Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Obscured By Coulds - Chapter 2 : The Feigh

As the chain solidified, including the six strange beings and the three travellers, pictures formed clearly in the minds of each one. A huge fortress under a deep blue sky; many other winged beings such as these six walking in misty gardens; towering men and women - giants! - standing tall amidst thunderclouds, laughing in the rain; winged goblins attacking the gentle beings (the Feigh, they now heard the name for these beings used for themselves in their minds) and driving them deep within clouds, thick and deep; the white clouds becoming prisons polluted with brown; groups of the Feigh, always six, desperately attempting to find ways to combat the goblins; these six forming a skyboat from the tarnished cloud substance and seeking help from below; the calls for help meeting deaf ears or violence.

Suddenly the images stopped and the Feigh released their hands, breaking the connection. From above, three ochre-brown cords descended from cloud level, one dangling in front of each of the three travellers. The Feigh floated upwards at a steady rate, soon well beyond reach of earth-locked beings.

Brazi gave a big sigh. "I was always a sucker for helping people." He turned to Katlin as he picked up his quarterstaff. " You do not have to go my love. I will return to you when and if I can." Katlin spat out a word not fit to print here, and snarled back: " You big dumb galoot. How would you ever survive without me? Let the goblins beware!" The two held hands and with their free hands seized their ropes of smoke. They only had eyes for each other now as they were lifted aloft.
Meanwhile, Cornelius Allen reached forward and grabbed hold of the rope, expecting to be pulled in to the air, and even wrapped his foot around the rope for good measure, a bit like the guy above, just if he lost a lot of weight, got rid of the moustache and wasn't inside the gym.

The trio were indeed hauled skywards, to dizzying heights, The air grew colder and even though they felt secure, the wind whipping about their bodies, tugging at their clothing, was definitely disconcerting. The six Feigh floated upwards with them, encircling their guests. After they had risen so high that what were once major landmarks were now no more than unidentifiable blots on the planet far below them, they saw that they were reaching what could only be their destination - a long, bulbous marshmallowy cloud, a sickly brown flecked with brilliant white, looming above them. As they drew near, the Feigh began a plainsong chanting of mournful spirit and the ugly brownness receded a little and an opening emerged in the cloud just where the ropes were attached to it.

They all heard the voices inside their mind again, eerie after the silent ascent. 'Cornelius, Cornelius, Cornelius,fly! Brazi, Brazi, Brazi, soar and be free! Katlin, Kate, Katlin, leap, spring, fly!'

They felt the ropes they held so dearly becoming intangible. The Feigh floated up through the aperture in the cloud raft. All three found themselves, to their astonishment, able to fly! The voices in your head sound again, this time a warning...'stay within sight of our not stray...if the white is lost...we are all lost..."
Hands reached down from the opening in the cloud-raft and beckoned threm upwards. They all found it easy to manoeuvre and emerged to see the six Feigh seated cross-legged in a circle, having left room for the three of you to join. As they completed the circle, a question formed in thrir minds, given by their hosts -"...what course of action?...what shall we do?...what can we do?...who will lead us?...who will save us? of of you...we shall follow and obey one of of you we shall serve as best we may..."

Cornelius Allen looked first to Brazi and then to Kat. "This flying stuff is weird enough for me. I'm not ready to be a hero - one of you had better sign up for the job. I don't mind sticking around for the action. Where there are goblins and giants, I'm betting there's treasure too. That's what rocks my world! Happy to share with you guys though!'

The Feigh turn expectantly towards Brazi and Katlin.
 Brazi doesn't fail to be a little amused at being able to fly. In  his bat form he is a natural and expert flyer and his wings are potent weapons. "If one of us must lead," he said, " I suppose I should take on that burden if the wizard does not wish to do it."

"Big galoot," said Katlin. "You are always trying to tell me what to do, but you are often wise, and I am willing to trust you. What say you, Wizard man?"

"If there is to be trouble and conflict here, replied Tardani, " then I had best take my true form now. Do not be afraid of me, Wizard. I am only dangerous to those who offend or attack me."

The big hunchback peeled off his shirt, and  then there was an eye wrenching form change: a pair of 12 foot long leathery wings  exploded out from his hump. He was now covered with short brown fur and he had the head of a huge bat. Wicked claws tipped the fingers of his big hands and his arms had gotten longer and his legs shorter. His voice now was almost comically high pitched (he could confuse enemies with his ultra high pitched squeaks; it hurt their ears). The Manbat turned to the Feigh, and bowed. "At your service, Feigh folk," he sqeaked. "Where are your enemies, and what do we need to know to best deal with them?"

Cornelius Allan was a little surprised and scared to see Brazi transform and said "Okay you can lead if you want to. I don't mind. But is it usual for you to do that?"  Then Cornelius Allan turned to the Feigh and said "What do we have to do to help?"

At these questions the Feigh began to hum, softly at first and then the heart-rending sound increased in tempo and volume. They seemed unphased by Brazi's transformation and he couldn't help but feel they were expecting it. As the humming reaches a crescendo, a three dimensional map appeared in the mind's eye of the three new cloud riders.

They saw a huge cloud with a massive fortress at the centre surrounded by amazingly varied and intricate cloud sculptures - almost a sculptural forest, it would seem. Ringed about this fortress were much smaller ochre coloured clouds, moored to the gigantic mass. They were above, below and around it - perhaps 30 in number as far as they can tell. The focus then changed and they saw in the distance a murky, muddy brown cloud mass coming towards you. It was not, in fact, moving but their focus that was. They understood rather than saw that these unpleasant cloud forms were inhabited or piloted by the Feigh's goblin foes.

They sensed absolute confusion amongst the six Feigh as to what was required.

At this point, as they looked up, they saw that the heads of the Feigh had slumped forward. The effort of communicating had drained them yet they were still connected to their visitors telepathically. They all understood that they were awaiting leadership, needing a decision to be arrived at that they could not themselves make.

It was scanty information to go on indeed but there seems little choice.

Katlin said, "Who do you want me to kill?"

Brazi turned to Cornelius, and said softly in his squeaky voice, "This is my natural form. I am an animorph, and so is Kate. She will change when she wants to. What do you think we should do, magic user?"
“Well, it looks like those flying goblins things have taken the Feigh’s home so I think we should go there and try to take it back but I thought you were the leader… shouldn’t you decide what to do?” Cornelius spoke to Brazi in a respectful tone of voice.
The Feigh raised their heads again and all looked to Brazi expectantly. The winds began to whip about the cloud voyagers and the extremities of the cloud vessel rose to form an effective break against the elemental forces buffeting the cloud craft, Rain began to fall, slanting across the faces of the travellers from the west. Dark clouds were now scudding across the sky and far off in the distance a booming sound reached their ears.
Brazi said "Perhaps we should fly first to the Feigh folk's cloud home and meet their conquerers." He took up his ironwood quarterstaff in his big hands. "I will lead and you follow on my left wing. Kate, my love, try your new wings on my right." With a great flap of his bat wings the manbat rose into the sky.

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