Book 1 Chapter 1 : The Pink Thing
Sixteen years later….
The sun is high in the sky bright, it’s warming the earth with its life giving rays. Everything is quiet except for the rush of a river and the clang of steel against steel. Everything feels so clear, clean, just perfect. But that’s the way it always feels when he is dueling even though he always loses.
With a mocking smile, he lunges at his opponent as if to cut him from shoulder to hip, but as soon as he does, he knows he is in trouble. The opponent lifts his sword, and with a flick of his wrist deflects the blow making it go past him, on his left. He then steps in closer and brings the tip of his sword against the now not smiling teen’s ribs.
A word the teen has become all too familiar with in the last years of his tutelage from the sword master. “You lack concentration, you could have had me two blows back. You fight me as if you were carrying a stick and I am a piñata for you to beat. The only difference is I am the one that can beat you with my eyes blindfolded.”
Lowering his guard the teens asks. “Master Aldowin what is a piñata?”
Sigh. “Sometimes I forget that I am the only other two legged being you have ever had contact with. It’s a human tradition and the reason for it is beyond me. Raise your sword, we still have another three hours to go”.
The teen then takes his favorite fighting stance, he learned it from the Elf. The elf takes the same. One foot in front of the other, knees slightly bent with the sword raised directly above their heads, a stance only useful if you are extremely fast and strong in your upper body.
“Pay close attention to your surroundings, feel the earth under you, feel the wind, read my movements, my body language will tell you which way I will strike, that is the fundamental truth of any kind of battle except that of the mind”.
With this said the elf strikes with super human speed, aiming at the teens head, but he is ready and blocks it just in time, he then counters with a swing to the elf’s hip, seemingly exposed and open for attack. The elf blocks him, a clang and sparks of metal can be heard. A second later the elf’s blade lithely cuts the neck of the teen.
The elf had immediately lifted the sword to hold against the teens neck, by simply deflecting the blow with the minimum force required, using the residual force to carry his hand up towards the teen neck, where he now holds the blade with the cross guard nearly against the teen’s cheek.
“When you are fighting an opponent, it is important to remember that the fight is not only here”. Pokes him on his arms. “But here….” he Pokes him on the head. “…Too. I baited you to attack my hip on purpose, so that I could do this, always remember the front of the blade is not the only part of the weapon that can be used to attack. Take up your stance again and I will show you how to do it”. The sparring continued for the next three hours, resulting in a few more cuts, a lot of bruises and cursing from the teen.
“If your foul mind was a weapon, I would have been in big trouble Estund”. Estund was the name of the teen that the elf had given him, he much prefered it to the one the dragons were using.
“If I didn’t know better, I would have thought them evil creatures. Dragons hmpf…. more like tormentors.”
Estund means student in the Elvin language. Estund is now lying on his back for the 100th time that day but this time he had no energy to get up.
“Master Aldowin I learned those words from you if you remember correctly.” “The humans have a saying monkey see, monkey do.”
Aldowin points a finger at Estund and with a mocking smile says. “That makes you a monkey. Come, get up and wash yourself, it is almost time to start with the next phase of today’s training.”
“UUurgh, all I ever hear from you is training Master.”
“Good, that means I am doing my job.”
With that, the elf turns around and walks to the tree being used as their home.
Estund gets up slowly, careful to not touch any bruises as he does.
“It seems like every day he pushes me harder… owww, and hits me harder too”.
Walking over to the river, he starts stripping his Elvish style shirt. It’s lose fitting and extremely light, but with all the sparring it never tares. His outfit consists of the black elvish shirt and black pants, they’re made from a plant that grows in the valley. He also has moccasins fashioned from something the dragons killed, or at least that’s what he assumes. Because Estund and Aldowin are both vegetarians by choice, mostly due to some of the training Estund has had since he was a child.
On his way to the river used for water and bath, Estund takes in the surroundings with his naïve and innocent gaze. It never ceases to amaze him – The beauty of their valley. Even with the distance, he can hear the huge waterfall that divides into a bunch of rivers like the one where he is now, it’s the life blood of their valley. The mist on the top of the waterfall is always thick, and he has been forbidden to go there ever since he can remember. All around the valley is a mountain, making it like a basin, a safe haven for any creature that makes it inside. Everywhere the eye can see, there are green trees of all sizes, the one they have made their home inb is the biggest of them all.
There are all kinds of flowers as well, a huge variety of colors giving away the fact that the valley is a true paradise. Fruits of all kinds can be found with some small animals here and there. The favorite one of Estunds is a winged monkey, a small creature about the size of a human hand.
