At some point, everyone wants a fresh start, have a clean slate, a clear conscience. Everyone has things they regret, things they want to do differently, relationships that need to be fixed. That is why people leave everything behind for a chance to fix their mistakes but one thing they don’t leave behind are the memories. You have to remember what you want to fix then actually fix it, but if you can't remember then what's the point?
Zephyr was extremely winded but he still ran, after all, he was being chased. He actually forgot what he was running from but he wasn't going to stop. Trees zoomed past as he ran, he stared up at the opening of sunlight in the trees but as he did he failed to notice a tree root sticking up from the ground. He tripped and tumbled into another tree. He sat against the tree holding his hurt arm and in the distance saw what was chasing him. His back straightened as it got closer and once it was close enough… it started throwing acorns at him?
Zephyr sat against the tree annoyed as a little squirrel threw acorns at him until it was satisfied. Once it left, his pet, Emilia, crawled onto his shoulder from the tree he leaned against. Little Emilia, a pine marten, resembled a ferret, the two animals are both classified as weasels but pine martens are found to be more wild and aggressive. Emilia just sat on Zephyr’s shoulder and sniffed his face. Zephyr smiled slightly, ”Thanks for the help Emi, damn weasel.” Emilia nipped at Zephyr’s ear when he called her a weasel since she didn't like it.
Zephyr stood up and wiped the dirt off his already dirty clothes, he claimed himself to be lucky since he didn't have any cuts or scrapes. ”So what do we do now Emi? We have no money and we're kinda lost.” Emilia crawled on top of Zephyr’s head and began sniffing the air, her head stopped as it faced left and she tapped Zephyr’s head four times with her paw. ”Aye, captain Emilia, due west it is.” Zephyr started walking the way she pointed and she just curled around his neck and napped. How does Emi always know which way is north, south, east, and west? One tap for north, two for east, three for south, and four for west. I have the cutest navigation device.
The sounds of birds chirping and water flowing filled Zephyr’s ears. He was strangely attracted to nature and he didn't know why since he had no memory. His earliest memory was waking up in the forests of Nirelyr with Emilia pawing at his face, the only thing he could remember was his name. Zephyr, it means wind. My memory was carried away by the wind leaving me with nothing. Now he just wanders, hoping to find who he is and where he came from.
The sun was starting to set, the sky was painted with burnt oranges and navy blues. If there's one thing that Zephyr knows then it's that every forest is dangerous at night. He suddenly stopped in his path to smell the air. It smelled smokey, like smoked meat sitting above a fire. He looked around to see a faint light in the distance. His mouth watered as he sniffed the air more and his feet began to move on their own towards the smell and the light. I might be leading myself to death but it'll be so worth it plus I'm starving. Upon getting closer he noticed that the smell was coming from a building.
He stood in front of the building just staring. ”Hm, The Yaevic-Tirugin Border Inn. What do you think Emi? There's a fifty-fifty chance that we could live or die if we walk in.” Emi mewled loud into Zephyr's ear. ”Okay okay! I understand you're hungry, I am too.” Zephyr debated in his head what he should do then his stomach growled loud and echoed through the forest. If that doesn't sound like a monster that eats peoples faces then I don't know what does. ”Screw it, I'm hungry.”
He opened the door to the inn and came face to face with a large burly man. Hm, death by a burly bear-man, not how I imagined I would die. The man stared at Zephyr up and down with a stoic expression on his face, Zephyr lazily looked at him, he was too hungry to care. The man's eyes spotted Emilia around Zephyr's neck and his facial expression immediately changed. ”Oh my goodness! A sweet little child and his adorable pet!” Zephyr stared at the man, his faced confused. “What’s a sweet boy like you doing in these woods at night? Don’t you know it’s dangerous.”
Zephyr’s face was expressionless. How interesting…. “Um, well I have no family, money, or memory. I only have my pet and her name is Emilia. The last time I ate was three days ago and it was a dried up fish so…” Zephyr’s body suddenly became engulfed in the arms of the large bear-like man who was crying. “Oh, you poor boy! Don't worry my child, I will happily provide you a room, food, money, a horse, clothes, and a map, whatever you need I'll give it to you.” Zephyr smiled awkwardly and out of breath. I was right, death by burly bear-man.
