Legends of Belariath


Raising To Power

Meiri wasn't a happy girl lately.

Besides all the problems she had gotten herself into, including Kytara, she had gotten sick, two times in a row, and didn't know why. She had probably even put some people at risk once!

She... was rather glad her grandmother was with her now.

O'sheana had brought two horses with her, so it was apparent that she had the intention of taking Meiri away from the Inn. Meiri still wasn't sure why, but was told it was for her own good, so Meiri followed. Now, she was coated in a fairly heavy cloak (it bothered her, she had never been cold before, even in winter).

She had almost been disappointed. She thought, for a moment, that her family was so worried about her that they had wanted to bring her back. Meiri wouldn't disobey her family under any condition, and... she thought she had let them down, for a moment.

However, O'sheana had not taken the route towards her hometown. Instead, they had taken another direction entirely. Meiri had never been in such a place. Finally, she decided to ask her grandmother directly.

"Ah... grandma? Where are we going?"

O'sheana gave her one of her usual smiles, with her eyes closed. "We, Meiri, are going to the Forge."

Meiri tilted her head to the side. "The Forge?"

"Yes. It is the home of the Master Pyromancer, Flameforger. He's a bit of a senile old coot, but I believe he can help."

Meiri just looked on in confusion. "Help with what?"

O'sheana opened her eyes, and glanced at Meiri. The younger half-elf felt a shiver run down her spine. "Meiri, do you remember what I told you about the Elements?"

Meiri blinked, and thought for a moment. "... Uh... everybody has a bit of the elements in them, which in turns balances them..."

"Good enough. Now, what happens when one element is stronger than another?"

"They... uh... are stronger in that respect. You, for example, are really strong in the water element...

O'sheana nodded. "Yes, exactly. What elements would you say you are strong on?"

"Both... fire and water." Meiri scratched the back of her head.

"Right. But... Meiri, I believe you are... a very special case."

Meiri blinked at her grandmother. "Huh?"

O'sheana sighed, slightly. "I believe that the other two elements simply do not exist in you. And... I believe that the elements that you -do- have, are going off balance... Which explains the sickness."

Meiri settled for looking confused. "I... don't get it."

O'sheana smiled a bit. "You will soon. We will be arriving to the Forge soon enough."

The younger elf just blinked, and looked ahead. Her eyes widened slightly as she spotted a tower in the distance. It wasn't as imposing as Unigo was, no, Meiri doubted anything would be like that. But the place had an... aura around it, which made it impressive nonetheless. She blinked once more as she glanced down, and noticed that the snow they had been traveling through for a while now was... gone, pretty much. In fact, the general area was getting pretty hot. Meiri blinked a few times as she pulled back the hood of the cloak she had been wearing lately.

"Ah, yes, you can feel it, can't you?" O'sheana remarked, smiling. "I'm not surprised. This, Meiri, is the Forge."

"Feel... it?"

"You tell me." O'sheana smiled.

"... Its hot, and... I think it..." Meiri pauses, trying to make sense of her own words. "...seems angry at something."

"The Forge is not just any building. It is both the home and the workshop of Flameforger. It reflects the personality of its owner." O'sheana's smile widened. "Fire mages aren't known for being nice."

"What... is he so angry about?"

"Oh, maybe he woke up with his beard ruffled. Who knows?"

A new voice cut through the air, suddenly. "Nay, witch, I merely felt your stench as you approached."

Meiri started, and stopped the horse, glancing about. The voice seemed to emerge directly from the tower.

O'sheana didn't stop, although she did roll her eyes. "Oh, lords. Who burned your bread today? ... Oh, I'm sorry, you probably did." She smiled pleasantly. Meiri's horse once more began trailing after O'sheana's, startling her even more.

"Very funny, witch. Just hurry up and let's get this over with." The voice faded.

Meiri glanced at her grandmother, startled. "But... where..."

"I told you the tower reflected the personality of Flameforger. It does more than that, really. Not a soul may pass nearby without him learning what goes on." O'sheana's smile never wavered, her eyes closed once more. "He sounds charming, doesn't he?"

Meiri declined comment.

The inside of the Forge seemed vaster than even the outside, with people milling here and there, costumers, apprentices, and workers alike. The place was terrifyingly hot. O'sheana managed to look rather uncomfortable as they stepped in, and Meiri herself was almost bothered by the heat.

And then Flameforger, Master Smith, and Master Pyromancer, stepped through the crowd to meet them.

To a normal person Flameforger seemed like an old, short, stout dwarf, not looking terribly different from other dwarves. His beard was a fiery red, as was his hair. His skin was fairly dark, more like tanned, no doubt thanks to his profession, but he wasn't sweating, at all. His garbs were fairly simple as well, looking much like a normal blacksmith's would, although a dark red in color.

Meiri could see beyond, though, much to her surprise. There was an aura of fierceness, anger, and passion, surrounding him, looking not unlike a firestorm was exploding all around him. Blinking a few times, the younger girl turned to O'sheana, and for the first time in her life, she saw what she had been seeing most of her life and just thought natural. A similar aura spread across O'sheana, this one a lot calmer, passive, and cool.

Meiri could also swear that, the moment the older elf and the dwarf set eyes on each other, both their auras as well as their eyes settled in a quiet, yet rather disturbing combat of sorts. It was... fairly obvious that the two weren't in the best of terms.

Then Flameforger's eyes turned to her. Meiri started, and straightened up a bit, looking back at him.

"... This the lass?" Flameforger finally commented.

"Is that a rhetoric question?" O'sheana mumbled. "You can see it as well as I can."

Flameforger gave her a glance, and then turned around, walking away. O'sheana tapped Meiri's shoulder with her staff, and motioned her to follow. The younger elf blinked, and stepped quickly after the dwarf.

As they stepped through the place, passing weapon and armor racks left and right, Flameforger spoke. "So, yer Meiri, right?"

"Ah... y... yes sir."

Flameforger glanced at her. "Heh. Yer a whole lot more polite than yer grandmother already."

O'sheana mumbled something under her breath. Meiri settled for blinking. "Ah... um... thank you?"

Flameforger laughed. "So.. as I understand, the problem ye have is that both the Fire and the Water element are strong in ye, correct?"

"Um... I... don't know?" Meiri offered, embarrassed.

"That -is- the problem, yes." O'sheana explained. "I believe I detailed it further in my letter."

"Ye oughta know better than to write it on paper, elf!" Flameforger replied.

O'sheana rubbed her eyes, Meiri never though she'd seen her grandmother so unsettled. "Of course..." She took a deep breath. "To put it bluntly, the elements within Meiri-"

"Which are -only- Fire and Water, if I recall correctly," interrupted Flameforger.

"-Yes, indeed. These two are, I believe, trying to gain control over one another. This is very bad for Meiri, I believe."

Meiri bit her lower lip, glancing between the two quarreling mages. O'sheana's words were beginning to worry her.

"And ye came to me exactly why?"

"Because - you are the Master Pyromancer, much like I'm the Master Aquamancer. If there's anybody that can -do- anything, it's us."

Flameforger paused for second, as he stopped in front of a door, and turned to face them. "I won't help."

O'sheana's eyes shot open, her gaze seeming to chill the immediate area. Meiri sound herself shivering despite herself. "-DAMNIT- Dwarf, if this is about that silly grudge-"

"Ah, quit yer yapping, elf!" Flameforger snapped back. "I won't help because I -can't-. I -don't- know what to do!" He turned once more, and kicked the door in front of him open, walking right inside. "... so I called someone who maybe could."

Inside the large room, which seemed much cooler than the rest of the forge, sat a tall woman, resting against a large desk, and apparently holding herself up with her staff. Two large white wings were folded neatly in her back, while an unseen wind appeared to be ruffling the feathers, along with her short hair and robe. She smiled pleasantly at the group as they walked in, seemingly not disturbed by the door being kicked in.

