Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cannot Tame the Wind, Chapter 4

Acanthio was probably in the worse of the two positions as they flew towards land. While Eletheria got to look at what they were heading towards, he was faced towards the floating debris they decided to avoid. Occasionally there would be a hand waving from the water and he had to stop himself from suggesting they turn around. At least it looked like a hand, it could be a wave moving some wood around. When they were closer he couldn’t tell or see any identifying marks on what was floating. 

The flying was more like falling in little bursts. Ele would lift them up then lower them. With his extra weight on one side it pulled them a little forward. If she lifted them up higher it gave them more time to drift downwards and a little more momentum was built up. They had started with something much faster but the act of turning was even more difficult. Also Ele had expressed some concerns so they were reduced to little hops. Probably for the best, he had already filled today’s quota for falling from the sky.

It took them an hour to travel to the coastline. Over the course of last half hour Ele wasn’t lifting them as high as they were earlier. Thio could also feel her sweating even though the day was cool. It was becoming obvious to him that she was hitting the limits of her ability. At the end of the hour they were only a little above the sea after they descended. While they were near land it was still a little ways out when they dropped back into the water. The water felt cold, and Thio shivered a little until his body got used to it again.

“I’m sorry I just cannot,” Ele said after she had deposited them into the sea. 

“We are close enough to swim,” Thio replied while disengaging his arms from the pack straps. His left arm had gone numb a while ago but he was still able to hold on with it. Mostly due to the way he looped the straps of the pack around his arms so his grip could loosen while they flew without him falling. Slowly regaining feeling in his arm he held onto the pack with one hand while trying to paddle to the shore.

Though Ele wasn’t providing much in the manner of propulsion Thio didn’t say anything. It seemed as if she was having difficulty even holding on and keeping herself afloat. Since he had spent the last hour just hanging his arms were tired but the rest of him felt full of energy. The possible threat of some surviving sailors being in the water gave him a little extra incentive to keep moving. Soon he felt sand under his feet when they got to the shore. A little further and the water was only unto Thio’s waist. Ele didn’t seem conscious of the fact they could stand. Thio started to walk through the water dragging the pack behind him and Ele still hanging onto it.

“Windmistress, we are on land,” Thio said to break Ele from her rumination. She looked up at him and blinked several times before standing in the water. The waves gently lapping at their waist as both of them paused for a moment looking at each other. It took a minute before Ele finally responded breaking the silence.

“We should move away from the sea,” Ele said and then she turned and looked out into the sea. Her face was etched with worry as she looked back at Thio. 

“I agree, Windmistress” Thio responded and picked up the pack. Then started heading further inland towards the trees that stood a little ways off from the beach. Along the way, Thio picked up a few sticks that looked to be dry. Once they were in the trees the breeze disappeared along with his hopes of getting dry soon. Thio paused for a moment and looked at the semi-dry twigs in his hands. Perhaps a small fire, he thought, just something to dry them out. Ele walked up to his side and looked at him.

“A fire to dry us out?” Ele asked in a questioning tone as she looked at Thio and his handful of twigs.

“Perhaps a small fire for us to dry with then we move deeper in to find a place to camp.” Thio replied, now he wondered how would they start the fire as he didn’t have any string nor flint and steel. When he looked up and saw a little bit of hope on Ele’s face he decided to not say anything about their lack of ability to start the fire. It would give him time to think about their options and no need for both of them to be disappointed for the time being.

To distract himself, Thio worked out their general position. Their ship had left port in Ascalon the morning before. From there they were heading southwest before they got attacked this afternoon. If they followed the coastline they should be able to work their way back to Ascalon without issue. He thought about what he knew of the area. This was his first trip outside the Kingdom of Eboracum, which was far to the south. The Vol Mortem was on a scouting mission so if they survived the attack they would return to Ascalon in a day or two. While he wasn’t important enough to warrant a search party, Thio did not know if Eletheria was. Eletheria wasn’t that powerful in quan as she tired out after perhaps a hour of powering the glider. Admittedly, Thio didn’t know exactly how much energy powering a glider took compared to powering an airship, but he guessed it couldn’t be as much. 