The man finally let go letting Zephyr finally breathe. Once he regains his breath he looks up at the man. ”Thank you very much sir but I don't need a map.” Zephyr smiles and points to Emilia. ”You see my Emilia here is a pine marten and she is my very own compass. She knows north, south, east, and west just by sniffing the air.” Zephyr stood proudly while Emilia mewled, and the man stared amazed. ”Did you say pine marten?” The man asked amazed while staring at Zephyr. Zephyr’s face was confused again as he nodded. ”Why do you ask?” The man gave a knowing smile, ”Well I thought they were all extinct since their common fairy pets and the whole war that wiped out the faeries in the war.”
Extinct? War? Faeries? What is this man talking about? Is he crazy? ”Um, sir, what war are you talking about? The man stared at Zephyr stunned. ”Oh my! You've never heard about the War?” Zephyr shook his head confused and slightly skeptic. ”Well let me give you the gist of it. Around three and a half years ago, the Faerie Kingdom of Nirelyr raged war against the rest of the land. Nirelyr conquered kingdoms but they lost at the hands of the Kingdoms of Tirugin and Tearsyr. All faeries are said to be wiped out and the pine martens died with them, that’s about all I know.”
Nirelyr, that’s where I woke up around three years ago. “I’m actually from Nirelyr.” Upon saying that the man squinted suspiciously, “Only fae can survive there, how do I know that you’re not a faerie? I’m going to need you to take off your shirt boy.” Big burly man, with a fairly high voice, telling me to take off my shirt? What's next, is he going to ask me to bend over? His expression softens, ”Usually fae children develop wings as early as three and late as eleven, you seem older so I just need to check.” Zephyr decides not to argue with the man that could squash him like a bug, he turns around and pulls up the back of his shirt.
The room is silent until the man’s laugh booms through the room. ”You’re all good boy. Oh! I forgot to ask your name.” Zephyr pulls his shirt down and looks at the man uncomfortable. ”It’s Zephyr.” The man slaps Zephyr’s back making him wince in pain, ”Call me Phen, let me show you to your room now.” Zephyr followed the man up some stairs and down a small narrow hallway. The man unlocked a door and opened it for Zephyr, it was simple and small and mostly consisted of beiges and creams but it was like a dream to Zephyr since he's been sleeping in a forest for years. ”I will bring your food in a bit, enjoy your stay.” Zephyr turned towards Phen as he exited. ”Wait! Do you know where I can find more history about Nirelyr, faeries, and the war?” Phen looked at him happily, ” You're just in luck since we’re on the border of Tirugin which happens to have the best libraries and education. You can easily enroll in a school or find a library, whichever one you run into first.” After saying that, Phen left.
Hm, Tirugin, it might help me figure out who I am. ”I’ve decided Emi, I'm gonna travel to Tirugin to find out who I am.” In return, Emilia just squeaked lazily. Damn weasel.
In a matter of minutes, Phen came back with a large platter of food. He gave a gentle smile then left again. The platter had smoked meat, fruits, cheeses, crackers, and a glass of a sweet and tangy juice. Zephyr savored every flavor as he shared with Emilia. Once he was done Phen came back in to get the empty platter before he left and set a little pouch on the nightstand next to the bed then left for the rest of the night. He quickly changed into clothes he found in the dresser that were actually clean compared to his previous clothes before examining the pouch.
The navy blue velvet pouch contained many silver and gold coins. He smiled sleepily and turned off the lantern the other nightstand. Emilia crawled off of Zephyr and curled up on the pillow next to his. He yawned and got under the covers. The softness if the sheets and pillow made him doze off faster into an even deeper sleep.
