t help that I’m very to the point. Small talk is just not my thing.
“No,” he practically growls.
“If we fly alongside for a bit I can check,” I offer – the idea somewhat sprung out of curiosity. What is he?
“You wish to fly with me?” he asks, and I can’t decide if he’s patronising me or simply pissed off and doubtful.
I roll my eyes, the way Queen Venla does sometimes – I don’t think I’ve ever done it before, but it’s nice to relieve myself of some of the annoyance brewing.
“Forget it. Have a nice day,” I snap, and then I shift and take to the sky. I’m mad, and I don’t think I can be polite anymore. My claws hold the pouch with the letter securely.
Suddenly the winds change, strange currents twirl my way and I lose my balance, but regain it quickly. By Hallhegan’s mountain, what is this? The coiling currents keep coming at me – like a maze made of winds. I croak angrily and fly higher, and faster – trying to shake whatever is causing this.
Then I see him – at least, I’m assuming it’s him. A majestic glowing eagle, and his eyes glow too as he regards me with something akin to ‘I told you so’. But it’s not merely him, and the way he glows, but the way new winds seem to form at the very tips of the feathers on his wings.
I just stare – hovering in the air. He’s a wonder.
I observe him for a moment, and the winds especially. They coils downwards, which means if I fly next to him, but a little higher up I can evade them. As the thought forms from my analysis, my body is already moving into position. He regards me with some surprise, but he stays by my side, keeping the height difference. I still haven’t figured out how he turned invisible. And who he is. I’ve never heard of eagle shifters. Are they a rare hidden people?
We approach the small town of Gränstorp – it means the border house – which is accurate in a way. It’s the only town so close to the crack in reality that I’m looking for. A trade location, as it is, makes it easier to blend in. I can simply pretend to be one of the many patrons visiting the market. Carefully avoiding my companion’s unpredictable wind coils, I approach the ground just outside town, call my elemental body to the surface and morph. I land on my feet, feeling a little unsteady after being airborne for so long.
My companion has shifted too.
“Who are you?” I demand.
“I’m Hräsvelg,” he replies.
“I’ve never heard of eagle shifters,” I prod.
“I’m the only one,” he says bitterly, and I’m momentarily stunned by his honesty. The only one. I’m the only one left in my family, but at least I have kin. I can only imagine what it’s like to be the only one.
“How can you be sure?” I challenge. I’m still annoyed with him.
“Because I’ve looked everywhere. And I was raised by others,” he mutters back.
I drop it, not wishing to needle him unnecessarily.
“Well?” he asks.
I stare at him – this appears to have become a habit around him. I’m not sure why – am I really this socially unpractised – even with ruffians like him?
“I’m Ást, raven, obviously,” I say – sounding snarky even to my own ears – thinking this must be what he meant.
“Was I invisible?” he prompts, completely unimpressed with my introduction, which somehow has me seething. What is it with this creature? I don’t usually lose my head so easily.
“Not from the angle at which I observed you,” I snap, and it’s only when the words are out I realise how true they are. I never observed him from the front.
“It’s getting dark. We continue tomorrow,” he says, and begin walking into town.
I stay where I am for a moment, then I pick up the pouch and follow him. So annoyed I don’t have words.
