The lamp lights of Rito village speckled the dark landscape below, a comforting reminder of the resilience of the avian race. The corruption of Ganon had spread far and wide since the fall of Hyrule centuries ago yet still the rito survived despite the perimeter of darkness surrounding their lands.
After the slaughter of the forces of light, Ganon forced the lands to yield to his sovereignty. Those were the ritos’ darkest times. With countless uprisings struck down and such pain and suffering, the descendant of the great rito hero swore to serve Ganon in exchange for the safety of rito village. He was called the Master of the Gale, a title that would pass on from father to son for countless generations. The village had other names for him: traitor, beast, monster, and villain. Only the village elder was aware of the critical role the Master of the Gale played and the price each descendant would pay. While the master served Ganon, Rito village would survive-it would not be decimated-not like the Zora of old. And so, every son of the great rito hero bore the burden and title of Master of Gale.
Terciel, son of Tivoli and Laisa, was unafraid of the night. He rested upon the tiled roof of his home overlooking the lights of the village below. Watching the lights, he would imagine what a simple life would feel like-a warm home filled with light, love, and happiness. No shadows darkening the corners. No more pretense. No more hatred. Such a life was out of his grasp. Terciel learned early that the lives of the champions were lonely ones. He watched his father train for hours, sometimes days at a time. When he was not training, he was on missions elsewhere reigning retribution on those who would attempt to usurp Ganon’s power. The rare times his father returned to their home were certainly not filled with happiness. It was a life of strict rules, image, and the burden of serving. His father wore such a mask. He was foreboding and ominous-the very picture of a Gale Master. Terciel had only seen the mask drop once-when his younger brother was killed.
Sighing Terciel lifted his eyes to the stars. He didn’t want to relive that moment or any others from his childhood. True he would never have the warmth of the lights he saw below in the homes of his people, but he was the only rito who dared to watch the stars. Each night he would sit on his roof and wait for the darkness to wash over him. Then slowly pinpoint holes to the heavens would appear above. It felt like a message reassuring him. A life in the darkness was not bereft of light-not if you had the courage to find it.
A burst of light crossed the horizon and Terciel jolted up from his roof. Had a star fallen? His eyes traced the descent of the light only to see another flame follow its path. The light was not falling but launching into the heavens and then arching down in the deep black of the village outskirts. Leaping from his home Terciel quickly descended to the outskirts. As he neared the ground, he saw a bokoblin raiding party. Terciel was outraged. How dare they enter Rito Village! So long as the Master of Gale served Ganon, no other monster would be allowed to step foot in these lands and that mistake they would soon not forget!
Terciel landed in front of the troupe, savagely summoning a vortex to launch the monsters in the air. Scrambling to their feet, the monsters slowly backed away holding their weapons at the master of the gale, but Terciel advanced. Steadily he stalked the bokoblin troupe his wings aghast and hunched. Confused the cretins raised their clubs in the air and charged forward. Terciel stood to his full height and with one vicious swipe of his wing, summoned a wave of air to slice through the clubs. Bereft of their weapons, all the bokoblins scattered, save for one. The blue one gave a growl, posturing himself against the rito. Terciel chuckled darkly and folded his wings behind his back.
“Understand now you fiend, I am the only villain my people will suffer from,” he cocked an eyebrow at the monster’s offensive stance. “Do you mean to fight me alone? Well, carry on then.”
Perhaps if the bokoblin understood the melodic string of trills and vocal inflections that came from the menacing bird, he would have turned tail and fled. As such the bokoblin had no idea what was said and foolishly charged toward his articulate foe.
Terciel took no joy in violence against the innocent, but he felt a certain sense of fulfillment launching the blue creep into the dark veil. If he was to be a menace to his people, the very least he could be was a menace to all, right? He believed in equality. His amused musing halted at the rustling of a bush.
Really another one after that display? Perhaps they would run off unlike their unlucky friend.
Resuming his hunched form, Terciel approached the brush, his wings at the ready to summon a warning gust at the intruder. Leaping forward Terciel was unprepared for the sight that beheld him, nor the flaming arrow aimed at his beak. Frozen, his gaze followed the shaft of the arrow and into fiery emerald eyes. Lightly shaking himself, he withdrew. Sitting in the brush before him was the most beautiful being he had ever laid eyes on and that being wanted to kill him.
How ironic. I did find a shooting star.
She kept her arrow trained on the Rito before her. Her breaths came in short and shallowly. A wave of pain surged through her leg, and she winced at the open wound.
Terciel was hardly gentle. He rarely needed to be, but in that moment, he mustered his softest voice to calm the enchanting being before him.
“I mean you no harm,” he raised his feathers out below him. “I can help you.”
“Help me? I know…I know who you are,” she spat out while fixing the aim of her arrow directly to his heart.
“Ah my reputation proceeds me,” Terciel responded slowly and far less confidently than he would’ve liked.
With much difficultly, she rose from the brush shifting her weight to her uninjured leg. She was smaller than other rito. Even standing at her full height her head only barely reached his shoulders. Had she not worn the circular braids of a fully-grown maid, he would have thought her a maiden barely out of her fledgling years. The light of the arrow illuminated her pale gold and white feathers in a rosy hue. Terciel was caught in conflict between wishing to shepherd her toward the safety of the village and to commit her image to memory.
Her legs wobbled, and she fell to the ground dropping the bow and unleashing the arrow into the ground at her side. Even in the dim light Terciel could see that the wound was deep. It needed to be cared for immediately. He knelt before her intending to tie a wrap around her wound. His sudden movement startled her and once again the bow was raised but without its arrow.
He gave a small smile, pulled the arrow from the ground and handed it to her.
“As you seem so intent to shoot me, why not train your arrow on me while I tend to your leg?” Pulling his tunic to the side he ripped a long strip of fabric away.
“Aren’t you afraid that I will kill you? Or do you think I’m incapable?”
“I am not afraid, but I am certain you would hit your mark,” he responded, tightly wrapping the fabric to stop the blood.
“Don’t you care to live then?”
“Do you care to become a murderer?” He watched her eyes widen at the accusation. “Or am I too much of a beast to be considered murdered? Perhaps it will be considered a service to the village. Ridding them of their monster once and for all.”
She watched his blue eyes glower in the dark. She could barely make the form of a rito out at all. He blended into the night too well. Lowering her bow to the side she whispered.
“Are you a beast?”
The innocent question caught him off guard. Looking into her curious gaze he found he couldn’t say. He could not share how much of a beast he truly was.
Deftly tying the ends of the fabric, Terciel chose to the ignore the question in favor of finishing her makeshift tourniquet.
“Can you stand?”
“I believe so.” Without thinking, Terciel grasped the edges of her wings and helped her to her feet. She held his feathers for support, as she shifted her weight unsteadily from the damaged leg.
It would be this moment, Terciel decided. A simple life of happiness, love, and light would begin in this moment if his life were simple. Unfortunately, his was not and so he pulled his wings away.
“You should leave,” he told her taking a step away. “The bokoblins will not return, but there are other dangers on the outskirts of the village. Can you fly?”
Surprised at his abrupt gesture she merely nodded. Stretching her wings and retrieving her bow, she lightly lifted from the ground.
“Thank you,” she hovered before him.
“Just go.” He turned from her, straining to hear her wings flapping into the distance.
As she took to the starry sky, she looked to the ground at the shadowy feature until his form retreated into the darkness. Was he a beast? If his actions were any evidence, she would say not. He was merely unafraid of the dark.
The morning light bathed the hut in hues of purple and gold, its warmth awakening the dried lavender hanging from the rafters. Any other morning Idra, daughter of Kailen and Jolee, would relish in the light. Today however she groaned and slumped out of her makeshift hammock. Her feet impacted the ground causing pain to shoot up her damaged leg reminding her that the attack the other night. Her encounter with the elusive Master of the Gale was so surreal that she nearly wrote it off as a bizarre dream the morning after-until she grazed her wound on the ledge of her home. She had spent the day after tucked away in her hammock wondering away about the mysterious rito. But that was yesterday.
Today she needed to tend to the stall at the market. Losing a market day in the middle of the harvest season would set her too far back to prepare for the winter. So hurt leg or not, she would make her way to the square to sell wheat and dried lavender.
Silently thanking Hylia that she had gathered the latest harvest before her attack, she hefted the wicker basket over her wings and slowly hobbled her way out of her home. It took longer than she liked to reach the market; already rito were bustling about the stalls purchasing goods for the week. At this rate she would be lucky if she sold a bushel of tabantha wheat.
Hopping quickly she made her way to her corner spot next to the wall of the market. It wasn’t the best spot but she was next to the baker and the seamstress, a lesson her father regularly impressed upon her.
Always get the spot next to the baker and the seamstress my little Idra. If no one else, the baker will take your wheat in exchange for bread and the seamstress will exchange cloth for your lavender dyes. At the very least you will be clothed and fed!
Dropping her basket, she set to work arranging wares in the empty and old displays. With the food positioned in clear sight of hungry customers she held a feather in the air. The wind blew to the east, so she hung her lavender to the east of her stall allowing its sweet floral scent to waft through the market.
“Idra child, there you are!” Idra glanced to her side to see the seamstress and dear friend, Ola, approaching her. “I was worried when you didn’t show yesterday, but to be so late today!”
“I’m sorry. I was delayed,” she replied pinning the final bundle in place.
“Was it the bridge? I heard that something attacked the bridge to the north of the village.” the elderly rito leaned in eagerly for the gossip.
“I’m afraid I learned that first hand,” Idra hopped carefully off her stool showing her bandaged leg to Ola.
“Merciful Hylia! Are you all right?”
“Yes, yes. It was just a tumble down the rickety part of the bridge. That’s all.” Idra omitted the bokoblins that awaited her below.
“That does not look like a wound from tumbling alone,” Ola responded suspiciously.
“Honestly Ola, I am fine. Bruised, but alive.”
“You should be more careful. It isn’t good for you to spend all your time alone. What if something was waiting for you at the bottom of that bridge? Who could have helped you?” Resting her feathers on her friend’s shoulder.
“I would have helped myself. It’s like my father said. Sometimes you must stand alone to stand tall.”
“What a quack,” Ola muttered under her breath.
“Besides,” Idra interrupted pointedly. “How can I be alone when I spend so much time with you?”
“Well when I am good and dead who else will you have?”
“Ola! What a thing to say!”
“It’s true. Who knows how many years these feathers have before wilting away.”
“I doubt you’re going to wilt away,” Idra crossed her wings and smiled.
“Idra you must learn to respect your elders,” Ola pointed her walking stick accusingly at the rito maid.
“Is that before or after you wilt away?”
“Preferably before. Most certainly after.”
Suddenly the crowd around them began to scatter, rito were quickly flying away or retreating to corners.
“What has everyone’s tail feathers in a twist?” Ola commented, but Idra knew-she was looking at the source of the commotion.
“Well I’ll be. What’s he doing here in the day light?” Ola glared as the Master of the Gale entered the square, his gaze lingering just above the crowds.
“Perhaps, shopping?” Idra offered, her gaze still locked on the rito warrior. In the light he looked so different. Midnight blue feathers clothed in a dark tunic. Red and blue feathers spilling out from the back of his head. He wasn’t as big as she imagined. He was very tall, but slender. Still, the way he carried himself spoke volumes. He was just as deadly. His blue eyes were emotionless and were directed only in front of him.
Would he see her? She wondered.
“Don’t be fooled my dear Idra,” Ola placed two wings on Idra’s shoulders to maneuver behind the stall. “If he is here, he is looking for something.”
Or someone? Idra wondered. Ola growled low.
“He’s going to run the customers out of the afternoon market,” Ola began to hobble to her stall. “Idra? Keep your distance from him. If we’re lucky, he’ll buy his vegetables and go.”
Idra tore her gaze away, refusing to be distracted. Ola was right. Customers were leaving in droves and she had not sold a single thing! Quickly she gathered her wheat and hastened to the baker who was fearfully packing his stall.
“Good day Tumis,” Idra greeted. Startled, the gray-feathered rito dropped his sack of flour.
“Oh Idra. It’s you,” he hurriedly reached down for the flour.
“Are you leaving already?” Idra closed the stitching on that bag so that the flour would not spill.
“Afraid so. I can’t sell to that monster.”
“He isn’t causing trouble though.”
“If I were you, I’d pack up and leave. I doubt many will stick around while he is here.”
“I can’t leave. I haven’t sold anything.”
“There will be other market days.”
“Wait Tumis. It seems you’re running low on flour. I’ve just harvested my latest crop of wheat and-“
“I would, I truly would except I’ve already purchased wheat from Miko and his son.”
Huro. Idra thought frustratedly. How could you?!
“You know,” Tumis started upon seeing her expression. “I’m sure that we’ll need more flour at the week’s end. Why not stop by then?”
“Yes. I will do that. Thank you,” she answered softly and bowed her head as a sign of gratitude. She watched the rito take flight before slowly retreating to her stall.
Sighing, she set down her wheat and closed her eyes. What else could go wrong today? She heard a short gasp and opened her eyes. Ola’s eyes were wide as she gripped a bolt of fabric. A shadow blocked the light in Idra’s stall.
Turning on her heel she was far from surprised to see the Master of the Gale at her stall. Of all the stalls in the market and of all the days he could shop, it had to be today, and it had to be her! Inhaling deeply, she did her best to calm her frustration. After all, he did help her. She owed him the decency she would show any other customer.
“Good day sir, how may I assist you?” She kept her voice low and her head lower.
“I require two bushels of wheat,” he replied evenly. Curious she glanced up. He was looking past her, his expression apathetic, even bored.
“Of course. I will fetch those right away.” Suddenly self-conscious, Idra did her best to move as though she was uninjured. Slowly and precisely she gathered the bushels of wheat.
“It appears you are hurt,” Terciel spoke softly, barely moving his beak. Idra began to tie the bushels together for their travel.
“Perhaps you should rest,” he continued. “Stay off your feet.”
“I am well rested sir and I’d quite like to stay on my feet,” she replied smoothly. “Will that be all?” Her eyes locked with his.
“How much for the lavender?”
“Only two rupees for a bouquet.”
“I will take one of those as well.” They kept eye contact a moment longer, his gaze observant and questioning. Her gaze though was defiant as she gathered his purchases.
“That will be 10 rupees,” she gestured to the goods. He looked away from her and dropped two gems in her feathers before swiping the goods from the stall’s surface. As he strode out of the square, she realized that he had given her 50 rupees instead of the 10.
“Idra!” a voice called from her left. A handsome tawny rito hurried to her stall. “I saw that menace talk to you. Are you all right?”
“Yes, Huro, I am. After all, he made a purchase which is more than I can say for you,” she slipped the rupees into the folds of her tunic. “Since when do you sell wheat to the baker?”
“It was hardly any harm. Tumis ran out of…”
“Don’t play ignorant with me,” Idra snapped, feeling the pain and exhaustion of the day catch up to her. “You know full well that my father made an agreement with yours. We would limit our farm to wheat and not compete with yours in other stock if we exclusively provided for Tumis.”
“Come now. It was one sale,” he made his way behind the stall. “And I’ll ensure it does not occur again.”
“How can you promise that when you’ve already broken it?” She purposefully turned from him.
“You seemed stressed. Is it the farm?”
“No. The farm is fine. I’ve just had a long day.” Idra felt feathers grasping her shoulders.
“I’m not your competition Idra, and you know I do not see you that way,” Huro whispered. Idra shrugged his wings off.
“I know how you see me Huro,” she slowly turned to face him.
“And still you can’t bear to see me in a similar light?” he inquired.
“No. I do not.”
“Well,” he sighed. “Whatever you think of me as, know that I, unlike others in this village, am not your enemy.” Bowing, Huro strode from the stand without a second glance. Idra watched him leave.
“No. You were my friend,” she remarked softly. Leaning down she gathered her remaining stock into her basket. There were no other customers left in the square and she felt too exhausted to stand any longer.
“If you don’t want him, then perhaps I will try my wing,” Ola remarked.
“Best do so quickly. I hear you may wilt soon,” Idra tried a small smile. “Are you leaving?”
“Yes, I’ve made my quota for the day. Did the monster at least pay you well?”
“I’ve made enough. Here, let me help you,” Idra reached for one of the cloth bundles.
“You are certainly a strange one. I should be helping you with your injured leg.”
“Once again, bruised, but no more injured than your pride.” Heaving her basket over her shoulders, she held out her wing for the elderly seamstress.
“What a quack of a day this has been,” she remarked, accepting Idra’s wing. Together the two made their way across the market.
“I agree. A quack of a day.
---> 0 <---
The setting sun cast its rays mutedly through Terciel’s home, creating a lovely and lonely atmosphere as he took his dinner. He rarely dawdled at dinner preferring to quickly devour his meal so that he could watch the stars or read. This night however, he found himself fixated on the small bundle of lavender laying on his table. Holding the bundle again, he sighed wistfully. He was acting like a pubescent fledgling with a first crush. He knew that. No matter how he tried to reason with himself, he still couldn’t rid his mind of the lovely shooting star turned rito maid.
Perhaps he was a fool for finding her at the market. After all, it wasn’t as though he could speak to her so freely in public. He told himself he was only going to find her to ensure her injury was healing, but secretly he knew his heart had more reasons. He had considered going to elder to inquire regarding her family but decided against it. Speaking to her family meant offering a marriage arrangement and although the idea made his heart race, he doubted she’d feel the same. It was best after all that she stayed safe away from him and his family’s legacy.
Even if he couldn’t marry her, he wanted to share in her life in some way. He had hoped he had done just that by giving her five times her asking price for her goods. After the commotion he had started at the market, he felt responsible for running off her customers. Her stall had such a small selection and by the looks of the others around her, she would have to fight to keep any customers she had.
Of course, she most certainly could fight. In his mind he recalled her as she stared him down with flaming arrow knowing full well that he had the advantage over her. She showed no fear. As others fled the market to escape him, she stood her ground and addressed him. And before they had met, she held her ground against a troupe of bokoblins. Foolish, but he admired her pluck and determination. Like a shooting star, cutting through the heavens to its destination. She was as courageous as she was radiant and in the day light she outshone the very sun itself.
Groaning, Terciel held his face in feathers. How could he have fallen so in such a short time? He was practically writing poetry for her and he didn’t even know her name! Smelling the lavender, he once again examined the bundle. He would see her again, but he would have to be careful.
His unexpected trip to the market had caused quite a riot. Apparently, it was cause for concern when a recluse wished to perform such a mundane task as shop. Many of the market goers complained to the elder and had petitioned to bar Terciel from the market. Thankfully, the elder was able to override such a ridiculous measure. However, he made Terciel promise to plan his outings towards the early start or end of the day to avoid inciting yet another panic. He wouldn’t wish her to be associated with him and then isolated because of his visits. He wouldn’t wish her any harm.
Well that settles that. He placed the bundle gently back on the table. He would see his shooting star again. All he needed to do was ensure neither were burned in the process.
In general, the end of a market day was tiring, but this one was particularly exhausting for Idra. After helping Ola to her home, Idra returned to her home to finish her evening chores. Watching the last of the sun’s rays bathe her in golden light, she wished she was well enough to practice archery-she needed to release her stress.
Glancing back to the well-used bow, she smiled. She still remembered her father’s careful and patient instructions as they crafted the bow together. The day she fired her first arrow from that bow, her father never looked so proud. Running her feathers over it, she blinked back tears. She missed him so.
She wondered what he would think of her interactions with the Master of the Gale. Would he be proud or worried for her? Her father never spoke much about it, but he had served under the previous master as one of the rito’s finest archers. His aerial skill was unrivaled. Then one battle left him too injured to fight again. Perhaps her father would have been able to answer her questions: who really was this rito? Why did he help her? He seemed no more a beast than any other fighter, but the Master of the Gale was no average rito warrior.
She couldn’t be sure, but she had heard his name from somewhere. Terciel, perhaps? It seemed a fitting name for him, but what would she do with it? She leaned against the railing of her home to gaze at the peak above her. She knew where he lived. High on Roost Peak, his and the elder’s were the only homes so close to the sky. Another reason to resent him, she supposed; he had unfettered access to the heavens. Gazing out at the solitary home secured to the cliff, she couldn’t help but feel sympathy. She knew all about loneliness. Her home and heart were filled with it.
Terciel. Where had she heard that name? Somewhere in the dredges of her memory was the answer. She could leave this mystery unexplored, hope that he leaves her be and forgets their strange encounter as she should. She strained to see the pinprick lights beginning to dot the sky above the thick canopy of the trees surrounding her home. Or, she could brave the unknown.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
“He’s a monster, what more do you wish to know?” Ola emphasized her point by savagely wringing cloth of excess water. “More importantly, why do you wish to know?”
“I guess I don’t understand why everyone is afraid of him? The entire market ran from him. He’s just one rito,” Idra helped Ola hang the newly dyed cloth over a rod to dry.
“He may not look like much but mark my words dear. He’s just as much a monster as his father was.”
“So you knew his father?”
“I had heard enough of him. Oh, but his poor bride. I pitied her so. I’ve never seen a maid so unhappy. To be forced into an arranged marriage with a cretin.”
“It couldn’t have been. The elder wouldn’t officiate a marriage that was forced- it’s against our values.”
“Our values only say that both ritos must agree to marry, not that they are in love.”
“Do you think her family forced her to agree to a marriage?”
“Who knows. There are many reasons to get married, but I’ve never seen such a loveless marriage before.”
Idra began slowly tearing apart sprigs of lavender into a mortar and pestle.
“Add a couple of blue bell petals. We need a deep purple for the summer festival,” Ola tossed a flower her way. Clearing her throat, Idra sought to continue the conversation.
“So, you don’t think she loved him?”
“Absolutely not, not that I can blame her. He killed her son.”
“Careful with that dye! I’d rather not match the festival banners.”
“He killed their son?”
“Oh yes. Tragic tale, but there can only be one Master of the Gale and his youngest son was too weak to train.”
Idra dropped her pestle. Harming a fledgling was considered the most heinous act. Since the calamity, the children of Rito Village had suffered the most. Their race had almost died out from starvation and disease. So many newborns were too weak to survive in the harsh climate. Siblings born to a family were considered a sign of coming prosperity to the village. They were cherished by the entire community.
“I can’t believe he would kill his own child,” she whispered. Her thoughts drifted to Terciel. How terrifying it must have been for him to live in fear of his own father. Ola placed her feathers on Idra’s.
“My dear you have so much kindness in your heart, but please don’t be naïve,” Ola lifted Idra’s face. “Idra, I tell you all of this because Laisa was not the first bride forced into marriage to a Master of the Gale and she won’t be the last. Now with the son of that horrid rito going to your stall, I want you to be careful.”
“You think he’s trying to arrange a marriage with me? He barely knows me.”
“You are as lovely as your mother. I would be surprised if he were not enchanted by you.” Idra had no idea what to say.
“And because neither your mother nor your father is alive, if that puffed up feather brain thinks he can force you to do anything, I will send him flying by his tail feathers, Ganon be damned! I may be old, but that just means I have nothing to lose!” Overcome, Idra hugged the only mother she had ever known. Wiping away tears, Idra gave a smile.
“All right. Don’t we have banners to dye?”
“Surely, we do. Best we hop to it or we’ll be selling these for the Spring festival instead!”
Idra’s curiosity was far from satiated by her talk with Ola. It only confused her more and did nothing to shed light on the nagging thoughts in her head. Her only other source of information was the village elder, Ibis. Although she had no idea how to broach the subject with him.
She pondered her next steps as she set her stall for another market day. This time she arrived early enough to see the sun’s rays illuminate Roost peak. She would ensure Huro did not sell to the baker in her stead.
For a moment, she remembered her childhood friend. They were birds of a feather, hardly leaving each other’s sides. She trusted him with all her heart. At one point in her young maiden years she would have agreed to marry him, but with age she realized how incompatible they were and how deep his greed ran. Unfortunately, Huro could not understand why she would decline his proposal to marry. He took it as a personal offense. It seemed that he would have no relationship with her if it couldn’t fit what he wanted. She hoped with time that would change and perhaps they could be dear friends again.
