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An Ending and a Beginning Part Two

I was planning on posting this last week and well, yeah...you see how that went.  Anyway, hope you all enjoy the continuation!

Ever since dinner had begun, Tahlama had been in quiet musing about the next day.  When Garharath had suggested to her a month ago that Aridrim come with them on this diplomatic mission to a human town at the base of the mountain range, she had her concerns, but at the time it sounded like a good idea.  Of course, now that the time was upon them, she was starting to have second thoughts.  “I’ve been thinking grandfather.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a good idea to bring Aridrim with us to see the humans.”  

Her husband and grandfather stopped their debate at this and looked at her.  “Do you think he is not ready yet, my child?” Baelik asked, holding up his hand to prevent Garharath from objecting just yet…not until he had heard his granddaughter’s concerns.


“This may be a diplomatic and trading mission, but humans really should not be trusted,” Tahlama stated, trying not to pay attention to the disapproval in Garharath’s eyes at this comment.  Her husband was charismatic, intelligent, and wise, which is why Winged Father Aquilan Greatspan had selected him to go on this mission, but he, in her opinion, was too trusting of humans.  But then, that is why Greatspan was having her go with him.  To temper his friendliness with a dose of good old fashion suspicion and this suspicion was lifted to the level of almost paranoia thanks to Aridrim’s presence.   “The moment they see his lovely black and silver wings, they’ll be thinking spell components.  Or worse…a trophy…or even a high priced prize for a slaver.  I could not stand the thought of anything happening to my only child.”


            Garharath walked over to his mate and stooped beside where she was, his voice soft and logical as he rested his hand on top of his mate’s and locked his emerald eyes to her amethyst ones.  “Tahlama, Aridrim can’t stay sheltered within the aerie forever.  None of us can allow our children to remain cloistered behind these glassteel walls anymore.  The time for our people to be hiding away must come to an end and the only way that will happen is if we and our young venture forth into the world, not just the mountain.  It’s time for Aridrim to see the world below with his own eyes and learn from experience, not from books, stories or from what little he sees in the patrols and hunting expeditions just outside the aerie.  Or even from us.  It is time that he earned his own experiences.”


“But…but what if something happens to him?” she desperately questioned, showing that despite her fierce look and toughness, she was still a loving mother.


“Then we will be right there to help him.  It is not as though he will be out there all alone.  You and I will be there.  To guide and caution him…and if need be, to help him get out of a bad scrape.  Believe me, dearest one to my heart, this is needed.”


            Tahlama looked to her grandfather, hoping for support, but for once he was agreeing with her husband.  “Aridrim can’t be sheltered forever, my child.  He has learned all he can within these walls; it’s time for him to learn about what is beyond them by experiencing it.  Besides, I’m sure that the humans will be the least of your worries.  I’ve heard rumors from the giant eagles that a dragon has started to patrol the mountains around the village you are heading to,” Baelik stated, his voice deadly serious.  He held up his hand to stop any protest that Tahlama was able to give now that dragons had entered the equation.  “They are only rumors.  No one has been able to get a clear spot on this so called dragon.  So, I see no point in preventing Aridrim from going.  Beside, Tahlama my child, think about how heartbroken Aridrim would be if you left him behind after promising that he could go for so long.” 


That got Tahlama to go silent.  If there was one thing she could not stand to see, it was disappointment in her precious son’s eyes.  She closed her eyes before looking away from both males.  “You’re right, I guess.  But…I’m still his mother.  I can fret about him all I want.  Right?”


Garharath stood up with a small smile at this statement.  He moved behind her to hold her gently to his chest and rest his head against hers, his long black hair gently tickling her ears and mingling with her short silver-white hair.  His obsidian black wings came forward to tenderly rest themselves against her silver-white ones.  “We would never dream of denying you that, love,” he assured her lovingly.  “I promise you, all will be fine.”


            Baelik watched the two younger avariels for a moment longer before he stood up.  “Well, you two have an early start tomorrow.  I will leave you to your rest,” he stated and gestured for the two of them not to get up to walk him out.  He strode over to the door.  “I will see you off with the rest of the family tomorrow.  Until then, sweet dreams,” he wished before leaving his granddaughter’s family to their rest.


