Stirring of the Wind

A one-off scene from the above prompt.

In a little glade, tucked into the far reaches of the forest, with room for nothing more than a tiny pool, made by a spring of the purest water, there was a soft movement of air.

The birds nesting in the trees surrounding the pond tilted their heads and fluffed their feathers. The small furry creatures in the undergrowth below twitched their noses and looked for deeper shadow.

The movement turned into a breeze, then in to a swirl that made the leaves dance and the small creatures scuffle further away from the sunlight.

The swirl spun through the glade, looking for grass to ruffle and twigs to rattle. It found a suitably green and rustly spot and settled into place, swirling more tightly into itself until a young woman, barely more than a girl, stepped from its centre.

She was lithe and slender, dressed in soft, grey gauzes that floated and flirted around her. Her skin was pale, but lacked the blue tinge of her cousin, the North Wind. She was a child of the mountain realms, beyond the plains, where winds were dark and golden when they played, and above the forest she’d come to visit.

She stepped onto the grass and looked around her expectantly.

She was repaid by the sound of something large and clumsy crashing through the trees towards her. She flitted to the opposite side of the glade and leaned against a tree, comforting in its solid, determined presence.

A young man, a spare few years older than her, stumbled into the clearing, leading a horse saddled and bridled in the ornate designs of the plains riders.

“Are you her?”

The woman frowned, confused. “Am I who?”

“The object of my quest, the purest maiden of the land, destined to wed our Lord and bear the saviour of the plains.”

She laughed. “No.”

His mouth turned down and his expression darkened. “You could be.”

She shook her head and laughed again. “No I could not. I’d have to be human first, and that I am not.”

He jerked back, eyes wide. “You’re a demon spirit?”

“You do jump to the silliest conclusions. No I’m not that either. I’m a wind.”

“So you can blow anywhere and know anything?”

She shrugged. “I suppose so.”

“What would you ask of me in return if I asked you to find for me the maiden I’m looking for?”

She considered his words. “Does the maiden have a choice in this? Does she wish to be married to your Lord and valued only for the child she produces?”

He stilled at her reply. “I don’t know. I mean, I’d like to think I’d give her the choice and ride away if she said ‘no’. But then, others will follow me and they won’t heed her wishes, so would my consideration make any difference, if I was so noble?”

She sighed. “And this Lord of yours, what is he like? Noble or vile? Young or old? Handsome or repulsive? Kind or cruel?”

The man’s confusion showed on his face and the wind shook her head. “Never mind, I shall make my own decision. Where might I find your Lord?”

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