A throat cleared above her, jolting her from her thoughts. Looking up she saw the very subject of her research standing before her. Dusting off her tunic, she rose to her feet. Glancing around she saw only a few vendors busily preparing their stands for the day. For the most part, they were alone. Just as she opened her beak, he spoke.
“I require two bushels of wheat and a bundle of lavender.” He chose not to make eye contact with her, preferring to stare at his feathers.
“Oh, of course.” Quickly she pulled together his requested goods and tied them with twine.
“You seem to be on the mend,” he muttered.
“Yes sir, I am better now,” she handed his purchases to him.
“I hope you continue to take care,” quickly he snatched his purchase and dropped two rupees in her feathers. Idra saw that once again he had given her more than her asking price. Before he could leave, she reached out towards him.
“Wait, master Terciel!” He halted mid turn. “You forgot your change.” She gathered four green rupees from her satchel and held them for him. Slowly, he turned to face her.
“You know my name. Yet I do not know yours.” He briefly glanced at the rupees and then in her eyes.
“My name is Idra and I will not accept charity,” she responded matter-of-factually as she deposited the change in his feathers. “Please remember that.”
“Idra,” he whispered, testing her name. “I won’t forget.” Before she could speak again, Terciel bowed his head and left.
Letting out a sigh, she watched as he retreated from the square. He didn’t seem interested in speaking with her at all. This would be very difficult to get the answers she sought.
Once Terciel had exited the square he created a small updraft to take flight and propel himself home. He landed on a small ledge that overlooked the square. Leaning against the rock, he looked down.
She knew his name! It shouldn’t be so shocking to him. After all, he was infamous, and his name was far from a secret. In his experience though, few cared enough to ever learn his first name. All that mattered was the role he played. She knew his name and he now knew hers! He hummed in happiness.
Idra. What a fitting name for a star.
---> 0 <---
Each market day thereafter, Idra sold master Terciel two bushels of wheat and a bundle of lavender just before the market opened. He was perfectly cordial to her, but no matter how hard she tried, he would not stay to speak with her. He would greet her, ask for his goods, wish her well, and leave. It was truly maddening. Every question she asked would be met with a curt response or an aloof stare.
She had tried to get answers from the elder as well, but she could only side-step the elder’s questions about her sudden interest in the history of rito village after the calamity for so long. She began borrowing scroll after scroll to read into the wee hours of the morning to better understand who the Master of the Gale was meant to be. Every scroll painted a terrible picture of a traitor who chose to serve Ganon over his people. The descriptions only fueled her curiosity more. Why would the scrolls go to such pains to make every Master of the Gale nonredeemable? And who was the first? Her instinct told her there was more to this story, but there was not a shred of evidence proving her theory. The only thing she had to go off was the kindness Terciel had shown to her and she was beginning to wonder if Ola was right. Perhaps his kindness only ran feathers deep. She was at her wit’s end and decided to try one last time.
She returned home in the early evening from her makeshift archery range. Idra doubted that she would ever master the weapon as her father did, but the thud of her arrow hitting every target in the air was the most satisfying sound she had heard. The rito warriors who excelled in this aerial combat were graceful and deadly accurate. It was an art she hoped to hone. If only her investigation skills were as precise as her skill with the bow!
After oiling down the wood and resting her bow for the evening, she prepared for her next move. Under the light of a crystal lamp, she tore a small scrap of parchment, one she could easily slip in with his wheat. Her quill hovered over the note uncertainly. How she should start? After thinking through a few conversations in her mind she decided the best way was to begin with trust. He wouldn’t likely share his thoughts with her if he continued to feel ill-eased around her. Hopefully, this note would be the start.
---> 0 <---
Terciel begrudgingly woke in the early darkness of the morning. He preened his feathers, dressed, and read his book until the first rays of dawn shown over Roost peak. That was his signal to leave. Stretching his wings, he leaped off the platform just outside his home, relishing in the slightly cold air that held his wings aloft. In the distance he could see the looming darkness that was Ganon’s domain, the smoldering ash of Death mountain, the snow capped Gerudo Highlands, and the waves of darkness that rolled in the valley below. No matter how bad the ground seemed, the sky was a haven untouched by Ganon’s cruelty. If only he could fly higher and higher until he reached the stars themselves. Then again, he would rather stay closer to the ground where one such star had fallen. Shifting his trajectory Terciel began to slowly descend to the ground.
It was a market day meaning that he could see Idra if arrived before the other vendors. He was glad to find that she reached the market early in the morning to secure her stall. It meant that he could enjoy her company with some privacy which was critical as she was starting to become quite talkative with him. It pained him to seem so uncaring and unresponsive, but it would be to her detriment if anyone saw him acting friendly toward her. Furthermore, he had been able to keep Idra safe from the knowledge of other dangerous individuals as well. It was best that no one knew how he cared for her, even herself. Still, he longed to respond to her. He would often think of how he would answer her questions if he could and how charming he would be in doing so.
He reached the market just as the sun’s light had bathed the square platform. Other stalls had been set for the day, but only one was being tended. Holding down the smile that threatened to spread across his face, Terciel approached Idra as she displayed her wares.
“Good day Idra,” he greeted wings folded behind his back.
“Good day master Terciel,” she bowed her head respectfully. “You require two bushels of wheat and a bundle of lavender, yes?” She reached behind her stall to give him his purchase already tied and ready.
“I require two bundles of lavender today,” he responded unwilling to leave so soon. Halting, she raised an eyebrow at him. With a sigh she set the pack down and reached for another bundle of lavender.
“You have quite the penchant for lavender,” she muttered.
“Only on you,” he blurted out. His eyes growing wide at the omission.
“Excuse me?” She held another bundle in her wing.
“I said, as do you,” he gestured to the bundles hanging across her stall. She seemed to accept that answer as she turned back to tying his lavender. He let out the breath he had been holding. Really Terciel? Very charming. He scolded himself silently.
“I do like lavender, it reminds me of my mother,” she finished the parcel. “That will be 12 rupees today.” As he had promised to do before, he gave her the exact amount.
“Take care master Terciel,” she responded with a smile and returned to prepping her stall.
“Take care Idra,” he replied. As he walked away from the stall he felt not only embarrassed at his slip, but somewhat disturbed at her sudden change in speaking to him. He had anticipated a story when she mentioned her mother, much like she had done in the past few weeks. Today, however, she had nearly rushed him out of her stall. Perhaps she was tiring of his regular visits. Perhaps she had seen enough of him. With a heavy heart, he took to the air to return home.
Upon arriving he plucked the two bundles of lavender from the package and pinned them to the rafters. He was starting to amass quite the collection.
As do you?
He cringed at the memory. He tossed the wheat into a basket where it would wait until supper. From the corner of his eye he saw something float to the ground. Reaching down he picked up a small folded parchment. At first, he thought it was a scrap that had been gathered with his purchase but glancing closer he could barely make out ink stains. Carefully, he unfolded the paper to reveal a note addressed to him.
My deepest apologies, but I worry this may be the only way to truly speak to you. There is much I do not understand about you or your life, but if it is your role as Master of the Gale that prevents you from freely speaking to me, then please let this note be the start of an honest and friendly conversation. If you find this note offensive, then the conversation may end here, and I will continue to provide you with your requisite wheat and lavender although I’ve no idea what you do with all that lavender. If you are willing, please respond with a note of your own at the next market day.
With sincerest wishes,
He barely believed his eyes, rereading the note several times to ensure he was not hallucinating. She wished to speak to him! He couldn’t contain his smile as he hurriedly fetched his own quill. Turning the note over, he hesitated. What would he say? He closed his eyes and imagined for a moment that she was standing before him at her stall. He could almost hear her voice in the words of her note. Now, he would respond.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
The morning of the next market day, Idra nervously arranged her stall. It was early yet, the sun just barely grazing over the peak. The market square was quiet and tranquil with no other vendor having arrived. She was grateful for the quiet; it steadied her anticipation. It had been four days since she had given Terciel the note. Today she would find out if the note worked and if he was willing to communicate with her, she couldn’t help but laugh inwardly at herself. Why was she so nervous?
As soon as the sun had fully risen, she could see his form entering the edge of the market. He strolled to her in the same way as he had before.
“Good day Idra,” he greeted her as his eyes drifting down to the newly rearranged wheat.
“Good day master Terciel,” she responded. “Are you well today?”
“Yes,” he replied without looking up. “I will require two bushels of wheat-“
“And a bundle of lavender,” she held his package out for him. He merely glanced down at the package his wings set firmly behind his back.
“Two bundles?” she inquired. “Three?” He shook his head slightly.
“Four bundles of lavender?” She clarified. After a moment, Terciel’s head nodded. Whatever did he use the lavender for?! Slowly she pulled another three bundles down from the stall. She shifted her torso away from him to tie each lavender in a bundle and then carefully organized and tied them in their wrappings. She hoped she had given him enough time to slip her a note, but when she turned, she saw no sign of one. His wings were still behind his back and his eyes were examining something past her.
“That will be 16 rupees sir,” she held the package out for him once more. He grasped the package and dropped the rupees in her wings.
“Take care Idra,” he wished her well.
“Take care master Terciel,” she felt her smile fall as she ran her feathers against the rupees. She was certain he would have slipped her a note when paying for his purchases. She watched him take off out of the square without a glance back. Her plan had not worked.
Sighing, she stepped out in front of the stall, rubbing her wings for warmth and trying to understand how she failed. A gust of wind blew through the market, chilling her when something fell on Idra’s head. Confused, she looked for the lightweight object that had pelted her. Reaching down, she retrieved a small folded parchment piece from the ground. She could see her writing displayed on the paper. Holding her breath, she carefully unfolded the paper and spied her name in penmanship different from her own.
“Idra, are you quite awake?” Idra nearly dropped the note at Ola’s sudden arrival.
“You were just standing there staring at the ground,” the elderly rito maid dropped a basket of fabric squares to her stall.
“Good day Ola. I didn’t expect to see you so early this morning.”
“Only a few more weeks to the Summer festival dear. Undoubtedly, brides will be shopping for their wedding accessories. What do you have there?” Ola pointed to the scrap Idra held securely in her feathers.
“Oh. Someone was littering near my stall again,” she crumpled the paper and stealthily slipped it into the pockets of her tunic.
“I didn’t think anyone had gotten engaged before the festival,” Idra quickly changed the conversation.
“The festival is a formality. Besides you know what they say? The early bird gets two stones.”
“The early bird gets two stones?” Idra raised her eyebrow.
“No, no-the early bird gets stoned.”
“That hardly sounds better.”
“Don’t sass your elder,” Ola interjected, holding a feather to her beak while pondering the saying.
“The early bird gets the worm?” Idra offered.
“No, not that. Ah ha! Two early birds get half a worm.”
“Well, I can’t argue with that.”
“Exactly. Now be a dear and help me hang these banners.”
After her final bushel of wheat was sold, Idra hurriedly packed her wares and left for home. Behind her closed doors she was finally able to read his note.
How could I not respond to such a kind note? As we are starting a friendly and honest conversation, I will gladly answer your question. I am investigating what I am certain is an infinite number of uses for lavender. I have hung many a bundle from the rafters of my home so that I may observe and catalog my findings. Outside of completely legitimate scholarly endeavors, I find the fragrance quite pleasant and reminiscent of someone dear to me.
The other day you mentioned lavender reminded you of your mother. I would like to know more if you are amenable to continuing this conversation with me.
With sincere admiration,
Idra and Terciel began sharing notes with each other at every market day. At some point, they began writing multiple notes, holding several conversations at once. The two enjoyed confiding their thoughts to another.
May I contribute to your most important research with another use for lavender? You can season flour or sugar with it. I hope this helps you in your “completely legitimate scholarly endeavors” and would be happy to share more uses.
My mother started the patch of lavender growing by our fields. She told my father it was how we would distinguish ourselves from other farmers. She passed away shortly after I was born. Tending to her lavender helped me to feel close to her. I used to sneak away to the patch to tell it my troubles. As silly as it sounds, I feel like I can speak to her in that field. So, in honor of her memory, I sell lavender and as of late I’ve sold it to a rather persistent and peculiar floral scholar.
With sincerest wishes,
Your contribution to my findings is invaluable. Thank you for sharing that use with me. I’ll admit that my research has only yielded two possible uses for lavender and my recent discovery is that you can arrange bundles in a vase. I would be grateful to learn any additional uses you know of as I fully intend to continue purchasing lavender and pursuing my curiosity.
My deepest condolences for your loss. I would never think you silly for speaking to your mother’s lavender patch. I was closest to my younger brother. His passing was more than I could bear. I used to help Revelo fall asleep by telling him stories. If we weren’t too loud, we could share stories throughout the night. I did not stop after his death and instead find myself at times still telling him stories about my travels, days, and of course the lavender which has rather irrevocably taken over my home.
I look forward to another note from you soon.
With sincerest admiration,
As we have started this conversation under the assurance that it would be friendly and open, I have something I must admit to you. Since meeting you, I’ve found myself unsure of who the Master of the Gale is supposed to be. No matter the scroll I read or the stories I’ve listened to, I can’t seem to find the answers to my questions. I had hoped that I may ask you these questions through note if you would be able to answer them. One question is whether the stories I’ve heard in the village are true, about you and your father and his father before that. You confound me.
I am glad you are still able to remember and cherish your brother and I am sorry that you must carry that burden alone. What kind of stories would you tell him as children?
I hope I may continue to write you and that it does not cause you any pain.
With sincerest wishes and respect,
It seems you have started research of your own. I cannot and will not fault you for that, but I am afraid there is very little I am able to tell you outside of what you’ve already deduced. I will endeavor to answer your questions when I am able. As for your first question, I’m afraid I am only able to answer with this: a reputation is a terrible thing to have and lose.
Thank you for your kind words for Revelo. My greatest regret was that I did not cherish him as I should have while he was alive. I would tell him all sorts of stories, but his favorites were about a cuckoo we had seen once in the village square. I told him that cuckoo’s name was Koru and that he fancied himself a rito turned bird. I would make up ridiculous misadventures for Koru as he tried to convince the Village that since becoming a cuckoo he could beat any rito at their craft and would regularly and comically challenge them. Revelo loved the cuckoo stories. He even tried to smuggle the blasted bird into our home after one outing to the market. My mother nearly roasted my tail feathers at the mess Koru had made and for the tears my brother cried as our father sent a gust to blow the bird out. Rest assured that Koru survived his sudden and short-lived flight to the village, a story my brother and I regaled many nights thereafter.
I am interested that you found me confounding. I find you an equal and interesting conundrum. For example, how did a lavender gardener and wheat farmer learn to wield a bow against an entire bokoblin raiding party?
As I end my lengthiest note to date, I must say that I enjoy writing to you, and my only pain is waiting for the next market day. Please do not stop.
With greatest admiration and respect,
I think you are too polite to say this, but remember we are having an honest conversation. I assume you mean to ask how someone my size and with my limited strength could fight off a bokoblin?
The answer is not nearly as interesting as you may think. My father began teaching me archery when I was barely a fledgling. He was one of the most accomplished archers in the village until he was injured in battle. He taught me how everything he knew and when I was old enough helped me to craft my own bow. He even sold a few of my works at our stall one Summer. It didn’t matter to him that I was small, born too early, or a female. He believed in me.
Honestly, my father is at the root of why I am who I am. I sell my mother’s lavender, but my father taught me how to grow and care for it. I harvest wheat from my grandfather’s fields recalling the lessons my father gave as we brought in the harvest together. So, when confronted by those monsters, I remembered my father and how he would tell me that sometimes a tree must stand alone to stand tall. I’m afraid I’m far from a conundrum as the answer to who I am is quite easy.
You on the other wing, do not have as succinct an answer as mine. A Gale Master who wreaks havoc on his home with lavender and kidnapped cuckoos? You are puzzling, but I too have enjoyed our conversation. I must say though, I am having trouble imagining a young Terciel with a less stoic expression than I’ve come to know you by. I am glad my notes bring you joy and hope that, like your stories have done for me, will continue to do so.
I eagerly await your next note.
With sincerest admiration,
You are right in your assumption, but I meant no offense and I certainly did not mean to insinuate you as being small or weak. Your size is not the measure of who you are, and it was not what struck me the night we met. Your bravery and determination were equal to any warrior I have met. Your father was certainly a good teacher, but I am unable to give him all the credit. What I saw in your eyes that night comes from more than skills or lessons. It was a spirit uniquely yours. So, when I say you confound me, understand it is not the irony of who you are and seem to be, but that you do not acknowledge who you are as I have seen you.
I’m afraid my existential crisis is most certainly the former and I thank your patience in allowing me to share my stories. As unbelievable it sounds, I do smile and laugh, and of late it is because of the notes I receive from you.
I believe your father has taught you well; I’ve no doubt he was an incredible archer. Perhaps, if you would be interested in honing this skill further, I could share directions to a training range in the Hebra Mountains. It is not an easy journey to make and so I would have to show you the safest route. However, once you’ve arrived you will see why the great rito warriors of old trained there. In the meantime, I would be interested in seeing another bow you’ve crafted. Would you be willing to bring one to your stall?
I too eagerly await your response.
With sincerest admiration,
Idra could hardly contain her happiness. She picked up one of the bows made from yew and began to lacquer the wood, humming to herself.
Terciel had arrived at her stall much earlier that market day. Of course, he purchased his wheat and lavender, but he stayed much longer to examine her bows. She had placed out four bows. He said little, but she could see from the slight change in expression that he was in deep thought. He picked up each bow and tested their weight, flexibility, and balance. After a few stances to aim and pull back the drawstring of the bows, he turned to her. He gestured to a Swallow bow at the left of the table, the second and longest one he tested.
“I promised you honesty,” he responded softly, retrieving the Swallow bow once more. “The grip is a little loose for aerial battle. Would you be able to tighten it before the next market day? I would like to purchase it.”
“Really?” Idra asked him. “You aren’t just purchasing it to be kind?”
“A Master of the Gale is rarely kind,” he reminded her. “This bow is of superb quality and I would like to begin training with it immediately. Would you take 300 rupees for it?” Idra’s eyes widened comically.
“I couldn’t take that much.”
“Why not? That’s fair market value.”
“If I may offer you this advice,” he lowered his voice and leaned in closer. “You are not seeing this bow for what it is and that will be to your detriment.” He stepped back.
“I will retrieve that bow after you’ve made the adjustment to the grip. If you do not believe my offer is fair, leave it on display for the day and see if anyone will outbid me.”
“I will heed your advice. Thank you,” she replied. He nodded and placed a red rupee worth 200 on the table, sliding it towards her feathers. She could see a piece of parchment sliding under the rupee. As she had grown accustomed, she cupped the rupee and note with her wing allowing her to take and keep the note safe. As she pulled the rupee away, her feathers grazed his. Their eyes met briefly at the contact and Idra blushed. Terciel cleared his throat.
“200 for my lavender and wheat and as a down payment for that bow. Good day.”
“Good day,” and as she always did, she watched him leave.
As Terciel advised, Idra displayed the Swallow bow openly with her other wares. By the early afternoon she had received six more offers from ritos trying to buy the swallow bow. When the first few had attempted to offer 50 rupees for the bow, she felt Terciel was being overly generous. It was only when she told them that the bow had been sold that the offers suddenly jumped to 200 and 300 rupees. Her last two customers offered 300 rupees just as Terciel did. When she told them that the bow had been sold, they instead purchased one of her other bows with requested adjustments. Other customers, ritos who had never visited her stall before, began to linger to examine the bows. Those customers purchased wheat and lavender, asking her when she would have more bows to display. She never would have guessed that her bows would sell so well.
“Goodness, you’ve been busy child,” Ola called over to her stall. “Do you think you could send some of those strapping young warriors to my stall? Perhaps I can sell them a few accessories to do what a bow cannot: catch a young maid’s eye.” She winked at Idra.
“I will see what I can do,” she smiled.
“Good day Idra.” Huro greeted as he looked over her display. “I was wondering what drew such a crowd here.”
“Please, have a look,” Idra continued to polish the wood of the bow, but from the corner of her eye she watched as he looked at each bow.
“Won’t you regret parting with these?” Huro asked. “Surely you would like to keep your father’s bows in the family?”
“These aren’t father’s bows. I’ve crafted them.”
“Really?” he sounded somewhat interested. “I didn’t realize you were interested in archery.”
“I’m surprised, as father gave archery lessons to us both when we were children.”
“Ah, that’s right. Those were happier times,” he stopped in front of the Swallow bow.
“How much for that one?”
“That bow has already been sold.”
“Really? For how much, 75 rupees?”
“No. The winning offer is at 300.”
“Really?! For that?” Huro tsked. “Idra, I hope you’re not accepting it.”
“Why not? It’s a fair price.”
“For the bow or to impress a pretty maid just before the summer festival?” Idra stopped cold.
“Do you really think I am so naïve to be bought off by a customer? Do you think so little of me?”
“I meant no offense, I just want you to be careful around these warrior-types. They aren’t used to delicate maids.”
“I don’t think you need to worry about me or the warrior-types. As you recall, when my father taught us archery, he taught me how to defend myself. I am neither weak nor delicate Huro.” The tawny feathered rito sighed, smoothing his fore feathers.
“I don’t understand why every conversation we have turns into a fight. I only say this because I care for you.”
“I appreciate your care, Huro and I ask that you listen when I say I do not need it to run my business.”
“Very well, good day Idra.” As Huro retreated to his stall, Ola leaned over to Idra.
“Now I see what you mean. What a cuckoo.”
“Yes, a real Koru cuckoo.”
“Oh-it's...nothing,” Idra shook her head.
She returned home that night having sold all her bows with requests to commission others. It was by far the most successful market day she’s ever had. For the first time, she was prepared for winter in the middle of summer. Calculating her earnings, she realized she would have enough to craft more bows. She could make a whole new inventory during the winter, provide a few commissions, and then sell her stock when the market re-opened in the early spring.
Laying in her hammock, she reread Terciel’s latest note to her.
I look forward to seeing your bows on this day. While I wait, I must ask: do you prefer the Summer festival over the Spring? If I may continue to be frank, I find myself wondering at the difference between the two. I’ve never attended as an adult; few rito care to see the Master of the Gale about as they try to woo and start a fresh life. From what I’ve gathered, it’s rather jovial with dancing and music and I see the square light throughout the night. Perhaps you can help my research on this event; what would one, such as yourself, do during this sort of festival?
As an update on your other advice, I’ve become adventurous enough to sample my own research. Lavender sugar with Salmon Meuniere is quite delicious.
With sincerest regards,
You were right. I did not recognize the bow for what it was. I’ve sold all my bows today and have made enough to fill commissions through the winter. Thank you for helping me see what I could not. It means a great deal to me.
I must confess that I love both the Summer and Spring festivals. I love that the square is lit through the night and that the village gathers to welcome both new couples and fledglings. Much of what you say is true with the dancing and singing, but there’s also the contests and of course the cloud cakes! As for me, I’ll spend my time tending the stall. I must warn you, typically my entire lavender stock is sold out during the festival. I will do my best to keep enough for your orders until the winter, but anything extra will be sold to young ritos vying for someone’s heart.
I’ve never tried lavender with salmon. I simply must try it! I believe lavender also has some medicinal purposes.
I look forward to giving you your bow at the next market day. I’ve made the adjustments you’ve requested as well as a few others I think you’ll appreciate.
Thank you, my dear friend, for believing in me.
With sincerest wishes,
Terciel folded the note and looked at the bow in his wing. She had done a splendid job of tightening the grip, but in addition she modified it to shoot three arrows instead of one. That modification easily increased the price for the bow, converting it to a Great Eagle bow, but she wouldn’t allow him to pay anymore than the remaining 100. He was happy that he could help her see how valuable her skills were to the village. At the very least, he would tell her how valuable her friendship and courage were to him.
He felt relieved reading that she would be tending the stall at the festival. Of course, this wouldn’t stop any rito from attempting to woo her there, but it did mean that she did not anticipate giving a courtship gift to another. Terciel felt a small twinge of guilt. He knew it was self-serving to probe about her personal life. One day, he would have to give her up, allow her to marry and start a family of her own. He dreaded that day knowing that he would have to say goodbye to her for good. At the very least, it would not be this summer or he hoped it wouldn’t be.
