Monday, November 5, 2012

The Withering

Gwydd helped Hadron do the dishes,
drying as he handed them over to her.

           Gwydd helped Hadron do the dishes, drying as he handed them over to her.  She stood with her backside against the counter, wiping off the plates.  In part she wanted to keep him distracted from watching as Willow spoke with Ry’llia but she also wanted the chance to speak with him in private.
            A full belly did wonders for demeanor, but the gravity of what played on her mind weighed down her mood.  At first, she hadn’t felt terribly bad about what she wanted to ask, but the more Hadron carried on in his relaxed way, genuine to the core, the guiltier Gwydd felt.
            “Hey…hellooo…earth to Gwydd…” He poked her shoulder with a sturdy index finger bringing her around.  “You were a million miles away – what’s up?”
            The muscle in her rounded jaw-line tensed, belying that something was playing on her mind.  Gwydd turned and draped the towel over the edge of the sink and glanced at up at him sidelong – or at least what she could see though his neatly disheveled hair.
            “I need to ask you to do something.”
            He lifted his brow, “Okaaaay….”
            “I don’t want to hurt you...” For all her battle composure, she was still a pixie, and the thoughts zipped out of her like the nervous buzz of wings.  “I’m notreallysure whoelse to ask, and we can definitelygotolengths to purifyyouafterward, but it mightbedangerous, I promiseI’dprotectyou.” 
Hadron looked down where the slender pixie squeezed his arm intently, with more strength than a creature her size ought to have, he thought.  “Gwydd.”  He steadied his blue eyes on hers.  “What *is* it?”
“Snowdust.” There it was, all wrapped up in the avalanche of that one word.
“The pharmaceutical?” The young gardener cocked his head. “You want me to take Snowdust?”
"...if we don't find the cause, we are all doomed to a
slow, withering death."
Gywdd only nodded, she was pretty sure if she opened her mouth words would spill out in a rush again.
“Hm.” he turned and rested against the edge of the counter, looking across at Willow who seemed to be whispering into her bowl.  “Why?”
Suddenly Gwydd was unsure how much of fae politics she was supposed to share.  There had been times that humans had sought to take the fae, kill the fae, enslave the fae.  To be fair, this time they were helping.  She decided to trust him with at least a little.
“We need to understand what is causing the Withering.”
He turned his attention at her again.  “What’s that?”
“It’s what we call the…drying up of…well, magic I guess.  First it happened to the land, sapping the life out of everything – and then it began with the people.  Both yours and ours.  If the Lockdown had never come, we would surely have been extinct but when the cities began to recede we were able to help the forests grow again, outside the walls.”
“And you think that Snowdust has something to do with this…Withering.”
She shrugged. “I don’t know for sure.  What I do know, is that the shards of the world spirit that are within every living thing, began to shrivel and die when the megatropolises began to rise.  And that seems to coincide with certain things – like pharmaceuticals – becoming prevalent in your world.” Gwydd looked up at him with an intensity no mere girl could have mustered.  “All I know is that if we don’t find the cause – we are all doomed to a slow, stagnating death.”
Even amidst the gravity of her explanation, Hadron was able to smile reassuringly.  “Listen, we’ve all made an alliance here.  If you need something, I will do my best to help you and I’ll have to trust that you are going to do the same for us.”  He took her hand from his arm, giving it a quick squeeze.  “I’ll do it.  You make your arrangements.”
Gwydd mirrored his smile, if conservatively.  She was relieved that her hunch to trust him had proven right.

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