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October 3, 2013
Faint but Clear
Journeys have a way of making one recall home...
It was bitter cold here in the south. The waters were rough and the seas were hungry for new souls to feed it.
Melasa stood at the bow of the ship as the wind smacked her scarlet cloak. She had forgotten just how cold this arctic weather was. Her hands held her cloak to her tightly as she looked on ahead. They should reach it by tomorrow.
Tiros had been distressed at first. After spending nearly a year helping pacify and then clean up the Iseran Rebellion, as it was called, it turned out that Huam and a part of the Water Tribe split off and journeyed south. Their trek led them to the opposite end of the earth, the South Pole.
The newly born Southern Water Tribe grew quickly as a large community of independent minded people worked together to make a new life away from the dogmatic view of the North. Huam had sent letters informing them of the divide and that his offer to teach Tiros and Melasa were still on the table.
They were now on a ship just a day away from reaching their journey. Tiros would continue his training again while Melasa would learn from a true swordmaster who had apprenticed under her father.
Wood creaked behind her as a figure approached. She didn't bother to turn around as she already knew it was him. His scent was his alone and his emotions spoke to her senses. He hugged her from behind, "Aren't you cold out here in this wind?"
"A little. I was worried for you, you don't handle the cold too well, fire boy."
He chuckled at that, "Its true, I did hate the North Pole and its freezing cold, but I recall it was you who was freezing once."
"I was caught off guard by the weather."
"Sure you were. Let's get back inside before this wind freezes you again."
"Very well," Melasa still held her very formal and regal manner. Tiros wasn't sure whether her years or solitude or time with her father gave her that attitude but only laughed at it now.
Tiros looked out over the see again as the bright moon heralded their path. The hard wind bit at his skin as he entered the ship again and closed the door.
A New Tribe"This is truly impressive, Huam. Or should I say Chief Huam?" The Avatar chuckled lightly.
"Ha ha, Huam is fine. We have been working hard for the last eight months to make a new life here. It was hard at first. As you can imagine, uprooting entire families and breaking off from the ones we know and love was difficult enough. But making a new life, a new home?"
He sighed as he looked at the growing city of ice, "It was hard on these people at first, but they learned to endure the hardship and strive. This was just several igloos when we started and now we have ourselves a small city."
"Will there be any retaliation from the North Pole?"
"No, I don't think we will face backlash from the Northern Water Tribe."
Melasa finally spoke, "How can you be sure?"
"Iruk and the others may be gravely insulted by my actions and those of us who have broken from their shackles, but they also fear me. Iruk knows that his teachings to me aren't the only skill and powers I have. And all my students followed me. They have no one who truly understands your father's swordsmanship left."
"If they retaliate against us, it will be after my death. When they think that we are no longer strong, that is when they will strike." Standing on a parapet of ice, Huam looked out into the great land of ice and snow that had become their new home.
Tiros responded with reassuring words, "Regardless, you and the Southern Water Tribe have the Avatar's support."
"And mine as well," Melasa spoke with the certainty of a vow.
Huam smiled as he looked at the two that he could both call students and friends, "Thank you, both of you. We may one day need it."
The dusk of the Southern Lights was a most beautiful thing. It had been a long time since she had seen something beautiful when it came to Spirits. It was nearly a year ago to this day when the two fought against a malevolent Spirit in its own realm. So dark and violent, its shadow cast over the beauty of the forest and even the Spirit World.
The wind was not so harsh this late day. Its cool air was refreshing as the salt touched her tongue. Even in a cold and desolate world as this, there was life. Life changed and moved on. Things died and were replaced.
It was hard for her to accept this at first, because she always pinned it to her own kind. They were eradicated. But even their blood fed this new world. The magic of an ancient era may fade away some day, but the life that came from it would not.
And she was still here. She alone had the blood of an ancient line of noble warriors. Nifrin who saved and fought and bled with humans. Her ancestor, Elasa, was a hero who forged the Storm Flower. With it, he defeated many Spirits who would have slaughtered the human race.
She could have pride that this noble blood would live on in her and those that followed her.
Hands landed on her shoulders. Her eyes opened in alarm. Who had snuck up on her? She turned to see the smiling face of the Avatar.
"Oh my, did I really catch you off guard for once?"
She chuckled as he sat down next to her. She leaned against him, "I guess I can't underestimate you anymore. Huam's lessons are sinking in too well."
"Well, he is a master after all."
"I know, my love. And it is okay because its you."
She then felt something touch her neck. It was cold, like metal. She looked down to see a chain necklace. It was silver-ish, but its center is what surprised her. It was a ruby, glowing in the fading light of dusk, it seemed alight with fire.
Her eyes then realized what was so special about this ruby. The memory from a year ago raced to her mind. She had just been bound to Tiros when she was walking through a market and eyed the ruby amongst some simple jewelry. It was likely the most valuable thing the owner had. Warding her off, the owner responded quickly by addressing her stare.
