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Authors: Jess E. Owen

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy

By the Silver Wind

BOOK: By the Silver Wind
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Copyright © 2016 by Jess E. Owen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed "Attention: Permissions Coordinator," at the address below.

Five Elements Press

Suite 305

500 Depot Street

Whitefish, MT 59937

www.fiveelementspress.com

 

 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, or incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.

 

 

Cover art by Jennifer Miller.

Cover typography and interior formatting by TERyvisions.

Edited by Joshua Essoe

Copy Editor: AnthroAquatic Literary Services

 

E-BOOK EDITION
ISBN-13:978-0-9967676-1-3

 

S
HE HAD ONCE BEEN AS
beautiful as the mountains. Her eyes once fierce as stars, her claws like shards of shell, her hide as strong as stone. Like a new mountain having just broken from the flat of the earth, she had been rugged, sharp, and mighty.

Now, like the oldest mountains, she had worn down. Her hide was dull, and scored by the little talons of the unworthy. Her eyes dimmed, weaker and weaker in the dark and in the rain, and from a great distance, things were never what they seemed to be.

The cords of muscle between her wings ached from the assault of the unworthy’s attack. Her claws flexed. Those blasphemous progeny of Tyr and Tor. How they nettled her, and strutted, and babbled, and shrieked, while she and her family—graceful, powerful, as ancient and pure as the stones and the sea—floundered in Nameless servitude.

Her wounds had scarred, but they burned. They burned, because she had fled with her sons and her mates, and her daughters. She had fled, and her wounds festered with malice.

The great wyrm shifted, edging deeper into the murky den that they all called home when the sun was high. Her family coiled around her protectively as they slumbered, sprawling across the rough, digging rocks.

She remembered a nest of firm, warm gold, lined with sweet-smelling waves of raw silver, and tumbling gems that massaged her hard hide. The bright ones had come and envied her gold, and offered a trade. But that was so long ago, and in another place.

She remembered the rich, heady scent of fallow earth and tender spring grass, green as a new hatchling before its hide hardened and turned dull. She remembered being that young.

A low, experimental rumble rolled from her chest.

Rhydda.

Rhydda.

She couldn’t form the noise as he had. Her jaws were too primitive, wide and limited in shape, her tongue too scaled and thick. The low, steady growl began to disturb her family, and they grumbled in complaint. Outside, the pale light of afternoon deepened to gold, then orange, and finally red through the haze. Sunset.

Rhydda. Are you she?

Over and over she turned the word, his voice, his voice. It was not like the rest of the unworthy, for he changed his tone again and again to speak to her, until she realized he was speaking after all, not just squeaking at her. Like a quick, cool, spring wind, his voice soothed the malice in her muscles, cooled the burning in her wounds. It had been a trick, though, a trick while he gathered his fire, and attacked.

She should have known.

Rhydda. Did you fly to the Sunland?

The Sunland.

The sun.

Did you fly under the sun?

She closed her eyes. Stretched a hind leg. There was no hurry. She mulled over his voice and why it no longer irritated her into blind anger.

Did you fly in the sun? Is that your home?

Home. It was not this place, though she had been here a long time. Enough to hatch two broods.

Is that your home?

Waves of chilly gray ocean and the boggy scent of wet peat and crawling vetch seemed to fill her senses with each breath. He flew with her, the little slip of wind and his silver voice, in her dreams now. Every night since the fires defeated them, she had flown, in her dreams, to the green land. And he had been there. Then he showed her another place. Another place like hers, but less green. Six islands in an icy sea, mountains, woods, a rich and wild place. His home.

She opened an eye to check the sunmark, then closed it again. Red light touched the entrance of the dark cave. They would wait until night to hunt, for they were never to go out in the day.

You are not worthy of Tyr’s light. Your kind is bred for the night, for the dark. You must always remain in the dark until you are enlightened, as we are.

It had been so long ago. She could not remember how they learned their proper place, if it wasn’t the bright voice of Tyr himself, or thundering Tor, or the terrifying, stark voice of Midragur, the First.

Rhydda. Rhydda.

He was trying to find her. To give her another dream.

Did you once fly under the sun?

She thought of nothing. She thought of blood and stone, until his voice slipped away.

A long time ago, she dreamed she had flown over the largest water, flown to the masters, the bright ones, so that they might return and bring gems and give names to her new brood. But then . . .

But then . . .

One of her sons shifted and she stretched her wing to cover him.

Rhydda. Are you Rhydda? Did you fly under the sun?

In her dream, the sky welled around her, blue-bird bright, and the ocean rolled cobalt under her wings, dazzling her eyes with a wash of sparkles like diamonds blazing under the sun.

The sun?

He’d found her. He glided beside her, and with her, beheld the vision.

The sun!
His voice, surprised, knowing, exhilarated, gusted around her and under her wings, lifting her high like a sudden, hot wind.
Don’t you see? You once flew under the sun!

BOOK: By the Silver Wind
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