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by Kimberlain O'Driscoll, MBA, M.Ed 3 months ago in Fantasy · updated 2 months ago
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Flight of the Muer'Khista

There weren’t always dragons in the Valley. The Valley being what some call the village of Kasii. Kasii was named for the river that flows along its eastern bank, emptying into Teal’aMoh Lake to the south.

Tre’Leigh, and her young son d’Rennith sat on the edge of a large flat shelf of shale. She was elven, and among the smaller number in the village with dark skin. Humans often mistook her appearance as being among a race of elves with a reputation for bad intent. This however was not the case. She was of the Silen. Her contrasting silver hair, like that of her parents, and violet eyes, which was typical of Silen betrayed some element of Grey in her family line.

d’Rennith, who was named for his grandfather sat in front of her with his legs dangling freely over the rocky ledge. He had dark skin like his mother, but with red hair that grew straight until it reached his shoulders, with loose curls near the ends. Red heads ran in her family. There was usually at least one in every generation.

Massive sections of fractured rock broke through the cliffside behind her, sheltering the small nook and the stone they sat on. As a child, she called this place her thinking spot. It was a secret hideaway that only she and her two best childhood friends Shannon and Yari knew about. It’s not a secret anymore, but to her it’s still special.

Today she brought d’Rennith to her thinking spot for the first time. She held him secure with her left arm so he wouldn’t slip. She had lost the other many years ago during the last great war, which also disfigured her face on the right side. She wore a silver half mask to hide the scars and her discolored dead eye. Still, she married a man who had fallen in love with her before the injuries, and with him bore d’Rennith; her only child.

Tre’Leigh is what is known as a Muer’Khista. Muer’Khista is a form of spirit walker, but instead of projecting as a ghostly apparition that resembles themselves, they can assume the form of an animal. Typically, Muer’Khista had been ferrets, dogs and other such naturally appearing animals which reflected the personality of that particular elf. Some however created monstrous beasts such as her twice great grandather’s dire wolf which he used to torment and even murder humans whom he despised. In both living memory and written accounts, Tre’Leigh was the only Muer’Khista to not have red hair. She summoned a great mountain cat that should only have existed in bad dreams. It was the size of a horse with fierce upper fangs that were as long as one’s forearm. It’s gone now, no longer answering her call. She sacrificed it, along with her right arm to save lives. To this day, the emptiness in her soul lingers.

But now it is d’Rennith’s time. His red hair marked him as the Muer’Khista in his generation. Tre’Leigh brought him here to teach him how to connect with it in the same way that her sister Liandrin did with her when she was young. Liandrin was gone now, lost in the war.

“Look around and tell me everything that you see. I want to hear you describe it in detail. d’Rennith did as she asked. He did his best to tell of the trees that surrounded the low ground before them, and what type they were. He spoke of the rocks they sat upon, their colors, and how they felt. And he spoke of the sound of the water as it moved across smooth, round stones in the river far below. Tre’Leigh smiled and hugged him as she remembered how she said the same thing to her sister so long ago. She could almost feel Liandrin’s presence.

“Now I want you to do it again, but this time close your eyes and tell me what you feel. Don’t tell me anything about what you already described. Tell me new things.”

He started to do as instructed. There was a pause.

“Mamma, I can’t see anything with my eyes closed. How can I tell you what I can’t see?”

“I know it seems that way. I thought the same when your aunt taught this to me. Trust me, okay?”

He nodded.

“Okay d’Rennith, open your senses. Imagine yourself stepping out of your body and walking around. Tell me what you see.”

“I don’t understand. I still can’t see anything.”

“Let’s try this instead.” Tre’Leigh replied. “Pretend you’re at the lake. Can you do that?”

He nodded and took a deep breath. Then he closed his eyes and thought of the lake where his mom and dad took him fishing every few weeks. Tre’Leigh loved to fish and wished she had time to go more often.

“Do you see the lake?”

“I see it.”

She hugged her son. “Reach out now and feel it.”

Chills began to pass through Tre’Leigh’s spine as she expanded her own senses, connecting with him. She was now able to envision everything that d’Rennith could see, and experience anything he could feel. She was now able to better guide him. When she first did this with her sister Liandrin many years ago, it was Liandrin who could sense what she did. The circle of teaching was forming another loop.

