Tracking the Wind – Part 1

The crisp air spilled over the jagged cliff as the sun reached its zenith in the sky, sending shivers down his spine. He was not dressed for the weather, but rather he dressed in a way that foiled it; he dressed to impress his quarry. In a long, sleek leather jacket the color of slate, Orion adjusted his studded fingerless gloves and straightened his jet black sunglasses. The deadly sharp dagger that hung from his belt shimmered off the reflective snow.  He allowed himself a brief moment to run his fingers through his cropped hair, savoring the weak rays of sunlight that bathed his exposed skin. Cocking his head in the direction of the wind, he let out a brief chuckle and stared arrogantly towards his prey.

How does one entertain the thought of chasing after something as elusive as the wind itself? Where does one start, what does one even look for?

For Orion it was simple. He had been given the key, shown the secret. He had studied the ways of the Callers, mastered their techniques. The words of his tutor, the wizened old monk, ran through his mind over and over again.

The source of the wind is not in its current, be it the tow or the thrust, but rather in the absence of air. When tracking the wind, look for the residue left by these pockets of nothingness, for it is at these points that the wind will come rushing; if only to fill the void.

He had learned that taming the wind was as easy as making contact. All he had to do now was catch it.

Orion burst into a light jog and bounded up and over the stone outcroppings that had recently been exposed by the object of his desires. He could sense the presence of the Elemental he stalked all around him. The trail was not hard to pick up once you knew where to look. A fallen leaf skittered in ever widening circles to his left. A burst of snow picked itself up off the ground and sprayed the rocks before him. The hollow grasses, still standing after the first snows, bent and bobbed in such a way as to leave no doubt. Orion was hot on the Elemental’s trail. The source of the wind had surely been here recently.

What Orion saw all about him was evidence of the nothingness being resolved. The crow overhead signaled he was gaining upon the wind. Its call, at first piercing, was now pulled away from his ears by the rush of the stiff breeze. Its wings outstretched above Orion’s head twitched and fluttered against the wind, purchasing no ground, but losing none either.

Just a little further, he begged his aching body. The trek had been long and the terrain unyielding. Many times before as he thought he was upon her, he would realize that she had changed her course and eluded him again. But not this time. Now he was closer than he had ever been, he could feel it in his bones. The chill had become more penetrating, the air more electric, the gusts of wind more precise. Orion was nearing his objective and quickly, but he was also tiring.

But fatigue was not an option at this point. He must be at full strength when he finally confronted the Elemental. Any small sign of weakness and she would toss him away like a rag doll. For it was the essence of the hurricane he chased, the source of the tempest. Its mood was fickle and its temper unstable. In order to make contact with the beast, he would have to convince it he was worthy. He would have to transform himself with the confidence of a demi-god, an equal dropped from the heavens.

He caught a glimpse of her as he rounded a tall oak tree; her ethereal coat tails trailing around the bend. Despite the burning in his thighs and his wheezing lungs, he pushed forward ever harder. The final sprint would mean the difference between cornering his prey and losing her over the edge of the cliff. He could see that the ground was nearing its end, that he would soon be forced to take flight in order to capture her. With the final yards before him he pushed himself into his fastest sprint. He neared the edge of the cliff at full speed, then quickly forced his body to a halt. He skittered perilously to a stop on the rough gravel, teetering on the edge of the cold stone. Reaching out his arm to the skies and pointing directly at his rival, he let out a sudden shout.

“Stop!” He commanded in a tone that defied objection.

“I must have you!”

To this the Elemental paused and turned to inspect her pursuer. She hovered twenty feet away from him, floating in the nothingness beyond the rim of precipice. Orion was devastated by the image that presented itself to him. He had never seen anything so stunningly beautiful in all his life. The form before him both trembled in fear and demanded reverence. The translucent skin of her elfish face shimmered as if carved of diamond, scattering the sunlight in every direction. Her eyes, perfect almonds, emitted a radiant indigo light and her round lips hung open just wide enough to tempt Orion’s lust. Upon her brow sat a tiara wrought of the finest platinum wire, twisted in innumerable loops and featuring a giant sapphire at its center. This was the wind personified, both awesome and delicate, powerful and immaterial.

“Please, come to me. I will not hurt you. I must know your touch.”

Orion was sure that this was the moment, the time when his quest would finally come to an end. All he needed to do was touch the sapphire that rested upon her forehead and he would forever more gain control over the wind and all of its glories. Once contact had been made, Orion would become a Caller, a true force of nature, a summoner of the winds.  Once contact had been made, he would become the tempest.

To be continued…

Please take the time to comment on this piece if you enjoyed it. I am hoping to submit this short story to be included in an online Magazine and would like to use this blog to receive feedback on the style and substance of the narrative. Any constructive criticisms or editing comments will be appreciated and considered. Thanks in advance for your help with this!

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The Written Word

The softly scratching quill
squint eyed, pinched face,
black upon my fingertips.
Could concentration help with this?
Or does distraction
clear the mist?

A twitch,
sweet inspiration, insight, bliss!
Behold, untold,
the fairytales emerge.
Welcome, good friend,
the written word.

Tristan Nagler