The Giving of Knowledge
Eyla stood as the base of the Death Tree. Her throat was stopped by tears she was trying to hold back and her chest felt tight. In her hand she held the jar that contained Titan’s ashes. His body was burnt two days after her return. Since she was the one that was there when Titan died she was the one to carry out the Berserker rights of the dead. She had left taking Titan’s ashes with her and went to the top of the Death tree in the House of Mourning. She had to meditate for two weeks. It was tough to fall into meditation. She knew that she had to think good thoughts for Titan’s spirit to pass on peacefully but it did not work. She only had bitterness in her heart and a sick feeling of satisfaction for what she did to that thing. ‘I’m sorry Titan,’ she thought, ‘I want you to know that I hope that you are in a good place and that you are much better off than here.’ She paused then said softly, “Oh Great one, please let this be a peaceful meditation.”
She had awakened two weeks later, in the dark of night. The moon phase showed her that she had fulfilled her task of mourning. She waited in the House of Death till the morning. Then she had climbed down to the base of the tree to bury the jar. But now she stood unable to bring herself to do it. Everything that had happened since his death came rushing back to her and she could not put the jar down. She felt as though she had failed Titan.
“If I had come out with you” she said tears falling down her cheeks, “You may still be alive. Oh Titan, I am so sorry for your death.”
She swallowed hard then moved to a spot that did not have a grave marker. There she dug a hole with her hands and placed the jar inside. She covered it over and placed the grave marker she had on the slight mound. Then something inside her broke and she turned and ran. She moved through the trees like a wraith, away from the Death Tree, from the Berserker village, away from everything. She ran and when she began to get tired she turned on her Berserker rage. She had a vague sense of daylight and then it was night again when she stopped and began to pick her way more carefully through the dark trunks. She heard the sound of water and made her way toward the sound. It was a small stream, low enough that the rocks at the bottom were sticking out. Eyla sat on the bank with her feet in the water and stared up at the sky. It wasn’t long before she noticed that the sky was beginning to grow brighter.
“It’s not dawn already,” she said to herself. Then into her view a great Eagle dropped. Eyla leapt up as the mighty beast flapped beside her. It was aglow with the white light as before, only now the light died down and the Eagle stood before her. Eyla’s eyes strayed to the talons and her felt a bit queasy as she saw how deep into the ground they had sunk. She imagined them going into her.
‘Do not be afraid,’ the Eagle spoke. Eyla’s head snapped back up. The Eagle looked at her square in the eyes.
“Did you…?” she asked.
‘Yes,’ it said. But the beak did not open; the voice was in her mind.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“There are many things that you must know,” the Eagle said, “Some of which I will tell you. Other things your guardian Soriah will tell you and the rest you must learn for yourself.”
“Soriah?” Eyla said.
“Yes,” the Eagle said, “The first thing to tell you is; my name is Skyward. And I am one of the many Eagles that were made by Retgonea, or the Great One, as you call him.”
“I do not see any of you around,” Eyla said.
“That is true. Since the Battle of Cysia, ten years ago, much of the Eagles have been slain for a fear that we might breed with a lion to make a griffin,” the Eagle replied.
“Can that happen?” Eyla asked looking quizzically at the Eagle.
“Never,” It said calmly. Skyward paused and then continued, “The second thing you need to know is that Lyficen has already massed his forces. He has sources that have told him of a Griffin sighted in the woods of Behrud. His army of Karvaahs are already on their way to wreck havoc on the land of Cysia till they find the Griffin.” Eyla whistled in astonishment. The Eagle paused again then said, “There is a place to get help called the Ecvenegen. They are a resistance group hiding in the mountain of Cronios. They are near completion but they need the Griffin of Legend if they are to stand any chance against Lyficen.”
Eyla sighed, “Do you know where the Griffin of Legend is?”
Skyward shook his head, “That is something you have to learn for yourself,” he replied, “However there is one last thing to know. You must speak to your people. Your race will have three choices, to leave Cysia before the war starts, to help Cysia against Lyficen or to side with Lyficen.”
