The sun has barely peaked over the horizon by the time I get up. No point in me trying to go back to sleep either; once I'm awake…I'm awake. Tao is still sleeping on the pillow next to me so I try to be as quiet as possible. I finish getting dressed in more appropriate garments: a shirt and breeches along with some boots that I can slip on. To make it easier for me to see, I take my long hair and braid it and tie the end off with a dark brown ribbon I found on the dresser. Tao finally wakes up as the sunrays finally peak over the horizon; he comes with me as I try to get my bearings in this new place. It kind of reminds me of a castle really, with all the hallways and doors. Turning down hallways I find myself back in the room I ate in yesterday. Turning through other halls I find a way back outside in the same place I met Mr. Numair. I remember the encounter I had with the crow and look up. Again he looks at me with beady, angry eyes. He hisses at me once again as a warning,
"Oh please…" I touch his mind, "No one wants what little territory you have." I walk back inside and head for the room before and take a look around; I'm sure I could find something to make something to eat in here, after all Daine did. I set Tao on the table so I'm free to move about. I'm able to find the eggs and the unused slices of ham but no bread. I'll just have to make do with what I have. Now where are the cooking utensils? Soon I'm able to get a fire going and cook the eggs first. After, I place the ham on. I set some plates out and scoop the eggs onto each one. Huh…I made enough for one more…Miss Alanna may want something too. After the ham finishes cooking I place the slices on the plates.
"Can I have a piece?"
"Ok Tao but just a small one." I cut a small piece for him. By now he should be introduced to meat at least. He chews on it bit by bit as he enjoys the cooked pork.
"Something smells good." Numair makes Tao jump into my arms and me tense, "I'm sorry; I didn't mean to scare you." I beam a smile.
"It's ok. I made breakfast. Would you like some?" I bring the plates over as they sit down."What's this for?"
"I just wanted to thank you for your kindness. I know it's not much but I did try my best." There's a knock on the open door,
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
"Miss Alanna." Rushing I pull her over to take a seat. "I made enough for you too." She takes a seat and I bring another plate of food over.
"What's the occasion?" she laughs.
"Apparently it's a thank you." Daine fills her in.
"Well then…let's just see how good this thank you tastes." Theyeach take a bite of one of the two choices. The look on their faces tells me they like it a lot.
"You're a very good cook little one!" again Alanna sound so motherly…it makes me blush. "But what about you?" I tense up, "You must be hungry too. Haven't you made yourself something to eat?"
"Um…" my face is turning red hot, "I was working hard to make you something I didn't get to it."
"Well we can't have that." Alanna stands "Sit here and eat your breakfast."
"But-" she holds her hand up.
"No arguing. A girl needs to eat a good meal in the morning to keep her going; especially a girl as young as you. Now sit."
"But what about you?" I ask as I sit.
"The thought is more than enough for me." She retrieves new utensils for me to use and pats my head. "I have business I have to take care of anyway; the king himself summoned me. So I can't stay for long." I king? Oh my… She turns to Numair, "The choice is yours. If you can even remember the conversation we were discussing the evening before." She smirks.
"I would appreciate that you don't take such a shot to my self confidence…"
"Numair you are forgetful sometimes…" Daine laughs. He only takes another bite of ham to keep himself quiet. I sneak a piece of ham for Tao.
"Don't feed him too much of that or you'll be cleaning up the after math." Alanna warns before she leaves. It's silent again as we continue eating. I can't even finish all of mine. ( I think I'm still full from yesterday…)
"Yes Mr. Numair?"
"I'd like to talk to you about your abilities with you." My abilities? "You said you were able to change into a bird to escape."
"Yes sir, I did." I can do it again if you'd like me to."
"Would you mind?" I stand and close my eyes. I focus on the image of that seagull and feel my body begin to shrink. My cloths fall off completely as the feathers continue to sprout.
"Hey you're my size now!" Taos tail swishes back and forth
"Interesting… alright you can change back now." I pick my clothes up with my beak and hide under the table before I change back; it takes a little longer before I finally dress but eventually I come out.
