Granted

Glenn Riviera lives in Cirus, a wild and hostile land of the Wind in the world of Twyne. Here birds are revered as enhancers of the wind and some Faris are Granted that ability too. Glenn only wants to be free but soon she is tied on a purpose that cannot be avoided ...

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1. Flying

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My eyes are open just a crack. Tangled, dark lashes split the pure bright light that bursts through. I can feel the delicate, cold kiss of the snowflakes on my open upturned face. They settle in my hair and burn on my skin until they are droplets glittering in the light. Smiling, I realise how vulnerable, innocent and naive I would appear if anyone were watching. But their not- and I’m not any of those things.

Opening my eyes, I behold the fulfilling scene before me. Involuntarily, my smile spreads to a grin, something so rare my features feel stretched and stiff. It disappears faster that it materialized. But the scene is still there- overwhelming and magnificent. Immense pines tower all around me, their tar black trunks swaying slightly in the mighty wind and their gnarled branches support their clumps of brittle, evergreen needles. The wind makes no sound, but I recognise its power as I do every day- best of all up here among the regions in which it is free- the sky. The eternal, unimaginably wild wind that soars faster than any bird here and travels wherever it pleases. Only the Faris of Cirus understand its inconceivable power and for that the wind has shared its secrets with those faithful. We are forever grateful.

I breathe deeply and watch the placid snowflakes flittering toward the ground far, far below. The sturdy Iron Wood at the top of which I stand looms just above the treetops of the Kneene forest which dominates the land all the way to the horizon. There the Ridgeback Mountains that are the spine of Cirus transcend up and into the clouds. I am captured as always by it, marvelling at the vastness of this free land.

Removing my hands from the thick trunk of the Iron wood, I walk out a little along the penultimate branch. The wind tussles my abrupt dark hair sweeping it off my face. My boots grip the bark beneath my feet as I bend my knees and fix my eyes on the end of the branch. Blocking out the noises I focus on the wind: its movement; ebbs and flows; twists and turns. A deep calm settles inside me as I feel the distinct pressure of the wind on my open palms. I’m granted its power.

Fast as a viper I spring on the branch and land running towards the end. The wind stills. It waits. But I continue until I plant my last foot and dive head first into the abyss of swirling snowflakes. And I’m falling, falling ,falling…

 

I plummet down and the snow blanketed ground rushes towards me. My hair streams back from my face and the air turns my face numb. The forest floor nears but I stay straight as an arrow. Until the last minute. Quickly I grasp the straps at my sides that are attached to my wings and regain the pressure of the wind on my body. I focus on it, build it, nurture it, and harness it. Then I throw out my arms pulling the wings with them and bend the wind to support me. Instantly I am traveling parallel to the ground, my shadow skimming over it, the waxy thin material of my wings taught and strong. I’m flying. Flying fast through the trees as I have done so many times, enhancing the wind to lift me, carry me. It’s magic, but I call it a blessing from the wind.

So many different types of ecstasy rip through me right now as I do what I am born to do. I whoop for joy, out here where no one can hear me, see me. Laughing hysterically I twist abruptly channelling the wind so I dip and dive dodging the trees. Slowly I push harder and the trunks blur past faster and faster and I swerve round them with deft angling of my wings. There’s a howling in my ears as I focus on the trees, I only just manage to skip around them. This is why I venture into the forest every day, why I love who I am even if no one else does.

 

After many minutes I begin to tire, my will to hold on to the wind weakening. I slow and swoop closer to the forest floor. Creatures scamper under cover as my shadow nears, fearing I am a hunting bird hungry for its next meal. I drift on savouring the weightlessness of flight and the timeless sense of the wilderness. But above the tall pines the sky has turned an angry turmoil of black, grey and indigo as heavy clouds begin to roll in from the East. A storm brewing.  Reluctantly I drop onto my feet and fold in my Wings carefully creasing the fragile material. Snow still falls in carefree flurries but I know it won’t last for long and that tonight will not be a good one to stay in the forest. I begin the long walk back to Hymll. My mood slowly mirroring the sky’s.

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