Third Night

No doubt about it, Azule was lost. Somehow, during the hunt, he had wandered away from Neve and his mother, but that, was only because his mind had wandered away from the hunt despite his mother’s constant admonition.

It had been inevitable, he had found the hunt just too boring; the need to keep still, the need to keep quiet, the need to still your heart…It was too much! If the butterfly had not chosen that moment to entice him to more enjoyable pursuits he might have died of boredom, or at the very least, fallen asleep, but then his murder would have come not at the hands of boredom but at the claws of his mother. He giggled over the imaginary scene, his mother would definitely have been livid.

It never occurred to him that at this moment she could be worrying over his sudden disappearance, after all, Neve always seemed to be able to find him when they played hide seek, and Neve was still with his mother, so as far he was concerned, he believed himself entitled to use this chance to explore the woods he called home. With a squeal of childish glee, he took to the wind and ran with wild abandon, his destination unknown.

Of a sudden he found himself headlong into a wall of thick fog, before he could register fear or slow his speed, it rose up and around effectively choking off any view of his surroundings.

In an instant the fog clawed its way up his nostrils, burrowed into his ears, clouded over his eyes, and clogged his throat. He couldn’t breathe and all his senses had been rendered useless. Azule whimpered, disliking his first bitter taste of fear.

Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. Terror lending wings to his flight, Azule broke through the mist to the world beyond.

“Where am I?” Azule whimpered.

“Mommy, where are you?!”

Breaking out of the fog, Azule had truly found himself in a world beyond. It was unlike anyplace he had ever seen or heard of. He was in a clearing ringed by woods he recognized, but the mother moon was gone, and her deep sapphire kingdom in the sky had been replaced by a bright cerulean ocean with no fish, no stars…nothing…except for titanic, yet fragile looking, white creatures of no solid shape nor size. The strangest thing was how the sky seemed to glow on its own with no help from the stars or the mother.

The fear once more reared its head, he wanted to go home. He wanted the comfort of his mother, or the companionship of his sister, the warmth of his cave, and the feel of the branches he had become familiar with…this adventure had long since lost its allure. He was crying in earnest now.

A gentle breeze rustled the grass under his paws, and caressed his fur as if to lend comfort to the distraught pup.

“Hush now young one,” a gentle voice floated on the wind, “What seems to be the problem?”

“I’m lost and I want to go home,” Azule sobbed.

“Ah, that is easily remedied,” the wind responded.

The breeze, which had continued to caress his fur, shifted towards the trees, collapsing into the form of a raven on a branch not too far from where Azule stood.

“Now hush child, enough with the burbling,” her voice carried the ephemeral strength of a spring gale.

“Who are you?” Azule managed to squeak.

“I, child, am the guardian of this realm,” she began, taking to skies. Her wings spanned the length of full-grown tree, her voice shook the woods to their core, and stirred long dead winds, “Acquainted with both the Sun and the Moon, though my allegiance is to neither!”

“I, child, am the spirit of the wind!”

Then her voice softened once more as she alighted once more on her branch, “But you may call me Sylph, welcome to the wind realm.”

She cocked her head to the side, the way Neve did whenever she was lost in thought, “The more interesting question, however, is how did you, a child of the moon, come into my realm?”

“I ran?” Azule answered, confused at such a simple question. How else was one to get from point A to point B?

Sylph was stunned, and then all of a sudden she was laughing, causing a gale to flow through the glade, “Foolish child, no one just ‘runs’ into another realm…” she paused cocking her head once more.

“Well no matter…” She said, taking flight, “Let’s get you back to your own realm.”

“Follow me, young lost one.”

Even as she led Azule back through the Fog Curtain, which marked the boundary between of all realms, she was preoccupied with the mystery of the young pup. Only one creature in existence, within and outside the bounds of time, had ever been able to cross the Fog Curtain…The cursed wolf of the beginning, and yet, even he could not just stumble into another realm, only creatures of spirit had that freedom…

She glanced at the young pup, which ran as if he had wings instead of legs…

“This one will have a very interesting destiny…it would be a shame not to see it through…” Sylph thought amused, though she would need to call upon the Council of Spirits to divine his fate.

Sadly, it was not her place alone to decide whether or not such a dangerous existence should be allowed to survive.

-o-

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The creative womb of a storyteller

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