"I've tried to change into other animals but it's kind of hard. I've seen a lot of seagulls so it was easier but other than pictures I've never seen any other kind." I explain.
"I see. What about your other Gift. You set fire to the gun powder when you escaped correct?" I nod, "Do you mind demonstrating it for me?" holding out my hand the blackened copper sparks enveloping my hand and create a tiny, little fire. It's hard even maintaining it. It's already going out. I try holding on as best I can but it goes out.
"That's all I can do. It was hard creating it back then too."
"It's alright, but what you've demonstrated something that I'm quite sure others haven't seen before." I sit back down, "You seem to have a better grasp on shape shifting so I'll start with the that. That is a rare gift; I know of a few others who have this gift but not a much as you. I know of one person who can do what you did."
"Miss Daine." I remember her changing from a hawk to a human. Numair nods.
"That's right. The proper term for it would be wild mage. Now I can tell you are of the same because you exhibit the same abilities she does: communicating with animals and shape shifting. But you also show the abilities of other mages: creating fire of one thing. And I'm sure you tried other things as well. Although you seem to have more difficulty with that. In reality it shouldn't really be possible for you to possess both magic gifts, but some how you've managed it." he pauses for a moment "I think that may be the reason why you're having trouble mastering your gifts. One may be contradicting the other. Now of course there's no way to separate them; they're most likely completely blended together. It could be dangerous and foolish to even try it. But there may be a way for you to-"a loud bell rings spotting the conversation. The ringing echoes throughout the building.
"What is it?" I ask.
"Stay here Solaris." Numairs' tone has changed… They get up and leave their empty plates. The bell continues to sound as I sit alone with Tao. I pick up my furry friend hoping to find some comfort. Soon my ears fill with battle cries and explosions along with a sound of some sort of screeching. Spidrens! But why are they attacking? There's a terrible explosion that causes the ground to rumble under my feet.
"What's going on out there?"
"Solaris, I'm scared." There's a crashing from outside the door and soldiers rush by. Soon though the hall fills with their screams. I hide under the table hoping they don't come in. their creepy legs come into view; I pull Tao closed. They stop.
"I smell another human…"
"Where is it?" my hand keeps me from screaming and crying. "There!" they chase something heading away from the room. I can't stay here; they'll find me. Leaving the safety of the table, I head for the door. No spidrens in sight. I know he told me to stay put but…if I do they might find me. I run for it hoping to find another safe place to hide. My room, if they haven't gotten in there, then maybe I can hide in there. I place Tao on my shoulder to keep my hands free. Peeking around the corner I spot one of the half human half spiders feeding on a corpse. No…what do I do? It's right there I can't go any further and if I try going the other way, I'll run into other spidrens.
"What do we do Solaris?"
"I don't know Tao." I peek out again; the spidren leaves turning turning down another hallway. Ok now! I head in the opposite direction and turn left down another hall and into another spidren. I didn't take a good look before when I first ran into her in the field, but if she wasn't a monster she would be a very pretty blonde.
"Well look here…it's the human child from before." I back away as she spots Tao on my shoulder "Oh and look you still have that little thing with you. I can eat him for desert." Oh now what do I do? Wait… I remember that hall way. If I turn right I'll be heading outside! I just have to get passed her first. My hands hide behind my back as I summon the dark copper sparks. I hope it works. The spideren lunges at me. Now! The sparks flash in her eyes blinding the female. While she's distracted, I rush passed her and head to the right. Soon I hear her chasing me again. I open the door quickly and slam it in her face. Battle cries continue to sound as I catch mere glimpses of the battle taking place. I stop in my tracks, the path blocked by various corpses. The door behind me splinters apart as the spidren exits. She creeps closer and closer towering over me even more. Please someone help! There's a terrible angry screech from above before a crow swoops down and attacks the spidren. Wait is that the same one that attacked me the other day? I touch its mind,
"My turf, my turf, my turf!" yes…it's the same one. He claws and scratches his talons in her face but soon she smacks the bird away sending him slamming into the stone wall. She turns her attention back to me her face covered in bloody scratches. Angry she raises an appendage, ready to strike. A loud roar stops her as she turns to another intruder. A giant shadow hovers over us both before a massive bear charges forward. The spidren backs away; the grizzly bear stands on its hind legs and roars before swiping paw and killing the spidren. The fuzzy brown bear turns to me looking with kind eyes. They crow returns, recovered from the impact and lands on my head.
