The Migrant Exiles, by Teryakywind.

Recommended Posts

The Migrant Exiles

by Teryakywind




Chapter 1


It was winter. The tree-ringed mountains lay desolate, devoid of almost any sign of life save for the occasional deer stripping bark from the trees for nourishment. The trees themselves were bare, their leaves stolen long ago by the constant westerly wind that blew through the valleys as silently as a thief. Looking down from above, one could see the streams and rivers, once the lifeblood of the surrounding lands, frozen, their joyous bubbling and flowing stilled by the chill that permeated everything. The clouds above were dark and grey, blocking the sun from illuminating the earth below. All the earth seemed suspended in a frozen sleep, except for the little log cabin in the midst of the trees of the forest.


Inside the cabin, which clung tightly to the side of one of the taller mountains, a fire roared in the fireplace, snapping and crackling as sap deposits long buried in the trees burst and burned. All of the furniture was rough-hewn and plain, made from the same trees that had built the cabin's walls. Furs covered the seats and the bed. Next to the bed was a bookshelf, empty but for a couple of forgotten classics of an extinct culture. A black iron stove squatted moodily to the left of the door, brooding silently over the shimmering heat of near-dead coals within its belly.


Above the fireplace three plates were propped upon stands, each bearing the text and designs of a language that had long been lost from memory. And seated on the couch before the hearth, wrapped tightly in the skins she had stripped from the deer herself, was a winged girl named Aylia. Next to her lay her companion, a brown-furred fox who called himself Len.


Aylia was a model of beauty. Her skin seemed to be smoother than porcelain, and was tinted with the creamy color of a sandy beach. Her wings and hair were black as silk spun from the essence of a moonless night. But more striking than any of her other features were her eyes. They were the blue of a tropical sea, bright and clear. And yet their clarity belied the depth of intelligence of the one who looked out from behind them.


She sat reading a book, written by an author famed in her homeland for his flowing and majestic poetry. As she read, a lone tear dropped from the corner of her eye, flowing slowly down the hidden lines in her cheeks.


Aylia closed her book with a snap and set it down on the couch beside her. Len looked up inquisitively, as if to ask where she was going.


"I will be back in a little while. I'm going up the mountain for a bit."


Len nodded and lay his head back on his paws, staring pensively at the hypnotic ribbons of the fire as though contemplating a deep mystery of the universe. The girl put on a heavy coat and boots, taking care to put her wings through the hole in the back so that they were not constricted within the coat.


Aylia stepped outside, and immediately the ever-present wind caught her hair and whipped it about her head until she managed to tuck it all inside her warm fur hood. She began the slow climb up the mountain, tracking back and forth across its steep slope as she ascended towards the top.


An hour and a half passed before she arrived at the snow-capped peak. Few plants grew here, and what ones did were stunted by decades of exposure to the driving winds and harsh weather that regularly afflicted the summit of the mountain.


Aylia stopped briefly to catch her breath before climbing atop one boulder she usually perched upon when she made the ascent up the mountain. As her eyes rose above the treeline, she turned towards the place, far over the horizon, where she had been born. What she saw in the distance made her gasp and recoil in fear, and she fell backwards off the boulder, bruising her arm on the way down.


She quickly picked herself back up and scrambled back atop her boulder, once more looking towards her homeland in the desperate hope that perhaps she was imagining what she had seen. She reached the top once more, and gazed silently toward the horizon, lines of worry creasing her youthful features as her fears were confirmed.


The Black Fog was spreading, and it had finally caught up to them.



Chapter 2


Aylia rushed back down the mountain towards their cabin, leaping over boulders and dodging trees as she flew downhill. The journey that had taken her so long before seemed to take but a matter of minutes to repeat going down the steep slope. She finally skipped to a halt in front of the cabin. She rushed in the door, swiftly slamming it shut behind her.


Len jumped, surprised at the sudden noise, and slowly peeked over the back of the couch to see what the noise was.


"Oh, it's you." Len said. "What's all the commotion for?"


"It's here." Aylia gasped, as she struggled to regain her breath.


"It? You don't mean..."




Len paused for a moment before continuing.


"Where are we going to go?" Len asked.


"I don't know," Aylia replied, "but we need to get moving now if we want to stay ahead of it."


They quickly begain packing everything they could as fast as possible. Aylia was throwing everything important she could find into their packs while Len sniffed out anything they had lost in the cabin. They were soon packed, and they donned their bags as they rushed out the door, leaving the fire burning and the door hanging open.


They sprinted up the mountain in a desperate race against time. Although it went against her every instinct to rush even so small a distance towards the greatest source of evil she had ever known, Aylia knew it was the only way they would escape in time. The trees around the moutain were too dense and spaced too tightly for her to be able to take off and land safely. So they continued their headlong rush up the mountainside, both of them gasping for breath.


They finally reached the summit, and both collapsed as they struggled to catch their breaths. Len lay down on his side in the snow, his pink tongue drooping out of the side of his mouth as he panted. Aylia crouched down on a rock, breathing heavily as a lightheaded feeling crept over her. Len was so focused on catching his wind that he did not notice what was happening to Aylia until she slumped off of the rock she was sitting on.


The last things she remembered before passing out was the sound of Len's voice, screaming at her to get up over the great rushing wind. And slowly, ever so slowly, her vision faded to black.


The rushing wind grew more violent, howling like a banshee crying for the dead.


It grew darker and darker as the outline of the pale sun behind the clouds was slowly obscured by a great cloud of blackness.


The skinny trees bent almost double in the driving wind.


The snow was being driven sideways with the force of the rushing winds, stinging the rocks it beat against.


Everything built to a crescendo; the wailing winds, the blinding snow, the darkness growing faster.


And then it was quiet.


Barely a noise could be heard. No breeze could be felt. The sun could not be seen shining high above. It was quiet. Peaceful, even, except for the whispers and haunting laughter drifting out from the fog that now surrounded the mountains.


The Black Fog had come to claim the only two victims that had ever escaped it.



Chapter 3


Aylia awoke, her body aching from the cold. It was dusk, well on its way to being night, although she could barely tell from the darkness that surrounded her. As she sat up an explosion of pain blossomed on the right side of her head where she had struck a rock when she passed out. She looked around, hand covering her forehead, and took stock of her surroundings. Terror swept over her as she realized what had happened and where she was.


She ran over her memories of her and Len's mad dash up the mountainside, desperately trying to escape the dark Fog that now surrounded her. And then she realized that she didn't know where Len was, or what had happened to him. An even greater fear engulfed her, and she stood up quickly and began calling Len's name. The louder she called the louder the whispers emanating from the fog became, until they were screaming and yelling back at her.


They were so loud that she did not hear or sense Len run up behind her until he had taken the leg of her pants in his teeth. Aylia screamed and jumped, and the voices in the shadows screamed back. He yelled to her to follow him, barely audible over the voices that now seemed to boom like the utterances angry gods from the clouds. She stumbled after Len as he quickly picked his way down the side of the mountain opposite their cabin, away from the direction the fog had come.


Before they had dipped below the treeline, Aylia dared to look out at the landscape, and could see the Fog extending for miles in front of them. She despaired that they would ever escape it again. But Len seemed to know where he was going, and the booming voices pressed close behind them, so she pressed onward.


Finally they arrived at what appeared to be a small crack in the ground. Len dove in, and Aylia followed, squeezing into the small hole as the voices outside grew closer and closer.


Finally she had crawled all the way inside the hole, into a small, dark chamber. She could hear the voices outside still, this time seeming to talk at a normal volume. They spoke the same guttural language as she remembered from her childhood. The voices grew louder as they drew closer to the mouth of the small cave they hid in, and Aylia and Len froze, hardly daring to breathe.


The voices grew louder, and Aylia could tell they were right outside the entrance. She could hear a sniffing sound, as if the creatures outside were scenting them. She wanted to run away from the sounds, but she had nowhere that she could see to escape to.


The sniffing sounds stopped, the voices spoke shortly once more, and soon faded away. Aylia and Len both breathed a sigh of relief before turning and hugging one another tightly.


"I was so scared." said Aylia, " I didn't know where you had gone."


"I had to go hide. Those...monsters were out searching." Len replied.


"You just left me there?"


"No, Aylia! I hid under a rock until they went away. I went searching for some shelter, someplace we could hide until it was safe to come out again. That's how I found this place."


Aylia was silent for a moment.


"So what happened to the cabin? Was it...?" she started to ask...


"It's destroyed. There's nothing left. I'm sorry." Len replied.


Aylia fought tears back as she remembered the small cabin she had built after fleeing from her original home. It was a poor replacement for the home she had lived in before, but it was the only home she had had for the past four years. Once again the Fog had stolen everything she had away from her.


"Ok," Aylia sighed, "What now?"


"There's actually a passageway at the back of this chamber," Len said, gesturing with his head in the direction of a faintly glowing hole at the back of the cave. "I've looked at it a little, and it opens outside a mile or so away from the base of the mountain. That's as far as we can get undetected."


Aylia nodded, and then remembered their packs, which had held all of the food they'd had.


"What about our bags?" she asked.


"I moved them here while you were out." Len answered, "They're leaning against the back wall by that hole."


Aylia and Len crawled to the back of the chamber and shouldered their packs. They squeezed silently down the glowing hole, leaving the cave that sheltered them behind them in their journey to safety.


And outside the cave, the Black Fog lingered. Aylia wasn't sure they would be able to escape it again.

The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.