“Have you ever seen anything like it before?” Chardra swung the beam of light at the grass, and it fell away in a sheet that smoked momentarily. An old woman sat next to her atop the hill. Graying blonde eyebrows rose in surprise, but her features remained otherwise impassive as she stared across the strange landscape. Snow drifted across sandy desert plains, and a rainbow-hued herd of horses appeared on the horizon.
She shook her head. “You say you took this from a man made of moonsilver?”
“Yes, and after he was dead, his body melted away into a sort of…sludge. And then it disappeared altogether. It was the strangest thing I think I’ve ever seen, Tressa.”
“And I suppose that is saying something, eh, little Ghost Wind?” The old woman’s blue eyes smiled up at her former apprentice. Chardra released her power from the weapon as she sat down, and the beam of light disappeared. It was impossible for the old wisewoman to say what memories shaded her companion’s strange green eyes as she watched the horses float across the surreal tundra. Tressa was sure they were filled with wonders she’d only half believed in before the younger woman had become one of Luna’s children.
“He said, ‘We’re coming to consume you,’ — these Children of Autochthon. I’ve heard the name before somewhere, but I don’t know much about it. Something to do with the war against the Primordials.”
“That lore is older than even your people. It may be difficult to learn more.”
“I wish I could have gotten him to talk to me more. There was a font of knowledge at our fingertips, and they bashed his skull in!” Frustration rippled off of Chardra, forming the vague shape of a horse that distorted the air like heat. The herd galloped closer, perhaps drawn by the scent of a familiar spirit. Their hooves never seemed to touch the earth, but they kicked up plumes of snow as they circled the two women.
“He did attack you and your fellows unprovoked, child. A bear totem is not likely to suffer such insult gladly. And as strange as this man sounds, even your silvered tongue may not have been enough to make him spill his secrets.”
The stallion leading the colorful mob approached Chardra, pushing his muzzle into her shoulder. She reached a hand up absently and scratched between his ears. “I don’t know, Tressa. He…thanked me. For my compassion.” The stallion snuffed her hand away and shoved his nose into her side. “If I’d only had more time–OW!”
She looked up into large eyes that matched the color of her own. Eyes that looked very self-satisfied at the nip the towering white horse had given her leg. Sweeping Wind lifted his head and nodded enthusiastically back toward the village of Burning Leaf. The hill was just visible through the trees that surrounded them.
“Okay, okay! I’m coming!” She chuckled, and stood, swinging herself astride her friend’s broad back.