tagSci-Fi & FantasySurfacing Ch. 43.3

Surfacing Ch. 43.3

byEtaski©

Author's Notes: This story is erotic fantasy written by Etaski. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this story, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. (c) Etaski 2017.

This continues the Finale of Surfacing, and the final book of Sirana's story (for now). A short Epilogue will follow in December. This is Part 3 of 5.

The old must be gone for the young to arrive.


Surfacing Chapter 43, Part Three

Morix lifted his chin to taste the air and listen above the crowd more times in their first hour outside than Jael had fingers and toes. Every time he did it, she tensed, waiting for a warning or a command from him. Tell her something to do. To run somewhere. She usually forgot what else she'd been looking at or thinking about at the time unless it was Sirana.

A message had come back quick enough from Gavin to Shunraeki, saying her Sister was better, that Wruzdi was still inside her and Ragura was satisfied with what she felt and heard, by Sirana's answers. So her little nephew would grow a little more before his birth. Jael hoped this gave them a little more time to figure things out, to where they could go back.

Morix lifted his chin again, more quickly, and this time Jael jumped.

"Fuck!" she gasped in Drow. "Would you stop that?"

"Shh," he murmured, his eyes still scanning. "Use Common."

"Fine. Hast thy Lord come upon thine own idea to cease this distraction?"

Morix looked down at her mocking question. "Where did you learn that?"

She pouted. "Nice to finally see your large, brown eyes, 'husband.' You weren't paying any attention to that street show where we stopped to eat, were you?"

He looked around them again, lifting his chin to taste the air. "No, I wasn't."

"You tossed them a coin."

"So?"

"It was a line from the show. Means the same thing as what I just said."

At least his mouth quirked a bit. "So I can translate."

They each wore a Human disguise to go out into the city, to get out of the Temple and out of Willven's room. It was their second day here. They appeared as a blond Paxian couple with "out of town," middling dress. They would seem neither too poor nor too rich to warrant notice from residents, and their accents and lack of knowing the local language would be expected.

This disguise was for her sake, Jael knew because Mourn could speak Manalara just fine. He just didn't need to if she couldn't, but at least he still understood what all was going on around them. He didn't want to be surprised.

For about as many times as Morix kept looking for trouble, Jael covered her stomach with one hand, or sometimes both, prodding herself. She still didn't feel anything, if she was honest with herself, though she kept imagining something there because everyone kept saying it was. Some small dot of magic making her womb bigger, hotter like Sirana had described it...though in truth it would not get that way for months. She wouldn't have a bump until well after Wruzdi was born, assuming all went... well.

As well as it could.

Jael looked around again. "So you don't sense anything worrisome?"

"No, Itova."

She warmed a bit hearing the endearment, a foreign sound in this city that rolled off his tongue. "You're going to exhaust yourself in a few days being on guard like this."

"I am thinking."

"Seems like you are looking for something to hit."

He looked briefly annoyed, but not really at her as he kept his eyes up above her head. "I wish it was that easy."

She hunched her shoulders. "Mm. Well. I'm...my middle is going to be flat for a long time. We can keep on the move, wander as much as 'the Wanderer' does. Is there any place you know about that's really far from a..." She glanced around them. "From a lair?"

"That does not matter as I still must Sleep sometime, and given time you will grow too much at some point to be able to run, Itova."

Jael chewed her lip. "Didn't your ...um, father help ancestors of mine who would have starved in the Under...uh...in the wilderness without him? She bore the twins with Rausery's father? And your father had something to do with this, according to Auslan. Sh-should we go back to the...um...to the dark and at least talk to him?"

Morix exhaled; he kept them walking, and she noticed they were slowly weaving their way back to the Temple. He began to say several things on the topic of his Sire, but each time he changed his mind what to say. After a while, Jael gave up on getting an answer on that.

"What about the wild ones, as Grandmother suggested?"

"You didn't want to be 'caged' up like a sister in a sanctuary."

"Not fair. I was scared out of my wits. That was yesterday, and I've gotten a hold on myself, so I'm asking now. Would they be powerful enough an ally to protect us?"

"I... do not know," he admitted. "And I do not know how much danger we may be placing them into if we go there."

"Well. I don't know anyone else. Do you?"

He was maddeningly silent as he lifted his chin and looked around again.

