from_the_west: (the house that matteu built)
[personal profile] from_the_west
second part, which happens after this part. extended by another part, for those few that saw this as a WIP.

*****

The four--or somewhat less than four--of them were riding, and there was one following, the third bright one, the one that wasn't (probably) the cridhos and definitely wasn't the mage they were riding with, flicking in and out on the edge of their senses, like deamhan campfire. Female, they thought, and young, more curious than anything.

"Who follows?" They asked the mage, because he seemed to be most likely to answer and least likely to lie by omission.

Aten actually blinked back at them for a moment, surprised, and his Anilipe mare did a little skip sideways, and he steadied her with an absent word and a pat to the high arching curve of her neck, as his face went blank and he went looking with his internal eye, chasing threads though the ether. The answer he found sent him spinning through a full emotional range of delight, fondness and worry.

"Looks like Rose changed her mind, tá. She's following--don't hurt her." He announced to them all; the last, stern warning was for their benefit, they supposed. It was rather cute, really.

"'Maith," from Ever's direction. "We could use her."

They headed due north, swung around a rough patch of rock and sage and heather, ducking scattered birch and ash, and reined up short, to take in the unexpected view--the earth suddenly cut away before them entirely, and at the bottom of the rocky cliff, there was a rolling plain, glinting pale silver-green, then a richer gold-green, and then deeply blue-green from the shadows cast by floating clouds. Some miles distant, the forest began again, tall and midnight-dark--even the air above it seemed full of shadows. To the shield-hand side, to the east, they could see the cold gray peaks and folds of the Tessany.

Halfway down, however, there was a series of buildings, and a number of ships floating, perched, some with colorful sails ballooning, some furled, some under various states of construction.

"Helps if you don't look down," Ever said, and then he added, "Oi Petora--find me when you get here. I've got something for you to do." And with that, he spurred his pony and put him over the cliff. The pony snorted, and trotted down, his feet finding the path where their eyes couldn't, like any good pony that knew its business, and the twins followed. Aten's mare flattened her ears and swished her tail irritably at this madness, but she followed at the mage's insistence, with such a very clear sense of "I must love you very much." attached to it that it seemed nearly human. Anilipe were sometimes mildly disturbing like that.

Part the way down their careful shuffle-trot to the mews proper, there was a mad whoop and a blonde steak on a pony went skidding past them at something between a full gallop and a rockslide. Ever chuckled. Aten shook his head.

"Rose?" Tiun laughed.

"Or a whole poka-ful of crazy in a hummingbird purse." He said, sighing. "But Rose Petora is shorter to say, tá."

*******

Keely Maeveen was the one that bore the mew-master's spyglass and whistle here. She strode the narrowest planks and hand-span-wide beams that cris-crossed the cliff-face between airship perches, cadges and eyries with unshakable confidence and and her hands with fingers interlaced behind her. Her dark hair bound in a drakthos-style braid, and wearing an authoritative bright-buttoned jacket with a cream and black fox-fur hood that suggested a place with a militia that hadn't been recognized for the past hundred years (and was supposedly disbanded at least three hundred years before, as far as the throne was concerned), she was alternately shouting insults and orders over the wind without so much as a waver or pause for breath, cloak-less and the spear on her back plainly visible.

Ever cupped a hand to his mouth and called up to her from the plank he was walking, his head a good stone's toss below the beam she was nimbly pacing in knee-high boots. Her response came in the form of a nod and something undoubtedly subvocal; she scarcely looked at him otherwise.

He actually started to smile, and then shot the twins a suspicious, sour look; they beamed back at him innocently. Cén? They'd felt nothing.

"Bowyn's in." He nodded in a direction that might have included any one of several buildings on the cliff-face. "It's one of his boats we'll be borrowing." This time he gave them a solid thread of attention to follow. "That drake down there, tá. Might as well board while I go clear it wi' Brolly-boy. Aten, plot the course but don't wake her. Tiu, come with me."

Rose made a disappointed face that perfectly matched her sulky aspect, as trailed after him. "But I wanna go see the boat...."

"Ye will. Shut it and come with me, tá?"

*****

They could see the drake, tá, but getting to where it was perched was another matter altogether. 'Twas tricky business, walking the planks and crawling down ladders, some places only involving handholds notched into the rockface, and the valley floor still much too far below t' allow for a misstep. They were doing a fair job of it (this is the part where it's good we've spent so much time in high places, tá?) as normally they were the ones daring to scramble into places the other Defensoran looked askance at, but their feats of daring paled next to some of the busy sky-bound sailors around them. Faerie-born fravashi swooped recklessly through the gaps around, under, and above them like pigeons, and sidhe called last moment warnings as they ran, leaping and scaling, wielding tools and will with a reckless ease, leaning into the more particularly fierce wind gusts.

Then they made a most annoying discovery, tá--with the way the mews had been built, one adding on to another, with more care for purpose than any real planning or sense, there wasn't any such thing as a direct path. And at the end of their descent, the boat they found themselves standing next to was little more than a sliver of bright silky ash-wood planking bound with a handful of nails and a few sigils.

"More like a basilisk--"
"--than a drake, tá?"

Aten felt nervous. "Will we all even fit in that?"

"Ye can sit on our laps if ye like." They cracked in unison. He gave them a look and they ducked the spark he flicked at their aura, grinning.

"Don't distract me, I've a purpose here, tá?" He declared, making a unnecessarily grand performance of looking the drake over, then stepping to the head to test the wind, check the threads of the weather, and examine the leash and the jesses.

"So what you're saying--"
"--is that we're of sufficient attractiveness--"
"--to be a distraction to ye?" They grinned.

"All I am saying is if we do go into the mountain I will give you the credit, tá?"

They decided that he did have a point. They could always resume distracting him after the mountain.

"So who'd ye piss off to get assigned to SeWyn?" Tiun decided that this was a fair question, now that they were a bit more familiar.

Aten looked all indignant again. "Cén? Why would you think that is what happened? Why must there be pissing off?"

"We have met Sewyn before, tá?" Rin replied solemnly.

"Ah. Firrad."

Date: 2009-09-17 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] youraugustine.livejournal.com
*ded of laughing*

"All I am saying is if we do go into the mountain I will give you the credit, tá?"

*ded more*

"We have met Sewyn before, tá?" Rin replied solemnly.

Pot, KETTLE.

Date: 2010-05-05 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
he makes an adorable sidhe. i can't STAND it.

what? WHAT? their control-freakness is much more right and good than sewyn's!

Date: 2009-09-18 06:04 pm (UTC)
zero_pixel_count: a sleeping woman, a highway stretching out, mountains (Default)
From: [personal profile] zero_pixel_count
...that dock sounds kinda terrifying.

Date: 2010-05-05 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
i know I wouldn't set foot on it, myself. =D

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