Category: Spirits

Wild Heart, Child Heart

Michael had often felt like something was missing. He’d woken in the middle of the night for months after the accident with a sense of longing and despair. Now he knew why. Now he knew what had been missing.

He had a sister. Somewhere out there, Hannah was waiting – held captive, to use as a pawn or worse, by Aiello and his men.

He knew why school bored him also; why it always had. He was over a century old. The lessons seemed to be repetitive because they were. He’d learned all they taught in schools over a century ago.

The man who’d been raising him – whom he called uncle – was his father… and in a strange way, his mother. A pang went through him. This too had been missing. He’d felt a connection that went beyond simply the care of being raised by someone. Josiah was his progenitor – the one who had brought him into this world – who’d given him life.

He knew his pain was a dim echo of Josiah’s – of his father’s. His father had lost both of his children on that day five years ago. He turned at the familiar presence and smiled slightly. “Father,” he said. The word held more than a simple greeting. The bond between them was reformed – a healing balm passed between them as Michael acknowledged their true relationship. “Let’s go get Hannah back,” he said.

Josiah nodded once and held out a hand to his son. Michael darted to his side, not quite hugging him, but the light touch was enough. They were truly a family again – only lacking one member.

Home is Where we are Not

Kiaran sighed as he settled into the chair. Gwendolyn slumped, half asleep, in the chair across from him. He looked away as his eyes filled with tears. They were safe, that was what mattered. Of all of them, they’d only lost Kyle… and Josiah’s new little one.

Scrubbing his fingers through his newly-cut hair, Kiaran moaned. “Snap out of it,” he murmured to himself. “It’s not the end of the world. Gwen’s alive, that’s the most important thing.”

He looked across at his daughter again and sighed, this time in relief. He tugged one blond pigtail and smiled when she looked at him. “You going to make it to dinner, sweets?” he asked softly.

“Think so, Kiaran,” she replied around a yawn.

Her calling him by his name stung more than it should. She’d always called him Dad. Now, without her memories, she called him by name. He was a virtual stranger who was in charge of her care, that was all. Kenneth had said that it was necessary. For the ruse to work, they had to completely disappear. They couldn’t even remain as family groups.

Without his older siblings; far from home, Kiaran felt adrift. He had to establish a history, Kenneth had said. He had to move into the town – a new and different town from the one near their mountain home – as if by coincidence. One by one they would come back together, but Kiaran knew, unless they actually were able to acknowledge their ties of family, that relationship would be lost.

“We almost home, Kiaran?” Gwendolyn asked softly.

“Yeah,” Kiaran lied. “Almost.”

Galen stared around him as the flower petals drifted to the ground. They smelled heavenly and shimmered in the half-light of the late evening. “Starflowers?” he murmured.

“They’re your favorites, right?” Tindara murmured, catching his hand and smiling. The smile told him that she was behind the strange welcome.

“They are,” Galen agreed. “I’m not sure how you know that. I’m not sure how you did this… or why, but… it’s very nice.”

“I’d hoped you’d like it,” she replied. “Today’s your birthday. It’s the start of your gift.”

Galen blinked and murmured, “The start?” He would soon learn what other gifts the woman had in mind for him.

Spyro, called Alpheos had watched the deiva called Arethusa for a long time.  She was beautiful and seemed sweet and gentle and kind.  However, every time he approached her, he was rebuffed.

 Her rebuttals gave lie to her normally sweet demeanor.  In stark contrast to the sweet, almost demure smiles she sent to all the deiva at court, she was harsh whenever she snubbed the young lord of the Rivers Marches.

 “You’d think I’d learn,” he murmured to one of his guard captains after one such rebuttal.

 “I don’t know, sir,” Captain Ceraunos said.  “I think you’re wearing her down.” 

 Spyro looked down at the small hal-deiva, trying to gauge if he was being teased.  The open smile made him consider the youngster’s words.   “Perhaps,” he said softly.

Galen had always thought it was surprisingly easy to lose. If you didn’t try, it was a form of loss. If you failed to do your best, it would cost you. If you did your best and still did not succeed, that was also a loss.

Losing gracefully was more difficult. Many people looked upon losses as sour grapes. The “I didn’t want to win anyway” attitude was a shelter against the loss. They might get angry or upset. Tempers might be lost as well as whatever goal one was aiming for.

Losing was a part of life. Success was built on failures. No one liked it, but there it was. There was one thing he never wanted to lose – not if he could help it. He may not win every battle. He could accept that. However, he wanted to be able to live to fight another day.

