Thursday, October 19, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 53

Etain was cheerfully humming to herself as she and her brother traveled the Golden Road.  "Ooooh--look at that!" she said, pointing to the side.  "It's one of those shining things!"

"Comets," said Hyperion forebearingly.

"That's what they are?" Etain muttered.  "Well, that's a stupid name.  I would call them flimperflames."

Hyperion blinked.  "Why would you call them..."

"Because they flimper!" said Etain.  "Why'd the Maker create them anyway?"

"The story I heard is She had some stars left over, but couldn't decide where they go," said Hyperion.  "So she just cast them about, and now they travel through the heavens."

Etain chuckled.  "Well, that was silly of her.  I would have done something much more clever.  Like use them to play marbles with.  Or something of that nature."  She looked at the army following them.  "Wow, it will be so neat to lead our people into battle!"  She frowned.  "At least, if I don't get too cold and shrink."  She gave a sniffle.  "The world is really cold in spots, brother!"

"We're going to be there shortly," said Hyperion.  "There won't be time for us to cool down."

"Ohh, good!" said Etain.  "Ooooh!  Is that the battle there?  The loud cacophony, with all the people yelling and screaming!"

Hyperion managed a weak nod.  "I... believe so, sister..."

"Yay!" she declared, clapping.  "We got here in time!  Ooooh, it's all flimpering!"

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 52

Guf smiled as he watched the boulders slowly damming up the stream, changing the flow of water into a slow trickle.  "Just come out," he bellowed.  "Come out now, and I will accept your surrenders. "  He chuckled deeply.  "In a few minutes, you'll WISH you'd taken this deal..."

A head peaked up from the stream.  "You know," said the Sylph who glanced around, "that does sound like a good de--" 

The rest of the Sylph's utterance was cut off by a large boulder smashing into his head, something that swiftly rendered that head into a theoretical construct.  Guf glared at his men.  "All right, I told you, let some of them up before we summarily executed them!  If we kill the first one up, the rest stop coming up.  How many times do I have to explain that?"

"I'm sorry," said a Gnome.  "My ba--"

His fellows watched as he was rapidly buried under a hail of boulders.  "Apology accepted," stated Guf.  He turned back to the stream.  "Now, let's wait.  The water will dry up eventually, and we'll get them..."  Suddenly the earth began to tremor and quake, throwing many of the Gnomes off-balance.  "What... which one of you idiots is doing this?"

"We are!" said a Sylph flanked by a group of Salamanders.  "And also, we aren't idiots.  Actually, on reflection, I should have said that instead of just responding to your question..."

"Quit while you're ahead," whispered the tallest Salamander.

"Right, right," muttered the Sylph.  "Anyway... surrender now.  We have the drop on you."

Guf rolled his eyes.  "It's always something," he muttered as he got unsteadily to his feet.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 51

Glaucus crouched under the stream, glancing up to see the boulders hurl over it.  "They... they sure are tough little bastards, aren't they?"

"They are masters of the earth and soil," replied Phocys.  "Toughness is what they are."

Glaucus rolled his eyes.  "Do you have to correct me about everything?" he snapped.

"Only because you are frequently wrong," said Phocys calmly.  He glanced up. "Hmmm, they've stopped hurling the boulders..."

"That's good," said Glaucus.

Phocys looked at him piercingly.  "Is it?"

Glaucus coughed and turned to their prisoner.  "Right.  Well, this is why we took you with us..."

The Sylph nodded.  "Right, right."  He began to float up beyond the water level.  "Once again, I'm happy you didn't kill me, and kept those evil little things from catching me, so..."    After a second he darted back down again.  "Well, we're fine.  They're just... rolling boulders up to where the stream joins the river."  The Undines all winced.  The Sylph looked around in concern.  "What's... what's wrong?"

"They're going to flush us out," muttered Phocys grimly.

"Only the Maker can save us," said Glaucus dramatically.  He shut his eyes.  "Right, She hasn't appeared, has she?"

Phocys shook hishead.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 50

Vulcan coughed.  "So, you really feel this is the best plan at the moment...?"

Lulea nodded.  "It's our only option."

"I listed... several other options," pointed out Vulcan.  "In fact, this was the option I was the most uneasy about."