“I am sure that they will help,” Eyla said confidently.
“Ask them first,” was Skyward’s reply. He then flapped his wings and the white light began to rise around him.
“Wait,” Eyla said, “Where you the one that saved me? How is it that I can hear you?”
Skyward lifted his head and the light became almost blinding, “It was me. And your hearing of my speech is Retgonea’s gift to you,” he said, “Be glad for it may not happen again.”
Eyla covered her eyes and when the wind of Skyward’s wings had ceased she opened them. He was gone and she felt alone and emptiness filled her in the darkness. She lay down by the bank and all that the Eagle had told ran in circles in her head. It was going to be a task to tell her people about what Sky ward had said. ‘I’ll talk to Soriah first, “she whispered to herself, her eyelids dropping, “She’ll know what to do.” The rippling of the brook began to lull her to sleep. She turned over to try to think better and fell asleep.
Eyla awoke to the singing of birds. “Great Retgonea,” she said leaping up, “It’s late. I have to get to the village as soon as possible.” As she started to run toward Livtr, she realized how her feelings had changed in that night. Before she had wanted to run as far away as possible and now she could hardly wait to get back. It was almost midday when she saw the tent tops of her village. She was almost near the tree line when a figure emerged from behind some trees. “Soriah?” Eyla said in astonishment, then in a happy voice, “I was going to come see you. You would not believe what had happened Soraih!”
Soriah looked in her direction, “Where have you been?” she asked harshly. Eyla stood stung at her words.
“I had just finished mourning Titan,” Eyla began.
“Two weeks have already passed,” Soraih said roughly, “The mourning tree is not two days away from the village, Eyla. What have you been up to?” Eyla clenched her jaw. She could feel her face contort with rage. “I was speaking with an Eagle called Skyward,” she said shortly.
Soriah looked surprised. “An Eagle!” Soraih said, “Skyward! I have heard his name. He is a great one among Eagles. Eyla what did he say?”
“I think that we had an agreement,’ Eyla said coldly, “You were supposed to tell me what you know, not the other way around. But since you are being so nice today, I call a truce. As you tell me what you know I’ll supplement it with what Skyward said.”
Soriah’s face became soft, “I was worried Eyla,” she said, her voice gentle. Eyla still felt peeved.
“I can take care of myself,” Eyla said huffily. Soriah tried to reach for her but Eyla moved out of her range. “You should get back to tent to prepare for our little talk,” she said.
Soriah pulled her hand back and shook her head. “Let us go to the cave,” she said, “We will not be disturbed there.” Eyla shrugged.
“Alright, but I am going to bathe first.” Soriah nodded and Eyla left without waiting for her. She couldn’t believe Soriah would be on her like that for just a few days delay. Soriah hadn’t even said anything after she went after the thing that killed Titan. “I killed that thing,” said Eyla to herself, “there couldn’t possibly be anything in this world that’s worst than that creature. How could Soriah be worried? I’m a Berserker Hishta! I’ll get my answers soon enough.” With that she went to the river after chatting with some of the villagers, reporting to the Berserker council and answering their questions. She bathed quickly and when she went to the tent she found Soriah already packed and waiting. She was sorry for what she had said but her pride and guilt stopped her lips. She went and packed and got out. “I already informed the Council of our trip,” Soriah said. Eyla grunted in reply. Soriah turned away from her and led the march. The stiff coldness between them was not the way Eyla wanted things to be and she knew that it just took one small act to break it. She stopped and said, “Soriah wait.”
Soriah turned, “What?” she asked.
Eyla clenched her jaw, “I’m sorry for what I said. I was…out of place.”
Soriah looked at her, “No you were not. I overreacted. But there are things that are more dangerous than that thing you killed in the forest.”
“Like what?” Eyla asked.
“At the cave, I will explain all,” Soriah replied. And Eyla had to be content with that.