With big green eyes. Its fur is grey except for the paws which are white, there is a layer of skin that extends from the creatures elbow to its small hips. They use this to glide between trees. Estund has taken one on as a pet and has named it Shcree, after the small pink wild flower where he found it. It was abandoned for no apparent reason. His small companion was already in the river bathing, it seems to have taken on the habits of its apparent master, Estund.
“You know Schree, you have it good.” The small creatures big ears perks up at the sound of Estunds voice, transforming it into two big eyes and ears.
“Don’t look at me like that, you know you are lucky while I get the shit beat out of me, you lay in the sun all day.”
While saying this, Estund is trying to get his pants off without too much exertion from his part in order not to aggravate any of his new wounds, but he fails miserably, and a few curses later he finally gets it off and looks at his reflection in the water.
He sees a teen about sixteen, tall for his age and even though he doesn’t know it yet. His skin is tanned and his body masculine because of all the training he has received during his short lifetime. He loosens the leather strip that keeps his jet black hair from going into his eyes while sparring. The tips of it just brushes against his shoulders.
He suddenly feels goose pumps creeping over his body, caused by a cold breeze coming from the direction of the waterfall. He looks closer in the water, Scanning himself from his legs up to his face, trying to examine every new bruise, between the yellow fading ones and the still red new ones.
His eyes are dark blue, an unnatural blue for any race to have, he has a straight nose and a fair chin but his eyebrows gives his face a hawk-like look, just on the border between dangerous and evil. His ears are slightly pointed but not as much as that of the elf but not human either.
[His eyes are the only part of him he likes. He slowly wades into the cold fresh water, causing him to catch his breath, “why can I never get used to that feeling, shit it’s cold.”
Shcree slowly swims towards him, and goes to sit on his shoulder as is her daily ritual. “Yes you do have the life don’t you. You know, Alric always calls me ugly, I am inclined to agree.”
Her response is to lean in close and smell his nose. He hears a chuckle behind him. Its master Aldowin, also coming to take a bath.
“Master you move like a ghost, I can never hear your steps, even when we are sparring.
“Something you will also learn soon enough Estund. What is this I hear about you being ugly.” Says the elf with a mocking smile displayed on his face.
“Well Alric always says I am ugly.” Making his voice as rough and menacing as possible Estund says “You have no talons, you have no scales and you call those stumpy things teeth. Ha! Ugly as a bat.”
To this the master bursts out laughing with genuine glee. In between the bouts of laughter he finally gets out. “Estund you do know he is a dragon right? And not just any dragon, but he is Alric, the only thing he finds beautiful is battle. You are not ugly, but confused, however you were raised by dragons, so it’s understandable that you have adopted their sense of beauty. Let me put it this way. Am I ugly because I do not have any of those things?”
Estund gives his master a closer look. He has long blonde almost white hair, slanted eyes that are brown with green in them. He has a long nose, but it fits with the rest of his body and limbs, unlike Estund his body looks more feminine and less bulky, more graceful. The elf is tall, but that is natural for the high elves. Even with how feminine his master may look, he isn’t fooled by it, he has been hurt too much in sparring too be that idiotic.
“Honestly I don’t know, I have nothing to compare it to.”
“Exactly Estund, do you have something or someone you can compare yourself to?”
“Then stop worrying about it.”
With that, Aldowin gets out and dons his attire which consists of a pure white shirt, and the same type of pants and moccasins Estund has got.
“Come Estund, we are already running behind schedule.”
Estund gets out and starts dressing as well. As soon as he is finished, they start in the direction of the roaring waterfall.
They soon arrive near the waterfall, the air becomes noticeably colder and humid. The roar of the waterfall is too loud, they have to revert to talking telepathically. The first language Estund learned was dragon tongue, since dragons can’t speak normally they communicated via their minds, and so Estund grew up communicating like that. It took the elf nearly 5 years to teach him the other languages used throughout the world. The biggest challenge was to teach him how to speak using his mouth. So they adopted speaking in that way whenever the dragons were not around. Aldowin notices that Estund is not really paying attention so he asks.
“What trouble you, you are far from this place?’’
“I have been thinking.”
“Oh you think? You amaze me every day.” Says Aldowin, throwing up his hands in mock surprise.
Giving his master the look he continues. “Not funny master. I have been wondering when will I ever have the opportunity to compare myself with others like me. All I know is this valley, the dragons, you, and Shcree since I am not allowed to go out of the valley and there has never been any sign of other people living in this place”.