He was thrilled at how well they connected in their notes. She was easy to confide in, thoughtful, humorous and headstrong. He regretted not being able to speak to her more freely in person. The most casually he had addressed her was while purchasing the Swallow bow, but he felt that was not enough. He wanted to see and speak with her again. And so, seven days before the Summer festival, Terciel left a note at Idra’s door.
Care to help me test the bow? If so, meet me before sunrise where we first met -T.
As he waited for her in the early morning, he did his best to quell his nerves. He needed to stay focused if they were both to be safe on this journey. It wouldn’t be a long flight, but the path to the Hebra mountains would be a difficult one. Hearing the soft flapping of wings, he watched as Idra descended and landed lightly before him. She had such a grace to her. Undoubtedly another strength to help her train in the Hebra Mountains.
“Hello Idra,” he whispered.
“Hello Terciel,” she answered stepping closer to him.
“Are you well?” he asked.
“Yes, and you?”
“I am well, as well…” he trailed off at the awkwardness.
“Why are we whispering?”
“Oh, whispering is the verbal equivalent of passing a note,” he explained with as straight a face as he could muster. Her face lit up with a smile, holding back at a laugh. Even in the darkness, her smile illuminated the world around him. Dawn could never come, and he would not care.
“I see. So, we should whisper until we leave?”
“Of course. Do you have your bow and elixirs?”
“I do, should I drink an elixir now?”
“No. I’ll let you know as we get closer,” he motioned for her to follow him to the outskirts of the village. Just as they reached the bridge leading to the ominous forest perimeter he stopped.
“The route we take is the safest, but still difficult. Stay close to me, I promise the destination will be worth your while.”
“I will,” she replied nodding. Assured that she would follow his lead, Terciel created an updraft to lift him up into the sky. Idra, unprepared for the sudden gust of air stumbled back to watch Terciel shoot up into the sky.
He could command the very winds.
In truth, she had wondered what had happened during the night of the bokoblin attack, why her opponents had been picked off so quickly. Now she realized that had not only helped her leg, but had likely saved her life. Master of the Gale. It wasn't a title. Shaking herself from her thoughts, she took off after him. She was grateful to see that he awaited her in the sky. With a gesture of his head, he pointed in the direction of their destination.
Idra followed closely behind Terciel watching him weave and ebb through the air currents. She admired how he seemed to command the very sky itself and as the morning dawn shone over him, it bathed his feathers in a brilliant rainbow of colors. He blended so well in the dark, but in the sun light she could finally see Terciel as he was. Watching his expression, she could see that he felt at peace in the skies. Before knowing him, she may have resented him for being able to grace the heavens so freely. Perhaps though, the heavens were the only place he could truly be free.
Their journey ended shortly after dawn. Terciel landed on a snowy path leading uphill. Idra followed behind him, immediately feeling the cold seep into her feathers. Wordlessly, Terciel held out his fiery potion to her, indicating that she should drink hers. She downed the bitter liquid in one gulp sighing at the warmth coursing through her veins.
“There, now the cold will not prevent us from our training.”
“Are we close?” Idra asked.
“Yes, it’s just over the hill. We could fly there, but for your first visit, I wanted to take you by foot.” Idra’s heart flipped a little at his word as though he anticipated they would spend another day together in the future.
Falling into step at Terciel’s side, Idra trudged through the narrow mountain pass until finally they reached the top. In the distance, she could see a structure that must have been over hundreds of years old. It was a rito-style hut with a landing extending over a cliff secluded by the mountains. As they approached the structure, she saw that the cliff dove deep into the mountains with a large column of stone in the middle of the basin. What struck her the most was that the wind blowing through the mountains created powerful updrafts surging up from the basin.
Climbing the ladder to the structure, she was pleased to see a small cooking pit, a desk, hammock, bows, and arrows. Stopping before the landing, Terciel turned to face her.
“Welcome to the Flight Range!”
“The Flight Range? I thought it was destroyed!”
“No, the original path collapsed, but the range itself was protected by the mountains. As you saw the only way to access it now is by flying and only the Master of the Gale knows how to navigate safely to it.” Idra looked around, taking in the full view around her. To think, some of the greatest warriors known in their history trained here.
“May I?” she motioned to the desk.
Terciel watched as Idra explored the interior of the Flight Range. Her face lit up at the bow schematics and she ran her wing across the work surface. Turning she examined the banners that hung from the rafters, each signifying a warrior who had trained and earned their dues at the Flight Range. She could see the family insignia of the Great Teba and his son Tulin. She saw a dark banner representing a famous bow maker, Harth. She was surprised to see that her family’s banner hung in the rafters as well. The final banner was fraying and hung in a corner. She had seen the insignia in the center of the market square.
“Whose banner is this?” Terciel stepped behind her to get a look.
“That is the banner of the rito warrior who first used this range,” he held the banner gently in his feathers. “My ancestor, the first Master of the Gale.”
“Your family built this place?”
“My ancestor asked for this as his prize. He was considered the greatest rito archer of all time. The elder, wishing to recognize his skill, promised to build a place for him to grow his talent. That was before the calamity.”
“All of these warriors died fighting the calamity,” Idra stated softly, voice laden with the sorrowful realization.
“Yes,” Terciel nodded. “But they are not truly gone. When I first started training alone, I would spend nights here. I couldn’t be sure if it was the cold or my sanity slipping, but I had dreams that I spoke to the masters of old, even trained with their spirits. Though they’ve passed, their legacy lives so strongly here, you can almost feel their presence.”
Terciel and Idra stood in silence, listening to the wind and paying their respects to the heroes who had fought so valiantly for their home. After a time, Idra turned to Terciel, her voice full of emotion.
“Thank you for sharing this with me. I must ask though, why?”
“Why share it with me? I’m no warrior and barely a bow maker.” Terciel regarded the lovely rito before him.
“Perhaps you are once again not seeing yourself for what you are,” he answered softly.
“I’m not sure of what I see anymore,” she agreed.
“Then if I may, dear friend, let me be your eyes. Let me show you why I’ve brought you here,” he held out his wing. Hesitantly, she took hold of his feathers and let him lead her to the platform.
“Warriors used the updrafts in the Flight Range to practice aerial combat. They would shoot a series of targets left throughout the basin. It is a balance of practicing descending and ascending. I thought it would be the perfect place to test your Eagle bow and, if you are willing, for you to develop your skill.”
“I would love to test the bow here, but I’m not sure if I am ready to train,” she answered honestly.
“I understand. If you would like, I can show you what the drill looks like.” She nodded.
“Very well,” he pulled the Eagle bow from his back. “I must ask that you stand away from the platform, just to be safe.” Idra nodded and flew to the small hill opposite the Flight Range. From there, she would have a good view of the drill. Seeing that Idra was safely watching from a distance, he folded his feathers, reached deep into the core of his being, and summoned a near-cyclone of an updraft. Feeling the updraft hum around him, he fanned his wings allowing the gust to propel him straight into the sky.
Idra watched, fascinated as he disappeared into the sky only to suddenly dive down. As he descended, he let loose a flurry of arrows unlike anything Idra had ever seen. She panicked upon seeing him disappear into the basin, but a perfectly timed updraft sent him soaring around the walls of the mountains, shooting each target as he went. Once he had hit all the targets, he landed just before her.
“Terciel! That was incredible!” She ran towards him. “You hit every target in under a minute.”
“Well we didn’t get the title Master of the Gale because of our healthy egos,” he smiled at her. She laughed lightly.
“Oh it looked spectacular,” she sighed. “I hope you know that I would never be able to do that.”
“And why not?” Terciel questioned. “Do you think my ancestor created that technique while thinking, ‘I will never be able to do that?’ No, he had to trust, try, and fail until he developed it. Don’t belittle yourself.”
“How did the bow fair?” she changed the subject to hide the growing blush under her feathers.
“Perfectly. The modification you made certainly gives it an advantage at the Flight Range. Are you sure you wouldn’t at least like to try?”
“And if I fail?”
“Then we'll try again.” Sighing Idra acquiesced to his request, giving him a small smile and a nod. Terciel smiled and guided her to the platform.
“Let us start with you using the updrafts from the basin. Jump in and use the air to glide up. It will feel like you are falling, but you are not. The more comfortable you get with the drafts, the better.” Idra nodded, ensuring her bow was tucked safely on her back.
“Don’t draw your bow just yet. Get a feel for it first.” Stepping to the edge of the platform, Idra took a deep breath. She dived down to the basin, allowing her wings to fan as she had seen Terciel’s. Her wings caught the updraft and sent her straight into the air quickly-too quickly. Idra shot high up into the heavens, the updrafts taking control of her wings. For the first time in her life, she could not control her flight. The updraft sent her flying out towards the mountain side-her wings struggling to push back and prevent her collision. She hit into something as she fell to the ground, her fall cushioned by another set of wings.
Opening her eyes tentatively, she saw Terciel underneath her, his head pressed into the snow and wings wrapped around her. She began trembling from the adrenaline and immediately Terciel soothed her.
“You’re all right,” he whispered softly. “You’re safe.” Registering his words and feeling his feathers gently rubbing her wings, she looked into his sky-blue eyes, finding herself lost in them. For a moment, she merely listened to his words and watched his eyes.
“Idra?” She blinked and realized how indecent she was acting, sitting atop him. Slowly she got to her knees, kneeling beside him.
“Terciel, are you all right? Did I hurt you?” Terciel was loathed to sit up after having her so close to him.
“No. I’ve had rougher landings than this,” he sat up. He saw her smile falter. “Come now, I’ll let you know a secret. My first time in the updrafts I did the same and my father was there to catch me.” Idra looked confused.
“I promise you that I will be there to catch you. Don’t give up just yet.” He laid his wing on hers.
“I won’t, but if it’s all right, I think I should catch my breath first.”
“Of course,” he agreed. She stood and offered her wings to him. Grasping her wings, he stood up and brushed the snow off. Together they made their way back to the Flight Range structure where they would indulge in a hot drink before continuing.
Terciel would never let Idra see it but watching her careen through the air towards the mountain side sent a wave of fear unlike anything he had ever experienced. It wouldn’t be easy seeing her do this again, but he knew he couldn’t stand in her way. All he could do was help and teach her to defend herself. He promised he would always be there to catch her, and he had never felt such a primary truth. He would not let any harm come to her.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
“A florist and a distinguished bow maker! I don’t suppose I can try my wing at wooing you tonight?” The red feathered warrior, Tuka, gave her a cocky wink. Idra laughed as she tied his package of wheat.
“I am sorry sir, but I will not partake in the festivities this year. I’ve a business to run after all,” she gave him his package.
“Add to that dedicated business owner,” the rito sighed dramatically. “What if I brought you a whole quiver of bomb arrows?”
“Tempting, but I must decline.”
“Ah, why are all the good ones always unavailable.”
“If she weren’t so dedicated,” his friend, a guard named Iro, interjected. “We would never have been able to buy one of her bows. So, stop pestering her.” Iro stepped forward eyeing the lavender and other selection of wildflowers Idra had gathered for the festival.
“Unlike some,” he glanced to his red-feathered friend. “I have a maid to woo. Could you help me in selecting the right bouquet?”
“Of course, what is she like?”
“Don’t get him started,” Tuka interrupted. “It’s Talia this and Talia that all day. I have guard duties with him every night, you can imagine that I know her as well as he does!” Iro’s feathers flustered, a tinge of blush at his friend spilling his secrets.
“Talia, Wren’s daughter, right? With the lovely purple feathers!” Idra asked and sheepishly the warrior nodded.
“I would advise, you get some lavender and lilac,” Idra said pulling a wingful of each flower. “And I know for a fact that she loves yarrow,” she arranged the yellow feathery brush into the small bouquet. The white rito before her looked at her in amazement.
“That’s it!” he deposited a couple of rupees on the stall’s surface.
“The flowers for Talia,” she gingerly handed him the bouquet. “Do you have any of Wren’s armor pieces?” Iro tore his attention from the bouquet to nod.
“Good, wear them. Talia won’t care, but Wren has often said he wouldn’t allow his daughter with anyone who doesn’t support the family business.”
“I’ll wear my best set from him. Thank you Idra!”
“Of course. Will that be all?”
“Do you have anything in your stall with which I could win your heart?” Tuka stepped forward with a flourish while his friend groaned. In her mind she pictured the snow falling like silver feathers to the ground and eyes that mirrored the very sky itself.
“I’m afraid not,” she answered softly. “However, I’m sure you will find someone who will capture your heart tonight.”
“Hylia willing,” Iro muttered. Shooting a dirty look to his comrade, Tuka bowed low.
“Oh all right. Perhaps next time. I wish you a lovely summer festival miss Idra.” As the two guards walked away, Idra glanced around the square. It was bustling with many a rito preparing for the evening festivities. Her eyes settled on the farming stall down the row from hers where Huro watched the two warriors she had spoken to moments before, his eyes narrowing. Before Idra could address the look, a customer had approached her, another warrior with teal and green feathers. As she prepared a bouquet, she could still see Huro’s eyes burning holes in her customer’s back. Suddenly Idra realized her only customers that day were warriors or guards. She had not seen any other young ritos from agricultural or trade backgrounds, although she knew of a few her age who were preparing to court that night. There were a few other stalls with flowers, but hardly with her selection. Idra hoped that Huro had nothing to do with it, but as he continued to give death glares to any rito male approaching her stall, she knew that the action wasn’t beyond him.
Despite Huro possibly meddling with her customers, Idra’s stock had sold out that afternoon. As twilight bathed the village square in hues of orange and gold, she helped Ola fend off the last of her customers preparing to dazzle the village with their style.
“Oh my, that was the busiest summer festival rush yet,” Ola fanned herself with a swatch of fabric. Idra heaved the last basket of cloth remnants to the side and then leaned against the railing to rest.
“It’s only the beginning too. You’ll have a whole flock of picky brides by morning if my flower sales are any indication.”
“Speaking of your flower sales, do you think you could do me a small favor?” Idra nodded half-heartedly knowing full well what it would be. It was the same request Ola made to her every year, although the recipient changed. Holding back a groan, Idra watched as Ola fished out a small bouquet of flowers tied with red cloth remnants from the basket.
“Could you deliver this to that handsome baker?” she asked in sickening sweet tone. Idra took the bouquet.
“You know, you’re supposed to give him the bouquet yourself? It’s tradition.”
“Poppycock! I defy tradition in the throes of passion.”
“Oh please, I don’t need to know that.”
“Well then get a move on it. Otherwise, I can tell you how he sets fire to my…”
“I will take this to him now,” Idra interjected nearly darting out of the stall. Walking up to the baker she wanted nothing more than to crawl into a hole until winter.
“Good evening Tumis,” she greeted.
“Good evening Idra! Happy summer festival. Are you here for some cloud cake?” Shaking her head, she held the bouquet out for him to see.
“Sorry, but no. Ola asked me to give this to you,” she responded doing her best not to cringe. The gray feathered rito stared down at the bouquet and sighed.
“That Ola is certainly persistent.”
“She finds you quite handsome,” Idra noticed that Tumis was looking over her shoulder. Turning slightly, she saw Ola waving from the booth.
“Thank you Idra for enduring this. If you could put the bouquet over there,” he gestured to the end of his stall.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to take it back?”
“No, it wouldn’t be kind. Just leave it over there,” he sighed. “I don’t mean any offense but losing my dear wife has been…” Idra set the bouquet down and regarded the elder rito before her.
“It’s too soon,” he finished.
“I understand Tumis.”
“I remember my first summer festival with Rosi," He paused, looking at the bouquet. "I spent the entire day gathering nightshade for her -I dropped them in lake Totori. I was so nervous when I saw her waiting for me.”
“What a lovely story.”
“Yes. It is, but that time is long past. Unlike what Ola may try to tell you, this day isn’t for us. It’s for young ones like you Idra. Tell me that you won’t spend your evening trying to match make two widows.”
“Honestly I have no plans for this evening,” she answered truthfully.
“I highly doubt that you’ve received no offers to court.”
“I’ve received one…”
“Ah,” he smiled knowingly. “Just not the one you want.”
“I don’t want any courtship offers this year. I’m focusing on my business,” she responded, her wings slightly crossed, avoiding Tumis’ attempts to make eye contact with her.
“So you’re telling me there is no one else you would rather spend this festival with than a tired old baker and a love-sick seamstress?” he probed lightly. When she didn’t respond he smiled.
“I knew there was someone.”
“No, not like that,” she stumbled over her words. “I have a friend, that’s all, and it’s complicated.”
“You know matters of the heart seem complicated, but when you dive in you see that it’s really simple. We just over complicate things.”
“I’m not sure it’s the same,” Idra answered honestly, thinking of how Terciel was barred from attending. “He isn’t able to come tonight anyway.” The baker hummed thoughtfully.
“You’ve had quite the successful market day,” he gestured to her stall. “Besides, there won’t be any customers needing flowers for weddings until the mating flight at dawn. And you’ve successfully appeased Ola for the time being. Why not go to your friend?”
“Are you telling me to spend the night unmarried with another rito?”
“All I am saying to you is that if he can’t come to the festival, take the festival to him.”
“What about Ola?” Idra gestured.
“I can manage Ola. She may be a total quack, but I consider her a good friend. You don’t have forever, Idra. Don’t wait.” Considering the options, Idra shyly stepped up to Tumis’ stall.
“May I have two cloud cakes please?”
“Of course, you can’t celebrate the summer without cloud cakes,” the baker smiled handing her two pastries. “On the house, for you and your friend.” He gave her a wink.
“Thank you Tumis!”
Watching Idra scurry away to briefly fare well Ola, Tumis chuckled to himself. He wondered which warrior on duty had finally captured little Idra’s heart.
The market square was lit spectacularly-a beacon at the center of night. Terciel could hear the soft melodies of music floating up to his home. In the distance he could see a few ritos dancing merrily, undoubtedly with their loved ones. He leaned over his railing to take in the sounds and sights of the festival.
Terciel had longed to attend the summer festival for quite some time, if anything to taste cloud cake again. More now than ever he wished to attend for her-to gather a bouquet of the most beautiful lilies and lavender and present them to Idra. He didn’t know why he fancied torturing himself with those thoughts. That is all they would be. Thoughts.
He hadn’t seen her since their training at the Flight Range. Despite her first fright, she quickly began to master gliding with the updrafts. Towards the end of the day, she seemed tired, but happy to let the wind guide her wings across the heavens. Of course, Terciel remained at her side throughout her training as was his promise. Pride bubbled inside him; she was making excellent progress. When he first met Idra he found a shooting star, but since then he has found himself thoroughly stumped at how much more radiant, she was. If only she could see it.
Something small and soft item fell onto his fore feathers startling him from his musings. Grasping the object, he was surprised to find a sprig of lavender tied with a lovely yellow ribbon. He was certain that none of the lavender in his home had been adorned as such. A small giggle brought his attention above and he was surprised to see Idra sliding down from his roof to the landing of his home.
“Idra!” He exclaimed. “What are you doing?”
“I’ve come to see you,” she answered, holding a basket in her wings.
“I see that, but…” he glanced around the walkways.
“Do not worry. No one saw me. They’re too focused on the square. I was able to sneak up quite easily,” she reassured him, setting the basket on the railing.
“Why are you here? Wouldn’t you rather attend the festival?”
“Well,” she began, her eyes averted as she smoothed her tunic. “If you are amenable, I had hoped to share the festival with you.” Those words sent such a thrum of joy through him. Gently placing his wings behind his back, he stepped forward, examining the basket and then glancing to her from the side until he stood next to her.
“Nothing would make me happier,” he responded. “Though I must remind you, I cannot leave.”
“I know,” she responded. “That’s why I brought the festival to you,” she smiled, pulling a wrapped pastry from the basket. Terciel’s mouth watered at the singular scent. There was no doubt in his mind-it was cloud cake.
Seeing Terciel’s face light up at the sweet, she handed it to him. Taking the other pastry from her basket, she unwrapped it and motioned for Terciel to follow suit.
“Happy summer festival,” she held her treat in the air.
“Happy summer festival,” he responded holding the treat to hers. The two took no time tucking in. Terciel savored the rich and creamy texture. Softly he moaned, eliciting a chuckle from Idra.
“It’s been so long,” he clarified between bites.
“I will not judge you for loving cloud cake, as long as you do not try to eat mine.”
“Best eat it quickly,” he joked.
Finishing the last of the pastry, the two settled into a comfortable silence watching the village square below. Terciel held the sprig of lavender for Idra to see.
“Is this my order?”
“I felt it best to deliver in person,” she smiled. “I’m afraid to say this may be the last. My entire stock was bought today.”
“Thank you for saving this for me-and for sharing cloud cake. I understand how difficult that is.”
The two continued to tease and chat as the stars shone brightly in the sky. As they spoke with each other, the festival music began to grow louder. One loud off-key note grabbed both Idra and Terciel’s attention.
“It would seem the musicians have been drinking,” Terciel observed. The brassy sound of an accordion followed shortly after, weaving a fast-paced dance for the partners below. From the corner of his eye he could see Idra swaying along to the melody. He remembered how dearly Idra wrote about the dancing. Perhaps it was the midsummer night or the knowledge that he may never have this moment again. Whatever it was, Terciel found courage to ask Idra.
“Would you like to dance?” he held his wing out to her. She looked to his wing and then into his eyes.
“I would love to, but how can we here?” The landing was certainly narrow.
“If you are comfortable, we could go inside,” he answered. Wordlessly Idra nodded, curious to see his home. Terciel led her through a solid wood door and into a somewhat dark living space. With the low candle light, she could see books and scrolls scattered across various furniture and the floor. A few rugs lay on the floor and his family’s banner hung off a central wall. His home was larger than any rito’s she had seen, but still the structure felt more confining and less comfortable than her own home by the wheat field.
Terciel lit a few more candles to give them more light. He made his way around the main room and opened a shutter to a window outside, allowing the music from the square to drift into his home. Once he was finished, he met Idra in the center of the room.
“May I still have this dance?” he asked, wing held out to Idra.
“You may,” she answered, holding his wing in her feathers.
The dance was a jaunty tune and the two launched into the steps as best as they could. Having never really danced with a partner before, Terciel was embarrassed to find himself nearly stepping on Idra or tripping over the various items in his home. After stumbling over a pile of books, he muttered darkly at the blasted things. Two feathers gently tilted his face down, causing him to pause. Idra’s eyes shown as brilliantly as gems in the candle light.
“Allow me to lead?” she asked. Terciel nodded lightly relishing the feeling of her feathers until she pulled them away. Gathering his wing, Idra set his feathers comfortably on her waist as her other wing rested on his shoulders. Keeping eye contact, she began to lead them in the dance. His feet followed her willingly. As they made circles around his home, the two laughed and smiled at the feeling of the music around them and the momentum it gave them. As the final stanzas of the song crescendo the two stopped in the center of Terciel’s home. The silence that followed was only littered with soft, scattered applause from the square below. The two said nothing. They were comfortable in the silence while in each other’s presence.
Idra lost herself in the blue of his eyes and how they sparkled from the flickering, muted glow of the room. He looked so earnest after their dance. She could feel how close they were and how wonderfully his wings held her. There were few moments in her life that she wished she could live in forever and this moment outranked them all.
Another melody wound its way up to Terciel’s home. It was softer, slower, and much gentler. Taking his wing again, Idra led them in a waltz.
“Thank you. I’ve never danced like this before,” Terciel admitted.
“I had a suspicion,” she responded with a twinkle in her eye.
“It seems I’ve become the student and you the master,” he laughed lightly.
“Another thing to thank my father for. Every festival, we would share the first dance before Huro would cut in,” Idra trailed off.
“Huro?” Terciel questioned.
“He was my best friend.”
“You say it like he isn’t any longer.”
“I’m afraid we’re not,” Idra look down examining Terciel’s finely made tunic.
“Did you love him?” Terciel cringed inwardly at his sudden question. It certainly wasn’t his business but he felt he needed to know.
“I thought I did a long time ago,” Idra looked up to Terciel.
“What changed your mind?” Terciel stopped dancing, preferring to listen.
“We weren’t compatible? I grew up? Realized that he all cared about was money?” she listed. “I suppose I realized long before that though.” Idra saw that Terciel was listening quite intently.
