Sorry for the delay on publishing, but here is the next chapter in Mederei's adventures. Currently, I have finished the book (wild cheering), but I have come to the conclusion that I need to improve my battle scenes. To that end, the upcoming chapters may not be ... as high of quality as I hope.
“Climbing up the hill we go, we go; along the merry paths we go, we go. Sunshine fading, 'ventures waiting, up we go, we go,” Mederei sang, slightly off key as they climbed.
“Can't you think of a better song than that?” Caradoc grumbled, four steps ahead of her.
“But it's perfect. We're climbing up the mountain to the sunshine and the god.”
“You've been singing it nonstop for the past ten minutes. Come up with another song. Anything.”
“It might have been me there with you; it might have been me, and my dreams coming true.”
“You wanted another song.”
“Anything but that sappy song! It gets stuck in your brain ...”
They walked in silence around a series of large boulders on their ascent up the hill to the grotto of the god. Mederei had been humming as was her habit, but she had broken out in songs sometime before. Unfortunately for Caradoc, Mederei neither had the best on-key voice, though she could carry a tune, nor did she know all the words to many of the songs she sang. Therefore, she often made up her own lyrics to many songs.
“Had I not been so foolish, so headstrong ... It could have been me,” Caradoc finished.
Behind him, Mederei laughed.
“Shut up,” Caradoc retorted.
“But you sang,” she sighed contentedly as she clapped her hands.
“I'm picking the songs from here on out.” He held up his glass and pulled up one of the glass spells for music. He was a music aficionado. Putting it on loud, he played the music while they climbed.
“Spoilsport,” Mederei complained. “When you go hiking in the mountain, you're supposed to have deep meaningful conversations and sing random songs. Afterwards, you are to feel better about yourself, nature and those around you.”
Caradoc stopped to look behind him. “And just where did you get that idea?”
Mederei pushed back some of her limp hair. She sweated, and her cheeks were flushed from the climb. “From books,” she said, shocked that he didn't know. “Where else would I have found that information?”
“Figures.” Caradoc sat down on a rock. “Flying beats walking any day.” He held out his hand to help Mederei up the last step to him. “We're almost there, just a little further.”
“You said that an hour ago.”
Caradoc shrugged. It was hard to judge distances on the mountain when one mountain appeared just as close as another. Besides, on this particular stretch everything just ran into each other. The landscape looked different this high above the town. Below them, the town could still be seen, but much of it blended into the scenery.
“What are you thinking?” Mederei inquired.
Caradoc couldn't put his finger on what had bothered him about the place. It was small, but he was from a small town too, unlike Mederei, who had grown up in the capital city.
This place was unimportant, though. His town may have been small, but Caradoc grew up in the center of the liquid silver and liquid gold industry. The plants, grown on large plantations, were important for producing the silver and gold dyes used in the tapestry and fashion industries.
“What about this place here?” Caradoc motioned across the landscape. “Why would it be significant? What is the importance of some out of the way hole in the ground? Why would our ancestors come here and help them?”
“Money?” Mederei answered. She rolled her arms. “It's why I'm here. Why are you here?”
Mederei chewed on a piece of bread she had found in her bag. “That's a reason as well. Why do we do half the things we do?”
Caradoc picked up a pebble and tossed it down below them. “I didn't think we were supposed to have deep conversations on the mountain.”
“It's in all the books.” Mederei browsed through her bag, hunting for something else to eat. “Besides, we're all selfish individuals who rarely do things for reasons other than ourselves,” she opined. “It's life. I doubt if any of our ancestors were any different.” She pulled out a large piece of dark chocolate. Breaking it in half, she handed it to Caradoc. “After all, we don't know that much about the town, despite its age.”
“We don't? I thought Hugh and Ramses said you had a lot of books.”
“About the region and modern history, but any history about the time periods before say five hundred years back is impossible to find.” She stretched her hand out before them and a foggy blanket covered the town until the town disappeared from the landscape.
She had the ability to create anything out of thin air, but she had to focus on the item to keep its form. Her magic was pretty, so why would anyone make it scary?
“It's as though nothing happened five hundred years ago or before that,” she said looking at the space beneath them. “It's strange.”
“Not everyone had access to writing.”
Mederei looked back at him. “Really? We've been overly recording our daily lives. I can find magical glasses that have daily minutiae of teenagers from seven hundred years ago.”
“Seven hundred years ago those were primarily witches trying to protect themselves.”
“The point is, we have proof that people recorded their lives. It's strange that an entire town doesn't have any information. Considering its size in the location, and the history of these tapestries not to mention the history with Damla and other things.”
“What history with Damla?”
“It would have to know, and was most likely connected.” Mederei looked back up, her blanket disappearing as she did.
“Just because something is nearby, doesn't mean anyone knows about it. Look how many places in the capital that we don't know about until a tourist tells us.”
Mederei frowned. “That makes sense, but it doesn't deny the fact that it's odd that all the records are gone. Damla's, to a point, make sense for having disappeared, but I looked at the local historical society and there wasn't much.” She paused. “There should have been at least information about the change out there.”
“I thought you found a bunch at the library.”
“But once again, with the exception of the maps, there wasn't much, and Damla has even less, though that makes sense.”
Why would a history be wiped out? What would the reason for that?
“You ever get the feeling that someone has hidden away something really important?”
A cool breeze blew over his back. They needed to get going. “Ready?”
Mederei nodded and stood.
The remainder of their trip was quieter. Mederei would be processing everything, running it around her head to come up with a solution to the problem. That's how she worked. Caradoc, on the other hand, preferred to ignore things. The scenery, with its rugged contours and hardy vegetation, was inspiring. It would make a beautiful scenery tapestry that could be sold to average citizens. Maybe not one of the standard items that they made, but it could be a customized item, made to order for those who wanted it.