“One day Estund, sooner than you think, you will fly away from this place probably never to return, or just not able to.” The elf said it with such sadness Estund got goose bumps.
“How am I to fly, I have no wings, for I am not a bird nor is my magic strong enough to make me fly!”
With that outburst Aldowin loses his temper and grabs his student on his arm. “Think for yourself boy. What is between your ears?” Estund knows exactly where this is going, he sighs and answers reluctantly, deciding to play along.
“And what is in your head?”
“Then why don’t you ever use it. You may not be a bird, but sometimes I think you have a brain the size of one.”
Estund falls quiet and his master knows he is pondering the conundrum. The boy bites his lip for a second.
“You told me I am not an elf and that I am not human so the answer is hidden in what I am?”
“Exactly, thank you Sky mother, his bird brain works to a degree.”
Estund rolls his eyes at his masters back.
“I saw that.”
“So what am I master?”
“I cannot tell you, only the dragons can.”
“The dragons…. Seriously between the one sleeping all day and the other always out on “patrol” they hardly ever speak to me anymore. When they are here, or not sleeping they are always at the top of the waterfall doing what only Sky mother knows.”
Aldowin sighs exasperated. “Honestly Estund, I myself don’t even know what you are.”
Scanning himself from his legs up to his face.
they travelled the rest of the way in silence, until they reached the waterfall. It was roaring louder than ever, Estund wanted to put his hands on his ears to block it out, but he knew from experience that it was useless. Within seconds, both of them are wet because of the mist caused by the waterfall, a pretty good indication of its size since they are standing a good deal away from it.
The waterfall towered above them, Estund had to strain his neck to look at the top. At the bottom, the water pooled making a small lake which then ran off into the different rivers that fed the wildlife in the valley. They walked to the usual spot, Where Estund then went to his place, on a flat stone smoothed and polished by him sitting on it every day since he could remember.
This training is the cause of him being a vegetarian and he suspected the same reason why the elf is.
“Do you know what day it is today?”
After some thinking and calculating “It’s the first day of sky month master Aldowin.” “Do you know what that means to you personally?” “No?” “Its your birthday
Estund, today you are exactly 16 years old, and today everything is going to change. I was told by the dragons to prepare you for this, and that is why I have been training you all of your life.”
Estund’s face clinches with a baleful frown, showing his displeasure.“Training me for what? And how will I change? Why have you never told me this before?”
Aldowin can see the change in mood and says defensively. “I was never allowed to. I was just told to relay this message to you today, I never knew about it until now, I apologize Estund.”
The shock of it left Estund speechless. What could change everything, and why had they never told him anything about it. It has always been like this. They never tell him anything. He felt an anger creeping up on him, one he never realized he had before but it has always been there smoldering inside him, he felt like he was choking on it, drowning in it.
He opens is eyes and looks directly at his master. Who instantly reaches for his sword that is not there out of reflex. Estunds eyes had turned red the color of fresh blood seeping out of a wound.
The eyes of a killer trained on its prey.
“Estund what is wrong? Your eyes are…. Not normal.”
Ignoring his master Estund springs up his fists clenched. “What gives them the right to do this to me! To, without warning, change everything in my life and this, without telling me in advance. They send someone else to do the dirty work for them, someone who himself does not know everything!”
In the silence the waterfall seems to take over everything threatening to wash Estund away.
“I wish it would, I do not even know what or who I am.” The color of his eyes goes back to normal, the elf breathes a sigh of relief and seems to relax a little.
He places his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “I do not know why they do what they do, but I am sure that there is a reason, things will be made clearer tonight…. Or so I was told. For now let everything go and concentrate on your training.” Estund usually hesitant to do it closes his eyes, immediately welcoming the feeling of losing himself. Falling into an abyss of nothingness and yet everything. The stars that are not stars starts lighting up around his consciousness. Taking in everything, yet concentrating on nothing, he spreads his consciousness, trying to drown out his hurt and anger towards the dragons in the other living beings around him.
The stars he sees, is a simplified way of describing the life force of all the creatures and plants around him. Losing himself in their multitudes, he begins to see, feel and hear everything they feel. Ants working hard for their queen, a squirrel scurrying up a tree and many, many other… He can feel the trees blowing in the wind as if he were a part of it all and they were a part of him.
