They hold watch over The Beast.
It came from within The Gleam.
Can’t Last Forever
The footpath running through the western Minelands is a well-traveled walk, though the eagles cannot tell. The snow begins to pile despite the cover of the canopy; the way ahead resembles a kind of tunnel except no light lies at the end, only more snow falling in clumps and mounds as it weighs down the branches above.
At first the eagles only walked, thankful to give their frozen wings a break. As the snow accumulated past their ankles they began to hustle, moving like ground turkeys except significantly less graceful. Now, when they can no longer bend their knees, the eagles cover distance with fluttery hops, their feet only touching the ground between glides. By the time they decide to just fly it, well… if one were to walk this path meaning to track the pair eagles, they would fail spectacularly and likely be buried by the momentous snowdrifts and ultimately frozen where they fell, left to be discovered come the spring thaw.
At last they come to the final bend in the trail; the only reason they’re able to recognize it is the sudden lifting of the claustrophobic feeling inherent in traveling through a long tunnel. The walls and ceiling open to dark clouds and thick, white air. The eagles perch on a bare branch, a rare commodity during this trying storm.
The channel opens very narrow – they have to huddle close together in order to share thoughts.
‘Do you know where we are?’
‘I’m unsure,’ admits Lysandra coldly. Ever since they arrived on Monksville the pair eagles have kept strictly to The Basin with an occasional odd flap along the Northern Leg to hold palaver with the witch doctor in North Cove. On those occasions, they would gaze down the stretch of water where north expands to south, and they have seen South Cove from afar before – it’s like The Sticks in that a once thriving jungle was submerged and left to petrify – but they’ve never faced a storm like this. Perhaps they could find it if the skies were clearer, perhaps even if the snow fell reasonably, but in a snowblast like this? And they followed the giants’ footpath, they were never even aware of the footpath before today. For all the pair eagles know, they’ve made their way to the Wanaque Reservoir.
‘As am I… I suppose we wait, then,’ sends Lysander. ‘This storm can’t last forever.’
‘And neither can we,’ with a very clear sense of worry in her thoughts.
Lysander can sense his soulbride growing colder and colder by the moment. He is too. They can’t last forever in this storm, they can’t last more than a shinecycle. They won’t last until shineset at this rate, and the storm may very well pick up in intensity. It may also weaken and thin out, but to experience a miracle is one thing; to rely on one’s occurrence is very much another, and so the pair eagles begin to look for a way out.
Another muffled squall booms through the blizzard, this time coming from the southwest. This time louder, this time closer.
‘Did you hear that?’ he sends, but of course she did. She’d have to be lame to have missed that, even with the deafening white shroud aloft in the air.
Lysandra turns to her soulgroom, looking excited. ‘We must take the risk, High Lysander. We must fly through the storm.’
‘But Lysandra, my love, if we falter…’
‘We musn’t. There’s nowhere else for us to go, nothing else to do. Our home has been taken from us by the very one who provided it – if we don’t cross this lake now, we may as well have stayed in The Sticks and tried to fight off those hawks. We may as well have let them vanquish us with the gulls. Those poor, defenseless gulls… we owe it to High Choridae.’
Lysander contemplates this with a heavy furrow in his frozen brow. ‘You are right, we must,’ he agrees, if not a bit reluctantly. ‘For High Choridae, we must. I shall lead the way; follow close behind, my love.’
But Lysandra’s already taken off; Lysander wallows in the channel alone. It closes as he leaps from the forest’s last bare branch and flaps wing into the blind and frozen hell falling over the Reservoir.
This has been the seventh subchapter of the third chapter of The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
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