Darvin drifted as part of the clouds for a long time, enjoying shoving them this way and that with his will. He forgot why he was there in the clouds. The ground looked black beneath him.
“Darvin! Darvin! Darvin!!” Darvin heard the call, and he became confused. Where was he? Why could he not move? He remembered he was scrying, and he remembered controlling the clouds. He tried to find his body, but he had lost all sense of direction drifting.
“Darvin!” That sounded like Sillette. He drifted along the water, particle to particle, moving toward the call, his consciousness moving along the water bridge as quickly as sound travels. He let go of his urge to control the clouds. They started to break apart.
He floated over valleys, passing Gregori far below, paying a ferryman to take him across the last river before the mountains. Soon Darvin drifted up and over the foothills, up and over the mountains, and back to his family longhouse. He could see Sillette below shouting into his ears, “Darvin!” As he returned to his body, he felt pins and needles and aches in all his locked muscles. He lowered his arms, and almost fell as he tried to walk on feet that felt like painful blocks of numbness. He had never been gone from his body for so long before. He had never made a storm before. He hadn’t even known it was possible. He sat suddenly on the flagstone roof.
“Darvin, what happened. You didn’t move for hours! I thought you would never come back to yourself. I was so worried.”
“Sillette, I lost myself.” Darvin admitted quietly, rubbing his leg muscles back to life. “I was a cloud. I was the sky. I called down lightning and hail. Those robbers might have killed Gregori, I was so scared!” Darvin covered his face with his hands. He felt Sillette’s arms come around him.
“It’s okay,” she said, using the age-old words of comfort a woman gives a man when all other words fail. “You’re okay. Can you walk? Let’s go find your mother. You should only tell your story once, and then you’ll need sleep before tonight.” Sillette put a hand under his arms and promised to return the scrying bowl after he was sleeping.
Yoli was in her stillroom, combining herbs and oils amid the drying flowers when Sillette and Darvin found her. She pulled stools up for them, and then she listened with wonder on her face.
“I have never heard of any shaman controlling the weather,” she said.
“I haven’t either,” Sillette said. “And I have read the history books cover to cover.”
“You have always been powerful when you have believed in yourself,” Yoli said slowly. “Doubting yourself is your downfall.”
“No one can doubt you once they hear this story, not even you,” Sillette said with glee in her voice.
“What about your father?” Yoli asked her. Sillette’s smile fell away. Silence fell. “Granite is a hard man, a fierce opponent and a man with little faith in what he cannot hold in his hands.” Yoli said, the true words falling heavily like stones.
“I will speak to Granite.” Darvin promised. His heart ached with fear, but he would not let it stop him from trying to protect the clan. If he could sway Granite from smelting in daylight, the others would follow his lead. Yoli nodded. She put her hand on Sillette’s shoulder, “Thank you for bringing my boy back to himself.” Then she picked up an ointment bottle, and left them.
Darvin reached out and took Sillette’s hand in his. “Thank you for calling me back to myself, Sillette. I don’t know if I would have found my way back without you.”
Sillette blushed and looked at the floor. When he looked right into her eyes these days, she felt confused inside. Things had become complicated between them. She felt her skin heat.
“I’m sure you would have, but I’m glad I helped you, Darvin.” Sillette finally found her words. “Please be gentle with my father. He means well, but he doesn’t realize how forceful he can be. He makes mistakes like anyone. Unfortunately, everyone follows him and problems multiply. I tried to talk to him, but he just said no one looks at our corner of the world. He can’t know that. The histories show terrible battles between giants and dwarves. We are lucky now that they think we don’t exist. War would result from them finding us again.”
“Gregori knows the shortest roads, and he will be back before the meeting tonight. He’ll support us. If Dad gets the giant medicine Mom says he’ll feel better in a few days. We’ll sort this out.” Darvin gave her a hug, and he caught his breath, holding the scent of her inside him as long as he could after he released her. She turned and left, and he released his breath.
Darvin fell asleep on his bed like a man dead.
Yoli woke him before the midnight meeting. Darvin felt groggy and overheated. Warm dreams had brought back his fears. He returned to the roof, and he let the radiance of the stars cool him before going to see his father. He saw that Sillette had kept her word and returned his father’s scrying bowl. Wizen was awake, but still pale and feverish. Gregori had returned, and he was standing by the bed, a purple lump on his head, but otherwise okay. He was bent over to fit within the low ceiling. Darvin and Gregori exchanged a long look that both brothers understood, containing all the devotion, love and gratitude they would never put into words.
“Darvin,” Wizen said in his deep, gravelly voice. “Tell your story to the elders. Tell them my wishes that smelting stop during the day. You are destined to be Laird. If you believe in yourself and your right to lead, they will follow you. You run the meeting.”
“I will, Dad. Don’t worry. Feel better.” Yoli came in with some bananas mashed into yogurt.
“Oh, it’s not broth! Praise the Mountain!” Wizen said with a glimmer of his former magic.
“You sound just like your brother Forst!” Yoli retorted, acting irritated, but clearly enjoying his show of spirit. The antibiotic was working faster than she had thought possible.
“Where is Uncle Forst?” Darvin wanted to know.
“At Imelia’s. Which we will not discuss,” Yoli said quellingly. Yoli and Wizen exchanged a look. Darvin grinned inwardly, but he noticed Gregori looking blank. Yoli put a loving hand on Gregori’s sleeve. He smiled at her, coming out of the reverie he always fell into when contemplating Forst.
“Gregori, remember to share Dr. Rumald’s news,” Wizen said. Gregori flicked back dark hair.
“I will do as you said, Laird Wizen.” Gregori said, but his tone was not subject to Laird, rather son to father.
Darvin accepted that if they did not want to tell him the news now, he would find out at the midnight clan meeting. His father did love to intrigue.
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham