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title Hill of Sidh_Chapter 6
name Aileen Doll (ip:)
  • date 2017-01-10
  • Recommend Recommend
  • hit 45
point 0points

Hill of Sidh


Novelist : Judit Elias



CHAPTER 6



The door opened with a soft creak.


“I’m ready!”


Becky entered the room, half walking half hopping. She carried a large basket full of fruit and ingredients that she placed on the countertop. Humming a happy tune, she pulled her white apron over her red dress. It was tricky to chop the fruit with the knife using her big furry paws, but practice had made her an expert. She set the cooking fire to a low flame and threw the fruit – today she had strawberries, blackberries and blueberries – with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some vanilla powder into the pot. She also squeezed over some lemon juice and added cane sugar. Becky loved sweet things, so she never scrimped on the sugar. She focused on making the pie next. Mixing the flour, eggs and butter was tiresome but she had a trick for it. Mumbling softly, she conjured a spell for the spoon to stir by itself.


“Now, that was easy,” she said to herself, proudly. “A delicious treat made with no effort at all.”


While the magic still lasted she kept adding ingredients to the dough. “The marmalade filling must be ready”, she thought, pointing one of her long floppy ears towards the pot. She could hear it bubbling and decided to try a spoonful. She directed the spoon towards her mouth and blew softly before tasting it. It was perfect. Her little round tail wagged excitedly. They were going to love it! There wasn’t much left to do except wait for the pie to cook itself in the oven, so she decided to go over some of the spells in her cookery books. That’s where she found it. With a gasp, she hurriedly stood up, picked up the book and ran out of the kitchen.


 


Ashes was in the library. It was not unusual for him to be there, as the young grey dragon liked that room the best. If there was one thing Ashes loved it was reading books and the knowledge he could gain by doing so. Now all his attention was focused on the two big eggs in front of him. One was smooth, the other cracked. He closed his eyes and caressed the surface and the big cracks.


Becky the bunny hopped in, not even bothering to knock first. She took off her apron, hanging it on a chair, and slammed the book she had been carrying onto the table.


“I found it!” she exclaimed breathlessly. “I think I’ve found it!”


With a flap of his wings, Ashes approached her.


“In a cookery book?” he asked, trying to hide the sarcasm in his tone.


Becky opened the book and hurriedly turned the pages.


“Here, on page 224”, she said, pointing at the script. “I think this spell could work.”


The dragon was unconvinced.


“Why would you think so? It doesn’t involve fire.”


Becky pouted.


“Oh, come on!” she complained. “Maybe this is it! We’ve tried all the fire spells we can find and our results have been disastrous! Zero! Nothing! We ought to try new things!”


Ashes shook his head. It was just not going to work.


“Mother tried everything else before she tried fire, and fire worked.”


“It worked for you! And for Lapis! And for the twins!” Becky said, refusing to be swayed. “But we don’t know for Shy.”


The dragon snorted. He choose not to remark on the name the bunny had chosen for his unhatched brother or sister. It was a battle he had already lost.


“We will stick with fire,” he decided.


Becky shrugged her shoulders and picked up the cracked egg.


“You heard the boss, Shy,” she said to the egg. “To the courtyard!”


 


The small castle where they lived was nothing more than a couple of stone turrets with a paved patio Becky liked to refer to as the courtyard. Situated in a valley in the depths of the forest of the world Sidh, the mountains surrounding it were green and full of life. The grey stone that had once been smooth was now pitted and scarred, covered in white lichens and bindweeds. The taller tower culminated in a big room skirted by arcades, topped by a conical roof of black tiles that looked like a pointy hat. Ashes and Becky started their routine as always, with the easiest spells first, hoping this time something would change and the egg would hatch. They had been at it for some time when a small shadow crossed the sky and a blue dragon descended from one of the windows of the tower.


“Good morning, Lapis!” shouted Becky, as the little dragon folded his wings and landed beside them.


“Good morning,” he replied.


Lapis was slightly younger than Ashes, having been the second to hatch. Despite his age, he had always been calm and mature. He was also the only one to have a third horn growing out of his forehead.


“How’s it going?”


“No results,” answered Ashes, but his brother didn’t seem to hear him. Instead, Lapis was looking over his shoulder.


“Ummm… That is not a fire spell,” he said.


Ashes turned just in time to see that Becky had conjured an enormous hammer out of nowhere. The hammer was as big as Becky and she was running towards Shy’s egg with it at full speed.


“Becky, no! It’s dangerous!”


But she couldn’t hear him, it was too late.


“Here I go!” she shouted, exultant.


The hammer and the shell crashed with a loud bang and a bright light flashed through the cracks, blinding them. A soundless explosion sent Becky flying.


“Did I manage it?” asked the bunny after landing on her feet.


Ashes examined the egg.


“Not even a dent. I told you it wouldn’t work,” he said grumpily. “That was irresponsible, Becky, you could have hurt the hatchling.”


Lapis caressed the shell and, carefully, leaned his head to it, closing his eyes.


“It’s alright. Shy is safe,” he declared with a smile.


“You can’t possibly know that,” replied the Ashes.


Lapis shrugged.


“I don’t know how but… I have this feeling. He is fine.”


“She!” complained Becky.


She had been adamant in her hopes of Shy being another female.


“He,” Lapis smiled. “If I had to bet, I would bet everything on he.”


Ashes was too frustrated for all this nonsense.


“We will call it a day for now,” he said, taking off.


Becky opened her mouth but, with a gentle nudge, Lapis stopped her saying anything.


“Let him be. He is just angry at himself,” he whispered, his eyes following his brother, now flying up to the tower.


“I know. I just wish we could cheer him up.”


Lapis sniffed the air.


“Don’t you smell… smoke?”


Becky’s face turned pale under her pink fur.


“The pie!” she moaned.


She had completely forgotten about it! She ran to the kitchen, leaving a baffled blue dragon behind.


 


Ashes entered the highest room of the tower through one of the many arcades.


“Good morning, mother,” he whispered, keeping his voice down. “Today we tried to hatch the egg. Unfortunately, we could not do it.”


The room was empty… except for her.


“I am doing all I can. I have read all the books and checked the spells.”


Every morning he told her the same.


“I am lucky to have Becky and the others to help me, but it is not enough. We are missing something. I just don’t know what.”


Silence answered him.


“I wish I could tell you better news. Tomorrow we will try again. Someday it will hatch. I will hatch it.”


Ashes raised his head to look at her: a beautiful woman, standing still with open arms, as if she were a statue. Her slanted eyes closed shut, her lips in a relaxed smile. Her pale skin was warm to the touch and her sleek black hair fell to her back, softly swinging in the wind. Ashes glanced at her throat. Where once there had been dark purple marks spreading through her skin like branches on a tree, leaves now grew and curled. Some of them were green, growing luscious and vibrant, while others had a purple shade and spikes at the end. The stems merged with her skin and crawled from her neck to her chest and downwards, covering her entire body in a dress of vegetation. Through the stems, a dark purple fluid oozed. It was thick and sticky, like tar. The leaves glowed softly and, every now and then, seemed to tremble on their own. The plant continued down through the room’s floor and down the tower to the ground.


Ashes caressed the woman’s cheek. He was not sure she could hear him, but he took solace in the fact that he at least tried.


“I miss you so much…”


He couldn’t continue talking without his voice cracking, so he decided to remain silent. Her face looked so peaceful, smiling kindly. He had come to know that smile so well. He only needed to close his eyes and memories would flood his mind…


 


“Today is a special day, Ashes,” his mother had said, as the young dragon climbed up to her shoulder. He had just recently started to fly or, to be more precise, to glide. His wings were not strong enough to lift him from the ground.


“Why is that?” he had inquired, curious.


“Today we are going to hatch one of your siblings,” she had answered, triumphant.


She let him choose. Ashes had seen them many times: five small eggs with runes scribbled all over them. He had asked the meaning but her mother did not know. After much consideration, he chose the one with the blue paintings. The rest would have to wait.


The fire spell engulfed the shell, not burning anything else. Ashes heard a loud crack. Soon the flames disappeared, as if there was nothing else to burn. In the ashes he could see the white egg, with a big crack near the base. Part of the cracked surface moved, pushed by a tiny sky-blue foot with navy claws. Soon another crack appeared, and the other foot emerged. For a moment it looked as if the egg had grown legs. After a bit of rolling, more shell became loose and a small blue dragon emerged from it, crawling slowly.


The little one gazed at them with big bright turquoise eyes and blinked slowly, as if everything was too bright and overwhelming. Ashes approached him.


“Hello,” he said.


The hatchling just stared back, putting his foot in his mouth. Ashes turned to his mother.     “He doesn’t talk,” he complained, a bit disappointed.


“Of course not, you didn’t either when you had just hatched,” she replied with a big grin.


Ashes noticed someone was touching him. The newborn had crawled towards him and was now gripping his arm, his eyes alert and focused on him. Ashes smiled.


“I don’t mind,” he decided. “I can teach you.”


He patted the little dragon’s blue head and his brother gurgled happily.


“What should we call him?” his mother asked.


She was on her knees now, offering her hand to the curious just-hatched dragon, who sniffed her warily, not leaving his big brother’s side. Ashes looked at the hatchling’s vibrant bluish scales.


“Lapis lazuli… Lapis. How about Lapis?”


 


From then on, wherever Ashes went, Lapis followed, crawling and later stumbling as he took his first clumsy steps. When Ashes’ wings were big enough to support his body when he rose a few centimetres off the ground, his little brother gazed at him with amazement. Lapis adored Ashes.


One morning, baby Lapis was playing with their mother near a small puddle, making droplets of water rise from it and dance before his eyes before splashing the surface, which made him burst into fits of giggles. Lapis seemed to have a natural gift when it came to magic involving water. When the blue hatchling spotted his brother, all the droplets exploded in all directions and then Lapis crawled towards Ashes.


“You’re up early, Lapis,” he said, patting his head.


“Ashes, Lapis has something to show you,” announced their mother. “Do it now, Lapis. Who is this?”


She was pointing at Ashes. Lapis smiled and puffed up his chest, gulped down a mouthful of air and slowly spoke.


“Ash…es. Ashes!”


Ashes hugged his baby brother.


“You can talk! You can talk!”


“And that’s not all,” their mother continued, proudly, pointing at herself. “Who is this?”


“Na… ri.”



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