Tales and Tests
They traveled quickly and reached the cave as night fell. Eyla and Soriah set about to make the cave a little move habitable for human beings. Soriah tended to the inside of the cave and Eyla was sent to get firewood and springweed to put under the covers. Eyla knew that Soriah had sent her out to cool her head. And it was working too. The cave was a natural hollow that started off small at the surface and opened up wider underground. But outside, the cave mouth was ringed with flower laden vines and one had to look very closely to see the entrance at all. It was located deep into the Giril Forest and so was surrounded with all the materials that one needed to survive; wood, food and water. After stuffing her bag full to the brim with springweed, Eyla gathered the fire wood taking her time and enjoying the night noises and smells. She felt extremely happy. At one time she knew that Berserkers lived in the forest, then they adapted to villages. She always preferred the forest; nothing judged you in it, rules were simple, and you did not have to blame yourself for your friend’s death. A pang of sadness hit her as she remembered Titan and a certain dread as the memory of the strange man that she had killed. ‘I hope that Soriah does know something about all this,’ Eyla though. A sick feeling filled her stomach. It was not like her to doubt Soriah’s knowledge, but of late things have not been normal. She picked up a last stick and headed back to the cave.
Soriah had already set up their sleeping bags. Eyla got to stuffing the bags full of springweed while Soriah got the fire going. Soon they were roasting the meat they had brought and the aroma filled the cave. Eyla tuck into her meal while Soriah ate reservedly as always.
“So,” Eyla said when they were done, “Are we going to get this little tell-all started?”
“My, haven’t you become rude over the past few days,” Soriah commented with a small amused smile on her face, “Yes, we will start the little “tell-all”. What do you want to know?” Eyla was a little taken back. There was so much that she wanted to know that she hardly knew where to start with the questions.
“Do you know anything about the thing that killed Titan?” she blurted out.
“Describe it to me,” Soriah asked. Eyla did and she titled her head then said, “I believe that is what the dryads call the Karvaahs. They were the minion forces of Lyficen, when he first arrived I have heard. They formed the bulk of his army.”
“Do they all look like that?” Eyla asked.
Soriah nodded, “Yes I believe so. They are made of the same substance.” “What substance?” Eyla asked.
“Knowledge,” Soraih replied simply, “Lyficen speaks the Language of Cirvan, but unlike Cirvan, Lyficen cannot make something out of nothing, he can only take what Cirvan has and distort it to his own ends.”
“So they were people?” Eyla asked. “Perhaps,” Soriah said.
Eyla sat feeling overwhelmed and disgusted.
“So doesn’t he have horsemen?” Eyla asked.
“I know he does, but they are very few. Only about ten of them I think,” Soriah replied.
Eyla blurted out, “What can he do with only ten horsemen? Is it that they are that powerful?”
Soriah looked away from her, “In the battle of Cysia, ten years ago. The Horsemen of Lyficen never entered battle.”
Eyla mused over that, “What about the cloud that I keep seeing. Its growing everyday,” Eyla asked.
“That my dear can only be answered by the this short tale,” Soriah said, “goes something like this,”
When the chosen and his beast come one,
And the Black, the sky shall veil,
Only blood, given in love, of the Son ,
Will bring light once again.
“What does it mean?” Eyla asked.
“I do not know,” Soriah said, “And I dare not guess at its meaning.” They were both silent for a while.
“There is one other thing that I need to ask,” Eyla said, “If the griffin of legend has been born, then he and the rider will soon be united, right? How will we know when that happens?”
Soriah shook her head, “I do not know that either. But we will get to know of it somehow. You never know maybe the winds will bring us some word.”
Eyla laughed. “I do not think that our hearing is that good,” she said. Soraih smiled, “Our hearing isn’t that good. But you forget that the winds of Cysia walk this land as we do. And if there is some great event that is to take place it is possible that they may be seen.”
Eyla sat back, “The winds are real people? I heard of that tales when we firat came here but it can’t be true.”