As always, he doesn’t feel completely part of it though. Like he doesn’t belong. Today he doesn’t care and he goes deeper, further and further into it losing himself, losing the hurt, the disappointment of it all. He encounters something huge, a life force so bright it burns his inner eye just to look at it. He probes towards it with his mind and feels something familiar yet strange in this form.
“What is it little one?”
His mind freezes, before he thinks -This voice…- he is quiet for about two seconds before asking, “Sirena is…is that you?”
“Yes little one.”
With a fright he tries to excuse himself “I am sorry for bothering you.” He is just about to pull away when she says rather curiously.
“I sense anger in you.”
Sensing trouble on the horizon, Estund tries to pull away and put up the barriers that master Aldowin has been teaching him to do in order to protect him from just this situation. This only serves to make her more curious. He senses even more life force emanating from her, as if she is only now waking up, it becomes larger than the sun larger than all the nature around him until it is only him and her in his consciousness. He tries to escape but it’s too late, he is locked in place, unable to move or speak, concentrating only on his wall around his mind.
“The elf has taught you well I see but you are three thousand years too early to try and stop me from entering your mind!”
Suddenly like a tidal wave she crashes against his mind, he concentrates everything against the humungous onslaught, but he can feel his defenses crumbling against it! Within less then a second, his barriers brake.
She sweeps through him, pinning him down and taking over his consciousness in a matter of milliseconds. He can feel her going through his memories, he tries to hide it in the furthest reaches of his mind. The anger the disappointment but it only makes her find it quicker.
“So this is why? Why have you never confronted us about this?”
“When! When do you ever talk to me or make contact of any kind?”
“You know where I am, do you not? You can’t really miss me now can you little one?”
“But you are always asleep.”
“That doesn’t matter. I have always been the same. You distanced yourself from me not I from you. Anytime you want to know something or talk you can come to me, understand? “
Feeling like a child that has thrown a tantrum, he can only reply with,“Yes.”
He feels the anger leaving him, ebbing away like a bucket that as sprung a leak slowly but surely it disappears. Afterwards his heart is empty, as if losing a close friend. One of those friends you don’t really like but once they are gone, there is an empty space that can’t be filled. He berates himself for being such an idiot, all these years of loneliness and doubt and for what, for his pride?
“I won’t let this happen to me again. I have lost too much already”. Feeling ashamed for his actions, he forces an apology out. “I apologize, Sirena. My anger towards you was due to my own stupidity….. I hope you know that I have thousands of questions.”
She starts to withdraw from his mind. Like the waterfall, she pours out of him. It’s like it will never end, but she is out of his mind as quickly as she got in.
“Do not compare me to that brute Alric again, or next time, I will lick you from the bottom of your feet to the crown of your head!”
Estund’s face turns pale at the thought. A dragon’s tongue is barbed and rough in order to strip the pelts and skin of the animals they hunt, being licked by one would be the equivalent of the most excruciating torture one can imagine.
“Your questions will have to wait, little one. Tonight is a big night for you or so we were told by the Elder. Alric is already on his way. I give you permission to head to the top of the waterfall. Go now, for it is already dark, the Sky mother and her son have already showed themselves.”
Estund acknowledges the order and starts pulling away.
He is surprised at how far he has stretched his consciousness- Almost across the entire valley. But he has learned something valuable beyond the mountains surrounding them. There is no life at all, just a dark abyss, no stars that are not stars not even a candle in the dark. As he pulls back more and more, he hears a voice feint but becoming stronger with every second.
“Estund! Estund answer me, are you alright! Answer me, Estund!”
Estund opens his eyes slowly, and what he sees is the elf above him looking tired and more panicked than he has ever seen. The Elf has his hands on Estund’s shoulders, his eyebrows furrowed in worry.
“Dammit boy, what happened, you nearly gave me a heart attack! Things were going so well and then you just disappeared from my consciousness. I couldn’t sense you anymore.”
“Let me put it this way master, I now know why you have been so irritatingly strict on training my mind. I… I spoke to Sirena, well it’s more like she mind raped me into speaking with her.”
Estund starts to shake faintly in fear when he thinks back to how she had so easily crushed his defenses. “Master Aldowin I strongly suggest we never try to cross her.”
Aldowin’s face turns into a mixture of confusion, doubt and something else Estund didn’t feel comfortable trying to decipher. Aldowin gets up and turns away from Estund.
“What did she tell you?”
Estund looks up at his master, a bit afraid of the changes he mentioned. He steels himself with a long deep breath.
