The Hanging Cliffs, Sweetwater Cove, Sovereign Isle of Ile’
White Moon 3303 – December
Foamy waves crashed violently against the foot of the sea cliffs at Sweetwater Cove under a dark, stormy sky and Kahla felt a firm warning from deep within her weathered bones. A bad sign. Very bad sign. The old woman retreated from her spot upon the cliff’s edge where she had been observing the rising sea below and trod through the dry sea grass to her hut where it stood snugly across the way amongst an overhang of leafy Gola trees. She climbed the short steps to the door and entered the hut. Once inside, she lit a fire in the belly of her small iron stove as the wind began to pick up its pace outside. She then walked about the small rooms of her home and pulled the wooden shutters closed over each window.
“So quick you come tonight, pretty storm,” she spoke aloud to the silence. “May our girl come quickly too. It is well past time, is it not?”
The wind answered with a muffled whistle, blocked as it was by the closed shutters, and she smiled as she pulled her rocker from the corner of her kitchen to the front of the stove and sat. She filled her thin, wooden pipe with dry kipi leaves to wait out the storm. Kahla, the sole remaining Sela Master of her tribe and the last of the living jungle dwarfs of ‘Ile, had the short, wiry frame of the water sprites and her thinning silver hair hung well past her hips. Her large dark violet eyes contained speckles of silver that reflected rainbows in the sunlight and her leathery skin, bronzed from years of living along the beaches, was smooth and flawless despite her age. Her rocker appeared child sized to the average Ile’yna, as did her tiny hut, but then she did not get very many visitors in her home on the isolated cliffs and she preferred it that way.
She lit her pipe and leaned back into the pillowed seat, gently gliding to and fro as the wind thrashed the branches of the Gola trees above her woven roof.
“Yes, yes, I know,” she said aloud as she exhaled a plume of blue smoke. “I should not smoke the kipi leaf. But I am an old woman set in my ways. Would you deny me small pleasures now? When I am hunched and frail and it is nearly my time to return to the Great Sky?”
She took another deep pull from the delicately carved pipe, allowing the sweetness of the leaf to linger in her mouth before exhaling slowly. A vision of the girl with the sea colored eyes flashed before her mind and she watched as the girl was moved to safety in the snowy scene before her; she heaved a sigh of relief, glad to see that the girl had escaped the destruction that had again reached her people. Kahla frowned considering what this new terror would mean for Sahyun and a crash sounded in the distance as a tree branch was struck by lightning.
“You can have your way, pretty storm. She is at least safe for now. The fighters will protect her and it will do her much good to gain their strength,” Kahla muttered into the dimness of her tiny kitchen.
The bright red flames of fire light from the open stove door colored her eyes a glossy mahogany as the old woman peered unseeingly towards her shuttered window.
“Come now, my lovely storm, and bring our girl to me soon. There is no time to waste.”
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