”Half breed fools are never kingssss~” the strange voice hissed. ”Who...who are you?” Zephyr waited, the hairs on his neck sticking up. ”Out with the weak, in with the power. Nirvana lives and all will perish!” Before Zephyr could react, the ground broke beneath him and all he could do was fall…
Zephyr jolted wake in a cold sweat, his usually fluffy hair was drenched in his own sweat. His breaths were ragged and uneven, his eyes darted from side to side. Sunlight shone in through the window illuminated the room he was in. Emilia nibbled his hand to get his attention, he turned his head and smiled sadly at her. She licked his hand and crawled on top of his head to kiss his forehead. Zephyr chuckled, ”Thank you Emi, you're the best.”
Zephyr got up and cleaned himself off in the bathroom then changed into traveling clothes. Emilia sat on top of Zephyr's head as he walked downstairs to greet Phen. ”Mornin’ Phen.” he had a pep in his step as he walked. Phen smiled and set a tray down for Zephyr. ”Good morning dear Zephyr, it seems like you had a good sleep. Here's your breakfast and a horse is ready for you in the stables with traveling supplies.” Zephyr smiled and ate quickly but still savored the flavors of his food.
Zephyr walked out of the inn to the stables, he spotted a spiny black mare with long black mane and tail. Zephyr steps were slow and quiet so he wouldn't startle the large beautiful creature. He stood in front of the mare and slowly extended a hand for her to sniff. The mare’s large nose rubbed against his hand as she sniffed it. Her tongue slowly began to come out as she licked Zephyr’s hand making him chuckle.
”I've never seen her so friendly.” The sudden voice made Zephyr jump but he recognized that it was just Phen. ”Bellion isn't the nicest girl but she's strong and fast, she seems to like you though. Who would've thought?” Zephyr smiled and pet the mare’s snout. Bellion, what a beautiful name. Almost like she heard what Zephyr said in his head, she whinnied happily. ”Hm, since she likes you so much, you can keep her.” Zephyr turned to thank Phen but he already had walked away.
Zephyr led Bellion out of the stables, he noticed the extra food, clothing, and money in a bag that was strapped around her waist. He stared at the large mare for a while pondering. How am I going to get on, I've never even ridden a horse before. On command, Bellion laid down and waited for Zephyr to get on. Once he was on Bellion stood up. ”Good girl, now let’s take this nice and slow. Which way to Tirugin Emi?” Emilia sniffed the air and pointed her body to a dirt path, she tapped his head three times and the fourth tap she did was with both her paws. ”Alright, due Northeast is.”
Bellion began trotting at a low pace perfect for Zephyr to get used to. Once he was comfortable they started to go faster and soon enough Bellion was running. Hopefully, in Tirugin I will find who I am, where I come from, and who my family is. I entrust myself to the wind, may it guide me to what I seek.
Bellion trotted along the dirt path while Zephyr sang aloud. “Oh! The wonderful things to find, in the great beyond. With food, girls, and wine! Oh, into the great beyond.” Zephyr’s singing voice was quite pretty but at the moment, he just sang obnoxiously. Emilia stood on top of Zephyr’s head and thumped her paws to the song he sang while Bellion moved her head with the song. “It’s just me, Emi, and Bell on this lovely journey to find! Lost things in the wind. On this journey so sublime! Oh, into the great beyond.”
Emilia called her paws and Bellion whinnied happily when Zephyr ended his song, Zephyr bowed to the sides and smiled. When he sat up he could see something in the distance. He squinted, trying to make out what he was staring at. Is that...a wall? He kept staring until he came to the conclusion that it is indeed a wall. Of course, Phen mentioned a border, by that he must mean a wall. Zephyr became giddy, “Hold on tight Emilia, we’re about to go fast.” Emilia wrapped herself around Zephyr’s neck and before Zephyr could give the command, Bellion shot off like a bullet. Zephyr quickly adjusted to the speed Bellion sprinted, he got lower to the mare and arched his back.
The wall got bigger and bigger as Zephyr rode closer. That’s...one big freakin wall. He noticed that there were towers in the wall with people inside. Oh great, guards, what am I gonna do about them? Bellion began slowing down and eventually coming to a stop a few feet to the wall. Zephyr jumped off and began scaling the wall with his eyes. There was a door built into the wall with people guarding it. Bellion followed Zephyr as he slowly approached the guarded door. One of the guards stared at him from under his helmet, “Halt! Who goes there and what is your business in Tirugin.”