“My father was ill for a long time before he passed. Every day he would grow weaker. I was barely out of my fledgling years and only just becoming a maiden. I wasn’t old enough to take on the farm by myself. Huro’s father proposed an arranged marriage to combine our farms and to ensure my livelihood. My father wouldn’t agree unless I did. I was so angry when he told me about the arrangement. It felt like he didn’t believe I could take care of myself and he was forcing me to marry out of necessity. I was so dramatic-I told him he was ‘clipping my wings’ and that I would marry Huro out of love or not at all. After my tantrum, father promised he wouldn’t arrange me in any marriage-that he would let me choose. Instead my father negotiated with the other farms, the bakers, and the seamstress. It’s the reason my stock is only wheat and lavender. None of the other farms would compete with me, I could manage a modest harvest and if I had no customers at least the baker and seamstress would feed and clothe me. When Huro learned that I wouldn’t agree to the arrangement he was furious. He said I disrespected him. At the time I had always considered that we would marry, but watching him walk away stripping our friendship, I started to see him clearer. I saw the little things that I had reasoned away or ignored.” Idra sighed deeply. There would always be a part of her that longed for her childhood days with her friend and it would sadden her that those days were gone. Yet a newer part of her, which steadily grew each day, knew those days and her friendship with Huro had to end.
“I saw him for the first time,” she said.
Terciel remained quiet after Idra’s story, contemplating how difficult it must have been for Idra to take such a burden on in exchange for her freedom. He was grateful that her father hadn’t arranged the marriage. His father was intent on arranging a bride for him but passed before he could. He wouldn’t have fought an arrangement as Idra had but realized now how painful it would be to marry out of necessity alone.
“All I can say my dear friend is that rito is a complete imbecile,” Terciel finally responded. “To so willing shed your friendship whereas I wonder how I lived so long without it.”
“Now you’re flattering me to try and cheer me up,” she countered.
“No, I promised to be honest. I could flatter you-tell you that I consider you the most radiant light in the entirety of Rito Village. But in honesty, I find Huro to be the greatest village idiot who has walked the planet.”
“Now that’s a tad unkind,” she reproached.
“You forget that I am unkind,” Terciel responded.
“Are you though?”
Terciel sighed, dropping his wings from Idra’s sides.
“One day, like Huro, you will see me for what I truly am, and our friendship will not be enough to hide those flaws.”
“You always speak about yourself in puzzles,” Idra reached out towards him. “If you would tell me, I promise I would listen.”
“I know you would, and I dread the day I finally tell you,” he looked down to their wings now holding each other. “There are some things even your friendship can’t change. It’s just who I am.” His sad blue eyes gazed into hers.
“I can’t promise how I will respond to whatever it is you’re hiding,” she spoke finally and firmly. “But I promise I will listen with an open mind and that I will not allow our friendship to fall.”
“I daresay this was the not summer festival plans you had,” Terciel responded. “Have I ruined it?” Giving him a small smile, Idra held his wing in both of hers.
“Master Terciel, there is still more night to be had and I am determined to help you become an adequate dancer before morning.”
“You truly are magnificent,” he held her wings close.
“No more attempts to flatter me while we train,” she held a feather up to him playfully.
“How can I not? You make it too easy,” he teased. “Shall I demonstrate?”
“No!” She answered pulling him into a rhythmic step.
“Are you quite sure?”
“Yes. Now focus.”
“I am focused…on you.”
“Terciel you are truly awful.”
“Dear friend you wound me-to say that I am merely awful when we both know I am terrible.”
“Well,” Idra started and made a face. “I don’t think you are terrible.” Terciel stopped dancing pulling Idra to a stop with him.
“No,” she answered, averting his gaze. “You’re awfully kind.”
“Ugh, horrible,” he shook his head. He looked at her with a mischievous glint. Grasping her sides, Terciel lifted her up and began to spin in circles. The sudden momentum took Idra by surprise.
“What are you doing?” She called out between laughs.
“Take it back!”
“Take what you said back, or I won’t stop!” He continued to spin them until they both became quite dizzy. Terciel, not used to being the cyclone as opposed to its apex, tripped on the corner of the rug, sending them flying to the ground. Suddenly, he was seeing multiple Idras as the world slowed to a still.
“Idra! Are you all right?” he did his best to sit up as his sight swimming in double-vision. Idra for her part was fine but laughing no less.
“For a Master of the Gale, you are not a master of gravity,” she chuckled. Terciel hmphed as he got to his feet.
“I defy gravity,” he responded curtly before promptly stumbling over a small pile of books that had been turned over upon his earlier fall. As Terciel found himself once again on the floor looking up at the ceiling, he couldn’t help but appreciate the position, considerably with Idra leaning over him.
“It would appear that gravity defies you,” she clarified.
“I suppose I should thank it,” he answered. “After all, this is the third time gravity has brought a fallen star to me.”
“Oh, you are too awful.”
“The most horrible,” she agreed entwining her feathers with his.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
As dawn rose, the Summer Festival drew to its end bringing all ritos out on the walkways, platforms and paths for the final ceremonies of the summer.
Idra joined the throng rushing to the square, but Idra neither rushed nor ran. She felt herself floating, as though she were gliding on her own personal updraft.
She had stayed with Terciel throughout the night. The two had danced, laughed, talked, examine Terciel’s absurdly large collection of lavender, and read from his library and not once did his feathers leave hers. If she could, she would soar into the sky that minute and just enjoy the lightness she felt. While Idra hummed to herself, thinking of the best Summer Festival she had ever experienced, she was too distracted to see another rito approaching her from the side.
Huro grabbed Idra’s wing, stopping her progress to the square.
“Huro! Happy Summer Festival,” she answered cheerily, her mood too elated to be brought down.
“Where have you been?” He asked. “I’ve been looking for you all night!”
“You have? I’m sorry,” she responded.
“That’s it?” Huro started. “No explanation for where you’ve been or why you’re just arriving here at dawn?”
“Nope,” Idra said shaking her head, feeling the ridiculous smile that she couldn’t seem to retire. Huro was taken aback by Idra’s responses. They were pleasant enough albeit evasive, but he was certain it really was of no consequence and chose to ignore her bizarre behavior.
“Whatever it was I am glad I had the chance to give you this,” kneeling, he held out a large bouquet of foxgloves, clovers, and yarrow. It was a lovely to be sure. Idra folded her wings and stepped back. Once more Huro pressed the bouquet toward her.
“I know that I’ve made mistakes with you Idra,” he started. “But we are no longer children and I feel I can shed childish disputes so that we can have a lifetime of happiness.”
“Huro,” she finally spoke. “I am happy that you are willing to forgive, and you are right, we are no longer children. I’m not the same maid I once was, and I will never be her again. I am not the right match for you. I am sorry, but you deserve better,” gently she pushed the bouquet back towards him. He stared at the bouquet in disbelief and then looked to Idra.
“Still?” he asked softly. “After all this time, you still reject me?”
“I feel that we both deserve a chance to find love,” Idra responded.
“Your idea of love is what started this,” he stood abruptly. “A happy marriage isn’t just about passion, Idra.”
“I know. It’s about trust, honesty, friendship, enjoying one another’s company, supporting one another, being there when the other doesn’t feel they have value, and loving them for all their faults. We haven’t had that between us for many years if we ever had it at all.”
“I suppose I should expect this betrayal after all the time you’ve spent flirting with those guards. You know how those monsters are,” he spat. “All they want is to get a bow out of you.”
“I’m mildly flattered that you think it’s the bow they’re after this time,” she answered evenly.
“Is everything a joke to you? You keep tearing my heart out Idra and for what? A laugh?”
“I don’t find this funny at all. Why can’t you understand that this was never to harm you. I wanted…”
“Right. It’s always what you’ve wanted, but not what you’ve needed.”
“Needed?” Idra stepped back. She had seen Huro angry before, but not to this degree. She watched as the betrothal bouquet came undone in Huro’s grip.
“You have no idea how frustrating you can be,” he took a step towards Idra.
“Miss Idra?” The two guards whom Idra had spoken to the day before flanked her sides. “Is this rito bothering you?” Huro’s eyes widened. Idra didn’t respond.
“Sir, you need to leave the square,” Iro ordered Huro. “You’re causing a scene and parents are bringing their newborns for the naming ceremonies.”
“Idra, tell them that I’m not causing a scene,” Huro demanded, faltering as the red feathered guard took another step towards him.
“I think it’s best you go Huro.” The tawny rito’s eyes hardened. Glancing between the guards, he dropped the bouquet.
“Fine.” Huro turned and took off from the square.
“And don’t come back,” Tuka added with bravado.
“Really?” Iro asked before turning to Idra. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yes,” she felt her breathing slow down.
“Is he your…”
“Good choice,” Tuka answered, grunting as his friend elbowed him. “What? That melon head was insulting her and the entire rito guard. You think he’d at least be smart enough not to start something outside of the square.”
“Thank you for your help. I didn’t mean to cause concern.”
“It’s no problem miss.”
“Have you given Talia the bouquet?” Idra inquired. The snowy feathered guard nodded.
“I suppose I’ll get my answer soon enough!”
“And you, have you found another maid to sweep off her feet?” Idra asked Tuka.
“He’s found several,” his friend answered.
“I’m not looking for a mate quite yet. I figured I could spend the season evaluating my options,” Tuka responded looking at his feathers.
“In other words he’s a spineless cuckoo when it comes to maids.”
“Some wing man you’ve turned out to be.”
“This wing man wants to turn into a family man,” Iro clarified. Tuka rolled his eyes. A horn blew in the distance signaling the start of the final ceremonies.
“Master bow maker,” Iro addressed Idra. “May the monstrous rito guards escort you to the square?”
“Master guards, I would be honored,” she bowed in response.
Idra followed the two guards into the crowded square where already the village elder stood welcoming the crowd. Tuka made a beeline for a small cluster of guards whereas Iro stayed firmly planted in front of the platform, his wings pulled tight behind his back.
“Fellow rito,” Ibis called out. “Our summer festival is ending once more. Although the festival’s closure signifies the end of summer, it is the start of many beginnings as we welcome the newest members of our village and celebrate the joining of new families. Let us first acknowledge all the fledglings born this season. Parents, please bring your young ones to the platform so that our community may welcome them in true rito spirit!” The village erupted in cheers as couples brought their children to the platform. Idra was delighted to see the small flock of fledglings with their fuzzy new down feathers of all colors, their eyes bright and taking in the village before them. Fledglings were precious to the rito and the village made it known as they cheered for each one.
“Welcome Uwin, son of Neri and Lark,” the elder proclaimed, his wing gently pressing against the forefeathers of the rito babe. To her left she could feel Iro’s growing anxiety. The elder had nearly made it down the entire line and soon the mating flights would take place. Peaking around his shoulders she could make out the purple feathers of Talia standing nearby, holding her betrothal bouquet to her chest and glancing to Iro. Idra had no doubt that Talia would join him in the sky just as she had no doubt that Talia and Iro would bring their fledgling to the naming ceremony next summer.
“She’s going to say yes Iro,” Idra whispered. “Don’t worry so much.”
“I am trying not to Idra. What if I can’t find her among the others? What if she flies to someone else?” He whispered back.
“You will find her, and she only has eyes for you. She’s looking for you even now in the crowd.” Iro glanced about until his eyes found the purple-feathered beauty. As their gaze remained locked on each other, Idra watched earnestly. This is love, she thought, why can’t Huro see that?
The elder had made it to the final child on the platform, a maiden born only a week ago. The little one curled into her mother’s feathers while the crowd cheered her name. As the youngest members of their village were taken into the square by their parents, the Elder addressed the crowd once more.
“I am heartened and glad for the many healthy fledglings who have been born into our community this year. Their coming is a sign that our village is prosperous and our future bright. As is our custom, we will end the festival with the mating flight. For the rito who partake in this ritual understand that your leap into the sky is a leap of love and of faith. Our village will be strengthened and secured by the sanctity of your unions. I have seen many bouquets exchanged this night, so without further ado, I address any of you with intentions to announce your engagement, be prepared to fly at the sound of the horn. Find your partner in the sky and share with the village your declaration to wed.”
The horn of the village sounded once more and immediately rito took to the sky.
“Iro, don’t just stand there, go!” Idra attempted to shake the rito out of his stupor. “She’s waiting for you!” Startled, the guard took off after the crowd.
Idra moved towards the railings of the square to watch the rito fly above lake Totori. Slowly pairs found one another and aligned their wings to fly in wide circles indicating that they would wed. Idra was pleased to see that Iro and Talia were circling just above the market, the tip of their wings perfectly aligned and their flight like a perfect dance. They would share one more flight like this at their wedding ceremony. Watching the couples proclaim their love, she deflated for a moment. She wondered if Terciel was watching the Mating Flight.
“Good day Idra,” She turned to see the elder approaching her. “I must say I’m surprised to find you on the ground today.”
“Not any different from the past years, Elder Ibis,” she responded. The elder nodded.
“Perhaps the upcoming Spring then. Tell me, have you found the answers you were looking for?”
“Regarding Rito Village. You borrowed nearly all the scrolls in my possession,” he chuckled.
“Oh, yes. I suppose I found an answer to a question I hadn’t asked.”
“Curious. Perhaps you’ll tell me some time. I am always thrilled to see a young rito so interested in our history.”
“Of course Elder,” she responded politely, already thinking of how she could avoid having that conversation. She wasn’t sure if the elder would approve of her seeing Terciel. She didn’t know if it was wise to mention her research on the Master of the Gale beyond general historical questions.
“Well, I must be off. There will be many weddings to officiate,” he gestured to the sky. “I’ll have my wings full until the winter. Happy Summer Festival Idra,” he tilted his head.
“Happy Summer Festival Elder,” she bowed. Leaving the railing she saw that Tuka had migrated to a group of young maids who, like her, had declined to participate in the mating flight. She could see that several of them were receiving his charm quite well. Perhaps he would participate in the Spring mating flight, unlike her.
Without either guard nearby, she felt somewhat alarmed. She hadn’t seen Huro at the square, but she was certain she would see him again soon. She was still shocked by his anger and something deep inside her told her to prepare to fight or fly. Idra hoped those fears were misplaced, but if necessary, she would fight Huro. When they were children, Huro had hit Idra as they fought over a game. Though Idra was smaller and younger, she struck him back. She had anticipated punishment when an angry Miko told her father. She wouldn’t forget how her father laughed. “Let that be a lesson to Huro. Rito maids can and will hit back.” For some reason Huro hardly remembered their childhood at all, for if he did, he would remember that her father had taught her to defend herself well. She only hoped that she wouldn’t need to remind him directly.
As she wandered to the edge of the square, she found Ola already talking with brides, arranging their wedding outfits.
“Idra, there you are!” she called. “Be a dear and help me record these orders?” After they had taken orders from many of the newly announced brides, she and Ola began their walk home.
“Oh my feathers are so sore,” her elder complained. “I spent the entire night speaking to that dimwit baker Tumis.”
“Dimwit? I thought you said he was handsome,” Idra reminded.
“I thought so too! You can imagine how thrilled I was when he came to my stall, but then he spent the entire night talking about cloud cakes and flour. I’ve memorized the recipe if you ever want to make the stupid things on your own,” Ola complained. Idra held back laughter as she imagined how Tumis was able to keep a pining Ola at bay for the entire night.
“And then he gave me an extensive history on how he turns wheat into flour. I nearly died of boredom!”
“I’m sorry it wasn’t what you expected it would be, but it was nice that he spent the festival with you. He considers you a good friend.”
“And trust me, friend is all he will ever be,” she declared. “Perfectly good bouquet wasted and who knows how many festivals I have left.” Idra listened in silence, knowing full well that Ola would find another to present a bouquet to during the Spring festival.
“Tell me child, where did you disappear to? You could have rescued me.”
“Oh, I left the stall for the night after selling my flowers.”
“Did you at least spend some time courting?”
“Huro proposed,” Idra answered quietly.
“He did…” Ola stopped. “And you said no.”
“He was very upset,” Idra rubbed her wings. “I’ve never seen him so angry.”
“What a brat,” Ola shook her head. “You don’t see me having a temper tantrum and I’ve been rejected far more than he has.” Considering the young rito before her, Ola softened her tone.
“If he was truly that angry, then you made the right choice,” she grasped Idra’s shoulders. “And my ultimatum still stands. Whether it’s the master of gale or a bird-brained farmer, I will roast their tail feathers should they think to force or harm you.”
“Thank you Ola, but if Huro tries something then promise me you’ll let me handle it,” she hugged the elder rito. “At least at first. For some reason he doesn’t think that I have a mind of my own. I don’t think he’ll back off unless he knows that I am willing to fight for what I believe.”
“I’ll do as you wish though you’re sounding more and more like your quack of a father,” Ola muttered.
“I take that as a compliment,” Idra smiled.
The first market day after the summer festival was quieter. Idra had seen Terciel earlier that morning in their usual routine. He only purchased two bushels of wheat, as her lavender had run out, but within her wing she still found her note from him. Glancing quickly, she read “Join me at the flight range? Two days. I’ll meet you before dawn at our usual spot.” She hummed to herself. Happy to once again see him. She adored his notes but being able to speak freely with him was so much dearer to her.
Huro had not attempted to address her at her stall, which confused Idra until later that afternoon.
“Idra!” Tumis called over to her. “When you have a moment, I have that bread you requested.” Wiping her feathers on her tunic, Idra walked over to Tumis. The gray-feathered rito motioned for her to step behind the stall. He bent down to retrieve two loaves of bread.
“Idra,” he whispered softly. “I have something to tell you, but you must not react. I’m certain that both Miko and Huro are watching.” Idra nodded slightly to indicate she had heard.
“They approached me this morning saying they would sell wheat to me at a price much lower than yours if I agreed to buy from them for the next year,” he turned to the side so that he back was facing the market place. “Now I promised your father that your farm would be the first supplier my bakery went to for wheat and that negotiation still stands with you, I’m afraid that others in the village do not have that loyalty my dear. I think they’re planning to undersell and compete with you in the Spring.”
Idra was dumbfounded for a moment. She felt the anger immediately rushing through her veins. How dare they! If they thought she was going down without a fight they were sorely mistaken.
“There’s more,” Tumis continued. “I’ve overheard that they are meeting with the elder about an arrangement they started with your father. Do you know anything about this?”
“Only that they offered to arrange a marriage between Huro and myself, but father did not accept,” Idra whispered in response, helping him gather the bread.
“Do you have proof of that?” Idra froze.
“Do I need it if I’m not willing to marry Huro?”
“Our elder is the keeper of our arrangements and secrets. Our village trusts his judgement that an agreement had been struck. I do not believe Ibis would force you to do anything, but this will pressure you to respond to Huro in front of the elder.” Idra slammed her feathers on the bread board.
“Why do they insist on this?” she whispered fervently. “I am only one maid and certainly not the best match for Huro. Why won’t they let me be?!”
“You are quite lovely Idra,” Tumis began, thinking through his words carefully. “And your farm has the best soil in the entire village. Your father was Miko’s only competition until you changed your stock to wheat and lavender alone.”
“Huro said he wasn’t my competition, but he’s broken yet another promise,” Idra turned abruptly.
“Idra!” Tumis stopped her. “I understand your anger but that will not help you. You need to be smarter than them. Take a breath and think before you act- they’re trying to turn the village against you.”
“You’re right,” she admitted quietly. “Thank you for stopping me, but I can’t do nothing.”
“I agree. Unfortunately, I don’t know what you should do,” Tumis pondered. “You didn’t partake in the Mating Flight this year, but I assume you are still on good terms with your friend?”
“Tumis I won’t marry purely to win this fight with Huro.”
“I know that, but it wouldn’t hurt for your friend to know that you’re going to enter a fight. Besides the Rito guard seem quite loyal to you. Your friend may continue to rally them to your support unlike the other tradesmen here.”
“Thank you for sharing this with me. I promise I won’t be rash,” Idra hugged Tumis.
“Take care child and let me know if there’s anything I can do,” he gave her two rolls of bread.
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
Terciel gathered ingredients for elixirs. He would need some for the journey to the Flight Range and he feared he would need a good supply for when his call to battle came.
Over the last few days he had watched as Ganon’s domain became darker and chaotic. If the missives he had received from outside the village were correct, there was to be an attack on Hyrule from a neighboring kingdom. Ganon was collecting his power to strike down his opponents, but the battle would be costly. Terciel recalled the conversation he had with Elder Ibis the day before with a sigh.
“We must recruit for the guard,” Terciel advised the elder. “I will do all in my power to keep our people out of this war, but if there is a concerted attack, the village must be safeguarded.”
“Your recommendation is wise and we will begin recruiting on the morn,” the elder responded tiredly. “Terciel, whether our people fight directly in this war or not, you will still be called to action and you have neither a bride nor a fledgling.” Terciel held his breath waiting for the elder to finish his thought.
“I do not want to pressure, but should you perish in this battle, you will have no heir to wield the power of the gale. If our village is not destroyed by Ganon’s enemies, I fear that Ganon himself will destroy us.”
“Even if I were to marry this moment, there is no guarantee that a fledgling will be conceived. Time is running short elder and I must focus on preparing our people for war.”
“Ensuring your line continues is preparing our people for war. I can reach out to the families with eligible maids to begin arrangements immediately.” Terciel shook his head.
“As I said Elder that is not a guarantee. I apologize that I did not wed earlier, but we have little time to rectify that mistake,” Terciel folded his wings behind his back. “If I should fall in battle, you must move forward with the migration.”
“The migration?” the elder piped in. “Terciel that plan is far from ready. Where would we hide that Ganon would not find us? Furthermore, if you perish, our people will lose the power of the gale. What will protect them as they flee from the Blight? It will be a slaughter.”
“Others can master the gale. I’ve read about it. My ancestor had done it and his nephew-“
“Your ancestor earned the divine power from Hylia. He received that technique in a dream given to him by the goddess. Try as other rito might, only one of divine favor can receive the power your family was bestowed. We would have seen such potential in the fledglings before now.”
“It seems we are at an impasse, for I am to be summoned at any time. I can feel it, Ibis. Ganon’s darkness is mounting for an attack. I could be called to service by morning.” The elder sighed.
“Elder I will survive this battle and upon my return I will ask a maid to marry,” Terciel promised.
“I do not like this at all Terciel, but I am afraid we have no other recourse. Upon your return I urge you to select your bride immediately.”
Terciel had agreed with the elder, but with a heavy heart. In truth Terciel had already made his selection weeks before, but he had little faith that his shooting star would agree to become his bride, not after she realized how many monstrous acts he was responsible for. He was going to see her that day for what may be the very last time. If ever was the time to tell her, it would be then. His dearest Idra. If he knew that she would wait for him, he would gladly return from this battle no matter the atrocities he would face. If Idra would not accept him, then arranged marriages would be useless. His heart belonged to a star. He would not allow his line to continue, the cycle of killing and pain that his people had suffered. He would spend every moment of his life preparing the migration so that Idra and his people may be safe.
He met her in the dark on the outskirts of the village. Her pale gold and white feathers illuminated beautifully by the setting moon. They wasted no time in leaving for the Flight Range. They reached their sanctuary right as the sun rose.
The two trained for the first part of the morning. Idra had quickly developed her skill with the updrafts and was attempting to use them while firing her bow. Terciel joined her after her first few runs. When Idra still missed the targets alongside Terciel’s perfectly aimed shots, she challenged him to a race through the updrafts. Terciel rose to her challenge and the two raced through the basin, weaving in and out of the rock formations. Despite Terciel’s clear mastery of the technique he was surprised and thrilled to see Idra matching him at each corner. She was nimbler and her wings swiftly took her around the bend much faster than him. Idra landed on the walkway in front of the hut, her chest heaving as Terciel landed beside her. He did his best not to show how winded he was.
“I will have you know that we both crossed the walkway at the same time,” he was able to state between breaths.
“But I,” she began “Landed first.”
“True, but only because I was being a gentleman,” he countered.
“Really?” she asked disbelievingly. When she realized that Terciel had his mischievous glint in his eye, she returned his teasing.
“I’m certain you say that to every maid who has beaten you.”
“You my dear are the only maid with the skill to beat me.”
“I’d say let’s race to the fire, but I’ve no energy in me,” she joked. Terciel drew up to her side, placing a wing on her shoulders.
“Then let me help you. Together we’ll make it.” The two leaned against each other making their way inside the hut. Idra immediately stooped to start the fire in the cooking pit, humming happily as the pit ignited sending warmth and light throughout the hut. Terciel secured the cloth over the doorways to prevent the winds from snuffing their fire. He took a seat next to Idra as she cared for the fire, heating vegetables and broth for their lunch. Terciel watched her as she calmly tended to their lunch blissfully taking in the comfort surrounding him. He wanted to savor and remember this moment forever. It was what his future could be if she agreed to stand at his side. He was startled when Idra leaned against him, her head lightly laying on his shoulder. He moved his wing to hold her securely to him, allowing her to rest, as his head lay against hers. He needed to tell her. He was running out of time. No matter the logic though, he wanted the moment to last forever.
The fire crackled and the scent of the soup permeated the air. The only light in the hut was from the fire pit alone and Idra relished the feeling of safety around her. If only they could stay in this sanctuary for the rest of their days. She gave a sigh and Terciel felt the shift her shoulders.
“You are thinking quite deeply Idra,” Terciel observed. “Care to share your musings with me?” Idra remained quiet. She wanted to tell Terciel of her conflict with Huro, but she had no idea how he would respond. She had seen Huro get so angry and then spiteful. Terciel made a point stating that he was no kinder. What if he reacted the same way?
“Idra?” Terciel responded gently leaning down to look at her. “You are troubled, will you tell me why?”
“I wish to, but I worry that it will upset you,” she responded truthfully. Terciel stiffened, the wing that held onto Idra’s side dropped. He took a deep breath.
“Whatever you need to say Idra, you can say it. Please don’t be afraid of me,” he willed himself not to let any emotion show. So, this was it. I will lose her forever, he thought.
Idra glanced to see his face expressionless. He was doing his best to hide his feelings and she was frustrated. She despised that he hid so many things from her-his life, thoughts, and emotions. “Not unlike what you are doing now,” a voice in the back of her mind chided her. Looking into the fire Idra knew that she had to trust him. Perhaps when she showed how she trusted him with her secrets, he would be willing to follow suit. She needed to listen and trust what he said with an open mind instead of assuming he would be like Huro.
“I’m in trouble,” she started. “I’m not sure what to do, but I know I need to act. Will you help me think of a plan?” Terciel nodded stiffly, turning to face her directly.
“What’s going on?” And so, Idra told him. She told him about Huro’s proposal, his outburst, the guards coming to her rescue, and the efforts Miko and Huro were taking to undermine her business all the while having meetings with elder about a mysterious agreement.
Terciel listened intently. He was furious. He was ready to find this Huro and deal with him directly but knew Idra didn’t wish that. When Idra had finished, Terciel paused, willing his anger away so that he could think through a battle strategy for her. She would outsmart those birdbrains. He’d ensure it.
“This Miko and his son intend to drive you into poverty,” Terciel thought out loud. “In the hopes that you will marry out of necessity, and Huro seems to have intimidated most of the other trades community so that no one else will propose to you.”
“It would seem that way.”
“I’m inclined to call that rito a dastardly fool, but some insults are best served through action,” Terciel tapped his chin. “If you lose your other customers, it sounds as though the guards would still frequent your stall. Will their numbers be enough to keep the farm?”
“I’m afraid not,” Idra responded. “The guards came for the bows. When Miko lowers the price for wheat I wouldn’t blame them for choosing to buy from his farms.”
“Let them,” Terciel began. “Let Miko have the wheat sales so that you can focus on bows. Tell me Idra, which did you make more from? The farm or your craft?”
“My bows. Their sales in one day alone were more than I’ve made in the year.”
“Then don’t even give those featherbrains the fight they are hoping to have and leverage against you. Huro won’t be able to frighten away a host of guards looking for weapons and repairs. The elder is actively recruiting to expand the guard. As tradesmen become trained as warriors, they will become your customers, and neither Huro nor Miko can compete with you in weapons.”
“That may be true, but there are other bow makers in the village-well known and equally ready to fight.”
“You raise a good point. For battles against multiple fronts, you need an ally. I would happily be that for you, but I’m afraid your association with me will only have the impression that Miko and Huro hope to forge.”
“Wren,” Idra interrupted. “I’m sorry I just realized I do have an ally.”
“The armorer?” Terciel inquired.
“Yes. He had a bow maker on his employ, but no longer. Perhaps I can strike a deal with Wren. He’s incredibly influential in the trade community- I don’t know of anyone who would dare speak against him.”
“I’ve heard of Wren. He’s tough, but all the apprentices he trained with him before becoming guards say he is an outstanding mentor.” Idra nodded slowly. Sighing, she folded her feathers in her lap, as she realized what she would both gain and lose with this plan.
“If I do this,” Idra started. “then I won’t be able to upkeep my family’s farm.”
“It means a lot to you,” Terciel spoke slowly, watching Idra closely.
“It does,” she agreed. “I grew up there and my father worked so hard for it for so long. It would feel like an insult to give it up.”
“I’ve never met your father, though he sounds as magnificent as you are,” Terciel held Idra’s wing. “But, I imagine he would tell you that pursuing something you love is no insult to his memory, but a celebration of what he’s enabled you to do.”
“What if I’m truly not good enough to make it?”
“Once again my friend, you do not see who you are,” Terciel leaned down to tilt Idra’s face up as he gazed into her eyes. “You cannot show any fear-not to Wren and not to Huro. You know your value is enough and Wren will gladly partner with you. I’ve no doubt that you will soar when you become his apprentice. If ever you doubt that remember neither Wren nor Huro have trained at the Flight Range-their families’ banners are not hanging in these rafters whereas yours is just there.” Idra felt such a warmth bubble up from her very core. Reaching forward she pulled Terciel into a hug, holding him fiercely to her. Terciel was taken aback by the sudden contact, but quickly pulled her closer into his wings.
“You are truly the kindest rito I’ve ever met,” Idra mumbled into his feathers. “I wish you would see that as I do.” Terciel did not respond in words preferring to tighten his hold on the divine star who had all his heart. He only wished he could see her take to the sky once more. Idra pulled partially out of the hug to face him.
“I will do this. I won’t let Huro frighten me,” she resolved. Terciel’s sky blue eyes flickered for a moment in sadness.
“I would love to see you in your triumph,” he spoke.
“Terciel, my triumph is yours as well. If you had not convinced me about the bows, I would never have thought this possible. I will share it all with you,” she added, blushing for Idra did not mean her triumph alone. His blue eyes remained downcast, his silence hanging heavily around them. It was time.
“I have something I must tell you Idra,” he looked into her eyes, his wings moving to hold her feathers.
“Soon I must leave. Ganon will call me to fight in his battle against a warring kingdom. I will fight to ensure our people are not brought into this war by ending it swiftly.” Idra felt frozen.
“When will you be back?”
“I do not know,” he answered honestly. “If I do not-“
“Don’t. Please don’t,” she stopped him, placing her feathers on his beak. “Promise me. Promise me that you will come back,” she demanded with tears welling in her eyes.
“I promised to be honest first,” Terciel responded weakly, all the words getting stuck in his throat at the sight of her tears.
Reaching up to her forefeathers, Idra untied her purple headband, her yellow and white feathers falling to the sides. Reaching forward, she tied the bandanna to the upper part of Terciel’s wing.
“Promise me then to do everything in your power to return this to me,” she asked. “And with it, you.” Terciel touched the band now wrapped around his arm.
“I promise I will return this to you,” he agreed. “And if I am able, myself.” Tears streamed freely from Idra as she moved to hug him again, wrapping her wings around him. “Good, there’s so much more I want to tell you…about the lavender,” she mumbled.
“There’s so much more I want to tell you as well, my brave and wonderful friend,” he held her. “I’m not worthy of your tears.”
“Then don’t make me cry,” she responded with a short laugh. Reaching up she tilted Terciel’s face down to hers, her beak nuzzling his as they shared their first kiss.
“I cannot tell you how long I’ve wanted to do that,” he whispered to her.
“Don’t tell me, show me,” she told him with a mischievous glint.
“My, you’ve become quite demanding my friend,” he answered.
“Only because I know you hold back my dear Terciel,” she nuzzled his cheek and he responded in kind holding her close as they shared a passionate kiss.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
Parting with Terciel was painful for Idra as she feared she may never see him again. They had spent the entire day and night at the Flight Range in each other’s company. As she watched him take flight towards his home, Idra felt a chill run throughout her-the same feeling she had when her father took ill. She prayed that it was nothing more than coincidence and that Terciel would return to her safely.
Though fearful, Idra rose the next morning with determination. Terciel was a powerful warrior and she had no doubt that he would fight through any obstacle that stood between him and home. Likewise, Idra knew she would fight through the obstacles Huro laid before her. Perhaps if she was able to win her battle, she would earn her freedom and with it be ready to give her love to another.
Idra made her way to the other side of the village, approaching a large hut close to the ground and a safe distance away from the trees and main walkways of the village. In the distance she could hear the striking of metal, signaling to her that she had arrived. Idra stopped at the door. I will not show any doubt or fear, she thought. The day prior, Terciel helped her to practice her conversation with Wren, schooling her emotions and ensuring that she remained calm to negotiate. The practice session ended rather abruptly at Terciel’s over-the-top impression of the booming rito. The two dissolved in a fit of a laughter at the level of emotion that neither Idra nor Terciel knew he was capable of. Smiling at the memory, she was able to momentarily extinguish her fear. Adjusting the cloth bundle that held samples of her work, she took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
“Idra!” Talia opened the door wide at her childhood friend. “It’s been so long.”
“I know. You’re nearly married,” Idra smiled. “Congratulations. You and Iro are a wonderful couple!” Idra hugged Talia.
“I didn’t know if Papa would approve, but then Iro wore that armor,” Talia shook her head. “You told him, didn’t you? About the armor and my favorite flowers?”
“I hope it was all right, but he seemed so in love with you.” Talia clapped her feathers together.
“Of course-thank you! It was just the nudge Papa needed to give his blessing. Please come inside. I have so much to tell you!”
“I would love to, but I came to speak with your father about a matter of business. May I speak to him before we catch up?”
“Uh, sure. Papa’s in his workshop,” Talia led Idra to the side of the house where a stone-tile landing looked over the lake. Already Idra could see the looming figure of the greatest rito armorer Wren. He was stretching and tanning leather which would pad his armor pieces.
“Papa! Look who dropped by?” The older russet rito looked up from his work.
“Now is that Kailen’s little Idra?” he asked as he stitched a cross section of the leather.
“Yes Mr. Wren,” Idra approached.
“Mr. Wren? Come now, you practically grew up with us!” he hoisted the rest of the hide over a nearby rod. “I expect a proper greeting, just like yer father taught you.” Idra walked to Wren, giving a sweeping bow and then grasped his wing with her own.
“Yep, that’s Kailen’s girl!” Idra nearly had the wind knocked out of her as Wren slapped her back exuberantly.
“Papa! Careful!” Talia chided.
“What?” He looked to Idra and then to Talia. “We didn’t raise the two of you to be delicate wisps of clouds in the air!” Talia shook her head.
“I hope you won’t do that with your grandchildren,” Talia started.
“Well that all depends on the house Iro’s got for you two. If it’s not up to my standards Tali, your wedding will be delayed as unpopular a decision that may be. “
“It will be up to your standards Papa just as it will be up to mine,” Tali nodded.
“Iro might have his work cut out for him,” Wren shook his head. “So Idra, will you join us for the wedding?”
“Oh, Idra you must!” Talia interjected. “I need your help with the flowers and of course I’ve yet to visit Ola for my bridal accessories. You must help me.”
“I’d be happy to do so,” Idra agreed.
“Perfect. Well, I’ll let you talk to papa and then come find me?”
“I will!” As Talia left, Idra turned to face Wren.
“You came to talk to me did ye? What for?”
“Well,” Idra took a breath. “I have a business proposition.”
“Huh, a business proposition?” Idra waited quietly until Wren set his leather hammer aside and wiped his feathers on his apron. “So tell me about your business proposition.”
“Actually, I’d like to show you.” Idra carried her bundle to Wren’s work table she opened the cloth and pulled out three bows she had been working on for commissions. Wren said nothing, but Idra watched as the master surveyed her selection with interest.
“I am interested in honing my craft and mastering the art of bow making,” she gestured to the bows. “In order to do this, I must dedicate my time fully to developing the skill and to launching my business which I am unable to do unless I partner with a mentor who has already trained on such a skill. I would like to propose a partnership between you and I where in exchange for your mentoring and your support in selling my bows alongside your armor you will receive a percentage of the profit and a skilled Fletcher on your employ.” Wren remained quiet. He moved across the table examining the bows, lifting them and testing their tensile strength and flexibility.
“Iro mentioned that he purchased a bow from a new craftsman,” Wren muttered. “And your father had certainly passed his knowledge to you.” Setting the final bow on the table he turned to Idra full on forcing her to crane her neck up to look him in the eye.
“I had a skilled Fletcher in my business, but with other bow makers it didn’t make sense to continue that competition,” he observed. “Why should I seek to return that practice again?” Idra contemplated his question, turning a way for a moment to ensure her answer was solid. She lingered in front of the mannequin where a newly crafted armor piece was displayed.
“If my observations are correct, you have already received news that the elder is looking to expand the citizen guard,” she stated. “Once that news spreads, others in the village will seek protection for themselves and their families against whatever threat lies outside the village. If you were to couple a bow with your armor you would not only increase your profits, but you would rebuild your standing in the community as a provider of excellent bows. Our people are fighters. They will look for weapons and what better place than with an armorer they trust to protect their loved one’s lives.” Wren took a step forward, his feathers stroking his chin.
“Tell me Idra, as I doubt yer interested in making money off the village’s fear. Why do you want to do this?”
“Mister Wren, I want to master this craft completely. My father taught me what he could and as a result it has helped me to craft bows and to feel I can fight for myself. I want to learn as much as I can and if my bows can help another in our village feel the same, then I’ve not only mastered a craft, but an art.”
“An art you say?” he hummed in thought. “Now that is interesting. When I look for new apprentices, I ask them why. Some say passion or profession, others like to fight. Few are interested in making art, but that is we as craftsmen must do. Tell me did ye know that rito armor used to be leather and feathers alone?” Idra slowly nodded.
“It wasn’t until my great grandfather and his metalwork techniques that the rito were able to forge a light-weight durable metal armor that wouldn’t impede their flight. It takes courage to perfect your art Idra. Are you willing to give up profits, possible customers, and your livelihood to do that?”
“Mister Wren, I would like the chance to try,” Idra answered honestly.
“Well then, Miss Idra,” Wren approached her. “Welcome to the family business.”
“Of course! You’ve got as much skill as Kailen did with the bows,” He gestured to the bows on the table. “If not more. I would be happy to have you on our employ.”
“Thank you so much Mister Wren! I must tend to the market tomorrow, but after would you be free to go with to the elder to make the official arrangements.”
“Very smart!” Wren pointed out to her. “What percentage partnership are you suggesting.”
“Well,” Idra started. “If you’re willing to let me use your workshop and store my bows and resources here, then I would be willing to 65-35. If not, then I feel 75-25 would be appropriate to learn from you and provide stock in your stall.”
“60-40,” Wren started. “And you are welcome to use my inventory.”
“You have a deal!” Idra shook his wing.
“Now, if you could do me one favor,” Wren sat on a nearby stool and sighed. “Would you mind entertaining Talia and Bali for the afternoon? I’ve grown weary of hearing the wedding plans.”
“I’m happy to speak with Talia,” Idra began to gather her bows. “I think Iro is a good match for her.” Idra offered.
“Aye he is,” Wren conceded. “But don’t ye go telling him I said that. He needs to live in fear of me for at least a year after they’re married!”
The next market day Idra set up her stall with the last of her wheat. After today she would begin her apprenticeship with Wren. They would start at the basics, he said, just like any other apprentice to ensure her preliminary knowledge was solid. He was certain that she would advance quickly and would soon be practicing bow techniques. Wren had also told Idra that he would train her in basic metalwork by helping her make a set of armor that would fit her size. She was ecstatic! As a fledgling she would see the warriors in their beautiful shiny armor pieces with their leather tunics. She had no plans to go into battle, but Wren impressed upon her the importance of her appearance moving forward. She was no longer a farmer’s daughter. She was a tradesman and to be respected in this sector of her community and to be associated with Wren, she needed to look like one.
She was growing worried. It was near sunrise and Terciel had not arrived. She knew that he could be called at any time, but she had hoped to see him before he left. Just as the sun’s rays hit Roost Peak, she saw Terciel land in the middle of the square. Idra’s heart fell. Terciel wore his armor. Unlike the warriors Idra had seen, Terciel’s armor pieces were darker with sharper edges. Undoubtedly a work of Wren’s, Terciel looked the part of one of Ganon’s champions, and had anyone else been in that square Idra was sure they would have fled. But Idra knew this villain all too well and she had to force herself from running to him, fearful that she would lose her friend forever.
Terciel quickly approached her stall.
“Good day Idra,” he started their usual routine.
“Good day Terciel,” Idra responded, unable to hide her sadness.
“What has you so upset?”
“My dearest friend must leave today,” she answered honestly. “And I worry for him. I hope he will take care.”
“I’ve no doubt your friend will take care and return to you,” he said. “He will only think of you while he is away.”
“Are you leaving now?”
“Yes. May I have two bushels of wheat for my travels?” Idra quickly grabbed wingfuls of wheat into a package. Had she known he was leaving today she would have gathered other things for him.
“Please take more.”
“I would hate to take your stock from you.”
“It doesn’t matter. Today is my last day selling wheat and lavender. Tomorrow I will start my apprenticeship with Wren, the master armorer,” she tied the bundle of wheat so that it would travel securely.
“Ah, I am happy for you, but if you leave who should I buy my lavender from?” he asked with a teasing smile in his eyes.
“I will always have lavender for you,” she answered. She gave him the bundle.
“I am sorry for coming so late and I’m afraid my time with you is short,” he lowered his voice and pushed a couple of rupees her way. She saw a note securely tucked under the payment. She nodded tearfully.
“Come now,” he whispered. “This isn’t good bye- I can never say fare well to you,” he quietly consoled her.
“Nor I you.”
“In that case, the next time I see you I expect to buy a new bow.” In the distance they could hear the morning sounds of the village waking and preparing for the day.
“I must go,” Terciel said taking the bushel in his wings. Idra stopped him before he left. Leaning forward she gave him a quick kiss.
“For luck,” she clarified.
“Thank you. I will see you again dear Idra.”
“Take care master Terciel.”
“You as well, master Idra.”
As Terciel took off from the market landing, Idra stepped out from her stall. Her eyes watched him disappear into the dark veil past the forest. Silently she prayed to Hylia for his safe return. Feeling the note against her feathers, she returned to her stall to read it.
I’ve left something for you in my home. It is a precious heirloom to my family and to the history of Rito Village. I believe it has the answers to your questions. I trust you to keep it secret and safe.
Until we are reunited, take care my love.
Wiping away the tears rolling down her cheeks, she looked to the skies again willing him to return to her so that she may say what she held so dearly in her heart. She would tell him upon his return for he would come home. Tucking the note in her tunic, she began to wrap the remaining wheat into bundles for Tumis. There was no point in staying the full market day as she and Wren were to meet with the elder at noon to legitimize her apprenticeship and their partnership. Afterwards, she would go home and wait until she could sneak into Terciel’s home by night.
“Good day Idra!” Ola greeted setting her sewing basket on the table. “Child, are you all right?” Ola gestured to the tear stains.
“Yes,” Idra wiped furiously at her cheeks. “I’m just a little sentimental. I have something wonderful and sad to tell you.”
Ola was surprised to learn that Idra would no longer join her at the market. At first the elder rito was offended to be left to fend herself and then she was saddened at seeing the closest thing she had to a daughter leave her. Ida repeatedly assured Ola that they would see one another outside of the market and that Idra would continue to help with the wedding orders so long as it did not conflict with her apprenticeship.
“Well, I can’t say that I am thrilled, but I am glad you are fighting for your dreams,” Ola finally conceded.
“I am, but remember,” Idra lowered her voice “Miko and Huro must not know until after my meeting with the elder.”
“Of course. I may be loud, but I am no loud mouth,” Ola stated with wings crossed.
“I know. You’re one of my closest friends,” Idra hugged Ola.
“So I suppose you’ll be closing up your stall soon.”
“Yes. I will deliver the last of my wheat to Tumis and then I must go. I will see you though tomorrow for Talia’s visit though.”
“Oh yes,” Ola nodded. “I’ve got the perfect look for her. She will be a beautiful bride.” Idra nodded, her mind immediately thinking of Terciel and his return home.
“Idra!” Tumis called out to her.
“Good day Tumis, I have the last of my wheat for you,” she gestured to the bundles.
“ Idra," he huffed between breaths, his wings planted on his legs. "You must go to the elder.”
“Huro and Miko are on their way there now. Idra, I’ve no idea what they are up to, but it’s best that you are there. I hope you have thought of something.”
“I do have a plan. Ola will fill you in,” Idra took off from her stall. “I will talk to you both tomorrow.”
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
“Elder Ibis all we ask is that the arrangement we began with Kailen be honored,” Miko was seated across from the elder. “Her father was adamant that we care for her.”
“As I’ve said before Miko, this arrangement is dubious at best,” the elder considered. “I cannot and will not force a maid into marriage. It is not in accordance with custom.”
“Elder,” Huro began. “My father and I respect the sanctity of our culture. It has helped us survive so many dark times. During those dark times, rito ensured all were cared for, the fledglings, the old, and the weak. When it was necessary tradition was bent to help those unable to help themselves. Idra, try as she might, will not be able to care for herself. Her customers are coming to our farm now and with guard mobilizing I fear for her safety on the outskirts of the village.”
“Your statement is admirable, Huro, but Idra is of age and independent. If she rejected your proposal, then I will not enforce it.”
“Elder Ibis, Idra may be of age, but she is not independent-” Huro started.
“Let’s be frank here. My son is too in love with her to admit that she is a runt. A fledgling born too soon and too weak,” Miko clarified. “It is in her and the village’s best interest that we care for her.”
“I am quite capable of taking care of myself mister Miko,” the three rito turned to the doorway where Idra stood. “I apologize for interrupting Elder Ibis, but as it concerns me, I felt it appropriate to interject.”
“Of course. Your voice is critical in this. Come in.”
“Master Wren has accompanied me here on a matter of business. May he join us as what he has to say will inform this discussion.”
“Curious. Of course.”
Idra stood to the side, allowing the broad shouldered rito to step into the hut. Miko and Huro visibly stiffened in Wren’s presence. Wren for his part gave the two a withering glare before making his way to the side of the hut and setting both wings on his hips.
“Now Idra-” Huro begin.
“Now Huro,” Idra interrupted. “I think the elder has some questions for me.”
“I’m afraid I do my dear. Miko and Huro say that your father arranged a marriage proposal between you and Huro, but that upon his death you refused to go through with the arrangement. Is this true?”
“Elder Ibis, my father spoke with Miko regarding an arrangement, but declined the offer upon my request. Although I cared for Huro, I did not want to be married out of necessity.”
“What proof does she have?” Miko interrupted. “She’s always been headstrong.”
“With all due respect, I am surprised that I must justify why I have chosen not to marry another. However, if you require evidence, then both Tumis the baker and Ola the seamstress can attest that my stock was limited at my father’s request. He entered into negotiations with the other farms so that I could be the sole provider of wheat and lavender to the village. He did this so that I could support the farm on my own and to avoid marrying out of necessity. I have since upheld my end of that negotiation, not once competing with the other farms.”
“You make several valid points-most importantly I’ve yet to hold a conversation where a maid justifies to me why they did not accept a proposal. In the matter of clarifying this ‘arrangement’ I think you both have your evidence that it was not agreed upon though you interpreted it as that” Elder Ibis concluded.
“I disagree elder. Even if her father did not enforce the arrangement, the reason it was proposed still stands. Idra cannot keep that farm on her own.”
“Mister Miko is right,” Idra conceded to both Huro and Miko’s surprise. “I cannot nor will I continue to do so. I have come to you today to ask that you recognize my apprenticeship to master Wren and to arrange a partnership where we share the profits of the bows I sell in his stall.”
“You can’t be serious Idra,” Huro stood. “You can’t be a black smith.”
“And why exactly not?” Wren interjected. “Do ye know more than I do about metalwork lad? No? Yer feathers aren’t charred or sullied by the fire of the forge, so I suggest keeping yer opinions to yerself.” Wren addressed the elder directly.
“Elder I’ve seen Idra’s skill with bow making. With a guiding wing she will be a master Fletcher in no time a’ all. And if I may also say, I’ve known Kailen since we were first drafted into the guard together and I knew him up to his death. Not once did he mention the arrangement these quill twisters have thought up. He did mention he would change the stock of his farm so that his child could manage it on her own.”
“Well that settles that,” Elder Ibis rose from his seat. “Idra, I recognize your apprenticeship and financial partnership with Master Wren. I wish you best of luck as you begin your studies.”
“Thank you Elder,” Idra bowed respectfully.
“As for you, Mister Miko and Mister Huro,” the elder gazed at the pair reproachfully. “I will not assume that you made up an arrangement to pressure a rito into marriage which is on multiple accounts against our laws. I will let you both off with this warning; should these stories of a proposed arrangement continue or should Idra report that the two of you continue to impress this arrangement, you will face charges for harassment. Well, go now. I have my wings full without the two of you adding folly to it.”
Idra watched as Huro and Miko quickly left the room. Although Idra felt triumphant, she hardened at the look in Huro’s eyes. She had seen that look before and she knew that to him, this battle was far from over. At the very least though, she had the elder and the village’s best craftsman on her side. If Huro wanted a fight, he would have it.
“Idra, if they do continue to harass you, you must report it immediately,” the elder advised after their departure. “I cannot step in unless I am aware of what they are doing.”
“I will report them elder,” Idra agreed. She and Wren bowed once more before leaving the room.
“And just so that ye know,” Wren continued as they left the elder’s home. “If they give ye anymore trouble, come to me. I will not stand for two rito behaving as they did towards yeh. No one calls Kailen’s daughter a runt in front of me.”
“Thank you master Wren,” she smiled and looked to him from the side. “And no one calls me a runt in from of me.” Wren let out a booming bout of laughter as they made their way to the forge.
As soon as dusk had settled over the village, Idra crept away from her home. In the dark, she was able to slip up to Terciel’s home high on Roost Peak. She doubted any other rito would dare venture there for fear of inciting the Gale Master’s wrath. Slipping into his home, she did her best not to stumble over the items left over from his departure. He was a skilled warrior and a wonderful friend, but he was terrible at keeping tidy. At first she feared she would not be able to find what it was he had left for her, but as she stood in the center of his home, she saw a vase of lavender on his table with a note addressed to her.
Idra approached the table to see the note lay atop of a worn book. Picking up the note, she read “Read to the end. Keep it safe from the village.” Curious Idra, opened to the first page of the book. An elegant script graced the page, reading “The Diary of Revali, the rito legend.” Sitting at the table, Idra lit a small candle and began to read the diary of whom she assumed Terciel was related to.
"I won another archery competition today. As one would expect, the village can't stop talking about my winning streak. In short order, I've managed to break all of the previous records and set an insurmountably high bar. Everywhere I go I receive praise and affirmations that I am the pride of the rito. I could get used to this. The elder asked me what I would like as a prize for my achievements. I told him I wish for an archery training ground. If I am to keep this up, I need somewhere to train at varying elevations. I'm hoping to master a new move I've dreamed up..."
In the margins of the page, Idra could make out smudged ink that resembled a tally. Peering closer she was able to read the small note: “Create lift-power vortex…too much lift. I must push harder.” She turned the page to see a schematic drawing of the position she had seen Terciel use to control the updrafts. The drawing was likewise smudged with portions struck out and a sloppily drawn addendum. This Revali must be Terciel’s ancestor-the first master of the gale. She was surprised at how boastful the rito was, but by the numerous notes littering the margins Idra respected that this Revali was determined to master his skill.
Idra was surprised to find so few diary entries from the rito master, instead finding his book filled with schematics and notes, painting a picture of a rito desperate for acceptance, approval, and meaning. She pitied him, wondering what in his life made him feel so inadequate. Then, she remembered how she had felt about herself. Had her father, Terciel, Ola, Tumis, and Wren not believed in her, she was certain she would feel the same thirst to prove herself. In fact, she already felt the need to prove herself, but unlike Revali, she was hoped to impress herself alone.
The final entry in the diary mentioned meeting the ‘talentless’ princess, as Revali described her, at sunset. Idra wasn’t sure what the hidden power the princess was meant to unlock was, but she was shocked to read that the very power could seal Ganon. If only such a power existed, the rito could be free of the calamity’s grasp once and for all. Flipping the page, Idra saw that Revali’s writing had ended and, in its place, a whole different script.
Revali is dead as is Rito Village’s last hope to fight Ganon. Even now the calamity and its guardians are spreading through Hyrule killing all those who stand in Ganon’s path. The rito are prepared to fight and like my uncle, I will fight to the death if necessary. Revali, we will not fo rget you. Perhaps Hylia will grant me the chance to learn your gale and wield it to avenge you.
I haven’t had much time to practice, but I am starting to control the updrafts. I have not mastered it as my uncle did, but I am able to create a vortex now. The warriors and I are gathering at the Flight Range for a run at Ganon. Rito Village has been held hostage for a year-for too long. We are so close to freeing the village. I can feel it.
I worry that this will be the last words any of my family shall hear from me. We’ve suffered so many losses, but Kardi and I are certain we can find and take control of Vah Medoh. If we cannot fight Ganon directly, then a divine beast must. My dear Velo, if you are reading this, know that I love you dearly. Use the notes in this diary and master the technique of your forefathers. If I should perish in this battle, know my dear son, that it was a battle well worth dying for.
Idra spent most of the night reading the journal entries of warriors, ancestors of Terciel’s, mastering what was once called Revali’s Gale. Many of the entries alluded to the tragic fates of these brave and noble individuals.
I am Estio, son of Valken and it is my duty to master Revali’s Gale for the good of Rito Village. As I write this, I speak to all the generations that like I did will read this. Rito Village is at its lowest. The darkness is suffocating the fledglings, the warriors struck down before a bow is drawn, and the once beautiful mother lands are dying, throttled by Ganon’s malice. I vow now to protect our people, no matter the sacrifice I make.
Dearest descendants of the Gale, I fear I’ve failed you. You will hear the stories of how Estio swore allegiance to Ganon and you will be rightfully ashamed. I ask that you please hear what I must say, for my decision has changed our family’s desti ny forever. Rito Village was on the brink of obliteration. Ganon had wiped out the proud and ancient line of the zora and sought to do the same to the rito. He offered a compromise. Should I, the master of the divine power of the gale swear my allegiance and that of all our family to him, the village would be spared. I swore that I would do all in my power to protect the rito and so I agreed. My dear children I cannot express how sorry that I am. After swearing allegiance by words, Ganon made each champion from the remaining peoples of Hyrule, the gorons and the gerudo, to swear by action. I cannot share what I did. It will haunt me forever. I pray to Hylia that you will not need to bear that burden. This is why our family now is aligned with Ganon. Though you will be called upon to act as Ganon’s champion know that you serve Rito Village first. Our family’s allegiance will always be with the rito. Serve them well my sons.
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
“All right, turn around,” Ola ordered. Talia turned allowing the seamstress, to adjust her bridal tunic.
“Well, what do you think?” Talia asked her mother and Idra.
“You look as lovely as ever my dove,” her mother cooed.
“Tali, Iro may pass out when he sees you,” Idra observed the white and royal purple cloth. It was a more traditional style as was custom, with a halter that tied to the back, a girdle that cinched the material together and a long side skirt.
“He nearly passed out when my father said he approved of the house,” Talia stated. “Mama, do we have something to revive him if he does fall at the wedding?”
“I’ve already taken care of it my dear,” Bali stepped forward. “If you ladies would like to know a secret. The great and strong-willed Wren fainted before the elder on our wedding day.” Light laughter rang through the air at the thought of the large rito fainting.
“What do you think for the flowers?” Talia asked, looking at her reflection in the small mirror. “Idra, is there anymore yarrow?”
“There’s plenty. In fact, Ola said she’d make you a flower headdress out of them.”
“Too right. Once we get closer I’ll string those together for you.”
“I can’t believe it’s only a week away,” Talia said softly. “I’m marrying my best friend.” Bali wiped tears from her eyes and Ola nodded thoughtfully. Idra was happy for her friend. She hoped that one day she could share the same experience, but she feared that day was far off.
After a few final measurements, Talia left to change into her usual tunic allowing Ola to set aside the wedding outfit for final adjustments.
“Tell me Idra,” Bali began. “Is my husband working you to the bone yet?”
“Not yet, but we’ve only just started,” Idra responded. “I’m learning how to melt materials into casts with the forge. We’re starting on leather coverlets tomorrow.”
“I bet you are excited to make your own armor,” Bali observed.
“I am. Ola what’s the matter?”
“It’s nothing,” Ola shook her head. “I’m glad you’re happy and away from that feather-brained farmer, but something unsettles me about that fire.”
“Wren ensures that all apprentices learn how to maintain the forge. Should any apprentice shirk that responsibility my husband dismisses them immediately. We understand the risk it poses to Rito Village.”
“Uh huh,” Ola consented. “Will you wear this armor all the time then?”
“Mostly for meetings with other tradesmen,” Idra explained realizing why Ola was not in favor the idea. “You know I could use another headscarf though,” she answered. “One to wear with my armor pieces and one for working at the forge. I’d hate to singe my feathers.”
“Well, lucky that you know a seamstress,” Ola replied with mock exasperation, but Idra knew she was happy at the commission. “I’ll fix one up for you. Try not to get yourself set on fire before then.”
“Didn’t you have a pretty purple headband Idra,” Talia asked, emerging from a set of curtains. “Whatever happened to it?”
“I-“ Idra started. “I gave it away-to someone who needed it.”
“That’s a strange thing to need,” Talia exclaimed.
“Yes,” Idra responded quickly seeing Ola’s look of suspicion. Idra loved her purple headband dearly; her father had gotten it for her upon her coming of age. Talia did not know this, but Ola certainly did-having made the scarf herself.
“They said they would return it though,” Idra tried her best to recover, but mentally kicked herself for digging the hole deeper. “Talia have you spoken with the elder about the ceremony yet?”
As her friend launched excitedly at sharing her weddings plans further, Idra hoped to segue the conversation away. Idra chanced a look to Ola who in returned stared back at her, slowly shaking her head and gazing questioningly at the maid. She could only stave off a curious Ola for so long.
That night Idra returned to Terciel’s home. Taking the diary from the bookshelf, she curled herself in Terciel’s chair. His furniture held the scent of him which was comforting for her as she delved herself deeper into the upholstery. Being surrounded by his things made her feel as though he were nearby-as though any moment he would walk through the door.
Next to the light of the lantern, Idra continued reading the journals from the Gale Masters of old well into early morning. Each entry felt so intimate. It felt like reading a long letter to each new Gale Master with pieces that they each added to. Some of the entries were difficult to read, the acts of Ganon were too dark for her to stomach. Then there was one rather zealous Master of the Gale named Torilanus. He wrote many short entries about a beautiful rito named Uli. Idra’s cheeks were inflamed the entire time she read his entries, some of which were quite explicit in describing his love for his wife. Although she did laugh rather loudly at the first entry from Torilanus’ son.
I am Nuvi, son of Torilanus. If you have made it through my father’s entries to mine, then I commend you. I’m afraid what I have to say will not have the same poetry. Though I will say had my father not been so passionate for my mother, I wouldn’t exist, and neither would you. Understand that this was far more humiliating for me to read than it was for you.
Unfortunately, that was the last lighthearted entry Idra read for the accounts of Nuvi’s son, Vali were sobering.
I have made a grave error and the village has suffered for it. Long has our family sworn its allegiance to Rito Village as it should always be. Prior to this Ganon seemed not to care or feel threatened by it. He called me to his dark dominion and questioned my dedication. I did and said everything I thought would assure him of our continued allegiance, but it wasn’t enough. I watched as a wave of darkness hit the village, unable to stop it. I was told that it would be a reminder of where my true allegiance should lie. I returned home as quickly as I could to find the village destroyed and with it my love and our son. The remaining rito who survived called it the Blight- a dark cloud they thought I sent to them to take away the lives of their loved ones. My brother did all in his power to save many a rito but perished alongside them. The rito of the village are now paranoid of us. They call our family traitors, villains, and harbingers of death. I cannot disagree with them. Perhaps it is not the role of the hero that they will remember or that will save the village. So, I will play the villain in the hopes that Ganon will not question my allegiance again.
I now hold my nephew, only a few days old, in my wings. Little Arturo, I am sorry that I must raise you to carry this burden on your own. I will never see a villain in you-only the hero your father became in the village’s time of need. Sons of the gale, no matter how difficult it may be, we cannot allow this to occur again.
Idra stopped reading. Every scroll she had borrowed from the elder’s home described the Gale Masters as villains. She had not read about the blight though and it was strange that this was not included in their history. Such a devastating calamity surely would have been remembered-why was it omitted? She thought somberly about little Arturo and his uncle, living alone in what is now Terciel’s home. She thought of Terciel being told in his childhood that he would grow to be a villain, his words echoing in her memory.
A reputation is terrible thing to have and lose.
Each day since Terciel’s departure, Idra repeated the same routine. She would spend the mornings training with master Wren, slowly shaping her armor and mastering her bow craft. In the afternoon she would complete chores or visit Ola and Tumis. Ola had yet to stop pestering Idra about the headband. The old rito regularly brought up the subject in the hopes that Idra would crack under pressure. She found herself visiting Tumis more frequently as a result. As soon as the sun set in the village, Idra would fly to Terciel’s home to read from the diary until she fell asleep.
Idra had read nearly all the thoughts and feelings of Terciel’s ancestors. She was saddened, frightened, and at times disgusted by what they endured. All the while she wondered what her dear friend had experienced and what he was currently fighting under the torturous service to Ganon.
I am Tivoli, son of Odan and I accept the responsibilities of the Master of the Gale.
Tivoli. That name was so familiar. Where had she heard it?
To uphold our family legacy, I have agreed to an arranged marriage with Laisa, daughter of Stromni. Unlike Torilanus, our love is far from true. It is necessary for her family’s continued stability and for my family’s line. I cannot ask for her love, but I hope to live my life with her in peace.
Laisa! Laisa was Terciel’s mother. Terciel only spoke of her briefly, but Ola’s haunting description of the maid hung in Idra’s memory. I’ve never seen a maid so unhappy. Upon realizing that she now read from the thoughts of Terciel’s father, she felt anxious. He didn’t seem like he would be hateful or harmful to his family. She had read how the stories of the village conflated the villainy of the Masters of the Gale-could they have done the same with Revelo’s death?
Unlike Terciel, Tivoli was very pragmatic and traditional. Many of his notes were addressed to Terciel specifically, reminding him of their legacy, role, and responsibility. He recounted the numerous attempts to drill into his son the importance of these lessons and lamented his son’s penchant for stories.
He sees the world so differently-unfortunately he has my stubbornness and he won’t be convinced of the reality of our world. If he’d only get his head out of the clouds, his ambition would undoubtedly help the village. I’ve found him atop our home gazing at the stars. He’s fallen asleep there for the last week. As whimsical an idea that may be, winter is coming, and he doesn’t comprehend that he will take ill in the colder months. I’ve forbade him from star gazing for now, a fight Terciel is not ready to let go.
I’ve a curious family with a fanatic interest in telling stories. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of who my family thought the blasted cuckoo from the square was. I had returned home from training when I heard Laisa shrieking. I was certain someone was in our home-an assassin, a rogue, or another meaning to harm my family. I did not expect the source of the commotion and disarray in my home to be a stolen cuckoo. It was pandemonium as Laisa screeched at our sons to get the creature out. Revelo waddled after it, calling for it like some docile house pet. Terciel for his part tried to capture it, but every mistimed pounce sent it flying in the air colliding with something in the home. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. Impulsively, I sent that cuckoo flying out the window with a precise and well-timed gust. I thought I would be thanked for ending the chaos. I was met with sobs from Revelo who asked me why I killed Koru. Apparently, it had a name. Laisa, overwrought with the destruction of our home and affected by our youngest’s tears glared at me reproachfully for the days to come! I learned through Revelo’s sobbing that Terciel had told him about Koru, the village square cuckoo. I spoke sternly with Terciel about the story. Revelo was still too young to know the difference between reality and fiction. I told Terciel it was his job to protect his brother-not feed him bedtime stories about crazed cuckoos. Terciel was once again defiant. I overheard them that evening- Terciel consoling Revelo, assuring him that Koru was not dead, but had safely landed in lake Totori. The story placated Revelo, but Terciel still does not understand. The story is what caused the issue in the first place. As the eldest son he needs to set an example for his younger brother.
I have failed my family. Revelo, my little Revelo, died in my wings at the Flight Range. Laisa blames me and she is right. I did not protect him as I should. Terciel has fallen apart at his brother’s passing. He is afraid. I heard him crying for Revelo in his sleep as I sat at his side the entire night. I could not protect my youngest, but I will do better to protect my eldest. T erciel, when you read this know Revelo’s death was not your fault. I know you did what you could. I am to blame, and I hope you will forgive me. Ancestors, please take care of our Revelo. He was our joy and now he is yours.
I do not know who I can trust in the village. I have stopped Laisa and Terciel from leaving our home. I don’t wish to confine them, but I don’t know where they will be safe. Terciel is twelve years-old now. His training is well under way, but I wonder if it would be best to train him outside Rito Village. I know the Goron champion well-we served many battles together. Perhaps I can send him there.
To the issue of finding a way to provide for my family, I’ve called upon a comrade of mine. He retired from the guard to run a farm with his family. He owes me a life debt and as payment, I’ve asked for safe food for Laisa and Terciel. I’m not certain I can trust him, but I have no reason and no choice not to.
Chapter 12: Chapter 12
It was the morning of Talia and Iro’s wedding. All apprentices had been given the day off so that Wren could enjoy the day with his family. Idra was helping Ola speedily finish Talia’s headdress.
“That’s the last of the yarrow,” she told Ola.
“There’s too many gaps. Are you sure there isn’t anymore?”
“I’m sure, but I do have lilac. We can thread it throughout.”
“Well, she’s wearing purple and white. Why not? We must hurry!” The two ritos quickly tied the flowers into braids of ribbons. The headdress would cascade a wide assortment of flowers through Talia’s feathers and down her shoulders. Feathers sore from nimble work, Ola and Idra finished the headdress and quickly transported it to Talia. Many a rito mingled outside Wren’s home, awaiting the bride and her groom. Idra saw Iro waiting nervously outside the forge. Wren was talking to him very seriously. Idra didn’t think that Wren needed to worry about Iro fearing him for a year after marrying Talia. He would likely fear Wren for the rest of his days!
Following Ola into Wren’s home, they presented the headdress to Talia.
“It’s so lovely,” she breathed.
“Best to admire it while you wear it. The elder will be here any moment!” Ola worked quickly with Bali to secure the headdress with Talia’s feathers. Once Talia was dressed in her ceremony attire, she and Bali requested privacy to speak with one another, as mother and daughter shared this significant moment.
“Look at this turn-out. How many brides do you think are attending?”
“It’s hardly the time to think about business Ola.”
“Why not? When they hear that Talia is wearing my pieces, I’ll have my wings full again.”
“It’s nearly winter. I doubt you’ll see many more weddings .”
“It doesn’t hurt to get a head start on Spring,” the elder rito winked. “Ah, here we go.” Ola pointedly looked over to the elder who had arrived at the small home.
Rito weddings were meant to be an affair shared with the village. Often the couples shared vows in front of the elder. Their wedding ends as they join each other in their first flight as mates. Idra saw Iro approach the elder, Bali and his mother helping him guide him to his place. Idra motioned to Ola to look at the bag in Bali’s wing. It seemed that Iro needed the smelling salts after all.
“Just wait until he sees Talia,” Idra whispered.
“Bali best keep the bag out.”
The small crowd of ritos gathered for the ceremony parted to allow the bride and her father through. Talia was stunning and her eyes trained on Iro alone. Although the guard was quite nervous, upon seeing his intended he stood taller and calmer. She met him in front of the elder as the two joined wings.
The vows were sweet and loving. Idra may have imagined it, but she swore she saw Wren tear a little. For her part, she was finding it difficult not to become sentimental at seeing her friend marry her love. The elder told Iro to take to the sky and if Talia followed him, they would be mates forever. As soon as Iro’s feet had left the ground, Talia followed him. The two flew high over lake Totori, sharing their first flight as mates.
The crowd cheered for them as they disappeared, undoubtedly finding their way to the home Iro had prepared for them. Although the couple would not return, the crowd lingered to share their congratulations with the families. Idra quickly congratulated her master and then slipped away to the forge.
The morning before, she had finished her chest piece- a fine set of armor plates that would fit her slim torso perfectly. It hung on a stand where it awaited the missing pieces.
“Master bow maker!” Tuka called to her. “I daresay your bouquet worked wonders.”
“I doubt it was the bouquet that brought those two together,” Idra responded as Tuka stood at her side.
“I am always impressed at Wren’s armory,” Tuka observed Idra’s armor.
“Well he is the best to learn from. I hope to finish the other pieces soon.”
“You made this armor?” Tuka gestured. “Why am I not surprised? I tell you it’s a crime you and I are not courting.” Idra laughed.
“I thought you were considering your options master guard,” she reproached.
“And you are part of those options, master bow maker,” he quipped. “Perhaps I can finally win your heart this time.”
“It’s an admirable effort, but it isn’t possible Tuka,” she gave him a considerate smile. “I’m afraid my heart is already spoken for.”
“Huh,” Tuka said slowly. “Well then, when is your wedding so that I might glare down the rito who took you from me.” Despite his language, Idra could tell that Tuka meant no more than to jest.
“No wedding has been set.”
“Then there’s still time!” Tuka announced jokingly. “Between you and the other four maids I intend to court, I am guaranteed to find my life mate.”
“I’d say you could narrow that further.”
“I would be foolish to count you out,” he shook his head. “I will keep you no longer, but mark my words master bow maker, I would sweep you off your feet.”
“I do not doubt that,” she answered bowing respectively. As Tuka left, she turned to her armor once more. It had been weeks since Terciel had left and she had not heard anything of the war he served in or his whereabouts. In her heart, she felt he was alive, and every moment only made her wish he was home sooner to discuss the diary and the burden his family bore, to share her newly acquired knowledge of metalwork and show him her armor, and to share the feelings her heart held only for him.
“Can you believe that?”
“Are you sure it’s him?”
“Of course it is. Who else would need to arrange a marriage through the elder?”
“I guess it was only a matter of time until the Master of the Gale chose a bride. Whatever will you do Maia?” Idra turned quickly, listening intently to find the source of the conversation. Leaving the forge, she saw two maids conversing with each other.
“Well father hasn’t agreed, and I don’t think he will, but what about yours?”
“Oh I hope the elder doesn’t go to him. I couldn’t bear to be married to that monster.”
“I doubt anyone would willingly be married to him. He’s a villain!”
“Although he does seem handsome, in a terrifying way.”
“I can not believe you said that Peoni.”
“I wouldn’t marry him out of choice, but at least he isn’t hideous.”
“The elder mentioned that the wedding would have to happen quickly.”
“Some poor maid will have to marry that rito.”
“Let’s pray to Hylia it isn’t us. The elder offered such a dowry, I doubt he will find much trouble in getting one family to agree. I even hear one of the trades families were interested. There’s hope for us yet!”
As the two maids walked away, Idra remained frozen in her spot slowly comprehending what she had learned.
“There you are,” Ola came up to Idra. “I am starving from all the hustle and bustle of the wedding. Let’s find something to eat.” Ola pulled Idra’s wing, but she did not move.
“You look ill.”
“I feel ill,” Idra looked up from the ground. “I’m sorry, but I think I should go.”
“Would you like me to go with you?”
“No-no. I’ll be fine,” Idra began walking away. As she entered the crowd of ritos she searched for the elder but to no avail.
“Tuka!” She called to the guard. “Tuka! Have you seen the elder?”
