Monday 3 October 2016
Excerpt from "Wings in the Wind: The Reign of the Mawh'eyri." from Chapter 1: Mawharhikan
It was not merely the height that daunted most eagles, but it was spoken in Windlords’ lore that the lord of all demon-storms, Mawharikhὺn slept within the mountain peak.
Prouder than the proudest eagle, he ruled the lands with fear. He rarely ventured forth in those days, partly for fear of the mighty servant-winds of the Great Spirit Wind, who hunted for him.
However, he hated the proud wingfolk of the mountains who would not acknowledge his lordship. It was said that High-Soarer, ThunderWing’s father, had fallen to his death after being struck by Mawharikhὺn in one of his rampages. ThunderWing still bore the grief from the day that the Windlord messenger brought the news of his death.
‘I defy you, evil Mawharikhὺn!’ he called fiercely as he watched a dark cloud sweep across the great peak. ‘You shall be humbled, though I fall in the attempt.’
His challenging call, similar to that of eagles about to do battle, echoed across the valley. As if in answer, a distant rumble emanated from within the great peak itself.
This distracted the Windlord Council, and they glanced in his direction.
The eldest of them spread his wings and flew across to his perch.
ThunderWing knew the old eagle well. He had a few bald patches and scars. His remaining feathers were rough, but he still flew strongly and held his head proudly. They bowed to each other and Thunder-Wing’s beak touched the rock before his senior in deep respect, for he stood before none other than StrongFeather, Father-of-Many, Lord of the Western Crags.
Not the least of his children was SilverSong the Fair.
‘Hail, ThunderWing Mawharhipi, son of HighSoarer! Your father was my greatest wingfellow, and we grieve at his fall.’
‘Hail, Windlord StrongFeather, Father-of-Many! You honour us in that you remember our father in great kindness. Do your eyries prosper? Do all your eaglets fly high and strong?’
The elder eagle gave a laughing hiss.
‘You are courteous! But in truth you ask only for the health and dwelling place of SilverSong, my daughter—this I know well. She thrives, but she presently sojourns upon the Northern Mountains where the singers-of-the-wind gather until the storm season comes. She teaches my eaglets in the ways of the Great Spirit-Wind’s song. But she often remembers you with kindness.’
ThunderWing hung his head in embarrassment for a moment, but then lifted it proudly.
‘It is true that I desire SilverSong the Fair as my nest-mate, Windlord StrongFeather. I seek to conquer the peak and so to win the right to choose her.’
StrongFeather shook out his neck feathers and settled back to stare piercingly for a moment at the younger one before him.
‘I hope that you have her favour in this, for I see the spirit of your father is in you. I would gladly give my daughter to such a one.’
The young eagle hung his head again, overcome with gratitude and gratification. But was this not his due, as a son of Windlord HighSoarer?
He lifted his head proudly, only to hear not so good news.
‘NightFlyer, son of SwiftSlayer came yestersun on the same errand,’ continued StrongFeather, still watching him closely. ‘But he contemned the traditions of the Mawh’eyri and spoke his desire before the Council were ready to hear him. He demanded his right for the trial of the peak. He was sent away until the changing of the moon as penalty for his disrespect.’
‘Then I have come not a moment too soon, Windlord!’
‘Yes, he rivals you in many things, and never forgave you for defeating him at the Mawharhipi trials. But still, he is one hunting season your senior. Are you not too young to attempt the Summit? The season of tempests draws near also.’
‘I am the Swiftest in the Mountains, Windlord,’ answered Thunder-Wing in barely-restrained impatience. ‘Does that not show I am ready for the attempts? By the wings of the moon, I swear that I will conquer the peak before the coming of the storms!’
StrongFeather tilted his head a little in doubt, but said, ‘Very well. Windlord Council has allowed for one attempt, and you are the last of this season to do so. NightFlyer must await the passing of the tempest season. Do you need guidance?’
‘I need no guidance, Windlord.’
ThunderWing was too impatient and too proud to delay the process any longer.
The elder eagle shook all his feathers and sighed.
‘You indeed follow the same flight as your father. All must rise or fall by their own wing-beat, it seems. Go then! I will warn you of this only: Beware of the black cave of the southern face. Do not rest upon the crags thereof, for it is manifest that Mawharikhὺn is stirring again, and comes
forth at night to terrify the eyrie-folk of these mountains at times. Fear and terror is as his meat and drink. Yet he hides again in his caves here for fear of the good White Wind Warriors, Servants of the Great Spirit-Wind. Be vigilant, for that demon-storm may be on the watch for us.
You must return before sun’s rest, or you are easy prey to night-eyes of the evil one. It is not as easy to attempt the peak as it was in the days of my youth. There has not been any Reigning Windlord for many hunting seasons.’
He paused, waiting for a response. But since these warnings also did not seem to daunt the young eagle, the Windlord turned to more everyday practicalities.
‘There is fresh-killed prey and a water stream at need within Resting Cave, near the mountain’s pass. A Windlord shall watch from afar to judge your progress and witness your success, if indeed you do
He lifted up his voice in a Windlord’s song to the great Spirit-Wind.
‘Go, young warrior! May the great Wind-Spirit bear you upward!’
ThunderWing bowed again and leapt off the ledge, his wings spread wide, his eyrie’s war-cry on his tongue.
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