Looking up at the wolves that surrounded him; at the fey that was their leader, he knew that losing wasn’t very difficult; though it could be troubling.

Galen didn’t like it when people acted cold and unfeeling toward others. Almost nothing could get his dander up faster than seeing people mistreat others, even if it wasn’t physical. The only thing that made him angrier was losing comrades in battle.

Then there was no one to really target the anger at and he would have to move away from others so he wouldn’t take his frustration out on them. Solitude was a luxury little afforded to captains however. When something happened to a squad member, duty directed that he be among his people, not by himself.

Therefore, as they planted the trees that would commemorate their late captain and others who the wolves had taken, Galen was among the crowd of mourners and not far from them as he would wish to be. If he had been, he might not have heard the callous remarks made by the captain of the Quail Division.

“Crying won’t bring them back,” he said in a reasonable, calm tone. “At times like these we need to keep our minds on those who still live.”

Galen glared up at the older man and shook his head. “The tears we cry aren’t for our fallen comrades, but for ourselves. We’ll miss them. Grieving is a part of moving on. Feelings, like sadness, anxiety and anger, are natural at times like these. If you can’t understand that then at least be quiet. No one asked for your input.”

“Anger, like your feeling?” Adrien snapped. His face was flushed and his eyes narrow. It was plain that he didn’t like the younger captain telling him what to do.

“And yourself,” Galen agreed. “You don’t like being told to be quiet, especially by someone half your age. I don’t like people being cold toward others, or losing friends. Maybe we should just avoid each other at times like these.” He stalked off into the gardens, seeking the calm that solitude might bring.

“Maybe so,” Adrien murmured after he was gone.

The Palisade Around my Heart

Galen was well aware of how Tindara felt about him. She went out of her way to talk to him or join him as he walked the perimeter. She was in the records division but that didn’t mean she didn’t have her own shift on patrol. They all took turns watching out for the wolves. The more eyes watching the less likely they would be caught by surprise.

The question was: how did Galen feel about her? He, himself, wasn’t even certain. He knew he was fond of her. However, he’d long since given up on any kind of relationship. He was a messenger. His job was one of the most dangerous of all of the security force. A small part of him wanted to keep that wall up; keep her at a distance so that if something happened she wouldn’t be left to mourn him.

Recently however, the wall around his heart had started to crumble. He didn’t know what to do about that. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it. Galen looked up from his musing to see Tindara smiling at him. He smiled back in spite of himself. Maybe a gate could be built in the wall.

And The Cold Magnet Earth

Aniketos watched the winged messenger as he swooped toward the gate. He landed just before he entered, hiding his wings in one graceful movement. “Captain Lithanos, a messenger is here,” he called as he ran down the stone steps to greet the youngster.

“Galen Ceraunos, reporting,” the youngster said as the lieutenant of the Fox Division approached him. “I bear a distress message from the Mouse Division.”

“I’ll conduct you to the Commander,” Aniketos replied. “Then I’m sure you’ll want a chance to rest.” The smaller man nodded slightly. He looked exhausted but he stuck to his duty. It was something that Aniketos admired. “I’m Lieutenant Raptis, by the way.”

Ceraunos bowed slightly and followed the older guardian toward the main keep. Hopefull they would be able to get help to the Mouse Division before it was too late.

The Sheer Force of Sky

Galen opened his wings and launched into the air as soon as the forest thinned enough around him that he wouldn’t hit anything. Soon he was soaring high above the forest, safe from the wolves and myriad of other dangers the wilds presented.

As always when he flew this way, the force of the wind in his hair and seeming defiance of gravity gave him a sense of freedom that he rarely experienced. Soon he knew he would come back to earth to deliver the all-important message. Until then he reveled in the exultant feelings flight evoked.

Like Dust, I’ll Rise

Galen frowned as the wolves surrounded him. They didn’t know he was there, not yet. It was only a matter of time, though. If they caught him, he was as good as dead. So too were the men and women of the Mouse Division, whose missive he carried. He was their only hope of getting relief from the wolves and fey laying siege to their compound.

He must get through. That was all there was to it. He couldn’t afford to lose today. He looked up, considering opening his wings and flying away. The underbrush was too thick, his wingspan too great, he realized.

He spotted an opening just as he heard a low growl. He bounded between two wolves, then dashed away into the woods, just before their jaws closed on the spot he’d stood. He double dashed, wanting to be sure of his escape. Smiling grimly, he ran as fast as he could have flown toward the main compound of the Security Force. The message would get through, he was sure now.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

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