As the morning of their first night in the forest came Destran and Yara began to stir. I was still on the edge of camp talking with Lyra. We had kept each other company during the night watch. It was pleasant to talk to such a fascinating creature. She did not treat me as odd or different. This was probably due to her not knowing any better but it was a nice change. Yara was the first to rise from her sleeping roll and after a quick exchange with Destran a boot was flung in her direction. I moved to stop them fighting but Lyra touched my arm lightly and just smiled while shaking her head. This touch felt like a jolt of lightening flashed through my arm and around my body. I took a step back to Lyra trying not to show how her touch had affected me. I had never felt anything of the sort. It felt magnificent. I continued watching Destran and Yara. They had a very strange relationship. I was beginning to think they might be mates yet neither wore any symbols of marriage. Strange beings they were.
We broke camp early that morning. They decided to eat as we were walking so as to save time. I pointed the direction and let Destran suggested I lead the way. I walked out in front of the group and was promptly joined by Lyra, and we struck up a conversation immediately as we had done last night. Destran matched my pace a small distance behind and Yara stayed at his side.
Once Lyra got talking it was impossible to stop her. Not that I wanted to, she had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. She was fascinated with every individual aspect of the Forest. She wanted to know the names for every single plant in sight. She was like a newborn Falath’Nakan fumbling around in the Forest making plenty of noise caring not if they were heard. This brought a smile to my face. She was so happy making her new little discoveries and asking me all of the questions she could think of. Soon though we weren’t finding many new species of plant or animal so she turned her attention to my childhood.
For some strange reason I felt at ease when talking with Lyra. I could be myself and not be ashamed of it. I told her about my childhood and my education and the traditions and meanings behind the markings on my skin. These markings puzzled her no end. Despite my several attempts at explaining them she continued to ask “How can a colourful mark on your skin determine your life and destiny?”. She just couldn’t fathom the culture of the Falath’Nakan. After giving up on the markings the conversation halted slightly which handed me the opportunity to inquire about her life thus far.
“I am a Sievere” she informed me as if this was the most obvious thing in the world. I looked at her stunned.
“You are a woman of water?” I asked incredulously. She looked a bit annoyed but she nodded and then smiled. This explained her strange scent and harmonious voice and her astounding beauty. I was afraid I had offended her by calling her “a woman of water” but when I asked about her childhood and her home and she launched into another long speech about her homeland and how she grew up with Yara and they had always been friends. It was amazing to listen to her talk. She took such joy from the world and brought a smile to my once cold face continuously.
“How did you end up with Destran?” I asked once she was finished describing her underwater paradise,
“Yara followed him on his quest, and I followed her. I am her friend and couldn’t let her come onto the land alone.” She told me with a hint of almost motherly tenderness creeping into her tone when she spoke of Yara. I nodded understanding even though I did not understand. Surely if it was his quest it was his alone to complete and not theirs? I did not voice this question as I was afraid I might appear stupid or uncultured to Lyra. I also made a mental note of how Destran had not mentioned a quest when I had initially confronted him.
“What could he want in the mountains?” I asked hoping not to alert Lyra to my suspicion of Destran or indeed my fear of where he was headed. Thankfully, being unfamiliar with human concepts she didn’t see any problem with telling me his business.
“He is going in search of the Stone of Sanfadier” she stated almost proudly. This revelation shocked me yet I did not let it show. And I continued walking. Thankfully I did not have to try to make further conversation as we had reached the edge of the forest and the foothills of the mountains.
We made camp on the edge of the Forest as it was too late to begin the climb. Destran again suggested a “fire” and as we were clear of the Forest I allowed him his petty allusions. He began gathering fallen branches and piled them in the middle of the camp. He then started striking two implement together until suddenly the branches burst into what I was later told was flames. This was a magnificent sight. These red flames seemed alive. They flickered and licked up along the branches. I was captivated in their dance until I was handed a thing with food in it. (Lyra later informed me this was a “bowl”).
Once dinner was finished we agreed to take the watch as before. Lyra settled down to sleep once again and I stared at her face in the firelight. She was shivering and I longed to lie next to her to lend my warmth to fend off the cold of night yet I feared she might not react well to this innocent gesture. I lay there long into the night staring at her and pondering what she had said earlier, “He is going in search of the Stone of Sanfadier”. I was still awake when it came my time to take the watch. Lyra was still asleep so I instructed Yara to leave her alone as I would be ok on my own. A few minutes later I turned to the sound of feet dragging over the dirt ground and smiled as I saw Lyra coming towards me with a smile on her face. She seated herself next to me huddled up in her cloak. I placed my arm around her and pulled her into the warmth of my body. She didn’t protest and was soon asleep on my chest, her slow breathing the only sound that I could hear.
As morning arrived she awoke once again and realising where she had slept, she smiled awkwardly and hurried back to the camp and the now stirring Yara.