Soraih nodded, “Real? Yes, they are. Flesh and blood? I do not know. I have never met one but they can speak, and thus can be spoken to.”
“Like the Dryads,” Eyla said quietly. Soriah nodded. Eyla swallowed and cleared her throat, “I can’t think of anything else to ask so I will tell you what Skyward told me.”
Soriah looked at her sharply. Her look said ‘go on’, so Eyla did. “Skyward said that their kind is almost gone due to a misunderstanding that lions and eagles can make griffins.”
Soriah laughed, “How silly! They can’t!”
Eyla grinned, “I asked him just in case. He also said no. He said that Lyficen knows of the Griffin, and that it’s in Behrud. Those Karvaahs you told me about are on their way there.” Soriah face was drawn.
“On their way!” she said, “No!”
Eyla hurried on with the last bit, “He said the Ecvenegen will be able to help.” Soraih looked hard at her, “The Ecvenegen?”
“Yes,” Eyla said.
h looked to the door of the cave, “They are still together? After all this time? I wonder…..” Her face had a dreamy, thoughtful look to it.
“So when are we going to tell the Council?” Eyla asked.
“We won’t,” Soriah said getting up, “We are leaving now for Behrud.” Eyla didn’t move.
“We are going to tell them,” She said quietly, “They will help.”
Soriah lifted her head and sighed. “They won’t help Eyla. This war that is coming, it will only serve to drag the Berserkers back into a world that they don’t want. To a world of rage and destruction. They will know this the minute you tell them about what we know. And they will turn your request for help down.”
Eyla felt a creeper of doubt slither into her. “I still want to ask!” she declared, smashing the creeper, “I can convince them.”
Soriah nodded reluctantly. “Alright, I will let you try. However you can only go if you have passed a test of mine.”
“A test?” Eyla said, “Why must I pass a test to speak to my people about an impending doom?”
“It will prepare your heart and mind for what will transpire during your meeting with them. And besides being a Berserker Hishta, it shouldn’t be too hard.”
Eyla smirked, “Alright then I’ll humor you. What are the terms of this test?”
“Treating it like a real one huh?” said Soriah, “Alright. The goal is to light a fire using two dew-covered sticks. The terms are no use of berserker power, I chose the sticks and you have three days to complete the task.”
Eyla’s smirk grew wider, “I can do that easily,” she said.
Soriah smiled a grim smile. “I await your fire,” she said, “We will start in the morning.”
The sticks were green. Eyla stared in dismay and knew that without her berserker power she would never be able to light a fire with those sticks.
“Begin,” Soriah said with a grim face, “You have three days to start a fire.”
“What happen if I do?”Eyla asked.
“You will talk to the Berserker Council,” Soriah replied.
“If I don’t?” Eyla questioned.
“You will still talk to them,” Soriah said.
Eyla was puzzled, “Then why the test?”
“There is a lesson to be learnt,” Soriah sighed, “I hope that you learn it well.”
The three days passed by miserably. The first day Eyla tried flints, force and friction. It would work with dry sticks but the green sticks just became smushed. She had given up a fit of frustration then came back with a vengeance and not a little stubbornness. She ended up breaking the sticks instead. She did not tell Soriah when she came to bed. The second decided to have rain. She shook her fists at the sky in rage then built a shelter around her fire site. Eyla didn’t even know when night came. When the third day dawned, Eyla had given up. She spent her day making the fire site look pretty. And by the time night came spilling over her, the site was covered with flowers and fresh green sprigs and she lay down beside it. “I think I failed,” she muttered to the sky, before falling asleep.
Soriah shook her awake. “Eyla?” she said, “Eyla? Get up now dear. It’s time to go to the council.” Eyla jumped awake and rubbed her eyes.
“Morning already?” she asked. She looked at the fire site.
“I couldn’t do it Soriah,” Eyla said quietly, a feeling of shame worming its way deep into her.
“That’s fine Eyla,” Soriah smiled at her, “You could never have done it.” Eyla got up and helped Soriah to get back to the cave. “Let’s freshen up and get back to the village,” Soriah said.