Happy Friday, Aledans! As you know, we finished Aleda’s Story two weeks ago, and she became a goddess. Now it’s time to follow the baby Changelings as they grow up and figure out how to survive without her. For those of you who’ve read The Nameless Warrior, this story is where the names Faye (winged) and Tarrin (wingless) come from.
If you haven’t read Aleda’s Story, you can do so here (scroll down and view “older posts” to get to the first installment).
Faye and Tarrin
The crack of the cave as it plunged in on itself rang in Alaric’s ears. Sometimes that’s all he could hear: the crack as Mountain exploded, and his mother’s final scream. Mountain had claimed her as His goddess, and she screamed when she was torn from the world.
Alaric shuddered as he walked through the trees next to his father, Coyle’s dead body limp in Carrick’s arms. The ground had stopped shaking yesterday, and his mother’s ashes had stopped smoldering the day before. She must have calmed Mountain as she’d always calmed Alaric in the past.
When they reached the edge of the damp forest Carrick stopped and looked at his son. “If they try to hurt you fly into the trees and stay there until dark. Don’t let them follow you home.”
Alaric nodded – that was how Coyle found them. Faye had let Coyle chase her all the way home.
Carrick stepped from the trees and walked towards the village, staying a good distance from the huts that had been ruined by the tidal wave after Mountain exploded. The thought of Gaerlom made Alaric homesick for the safety of their old hut and the penguin totem that guarded it. Maybe if they had stayed the penguin could have kept his mother safe forever, but as he glanced over the ruins of the village he saw their old hut crumbled to the ground just like the cave they’d learned to call home.
The People of the Sea stopped what they were doing as they saw Carrick and the stinking corpse in his arms. Alaric grabbed the back of his father’s shirt as people began to gather and glare at him as if he’d killed Coyle with his own tiny hands. Carrick bent over and placed Coyle on the sand.
“Mountain has spoken,” his voice, normally strong, was strained and competed with the crashing waves for attention. The People stepped forward so they could hear him. “If the People of the Sea come looking for the Children of Mountain again, He will destroy Gaerlom completely. If anymore Changelings are born you will leave them in the cove at low tide, near a fire so we know to retrieve them. For every child you kill, Mountain will claim a Gaerlom. If you leave us be, He will quiet.”
Alaric peered around his father’s side at the shocked, angry expressions of the Gaerloms and found his gaze resting on a boy his age, dark-haired and blue-eyed like the rest of the tribe. He was lucky to have been the last child of their generation born wingless, without the fair features of the Children of Mountain. The boy was Tarrin, and he’d been Alaric’s best friend before the Changelings ran from the People who wanted to kill them.