Many of their tapestries were made to order but it depended on the funds of the purchaser how much made to order tapestries were. The average tapestry was ordered by someone then made. Higher priced tapestries could have colors changed whereas the highest priced tapestries were designed for the customer. These tapestries were one-of-a-kind and were always some of the best pieces of artwork the weavers created.
“There it is,” Caradoc said, pausing at the bottom of a trail. “See the cave up there?”
“And Hugh flew you up here?” Mederei huffed for a moment to catch her breath. “Where?”
“The ledge is larger than it appears.”
They climbed up the last little portion and entered the cave. “So, what are we looking for?”
“Bastllyr, god of the land.”
Why didn't something happen?
“Did you get your appointment wrong?” Mederei suggested.
“No; I didn't.”
“Did you do something wrong. I've always heard that the gods and goddesses can be finicky. If you step one foot too far one way or the other, they don't come.”
That may be. What had they done that day?
“Oh, look! It's a traveler's tapestry ... That's stuck to the ground.” Mederei knelt next to the tapestry. “I've never seen them like this before.”
“Anything special to it?” The strings that wove around the tapestry were not ethereal, but quite visible even for his limited magic abilities. They also were directly connected to the ground. Caradoc could see the strings, but he couldn't make them visible to others. That took storyteller magic. “It seems that it's connected to the earth itself.”
“It is,” Mederei concurred. Still, she tried to roll up the edges. “Oh - you think this is one of the permanent tapestries that Uncle talked about in class?”
Permanent tapestries were rare in their time period, but common over five hundred years ago. They were part of the magic that only the daughters of the Gwion could create. While the sons could weave with yarn, the daughters could actually weave with the magic threads from the earth. Anchoring the tapestries to the earth or other elements were easy enough for the daughters, but only for those highly trained and with enough natural magic.
Mederei couldn't create one of them, but she could in a decade or two.
“Oh; we need to light it,” Caradoc said. “That's probably the difference.”
Mederei dropped fire and water onto the tapestry and waited.
When the letters formed, Caradoc called the god's name again.
Bastllyr rolled forward. “Two Gwion, I see,” he greeted.
Mederei stared at him for a moment then blinked rapidly. She stepped back. “He's real,” she whispered to Caradoc.
“Yes, he is, Medi.”
“I thought you were joking.”
Bastllyr smirked. “Usually, it's a daughter of Gwion who tell me this.” He looked at Caradoc. “Greetings, Caradoc ap Adsilistia merc Gwion. Who is she?”
“Mederei merc Cynwal Gwion,” Mederei answered.
“You're the daughter of the current head?”
Bastllyr closed an eye. “I did not believe that the daughters could weave anymore.”
“They can't,” Caradoc answered then as an afterthought, added, “She's in a mage guild.”
“Well, that would work.” Bastllyr rolled farther forward, straining against the wall until he had pulled himself forward enough to sit. “I have learned a few things concerning your problem. You know that the daughters, such as yourself,” he said to Mederei, “are the only ones who can reweave the tapestries.”
“Which, thankfully, isn't the issue,” Caradoc said. “The tapestries are all in good order.”
“Good; we had wondered,” Bastllyr said. “Now, according to the others, who were connected here, there was once a great source of power that was strongest to the sea and weakest here at my location. I don't remember it, but my memory isn't the greatest.”
“Might be something connected to the ocean, again,” Mederei suggested, the conversation having overtaken her fears.
“Most likely it's Damla Isle,” Caradoc observed. It was the only thing remotely connected to any of the elements that could have that much energy.
“Damla?” Bastllyr inquired. “Damla, Damla. Ah, the island of the fae. That is part of it; the fae magic and the elements were connected to the tapestries.”
“So all we have to do is reconnect everything?” Caradoc said.
“That's going to be a big problem,” Mederei said.
“Why would it be?” Bastllyr asked.
“It's hanging above the ocean. We can't just cut a line and drop it down.”
“A daughter isn't limited to those laws when ...”
“A daughter can be killed instantly if she's found using those powers,” Mederei interrupted. “And the prince is here.”
“Kiango?” Bastllyr waved his hand. “He's fine. He's more concerned about saving his people than you.”
Mederei pursed her lips.
Caradoc chuckled. “If you found out that Kiango was doing something illegal that was helping the kingdom, would you turn him in?”
“How illegal are we talking about?”
“Like Gwion magic is illegal.”
Mederei sighed. “Probably not.”
“So, all you have to do is reconnect the island to the ocean,” Bastllyr said.
“That's what we thought. Any idea what happened?”
“That, I do remember. An old wizard came through. The fae did not accept his superiority, so to prove it, he took them out of the world, unfortunately, he wasn't that good, so he could only pull them out so far. As a last-ditch fit, he wrapped a curse around it.”
“Making it hard for others to reconnect.”
“But, a daughter can see the curse, can't she?”
Mederei and Caradoc stared at each other then back to Bastllyr. “We can,” Mederei agreed. “Now, I just need to find it.” She turned to leave. “Until next time, Bastllyr god of the land.”
“Until next time, Mederei merc Cynwal Gwion.” Bastllyr waited a moment until Mederei had walked out of his grotto. “She has great potential.”
“It scares us.”
“There's no need for that, she can control her magic quite well. She needs to learn how to use it now.”
“But she can't because of rules.”
“Ah, yes, rules. A pain in the ass if you ask me. Daughters are needed to imagine, and sons are needed to weave. You will do well, Caradoc ap Adsilistia merc Gwion. You both are needed to protect your family. Strange rumblings happen concerning the Gwion.” Bastllyr pulled back into the rock.
Caradoc started after Mederei. There was a lot of work to do.