*Grrrrr...*

"I could still take something, you know," she murmured, eyes on the ground. "No one would know. Nobody important enough to want you dead so they can grab me. That's what scares you most, isn't it? And what good reason is there even to try to keep this going when we'll always be hunted, Morix? When we can't be there for Sirana or her baby, and we have to be alone and afraid like we are now? I mean, we've already lost so much..."

Her voice hitched despite trying to sound level and practical, and Morix slowed down finally, glancing at her and sniffing at her scent. He pulled her over to a tree, put his back to it, and embraced her. Very close. Very tight.

Jael sighed and dared to relax, even daring to close her eyes because she knew *he* wouldn't. He sniffed her again, and he had been more frequently than before as if always checking she really did "smell" different. Just to be sure.

At last, he spoke, and only she could hear him. "It may be... necessary. I would like us to speak with Krithannia first after she has meditated."

She snuggled into him deeper, so relieved with that answer. "Mm. Is that what you've been waiting for all day?"

"Yes. I am not certain how long it will take."

Jael rubbed her cheek against his shirt. "Well. You could have just told me."

He allowed one rumbling purr to vibrate through his chest, one which was a bit lighter than anything lately. Probably due to his Human form, smaller chest, and all. She squeezed him in encouragement.

"More of that, please."

He added a nuzzle and said carefully, "There is still risk even to end it, Itova, should my Sires discover what we've done. If it is soon, they may not. Yet if there is any reason you will this to continue after Krithannia has discovered what she can, there will be much more of this I must tell you, as we will still face them sooner or later."

Jael grunted to herself. *Pfft. End it and go back home as I want, but stay in the dark. Stay pregnant and learn the secrets of the world...?"

"That's a Hells of a Balance to keep, To'vah-krav," she commented wryly.

********

Krithannia trusted few to properly transport codices, books, or scrolls from her library. Fortunately, the Herald was a match for her in compulsiveness where it came to preservation and protection of precious sources in any script. He would also find things where she said they'd be faster than anyone else.

She also didn't want to step into the Tower and have Sirana see her only to wave goodbye and say, "Can't help with the search for Shyntre! Must leave now and read some dusty, dead languages!" The Dwarves were better for passing a few things through quietly, assuming neither they nor Gavin made many parades over it.

The Knight Captain would do everything he could for Sirana, which was quite a lot given any task. He could do far more than the Guild Mistress herself without Morix. She had to trust the good and courageous Man he was, while she must instead push the tragedy and heartache of the surviving Drow still at the Tower from her mind. She must focus on anything that could help her most cherished friend and his pregnant lover.

*Before it is too late.*

Now with her selection spread out before her in the secure privacy of Willven's room—almost half of which were not as helpful as she had hoped—Krithannia studied at the only pace she knew how: careful, thorough, and "drifting."

It wasn't that she consciously knew these languages herself. It was the Elders inside who figuratively looked over her shoulder as she focused intensely on something familiar to one or more of them. In that way, she was far less a dedicated scholar than Gavin was, who thus far seemed to have dug out everything he's ever known with his own hands as if they were bones in the dirt.

But one was a fool not to use the tools thrust upon them, especially when in need. She could only hope to use those tools for better reason, for a more compassionate purpose than her former Priests had.

Gavin had given her a place to start as well. A prophecy he'd spoken to Auslan in a Dream before they met in the flesh. He had written down a copy for her; he had said it was relevant.

*It certainly is.*

The Ancient Child, Shunraeki. The Sister Seeker, one but not two. The Godblood, doing, as most others waited. They were all there, and now.

*The Youngest Mother. Something related to the Mother and Father...*

Krithannia memorized Gavin's brand-new script now included alongside the others she'd collected over the years. She allowed those elders most interested to hear her translation. She could think it as if she was reading aloud to them, speaking the shared dialect of Noldor that the priests, scholars, and sages knew even before the time of the Husband.

Auslan: "Why do you help the Drow?"

Gavin: "I do not know what you mean. I seek the return of the Sisters and the Mother. The Father and the Brother both miss them very much."

The Noldor read through what she already knew. She focused.

Auslan: "And the Mother?"

Gavin: "All of Ours, but gone. The first to speak to her mate in the way that she does."

Auslan: "Her mate...the Father?"

Gavin: "Yes. Who searches for her still."

Krithannia frowned, muttered to herself, "Where have I heard this before?"

She kept reading.

Auslan: "And the Brother."