"But you left things up to me, and I said this is what we have to do," noted Lulea.

"Yes, you most assuredly did," muttered Vulcan.  "Still, if you want to change your..."

"We will do this," replied Lulea.  "My people and the Undines have been decimated.  The Gnomes are going to take over all the world, and then probably go after the Sun.  And then... then well, who knows what Roquat will do."  She bowed her head.  "We have a duty to the Maker."  She turned to look at him.  "You notified Hyperion and Etain, right?"

"They've both agreed to this," said Vulcan.  "Etain seems... almost eager, which is strange for her.  I think she likes you."

"She has a funny way of showing it," replied Lulea.   "Ehhh, not important now." She looked around the room at Vulcan's subordinates, and raised her sword.  "Let's go kick some Gnomish tail!  Wooo!"

One of the Salamander's blinked.  "Gnomes don't have tails."

Lulea rolled her eyes. "It's an expression.  Would you people please try to get... enthusiastic about this?"

The Salamanders managed a weak cheer.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 49

Polychrome folded her arms before her.  "So, you all failed," she said severely.

The Sylph before her stared in numb amazement.  "That's what you get from this.  I tell you we died in droves, on your orders, and you just... blame us for it."

"Would you say you succeeded then?" asked Polychrome, leaning forward.

"What?" muttered the Slyph.  "Of course not! What does that even..."

"Well, you seem to be insisting that somehow what I was saying was untrue," noted Polychrome, leaning back in her throne.

The Sylph blinked.  "No, I was questioning the appropria..."

Polychrome raised her hand. "Stop.  We've already reached a problem.  You were questioning me.  The Chief Sylph."  She sighed.  "There really is only one way to respond to this."

"Right, right," muttered the Sylph resentfully.  "I'll get right on cleaning the lower levels..."

"Oh, no," said Polychrome, shaking her head.  "This isn't a light insult.  This is treason."

"That-- that's ridiculous!" snapped the Sylph.

"Well, that or sedition," noted Polychrome with a casual dismissive wave.  "Really, I'm in no mood to go into technicalities.  You'll be imprisoned, the matter tried, and then executed."  She clapped her hands.  "Guards!"  A pair of armored Sylphs marched into the room.  "Take him away to the cells."

The Sylph fell to his knees as the pair approached him.  "Aura--Eurus... it's... it's Egoi.  You know me!"

"Sorry, pal," said Eurus.  "Orders are orders..."

Polychrome watched as the pair dragged him from the room, then smiled to herself.  "I am growing as a leader," she declared cheerfully.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 48

The King of Gnomes sat on his throne and listened to the fighting occurring above. 

Then he listened to what the Black Stone told him, and nodded.

Yes, things were going as it said they would.  It had felt... bad at first, betraying the Maker's trust in him, but one got used to it.

The benefits after all, were quite considerable.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 47

Lulea lay on the ceiling, curled up into a ball.  It wasn't exactly comfortable, but it was marginally cooler than the floor of Vulcan's cave, even if she did have to fly to stay up there.  And there was something of a breeze, even if it was as stifling as the rest of the damn cave.  She could shut her eyes and pretend she was somewhere more pleasant.

"Ummm, Miss... Sylph..." came Vulcan's voice.

"Lulea," she said, keeping her eyes closed.

"Well, we cleaned up the sick," he said, "and if you want to come down and look at what's happening..."

"No, I don't," she answered.  "My friends are dying.  Because of me."

"The fact that Lady Polychrome is an arrogant fool played a part," noted the Salamander.

"Yes, but if I hadn't taken the mirror, she'd just be having people... oh, shining all the mirrors in the Silver Palace," said Lulea.

"Yes, if I had returned to the Sun, Etain wouldn't have been sent after me, and you would never have taken the mirror to help her," said Vulcan.   "We can play this game as long as you wa..."

"No, no," she said, perking up.  "That's pretty good.  This is all your fault.  Not mine."

Vulcan blinked.  "Uhh, yes, I was going to point out that it was more compli..."

"Yeah, yeah," said Lulea, floating down to the floor.  "It's all on you.  So, how are you going to help me fix it?"

Vulcan considered matters.  "That was what I hoped to talk to you about, so I will just accept this turn of events as a good thing."