by, January 13th, 2010 at 08:36 PM (332 Views)
Sargon nodded and watched the captain retreat to a safe distance. The healer sat with his back against the shaft of the main mast and focused on the bone scroll tube that rested in his hands. He removed the parchment on which were written the mystical words of calling. He read the summons aloud, his voice carrying far beyond the waves and high into the
Since time began
We breathed your kin
Our blood relies on air within
Our destinies are yours
Oh brothers of the unseen air
Come to our aid this day
Cleanse the way with your trust
Make haste and hear our plea
Always you remain in us
The wind forever free
He repeated the strange plea, the inflection of his voice changing with each recitation. The summons echoed as if the wind would not allow the words to dissipate into silence. From a high-pitched shriek to a soft whisper, the healer’s calling reverberated until it seemed that many men spoke at once, the voices overlapping and complementing each other. The ancient pact that Sargon had invoked now called the strange creatures from their homes behind the clouds and above the highest mountains. The healer held the parchment above his head, skin flaking from his decayed hands, and allowed the wind to pull it from his grasp. The scroll flew above the rigging and vanished, passing behind something unseen. Sargon peered into the overcast sky as the wind began to whip the deck, forcing everyone to grab hold of the
ship’s rails for stability. The healer sat motionless, unaffected by the gusts that threatened to tear the masts down and blow the men into the water.
Then they came, one at first, then a few more, and then many, until there were over a hundred ghostly forms floating above the healer. They were shapeless, save for their faces, which appeared old and wise. Their eyes flashed with a silvery brilliance, their features slanted and sleek. One drifted down, presenting itself before the caller. “We remember those words,” came a howling voice through the wind. “We have come to honor the pact and aid our friends who helped us long ago. How can we serve you?” The thing gazed down at Sargon, its shifting form towering above him.
The healer was glad the sylphs had come, but he was keenly aware that a wrong word could send the elementals into a destructive fury, killing everyone aboard. He stood and addressed the wind giants. “Brothers of the air, we are honored by your presence and we thank you for coming from so far! We ask only that you lend us your strength and help us reach the island of Sanctum! If you could aid us in this task, we would be most grateful!” Sargon was more filled with fear than joy that the scroll had brought the awesome creatures forth, but he hid his true feelings well.
The elemental that had spoken rejoined the swirling group above and answered. “We have no love for that lifeless isle. The dead have no need of air or breeze or wind or gale, and so we shun that place. We will bring you as far as we can, but we must leave before crossing into the darkness.”
Sargon smiled mischievously at the elementals, thinking of their tremendous power now at his disposal. “We are indebted to you!” he shouted to the creatures above the ship, and he bowed to the spiraling maelstrom of translucent figures. He took pride in having successfully used the scroll,
a feat he had been unsure he could accomplish, in spite of his assertions of confidence to his companions. The summoning had drained him, but it had also lifted his spirits.
The windstorm calmed as the sylphs joined into one huge whirling form, their white bulk filling the main sail and nearly lifting the Sea Raven out of the water. The main mast creaked, the groaning sound a threat that the thick spar might crack under the force the elementals exerted upon it. The boat lurched forward, suddenly racing through the tumultuous sea at incredible speed, its stem cutting through the waves with ease. The deckhands who had remained topside stood aghast at the spectacle, unable to believe their own eyes as the boat’s hull ignored the rough waters.
Thornpike peered upwards at the vortex created by the sylphs. He spied some of the creatures throwing their forms into the sail, as others, with ethereal arms outstretched, pushed the mainsail, never giving the cloth a moment’s respite. Still some of the sylphs swooped below the prow of the Sea Raven, lifting it above the waterline so that the ocean’s resistance was lessened. The captain walked to Sargon ’s side, watched by the healer’s elemental companions. “I wonder if the wind-devils will need to eat before we reach the wall.”
“I suspect that some of your sailors will be devoured before we arrive at our destination, but the majority of us should come away from the voyage unscathed. You had better pray that you are among the survivors,” Sargon said, a laugh betraying his grim explanation.
Thornpike knew that the healer jested with him, playing upon his uncertainty, but he still could not muster any positive feeling toward the diaphanous creatures now filling his ship’s canvas, the dire situation overshadowing the present progress. “For your sake, I will pray for a swift journey and the wind-devils’ quick departure.”
Sargon walked to the bow, his thin straggly hair whipping in the breeze. He peered down into the restless sea. A swift journey would be good, he thought. That or a swift death.