Zephyr stopped dead in his tracks. What am I supposed to tell them? I woke up in what was once the fairy kingdom with no memory and I’m trying to find out who I am and where I come from? Zephyr thought for a while until the voice of the other guard pulled him back to reality. “We don’t have all day, boy.” Zephyr looked at both of them. “I’m just an orphan boy who seeks wisdom.” Zephyr waited for the guards to respond, they looked at each other than at him with humble smiles. “Of course young lad, you may pass through the gates.” Zephyr felt the ground rumble then the large doors began to open. He hopped back onto Bellion and rode through the doors while thanking the guards.
Upon entry, he noticed all the people and stands with many exotic smelling items. His mouth watered as he sniffed the air filling his nose with wonder. Every stand was labeled from fortune tellers and jewelry makers, to wine sellers and cheese makers. Zephyr knew that he would have to save his money so he tried to logic out his best option. I still have some food from Phen so I should find someone who can give me some information. As Zephyr rode through the bazaar heads turned to stare at him. He tried to ignore it but he could feel the wandering eyes of others.
Suddenly, Bellion decided to stop in her tracks. Zephyr jolted forward slightly and rubbed Bellion’s head wondering what made her stop. Something in his peripheral vision caught his eye, he looked to the left and stared deep into a crystal ball. A pair of hands were set on the crystal ball, one lifted to beckon him inside. He hopped off of Bellion, told Emi to stay, and walked into the stand. Everything was covered in thick cloth that didn't let light in and candle wax from dozens of lit candles. The air smelt like a mix of spices drowned in magic and mystery. In the middle, there was a small table and a small pillow for Zephyr to sit.
On the other side was the frame of a woman, she was covered in exotic cloth and her face was veiled. Her slightly revealing dress gave way to her beautiful caramelized skin. The crystal ball that she only touched with her long talon-like nails lay in front of her. She was covered in various gems and jewelry of varying shapes, sizes and colors. She beckoned him to sit and he did.
Zephyr stared at her covered face where only her blood-red lips and a pair of bright tangerine-colored eyes stared back at him. Her smooth, creamy voice entranced Zephyr and almost hypnotized him. ”I am the Oracle, seer of past, present, and future. Tell me, boy, what do you seek?” she spoke in a sweet whisper that not only captured his ears but also spoke to his soul. ”I seek the truth, to find out who I am and where I come from.” The Oracle delicately lifted a hand and extended it towards Zephyr. ”The truth is something that not everyone wants, are you sure that know what you want boy?” Zephyr placed his hand inside the Oracle's. ”I am certain.” The Oracle’s lips quirked up into a mischievous smile. ”Then let us begin…”
Another cloth covered the entrance and a mysterious wind blew out the flames of every candle. The crystal ball began glowing all sorts of colors that Zephyr never even knew existed. The Oracle's began to speak in a sharp tone that echoed in Zephyr's head.
You are a child born from a covenant of ardor
A progeny of one that bonds with loam
And one that tries to forge on past it
One in kin with the debauched one
With fate unknown
And memories like a dandelion in the wind
Your future lies with a common bird in wood
But your fate is still on thin thread
There is strength in numbers
Trust in sheep, swan, dragon, and crab
For they will lead you to what you seek
Zephyr stared into the tangerine-colored eyes of the Oracle, glowing brightly in my dim little stand. Zephyr mind was blank and all he could hear was the Oracle's riddle echoing in his mind. His eyes began to droop and he became sleep. He knew his eyes were closing but he couldn't control it, it was like his mind and body were under the Oracle's spell. Once his eyes were fully closed he began to hear a voice in his head that didn't belong to the Oracle. ”... Where are you?... Save her… please…”Suddenly white light began to fill his vision under his lids.
