Glad you could join us for the next avian episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“Thank you,” Elliot’s pride battled with the enormity of what he’d just heard, and wisely surrendered to humility. “I will do my best — faithfully — to deserve this Name.”
First Combat Master Vladimir the Just bowed his head to Elliot the Faithful. “May your Name inspire all who meet you to trust that you will serve them well.”
The celebration of a new Naming was a raucous, thirsty affair. Elliot was certain every creature in attendance must have congratulated him in person — some many times — with a toast for success and a shot of aged nectar.
Many shared stories of how they came to the Tower of Honor hoping someday to earn a Name for themselves. Some came from lands invaders had attempted but failed to claim. Others had barely escaped with their lives from war-torn regions overrun by Marauders. Most had left their families — or what remained of them — with promises they would return with help or the skills to win their homes back and keep the enemies at bay.
I’ve really seen very little of this raging war, but I’m beginning to see there are many more people than I realized who need our alliances to succeed.
Whether it was his overflowing cup or his overflowing heart that made him love these people, Elliot wasn’t certain. He knew only that he would devote his life to the possibility they might all live to raise their families in peace.
Family. He wanted one. He wanted to raise his own little army of Cassandriots and Ellandras, Cassliots and Ellindras. Maybe his brain was a little fuzzy, but he knew what he had to do. He had to return to Cassandra. Before he could decide how to excuse himself and start the journey home, the High Priestess took him aside to tell him his ride back to Fen had arrived and it was time to leave. It was time to begin his Future.
He made his final farewells and accompanied her to the main entrance where a feathered rainbow sat on the ground outside.
“I’m proud to know you, Elliot the Faithful, and I’m sure I’ll hear about your triumphs.” She leaned close and whispered, “Did Vlad show you the slide?”
“You know about that?”
She winked. “I’m responsible for everything that goes on here. I have a need to know… and a need to laugh like a child every now and then. So will you as you face the challenges ahead, Elliot. Joseph!” she called, “Be gentle with our friend. He has an unfortunate reputation among fliers.”
Watching the High Priestess bypass the door and head for the hidden slot instead, he climbed onto Joseph’s extended wing and smiled. Flying is just sliding on the sky. This is going to be fun!
On Joseph’s back, Elliot hurtled down sunrise’s curving iridescent shell, the streaming wind cleansing his soul of doubt and fear. His world was wider than he’d ever known and full of stories woven together by Time itself. He could never be free from it, but he was not its prisoner. Unknown storms might tear the sky apart and savage the earth he roamed, but after a while, in mild unremarkable grays or blinding glory, they would end.
He was going home. To Cassandra. To love. To a future of purpose.
His heart pounding so hard it echoed in his ears, Elliot the Faithful laughed like a child. He was ready.
To be continued. . .