Chapter 6 - The Spirit under the Moon

Chapter 6 - The Spirit under the Moon

A Chapter by Nanaki
"

Vaan arrives in the Doireann forest of the Sutuaddo. He uses the Dolkuun to locate the first shrine on his pilgrimage. Will he be able to find the shrine of the great wolf?

"

Chapter 6 " The Spirit under the Moon


Vaan awoke suddenly, there was a cold breeze breaking through his shelter he had put up earlier that evening.

It was still dark out in the Glades where he had settled for the night. Looking around to check he was alone and had only jerked awake from the chill of the nights air, something took his eye.


There was a wave of dim twinkling light all across the land in front of him. The Sutuaddo.


It was beautiful, like millions of snowflakes glinting in the moon light. Vaan sat and stared in awe for a while, then he decided now he was awake that he would make a start into the Sutuaddo. He packed his things and quickly made his way down towards the light.


It was not long before he was engulfed by the Sutuaddo and surrounded by the twinkling light the trees gave off under the moon. He didn't even need a light of his own, he could see the path clearly enough without. The sounds of wildlife hiding from view were all around him. Birds were calling out and flying above and below the canopy of the trees. In the distance Vaan spotted a small herd of deer grazing and some where far in the distance a lone wolf was howling at the moon that was obscured from view.


“I wish Grandpa was here for this, this is amazing.” He whispered to himself smiling.


As the moon began to disappear from the sky and the sun rose the twinkling light began to fade. Being replaced by rays from the morning sunshine.


As the sun was rising that Vaan found the first Doireann village that would mark the beginning of his search for the shrine. The village was called Oaken and from that Vaan figured the name came from the sheer thickness of the Oak trees that were everywhere. People here had carved cabins into them or used them as centre pieces for buildings that had been built around the bases of the tree trunks.


Vaan figured he should stop and collect himself before going any further but as he did he pulled out the Dolkuun. He smiled to himself. The Dolkuun's showing the faintest bit of red in what would be a North-East direction, judging from the suns position Vaan thought.


Vaan pocketed it away and headed for the tavern, he had decided a warm meal was his reward for making good time and to be in a crowded room for a change would be welcome after nearly four days of solitude.


The tavern itself was large with an open fire and a series of benches, tables and comfy looking armchairs. The bar itself had been fashioned out of a low branch on a huge oak that the tavern was built adjacent too. A carpenter had sawn and sanded down the top to offer a flat surface. It was extremely well done.


The Barkeep eyed Vaan up and down as he took a stool at the bar. He was a large man with a bald head, a thick brown walrus moustache and one eye was closed. Seemingly from a scuffle from the night before as a faint bruise was beginning to show.


“What will it be young master?” He said to Vaan.

“What's the special today sir? I am looking for a good meal to reward four days of walking and sleeping rough.” Vaan replied. He'd decided he could let on he was travelling as he wouldn't be able to explain his attire otherwise. Why wear travellers armour if your only going to the pub. He thought to himself.

“Well then, you'll be wanting some of Ren's famous stew then young sir” The barkeep said smiling. “Would you care for an ale or cider to wash it down?”

“Yes please” Vaan said smiling “Its noon somewhere I expect”

“Aye” The barkeep replied returning the smile.

He turned and disappeared into the back of the tavern. Vaan took the opportunity to take in his surroundings. It wasn't overly busy but it was still before noon. There were a few locals eating an early lunch. A group of travellers were scouring over a map seemingly deciding where they should head next. There was a hooded figure in the corner seemingly staring at the floor. Vaan didn't gaze too long at him as he didn't want any unwanted attention.


After a short while, the barkeep returned with a big bowl of steaming stew and a big chunk of bread. The barkeep then poured a generous mug of fresh apple cider assuring Vaan that this was the finest in the West of Doireann.

“An that there's Ren's famous beef stew young sir.” the barkeep said matter of factly.

“Looks good, tell Ren he can cook!” Vaan replied shovelling a big spoonful.

“You just did young sir, I am Ren.”

Vaan smiled taking a gulp of his cider as he brought out his coin purse and paid a bronze piece for his meal and drink.


“Are ye heading anywhere nice young sir?” Ren asked as Vaan was eating.

