Deina was observing her best friend in a completely new way; there was so much power within him now. She knew that even if she tried she would not be able to compell him. It was both frightening and fascinating: he was so appealing clothed in fire and yet… It meant that he had come into his full power leaving her behind. She was now just another stranger in a way. Would he continue to consider her his friend? Was she even worth his time now that he’d become Erfas’ high priest? And more than that it seemed. She was a Huntress; she knew powers. And she stood in the presence of the most powerful magic she’d ever seen. Lisor had become the god. What time would he have? Argon had never had much time for any of the “lower members” of the Ervassaeans; but then he had done the unthinkable by kidnapping their guest. And Lisor was now of divine nature. She turned away from the men afraid her face might betray some of her feelings. Only she faced another power then,, even more frightening and even wilder and unpredictable.
Although Lisor brought her to the cabin and asked her to stay there Eriane had returned on the deck. It must explain the sudden drop in the temperature when Erfas’ priests had started their attacks on the weapons thrown towards them. But Eriane was using her own magic to… do what? Deina could not guess just then. That was when she realized the temperature continued to drop; though Erfas’ magic was spent the deck should have returned to the natural warmth of the day. Instead it continued to lower until it was cold on the boat and she shivered. She looked into the empty gaze of the woman: it should have been purple if devoid of any sight and deprived of any expression by a curse the young priestess hadn’t mentioned. Except that in that moment they were blue, of the same shade as the sea surrounding the ship. And like the very first time Deina met her, Eriane seemed to know exactly where she and everything and everyone else stood. The power that literally robed her resembled the magic she’d used in Aerstor to shield the children; and as Eriane closed her eyes Deina felt the air around her tremble.
She knelt or she would have fallen, casting a glance at the skies where clouds gathered, like a cloak of dark grey over the summer sun. Thunder rumbled and the seas danced about the ship. It swayed slightly but not enough to disturb the sailors. Nobody had noticed the woman yet. But just when the last spark of fire went out on the ship, a storm was unleashed on the sea. Somehow it didn’t affect the balance of the vessel anymore than it had, although the waters rose higher than the deck. Deina wasn’t a creature of water and she felt fear.
Suddenly among dark clouds and magical rain, a wave at least fifty feet high rose from the sea a few cable-length away and ran towards the shore. Although she knew the wave came at the call of the woman behind her – or maybe because of that – Deina feared its violence and strength. It was higher than the masts and it would drown the city in minutes; this tidal wave held less pity than Erfas’ fire. The god had spared the humans, those whose loyalty hadn’t been swayed, but not she. She was consumed with anger and Deina could almost feel what was left of the Warrior in Eriane. It wasn’t in her nature to fight: Deina knew this as surely as she knew her name. But when cornered she could prove as dangerous as one of the Hunters, as murderous as Plior and as unforgiving as Chaos. And it was the goddess of the dead that she satisfied now. Deina saw in that moment what provoked Eriane’s anger: the betrayal and duplicity.
So she belonged to the Truth: she felt it must be a clue as to which goddess she actually represented but not for her to decipher. Leander would know. She must speak with the high priest soon: Mother Verla had advised it before her departure earlier that day anyway. Right now though she must help the priestess for she knew that once her power was spent, she’d be exhausted and in need of rest. In fact Eriane should never have access to such might and yet she did; no matter what power she used, no matter the exhaustion she still found resources within her to utilise a mightier spell. And the one she’d just employed was almost at the same level as the one woven by Erfas and his priests’ circle.
When the eyes returned to their natural purple – if such a colour could be called thus – the priestess staggered dangerously. Deina stood by her side and holding her guided her back to the cabin.
“You must stop exerting yourself Eriane. There’s only so much you can go through.”
The woman smiled softly.
“There’s something more to you than just the Huntress Deina.”
On these cryptic words she fell asleep and Deina slightly shaken returned to the upper deck. The vessel was gliding quite fast on the seawaters where dolphins danced and accompanied them for a while. The clouds had yet to disperse but a wind had come and was pushing the ship towards it destination. She might not be Astar’s daughter, but Eriane definitely helped them on their way. What did that mean?
All the sailors were at their posts and if they were afraid by the display of power they did not show. Erfas’ priests could be seen all over the ship, at the helm in the shrouds or in the masts, assigned specific tasks to help the crew while Lisor, Leandre and Prilm discussed at the stern. She joined them guessing that they spoke of the woman but wondering whether they’d include her in their conversation. Behind the ship waves shook the waters in a threatening way and created a fog that mortal eyes could not pierce. It would prevent any sort of pursuit but they could not explain it; as unlikely as it was it appeared they had missed Eriane’s latest display of power. So she described it.
“It is been obvious that water is the source of her magic since I met her. But Erfas’ fire should have killed her. This young lady is a mystery to me; the threads of power around her were so erratic after the temple that they should never have returned to their natural alignement without one of my order. And I am not saying this in pride: she is beyond all the rules of medicine, as I’ve known it and this despite the fact she’s an Ervassaean. But she definitely does not serve Ilwan; the Lover rules over fire too.”
“She has power over the four elements even if water is the most prominent,” Deina said. She remembered the shield in Aerstor. “Fire is a close second, which would explain why she survived the fire of Erfas’ temple.”
“She belongs to the Beloved: and she is mighty among her servants, maybe the strongest ever to serve in the world. It seems to me that it is her nature even though she does not know it.”
It was the first time Deina heard the god’s voice in her friend’s and she realized that as appealing as he looked he was now beyond her reach. Erfas knew his curse better than she could ever understand and it hurt.
In response to the Daily Post writing prompt Storm