Beneath the Dragoneye Moons - Chapter 307 - Minor Interlude - Auri - Left Behind
Good morning, good morning, GOOD MORNING! It was morning! The great fire up high – the sun, Plato was insistent that she learn and use the right words – was just coming up.
Praise the sun! Oh glorious never ending fire! My fire would be that big one day. Elaine promised me that listening to Plato would make my fire bigger, so I did.
She must’ve slept well! No bad invisible monsters attacked her in the night! I still wasn’t sure why horses at night were so dangerous, but one of these days I’d catch them sneaking in and burn them all to ashes!
I looked over and-
She was gone. Her bed was empty, like it’d been for… many many many days. Counting the number of days hurt, a watery reminder of each day she hadn’t been here.
I kicked some bad little clearish beads out of my nest. Shoo! Go away! I don’t want you here!
I let out a sad plaintive brrrrpt. Why had she gone? Why did she leave me behind?
Why were the mean Sentinels so hard to burn? Elaine had tricked me! She said burn one and I could come, but they were all fast and tricky!! The last one I tried to burn summoned a bunch of evil water and laughed at me from inside!
Ugly colorless water-using Sentinel. Why did Elaine hang out with him???
Elaine was gone. Even if it took forever, I’d wait for her.
But I wasn’t gone! I was here! Me!
I looked around me, at the lovely ar-arcan-arcanite nest Elaine had gotten for me. It was shiny and pretty, and everywhere I looked I saw the most beautiful, wonderful, lovely, brrretiest sight I’d ever see.
My body of fire. The fluttering feather flames. The dozen different types of red. I burned like wood and wool, I had the colors of fresh leaves and fancy metals going up in flames. The teals and greens and oranges with the yellows and purples and whites and oh!
I was the prettiest bird – the most beautiful creature!! – that had ever been hatched.
Plato’s poetry was nice! Yay!
Plato talked a lot about “duty”. He wasn’t very good at explaining it. Kept saying it was about “serving other people” and “helping one another” and “ob-li-ga-tions” and “be nice to Elaine”
Well ok, he was right about that.
No, it was stuuuuupidly clear what my “duty” was.
Everyone, large and small, young and old, rich and poor, should be able to gaze upon the wonderful body that was me.
That was a line from one of Plato’s scrolls! I felt very clever taking the good parts of it and changing it a bit to be better!
I’d already gotten one big parade thrown for me, and that was Good. They’d started to figure it out.
However, was one really enough?
Enough thinking! Plato would make me do soooo much of it later. Boo thinking! Yay bigger flames!
Why did the two have to go together?
I fluttered up, getting a biiiiiiiiiiig drink of delicious juice.
Julia was so nice! She loved my fire! She helped me find things to burn, and gave me permission to burn EVEN MORE things! She told me I was pretty! She made sure I had a great big bowl of juice ready in the morning!
Yay Julia! It only made sense that Elaine had gotten herself such a nice mom.
The clawing hunger inside sated, I flew through the clear doorway. No more bad door!
I’d gotten stuck the first day after Elaine had left, and nobody had come as I yelled at the door.
So I burned it down. No more being trapped!
And everyone kept saying fire wasn’t the answer to all problems. Ha!
…Plato had made a lot of funny faces that one day I answered all of his questions with “fire”. That was a blast.
Fwish! Fwoop! Zippiness was fun!
Plato had explained all the stats!
At first I thought it’d been simple. Big numbers were better. Easy!
Nooo. Plato made me learn all the numbers! Then adding them! Subtracting them! Multiplying!
I’d burned a few things it was so annoying.
He revealed the TRUTH!
I could figure out how much I could burn with the numbers! I could burn even more by carefully thinking about them!
It took me less than a day to learn them all. Clever me!
My level was stuck at XXXII. No more levels until I went to the Field of Flowers again. My burning wouldn’t get better until I did.
Except… the longer I waited, the better my flames would be!
I got to the log Elaine made sure I had every day. Even when she was gone, she was looking after me! She was the best!
I brrrpted sadly.
I didn’t want a log to burn.
I wanted Elaine.
She could INSTANTLY INCINERATE AN ENTIRE LOG.
And she got me things to burn, juice to drink, fruits to eat, and places to show off. She cared about me. Loved me.
She was the BEST.
Nothing else to do but light the log in flames! Glory to Elaine! Glory to me!
Fire made everything better.
I bathed in it, letting the flames wash over and through me. Becoming a part of me for a brief moment. Expelled, touched by me.
Oh, they were glorious. The quick spark, the flash, the beauty in transience!
The small inferno.
Like being hugged by Elaine.
The inferno was soothing, calming. It made me feel relaxed, like everything was right with the world. Scratched an itch that was impossible to reach.
It was hard not ‘classing up’. I wanted to go to the field of flowers.
Nooooo. Everyone said noooo. Self control.
It would make the flames better.
One day! One day soon!
Burn all the flowers!
“Auri?” Julia’s voice sweetly echoed through the house. “Would you like some breakfast?”
I flicked my head around. Flames were growing low, and I was out of Kindling.
Mmmm. Fire or breakfast…
I thought about it.
I thought about it a lot! Smart me! Thinking was hard. Thinking about fire and food was easier! Plato’s poetry and philosophy hurt, but…
It did seem to be working. I think?
Elaine was happy every time I told her about it.
Plato was less smart than Elaine. He couldn’t understand my words – silly man with the curly white hair.
I was going to burn it one day. It would be very funny!
Zoooooooooooom! I was a streak of fire! A burning comet!
So many fun words to describe me! Lots of words to describe Elaine!
Maybe… maybe Plato’s other lessons were OK.
Which meant… Plato was OK.
Elaine was a GENIUS! Finding me someone who taught me stuff!
“Good morning Auri!” Julia called to me.
“Good morning, good morning, GOOD MORNING!” I chirped back at her.
“Breakfast’s on the table.” She pointed with her glorious instrument of soon-to-be-fire. Great for waving at people when it was burning!
Breakfast! Yummy seeds, tasty nectar, and chopped meat!
I gobbled it all.
“Today’s Plato’s day off. Busy?” Julia asked me.
“I’ll find something to do!” I responded.
“You can always come with me if you’d like.”
Poor Julia. Couldn’t understand me.
“I’m ok.” I zooooooooooomed out of the house.
I passed by the Special Bowl. Julia and Elainus always always ALWAYS had one of Elaine’s special fruits in there!
Sometimes it went bad! That was a big OH NO!
Julia always got a new one when that happened. Yay Julia! Yay making sure Elaine had food when she came home!
Out I went!
I had to be careful! Too far away was bad. If I got hungry, food was hard to get!
Except for one place!
I flew and flew and flew and flew! The city was eeeeeeeeeendless, except it wasn’t!
Oh! Oh! I knew what that was! Plato told me yesterday!
It was a par-a-dox!
That was the word!
Smart me! Yay!
I got to the market! Elaine’s friend was here!
She was weird. She was taller than Elaine… but younger than Elaine?
How did that work?
Wasn’t the taller person always older? Got bigger as they grew up?
Maybe Elaine was just super-duper smart for her age. She was shorter than almost everyone.
Yes! Elaine was super smart! I knew that already, and that must be how things worked!
“Hi Autumn!” I fluttered over to the perch she made for me.
Smart girl! The best! Knew to make a place for me.
Yup yup, everything was good! She had tasty fruits for me!
And the extra-sweet one! Mangos!
Elaine really, really, REALLY liked them. I liked them as well!
Good taste, Elaine!
I usually let her have more. She really, really, REALLY liked them!
“Heya Auri. No Plato today?” Autumn asked.
“No! Rest my head!” I told her.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” She turned back to her gathering of useless bits of metal.
Well, not super-duper useless. They did burn pretty, but it was HARD! Not like bamboo.
Nobody understood me. Except Elaine!
When would she be back…?
Oh! A super small human was pointing at me!
They were called kids!
Yes! That was the word!
And they proved that humans got bigger as they aged! A small kid was basically a hatchling. As they got older, they got bigger!
How big would Elaine get?
I flashed my wings! So pretty!
My beak! So noble!
My tail! Just glorious!
My chest! Beautiful!
My eyes! Sparkling!
Gaze upon me~!
“You’re very pretty Auri.”
It was a good day! Yes! The big ball of fire – no, the sun! That was the word! – made its way alllllllll across the sky!
Plato made me look at the world and ask questions. Lots of questions!
I had a question!
What pulled the sun?
Where did the sun go when it wasn’t in our sky?
I write! Otherwise, I forget.
“Bye!” I told Autumn. Manners! Yes! They were good!
“Want another fruit?” She offered me one.
I thought about it. Shook my head.
I was full!
“Ok, bye bye! Tell me when Elaine gets back!” Autumn waved to me.
Back home I go!
Whoosh! Air through my fiery feathers. Fun!
It made them bigger! It made little embers break off!
Yay a trail! Sparks behind me! It was hot!
I got home, and zip! Zap! Zoop! To the learning room!
Lots of learning things in the learning room! Lots of wood for careful burning only!
I hovered next to the unused stack. One for me! Grab it in my claws!
I took off with it, screaming fury and defiance as it dragged me down.
No! NO! You! Will! Go! On! The! Table!
A clatter! A crash! We all smacked into the table!
The wood landed on the table!
I stepped over to it. Step! Step!
Plato couldn’t understand me.
But he knew a powerful magic!
