Episode 8: Flight of Freedom
I soared high, feeling the wind on my wings. It is an exhilarating experience. Such freedom was a bit overwhelming, but the sacrifices of the coven made me value this greatly. They gave me this freedom, and they also gave me the knowledge to understand that there is so much more to our world. I flew for a long time, looking for a place to land just south of Etheria. My thoughts drifted to how mother would sometimes wake in the middle of the night and sit outside the house. One night she met up with a man. Sometimes I would wonder if it was father. Maybe I would learn of him one day. Mother rarely mentioned him. I often thought he was deceased, but mother clarified one day that he had simply left on a journey. She seemed incredibly understanding. To me it was as if he had abandoned us. Today I am on my own journey and I wonder where it will take me.
Etheria was not safe. The recent attack on it prompted me to consider other options. I had heard that the northern allied countries were fairly peaceful, but the cold would be a hindrance. Among the three, Pax is said to be the most quiet of them. My flight there would be harrowing. Remaining transformed keeps my concentration in check, one slip and I could fall to my doom. So, for now, my best choice was Lyre. The capital city had never been successfully invaded and the king is said to be a generous one. Yes, Lyre would do well. I turned to catch an updraft. The day was fairly clear so I could see a town in the distance and in the southern mountain a large structure sat embedded in the rock.
I needed some rest, at least from the flight. Further south of one of the villages I decided to perch on a tree. The trip from Clearwater was very tiring. It was strange to feel the exhaustion on my wings. My true, human self has no wings. This magic truly was mysterious. I looked on to the road nearby. The gallop of a horse could be heard slowly approaching. My heart quickened. Could it be Lightbringers? Certainly they would not venture so far south? Then, in a short moment, as I stopped to listen carefully, I noticed it was but a single horse. It could be a peddler with their wares. As the two people approached I saw that it was a knight and a mage, a dark mage. I kept watch to see if they would notice this seemingly out of place crow in the forest. The mage looked at me directly when passing by. In my mind I heard his voice, somehow he knew, “We are of like minds, and powers. Do not be afraid, my name is Balthazar. What is yours?”. I hesitated for a second, but decided to answer, “Mine is Miriam, how did you know?”. “Well met, my lady. I am intensely attuned to the ether. I can tell when something is amiss”, he said calmly. “Are you headed for the capital?”, I was curious since I had not seen that many people on the road. “We are indeed, a most terrible thing happened in Etheria. We must tell the king. I am the court mage there and this here is my friend and knight Ilyana. Will you come to the city? The Lightbringers would hunt you down, It will be safe there”, Balthazar was right of course. I had already made up my mind, but hearing him was further confirmation. “I will take flight and meet you there, is that alright?”, it felt strange, but this man had an unique aura about him. He radiated kindness. “Of course, I will keep an eye out for you. Maybe we can exchange stories and perhaps become friends”, he answered. They were already deep in the forest by then. It was surprising to see that we could still communicate so clearly. I stretched my wings, opened them wide and took flight.
I moved on ahead of Balthazar and Ilyana. Surely I would be able to reach the city before nightfall and make camp so I could rest. My magic was running short and the flow of ether was weak. As the evening began to creep and the sun set into the horizon I flew down to land. My transformation was swift. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. The forest was quiet, with only a few insects making their usual noises. I sat near a tree and leaned my back against it. Drawing on the knowledge of my spell book, I drew a number of runes in the air. The spell would warn of impending danger and would also balance the ether flow to ensure I had energy for a quick flight, if need be. With that cast my exhaustion took over and I promptly fell asleep.