“I'm..on a pilgrimage of sorts” Vaan replied keeping his eyes on his stew.

“Oh are you now, where are you headed? Sorry to pry but we don't normally get that many visitors and its good to hear news of the outside world!” Ren said polishing a glass.

“I am heading toward Voitek to seek out an elder in a village outside the capital. I am an apprentice from the Glades and my master advised me to travel to see if this is the path I should take.” Vaan said smiling to himself at how good the lie sounded.

“Well” Ren started “Sorry what was your name young sir?”

“Vaan.” Vaan he replied.

“Well Vaan. I think your master had the right idea. Travelling is good for a man of your age. It builds character and you could meet a lovely lady along the way too.” Ren said smirking.

Vaan coughed into his cider.

Ren let out a loud booming laugh.


They continued to talk casually of things in the Sutuaddo and the Glades as Vaan ate and drank. It was just after noon when Vaan left the tavern waving to Ren as he went. “He would have to stop here again in the future” Vaan thought. “Nice guy.”


Vaan proceeded through and out the eastern side of Oaken and walked along the road until he was certain he was alone.

“Now it begins” Vaan whispered.

He pulled out the Dolkuun and set out off the path and into the wilderness following the thin red line of the Dolkuun.


In the hours that followed Vaan's eagerness dwindled slowly as the search was long and hard especially due to the terrain. He was walking through thick overgrown forest. While it was a stunning forest, it was extremely hard to navigate. Vaan would come to a river that was too fast flowing and deep to cross. He would walk a mile in one direction to see if it got safer to break across only to then double back to try the other direction.


There would be heaps of giant trees that had fallen in the silence of the forest and had created a blockade of wood. There would be prickly vines surrounding any small opening causing Vaan to take to not rip or tear his clothing and travel sack.


As it was getting dark the forest began to twinkle again offering a dimmer light to the sun. Vaan pressed on, he knew he could get to the shrine quickly if he carried on and he wanted to make a dent in his pilgrimage. Something that signified he wasn't on a wild goose chase. Something that defined what his grandpa had said he could do. Something that would define him a real Tsuki clan member.


The Dolkuun was over half full of red colour now and if he hit a obstacle causing him to find a way round. The colour would shift direction around the edge of the device.

Excitement returned. His determination doubled and he pressed on. Under the dense canopy of twinkling lights Vaan now began looking for signs of a shrine.


The Dolkuun was about three quarters full now and Vaan thought there would surely be some sign of the shrine at this point. In truth though as he thought about it he didn't know how accurate the Dolkuun was. If it was full of red water would he be right on top of the shrine or would it be within a mile or a five mile radius of his position.

In what seemed endless hours Vaan continued until the Dolkuun was completely red and then his excitement dimmed, anxiety rose and he came to a stop. The sun was breaking the horizon and the twinkling lights had disappeared. The shrine was no where to be seen.


Something odd caught Vaans attention too and he had not entirely noticed since leaving Oaken until now. When he'd crossed in from the Glades the Sutuaddo had been alive with wildlife night and day. However when he had left Oaken and taken the path. There had been silence, absolute silence. He had thought anything in the forest close to where he was passing had scattered on his approach but then he thought why would a wild wolf or a bear run from him? Why would birds who fly high out of arms reach not continue knowing he couldn't catch them up there? Then it hit him. “The spirit!” Vaan exclaimed.

“The energy from the spirit must frighten the animals away. Then with nothing to hunt here people wouldn't venture out here.” Vaan stood smiling in his own brilliance but was brought crashing back to reality. “Where's the shrine then?”


He sat and made a small camp. A small rest wouldn't hurt now he was in the right place. As he made a small soup using potatoes and some herbs. Vaan mused over the mystery of the shrine. There had to be some reason it wasn't appearing before him now. “If its a wolf shrine surely it would be in a cave? Yet I've not seen any.” Vaan said to himself. “Maybe the Dolkuun isn't working or maybe its destination covers a larger area? Ill wait until nightfall then make a perimeter around here in the moon-.” Vaan stopped and realisation dawned on him. “The moon!” He shouted and thought to himself , What if the moon is the answer. Wolves howl at the moon! The moon here has a twinkling effect on the trees so who is to say it effects the shrine too?