Zephyr slowly opened his eyes, he felt drowsy and confused. His brain was still fuzzy but there was one important thing he noticed, he was back outside next to Bellion with Emilia sniffing on his shoulder. He looked around spastic and confused. How did I get back outside? I was just with the Oracle. He looked towards where the Oracle's stand was but it wasn't there anymore, there was just a small empty space. How… It was just here… What happened? Zephyr noticed people around his staring and whispering suspiciously. ”Okay, Emi, Bell, I believe we've overstayed our welcome in this area. Let's find a place to rest for the night.”
Zephyr hopped back onto Bellion back and began riding again trying not to think about the interesting experience he just had. Lucky for him, he managed to find a two-story inn that seemed pretty comfortable. He rounded the inn to the stables behind it and let Bellion stay there. She whinnied happily and began grazing on a mix of fruit and hay. Zephyr smiled and walked back to the front and inside with Emilia sitting on his shoulder.
Once inside he walked to the front and rang the bell at the front desk. A dwarf room popped her head up and climbed up some steps to face Zephyr. Her round chubby face, curly hair, and stubby fingers and body were the mark of a true dwarf. A radiating smile was plastered on her freckled face, ”Hello there! Do’s ya need a room hun?” she said brightly. Zephyr nodded with a happy smile on his face. ”Okay! Elton get this lovely boy a room!” she yelled to her right.
Another dwarf, a male this time, came out from a room wearing an apron. ”Ay woman! I'd throw you to the curb if I didn't adore ya.” he said blandly making Zephyr smile. He walked past Zephyr and beckoned him to follow which he did. He was led to the end of the hall on the first floor, Elton opened the door for Zephyr and smiled before starting to walk away. While walking away he said, ”When ya hungry just tell me wife and she’ll take ya to the dining room, okay?” Zephyr nodded and began to settle into his room, the whole time he was talking Emilia was hiding in his pocket. He chuckled and put Emilia back on his shoulder and put his stuff on the bed.
He felt a bit peckish so he walked back out to the dwarf woman at the counter. He spotted him then Emilia and gasped. ”A pine marten? I thought those went extinct when I was a little girl I always wanted one.” Zephyr smiled and Emilia squeaked happily. ”Excuse me ma'am but can you take me to the dining hall?” Zephyr said sweetly adding a lot of charm into his words. The dwarf woman's face flushed slightly red. ”Oh...please call me Dorothy. It's this way hun.” she hops off her stairs and opened the door that Elton came out of the first time. Tables and chairs were littered around and there were even other people inside. Zephyr counted about seven people, nine included the ogre chef and Elton serving food.
Dorothy smiled, ”That’s an interesting necklace, never seen anything like it.” she said before walking away. Zephyr looked shocked, he wasn't wearing a necklace but as he looked down he saw that he was. It looked familiar to him but it took him a while to think about why it was familiar to him. Wait, is it the crystal ball that the Oracle had? The marble-sized ball looked exactly like the Oracle's crystal ball but it wasn't glowing. He suddenly became engulfed in sweat. He quickly grabbed some food and sat at one of the tables.
Zephyr began to remember the riddle that the Oracle told him trying to decipher what it meant. A child born from a covenant of ardor? Bonds with loam and forges past it? The debauched one? What does that even mean? He began eating but finds that he's too doesn't feel like it anymore so Emilia ate for him. Fate unknown, that makes sense but why is it unknown? Memories like a dandelion in the wind. Zephyr knew what she meant but didn't like the meaning. My future like with a common bird in wood? What the hell does that mean! My fate is on a thin thread, I better be careful then. Strength in numbers and trust sheep, swan, dragon, and crab? So trust animals? Probably not, riddles never mean what they say. But I better figure it out because they'll lead me to what I seek….
Zephyr ate some berries and listen to other people's conversations until one particular one caught his attention. Two women behind him were talking about a special school. ”Of course! I want to send my son but he doesn't want to.” she one of the women. ”Why not? Wrenwood Academy has to be one of the best schools in Tirugen.” said the other. Wrenwood? A wren is the symbol of Tirugen, I’m certain I saw it on the flags and I've seen them everywhere in this place, they're extremely common here. That's it, a common bird in wood, a wren is a common bird and wood just refers to the last part of the name. That means… my fate lies in Wrenwood Academy.