Chapter 1: Misty Mountains
Misty Mountains, Chapter 1 by Natasha L, Year 9 Academic Scholar
Wings pumping madly, face beetroot purple, breath coming in short gasps I struggle against the late spring wind. Trees box with the gale, arms up and ready, whilst wimpy clouds flee in terror. This was no weather to be out in. If only I could keep my big mouth shut, then I wouldn’t be in this mess.
The elders had been holding a conference with the rest of the flock. They needed to send a message to the Mountain fae that we couldn’t come to the full moon meeting. The wolfish wind was too strong for the messenger hawks to get there in time, and if the message didn’t arrive, a war would break out. Peace was hanging on a very thin thread.
So they decided to send one of the flock instead. Of course the elders couldn’t (or wouldn’t) go; they were too old and too important, so they asked for a volunteer.
At that moment I had been lounging at the back with Kaylas and Quester. We were loudly whispering about the upcoming gala and doing impersonations of Hildrae. Hildrae was a small, squat fae, with flaxen hair and wings. With her square chin and small eyes, the only way to describe her was ugly. She was about as popular as a rat and as interesting as a beetle and ALWAYS the first to volunteer, even for battle training. Now THAT was funny. Stout Hildrae floundering around in a breastplate and helmet swinging wildly with her sword – half the class wet their pants!
I put on my best girly voice and exclaimed loudly, “I volunteer, sir.
Of course we all hurt our stomachs laughing. That is until I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder.
Thank you, young lad, off you go!’ A gruff voice said, amongst murmurs of appreciation and congratulations in the Woodland fae. A letter was jammed into my hand, I was cocooned in confusion and shoved out the door. Hard. It was only then I realised that I had, accidently, volunteered to fly up to the Misty Mountains, home of the mountain fae. They saw themselves as superior even though we were the same creature; Rumours came deep from the mountain itself that the they had strange abilities that couldn’t be explained. I definitely didn’t want to go up there.
On an average day, the journey would be around two days, if you flew fast, but with this wind it could take forever.
So here I am. Flying. In a storm. Alone. While I was pondering my situation I had turned right at the weathered oak, out of habit, instead of left and was now suspended over Hampling Chasm, which, even on the best day, is not a place you would like to be. I swallowed and replayed the story we had heard hundreds of times in my head.
50 years ago, a young fae name Hampling had been playing near the chasm, without the knowledge of anyone - even then it was a no-go zone. He’d been playing with a ball, according to the elders, and it had rolled to the edge of the chasm. He was on his way to retrieve his toy when he was spotted. Most of the flock had come flying over and told him to go away from the chasm, that it wasn’t safe. Even the elders had left their comfortable chairs to beg him to leave the ball. Hampling didn’t listen. He wanted to retrieve his ball first – he didn’t care what the others thought. He ambled up to the edge, slowly picked up the ball, and casually turned around.
“See,” he had said, “There’s nothing to fear.
Then it came, like a comet shooting out of a chasm. Speared like a fish, the harpoon thrust itself effortlessly through him, ripping skin and bone, blood vessels and muscle, heart and lungs. Blood surfed down his chest, creating an ocean at his feet, drenching him in a red gown.
And suddenly he was falling, yanked backwards by the harpoon, devoured by the hungry chasm. That’s how the Chasm got its name: Hampling.
I whipped around, suddenly realising how far over the chasm I was. Sick with fear I propelled myself against the wind, like a camel desperate for water, I neared land. My oasis.
Battling mother nature was not easy, and had taken a toll on me; I was exhausted, and though the adrenaline gave me energy I was making painstakingly slow process over the chasm.
I was a few meters away when I heard whistling. Whistling? Who in their right mind would be out in this weather? I turned in the direction of the sound just when it hit me.
The boulder thrust me forward, into the cliff. I screeched in agony as my right wing collided with the brutal rock face with a snap. Flailing I lashed out at the cliff, trying to get a grip in the smooth rock. Stones and debris came away in my hand, and I was falling, falling, falling.
This piece is part of our Scholars' Showcase 2020