"Hello, O'sheana. It's been a while."

The older elf's eyes widened slightly. "... Wanderer." She turned to Flameforger. "... You said that... you hadn't read the problem."

"I didn't, witch." Flameforger snorted. "But I figured that if you were crazy enough to ask for -my- help with something, I might as well tell her."

"I was... ah... around... when the letter arrived." The Wanderer smiled, softly, standing up. "... And I... heard the problem of this young lady here."

Meiri, in the meanwhile, was... staring at the Wanderer, awe in her eyes. "... You... I... I know you!"


"You were there! When I was just a little girl... I remember! You were with grandma! And... and..." She paused, remembering. "I... I really remember the wings..."

The Wanderer stood up, gently caressing Meiri's hair. "Ah, yes, now I remember... I recall... ah... you saying that you wanted to fly someday."

Meiri nodded, looking almost adoringly into the Wanderer's eyes. The winged woman smiled, and then turned away. "But there are... other matters now."

O'sheana closed her eyes, sighing a bit. "It's... good to see you, my friend. Do you have any ideas?"

The Wanderer turned to face them, smiling a bit. "... Perhaps. Do you remember Evitam`Ornaghn's Jewelry?"

Flameforger snorted. "Who could forget?"

O'sheana nodded slowly, frowning a bit. "Yes, of course, but what does..." She paused and blinked. "... Do you mean..."

The Wanderer smiled. "I believe the ring and the necklace may help Meiri."

Meiri, in the meanwhile, looked as if somebody was speaking to her in dwarven, looking between the three.

Flamethrower began stroking his beard. "Hmm. Ye think the kid has what it takes?"

O'sheana nodded. "I believe she does."

The Wanderer just smiled. "I will be the judge of that." She turned towards Meiri and extended a hand to her. "Come with me, child."

Meiri took a step to the Wanderer, and placed her hand in her own. "Where... are we going?"

"You'll see"

And then they were gone. O'sheana blinked a bit. "... I will never understand how she does that."

Meiri herself felt... rather dizzy, shaking her head as she blinked, and glanced around. Spreading around her, was a large body of water, a lake. It took her a few moments to realize that she was in an island inside the lake. The Wanderer stood by her side, smiling.

"... Where... are..."

The Wanderer simply pointed her staff into the lake. "Look."

Meiri looked.

She didn't see anything at first, as she glanced around in both the distance and in the water. Then, suddenly, she caught a flash of light, somewhere in the lake.

"... Huh? What's that?"

"That, child, is a necklace." The Wanderer smiled. "It is at the bottom of the lake. Would you be a dear and go get it?"

Meiri blinked, looking into the water, and the glimmer. "How deep is it?"

"I don't know." The wanderer smiled. "But I understand you are a very good swimmer! You shouldn't have any trouble getting down there."

"... Um... ok then. I'll try."

Meiri walked to the shore, and then into the water, soon finding herself neck deep in the water. She swam across the cool water with ease, to the spot where she had seen the glimmer. Glancing back at the Wanderer, she waved, took a deep breath, and then dived under the water.

It was easy seeing the glimmer at the bottom, and as she swam, she saw that the bottom was closer than she thought. She approached the lakebed fairly quickly, and could see the small, glimmering necklace, resting on a rock. She smiled to herself, and swam further down, extending her hand to receive it.

Then something else caught her eye.

Two red, fiery orbs ... eyes! ... suddenly opened, near the necklace, and glanced up at her. The glow of the necklace and the eyes revealed the form of a hideous, serpentine creature. It opened its maw wide, revealing row upon row of sharp teeth.

Meiri started, and in panic, quickly began swimming away. The creature quickly began slithering towards her. Her eyes widening, Meiri quickly put her hands in front of her, her hands radiating a blue color as she prepared to cast a spell. The creature, just as suddenly as it had approached, quickly withdrew, still watching Meiri from its spot by the necklace.

