The sun wasn’t up yet, but Kira couldn’t lay there any longer. She jumped out of bed, feeling the anticipation build minute by minute. She hurriedly put on some layers of clothes; thick pants and a long-sleeved shirt over some cooler clothing. She knew the hike was going to be long, and up on the mountain it would be a good ten degrees cooler than it were at the cabin. Once her boots were laced, she set about packing up some biscuits and dried meat.
Aedan was up not long after Kira. He looked tired and pale, just as he had the morning the stormless thunder had occurred. Kira was worried about him. Aedan had made several vague comments about his time running short, but Kira was so absorbed in all the changes taking place in her world that she didn’t even recognized how tired and run down her father was appearing these days.
“Father, are you sure you want to go today? You look tired, we can rest up and plan better for tomorrow” Kira said as Aedan fumbled in his large pack.
“No, Kira. We must go today. Are you all packed?”
“Yes, I packed some food for us, too”
“Let Zoosk out of the fence, he can walk with us”
Zoosk was their dog, he normally went with Aedan when he travelled. Kira thought it was more companionship than protection, but every little bit of protection helped. Zoosk could be very protective of her at times, even snarling at Aedan if he raised his voice to Kira. The thought of this made Kira smile, Aedan would sometimes pretend to yell at Kira just to gauge the reaction of their four legged mate. It pleased Aedan to know that Zoosk would protect Kira even from him.
As they set out on the trail behind their cabin, Kira questioned Aedan about her mother and the vision she had had the previous day. Kira was beginning to understand that there was much more about her father’s life, and her life, that she needed to learn. She watched him as they walked. He kept fidgeting with a small silver chain that hung from his pocket. The last question she asked him seemed to make him uncomfortable, and he hesitated to answer.
“Father, did you ever learn of your special power?” Kira had timidly asked.
“This is partially why we must go north, Kira. You must learn my truths, as well as your own” Aedan replied.
“What truths, what are your truths that I must learn?” Kira felt muddled in her own mind.
“I did learn a power, a special gift from our ancestors. I was thirteen years old, it was summer, and I was swimming with some friends at the lake. One of them thought it would be a good idea to swim toward the damn and try to reach the bottom. We had a small canoe that I stayed in, watching from above. We were young, wilder than we were smart, and brave was often synonymous with stupid.”
“His name was Bradan, he was a daring person. He never hesitated to try anything. When he dove down under the water’s surface, no one was really scared because when Bradan attempted something, he generally succeeded. The three of us that stayed above water watched, seeing bubbles rise occasionally to the surface.”
“After what seemed like a lifetime, there was a great burst of bubbles, and the other two boys panicked and scrambled for the canoe. I jumped in the water and dove down. I couldn’t see anything through the blurriness of water hitting my eyes. Pushing hard to go deeper, I caught a glimpse of his body. He appeared to be caught on something and unable to get loose to swim back up, he was fighting weakly.”
“As I reached him, I felt an odd feeling in my chest. It was like a vibration, or a humming from in my heart. I thought it was panic, or the need for air. But when I was just an arms length away, my arm extended trying to grab him, I felt it. It was like the vibration in my chest shot down my arm and exited through my fingers. The water churned, there was a new current pushing me. Bradan and I both began to move up toward the surface of the lake. I saw him finally break free from his restraint, hurling faster toward the surface than myself.”
“At the surface, Bradan coughed and sputtered, winded from the fight below. He never knew what I had experienced, he believed he fought hard enough to get free. But from then on, I continued to try to control water. At times I was successful, and at times not so much happened.” Aedan became quiet again as he pondered his power.
“So you are a water mage?” Kira inquired.
“Did you have a stone?” Kira kept questioning.
“Then how did you use your power?” There was so much that Kira hadn’t been able to understand about all this magic.
“The stones help to channel the magic. The provide a point of focus. The stones help, definitely, but are not required to use your power. We all have the ability to use magic, Kira. Some are stronger mages, and some are more knowledgeable. There is an ancient power that is rooted in our blood. The stones just help focus the magic, and can help a weaker mage make better use of their powers.”
“So why are the stones so important to us?” Kira wanted to understand this new world she was learning of, especially now that she knew her father had felt the same humming she had. Was she beginning to find her power?
“They are vital to those of us who do not know how to use our magic, Kira. That is now all of us. The stones will help guide the magic and strengthen us when we need it. Not many of us even know what our gift is. People like myself who faced a terrible situation and needed help have been lucky enough to get a push from the gods. If I had never been at the lake with Bradan that day, I may not know that I could control water that way.”
“Athair, am I learning my power? I saw mathair, we spoke, it felt so real. I want it to be real.” Kira rarely used the endearing terms for mother and father, only when she was especially worried or wanting of something. A smile came to Aedan’s lips as he remembered her as a small child, begging for a small toy, calling out “please, athair, please can I have it?”
“We will soon see, won’t we?” Aedan responded. We should camp here for the night. It will be dark soon, and I am starving.
Kira looked around. She had never spent the night in the woods, and was a little weary after all the tales she had heard so far. With a heavy sigh, she peeled off her heavy pack and began to gather kindling for a fire. She knew her journey was just beginning.