“That I must go to the top of the waterfall, Alric is on his way and they will meet me there.” Aldowin sighs. “Then it is time. I will show you the path that goes to the top of the waterfall. Follow me.”
Estund gets up and realizes it has already gone dark. He looks up in the sky and what he sees takes his breath away. The sky mother is out in all her splendor. She looks like a pearl of pure white suspended in the abyss of space. A jewel surrounded by darkness that only makes her looks all the more beautiful. But that isn’t what drew Estund’s attention, right next to her, almost touching her, is the Sky prince. He is smaller than her but to Estund, he is far more noteworthy mostly because of the color.
He is the same color as Estund’s eyes, blue, and on the rare occasions where Estund sees him, he feels a longing inside himself, a longing to be in the sky, to feel the wind with wings he does not have.
The sky mother is the moon, or so he was told by Aldowin many years ago when the elf caught him sitting by the river, just staring at the sky. The elf had asked him why he was just sitting there.
His little face was one of true heartbreaking sadness as he turned to look at his master.
“She calls to me Aldowin. at night, when she is as bright as she is now, I hear her voice, and she calls to me.”
That night was the first and last night the elf had ever put him to bed.The sky prince is a smaller moon in the Sky mothers orbit, and once every year, it moves in between the earth and the Sky mother, this period is called the Sky month. However, only the dragons call them the Sky mother and Sky prince. Sky mother is pronounced Slyda and Sky prince as Slyfer. In the Elvin language, it’s Laluna and Lalulin.
Aldowin’s call forces the boy to tare his gaze away from the sky. “Come Estund, the hour grows late and you have a far way to go.” The elf is waiting next to the shore of the small lake, after he gets Estund’s attention he starts walking in the direction of the waterfall, still pounding away, forever caught in the trap of gravity. Estund trots to quickly catch up with the elf. “Master, you said I have a far way to go, are you not coming with me then?”
“No, the dragons have forbidden me to go with you, you must take this journey on your own.”
An awkward silence binds the two until they reach a spot on the shore that is the nearest to the waterfall. “I cannot accompany you any further. Go into the lake and swim to the right of the waterfall, make sure to stay as close to the cliff as possible. Avoid the bottom of the falls, if you are caught in it, you will be drowned in the maelstrom of the falling water.
Aldowin steps closer, as if inspecting his student before he continues. “After you have reached the cliff, skirt it and make your way towards the back of the waterfall. You will see the path there. Trust in what I have taught you, always stays calm and use that bird brain of yours!”
Estund nods at the order. “Yes master. Why does this feel like goodbye?” Aldowin rubs the boy’s head. It’s the most affection he has shown in the last sixteen years. “In a way it is, after tonight you will be a changed man. It will be up to you if it is for the good or bad. Go now!”
With one last worried look at his master, he starts wading into the water. Even from the edge of the lake, he can feel the vibration of the tons of water cascading down and pounding into the lake below. It gets too deep and he starts to swim towards the right of the waterfall. The water is as cold as ice, and soon his lips start shaking, but still he swims on. In his heart burns a fire to learn to know, to finally find out who and what he is.
He soon reaches the cliff, already tired and gasping for air. Pursing his lips in determination, he starts going towards the waterfall, from the right the rocks are covered in moss, so he slips all along the way. Here and there he is able to grab a hold of a root, plant or whatever he can find to pull himself closer and closer. The closer he gets to the bottom of the fall, the harder the water pushes against him. He takes a hold of a root and it comes free, leaving him with nothing to grab onto! Desperately, he tries to grab a hold of something but his hands keep slipping and he gets pushed further and further away. Remembering the elf’s words, he calms himself and tries to think of a way out of it.
It comes to him after a while, he closes his eyes trying to put his last hope into action. Diving into that place where he can sense all the living things around him. He expands his consciousness as far as he can.
“A Root…There is a root running all along the cliff, just under the waterline! He makes a lunge for it and manages to just touch it with the tips of his fingers, but it’s no use. He gathers his last ounce of energy, and with one last spurt of strength. He surges forward, grabbing the root covered in slime. He manages to hold on and pull himself closer.
“To do this, I will have to be in this state of mind and the other at the same time. But how?” As soon as he opens his eyes, everything comes back to normal. He closes them again and goes back to that state of mind, everything lights up once again. “Ok. Now what smart ass?” He starts thinking back to all the training sessions he had with the elf, maybe he missed something somewhere that can help him now.
