Across the River
"I did not find him so bad," he said. "Sure, a bit funny, but ..."
"You gave him food," she interrupted, then he blinked in confusion.
"Of course I did. You saw him! I could not - "
"That's not the point, okay? It's just ... "Iris sighed. "I do not know if I would have."
Geb frowned her forehead. "Maybe you were a bit rude," he admitted. "Nevertheless…"
"It's more than that, Geb." Then she was silent. She had wanted to leave the Impure so quickly. But Geb didn't understand that. He was way too ... nice for that.
"...Do you want to talk about it?"
Iris did not really know. Of course she liked Geb, but there were some views that they did not share, she had already identified. What if he hated her now? "Only if you promise me not to get angry."
He nodded at once. "Promised."
"Well... Thorn told me a few things about my tribe, which were not very nice." She could not help but be silent in her next words, although she did not want to show weakness against Geb. "He's right. And I'm to blame. "
"How do you mean that?" Asked Geb, who sounded rather confused than shocked.
Just tell him. That could not be so difficult. Iris took a deep breath before she told him everything in one breath. "We actually annoy the Impures, my friends and I. We make life difficult for them, just for fun. It does not bother anyone, because everyone is treating the Impures like dirt, but now that I've seen that their life is really that bad... I did not want to be so mean to Thorn, honestly. It was only because I was suddenly very ashamed. I am embarrassed over something the tribe even advocated and for all the annoyances I have already done... strange, right? "
"Not at all." In fact, Geb did not seem to be angry at her at all. He had been so fond of law and order. On the other hand, he was the one who had given Thorn a mango, and Iris was quite certain that the Earth tribe did not think much of Impures either. "You know, the Impures are treated rather badly with us," he said, thus confirming their assumption. "I know a lot of people who annoy them, but I've never liked it before. The gang of recently had once beat an Impure for fun ... since then, most people find me weird, because I am always so nice to the Impures. "
"The only situation where you do not represent the Tribal Law, huh?" Despite the serious subject, Iris had to smile.
"We're breaking a lot of laws right now," Geb reminded her, then shrugged. "It's changing a lot anyway, don't you think? Perhaps we must really change to the positive to counter the negative that the shadows bring with it. "
"You're getting as poetic as Zeph. But ... yeah, you're right." I know now that I've behaved wrong, so I can change. She thought of all the things that Shimmer had stolen from some elms, so that Iris and her friends could get along better. Well, at least, as far as the Impures are concerned.
After this conversation, they rode on, until they finally arrived at the bank of the river Xiro. But they immediately recognized their problem: the river was very wide and it did not look as if it could be crossed somewhere.
"Shimmer and I can cross over," Iris stated. After all, the magpie could fly. "But with you and Boulder I'm not so sure."
"We could go around," Geb thought aloud. "But that could take days because I have no idea how far the source is from us."
"And Boulder is too heavy for Shimmer to carry him."
The rhinoceros growled, so Iris felt immediately that she had offended him.
But Geb disagreed: "Boulder says he can swim. And because he is so heavy, the current can not affect him so much. "
"He said that?" Iris could often interpret what Shimmer wanted to tell her, but she could not actually understand the magpie. And above all, she doubted that the short rumble of the rhinoceros had contained such a complex message.
"Well, at least something like that." Geb laughed. "I think we should try."
Iris nodded. "Shimmer and I are watching from above in case something happens to you. If need be, we use our powers. "
They flew up and watched Boulder moving slowly but surely through the river. It was going well, because the rhinoceros still seemed to be able to touch the riverbed so that the current had no chance against the most stable animal.
But Iris realized quickly that it would not last long. From above she could see that the current in the middle of the river was getting faster and the river itself seemed to be deepening. If she did not do something soon, Geb and Boulder would soon be swept away by the current.
Shimmer flew down to the two, while Iris pondered. If she pointed out the problem, he would perhaps try to save himself with his earth magic, but he did not have his powers under control, and might even aggravate the situation. Iris, on the other hand, could very well deal with her abilities. But she was not a water-elm, she had no power over the river.