“He left just a moment ago.” Nodding Idra bolted from the landing nearly skidding on the walkways. Craning her neck, she did her best to spy the elder, but she could not see the owl-like rito anywhere.
As the sun began to set, Idra couldn’t stop the voice repeating the only question she cared to know an answer for: why was Terciel arranging a marriage to another? She did not go to Terciel’s home that night. She felt confused and uncertain. His father spoke of Terciel’s ability to tell stories. Perhaps this-everything she felt was a story he told himself to fancy a life before arranged marriage. Why else would he go to the elder when she was there right before his eyes?
Idra fell asleep uneasily. Once sleep caught up to her, she dreamed of her father.
In her dream she saw her father as he once was, a strong auburn rito with golden head feathers. As she approached him, Idra felt like a child again and her dream allowed her to become a fledgling. Idra ran up to him.
“Little Idra?” Her father turned to face her.
“What else can I do?”
“Hmm…have we taken inventory today?” he tapped his beak.
“No, we didn’t!” Idra responded enthusiastically. Slowly her dreamscape expanded showing her their family stall and her father preparing for the market. Idra immediately set about to count the mighty carrots on display.
“He’s late,” her father muttered.
“Someone who shops in the early mornings,” her father explained. “And what about the carrots. Do we have enough?”
“I think so. Is ten bushels enough?”
“Who comes in the mornings?” Idra asked innocently.
“Huh? One of our customers, my dear,” Idra looked up to see her father staring out across the square.
“Idra darling, do me a favor,” he knelt next to her, retrieving one green rupee. “Will you go to Tumis and buy us both a bun for breakfast.”
“But you promised I could tend the stall…”
“That you will, but the market hasn’t even opened yet. Run along and get our breakfast before customers swarm.”
Idra snatched the green rupee and ran quickly out of the market to a small hut filled with delicious scents. She was determined to make it back before the first customer arrived at their stand.
“Hello Idra,” Rosi greeted.
“Hello! Two buns please!” Idra asked holding the rupees in her feathers. She hopped from foot to foot in anticipation. Rosi, Tumis’ lovely pink feathered wife, wrapped two warm buns.
“Aren’t you in a rush,” Rosi observed with a chuckle.
“Papa said I could help with the customers today, but I need to bring back two buns before anyone comes.”
“My dear it’s very early. Not even the sun has risen yet. I’m certain you won’t miss any customers.”
“I don’t want to take a chance. I want to show papa I can tend the stall on my own.”
“Is that so?” Rosi handed the buns to the eager fledgling.
“Yes! I’m old enough,” Idra gave Rosi the rupees. “Thank you, Ms. Rosi!”
“You’re welcome Idra, good day!” Rosi called to her as Idra took off down the market. Although Idra was ten years-old, she found her wings were still too small to fly long distances. So Idra often found herself hopping and flying in sprints which is exactly what she did to get back to the stall. She saw her father speaking to a figure outside their stall. Hurriedly, she made her way back, sneaking by to not disturb her father. She set their buns on a small stool.
“When does young Terciel leave?”
“After his thirteenth birthday. He will be old enough to train with the gorons then,” the stranger responded.
“We can prepare a care package for his journey.”
“I will retrieve it on the morning he leaves. In the meantime, I require our weekly order of produce.”
“Of course,” before Kailen could turn, Idra was tugging on his wing. “Idra!” He sounded surprised at her sudden appearance. Idra set herself firmly on the ground-she couldn’t fly well, but that didn’t make her slow.
“Papa,” she tugged his wing again. “You said I could help the customers today.” Her father looked a mixture of uncertainty and trepidation.
“Kailen,” the stranger started. “Is this your fledgling?” Idra was finally close enough to get a better look at the stranger. He was deep red with wild white and grey feathers stemming from his head. His angles were sharp and his eyes a vibrant gold. He looked frightening in the dark-almost as though he was meant to blend in with it. Instinctively, Idra took a step back. Whoever this was, they were certainly dangerous, but she had told her father that she was old enough to tend the stall. She couldn’t let one rito frighten her! Little Idra puffed her chest and took a step forward.
“My name is Idra and how can I help you today?” she asked.
“I apologize master Tivoli,” Kailen began. “I did promise Idra the chance to practice helping customers.”
“Well then, by all means, let her assist me,” Tivoli waved him off. Crouching to Idra’s height, Tivoli listed off a variety of vegetables to her. Idra nodded, muttering his list under her breath. Rushing about the stall, she did her best to gather each item on the list, even though she had some difficulty carrying the larger vegetables in her wings.
“I’ve got it Papa!” Idra shook off her father’s insistence to help. She wanted to show him that she could do this.
Putting the vegetables in Master Tivoli’s basket, Idra counted on her feathers to ensure she had the right price.
“Um, okay, that will be…25 rupees?” She turned to her father who nodded quietly. “25 rupees please!”
Tivoli had already dropped the required amount on the table. As the strange and terrifying rito made to grab his basket, Idra’s wing shot up to stop him.
“Wait!” she quickly jumped on a nearby stool to pull down a single sprig of lavender hanging from the awning of their stall. Running back, she placed the lavender on top of Tivoli’s purchases.
“What is that?” Tivoli gestured to the plant. Before Kailen could step in and assure Tivoli that it was of no danger to his family, Idra explained quickly.
“It’s mama’s lavender. It’s what makes us different,” she said.
“It’s just a flower master Tivoli. It smells and looks nice-that is all,” Kailen added.
“How much for it?” Tivoli inquired.
“Oh no. It’s free. I’m going to grow it for all papa’s customers. Then they’ll keep coming for vegetables and lavender.”
“I see,” Tivoli responded, looking at the curious sprig of purple. “Thank you miss Idra for assisting me. Kailen, good day.” As the strange rito disappeared from the square, Idra’s father let out a loud sigh.
“See papa? I can tend the stall by myself!” She beamed. Her father's face was a mix of trepidation and worry tinged by hesitation. He sighed, running his wing along his forefeathers before kneeling and smiling before her.
“I saw Idra and you did a very good job," he told her.
“Why didn’t he like the lavender papa?” Idra asked quietly.
“Not too long ago something very bad happened to his family,” Kailen explained vaguely. “He lost his youngest son. Now he reacts to anything new.”
“He thought the lavender would hurt him?”
“He’s protective over his oldest son, just as I’m protective over you.”
“Terciel?” Idra asked.
“Yes, his name is Terciel. He’s a few years older than you,” Kailen said.
“Can I play with him?” Idra asked, interested in meeting another rito so close to her age. Lately Huro wasn’t very nice to her, constantly teasing her about her lack of wingspan and Talia was always in her father’s forge.
“I’m afraid he’s leaving soon my darling, but you can help me prepare his care package for his journey. Would you do that for me?”
“Will his papa get mad if we give him lavender?”
“I think his papa and Terciel would be glad to have the lavender.” Kailen agreed. “Now then, where’s our breakfast?”
Idra would help her father gather the care basket, but that would be the only time that her father and her spoke of Tivoli and Terciel.
Chapter 13: Chapter 13
Idra hesitated before entering the elder’s home. She was running an errand on behalf of her master, and yet she couldn’t help but struggle with whether to ask the elder about Terciel’s arranged marriage. She had only learned about it the day before. She woke in tears that morning, mourning for father and fretting over the loss of her love.
Business first Idra, she reminded herself. Straightening her shoulders, she entered the elder’s home.
“Elder Ibis?” Idra called. “May I come in?”
“Good day Idra, please come in!” Idra found the aged rito pouring over documents on a table. She couldn’t quite see the text, but it looked like a schematic of some sort.
“I am sorry for keeping you. What brings you here?”
“I have come on behalf of Master Wren to discuss the bows you require for the new guards.”
“Ah ha. This is your first sale as Wren’s apprentice and partner, correct?”
“It is, and it won’t be the last.”
“Quite-quite. Now I have the numbers here somewhere,” Ibis shuffled through the numerous paper documents in front of him. “Ah, there we are, we’ll need at least 10 new eagle bows by the end of the month. Is that possible?”
“Yes sir, that is feasible,” Idra agreed looking at the paper with Ibis’ order.
“And whatever arrows you and Wren can provide would be immense.”
“Of course. If I may say so elder. It seems we’re preparing for war,” Idra probed cautiously.
“You are quite right child. We are preparing as a precaution. Hopefully we won’t need to use your weapons for more than training and guard duties.” Idra breathed a sigh of relief at the news. If Rito Village wasn’t being drawn into the war, perhaps Terciel was still alive. She had hope he would return, but now she was unsure of whether he would be able to return to her at all or if it was just the village he would return to.
“Elder,” Idra started. “I’ve also heard that you are arranging a marriage for the Master of the Gale,” she started. What else could she say? That she wanted to be considered? Did she? Or did she prefer Terciel and her decide such a thing?
“That is correct,” the elder sighed. “But don’t you worry about such things Idra.”
“But any eligible maid is being offered the arrangement,” Idra protested.
“Many eligible maids are,” the elder began awkwardly. Idra remained silent, her stance questioning. “The maid who marries the Master of the Gale will be required to produce at least one heir. Idra, I believe it wouldn’t be fair to put you under that pressure.” So that was why she hadn’t been approached. The elder was being very delicate, but he wouldn’t state it outright. Her mother had died from giving birth to her, a runt. They couldn’t risk the next Master of the Gale being small, like her. Terciel said he didn’t care about her size, but perhaps that was only because they were friends and not lovers.
“Please don’t fret Idra! I’ve already received agreements from two families. You won’t need to worry about being selected,” the elderly rito patted her wing. Although the elder meant to be comforting, she felt every word slowly cracking away at her, like the strikes of the hammers in Wren’s forge.
“If I may say,” the elder attempted to recover. “I have seen some of our guards with your bows and I am very impressed by your skill. Rito Village will be stronger carrying your bows. You have too bright a future to worry about uncertainties.”
“Thank you elder,” Idra accepted the genuine comment, still numbed by realization. “I shall start this bow order immediately.”
“I look forward to your progress. Good day Idra.”
“Good day Elder,” Idra bowed respectfully and left.
Idra started working on the elder's order immediately and tirelessly into the early evening. Wren would glance to her progress every now and then, offering small modifications and encouragement where she worked very well.
“You may consider setting up each bow in a line, Idra. It will be faster.”
“What is a line?”
“Well, you start on the body of each bow, then you limber it, then you thread the string, and so on.”
“Doesn’t that take the art out of it? Make it too automated?”
“I’m glad you asked. You, Idra, control the artistry in the bow. This line method is only one way to envision it. It will help yeh meet the deadline, but rest assured, the same skill must be put forth in each bow.”
“I see,” Idra nodded, beginning to arrange her materials.
She absorbed herself in her work-focusing on her art instead of the ache within her heart. Idra spent the next few nights in the forge, working on the ten bows with vigor, ensuring each one was able to be used perfectly in aerial combat. It had been weeks since Terciel had left and the war with the neighboring kingdom continued. He was still alive, and she thanked merciful Hylia for that. It was only a matter of time before Rito Village was drawn into the conflict though and she would ensure that each guard was armed well. If they were going to war, it meant Terciel had failed. Idra shuddered at the implications of what that could mean for her dearest friend.
She was forced to halt her progress when Wren kicked her out of the forge one night.
“I appreciate yer dedication Idra, but you will soon complete the order well ahead of the elder’s deadline. Do not need to spend another night here,” Wren nudged her out. “Go home, rest, ye look exhausted.”
“But master Wren,” she began.
“Yer master is telling you to go home and sleep, so ye best listen!”
Idra finally left the forge but did not go home. In the dark of the evening she could barely make out the stars above. She was tired of living in the dark. So she took to the sky, finding herself on the roof of Terciel’s home where she could be closest to the heavens. As she lay contemplating the velvety sky, she couldn’t stop the swell of thoughts about her dear friend and love.
She had been acting immaturely, she decided. If she learned anything from the journal Terciel shared with her, the Master of the Gale rarely had any choice in life, even marriage as his father demonstrated. She was distancing herself from her dearest friend out of selfish fear of heart ache when at any moment she could lose him forever-lost to the calamity of Ganon. When he returned, she would welcome him and she would let him freely choose whom to marry. It was his right- she only hoped that his wife would allow her to still take part in his life. As for her, she would dedicate to her craft. Her heart would forever belong to Terciel- it didn’t make sense to marry another.
He had asked her to read to the end of the journal and so she would. Sliding down from Terciel’s roof, Idra entered Terciel’s home finding it exactly how she had left it. Taking the journal in her wing, she sat cross legged on the rug in the center of the room. She had found his home so comfortable before, now she felt worried to touch any of the furniture. None of this was hers, she reminded herself. It wouldn’t be fair for her to make such a claim on it.
Picking back where she left off, she continued to read Tivoli’s entries. Rereading the last, she acknowledged that her dream was a memory confirming that she had met, at some point, Master Tivoli. His remaining entries spoke about his son as he trained with the Gorons and, ironically, the arranged marriage he had hoped to set in place for Terciel. The entries ended abruptly, much like others did in the past. Shivering, she knew it meant that Tivoli met a swift fate and for a moment, she felt saddened. Tivoli was frightening, but his journal entries showed he was also frightened, trying to tow the line of allegiance to the rito, his family, and Ganon.
I am Terciel, son of Tivoli and Laisa and it was incumbent upon my birth to take on the responsibility of the Master of the Gale.
Idra stopped reading. It felt strange to read her friend’s journal and she almost stopped for fear of intruding his privacy. Her friend must have thought of this, as a small note in the corner was addressed to her.
Read to the end Idra. I’ve nothing more to hide from you.
She felt her first smile in days. It was warming to read a note from Terciel again. If only it were his voice speaking to her. Per his note, she continued reading.
I will protect and swear allegiance to Rito Village, but only out of respect for those who came before me and for my father’s memory. Perhaps you will all bristle at this- after all, you’ve read centuries of masters who pledged undying fealty to the Rito. I won’t do that. Let me tell you a story, as my father regularly wrote of my ability to turn a phrase, but unlike my other stories, this one is very true and one that must be told.
My father did not kill Revelo. He would tell you differently as would the gossip of the village, but I was there as my brother bled out, killed by the arrow of a rito intent on wiping out the line of the gale. Oh, I should start the story differently, shouldn’t I? Well gale fledglings, let me start.
Once upon a time, there was a little fledgling named Revelo and he begged for days to go with his father and brother to the legendary Flight Range. He was too young to train, but oh how he hated being away from his brother and oh how he wished to spend time with his father. One day his deepest wish was granted, and his family took him to the archery training ground. He spent the entire morning watching his father and brother train, but his heart was too big to comprehend how harshly they trained. He thought they were heroes. He didn’t know they were cast as the villains-how could he? He was only a baby. Finally, his family stopped training to join him for lunch. He loved eating as much as he loved cuddling, and so little Revelo, after eating a hearty lunch packed by his mother, fell asleep in his father’s lap, without a care in the world. But our world doesn’t care for happy moments or little fledglings who just wish to cuddle carelessly. Revelo was awoken by loud shouting, his father pushing him to his brother and telling them both to stay in the little hut next to the cooking pot. His father was fearless and approached the rito who called him out for a duel. Neither Revelo nor his brother saw the other approaching from behind them until the rito broke into the hut. Revelo’s brother did what he could, using the training his father taught him to fight off the rito, but sadly Revelo’s brother was likewise, just a fledgling. Revelo was afraid and flew to his father for safety-the rito didn’t care about any of that. He took his shot.
Any other accomplished story teller would write the ending, but I cannot. I’ve lived and relived this ending far too many times. Suffice to say, neither attacker survived my father’s fury and my brother was laid to rest. Why would I tell such a story, oh gale fledglings? It isn’t the encouraging words you’ve read before-the assurance that you were doing what was right for the rito people. I tell you now the hatred of Rito Village for the Master of the Gale runs deep. If provoked, that hatred could destroy not only our family, but the village itself. You may be told by others that come after me that this is just the reality-that being one of Ganon’s champions means we are to be hated. Allow me to quell that before it festers into fact.
I’ve spent the last six years training with the gorons. The goron champion is feared by the community, just as we are feared by ours, but the others do not resent him. They willingly fight for him, for their brother. No matter how evil or wicked the champion seems, his people are forgiving. They believe they can help guide their brother, keep him safe while he lives in the dark, in the hopes that he will return to them. For all our village claims to be, it is not forgiving. Wouldn’t it be better if we more like the gorons?
While I was there, they treated me the same as their goron champion. They called me brother, trained me vigorously, laughed with me at my stories. They taught me unwavering loyalty and fealty to comrades of arms. They welcomed me and I have never felt that sense of belonging, not before I left the village and not since I’ve returned to it. I suppose I will pledge one allegiance. Any rito who serves under me will know the loyalty of the gorons.
Tears ran freely down Idra’s face. She couldn’t continue to the next entry. She had read many horrible and dark entries in the journal, but this was too much. Revelo wasn’t killed by Ganon’s malice or hate. He was killed out of hatred by another rito and his family forced to suffer their loss, all because he was fated to align with Ganon. How terrified he must have been-how terrified Terciel must have been. It wasn’t fair, Idra thought vehemently. She would never allow harm to come to Terciel’s children. She would protect them.
Chapter 14: chapter 14
“What if Iro is sent away?” Talia fretted as she and Idra walked along the wooden paths of the village. Idra had noticed her friend’s anxious behavior and hoped a walk would help ease her.
“We don’t know that any of the guard will be deployed,” Idra reasoned. “The elder is taking precautions, likely to ensure our borders are safe should the conflict come to Rito Village.”
“But if any of the guard were to be deployed, it would surely be Iro, wouldn’t it? He’s one of their most veteran and he’s very skilled-Oh Idra what if he is sent to war?”
“Again, we don’t know that any of our guards will be sent outside the village,” Idra insisted. “And if he is deployed, you said so yourself. He’s one of the most skilled in the village. He can and will hold his own to return to you.”
“But you don’t know that Idra!” Talia argued. “It’s war and…” She trailed off, sniffling.
“And what?” Idra asked softly.
“Do you think he cares if rito blood is spilt?” She nodded off towards the darkness on the horizon.
“We can trust that he won’t, you’re right. I do trust our fellow rito. They will protect each other out there, like brothers,” she observed. Idra couldn’t say that Terciel would watch out for Iro, but she knew in her heart that he would. He often spoke of the guard he trained-he was cold, strategic, and at times harsh, but he was also true to what he said in his journal entry-he was fair, welcoming, and enforced a loyalty among the guards. She observed it between Iro and Tuka and their interactions with the current guard.
“I know what you say is true. Iro can take care of himself, but can I take care of myself?” Talia wondered.
“You’ve taken care of yourself before you were married, Talia,” Idra reminded.
“Oh but things are much different now Idra. I won’t only have myself to take care of,” she wrapped her wings around herself. Idra had an epiphany.
“Talia are you with child?” She whispered. Shyly, Talia nodded.
“Only mama, papa, and Iro know. We hoped to wait to share until we are closer.”
“I’m expected in the Spring,” she answered. Idra took her friend by the wing.
“Talia if Iro has to leave for war, you know that your mother, father, and I will help you until Iro returns.”
“Thank you Idra,” Talia hugged her friend. “I hope you don’t have to. It’s selfish, but I can’t imagine how painful it would be to wait every day wondering whether Iro will return.” Idra’s smile fell, and Talia caught it.
“Why the glum face?” Talia teased. “Is there a guard you wouldn’t want to leave?”
“Oh yes,” Idra responded with sarcasm. “Where would I be if Tuka left before the spring festival? I’m a quarter likely to court him by his math.” Talia laughed heartily.
“He still pursues you.”
“He still pursues,” Idra clarified. “I’ve no doubt he will find someone, it just won’t be me.”
“Is there someone else then? The entire guard seem quite taken with you.”
“That’s because I supply their bows,” Idra clarified. “I can understand how painful it would be to wait for someone you love to return. My mother did while my father was away at war.” And now I wait for Terciel, she thought to herself.
“Still,” Idra continued. “My father was reunited with my mother, just as Iro will be reunited with you.”
“Well if he is deployed, I hope he will return long before the summer. I would hate for him to miss meeting his fledgling.”
“Do you think he will grow as faint as he did at the wedding?” Idra teased.
“If he does, I still have the smelling salts!” Talia responded.
I find myself even more disgusted with the village. I rarely leave my home in the daylight- out of my pride I would like to say it’s self-imposed reclusion, but it’s most certainly not. The monsters must stay in the dark after all. However, this morning I was traveling back from a meeting with the other champions. As I entered the village, I flew over a small field where the fledglings played. I caught sight of molting feathers and bloated abdomens. Our fledglings are malnourished. They played as best they could, but they had no energy, some preferring to stand next to each other instead of running or flying. I was irate. For all the village boasted about taking care of its young, this was the obscenest crime. I immediately flew to the elder, demanding an explanation. The elder explained that crops were dying from a pestilence and they were unable to produce the same gross of food. I asked about the fishery-we had plenty of salmon to make up for deficiencies in crops. The elder told me that there was something living underneath Lake Totori. For nearly a year now the fish had been nonexistent. A few guards were sent to investigate when fishermen complained of an eerie sound and a cave-in near the salmon hatchery. The guards returned severely wounded and unable to share what they had seen. Since then, no salmon had been farmed for the village.
Although I loathe the title of villain, in this instance I found myself accepting it fully. Only one monster can live near Lake Totori. I intend to find this creature and show it what a terrible being it has trifled with.
Well I found it. A large hinox residing in the subterranean cavern next to the hatchery, gorging itself with all our salmon. I couldn’t engage it while within the cave, for one wrong swipe of its primitive club could have destabilized Roost Peak. I had to lure it out and away from Lake Totori, which was the most difficult thing to do. I couldn’t fly, I had to swim, entice it to follow, and swim away. The damned thing would lose interest the moment my head ducked under water! I finally got the blasted troll out into the lake, but the creature refused to climb. It was angry that I had trapped it outside, it was ready to take down the whole of the village and so I had to improvise. Gale fledglings, dear gale fledglings, do not attempt to repeat this for although it worked, it was the most painful gale I have ever created. I created the largest cyclone of my life, while my feathers were completed drenched, in the middle of Lake Totori, heaving a large hinox into the sky. The water spout propelled the creature up, but I met it mid-air. I forced another gust of wind to shoot me at the creature and with a hefty push of my legs and another gust from my wings, that hinox was airborne, launched somewhere into the Tabantha fields. Making sure my target hit its mark, I nearly passed out, using the last remnants of my updraft to glide down and belly flop into the water. It was quite painful, and I only had the consciousness to drag myself to the narrow shore of the lake and rest. When I woke, it was night. Sorely, I found the elder and announced that the creature was taken care of and that there was a veritable bounty of salmon waiting to be farmed. The elder thanked me, but I demanded a price. In return for my services, the fledglings would be first to receive the salmon and then the rest of the village. Until our young ones are strong, we shouldn’t take the first of the most nutrient rich food from them. I warned the elder that if I learned this was not being done that I would go out, find that hinox, and bring it back to the cave. The elder agreed to my terms, shaking his head. It is no matter, I will keep an eye on the fledglings-ensure they are growing heartily.
Revelo loved salmon, but it always made him tired. He would eat his salmon meuniere and then fall asleep beak first in his dish, no matter how much my mother chided him. May the children of Rito Village live like Revelo, bellies full, and beaks asleep in their dishes.
I dreamed of my friend tonight, the new goron champion, Daruk. We got along smashingly during my training years and now I serve Ganon with him. In my dream, I was replaying a conversation I had with Daruk one evening, while the other trainees slept. We had discussed what it would be like to following our ancestors’ footsteps, serving the calamity. Daruk had the craziest idea. He told me that he was certain the gorons could escape Ganon. They knew the mountains well. If Ganon unleashed the Blight against the gorons as he did with the zora and the rito, he would lead his people under ground where they would escape. I asked him why he hadn’t done this already if he was so certain. To perfect the shield, he told me. While Ganon would undoubtedly attack them, he would create a shield, the largest shield he could make to keep his people safe as they delved deeper into the mountain and away from the calamity. It’s an interesting idea, but being the jokester I was, I humorously accepted his idea acquiescing that of course his plan would work, because the zora already had done it. That struck a chord in me at the time-I had no idea if the zora escaped, but then why couldn’t they? Zora domain was completely decimated, nothing was left. No structures and no bodies. What if they simply swam to the sea before the Blight reached them? I woke from my dream wondering. If the gorons could escape into the earth itself, and the zora to the sea, why couldn’t the rito escape to the sky? We couldn’t live in the sky forever, but perhaps we could migrate somewhere else-far away from Ganon’s clutches. Then we could be safe.