Feathers and lore,
There’s much, much more,
I didn’t realise walking would take so long. Ravens don’t normally walk for long stretches. We fly. But since Linnea and her father don’t fly, walking is our only option. For a long time, I’ve had no choice but to accept my circumstances. This is just the same. I just have to accept what is […]
#16 A veterinarian
Summer nights are bright, the sun merely kissing the horizon. I’ve taken a seat on the tiny front step to the small cabin – and as I sit here I let my eyes wander. The red painted wooden houses, and the small yard in the middle – then the tree line closing this place in […]
#15 A moment to myself
Travelling by wing is infinitely better than travelling by machine. And you all know how I feel about changing into my raven skin after centuries trapped in it. Still, this is freedom. I find myself rethinking the ways in which to be imprisoned, and I wonder if perhaps my sister is too – somewhere in […]
#14 Maybe we should fly
Pizza lacks enough meat to satisfy my raven and is completely drenched in melted cheese. Remind me to never have it again. My stomach is still rebelling, and it’s known to be made of steel. It might also be the means of travel upsetting my stomach. I’m no longer trying to follow the road with […]
#13 What if it’s a trick
Everything is a flurry of motion. Linnea is here, then there. Making more calls. Someone’s at the door collecting a set of keys to her ‘practice’, and by the time Linnea’s father shows up, she’s all set and ready to go. I’m impressed, despite myself, of the efficiency completely disguised by chaos. “Ást, Hräsvelg, this […]
#12 And then they were four
“I need to make a few calls,” Linnea says, and goes to collect a strange, flat device. When she flicks her fingers over the glass surface it lights up in different colours – just like magic. I study it, pondering what she means with making a few calls. Are we visiting people? A beep is […]
#11 “I thought she was dead,” Linnea says.
Linnea’s eyes grow impossibly wider, and at first I’m convinced Hräsvelg’s appearance crumbled what little progress I’d made with Linnea. But she takes a few deep, strengthening breaths, then looks between the two of us. “Wow,” she says, and shakes her head. Her hair is even lighter in colour than Queen Venla’s, and it’s tied […]
#10 The realm of machines
The morning sky is the same, yet different. Another realm – it’s such a strange and uncanny feeling to be here. I’m further from home than I’ve ever been. “Where to?” Hräsvelg asks me. I can’t believe he’s still here, and yet, undeniably he is. He kept the fire going all night, then he got […]
#9 Please steal me away
We’ve stayed the night at the Gränstorp central inn – a small, quiet town where reality wears a crack. A good night’s sleep has at least restored some of my patience. Still, I don’t blame the innkeeper for the wary looks he’s giving Hräsvelg. My ‘companion’, despite the large variety of elementals visiting this small […]
#7 A stranger
All set. I take one last look at the petite city behind its protective wall, surrounded by tall mountains. There’s something about this place – wild and tame all at the same time. The stone cottages, and the winding streets. A restless part of me can’t wait to leave, another can’t wait to come back […]
#6 Been underground
I’ve just come back from an ambassador assignment. It took me away from writing. Perhaps you’ve learnt by now that there are many, many kingdoms in the Elemental Realm? Or Fairy, on the other side of the thin borders, faultlines – or whatever you choose to call it. I’ve just come back from Fenilya, which […]
#5 The secrets of the vaults
My raven ancestors have always been carefully keeping notes of the realm, the different elementals, the kingdoms, special occasions, interesting decisions and fates – it serves as our lore, inspiration and guidance for future reigns, future leaders and elementals. To falsify the historical notes was considered a very grave crime, not only in the present […]
#4 Your true talent
Hamingja is an internal part of our self, of our spirit, but something that’s still been regarded as a separate entity. Some believed that their ‘hamingja’ could be inherited by children in their linage, to which I’m doubtful. But what is ‘hamingja’? It translates as ‘luck’, and has over the ages deteriorated down to skill […]
#3 Hamr and hugr – and changing skin
Perhaps you are aware that many elementals (elementals are human-like beings with affinities for different elements like air, fire, water and earth) have more than one skin – ‘eigi einhamir’, meaning ‘not of one skin’ in the old language. Hamr is our body, our skin – and because of my raven nature I can alter […]
#2 Where I grew up
I’m restless when I’m here, back in the little town of Ravnea, and the raven kingdom, that I suppose will always be home. I’m observing the folks that do call this home, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t feel the same. Where I find Ravnea a quint, little town, the shops satisfactory […]
#1 When I’m only thought
Black feathers, and a croak that’s heard for miles. I’m not aware of time when I fly. Endlessness and eternity breathe the existence – and all I am is thought.