However, he had power over Boulder, who had meanwhile waded into the deeper water. Geb and Iris noticed, shocked, as Boulder could hardly keep his direction and was driven off the stream faster and faster. Iris had no time to forge a plan. She had to act now.
"You'll help me, right?" She said to Shimmer, without waiting for an answer. She could trust the magpie blindly, and that was now urgently necessary: only then could she use the full maximum of her powers. Iris focused completely on her abilities, while Shimmer turned in the air. Iris leaned forward so that her face touched Shimmer's neck nape and stretched out her hands past the bird's neck. She closed her eyes to concentrate better, and was sure that Shimmer knew exactly what to do.
Then she sent the first blow. She was soon lifted into a longer-lasting stream of air, which pushed the waves of the river right into the rocks, so that the rhinoceros was not further driven off. That was certainly the plan - whether it worked, Iris did not know. She was so preoccupied with putting him into action that she only perceived how Shimmer's movements seemed to fit. She just hoped that she'd made it soon, for she already felt her powers dwindle again.
"It works! You're doing great, Iris! We're almost there." Geb's voice came up to Iris and she spurred on. She could not give up, so close to her goal. She gave it all again, and then she heard the words of the redemption: "We have done it! The water is flatter again. Now we can do it alone."
And with a relieved, as well as exhausted, sigh, Iris sank onto Shimmer's back.
She was instantly awake again, as her cold water was sprayed in her face.
"Hey! What are you doing?" She shouted at the perpetrator and realized with fright that it was not Geb - but a water elm. An Elmin, to be exact.
Iris blinked. Did she hallucinate in her exhaustion? No, there was no doubt that she was clearly a member of the water tribe with her azure skin, the gills on the neck, and the fins on her arms, legs, and back. And she did not look very friendly.
"Who are you?" Iris asked, ready to use her powers - even if she had just been exerting herself. She would not make it easy for the stranger to attack them. "And where is Geb?"
"I'm here," said the boy, and Iris noticed that he was watching them from a few feet away. Relieved, she realized that he was doing well. He had passed the river safely, and the stranger had done nothing to him. "Actually, I wanted to wait until you woke up again, but she disagreed."
"Still, she would not have had to pour a whole river over me."
"I had quite forgotten how vain you birds are," remarked the stranger.
Iris stared at her furiously. "The tribe of sky is not vain!" She protested, but the stranger did not let go.
"Oh yes? And why don't you call yourself like any other tribe? "
"Because Sky Tribe sounds stupid," Iris replied, quickly realizing that this attitude was precisely the reason for the opinion of the Water-Elmin. A triumphant expression flitted across her face before it became more objective.
"I've awakened you by the way, because you should disappear from here as quickly as possible. You are not only students who can not leave the territory of their tribe without adults, but also from two different tribes. I bet that you will be persecuted, but you would not want to be found out."
Iris had to admit that the stranger was right, but she did not want to let the Water-Elmin have the last word. "You're also a single student outside your territory," she said. "And do not even try to deny that, your markings go only a little bit lower than mine. This makes your age quite obvious. "
For a moment, she thought she saw surprise and even shock in the face of the water-elmin, but she knew how to defend herself. "The waters of Elysia belong to my tribe. This river as well as the oceans. I have the right to be here. "
"Well, actually you're on land," said Geb, who sounded as calm as ever. Apparently the hostility of the strangers did not matter to him. "So you're in the same situation as us."
"Not quite," said Iris. "She is not traveling with different people."
Then Geb began to grin. "Why not? She could come along!"
"What?" The girls said at the same time. At least in this respect, they agreed.
"That's ridiculous," Iris continued. "You can not just ask the next strange person we meet to join us."
"I'm not going to travel with anyone," the stranger added. "And whatever you do, it does not sound as if people like you would manage that."
But Geb remained optimistic. "We'll save the world from the shadows." He paused. "Do you know what shadows are at all? Underwater your tribe is certainly not affected by them."
