We hadn’t been walking for long before I realized that the land around us was drying out. There were dead or dying plants and no signs of insects or other animal life. There was a cracked crust on the ground, as if it flashed dried after a heavy rain.
Whindel frowned at the land around us and muttered. I heard the words “Earth” and “fire”, making my ears prick up.
“Excuse me, sir, but what is it about the elements?” I asked.
“What, are you talking about? Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Zink? They make up the matter around us. Or at least the matter that matters most to you,” the wizard answered.
“No, no, I’m talking water, earth, air and….” I started to say, but his look cut me off.
“What do you know of the elements?” His look was slightly menacing.
“I never realized that they were actual beings, that they could talk to us,” I said.
He stopped and turned towards me. Whindel was no longer the little ridiculous wizard I had seen in the dwarves cave. He had slowly grown so that he was now towered over me. His stare was penetrating, and I felt he was reading more from me than I wanted.
After a few moments he mellowed slightly and nodded. “The elements are just abstractions, not real beings. Or at least for most they are. Once in a hundred generations there is one born who can see and hear them. I should have known that you weren’t chosen at random. This gives me hope. We were destined to travel together.”
“But who, or what, are they?”
“They’re exactly what you said, the elements. Another quick lesson. You have the lady Air, or Wind. She is quick, fluid and seems insubstantial. She is life giving, yet deadly. She is the friend of animals. Her opposite is earth, ground and rock. He is slow and very concrete. He, too, can be deadly, but moves slow. He is friends with the plants, like the big trees that we saw last night. Water is like air. She is fluid and hard to catch. She is also needed for life and can be deadly. She is the friend of the Fair Folk. Fire is the opposite of her sultry coolness. He is hot and destructive. He is tricky and quick. He pretends to be Man’s friend, but he only serves himself. If he has any friends, it would be Glumoric. They understand each other and use each other.”
“And who is the friend of the wizards?”
“That would be the fifth element. You may call it the Infinite or the Void. It is the unseen and the unknown. There are no human or fair folk words for this element, though humans have come close with their Dark Matter and closer yet with Dark Energy.”
“And is there a sixth element? A seventh?”
“Of course. The sixth is evil and the seventh is good. As you see, they all come in pairs except for Void. That’s why I personally feel Void is the most powerful.” He laughed. “That, and, of course, vanity.”
He smiled at me, the menace now gone. “You don’t need to worry too much about Elemental Politics yet. You will know more in good time. Come, let’s go.”
He turned and continued across the devastated landscape. After a while he stopped again and stared at something on the ground. As I came up, I realized it was a large egg, but it had cracked, seemingly another victim of the dry heat.
“This isn’t a good sign,” the wizard said.
“The drought seems to be killing everything,” I said.
“This wasn’t broken, it has hatched. Do you see the burn marks on the shell? This is a child of fire.”
I looked at the eggshell, a little puzzled. A voice in my ear, like a wind through a dried out bush, said, “Dragon.”
No sooner had I heard the voice, than a louder sound, the crack of thunder, made me jump.
The sky looked shattered, like a pane of glass that had a rock thrown through it or the wake of a large rock thrown into a small pond. From the center of the of the crazy spider web cracks I saw a flame. It grew larger.
No, it drew closer.
“Dragon,” I whispered to myself.
— — —
Is our story moving away from the light and towards the dark? And seven elements? Is the author smoking too many elements? What is up with a growing wizard? These questions, and more, will soon be answered! Stay tune for our next exciting episode – same blog channel, same blog time!!