Simeon’s slumbering body was brought before the Fey council upon a floating blanket of swirling petals and leaves. Chendrelle hovered near him, directing the weaving of air that held him aloft. Two other Fey assisted her, a stoic, raven-haired nymph and a tiny buzzing fairy that bore the black and yellow markings of a bumblebee upon her. The gathering Fey parted as they entered the sacred grove, looking upon them with expressions of concern.
The raven-haired nymph walked below Simeon, pushing the surrounding air upward to support his weight as he hovered. “You risk much sister,” she said staring at Simeon. “The forest dies much quicker now.”
“You must trust me Tahletha. I follow the guidance of the ancient WORDS.”
Chendrelle looked ahead at the bat-winged Fey that waited impatiently in the center of the massive stand of trees. Nettamion had never submitted herself to another Fey’s guidance that any could remember, not even her blood-sister, the Queen.
“Nettamion must see…” Chendrelle said worried. “This goes beyond one mortal’s lifecycle now.”
Tahletha’s weaving faltered a bit as she looked upon Chendrelle in suprise. “Tell me you did not, sister,” her voice harsh and hushed.
“His flesh would have perished,” Chendrelle whispered so no others could hear. “It was the only way to preserve his life… but something else happened, I cannot explain it. Our flesh and Qelltalis grow stronger now, as if infused together. His flesh has strengthened, and my own Qelltalis burns as it did in the first days.”
Tahletha’s black hair swirled in the wind she had summoned to hold Simeon aloft, but her expression held clear contempt for him. “You speak madness Sun-Daughter,” she said.
“I see it now,” Chendrelle pleaded. “I understand what the Nameless meant for us… the gift that we have violated.”
“Do not invoke their WORDS here today,” Tahletha cautioned. “You will not find the favor you seek with them if you do.”
The buzzing fairy spiraled around them quickly, bringing Simeon’s procession to a pronounced end. The few trailing Fey entered the ring behind them, taking their places among the surrounding branches. As one, they began to hum an ancient melody that slowly brought the wood to rest.
Simeon began to mumble incoherently, his body constantly twitching as if struggling against menacing dreams. Chendrelle laid her hand upon him and smiled. His strength amazed her. This fragile mortal had enough toxin in him to put a bear to sleep for days, yet he was struggling to wake; with some assistance he might be able to do so.
Chendrelle glanced at Nettamion discretely. The bat-winged Fey was busy conducting the others in a complex ritual/song, their voices growing louder as she ushered them toward its conclusion. Because Chendrelle maintained the magic that held Simeon aloft, she was exempt from joining in their song.
Carefully, Chendrelle split her concentration; one half maintaining the spell on Simeon’s body and the other half extending empathically into his mind. She hoped that if she could understand the nightmares he fought against, she could guide him to consciousness. Such a show of virility would prove his strength to the council.
Simeon’s mind was a storm of phantasms. Visions of humans being slaughtered assaulted his mind, his flesh reacting to the gruesome wounds that were brought upon them. Chendrelle could only catch glimpses of the visions, as they morphed and changed too quickly to focus upon long enough to see clearly. She gave chase to them, using her mind-sight to anticipate their changing course.
Chendrelle cautiously pushed her awareness outward and aligned her sight with Simeon’s, hoping to converge her vision with his. Her focus easily wavered at first, rarely able to move closer to the fleeting images in Simeon’s mindscape before they faded into the distance. Repeatedly she pushed forward, gaining less ground with each attempt. She simply could not keep pace with the racing visions. Weary from the effort, she gave up, letting her mind slow to sever her melding with him.
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