            The next day Aridrim was up before everyone else.  He was all aflutter with excitement and energy that he simply could not be contained.  His mother couldn’t help but smile when she came into the living/dining chamber and saw that her son had not only already prepared breakfast but also had everyone’s packs sitting by the door just waiting for them to begin their journey.  Yes, he would have been completely heartbroken and confused if she told him he could not come.  She was certain now that she would have caused him to think she felt he was a burden if she had done that.  And if there was one thing Aridrim was not…it was a burden. 


            Once breakfast was complete and they were ready, they first went to meet with the craftsmen of the aerie and fill their bag of holding with stuff for trade with the humans.  That done, they headed for the clearing where the main entrance and exit to the aerie was.  There Aridrim couldn’t help but smile as he saw that his entire family had gathered to see them off.  His mother’s brother and his mate, his father’s brother and his mate, all four cousins, both sets of grandparents, and Great Grandfather Baelik were all there.


Grandfather Korel stepped forward to say a blessing and to lead a prayer for their protection.  “May the Winged Mother, Aerdrie Faenya, protect and guide you in your journey.  Ascend, soar, glide, dive, and ascend again and relish in the freedom that the Winged Mother bequeaths.” he declared as he rested his hands on each of them, blessing them as he went.  


After he was done, Grandfather Theratri stepped forward after a gesture from Great Grandfather Baelik.  His mother’s father smiled at him before holding out something wrapped in cloth to him.  “To aid you in this task, young Aridrim.  Use it well and with honor.”  Aridrim smiled as he took the item and untangled it from the cloth.  His eyes lit up when he saw that it was a rapier, his very own rapier.  However, his breath was taken away when he unsheathed the weapon and saw that it was made of glassteel.  The material may have been more common for avariels than it was in most other races, but it was still difficult to make and therefore a very precious material.  He looked up at his grandparents from his mother’s side to find her entire half of the family smiling amusedly at him.  His wings fluttered happily before he quickly removed the rapier he had gotten from the armory along with his heavy crossbow.  He asked one of his cousins to do him the favor of putting the old weapon back where it belonged before strapping the gift to his hip and beaming proudly at his family. 


“It will help you to protect your parents as they in turn protect you.  Remember that they are counting on you as much as you are on them, young one,” Great Grandfather Baelik stated with an affectionate smile as he looked at the three travelers.  “Go carefully, all of you.” 


“You better come back, you brat!”  Aridrim heard from behind him.  As he turned, he was rather surprised to see Nulanna holding back tears.  “You….you’d better not have so much fun out there that you don’t want to come back!  I still owe you for last night!” she sniffled as she tried to sound tough and hide the emotions that wanted to swallow her. 


            He smiled before hugging his beloved cousin and babysitter.  “I will.  Just so I can harass you again!  You better start practicing so you can actually win a few rounds next time!” he teased, getting her to laugh tearfully. 


Finally, with the goodbye’s concluded, he and his parents turned and took to the air.  They flew higher and higher before they finally reached the skylight-like exit of the Aerie of the Snow Eagles.  As soon as he and his parents flew beyond the exit, he braced himself as an icy wind blasted itself against him.  He wobbled slightly at the sudden wind change before steadying himself and turning to look once more at his home, a jungle paradise encased in glassteel and surrounded by arctic snow.  He made one final wave to his family before turning and quickly moving to catch up with his parents.


Once he caught up with his parents he took note of the direction they were flying and became puzzled.  They were not descending towards the base of the mountain.  Instead, he and his parents were staying at their high elevation and seemingly following along the peaks of the mountain range.  He quickly caught up to his father, who was flying a bit behind his mother, allowing her to take point.  He made sure to keep his distance to keep their wings from interfering with each others flight.  “Father…why are we not going down the mountain?  The town we need to go to is below the mountain, right?” he questioned, his curiosity evident in his voice. 