The elven girl felt her air running out, and she quickly swam back to the surface. She took a deep breath as she broke it, and coughed a bit, and then glanced back down at the lake. The glimmer remained, along with the two glowing eyes. Gasping still for earth, she called out towards the Wanderer.

"H... hey! T... there's a monster besides the necklace!"

The Wanderer, in the distance, smiled at her, her voice still soft, yet reaching her ears just fine. "Oh, really?"

"I... I don't think I can take fight it alone! I'm not strong enough!"

There was a pause. "Fight it? Why, child, why do you want to fight it?"

Meiri opened her mouth to reply, but paused, mulling over the Wanderer's words. Why -did- she want to fight it? Well, it was just besides the necklace, it was probably guarding it. Hell, it wanted to attack her!

... Didn't it? It had, after all, headed straight her way, with its maw open. But... then, why hadn't it attacked her after she retreated? It was likely a faster swimmer than her, and her spells. Hell, why -hadn't- it attacked her so far? She'd been on the surface of the water for a while now, defenseless to anything that might come her way.

... But it -hadn't- attacked.

Meiri paused for a few moments, and glanced down into the clear water again. The creature was still down there, red eyes shimmering brightly. She considered her options for a few moments, and then, taking another deep breath, dove back into the water.

Her eyes locked with the creature's. As she swam, she couldn't help but notice that the creature was apparently recoiling, never taking it's eyes off her. Meiri slowly began to notice as well something she hadn't seen before in her panic. The creature's eyes seemed... sad, even as it stopped recoiling. Biting down her previous fear, Meiri stopped besides the creature, and gently reached to touch it with a hand. It recoiled a bit when the hand touched it but then leaned against it, making a strange cooing sound that resounded through the water. Meiri smiled, the skin of the creature was fairly soft, and cold. Suddenly the creature didn't seem so ugly so more.

Suddenly, a flash of.. something, passed through her head. Meiri blinked, and glanced around. Again, it happened. The feeling was warm, rather shy, and it seemed to come from... the creature? Turning her head to it, she could see the creature glancing more curiously at her, its eyes dimming down and its shape going a bit hazy. The warm feeling returned again, seeming to be expecting something.

As the warm feeling continued, Meiri finally understood its message. The creature wanted to know if she was a friend. She paused for a few moments, considering how to answer, and then smiled and nodded. She didn't know how to produce that warm feeling, but the creature seemed to understand, looking to be in glee, and making its happy cooing sound again.

Then -something- else hit Meiri. She realized that she had been underwater -way- too long, and air was beginning to get scarce. She began to panic once more, and tried to swim up, but something told her that she wouldn't make it.

And then... the creature suddenly slid its serpentine body around Meiri, and shot straight up. The startled girl got a hold on what appeared to be the creature's hair, got carried up at an incredible speed, and broke through the surface. Meiri coughed a bit, and then took a deep breath, blinking. She glanced briefly at the creature, and her eyes widened.

The creature had... changed now, somehow. It resembled something not unlike a long serpentine dragon. Its scales were gleaming a soft blue in the sunlight, and its eyes, previously red, were now a deep silver in color. Meiri realized that what she had been holding onto looked not unlike hair, but felt rougher, scaly, and it covered the creature's head all the way to about half its back. Crystalline fins, half resembling wings more than anything, sprouted from its side.

Meiri remained quiet for a few moments, regaining her breath, and admiring the creature. Finally, she offered a shy smile. "... Um... Thank you..."

The creature cried out, with a loud, melodious voice, and then submerged below the water again. Meiri blinked a bit, and then she found herself being lifted above the water as the creature slid beneath her, and carried her on her back. The elvish girl giggled, holding on tight, as the creature carried her back towards the island where the Wanderer was still waiting.

Once she reached the shore, Meiri hopped off the creature, and turned to it, smiling. "Thank you..."

The creature chirped happily again, and then nudged Meiri, opening its jaw. The elven girl blinked a bit as she realized that the necklace was between the creature's teeth. Without doubting it, she reached it, and pulled the necklace free, glancing down at it for a few moments, and then at the creature again.

If it hadn't been because the creature didn't have eyelids, Meiri would have sworn that it winked at her. Then, it cried out its song once more, flipped right off the water, and dived back into it again, by the center of the lake. The elven girl smiled, and waved at it as it disappeared on the deep waters. Then, she heard the Wanderer speak softly behind her.

"... Sorrow's wonderful end." She was smiling, brightly. "Indeed. Good girl Meiri. Please, give me the necklace."

The elven girl nodded, handing the shimmering necklace to the Wanderer. She noted that the necklace was very fine, encrusted with Sapphires all over the place. It was... rather pretty, at that.

The Wanderer smiled, and quietly placed the necklace somewhere in her robe. "Now, for the second test!"

"... Er... second? Wha-" Meiri's words were cut off as she vanished along with the Wanderer a second time.

As her senses retuned to her, Meiri found herself standing up on a large tree branch. Yelping, she flailed from her elevated position, before plummeting down to the ground. Fortunately, her landing was softened by a large pile of leaves that stacked under the tree. The elven girl groaned, and spat a random leaf that had somehow settled in her mouth, before scrambling to her feet, and shaking dozens of leaves from her hair and dress.

Above her, she could hear the Wanderer's musical laugh. She glanced up, looking a bit upset, to see her sitting on the branch, calmly. "... Wh... what was -that- all about?"

"Hmm... I'm sorry. Perhaps I should have warned you." The Wanderer smiled softly. "Now, there is another thing I need to retrieve for me..."

Meiri nodded slowly, listening, and brushing her hair back, letting the last leaves fall free. The Wanderer pointed her staff in a direction.

"There is a very small town in that direction, a larger house in the middle of it, and in the house, a ring. I want you to get that ring for me."

Meiri's eyes widened. "... But... but... wouldn't that be... stealing?"

"Oh, don't worry, child." The Wanderer smiled. "The town's been deserted for a while now."

Meiri paused to consider this, and slowly nodded. There shouldn't be any problem if there was nobody living in the town anymore. "A... All right. I'll go." With that, she turned, and began walking off in the direction the Wanderer had pointed at.

"Good girl..."

She found the town easily enough. The houses were mostly in good shape, but covered in leaves and plants. The grass was high, but there was a notable dirt road in the middle of it. The elven girl stepped across the town slowly, glancing about. Despite being abandoned, the town seemed almost cheerful.

Finally, she found the house the Wanderer had mentioned. Walking over, she pushed the door open. It creaked loudly as it did, and Meiri glanced around once more, wondering if the sound would attract somebody. When it didn't she walked inside the house.

House was probably the wrong word. It was just a very large room, supported by columns. Light seeped in from holed in the roof, yet the place was surprisingly clean. By the far wall, in the middle of it, was a large pedestal. Hovering above the pedestal, Meiri could see it clearly, was a ring, floating in mid air.

Meiri paused for a few moments, startled, and then continued ahead, stopping before the pedestal. The ring was beautiful, much like the necklace she had seen before, except that instead of Sapphires, bright red rubies adorned it. She stood there for a few moments, just watching the ring... before she heard steps behind her. With a start, she turned around, only to see an old, old man walk into the temple, leaning heavily on a gnarled staff.

"... eh? Who goes there?" The old man asked in a raspy voice. "Mine eyes may not be what they used to be, but mine ears are just as good as when I was a lad! Who goes there?"

Meiri blinked a few times. "... Ah... I'm... Meiri... I... just..."

"... Hmm, a lass, now, is it?" The old man hobbled towards her, slowly, until he stood a couple of feet away.

"I... I though the town was deserted..."

"Aye, aye, it is..." The old man sighed. "This old man is the only remaining living being in this town. Not even animals nor monsters come here no more."

"... Ah... wh... what happened to this town?"

"A plague, lass. Even our hero couldn't stop such a thing, for it was beyond his power." He motioned over to the ring, floating in the pedestal. "That ring was his, a mark of power. He defended this here town valiantly against thieves and hordes of monsters alike, none could defeat him. And then... then the plague came..."

Meiri bit her lip, glancing at the ring again. The old man stepped besides her.

"For all his power, there was nothing he could do against such a disease. He left the town, promising to find a great healer, and left his ring as proof he'd come back. People prayed at it, as if it was their savior, so that the hero would return soon with the promised healer."

Meiri glanced to the floor. "... he... failed?"

"... Aye, he did. Nobody ever knew if he returned or not, but it was too late anyway."

"... I... I'm sorry to hear that..."

"Heh, 'tis not your fault, lass. T'was nobody's fault. The plague came in, and wiped the town people out. Terrible thing that... now, all that remains of what this town once was, is this here ring."

Meiri considered this, and then bowed to the old man. "I... I'm very sorry. I... I was told I should come here for this ring but... I... cannot take it, it'd be act of disrespect to the dead. I will... be leaving now. I'm sorry."

The old man raised a tired eyebrow at her, but Meiri was already running off, away from the building, and from the town.

The elven girl ran all the way to where she had first shown up. The Wanderer was still there, in the branch, and smiled down at Meiri as she approached.

"... I'm... sorry, Wanderer, I cannot take the ring... I..."

The Wanderer lifted a finger to her lips, shushing her gently, before she descended from the tree, gracefully landing on her feet. Taking a few steps towards Meiri, she took her into a gentle hug. "You are a good girl Meiri. I heard it all." "... You... did?"

"Yes, I did. And you are right. It -would- be wrong taking that ring just like that, wouldn't it?"

"... Y... yes. It would be... disrespectful..."

The Wanderer kissed Meiri softly in the forehead, and then had her turn around. The young elf blinked as she noticed the old man, hobbling in her direction. He didn't say much, but just took Meiri's hand, and placed something within it. She blinked as she realized that it was the ring.

"... Ah... B... but..."

The old man smiled, gently. "Leave it, lass. It is time for the ring to get a new, worthy master..." He sighed, and Meiri could have sworn that the old man was simply fading away. "Maybe... this old man... can finally... rest now..." As he finished his phrase, the old man was gone, having simply vanished from sight.

The Wanderer kissed Meiri on the top of her head, before the wind began picking up around both of them. "Good girl, Meiri. Let's return now."

O'sheana was waiting just outside of the forge, the heat inside of the tower was uncomfortable at best for her. Flameforger stood by the door, barking orders to a few apprentices inside the tower, sending them scrambling around. He finally turned to the elven woman.

"The hell are ye so concerned about, witch?" Flameforger growled. "They'll be back soon."

"Oh, hush. I know they'll be back soon. I'm just... worried."

"What, ye don't think yer little girl is gonna make it?"

"I do -not know- what will happen if she doesn't make it!" Exclaimed O'sheana, and slumped back a bit against a tree. "... She is my granddaughter. I'm just... hoping she'll be fine."

"Don't worry, O'sheana." The Wanderer's voice, suddenly, cut through the wind, as a whirlwind of air appeared between both mages. "The child is... very strong."

O'sheana straightened up, as Flameforger half covered his face from the powerful wind. A moment later, the whirlwind had disappeared, leaving the Wanderer and a fairly dizzy looking Meiri standing there.

"... Did... she..." O'sheana started. The Wanderer smiled at her softly, and nodded, opening a hand and showing both of them the ring and the necklace.

"... I'm still not sure what that was all about..." Mumbled Meiri, glancing between the three.

"You'll see, child." The Wanderer smiled, and handed the ring to Flameforger, and the necklace to O'sheana. "At the same time now. We... don't know what would happen if you only used one at a time."

"... Huh?"

O'sheana beamed, and stepped towards Meiri. Flameforger did the same, taking Meiri's right hand.

