I gently unfold the parchment and softly read the clue aloud, unconsciously taking on an authoritative tone.
“The Eagle soars to great heights,
And dives down in his flight.
Beside his path you will see,
The idol floats above a tree.”
I look over it again and as I go to read it a third time the parchment turns to dust and scatters on the wind. I stand. Nature flows through me and around me and I am off yet again. If the occasion was any less serious I would be laughing with joy. Even still I cannot help but smile as Nature carries me in her embrace.
I find myself slowing and stopping in the middle of a tree dotted plain. An eagle calls from the sky and I look up. In that instance it dives down and I race towards it. The idol sits plain as day, suspended above a tree. Again I wish I had wings.
The air around me whips another way. I sense someone else is near. I can not stop, if it is Zack, I can not let him beat me again. I can not let him cheat me out of an idol. I am at the tree and begin climbing. Suddenly the branch I’m using for a handhold breaks. Only by sheer instinct do I grab another and bolster myself with air.
“Damn,” I mutter, feeling tears well in my eyes. I struggle to regain my climb.
“Morgan?” It’s Theo’s voice.
I look up. He’s locked his legs around a branch. I take the proffered hand and he helps me regain my balance.
“Thanks,” I mumble as my heart rate slows.
Well that’s it. I’ve failed to take another idol. Well better to lose it to Theo. Makes up for taking one from Katha, I suppose. After all Fire is her element and Air is his. Just because they are also mine. My thoughts stop as I realize Theo hasn’t moved.
“Are you okay?” He’s genuinely concerned.
“I’m fine.” I look at him, wondering why he’s hasn’t taken the Idol yet.
“Morgan I want you to take the idol.” He states giving me an odd look.
“What?” I step back, nearly falling off the branch. He steadies me.
“I’ll make it up in another quest,” he insists.
My brow furrows, “Theo, you won it fair and square. I fell, it’s yours. I can’t take it from you.”
“No, I won’t take it. Go. Get it before someone else gets here!” He begins to pull me up the tree. I have no choice but to follow him.
“No,” I frown at him. “I win on my own merits.” I have to win on my own merits. How else will I prove that I am worthy?
“Fine,” he sighs, “But at least get up here so you know you’re first to get the clue.”
“Okay,” I sigh and clamber up after him.
As we near the top we both stand upon our own air cushions. He looks at me surprised, then smiles. Taking his time he circles around until he’s on the opposite side of me. I’m getting nervous. What if someone else, like Zack, comes in and cheats to get the clue before me? I keep looking around the clearing, watching for signs of approaching contenders.
“Catch!” Theo’s voice brings my focus back to him.
With instinctual reflexes I clutch the object that he has thrown to my stomach. For a moment I don’t understand the grin on his face. Then I see that I’m holding the idol; the idol that is now glowing.
“Theo, no!” The Idol was his by right.
I have no time to say anymore because the world swirls around me. I close my eyes against the blinding light. When I open them I’m back at camp. Charles looks up from his book. His eyes widen at the sight of me holding out the Idol.
“A second Idol?” he exclaims in wonder. “Bring in one more and you’ll have brought in as many as Helena.” He hands me a drink.
“You mean Queen Helena?” I ask, my eyes widening.
Charles chuckles as he makes the idol disappear. “Most kids are lucky to bring in one. You’re already doing quite well with two.” He ruffles my hair before taking the empty cup from me.
If you are thinking of slacking, I suggest you do not. You may have impressed your Camp Supervisor, but he is not the one who shall pass judgment on you.
“I, I know, sir,” I whisper as I walk out of camp towards my pond. I wouldn’t dream of slacking. Not when so much depends upon my passing.