Did Tiros have it all this time? He then spoke softly, "I don't know why you ran away from the poor old lady, she thought it would look great with your red hair, but I noticed your gaze for it."
He waited for a response when he saw tears form in her eyes, "What's wrong?"
"This is the first gift I have ever been given from someone beside my father since I lived in my village." The tears streamed down quietly as she held back crying harder, "I never thought I would be given something, especially something from memory."
She hugged him tight as her tears melted into his thick coat. He let her sit there, smiling sadly. She had been through so much. To be so alone, she cherished everything now. He held her tight, "Don't worry, I won't let you go."
Melasa stood over the great tower of ice as bright daylight warmed her very being. It was a good day to be alive. She was happy.
Melasa couldn't remember a time that she was this happy in her life. She must have been happy once as a child, but those memories were scarred by betrayal. She grateful for her father, but was also saddened greatly that she had him for so short a time.
But this was a memory she would cherish. The mistakes she had made had led to a fortunate end as she found love in the most unexpected force, her enemy. Her red hair cascaded around her as the scent of the one she loved reached her.
Tiros stood beside her, "I always wondered what your people were like?"
"I have never really read anything about them or their culture. Their ways of life and what they did. The histories only speak of their genocide." Tiros' look was far away as he continued, "What I know of your language is not enough to tell me what the people were like. Even the war isn't justified, it doesn't explain much. The most used is when Avatar Akira was killed by a witch named Lenet, but that was after the genocide started. So what was this whole different world like. How did it fit in with ours? What was this whole earth like when they lived here?"
"I don't know. My father was the last Nifrin and he had been shaped by the genocide. I will never know what my people were like. I won't know what could have become of my kind. Were they kind, did they value each other? Were they treated better as children than I was? I only know the human world. I will never know the ways of the Nifrin or what they could be."
"You can choose that for yourself. Melasa, the legacy of the Nifrin is in your hands. Arshun lun rotak, Melasa."
A wave of emotion and change hit the unsuspecting witch. Did he really say it? He had released her from the spell that bounded her to him. How did he figure it out? She couldn't very well tell him the counter-spell, but he had asked to learn the language. She should have been relieved to no longer be held under that kind of power, but-
Was he tired of her? Those words also could mean throwing someone away. Was he discarding her? Did he not care anymore? The impact of that possibility weighed down on her.
No, she thought to herself, it couldn't be that. He had already risked so much for her and she for him. He wouldn't abandon her like the others did, like everyone else. No, she couldn't be alone again. She couldn't take it.
As if to halt her descent into madness, she was held tightly in the embrace of the Avatar. "Do you know why I said those words? I said them because because I don't want you here against your will. I want you to be with me because you want to be!"
He continued in a strong and determined voice, "Melasa, I love you. I couldn't stand to force you to be by my side if that is against your will. Please be with me because you want to be."
Tears rolled down her eyes, she had been having that a lot lately, "Oh, Tiros." She returned his embrace. It wasn't about discarding her, it was about truly being with her.
"Please, Tiros," she spoke softly as they held each other, "be with me forever."
- This takes place a little under a year after the final chapter of book 1.
- Huam is the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe, and was elected so by his fellow Tribe members.
- Huam cites Melas as the source of his independent thinking. As the key figure in the creation of the Southern Water Tribe, one could say Melas was an important indirect factor on Huam in the split of the Water Tribe.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Storms of the Future Cycle
|The Journey of Tala|
|Book 1 - Sand and Steel|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 2 - Blood and Swamps|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 3 - Pyres and Storms|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Fates and Vows|
|- - - - - - Ilera - Solace Fade - Scions - Sovereign|
|The Rise of Lirin|
|- In the Morrow - The White Dragon - Faith in Blood - The Great Gates - Lord Avatar - A Red Sun - Faceless - Faction - Tempest - Rally of Crows - Rally of Eagles - Dragons and Serpents - Kings and Men - Storms of a Spirit - Princes - A Battered Land - Seas of Ichor - Arbiter - Return to a Grave - Declination - Disaffection - Epilogue|
|Myths of the Empire|
|Pacification - Assassins - Empire - Red Sun Under The Empire - White Snow - Heirs|
|The Reclamation of Arein|
|Book 1 - Chaos|
|Refugee - Rogue - Ghosts - Dark Roses - Doyen - Divulgence - The Plan - Abscond - Mists of Illusion - Madonna - Syndicate - Playing the Stakes - Purge - Brothers|
|Book 2 - War|
|Alliance - Temple - Tensions - The Fall - Hunters and Prey - Lussuria - Shades of Relevance - Broken Star - Defiler - Strikeforce - Secrets of the Lair - Eminence - Swarm - Wanderer|
|Dreams of Melasa|
|Book 1 - Servant|
| - - - - - - - - - - - - -
|Book 2 - Shadow World|
|Faint but Clear - Ghost in the Steel - Kurotama - Loyalties - Servants of Shadow - Game of Fate - Shadows and Reflections - Tomb of Blood - Broken Blades - Hill of Shadow - Souls and Swords - Home|