Garharath smiled at his son.  “Yes, you are right.  The town is below A mountain.  But, not the one that the aerie sits on.  They are at the far end of the mountain range and it will take at least a day and a half of flight to get there.  Especially because we have to go past it and then descend before doubling back to it,” he explained.


Aridrim’s eyes became befuddled.  Did his father say… “Double back?  We have to go past the town?  Why?  I’m sure it’s much simpler to go straight to it.  Why such a round about path?”


“Security,” his mother stated from ahead of them before his father could say anything.  “None of the land-bound people know where the Aerie of the Snow Eagles can be found.  Not even our land and sea-bound cousins.  They know it’s in a remote location, but that is about it.  And considering how easily races like the humans can be manipulated, we want to keep it that way for now.  The last thing we need is some flightless dodo flapping his lips to some evil being.  Perhaps, one day we will feel comfortable enough in the Realms to allow others to know our homeland’s location.  But for now, the exact location of the aerie is the most important secret you will ever know, Aridrim.  Guard it with your life.”


            Aridrim nodded obediently at this.  He was about to let it go, when a thought occurred to him.  “What happens if at some point in my future, I run across some of The Lost?”


            Tahlama looked back at Aridrim at the question before looking to Garharath.  Garharath smiled.  He could tell that his wife knew it was a valid question, but the chances of running into some of their long lost avariel brethren by happenstance were so slim that she wasn’t sure of how to answer their inquisitive son.  “I would travel with them for a while.  Make certain that they hadn’t fallen under the sway of dark powers in their surely desperate attempt to survive on their own.  As hard as it is to believe, but sometimes…elves, even our breed of elf, can fall from the purer path.  Once I was confident that I could trust them, then and only then, would I lead them to the aerie.  After all, I know all of us would be elated to have some of The Lost return home,” Aridrim’s father answered as he smiled at his son. 


Aridrim nodded slowly at this answer as he absorbed it.  “Things sure are more complicated out here than they are at home,” he thought to himself as he looked at the clouds floating below them.  He shook his head suddenly to clear his mind.  “Listen to me.  I’m not twenty minutes away from home and I’m already starting to have second thoughts about leaving.”  He looked at both of his parents, who had taken his silence to mean that they could focus more on their surrounding and were looking for potential dangers.  “If I go back now, I’m sure they will be disappointed with me.  Not to mention that I’ll be teased to no end by my cousins.”  His expression became determined.  “I CAN do this.  I WILL do this.  This will be fun and think of all that I will learn!  I just need to stop being such a worrier!  Mother and Father are with me.  And we have the Winged Mother’s blessing.  With Her by our side, all will be fine.” 


They flew for the better part of the day before Tahlama decided it was time to stop and make camp.  They found a decent mountain side camping spot and began to settle in for the night.  Despite the cold mountain air, Aridrim couldn’t have been happier as he watched the sun disappear beneath the clouds.  This would be his first night away from the aerie and he intended to take in every moment of it, engrave the memory into his mind so it would be there forever.  Little did he know that this would be a night that he would never forget, but would spend the rest of his life wishing that he could.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2008 09:08 am (UTC)
YAY!!! Its caught up to where I am. Or at least very very close. ^_^ I like the thoughts and everything. But, then I had clues beforehand. So... Uhh that's about it.
Feb. 25th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thanks! Glad you like it! Hope to post some more soon. THAT will definitely be something that you haven't read! I don't even have a print out of it. Because I keep going and changing stuff.
Feb. 26th, 2008 09:00 am (UTC)
YAY!!! NEW STUFF AND HAIL CAPTAIN VEGETA!!! Or something. I plan and prepare to see it. ANd yeah prepare to be depressed and uhh rascalism.
Feb. 27th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)



Feb. 25th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
Yay! I finally got a chance to read! I really like the flow...and everything was so sweet and tender it was almost too much. But a good balance for what's coming I'm sure. I'll brace myself to become depressed when you post the next part.
Feb. 27th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you Prez! I alway appreciate hearing what you think. Glad that it wasn't TOO sweet. I was actually worrying about that. As for how much you'll have to brace yourselves...you will have to be the judge of it once it is up!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )