Mora felt the roof tiles cold under her feet as she sat on the roof of her home, skirts tucked under her, her face turned out to sea. The plantive cry of snipe echoed around the village as it flew towards the woods. She watched it as it flew past, its loneliness shared by her.
The fairy closed her eyes as the full force of the wind hit her face and let her senses sort the scents and sounds from it. The tang of salt dredged the forgotten memories and brought them to the surface, turning her stomach at the ghostly recollection of sea sickness on long travels. She sifted through the air-born information for any sign of him returning to her. Talathel had been gone on his voyage so long and not one day passed without the fairy looking for signs of his return. She had promised him she would remain strong, and she would, her hope and anticipation lifting her as much as the wind under her wings.
She could find no sign of her Love’s scent in the breeze. Yet another day with no sign. Her shoulders slumped, but only for a moment as a familiar sound brought a smile to her face. She opened her eyes at the chatter of swallows and was greeted by the sight of some perching on the edge of roof and looking at her. It was almost time for them to fly to warmer places and avoid the colder times, but she was pleased they had collected here and were able to say farewell. All summer long she had enjoyed racing and chasing with them across the skies over Briarhaven.
Mora was happiest in the company of Talathel, it had to be said. She had not known another joy quite like that. But joint and equal second to time spent with her mate was to either be up to her elbows in soil, tending to and nurturing plants, or racing through the air, challenging herself and the birds to see who was fastest, or most acrobatic.
She stood up and straightened her skirts. “Well good morning to you.” she said to the birds. “Have you come for a little challenge before you leave?” The small birds warbled and chattered as they looked up at her, almost in answer. She flapped her wings and as they gathered speed, her body was lifted silently and effortlessly from the roof. She hovered as the small birds took to the air. They were smaller and it seemed fair to give them a head start.
She watched them dart off, calling to each other as they skirted the buildings in the village. Chuckling, the fairy followed, always keeping them in sight and smiling. As they all gathered in speed, her smile faded as she needed to be ever more aware of the turns, so as not to collide with the corner of a roof, or chimney.
She hadn’t realised, but one hand had taken her crystal and was holding tightly to it as she raced after the swallows. The small birds were as accomplished fliers as she had ever seen, their size and speed making them so hard for the fairy to catch. Mora cleared her mind and flew as fast as she could. She didn’t see it, but her crystal started to glow faintly as the swallows, and then the fairy lifted over the walls around the village and into the countryside beyond.
Mora assumed all noise faded from her ears because she left the village and nearness of the sea, but in truth she had blocked everything from her consciousness but flying. The wind which had up until now had buffeted her and slowed her progress, seemed to hear her unspoken wishes, amplified through the glowing crystal around her neck. It seemed to switch direction and propelled the winged creature even faster.
All the fairy could hear was the wind, and the smile returned to her face as she realised she was finally gaining on the swallows. They noticed and flew lower over the land, speeding over the surface of the river. This was not a problem and Mora followed, not even noticing that the surface of the water was moved to ripples as she flew over it. Soon the whole group neared the waterfall. The birds noticed too late and had no time to climb, scattering instead as the fairy hurtled between them and changed direction, speeding upwards to avoid the waterfall, a cloud of spray spiraling upwards in her wake.
It was then that Mora noticed just how fast she was flying. She yelped a little as she saw her bird friends scatter, and although amazed at escaping a soaking in the waterfall, she realised it was going to be hard for her to stop. She twisted and turned, but at that speed ended up falling to her backside and skidding along the ground, before coming to a halt in a patch of tall grass.
She let go of the crystal and fell back, panting, looking at the sky. “Phew! Well… that’s a first. How in the name of all that shines did I manage to fly so fast?”