"I am well aware of what the shadows are. We do not just live under water, you know. "
"All right. But as I said before, we are trying to find the hero of the light and, with his help, free the world from the shadows."
"And then all the tribes will live together in peace, the Impures will be respected and no one will ever go back to evil." The stranger crossed her arms. "Anything else?"
"No, that was all."
"Are you just stupid or do you actually believe that? That you go on such a journey is ridiculous enough, but to believe in such a utopia? You just can't be serious."
Iris could not believe the water-Elmin talking about her - especially about Geb. He had done nothing to her. "Yes, we are. We will not watch the shadows seize power. We will find the hero of the prophecy, and he will prevent even more innocent Elmen becoming shadows." They did not mention that they were looking for a tribe that might not exist. The stranger already thought she was crazy enough.
"Well, good luck with that. You will do it without me."
We also never planned to take you with you ... I at least do not.
"Can we maybe accompany you somewhere?", Geb asked. Why did he want to have this girl with him? Could not he see that she did not want anything to do with them?
To her surprise, the stranger seemed to think seriously about the offer. "Depend on where you want to go."
"To the ore tribe," declared Geb, who seemed to be happy about the change of attitude. "And then on to the west ... I think."
Iris hurried to say something before the water-Elmin could make fun of Geb's words. "To Beak Bay, to be exact."
She knew, however, that there was no point in lying, because the other knew already about her plans. There she could show her just as well, with how much conviction she was in the matter. "We will certainly need a ship and this place is known for its maritime journey."
The water-Elmin hesitated, but finally nodded, though still not very enthusiastic. "Nice. I'll come to the Beak Bay, but not further. It should not take too long, since your quest for the ore tribe will not be very successful." She seemed to enjoy Iris's furious face. "And do not think I would have any serious interest in your adventure. You're just a flop. "
Great, thought Iris. I'd rather have traveled with a shadow. "You could have helped us, by the way, when we crossed the river."
"Right," said the stranger indifferently. "But you did well without me, did not you? Besides, only my powers would really have helped you, but I can not use them at the moment. "
"What about your companion?" Iris thought, and she peered over to the river. "Isn't she here?"
"She's in the sea," the water elmin explained. "We both know that we'll be together in a while. She could not follow me into the river, but we'll be back."
"Then that would all work out," Geb smiled, while Iris was simply annoyed that her last plan had not worked. She had to get used to her new travel companion. "I am, by the way, Geb," the Earth-Elm continued. "And these are Iris, Boulder, and Shimmer."
"Sedna," replied the stranger scarcely. "Now let's go before anyone actually finds us."
"You can ride with me, if you like," Geb offered. "Otherwise you will not be able to keep up with us."
You're doing something bad. Iris would have liked to see Sedna trying to walk long distances on land. She'd probably spent most of her life underwater - she'd have had trouble walking. But now Iris had to accept that Geb wanted to be serious about Sedna. Perhaps he actually believed he could win her for her journey. But was this really a good idea?
Sedna had no reason at all to come with them, and she did not seem to like her decision either. So she must have changed her mind or made her own plan. Geb did not seem to be suspicious towards her at all - it was up to Iris alone to find out what Sedna had planned. And above all, whether it was something good.
For Iris was not so sure.
|Sky of Stone Chapters|
|One: Earth||1: Summer Solstice • 2: Riders of the Wind • 3: Light and Shadow • 4: Opposites • 5: A Strange Encounter • 6: Across the River|
|Two: Ore||7: Dark Omens • 8: Underground • 9: His Radiance • 10: The Forbidden • 11: A Boy and His Goat • 12: The Story of a Tribe • 13: Keeper of Earth • 14: At the Bottom • 15: Changes|
|Three: Sky||16: Back to the Start • 17: Against the Darkness • 18: Old Acquaintances • 19: Change of Plans • 20: Unexpected • 21: Sky Holes • 22: Wind and Water|