Ah, this is quite textful. Because it’s ridiculously wall-of-text, I believe I’ll color the dialog for you. Follows on from Tempy’s Part 6. If you haven’t read the story yet, start at Part 1.
Photo by nickehret
The black bird lay on its side, glaring at us from inside the net of flowers. Its gaze was disturbing. I could tell that it was memorizing our faces. When it got free, it would remember us. It would tell its family. They would come after us. They would never forget that we had wronged them.
“Oh shut up.” said my sister. Though the bird hadn’t spoken, its stare must have communicated the bird’s true thoughts to both of us. My sister looked at me. “We’ll have to take it with us, and prevent it from escaping.”
“That’s great. Where are we going again?”
“To the silver well. We must use it to travel to the other side of the world!”
“Right. To get the cure for our mother.”
The silver birds that had escaped the black bird began to gather again in the trees around us. They began to sing their song. Not wanting to waste any more time weeping, I pulled my sister and the black bird out of the clearing.
My sister did not want to leave the clearing. As soon as we left the circle of song, she stamped her foot and said “No, we have to go the other way!”
“Fine.” I responded, and led her by the hand around the clearing rather than back through it. “How do you know this is the right way?”
“The birds told me.”
I looked at the black bird, recalling the way it had communicated with us, and decided it was perfectly possible that the birds had indeed told my sister where to go. The black bird looked back at me, and continued projecting hate-filled words. I could understand its discomfort at being dragged across the ground in a net of flowers. I told it “If we come up with a better way to contain you, we’ll take it.”
This time, the bird actually opened its beak to speak. “Set me free of this net and I will remain with you. I can’t disobey a knight of the Sacred Well.”
“I’m not a knight of the Sacred Well. I’m just wearing his armor.”
“You are as good as a knight, then. The armor empowers them. It contains the essence of the Well itself. It should protect you fromthe wards surrounding the Silver Well, and strengthen you when you fight against their knights.”
“Fighting? Are we going into a battle?” I glanced ahead at my sister. She was skipping, humming the birds’ song, still much younger and more innocent than she’d been when we left our home.
The bird looked at me like I was an idiot. “You wear their armor, and you don’t know a shred of history. This may take a while.
The two Wells connect this world to yours. The Sacred Well is called such because it is out of that well that the first Knights came. A few men in armor, carrying a message to a neighboring kingdom, were blinded by a great light and found their way to this world through a well. They found this forest filled with light, and music, and animals. They sent a message back up the well using a silver bird, and more knights joined them. Silver birds are the only creatures who can travel back up the well. The knights found themselves trapped here, and some of them went slightly mad. Some were able to harness the magic of this world, present in the light, and the sounds, and the creatures. They crafted the armor you are wearing.
The discovery of the Silver Well and a gateway to the other side of the world changed everything. Finally able to reach the other side of the world, they invaded, and a great war began. The main battleground is beyond the Silver Well, where I presume soldiers are still fighting. A quieter war between two factions wages here, the sides named after the two portals, the Sacred and the Silver. Each has guarded their own Well from the others successfully for years. This world would be a quick shortcut for an army if either side could capture the other’s Well. This world would also be destroyed.
Approach the Silver Well in the armor of a Sacred Knight, and you will be attacked. Your armor should prevent the worst their magic could do.”
I looked at the armor I was wearing. Now that I realized that it contained magic, I could feel the power in it. I let its history sink in for a few minutes. “I’m going to have to participate in a war to save my mother.”
“I’d be able to help. I’ve some experience with the other side of the world, I could possibly help you avoid it altogether.”
“You said you couldn’t disobey a Sacred Knight. Why would you, a creature of this place, ally yourself with one army over another?”
“Set me free and I’ll show you.”
He said it so sincerely. And he had been so informative. I took a leap and trusted him. I attempted to rip the net of flowers apart, but they were as strong as a thick rope. I took out my knife and cut through them. The large black bird fluttered his wings and stood straight. He used his beak to straighten his feathers out. I waited.