Monday, February 22, 2010

Chapter 12: Water Cont'd Again

    The water wouldn't let him sit down, but he pushed against it keeping his head under water; which filled his ears and caused his hair to dance around his face. He counted to three and then opened his eyes. All around him was blue. He could see tiny things floating in the water. He didn't know the names, but some swam and others just drifted. He saw a few fish, but they all darted away so quickly that he couldn't really get a good look at them. It was like being in a different world. His arms felt weightless; he had to struggle to move them, to keep them under the water. He turned his head quickly and watched his hair slowly follow. Everything seemed new to him.
    He allowed some air to escape between his lips and watched as the bubbles found their way to the surface, their incandescent spheres reflecting everything. He had been so distracted by the beauty, the calm of his newly discovered world that he had forgotten about his quickly-emptying lungs. His chest screamed for air; His heart beat loudly, filling his ears and his head with its rhythm. He froze and then began to panic. He didn't know how to swim. He didn't know what to do, how to get back to the air that his body needed so badly. Then he remembered the sand between his toes. He pushed against it and after three seconds of eternity, his head emerged atop the waves. He gulped in air, his chest and shoulders heaving.
   Fulkar was still there staring at him, worried lines connecting his eyes. Ardan pushed back his hair with his hands, and Fulkar relaxed as a grin spread across his face. On the shore Rheto called, "well done!". Ardan threw back his head in a triumphant war whoop, a call of his own victory over the water and over his own fear. His smile had taken over his features, his eyes shone brightly and his teeth were revealed, contrasting sharply against his skin. His dark hair was slick and still dripping, even longer when wet. Fulkar slowly came towards Ardan, his large body causing waves that would over turn a small boat. Ardan planted his feet, preparing for the water. Fulkar's body appeared more and more as he came into the shallower water, until finally the water no longer reached his belly, but stopped just below his knees. He bent his neck forward and tilted his head until one giant eye peered at Ardan.
   "So, little desert child, does the water suit you?" Ardan could feel Fulkar's breath on his face; it was warm and wet with little puffs of steam following every word.
   "It's amazing! I've never felt so refreshed, ready for anything," Ardan gushed.
   "Water is healing. Most humans don't realize just how much. Water is part of every facet of life."
   "I've never known it could be like this, so... comfortable and green... not a desert." Ardan laughed at his own inability to put his feelings into words. Fulkar smiled, as much as a drakon can smile, enjoying Ardan's inexperienced glee.
   "We should eat," Rheto reminded Ardan, who was lazily running his feet through the water's edge.
   "You're right." Ardan pulled himself up the beach, back to his bag. He got out his sand cakes and broke one into pieces. Fulkar stretched out in the sand, his belly carving a ditch in the beach. "Aren't you going to hunt?"
   "Yes. I suppose so. I'll be back soon." He raced off into the trees, his body changing from the black and white of the sand to the green and brown of the forrest.
   "Tell me more about magic. Please. What will I be able to do?" Ardan asked, taking bites of sand cake.
   "Well, magic's use is depends on the magician. Some, like your father it seems, use it to teach. Some, to gain power or respect, some for healing, for discovery, or to gain knowledge. Others use it for war or to cause pain. It is up to you to decide how you want to use the magic."
   "Can a magician do anything? I mean, are there limitations?"
   "Of course. You can call on magic and whatever power it gives you is the power you have to call on. I have known magicians who could move mighty rivers, that could call people back from the dead, but things like that..." Fulkar moved so that he could look Ardan directly in the eyes. "Things like that require sacrifices from the magicians, sometimes it is just a drain of their energy, they sleep it off or eat a good meal, and the energy is restored. Sometimes it takes a part of them; they age so to speak because the magic has taken years from them. Other times, if the magician is not powerful enough or practiced enough, the magic claims his life. Celeret will be able to explain better than I. Drakons do not live under the same rules as humans. Magic flows through all of us like blood. It is part of us. If taken from us, it can kill us, but I have never heard of a spell that could kill a drakon."
   "So you can do anything?"
   "No. We cannot bring things back from the dead. That would kill us for another reason. There is certain magic that is forbidden among our race. Our ancestors made a great pact hundreds of years ago. It is that great spell that would take the life, not the use of the magic. It is to keep a single one of us or a group from becoming more than we were meant to be. Do you understand?"
   "You mean like taking over the world?" Fulkar chuckled at this.
   "Yes. There is a fantastic story about the forming of the Drakoni, the pact of spells that keep us who we are meant to be."
   "I would like to hear it." Ardan put the rest of his sand cakes back into his bag and looked at Fulkar expectantly.
  "Not now little friend. Now it is time to go."
  "But Rheto?" Ardan jumped up as Fulker stood and stretched his wings. He stretched his body from his neck down to his tail and looked toward the trees. Ardan smiled as Rheto emerged holding another rat in his mouth. He ate it and agin buried the refuse in the sand. Rheto and Ardan climbed back onto Fulkar's back and as Ardan tied them on, Fulkar stretched his wings preparing to fly.
  "How far is it now?" Rheto asked.
  "We will be there by dawn. Get some sleep when the dark comes. I will fly all night."
  "Can you?" Asked Ardan.
  "I am extremely refreshed by my dip in the lake. It will be easy."
  "Were not too heavy for you?" Ardan insisted. "You have carried us a long way." Fulkar shook his head laughing and leapt into the air.

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