"Lass, the Wanderer has tested you, and as the leader of the Masters, her word is enough for us." Explained Flameforger. "And thus, I present you with the Vermillion Feather. May you use it well"

"And I, Meiri, present you with Sorrow's Wonderful End. May both help you on your way."

With that, O'sheana tied the necklace around Meiri's neck, as Flameforger slipped the ring on Meiri's ring finger. The elven girl blinked, glancing down at herself for a few moments.

"This..." Warned the Wanderer. "Could be a little... dizzying."

Meiri's mouth opened for a reply, but her words were cut short as a surge of energy shot across her body. She found herself whimpering a bit, as the feeling overwhelmed her. Her body felt burning and freezing at the same time. It was... not painful, no, it was rather exhilarating. Finally, the girl slumped backwards, into her grandmother's arms. "... gah..."

"... Are you alright, Meiri?"

"... 'm... fine, I think..." Meiri blinked a bit, and straightened out. She felt... stronger, somehow. Experimentally, she lifted her right hand, and it erupted into flame, more powerful than anything she had ever done before. Her eyes widened slightly, and then she lifted her left hand. A cold aura swept across it, almost violently. Meiri glanced between her hands, and then clenched them. "... Wow..."

"The Vermillion Feather and Sorrow's Wonderful End are relics, Meiri, crafted some time ago, by somebody that misused their power." Explained the Wanderer, suddenly sounding more sober and wise than she had before. "... And now, they are entrusted to you. We... hope, that you'll use their power well."

"... I..." Meiri paused, and then smiled brightly. "... Thank you! I... I won't let you down! I promise that!" She paused, thinking for a few moments. "... I... think I should return to the inn..."

At that, the Wanderer recovered her fairly vapid smile, and walked up to Meiri, cupping her chin, tilting her head upwards. "A gift from me, Meiri."

And she kissed her on the lips. O'sheana found herself blinking, despite herself, while Flameforger managed to look slightly disgusted. Meiri herself suddenly felt weak at the knees, as something not unlike an electrical shock shot across her spine.

As the Wanderer stepped back, still smiling, Meiri felt... funny, as some kind of knowledge crossed through her. Almost on reflex, she took a step back, straightening up. Much to the surprise of the water and fire masters, two large, strange wings sprouted from her back. The right was made of fire, not unlike that of some magical beasts, while the left one, made of ice, had an almost skeletical appearance.

Meiri blinked, folding the wings towards her, looking them over. Curiously, she hopped into the air, and the wings expanded fully, maintaining her there for a few moments. "... I... I'm flying!" She exclaimed. "I'm actually- GACK!" Much to her surprise, the wings chose that moment to disappear, and Meiri ended up landing on her ass. "... owww..."

The Wanderer laughed. "Give it time, Meiri!" She said. "You'll get it down soon enough."

Meiri shook her head, and then jumped to her feet. "... Thank you! I... I don't know how to thank you!"

The Wanderer pressed a finger to her lips, and winked. "Goodbye, Meiri, use what you now have well."

With that, the Wanderer extended her wings, and with a mighty flap, took on the air. She was gone only seconds later. Meiri waved at her as she disappeared.

O'sheana smiled gently, and placed a hand on Meiri's shoulder. "Shall we return to the inn now?"

Meiri smiled, turned to her grandmother, and bowed deeply. "... I... I'll go alone now. I want to practice right away! I..." She paused, and then gave O'sheana a big hug. Flameforger scoffed, and then was nearly bowled off his feet as Meiri hugged him as well. The elven girl then quickly ran away, turning towards them, and giving a quick, yet deep bow at them, before running off again. In the distance, both could see as the strange wings once more came from the girl's back, and she attempted to take off the ground with long jumps. Not very successful, but...

Flameforger coughed. "... Interesting thing, that."

"Indeed." Agreed O'sheana, before she turned towards Flameforger with a smile. "... Are you blushing or is that your natural skin color?"

"... Ah, shaddap."