Gavin: "Can only do. He does what he must so that there will still be a home when the others return. But he cannot carry the burden alone, he never could. Even now he begins to forget himself as the others bear him down."

Auslan: "What others? You said he was alone."

Gavin: "The outsiders have noticed ... that only one remains at home."

Musanlo. Keeping a home alive, if not the borders secured, waiting for his family to return to aid him. Not altogether different from what Sirana had chosen to do with Auslan's body. But then, the Drow Champion was more like the Knight Captain than she realized; she must "do." She could only act.

And of course, the "outsiders" had noticed the empty spaces. The Spider Queen. The Husband Who Shall Not Be Named. Lesser gods who had not yet managed to claim whole peoples as the other two had and between them, nearly all Elves, except the Wilder and what small number of mixed blood the Ice Lord may or may not protect up North. No matter whom they followed, the Elves were scattered, each as isolated as the Drow in the Underdark and Krithannia's own people.

*Something may now be changing with the Dragons, and we are still all divided.*

Krithannia stood up slowly so as not to disturb any of the parchments, some of which were fragile even with magic helping to preserve them. She took a drink of water on the far side of the room. She never brought water anywhere near her books and scrolls, and stepping away at regular intervals could sometimes help her think from a different view.

"A Mother, 'All of Ours,' but gone," she muttered, taking a drink of clean water, staring without seeing. "Father searches for her still. The Parents of the Brother and Sister, perhaps? Now a 'Youngest' yet to be determined..."

The Youngest was, supposedly, determined now. A chance conception unheard of on Niraj, requiring a great deal of power, of magic, at a very sacred site. Where the Ley Lines crossed, more powerful than the pool here at the Temple, and where they changed. Even she and Shunraeki could hear the new tune crossing the sacred pool within the Temple when they stood close enough.

The Dragons had to have noticed. What would they do about it? Come find it, certainly. What would they do if it suddenly...stopped? Would it stop, the new song, if the pregnancy did?

Krithannia swallowed loathing to answer this with what Mourn had confessed to her. There may be no way to avoid their fate. Regardless of choice, this may see both parents killed, earlier or later, under the rules observed by To'vah and upon Miurag. Mourn would be hunted, captured—there were too many Dragons who would search for him whether Awake or Sleeping. He would not escape them for long.

And Jael? She either would not survive the birth, one way or another—either by its natural difficulty or by murder—or she could be captured simply for being an unmatched Daratrix.

*My loved ones are trapped in a pit they cannot escape, even after escaping the Abyss...*

Lethrix would have known this, and yet Auslan had claimed, saying to Gavin, that the Black had still "tricked" a Sister Seeker to focus his Visions exclusively upon the To'vah. He wanted this. Had he wanted a child from them? She wasn't sure, but if he had, it must mean he did not care about his Son or the young Baenar he'd found, who complimented him. Mourn's Sire may have only seen them as a stepping stone.

*Why? What will he do with it? Only a quarter-Dragon, mostly Elf. How does that help anything? Why is it worth the lives of my friends? Why is it worth Jael's suffering?*

Krithannia felt a wave of panic rise up, and her heart pounded in her ears; not the first time since she'd begun her meditations, but it had been some hours. She set down her drained, wooden cup and gripped the edge of the gilded table. Her eyes teared up, and she blinked, breathed slowly, willing herself to calm down.

*Think. Guild Mistress. Help them! Remember something your elders already know!*

The Noldor sat down again, palms resting on the table. She stared. Meditated. Listened. Her eyes upon the scrolls and notes so they could read. So they could guide her.

*Talk to me, Fathers. Please.*

Voices gradually arose in her ears like a Dwarven bath taking all day to fill.

>I cannot read this.< Yulithil stated.

>Neither can I, but it's not necessary. You have heard the tale as you breathe, child,< Elijinon said kindly.

>A version of it,< corrected Daur'il. >Incomplete.<

>The story the living Elves share is complete in all important ways,< Elijinon debated. >This version of the prophecy given her just now is incomplete because it was spoken to a Baenar from the Mouth of an ancient Mother..<

>Oh?<

>Certainly. It is skewed. Look. Who is missing? Who is assumed to be handling himself? Briefly mentioned in action, but on the edge of the story with seemingly no part?<

Unblinking Krithannia looked over Gavin's notes. "The Father."