It was winter now. It had been months since he had left the village and oh what fun those months had been. Terciel had fought countless regimens seeking to impose the borders of Hyrule. He emerged from each battle, bloody, but victorious. Still, the enemy kept coming. It was as though they had an endless supply of soldiers to send to the front line. They were in a deadlock, for while the enemy did not advance, neither did Ganon.
Terciel approached the darkened throne room with trepidation. It never boded well when a champion was summoned to the throne room. The last time it happened to a rito champion, Ganon had sent the Blight to wipe out half the village. Terciel held back a sigh of relief upon seeing the other two champions in the room. There was certain to be punishment, but perhaps it would only be Terciel and not the rito-not Idra. To his side he could sense his friend, Daruk the Master of Might, and knew he was not alone in his concern. Terciel couldn’t read the gerudo champion adjacent to him. Her expression was flat, her eyes dark and deadly. His father made it clear that he should never cross the Master of Fury and he was too right. He had seen her unleash her lethal skill on scores of enemy regimens and not once did her expression change. She was undoubtedly Ganon’s pride. The atmosphere of the air grew denser and darker, signaling to them the arrival of their master. A chilling voice filled the room.
“You have all failed me. Champions of your people and yet the enemy returns while you live.” The voice boomed so loudly, yet Terciel could not show fear or weakness, lest he wished to be punished for it.
“Do I sense disloyalty? Do you wish for the enemy to enter my land? You would be so lucky to submit to their slavery.” The miasma grew denser, deeper, and more chaotic. Terciel followed suit with the other champions, bowing and showing submission.
“My lord,” the goron champion began. “We have not let your borders shrink from the enemies, but the source of their attack is beyond your borders.”
“What do you suggest we do, Master of Might?” Daruk inhaled, his conscience conflicted.
“Well?” When Daruk did not answer, the gerudo champion did.
“We invade them. Snuff out their source and claim their land. Our borders will widen and the threat will be neutralized.”
“Very good, Master of Fury.” Terciel was inwardly panicked. He had to keep his village out of this war. They wouldn’t survive it.
“It is a good plan, my lord,” Terciel stepped forward. “But I wonder if sending another army is the most efficient way to end this. The enemy grows bolder with time. We must end this quickly and demonstrate your power to sever their alliances.”
“What do you suggest Master of the Gale? Do you intend to wipe them out for me?” Terciel knew the answer he had to give though he would hate himself for it.
“My lord, it would be my honor,” he replied bowing.
“It would be an honor, but not one I bestow to you,” the voice retorted. “Or to any of you. I’ve called you here to meet my fourth champion. The one who will end this war where you could not.” A figure emerged from the dark. It looked like a hylian, but inverted with ashen skin, red eyes, and an evil halo surrounding him. Terciel had to suppress the chill that ran down his spine.
“Master of Power,” Ganon addressed the draconian figure. “Lead the other champions and overtake our enemy. As for the three of you, if you emerge victorious, then perhaps I will be lenient towards your current failures.”
As Terciel followed the fourth champion out of the throne room he realized who this was. It was death and Terciel was a willing harbinger.
Idra, should I survive this, please forgive me.
He still wore her headband under his armor-it would be his anchor to tether him in the sea of darkness.
My mother passed away today having slowly deteriorated after my father’s death. She made it clear that she did not love my father, but after spending so many years dependent on another, my mother was sent awry by his death. Although I was not close to her, she was still my mother. Now, I am alone. I have no family left to light my home, so I seek it outside now. I used to stargaze when I was young. I’ve recently taken up the habit again. In the ten years since I’ve returned to Rito Village, little has changed. The village still hates me, but I’ve grown to accept it. I still have issues regarding my fealty to the village, but still serve it. And now I am far more alone than I have ever been. The elder continues to press for my quick engagement. I understand he wants to preserve my family’s line, but I wonder if our line truly protects the people or if it merely satiates one of Ganon’s desires. Something needs to change. Hylia willing, I will have the strength and conviction to do something.
I found a shooting star this evening. It had fallen to the ground and faced the fury of an entire bokoblin troupe. You’ll understand my surprise when I found out that the shooting star had turned into the most beautiful rito I had ever laid eyes on. She was a fierce light, unyielding, and unafraid even though she had been injured. I helped the star to fly away to the safety of the village. Perhaps I will go to the market-see if I am able to find her there, only to ensure her well-being of course!
Idra. Her name is Idra and she has begun sending me notes. She’s curious about me and the role we play gale fledglings. There is so much I cannot yet tell her, so instead I intrigue her with my stories and my fascination with lavender, which I am certain would look lovely on her. Now, now. Don’t you fret fledglings, I am no Torilanus. I have no hope that a beauty such as herself could love a beast like me. Still, her notes are comforting. I have not had a friend in Rito Village since the passing of my brother. I enjoy her company.
She doesn’t seem to know or perhaps she has been told for too long that she isn’t as radiant as she is. I’ve taken her to the Flight Range today to test out a bow that she has crafted for me. I tell no story or love-addled flattery when saying that it is a magnificent bow. Honestly, find Idra or one of her descendants, her bows will serve you well! We tested the eagle bow and I tested her in using the updrafts to train as the rito warriors of old once did. We had a near accident at the beginning, but despite her fear Idra returned to the updrafts where she mastered basic skills quite quickly. Why doesn’t she see what I see? What will it take to show her?
Usually I detest summer festivals-just another reminder of how isolated our family is. I could never attend the festival and share it with Idra. Well my star was quite sneaky. As I could not attend myself, she brought the festival to me. I had my first cloud cake in years-it was marvelous! Idra tried her best to teach me to dance, but I’m certain I merely let her carry me away in a series of circles and twirls. We stayed with one another the entire festival and when I held her feathers, she did not pull away. I’m starting to become hopeful that she may care for me. No bouquets were exchanged, but I would not change this evening. It was the first time light returned to my childhood home.
I’m feeling a sense of dread. It’s as though Ganon’s power mounts. I’ve received a few missives from the gorons. It appears that someone is attacking from the West. I’ve taken the concerns to the elder. I fear that Hyrule will go to war very soon. I must do all I can to keep the village out of it. We have neither the resources nor numbers to survive. I’ve spoken with the elder about alternative plans, but he has decided we are not ready. I know that another can master the gale. I’m certain of it. If our ancestor of old was able to learn it from his uncle, then why couldn’t another outside our family? The elder continues to argue that it must be a rito divinely favored. He didn’t care for my counter argument; our family masters the gale each generation, but we are as far from divine favor as a rito can get.
Merciful Hylia, I’ve become Torlianus! War is coming and all I can think of is my star and the night we shared during the summer festival. I know I must tell her about the war and that I must leave. I have so much to tell her-I fear my time is running short and there are so many stories I’ve yet to share. We go to the Flight Range together in the morning. I will tell her then.
Dearest Idra, I hope you’ve made it to my last entry. You now know more than even the elder knows about my family and myself. Did this answer your question about who I am? Why I must be unkind? I know that it is no excuse for the crimes we have committed, but I hope that you will understand that we did not choose to be monsters. You must keep this journal safe-the information would be dangerous if another found it. I trust you with this and any story I will ever be able to share for I love you. Idra, I loved you since the moment you trained your arrow on me. My heart is yours if you are willing to accept it. Had war never come, I would have told you this at the spring festival with a bouquet of lavender. Now that war is upon us, I must ask something of you.
Take this journal to the Flight Range. You have the schematics and instructions necessary to master the gale. The elder is convinced only a divinely favored rito could master it, and I ask you what is more divine than a star? I know you will be able to master this skill- do not doubt or fear it. f I am unable to return, you must use the gale to proceed with the migration. The elder will know what that means. You must lead our people, to safety. The guards are as loyal to you as I am. They will listen should you need to rally them. You would be the first kind and heroic Master of the Gale the village will ever remember. I know you can do this.
Should I return, as I hope and plan to, I must ask you another question. I won’t ask it here- some things are best said in person, don’t you think?
I love you Idra-never doubt that. I will do all in my power to be with you, whether in this life or the next.
Idra reread Terciel’s last entry multiple times, letting the words sink in. He loves me, she thought, while holding the book tightly to her. She adored him. He had shown her so many important things about herself-things she never knew or accepted. She had learned so much about him-who he really was. His anger for the village was ever-present, as was his loyalty to his fellow brothers, comrades of arms, and his adoration for the little fledglings who would live hearty and healthy lives with his intervention. He gave everything to the village, anticipating only pain and suffering in return. He deserved far more than that. She would promise to master the gale as he requested, but she would not replace him. No, if she learned the ancient and divine skill it would be to use at his side. She would use it to bring him home from the darkness if she had to. Home. He never felt at home in Rito Village. It wasn’t right. She would change that upon his return as well. He would have a home he lost upon Revelo’s death.
Chapter 16: Chapter 16
Idra had finished her order for the elder and with the winter storms harrowing the village, her master had granted her request for a respite. She gathered all she would need, supplies for elixirs, food, her bow, and the journal. At dawn, she made the treacherous journey to the Flight Range. The winter storms nearly pummeled her into the snow-capped Hebra mountains. Ice Talos below her threateningly circled, willing her to engage. Still Idra stayed her course for the safety of the enclosed Flight Range.
When she arrived, she felt so alone. The wind howled as it entered the deep basin. A solitary flag flapped helplessly on the top of the hut. It felt ominous-as though the range itself knew she had come to take on its greatest challenge.
Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.
She swore the wind mocked her. Taking another sip of her fiery elixir, she began her trudge to the little hut. She started the cooking pot and stowed her supplies. Daylight was short and it didn’t seem safe to train at night. The final thing she did was dust off her family’s banner, moving it next to the opening of the hut. Should she fail in her attempts, seeing her family’s banner would encourage her to continue. She hoped Terciel was right-that the spirits of the great rito warriors still frequented the Flight Range. As she watched the updrafts blitz through the mountains, she knew she would need any help she could get.
She had studied the schematics from the first master before her journey to the Flight Range. Skimming over the journal entries once more, she realized that she could only memorize so much. She needed to try it. Ensuring the journal was safely tucked away in the hut, Idra settled toward the edge of the walkway. Bracing her legs against the boards, Idra spread her wings and copied the same technique described in Revali’s journal. Nothing. She held the pose, willing something to happen, but not even a breath crossed her feathers. Sighing, she shook it off, and attempted the pose again. Nothing. For the third try, she thought she had felt something, but it was merely the updraft from the basin floating up towards her wings.
Idra took a break at noon to reread the journal entries, hoping to understand what she had done wrong. Revali mentioned a dream he had about the move. His nephew mentioned Hylia granting him the ability to avenge his uncle. She couldn’t explain it, but the two seemed connected. Idra returned to the walkway again, practicing the pose until the sun dipped below the Hebra mountains. She fled to the hut as darkness engulfed the basin. Frustrated, Idra made her dinner quickly. Of course, she didn’t think she would get it on the first try, but the first day felt so hopeless. Despite having the theoretical knowledge of how to perform the skill, she felt lost in how to apply it. Curling in the hammock with the journal next to her, she looked for an answer-something to ensure the next day would give her some progress.
As she poured over the entry, she heard the low and haunting howls of wolves in the distance. Instinctively Idra reached for her bow. For a moment, she strained to hear the howling, to confirm it was not approaching her, before relaxing her wing though she held the bow securely. The wolves didn’t sound as though they were moving, to Idra’s relief. While she nestled in her makeshift bed, she was reminded of the night she shared with Terciel in the Flight Range.
The sound of howling jolted Idra from the hammock, her emerald eyes trying to peer out the small slit in the flaps. To her right, she heard low chuckling as feathers rubbed her shoulders.
“You are jumpy my dear.”
“Will the wolves come down to the Flight Range?” Idra asked Terciel. In the dark, she could see him considering her question, but after a minute of his pondering she felt he was doing it more for dramatic effect.
“Don’t tease me about this,” she swatted his wing.
“Idra I’ve slept many nights alone here. Trust me when I say the wolves won’t come after us,” he was cut off by a particularly loud howl. Idra saw his eyes widen. “And if they do, they will take on two rito masters.” Idra grumbled, too tired to gauge if he was telling the truth or trying to wind her up. Instead of pressing him further, she cuddled deeper into the hammock, allowing his wings to fully wrap around her.
“If we’re eaten by wolves…” she muttered.
“We won’t be eaten by wolves,” he assured her. “I would never let a wolf eat you.” He rested his head atop hers.
“What about a pack of wolves?” she asked.
“I wouldn’t let a pack of wolves eat you either. I’m the most frightening thing in the Hebra Mountains,” he responded; she could feel the rumbling of his voice gently thrum her forefeathers. After a few moments, Terciel’s breathing steadied to a slow rhythm. Idra was wide awake, and gently stroked Terciel’s feathers.
“It seems so lonely here,” she observed, wondering if Terciel was still listening. “I couldn’t imagine spending the night here by myself.” She heard Terciel give a small yawn.
“You get used to it,” he mumbled. “It’s part of warrior training anyway.”
“Yes…coming of age sort of rite of passage.”
“So you had to spend nights alone?” Terciel hummed in response.
“I am not spending this one alone,” he muttered against her feathers. Certain Terciel was asleep, Idra closed her eyes hoping to follow suit. Suddenly, a small green light flashed across her vision. Idra woke immediately sitting up at the thought of someone or something in the hut. Terciel woke with her drowsily.
“Idra, are you all right?”
“I saw something! Something is in the hut with us!” Terciel sat up alert, his wings still covering her. They stayed in the dark for a moment. Terciel seemed to absorb the dark as he stealthily crawled over Idra and out of the hammock. He circled the perimeter of the hut and then peered out to the howling, snowy night. Pulling back into the warmth of the hut, Terciel wordlessly lit the crystal light. Nothing was inside. Idra looked about wildly before getting out of the hammock herself.
“I swear Terciel, I saw something. It was like a green light of some sort.” Terciel stopped looking about the room.
“A green light you say?”
“Yes! I am not imagining it.”
“I know,” Terciel answered stepping towards her. “Idra remember what I told you about the dreams I had when sleeping here? About the masters?”
“Yes…are you saying that green light was…a spirit?”
“Possibly.” Idra wrapped her wings around her, chilled at the thought of a spirit near them.
“Are you afraid of spirits Idra?”
“I’ve only ever heard stories about bad ones,” she admitted as Terciel approached her.
“Well I assure you that any spirit here would not be a bad one. Don’t forget, they would all be rito masters…or very good spirits.”
“Wouldn’t they be resentful? Or frightening?”
“If a rito spirit is frightening, then you need to be frightening back. Likely they are only testing how you would fair in a fight,” Terciel stopped upon seeing Idra trembling, either from the cold, fear, or a combination of the two. Terciel pulled her into his embrace.
“It’s only a little spirit, Idra. It won’t harm you,” he whispered into her head feathers.
“Terciel?” She started, face stuffed against his chest. “Are our ancestors watching us sleep together…unmarried?” Terciel pulled away seeing a small smile forming on Idra’s beak.
“Is that your concern?” He asked and Idra nodded. “Well then, let’s settle this now.” He cleared his throat and looked about the room.
“Are there any spirits here who could perform a wedding?”
“I’m teasing,” he reassured. “Somewhat. Now, to any spirit that may be joining us in the hut tonight, understand that both Idra and I are adults and can do very well what we please. The night is cold and our combined body heat will keep us from freezing. If you would all stop flitting about for the night and allow my dear friend to sleep, I would be immensely grateful.” Silence met the two. Terciel glanced about the room once more.
“There. I think we’ve taken care of that,” Terciel turned to crawl on to the hammock, but stumbled over a stool. Idra couldn’t be sure if it was her sleep addled mind, but she swore she heard laughter peeling through the air.
“Wonderful!” Terciel grumbled, getting to his feet. “Very mature of you…I am going to bed. Idra, will you join me before our poltergeist plays any more pranks?” Idra tentatively stepped forward, spooked by the sudden appearance of the stool, her rational mind trying to remember if the stool had been by the hammock. When she heard laughter again, she decided to speak.
“All right, you’ve all had your laugh. No more tricks for the night. You cannot judge Terciel for staying with me this night while we are unmarried when some of you are flitting so close to me while I sleep. I have given him permission to lay next to me-I did not give permission to you to appear so close to me. I welcome you to join us in the warmth of the hut if you behave as the honorable rito you are. Good night.” Terciel and Idra listened the updraft blowing through the basin.
“They may like you better than me,” Terciel joked as Idra joined him on the hammock.
“We’ll see. I don’t think I will get comfortable seeing spirits regularly, but I won’t begrudge them their place at the Flight Range. They’ve earned it.”
“As have we.”
“As have you,” Idra corrected.
“As will you,” Terciel consented, nuzzling her cheek.
What Idra wouldn’t give to have Terciel next to her as she fell asleep at the Flight Range again. As she began to fall asleep, she swore she could see a green light at the edge of her vision.
“Please,” she whispered. “Please not tonight. Come back tomorrow.” The green light faded from the hut. The howling of the wolves ceased and Idra was able to sleep.
The next morning, she woke with the same intent to summon a gale. She spent the entire morning attempting to create an updraft of her own. She nearly pulled her feathers out from frustration. It would certainly help if she knew what it was supposed to feel like. She felt her feathers sore as she repeatedly attempted to use them to create the gale. Merciful Hylia, Idra was willing to settle for a breeze if it meant she could make some progress!
By afternoon she was disillusioned. She stopped practicing the gale to let loose a round of arrows for her target run. She wasn’t as good as Terciel by any means, but for the first time she was able to hit all the targets while in the updraft. If only summoning an updraft was as easy as using them for flight. The sun set once more on the Flight Range and Idra took shelter in the hut.
What am I doing wrong?
She didn’t fancy herself a divine being by any means, but she doubted that the first Master of the gale nor his nephew were either.
Hylia, she silently prayed, I won’t ask for the skill, but please give me a sign. Can I master the skill? As she tucked away in the hammock, Idra’s eyelids grew heavy and soon she was asleep, the journal and her bow tucked under her wing.
The crackling of fire awoke Idra. Opening her eyes, she was surprised to see the cooking pot lit. She was certain the pit wasn’t lit when she fell asleep-and even if it had been, the fire would have died out. Slowly slipping out the hammock, Idra approached the fire, bow at the ready. Something rustled to the other side of the hut, and a ceramic jar lid fell from the darkened desk, rolling across the floor and stopping just before her feet. Feeling her feathers stand on end, Idra drew her bow. If this was a spirit trying to frighten her, then she wouldn’t give it the satisfaction of achieving its goal. She approached the darkened desk, arrow notched and at the ready. A large rustling jostled the desk and a ceramic plate shattered to the ground. Idra was jarred, but unnotched her arrow at a small “oops” she had heard.
Oops? Since when did a spirit say “Oops?”
“Who is there?” Idra asked the darkened corner. She received no reply. “If there is a spirit here, show yourself now.” Idra heard a sniffle in response.
“What was that?”
“You’re gonna be mad at me.” The voice that responded to her echoed, but that didn’t frighten Idra. She was more curious that the voice sounded so young. Idra lowered her bow.
“Why would I be mad at you?”
“I broke the plate.”
“Did you mean to break the plate?”
“D’no,” another sniffle followed. “I’m just hungry.” Was there a fledgling at the Flight Range? How could a little one fly their way up to her in the middle of the night?
“Well, if you’re hungry I can make you something, but you need to come out from your corner.”
“You won’t be mad?” the little voice asked hesitantly.
“No, it was an accident.”
“And you won’t be scared?”
“If you promise to behave, I won’t be,” Idra assured the voice. For good measure, Idra set her bow on the ground. “Will you come out now?”
“Oh okay, but don’t be scared, or I’ll get in trouble.” Idra watched as a small shadow made its way out of the corner. Once it approached the light of the fire, she could make out a figure, shimmering in green. Idra felt a chill run along her spine-this was most definitely a spirit and she was certain she knew who it was.
“There,” she said softly. “Now I can see you. What shall I make for us? Maybe salmon?”
“Yes!” the voice called excitedly. “I love salmon!” Idra could make out the figure hopping in place.
“I do too,” Idra moved to the other side of the hut, withdrawing the necessary ingredients for their meal. “Will you help me?” Idra didn’t receive a response, but she could see the green light grow brighter as the figure moved to her side.
“I can try, but mama never let me help.”
“Why not?” Idra asked, keeping her eyes straight ahead. She heard a giggle.
“Cause why?” She probed, keeping her voice light.
“Cause I’d sneak pieces away!” the voice answered happily. Idra laughed at the bright flash of green that fluctuated with the spirit’s giggles.
“Are you going to sneak salmon from me?” Idra teased.
“No, I don’t wanna make you angry…” The light dulled and Idra saw the figure tilt towards the bow.
“I would never hurt you, Revelo,” Idra assured. The little green figure turned abruptly.
“You know my name!”
“Your brother told me about you.”
“I miss Tercie! When’s he coming back?” the green figure sat atop the stool.
“I don’t know,” Idra replied sadly. “I hope soon.”
“You miss him a lot, don’t cha?”
“I do.” Idra turned to the cooking pot.
“I miss him too. He doesn’t come here much anymore.”
“Do you stay here?” Idra asked curiously.
“Papa and I come here sometimes-mostly when Tercie’s here.”
“Is it only you and your papa?”
“Nah, there’s others too. They were really nice to me until papa came. Now papa and I spend a lot of time together.” Idra basted the fish lightly.
“Are they here now?” She asked the fledgling spirit.
“Nope. They don’t wanna scare you. I’m not s’posed to be here either.”
“I am glad you are here. It’s nice to meet you Revelo.”
“It’s nice to meet you too Idra! Tercie talks about you.”
“Yeah-lots of lovey stuff though,” she heard the little spirit shake his head. “He likes you a lot.”
“I’m sorry you have to listen to his stories about me,” Idra smiled, getting up to retrieve plates.
“It’s okay. I like his stories,” the little fledgling spirit leaned forward to look into the cooking pot.
“Hold on Revelo, let me get us a plate.” She spooned out the pieces of salmon and set his plate to her left. The little fledgling scurried to her side.
With his spirit so close, she could finally see Revelo fully in the light. He didn’t look fully solid, and green lights danced around his body. He was very young-no more than six years old, and Idra couldn’t be sure if it was just the green light, but he seemed to have lovely emerald green and sapphire blue feathers. Despite his translucent appearance, the little fledgling snatched the plate and quickly tucked in his meal. Idra stifled a laugh at Revelo’s gusto. She wasn’t very hungry though, so she gave her smaller fillet to him. Just as Terciel wrote, Revelo became very drowsy.
“That was yummy,” he said as he crawled into her lap. She held back the slight shudder at feeling of a odd, cool weight settling around her. After a moment, Idra reached to stroke the transparent head feathers of the little rito spirit. It pained her to know that he did not live a long and happy life.
“Please don’t be sad again,” he asked. “Will it make you happy if I tell you a secret?” The little rito sat in her lap.
“I love secrets,” Idra responded.
“You can’t learn it,” he whispered. “That’s what they said. You’ve got to earn it.”
“Earn it?” she asked and the little spirit nodded.
“A master has to give it to you, and you’re not family, so only one master can do that, but he doesn’t like anyone.”
“How do I earn it?”
“I dunno,” the spirit replied sleepily. “He thinks he’s really special. Maybe show him you’re special too?”
“Thank you for sharing that with me Revelo,” Idra resumed stroking the little rito’s feathers. “If only I knew how to do that.”
“I think you’re special-papa does too,” Revelo yawned and curled into Idra’s lap.
“Idra?” his eyes were closed. “Can you bring Tercie when he’s gets back? Tell him to come here more?”
“Thank you Idra.” With Revelo sleeping soundly in her lap, Idra felt eyelids grow heavy, the scene around her darkening.