“Everything is so bright. The colors are more intense. Is this real?”

“It is my boy. You’re doing it. Tell me more.”

“I’m up high. I’ve never been this high before. How can I see the lake from up here?”

Tre’Leigh was so excited that she could barely keep still. As she, through him scanned the lake and the trees that surrounded it, she noticed that there was virtually no peripheral vision. Whatever he projected as only had direct line sight. The wind swirled in colors of aqua, clover and violet. There were also colors that she had never seen before and couldn’t describe because they didn’t occur in the natural world as she knew it. The movement of deer, elk and other large animals caught their attention in the same way that her mountain cat did. This flying creature was a hunter. It was able to see through the canopy, which seemed almost clear like water to the ground below. Living things appeared in metallic hues of blues and purple, rendering an animal’s camouflage useless.

“Okay, take control as I taught you and move closer to the water. When you’re close, look down into your reflection so we can see what you’ve created.”

d’Rennith’s Muer’Khista flew in a wide circle and then descend rapidly. She could feel the movement of large wings, and the flow of air against her body just as if she were the one flying. When it was maybe fifty feet above the surface, d’Rennith glanced at his reflection below. He squealed in delight at what he saw. The mirrored image on the water showed a dragon. It glowed blue much in the way of a candle fly, with lingering, mist-like trails that had an ethereal nature. The wingspan from tip to tip could stretch from their cottage all the way to her father’s forge.

Tre’Leigh recalled how when she first saw her Muer’Khista, the great fanged cat, she was terrified. It was because of this, she prepared her son ahead of time. She didn’t know what form he’d assume, so he was told to expect anything. She shared in his excitement. It is said that a Muer’Khista reflects the personality of its summoner. Tre’Leigh’s mountain cat reflected her nature as a protector of those whom she loved. She could only assume d’Rennith’s phantasmal dragon had the same purpose, but she would make sure that he did not use it for evil means.

Tre’Leigh began to feel odd. It started out as a mild sense of being disoriented. She had this sensation when she was younger. The last time it happened however, her own Muer’Khista was present.

As the dizziness increased, her visual perspective doubled. When it settled, she was looking around from multiple angles. She could still see through d’Rennith’s eyes, and those of his dragon. But now another view slowly came into focus. It was from above him, looking down. She took a breath and blocked the other perspectives from her mind, letting go of the bond with her son because the overlapping images were making her feel nauseous. Tre’Leigh looked upon the water from the newly formed angle and saw why.

“d’Rennith. Look above you and don’t be afraid.” She told him. Her voice reflected a mix of giddiness and disbelief.

He rolled over, flying upside down. When he did this, he saw a dark form flying just above him and to the right.

“Is that you?” He asked.

“It is. I don’t know how or why, but yes it is”. She was almost laughing.

Above d’Rennith’s Muer’Khista was a second dragon. Whereas his was the color of blue that a flame makes on a slow burning log, the massive, winged serpent above to him was like a dark storm cloud with a winged serpent's shape. Purple fire swirled within its body with pulses of lightning where bones should be.

Tre’Leigh was remembering a theory her mentor and teacher Mistress P’lara had shared with her. She believed that Tre’Leigh was never truly a Muer’Khista. The great mountain cat that she summoned was in fact supposed to be her sister’s. Tre’Leigh merely created a copy. Given time, if she had lived, Liandrin would have created the great cat as it was hers in the first place. Her dragon was a duplicate of d’Rennith’s Muer’Khista which is why it, as with her great cat appeared as a shadow.

Tre’Leigh and d’Rennith spent the rest of the day soaring among the clouds as they played chase. d’Rennith had a lot to learn about being Muer’Khista. She would teach him all that she had learned through trial and experimentation. He would learn to use it to protect their people as she had done. For now however, they were just going to have some fun.

So, as stated earlier, there weren’t always dragons in the valley. Now there are two.


About the author

Kimberlain O'Driscoll, MBA, M.Ed

My stories come in the form of vivid dreams. The challenge is putting them to words. I'm medically a retired navy veteran and nurse, world traveler, artist, lecturer, and past journal reviewer with 5 ferrets who keep me very entertained

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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