He thinks long and hard trying to remember every detail, every little thing the elf had said, but as hard as he try, nothing comes to mind. The water feels like it is only getting worse, the cold is stabbing at him like thousands of knives. He closes his eyes again, taking deep breaths to calm down. Somehow he manages to keep his concentration just long enough to open his eyes fully in the freezing water. “It can be done! I just need to focus more. If I make the range smaller, maybe it will be easier to focus. He closes his eyes again painfully aware that his time is running out, he can feel hypothermia starting to set in.
When he opens his eyes. Everything is the same, but still, it is different! He feels like he has been looking at the world through filters all this time. Everything around him shines with brilliance, each life a jewel of its own.[/size]
“Enough looking around, I need to move, Now!”
He starts pulling himself along, making it much faster than before. His hands and feet are starting to go numb, he can’t hold on properly anymore. Gasping, he looks toward the waterfall that is now so close that he can only see a small portion of it. The waters churn, as if a huge beast wants to break through the surface. It tugs at him, trying to pull him off the cliff.
“There it is, the entrance! “
The sight of the entrance gives him new hope and he starts to redouble his efforts. He bumps his hand against the cliff and he feels a sudden spike of pain on his index finger of his right hand.
“Ouch! Almost there, Cooooold so coooold.” Finally he feels something under his foot and steps on it. He tries to go forward but he trips over something and falls face first into the water, hitting his head at the same time. Groggily he gathers his thoughts, already sensing the bump growing on his temple.
His eyes widen in surprise. “Steps! These are steps!” He pushes himself out of the water and climbs the steps slowly. Not out of necessity, but simply because his limbs don’t want to move properly.
He sees dry wood neatly stacked in what he now perceives to be a cave. There is a spot close to the wood where he can see an old fire was. Quickly as he can he gathers the thinnest pieces of wood and holds his hand over it. A familiar feeling creeps over him, like ice and lightning running down his arm to his hand. Soon after, a quick pop sound fills the cave and he has a fire.
He quickly starts putting thicker dry wood on the small fire, and soon he has a medium sized one. He pulls off his shirt and trousers, and then throws it open near the fire to dry. The pain in his finger only seems to get worse as a little life returns to his shaking arms and legs. He holds it in the light of the fire. The nail is torn clean off and it hurts like hell. Taring a strip of cloth from the bottom of his pants and ties it around his finger to stop the bleeding. Afterwards he moves closer to the fire and adds a few logs to keep it going. He can feel the life coming back into his limbs and he gets an idea.
Estund closes his eyes, bringing his consciousness completely back to himself, turning all of it inward. He is surprised at how much life force there is within him. He shines like a bright star and senses the same feeling that he got when he encountered Sirena earlier today. It is some clue to who and what he really is, is the first thought that runs through his mind but Estund decides to move on and not dwell on it, if he wants to reach the top of the waterfall, he needs to concentrate and give all his attention to the task at hand.
Lifting his still shaking hand, he brushes his hair back over his head. “I can do this, I have to. I need to know, and only they can tell me.” He focuses once again on himself, listening to his heartbeat, the sound of air rushing in and out of his lungs as he breathes. The sounds take over his entire world, until finally, even the roar of the waterfall fades to nothing. He reaches deep within himself, where he knows the magic is and starts a trickle to run into and around his body, covering every part of himself.
Using the same method as he did to start the fire, he concentrates on the air and the molecules surrounding him instead of just his hand. “Okay, if I do this wrong, at least I will go out in a literal blaze of glory. What is life without a little risk right?” Taking one last deep breath, he slowly starts heating the air around him, careful not to go too far. He feels the change immediately, and instantly, he starts to warm up. The life in his hands and feets quickly returns to normal, he opens and closes them while he wiggles his toes, just to make sure they do in fact work properly. The wound on his right hand still throbs, but other than that, everything feels normal.
The shaking stops, and soon, everything feels as good as new. He stops the flow of magic and sends his consciousness outward, just like he did before.
Estund opens his eyes and feels a sudden bout of irritation and frustration at himself. “I should have thought of that while I was in the water!” He jumps up, irritation making his movements a bit forceful. He starts to put on his clothes, not interested in waiting another second for them to dry. The clothes are cold and wet against his skin, but its bearable. Tearing off a piece of his pants, he wraps it around a log and holds it in the fire to have a make shift torch. After a few seconds of sizzling it catches fire.
Holding the torch out in front of him, he heads for the entrance to what looks to be the stairway that leads to the top of the waterfall. His face set and determined. “Nothing will stop me.”