Lysandra was much younger than I had expected, a dainty flower in many ways as her dress reminded me of the beautiful lilies on the lake near the farm I grew up in. When I was Lyra's age we used to sit on the bank and watch the tadpoles emerge from the frog spawn, I'd cool my feet in the water.
"So you bring things back to life Cally? Can I call you Cally?" She lagged behind me and her horse seemed to be pained by a sore on his hind leg. I stopped and made a quick dismount.
"I suppose you can call me Cal, most people do, Daedeia used to call me Calathea or Thea so I'll most probably respond. And no, I don't - I heal them, death I can't reverse, but from death comes new life."
"That's cool, did you see the way I could move the water? How good my swimming is?"
"Yes, I did, but I'd say you're a bit better than a good swimmer. Can you get water out of thin air?" I reached down to the grey back leg and held my hand on the sore. The horse gave a quick neigh and the leg bulked with muscle again.
"Wow, you fixed Whirl's leg, it's been sore for so long. And I don't know... how should I find out?" She watched me climb once more onto Fluffy and I was silent for a while while I mulled the question.
We came to a large bright clearing, "Well if I really think about it, believe it and focus, well it just happens, things grow, heal just become well, I'm a doctor and I have always wanted my paitents better - and they all have." I looked at a gnarled oak on the other side and saw it was dying - it didn't have enough water and the soil was dry and sandy below it. "See that oak? Think water at it, it needs it."
"Do you think I can? Can't you heal it yourself?"
"Well I can very easily, But we're testing you, not me."
She looked at the oak, but the soil remained dry. She was frustrated and the waves of annoyance just rippled across her little face. "I can't do it."
"Well in the water you were, flamyboyant would be the word, sort of showy, you moved you arms and were sort of 'one with the water'." She looked at me as if she understood and got off of the grey Whirl.
She walked into the clearing and stood talk, breathed in and held her hands to the her breath. It looked like a cloud forming, a very thick watery cloud. She seemed to rise a three feet when she inhaled again, I saw that under her feet alarge puddle had, without better words to describe it, welled up from the ground. She blew the fairly large cloud to the tree and it suddenly dropped, not like rain, but rain sped up. I could see the relief in the tree and quickly rid it of a peeling bark infection without Lyra noticing.
"Well done Lyra! See, you're different, you're more physical whereas I'm more abstract. I wonder who else we'll meet and how they will 'work'?"
"Sonner we get there, sooner we'll know, lets get on; which way?"
"How should I know? Fluffy knows."
"I don't know where we're going, Fluffy knew how to find you and your guardian seemed to whisper something to our horses. They know."
"Whirl is just dappy, he doesn't listen."
"You'd be surprised. Fill my water bottle would you? I looks awfully empty."
"This is the only reason you'd bring a kid with you isn't it?" She stuck out her tongue and closed her eyes. The bottle becameheavy with crystal clear water.
"No, you're a Sage... and a bit of a laugh. I suppose we need some humor."
"True, but I know why you're here, why do you really need me?"
"How can't you see... I... you... Water is very important, How do plants grow, wouldn't we all be thirsty? Water is a key stone in the little pyramid of life, with food and happiness."
"So is there a Happiness and Food Sage?" She wasn't impressed with my analogy.
"Ok, said that wrong, have you heard of the essential elements?"
"Well they're the essenial, as the name suggests, but they aren't science-y elements like metals and things. They're more, abstract but physical? Water, Fire, Air, Light. But there are even less physical, Time, Life, Death - and also Destruction."
"So, I am essential?"
"Well that sounds good. So Thor said we were going to meet the Light Sage Felixia?"
"I would think so because it is kind of lighter in this part of the forest, we must be kind of close."
We were out of the woods now and in a very light meadow, the sun seems much lighter, the water sparkles and glistens, the dew of the grass is like crystals. It's so live, so fresh.
"I think we're here."
"I think you may be right Lyra."
Sherly was waiting for us outside the house, she knew we were coming. She held in her hands a floured loaf of bread, criss-crossed and fat.
"Want to break bread?"
"So are we going to meet Felixa?"
"Not until morning."
"But it's so light out." Lyra was already in the water with a barely audible splash.
"Can't help that I'm 'fraid, you'll get used it it in a while. Come in and rest, it's late."
"Well the water's fine." I wasn't listening to much as I hooked up our mounts to a feed and water through. The old lady had gone inside, leaving the door open for me. I followed inside.
"Well I think first things first, you'll be sleeping in here for the time being, I darkened it especially because I don't think you'll be used to it being to bright. I'll bring in the Water Sage.. err..."
"Lysandra, but call her Lyra. I'm Calathea, or Cal, Thea - call me anything but late for lunch."
"Ok, but I know you, Daedeia and I were good friends before, she spoke of you fondly and often. Now unpack your belongings into a bed of your choice - you're in the girls room, so a choice of two top bunks or the bunk underneath. Then you'll know which box is yours."
She ushered me to the room down the hall. Felixia was asleep on the bottom bunk close to the door, the door was open, maybe she needed the light? I decided on the bottom bunk next to the window. I put Forget on the window in the corner and she started to weave her home. I looked around the room and near my bed it looked like there had appeared a wooden box, like a crate. It was beautifull engraved with leaves and bugs and my name had been woven into the design. Lyra came in oddly dry and jumped to the top bunk above me.
"I'll unpack when I'm not so tired." And she promptly fell asleep.
I placed my spare dress in the box, the first aid kit I was given on becoming a doctor and my shoes I hardly wore. I let my bangles fall on the dress with a gentle clanging and pulled my plaits into a quick bunch. I started to sleep. To dream. I saw us all together, the eight of us surrounded but an orb of pure energy.