>Simply 'searching,' is he? Nothing more. Hmph. The new Mother is indeed very young. But what of the new Father? No mention within the prophecy at all? As if a new Mother comes pregnant without him?<

"Mourn is very young as well," she murmured in agreement. "Too young to be a Sire, according to his elders."

>Indeed. Balance the story, dear one. Consider the source, compare it with the others similar but from the other views. There is a bit of Truth in all of it.<

Krithannia nodded. "Mourn mentioned a Draconic ritual. A Magic Dream."

>Similar to the very creation of Niraj, isn't it?< Daur'il nudged. >The Tilabil and the Wilder remember—<

Hirinyel finally spoke up, sounding annoyed.

It had been decades since she'd heard his voice, and her eyes welled up with joy.

>Prideful whoresons, leading her along to feel important far past your time! I spoke this long ago! Are we still arguing about this?<

>What you spoke is aged news, Hiri. The Sisters were not missing then.<

>Ha! That only makes it more relevant, you soft-fingered number-heads!<

"What do you mean, Hirinyel?" Krithannia whispered, letting him feel her welcome.

Her greatest-grandfather barely acknowledged it as he growled. >Did you bring it, granddaughter? Read it to me again.<

She knew which he meant, and she had brought it. She searched, moved the works carefully, seeking the one in his language. His private script. It could not be spoken; it had no correlation to sound, which meant no mage or oracle had ever been able to translate it. It could only be "Kept," like her grandfather himself.

Her eyes fixed upon the gibberish, unblinking and absorbing the page as a whole sight. A picture language.

>Ah, yes. This is it.< Hirinyel sounded satisfied. >What do you see, granddaughter? You have always had a critical eye. A mind worthy of my work. I'm pleased that they finally choose a storm-seeker. Break the mold a bit.<

>They didn't choose her, Hiri, don't you remember? It was against the new god.<

>Cret's Balls rub your face, Elij. I give not two turds about 'gods' when we're mostly fertilizer in any form. If we're all lucky, we'll all return to the River when she dies. Krithannia is far more courageous than any of the golden boys.<

>I used to be one of those 'golden boys,' grandsire, and we're still your blood. I understand what you cannot. We are needed. We have been before, and we always shall be needed.<

Her grandfather snorted. >You sound like the To'vah. I said it eons ago what must happen. If Krithannia is asking me now, the To'vah themselves are still arguing, holding basically the same boundaries. It means they've stopped feeling how the first Change has harmed them, yet they watch each other to assure they all experience it, how they cannot create life without rupturing the soul of an innocent. They wait for some Father-figure to finish 'searching' but they really need something else to happen. Until then, they mimic him, yet grow more rigid; they become numb in doing so.<

>The To'vah are wise and old, Hiri,< Yulithil objected. >They were called by the Siblings to take down an insane God. They still assure all the rest of us may live.<

>Yes, the irony of two mirrors facing each other, the To'vah and the Noldor, holding endless room for illusions. Bah! In claiming harm for a Baenar merely focusing on his Mother, Golden Boy, you forget we used to have Priestesses, too, and we used to be all colors when the Dragons came to us in pairs! Iskoxanalrae's son always had it right in his predictions when he talked about us as a people!<

"Indrath is of the Hells now, Grandfather," Krithannia murmured. "He is dangerous."

>That doesn't surprise me, granddaughter, and we're all dangerous to someone. He was always prideful, never obedient or dutiful, and he could get obsessed with things. But you know, the boy also sought new peaks from which to stand to view a problem. I knew it would lead him beyond where his parents would see him safe, and he makes his own path seeing what others do not.<

"He has been interfering with the Sister Quest," the Guild Mistress murmured. "He harmed a Godblood of the desert, harmed a Drow queen. He now seeks something from me. He sought a bargain recently, and when he could not get me as it interfered with my agreement with the Grave Mother's Herald, he is now aiming for my Sister Druid and her Brother Priest.<

>If that's the case, granddaughter, Indrath still believes we can change, and that's good. Just don't let him tell you how to do it. Listen carefully, Krithannia. This new prophecy you're reading from the Grave Mother treats the symptom, not the cause. At best it leads you retracing steps where we've already been. At worst, it's a distraction that will get you lost. The void has been filled. If the Sisters are to be found, more must be dismantled to make room for them, or nothing Changes and this world is right to fall out of the Living Center.<

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