"Turf ok now?" I'll get you later…my attention goes back to the bear.
"Thank you Tornmätt." I say to the bear god. She returns to being on all fours and walks over to me lowering her head so her diamond white eyes meet mine.
"Do not thank me little cub it was my pleasure." He wet nose touches my forehead before she turns to the crow. "If you attack my cub again you will have me to deal with…" her voice is stern making him ruffle his feathers. She turns her attention back to me, "Say yes to the offer dear one…you won't regret it I promise."
"Offer? What offer Tornmätt?"
"You will see child; you will learn how to use your gifts well and even some things about yourself. Besides he will be a great mentor and she will help you train in the wild magic you possess."
"Do you mean Miss Daine and Mr. Numair?"She looks back at the broken door.
"They are calling for you; you should go to them." Tornmätt turns to leave, "Remember young cub, I will be watching you even though you will not see me." She disappears leaving me alone.
"Solaris!" that was Daine! I run back inside,
"I'm hear! Miss Daine! Mr. Numair!" I round a corner just as they round a different one into the same hallway. Relief shows in their postures as I come over.
"Are you hurt?" my head shakes, more so to get the crow off my head. He still won't budge though.
"Could you please get off my head?"
"Turf is comfy."
"I'm not your turf."
"Peckers stay with turf."
"Peckers needs to stop calling me turf; my name is Solaris."
"Turf is called Solaris; Peckers stay with turf Solaris."
"For Mithros' sake…" Daine able to hear the animal part of the conversation giggles, "Fine…just call me turf…you sea nile bird."
The rest of the spidrens were killed and so now all that's left is to clean up the mess from the battle. I help Daine take care of the wounded while Numair went to help take care of the fallen. I asked if he wanted for me to help him but he insisted that I stay with her. I guess he thought it would be better if I stayed around the living. I hand Daine some cloth to use to clean a wound on a soldiers leg, before handing an ointment she's needing. I think this is the fifteenth person she's helped in a row. She must be getting tired,
"Solaris could you go get some more water please?"
"Yes miss Daine." Tao prances behind me as Peckers flies above my head. I can't take on any more pets. Tao is nice and needs someone looking after him; Peckers though is going to be a bit of a handful. I return with a basin full of clean water. Numair is finally back. He looks tired though… I wonder what work he's been doing. "Here you are miss Daine."
"Do you need anything Mr. Numair?" I ask the tired mage.
"No thank you; but I would like to continue where we left off in our conversation." It takes me a moment to remember,
"I remember… I think you were talking about how I could learn to use my magic."
"Yes that's right…" he takes a deep breath gathering his thoughts, "Perhaps that was a bit of a long explanation earlier…"
"That's ok I didn't mind. I found it interesting." He smiles,
""What I was trying to suggest is that I may be able to help with that." What? "I was able to teach Daine to use her wild magic; I'd be able to help with that. And your other Gift, I'm sure we can find a way to control that as well.
Say yes to the offer dear one… Is this what Tornmätt meant?
"I'm a fast learner and I can cook and clean and-"
"Solaris what are you talking about? I'm the one trying to convince you." I feel my cheeks turn pink.
"Please Solaris." I look down at Tao, "They're nice."
"Turf should go. Become better turf." I never really thought that a person or people could take to me so quickly. With my former stature or lack there of… I thought it would have taken some time for anyone to warm up to me.
"What do you say Solaris?" I look over at Daine.
"Does miss Dain mind…?"
"Of course I don't. In fact, it would be nice to have a girl around for a while." I smile slightly. Well…
"I promise Mr. Numair I'll be a good student."