Wednesday, November 5

The Sidhe River

Word Count: 1089 Average Read Time: 5:27 Time Finished: 4th Day, before Dinner Sprints

Toibha could feel the currents beneath her, as they ebbed and flowed with passing moments time.

She was walking on the river: a pleasant evening for an Abha Sidhe, but certainly no miracle or even spectacle… at least not for those who had seen a Sidhe before.

Creatures born of magic and tied to a specific part of the world, Sidhe often considered that which the Untied might call, “Spectacular,” to be more along the lines of, “Mundanity.” There were the Aes Sidhe, who could speak to the wind and spray all of the colors of the Autumn forest out of their hands. There were the Cnocc Sidhe, who could ferment any beverage with a sip and take on the grassy earth as a suit.

And then, there were the Abha Sidhe, like Toibha: Able to Walk on Water (and breathe it) whenever the mood struck them. They were tied to the River or Lake they played upon, and so long as one was safe, so would be the other. To the Untied, such as the Fox Men who lived nearby, this meant that they should not be harmed, lest the water would run dry and the fish would all die.

Or so the stories Toibha preferred to remember went.

Toibha stood and stared at the moons above her, and felt with her mind deep into the rushing waters below her. This cleared her mind, as always. Becoming one with the constant flow of the river, and tracing it back to its root so far North, at the mouth of a great lake. She could feel each and every animal, plant, and stone which called this river their home. And it soothed her to know that her place, the place she was born from, was still so vibrantly alive.

Today had been hard. A group of the Fox-Men’s Children had spotted her on the bank, and had shouted to her to come see them. She had obliged them, and was delighted to find them so open minded as to entertain her for a time. She had been about to excuse herself when the truth had been revealed.

A net was thrown over her, and she was quickly tied up and strung from a tree. The Fox-People were so strong, and these children were already larger than she was, so it was not hard for them to do. And then, the ‘fun’ began for them… with throwing rocks and sticks and words.

She could not find it in her heart to hate them: After all, Sidhe were rare, and the only real stories people knew of them were the ones which stuck over time: The bad ones, the ones where Sidhe had sought revenge or solitude through trickery and force. This was taught to the children, and the children responded as they could: With violence when confronting the bogeyman they’d been raised to fear.

The parents (The tree choppers, by the look of their axes) eventually came across the scene, and immediately drew her tormentors away from her. After the children were long out of sight, an old man came and cut her down, telling her to be more careful lest this happen again… but to hurry and take her leave as well.

Once again, trusting those she did not know had caused her nothing but pain. But the river would continue to flow, and the children might continue to grow, and as long as she kept out of their sight, she might avoid that plight again.

Sighing the sigh of the evening wind, she could easily see the large smoke stack rising in the distance. She could taste it in her lungs, but it was not a bad taste: It was one distinct pleasure Toibha took from being so close to the Untied. Except, tonight, they seemed especially eager to burn their wood, as there were two smoke stacks in the sky.

Toibha decided it might be best to leave them to their burning, and continued walking up the river a ways, towards the place with the yellow flowers. She once again put her mind in the water, and felt her body’s aches begin to fade as she left it to walk on top of herself. Soothing currents filled her being, as she was home again.

But something was amiss. She felt as though her giant, flowing form was growing smaller. She waited for a moment, to make certain that she was feeling something real. Sometimes she felt the current shift, and it made her feel off, but not usually like this.

There it was again. Subtle, but certainly present: The water was slowing, taming, and growing smaller by the minute. What was going on?

She rushed her being through the slowing waves, and mentally slammed into a great metal wall about two weeks north of the Fox People. There was a small grate at the bottom, allowing a bit of water through, but this giant hunk of metal had definitely not been here before. It was sitting on the riverbed… No, in the riverbed, and extended out of the water, continuing on for some time.

Who would put that in the water, to block off something so precious as a river? Especially her river, the one which was the source of her life? And why would they do such a thing?

She rushed back into herself, and looked ahead, hoping to see it looming in the distance. But no, it was much too far away… Only now were the effects of the blockage beginning to be felt by the river, and in a few days time, it might be all dried up, a mere creek compared to the mightily flowing monster it was right now.

She resolved to resolve this issue, if it meant traveling North by herself. After all, if left unchecked, this could mean her death, and the death of all creatures in and around the river, both those with stones and those without. But first…

She looked around, to the neighboring woods, and spotted something in the distance. Leaving the river, she went off to retrieve it, taking care to inspect it for holes or cracks before placing her life within its integrity.

She dipped the hollow gourd shell in the water, and let a gallon of her river flow into it. She made sure it was as full as possible before sealing it with a leaf and tying it firmly onto her back.

Who knew how long it might have to last?

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