Thio hasn’t been among the G’Aeris long enough to know if asking about how much quan one could use was insulting. On the other hand, if Eletheria was of noble blood she could be little in power of the quan but important socially. He glanced briefly at Eletheria while running through the possibilities in his head. If she was important but lacked power they might search. If she was powerful and important they would definitely search. How long would it take for them to search for her? Would she be considered lost at sea? The odds of them searching and the odds of them finding them before someone else did seemed low. When he came to that conclusion he realized that was where he had started, it was just he had to argue himself out of the easy path of staying here.

“If we follow the coastline northward it should take us back to port,” Thio said aloud as he realized he had stopped walking and Ele was looking at him oddly. 

“What about the Vol Mortem?” Ele asked, looking back out towards the sea where they came in from. 

“If they survived, they should end up back in Ascalon as well. The journey was supposed to be a scouting mission,” Thio replied, trying to sound as confident as he could. “The airship probably covers 24 maybe 25 leagues in a day. We are perhaps a week’s walk from home. Shorter if we can find a village and bargain for transport.” He glanced at the broken pack on the ground between them. When he looked back up towards Ele he realized she had cause his linger glance to the pack.

“It will not work. Without wings to help stabilize and my…” Ele started to inform.

“I wasn’t thinking about flying, I was wondering if it could be used to provide heat.” Thio interrupted her then looked back down at the pack.

“I’m not sure, I know quan can heat up things if enough is ran through it.”

“You try with a coil of wire and I will try the old-fashioned method. One way or another, we will have fire,” Thio said and went about looking for some sticks to rub together. While they were near the sea most of the area they were in was dry and there was plenty of dry sticks around. When he was done gathering wood he headed back to Ele. When he wandered to get wood he never let her out of his sight. She didn’t seem too surprised when he returned so he thought she had done the same. 

Back at the camp Ele was already working on something to try and start a fire. She took some copper wire and removed it from the metal rods in the pack. Then wrapped it around a small stick and some bark she had found. Sitting cross-legged on the ground and the little bundle in front of her she held an end of the copper wire in each hand. After some staring at the bundle, Thio could see sweat bead upon her forehead. 

Seeking to not interrupt her concentration Thio sat down across from her with his bundle of wood. He pulled out a small knife he kept in his boot and started shaving some sticks. Soon a pile of wooden strips lay in front of him. Since he didn’t have any string he took a stick the length and thickness of his arm, then smoothed it with his knife. Thinking he needed a place for the fire he used his knife and boots to dig a hole to put the fire in when they get it started. Once it was as smooth as it would get he then pulled over a thick piece of back that he had found. A moment later he was rubbing the stick between both hands to make it spin while it was applying pressure against the bark. 

Some time passed as Thio was focused on trying to get a spark or an ember from his stick and bark. When he paused to stretch and look up he realized that Ele had ceased her attempts and was now looking at him. Thio looked at the copper wire she held in her hands. Then pondered his lack of string.

“How strong is the wire?” Thio asked considering if it would work for a bow.

“It is not that strong and heat will break it easily.” Ele replied. Thio could see hope leaving her as her shoulders hunched a little more and her cheeks lowered. 

“Need something to make a bow with, it will make this much easier.” Thio said while looking around at the trees around them. There wasn’t any vines and he doubted they would have the strength to hold up for this. A glance towards the direction of the sea was definitely a no also. Sadly his pants fit him and he had ceased wearing a rope belt to hold them up.

“Here.” Ele interrupted his chain of thought and held the pack towards him. While there wasn’t any rope or string the leather straps that secured the pack upon the pack of a person were perfect. The leather would hold up to the stress of the bow and grip the stick to ensure it moved. 

“This might work,” Thio said as he took the pack and pulled his knife out to cut one of the straps. While he cut the strap Ele was already looking for a branch or something to make the bow out of. 

They had a fire going soon. The warmth it provided quickly dried their clothes and gave them an immense amount of comfort. As much as they wanted to make it bigger, they kept it small and shielded by putting it in a small hole. Though the idea was initially to use the fire to dry them before they made camp further in, that idea disappeared once they warmed up and realized they didn’t have an easy way to move the fire. Thio hoped they were far enough behind the tree line that they would be safe. Once night fell, Thio placed a big log over it to provide some fuel during the night while they both slept. They were both so tired and worn-out setting a watch was out of the question. If they survived the night then tomorrow they will start heading home. Thio briefly prayed to every god he could think of and drifted off to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment