“The light of the flames serves us well.”, said elder Yelene. “They keep the miasma at bay, while we continue to live our lives in this tainted world. In our struggle to survive, we are constantly reminded of what was lost. In today’s lesson I will recount the old story so that it is forever etched into your minds. One day you will tell this to your own hatchlings.”
“Elder Yelene, we heard the story last year. Why repeat it?”, Kivis, a young crowmaran asked, curious.
“As I said, it is so you do not forget. The day we forget where we came from is the day that world will be completely lost.”
“Then please proceed, apologies for my interruption.”
The elder nodded and continued, “We owe the great lost lands of Ilneas, our original birthplace, a great gratitude. The older generations remember the lush green forests and beautiful blue skies. Those lands provided freedom, nourishment and the chance for the companionship of the other races. Thankfully the crowmaran survived the great catastrophe. It was a slow but steady decline. Very few could predict that the miasma would become the downfall of Ilneas. This horrible calamity was like a beast that hungered for everything it could grasp. As you well know, the purpur fog of death, the miasma, holds no mercy for us. Little by little the forests were lost. The skies became poisonous. We braced for what would be the end of our world, until the great flame was found. A group composed of a crowmaran, a human and a minos searched day and night to find it. The great temple of the guardian flame was discovered by these brave heroes. The miasma cowered away from the temple and the flame itself. Our greatest scholars learned that the flame could be carried by specially built lanterns. This allowed us settlements in what little remained of the floating mountains. Sadly the flame was worn thin. The temple eventually succumbed to the miasma when the last bit was taken. The great heroes fell with it. It was their final attempt at restoring the flame somehow. Without the flame at the temple the miasma grew to spread all across Ilneas and beyond. Today, few have the courage to venture forth and risk what little of the flame they possess. There is one hope remaining to save our world. If we ever find the temple of the flame again, and light the great chalice, its light might guide us to vanquishing the miasma.” Elder Yelene concluded the story. “Any questions?”
“Can we do it? Can we find the temple?”, asked Kivis.
“We can only hope. It is why the crowmaran continue to search. With some tinkering we discovered better ways to increase our limited supply of the guardian flames. Yet, we must still be very careful. We dare not spread our own flames too thin.”
“Why did the temple not guide us before?”, this time it was Alliria who asked. One of the older crows in the group.
“No one is certain, but some time after the flame at the temple was extinguished a traveler claimed he got a glimpse of the temple and that there was something new. Something different. His recount pointed to a set of mirrors that could spread the light of the guardian flame.”
“Did those mirrors appear now?”
“We can only speculate that they were always there, but covered in vegetation. The miasma, ever consuming, must have revealed them by chance.”
“Elder Yelene? Can we go now? It’s almost dinnetime.”, little Baybill asked. He is one of the younger hatchlings.
“Yes, yes. I will not keep you further.”
As the others left, Kivis stayed behind.
“You are thinking of leaving, am I right?”
“Yes elder. I cannot in good conscience ignore the story anymore. Every year we hold on to the hope that one of the expeditionaries will find the temple again.”
“Remember to tell your mother that you are leaving. Many have ignored my advice, but instead of flying off into the unknown, perhaps it would be best to keep those claws to the ground.”
“Isn’t that counterproductive? We want to find the temple as soon as possible.”
“Correct, finding it is imperative. Flying off into the miasma, hoping to follow its currents, will lead you nowhere. The expeditionaries have all ignored my warnings. Many of them returned completely exhausted and with not a clue of the temple’s whereabouts. Please, you are one of my dear students. Will you heed my words?”
“Where should I go then?”
“Us crow people once had a beautiful city in these lands. The floating rocks of Kervel have been our home for many ages. After the miasma passed they say these stones, or rather mountains, drifted slightly apart, but remain close enough. If you find a way to traverse them, then perhaps you can find something in the abandoned city that can help.”
“Do you know of anything specific?”
“Many magical artifacts were hidden in the city. I have no doubt that some may yet remain.”
“Elder Yelene! Cease this nonsense!”, Elder Xorilis abruptly interrupted Elder Yelene.
“Goodness, Elder Xorilis, why do you deny my teachings?”
“Because it will end up killing him. He must fly if wishes to search for the temple!”
“With respect Elder Xorilis but I will do as I please. Everyone before me has done the same and the results speak for themselves.”, Kivis said.
“Pah! Then go on! I will not see you off.”, Elder Xorilis left, rather angry, at Kivis’ defiance.
“Pay him no mind. I will see you off when the time comes.”, said Yelene.
“Thank you. I’ll head home now. Mother will not like it, but I feel this adventure calling to me.”
“Go then my dear.”
Kivis left. Elder Yelene was rather proud to have moved the strong hearted crowmaran to action. In all her years of teaching the old story of their world, very few actually had the courage to do so. Much less to defy the wishes of the other elders. They always preached that flight, as their gift from nature, should be the method of translation in the search for the temple of the guardian flame. Anything else would be insulting, or so they said. As was their tradition, the other elders ignored Yelene’s advice. She was aware that to find the temple it would require more than just flying around the world. Too many of the expeditionaries that left, never returned. Elder Yelene always knew that the secrets held in Ilneas would help the expeditionaries. It is her hope that Kivis will be able to discover something new that will alter the fate of the world.