A magic ANYONE could do!
I burned the letters into the block! One at a time! With the magic of writing, the letters made WORDS!!
‘What pull teh sun?’
Hmmm. Something looked wrong there.
Oh well! Plato would tell me!
‘Were sun go when dar night?’
Oopsies! Wrong word! It was ok.
Done! Yay! Learning new things!
That was super-duper hungry work!
Julia had a biiiiiiiig juice jar in the food area!
Peeeeeeew! I flew! The fanciest!
Tasty, tasty juice. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
There was one of the food-eaters!
THEY WERE TRYING TO EAT ELAINE’S FOOD!!!
Bad small fur-teeth-claws thing! Ugly! Dumb!
With careful aim, I flicked one of my magic skills at them!
A burning feather!
Nine burning feathers! As fast as I could!
Pew! Pew pew! Pew pew pew pew pew pew!!!!
[*ding!* Aoife Auri Stentor, the most beautifulest and prettiest phoenix there’s ever been, you have slain a wicked [Rat] (Decay, XLIV)!]
Yes, yes, magic words, tell me how great I am.
[*ding!* Aoife Auri Stentor, oh great giver of flame and future burner of the world, congratulations! [Burning Quills] leveled up from XVIII to XIX!]
The magic words said it, so it must be true! I would burn the world!
Not Elaine though. Or the parts she liked.
The rest of it though!
The fire wasn’t stopping at the evil slain rat, and the kitchen burning would be bad! Elaine liked food!
Making the fire go away was sad, but it would make Elaine happy! Or… it would make her not-sad. Her food all burning would make her sad.
But not happy…?
I flew over to the burning room! It had a little tree in it, open to the sky!
The sky was pretty. Which was weird. It was the color of water… but pretty?
Blue flames were also a thing… and all flames were good… so blue must not be bad.
It wasn’t blue’s fault water was so mean.
Oooh! A bird! A little bird landed near me!
And it was singing!
I sing as well!
We sing! Yay!
The other bird was looking at me. Laughing at me!
They thought their singing was better!
They thought my singing was bad!
My singing is the bestest ever!
[*ding!* Aoife Auri Stentor, the most beautifulest and prettiest phoenix there’s ever been, you have slain a wicked [Sparrow] (Sound, XX)!]
Hmph! Magic words didn’t lie! It was a wicked sparrow!
It had been a long day! Relaxing day! No Plato! I had been free to do what I wanted! Hurray!
No Elaine either…
I was in my nest. My big, pretty nest that Elaine got for me.
I didn’t want the nest. Could I trade the nest for Elaine?
It was cold and lonely without her. The room was so big, so empty. It wasn’t made for just me.
Can she come back now?
Why did she have to leave without me?
It wasn’t fair.
Not-water tears rolled out of my eyes, down my face. They’d be strange little beads in the morning. Things to kick out of the nest.
I cried until sleep claimed me.
“Pppssssssst. Auri!” A voice called to me.
I opened my eyes. Still dark. Nighttime.
“ELAINE! ELAINEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!” I shrieked as I flew at her.
She laughed and opened up her arms.
“ELAINE! YAY! You’re back! You’re the best! I love you! Hurray!!”
“I missed you too. Love you Auri.” She said.
[*ding!* You’ve unlocked the General Skill [Companion Bond between Auri and Elaine]! Would you like to take this skill?]
I looked Elaine in the eye and saw she’d gotten the same skill.
Be with Elaine forever?
Of course I took it.
Companion Bond between Auri and Elaine: The two of you are two birds of a feather, flocking together, now and forever. A friendship forged in flame and bound with mangos, you are companions. Best of friends, willing to burn the world together. Increased resilience per level. No-penalty healing from Elaine. Effective healing range increased per level. Share more of Elaine’s knowledge per level. Increased gluttony per level.
|[Name: Aoife Auri Stentor]|
|[Mana Regen: MDCCLXVI]|
|[Pushing Power: LXXXII]|
|[Fancy Flying: CXVIII]|
|[Reactions and Reflexes: LXIV]|
|[New Juice: CCIX]|
|[Flame Size: CCXLVIII]|
|[Fire Control: CXL]|
|[Class I: [The Eternal Flame – Inferno : Lv XXXII]]|
|[Inferno Authority: XXXII]|
|[Phoenix Rebirth: II]|
|[Inferno Manipulation: XXXII]|
|[Inferno Conjuration: XXXII]|
|[True Flames: XXXII]|
|[Burn Magic: XXXII]|
|[Domain of Fire: XXXII]|
|[Burning Quills: XIX]|
|[Class II: [Locked]]|
|[Class III: [Locked]]|
|[Phoenix’s Perfection: XXXII]|
|[Companion Bond between Auri and Elaine: I]|