Stunned by his idea he ate his soup and mulled over everything Kane had told him from old stories from his childhood right up to the truth he had been told before he had left. His grandpa had never mentioned what time of day he had come to this shrine before. Vaan thought. What if he had came at night by sheer chance and seen the shrine? He would never have thought to tell that vital piece of information as he would never have known!


After eating and clearing up Vaan wanted to sleep but his excitement was too much. He set about looking close to camp for any caves or small cliffs with rock faces that he may have missed. He found several. The Dolkuun was fully red in every area he searched around his camp so it was either broken or it covered a larger area than first thought.


The sun was beginning to set when Vaan prepared himself, his mind was racing. He had no idea how this was going to work or how he was going to engage with the spirit if he even found it. Even then if he did, would it be friendly? Would it try to hurt him? No! Vaan thought. If Grandpa did it then it cant be evil. He would have mentioned that.


Vaan waited as patiently as he could until the moon was high above the canopy of the trees giving off the twinkling light at its brightest. He was fortunate, it was a clear night again.

Whether this would have hindered the search Vaan didn't know, nor did he care. He set off. First toward the Cliff face to the east of his camp. Nothing. Then he tried to the South where he had come across a steep hillside by a small stream. Again nothing. Lastly he headed North of his camp to a small quarry surrounded by oak trees. As he entered the Quarry Vaan came to a halt. He'd hit something. No he thought. Something had restrained him. He couldn't move. Panic ensued, ahead of him a rock face was engulfed in the moonlight from a small opening in the canopy above and where the moonlight touched the rock there was now a veil.


From within the veil came a snarl. Not a low snarl but a deep, booming snarl that echoed off the rock faces of the quarry. Vaan stood helpless in his paralysed state. He wanted to yell but his voice failed him. He looked down all he had was the Dolkuun he was gripping in his left hand.


The snarl grew louder, followed by an mighty howl that chilled Vaan's bones to the core. The veil vanished.

There the cave stood and at the mouth was the source of the viscous snarls. A Great Wolf stood before Vaan. Pure white, eight feet long with teeth the size of small knives. Its eyes were clear almost as if it was blind but then as the wolf drew close to Vaan, he saw the moon was its eyes. Bright yet only half full, much like the moon in the sky.


The White wolf came nose to nose with Vaan baring its teeth at him. It glanced at Vaan's hand and saw the Dolkuun. Its eyes grew wide and it howled loud to the nights sky. Vaan thought stupidly for a fleeting second Oaken must have heard the wolf from here, maybe someone would come and find him. Then the wolf met Vaan's eyes. “TSUKI” it barked at him.


The wolf's hold on Vaan vanished and he fell to the ground in a heap. Picking himself up Vaan drew his knife. The wolf snarled and charged at him viciously knocking the wind out of him as it knocked back to the ground. It pinned him to the rocky floor, one paw carefully pressing down on the hand with the knife in it. Vaan struggled under the weight of the wolf, feeling its icy cold breath on his face.


“TSUKI?” the Wolf barked at him again tilting its head. It was asking him the question.


“Y-yes” Vaan stammered “I am. You speak the common tongue!?”.


The wolf eased its hold on Vaan retreated back and sat curling its tail around its front. It looked majestic sat there with the twinkling lights surrounding the shrine and its spirit guardian.


Vaan clambered to his feet and sheathed the knife. “ I am of the Tsuki” he started. “I have come seeking your power and the form of the Great wolf!”

Vaan didn't know if this was what you were meant to do or not but it was better than fighting the wolf instead.


The wolf simply stared at him, then turned and walked slowly toward its cave “Come” It breathed.

“Your trial awaits”.


Vaan looked around, this was it. He shook himself and forced his anxiety and nerves behind him, it was time. He strode into the cave after the white wolf totally unaware he was being watched from afar.




© 2017 Nanaki



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Added on March 26, 2017
Last Updated on March 26, 2017
Tags: Nanaki, Tsuki clan, fantasy, book, literature, Skywhale, ruh, dolkuun, starwoods, rheardon, elder, elder kane, mungaden, dragons, wolves, bears, eagles, mystical


Author

Nanaki
Nanaki

United Kingdom



About
just me. Have a avid interest in fantasy more towards medieval and magic rather than sci fi. Havent done a great deal of writing at the point of writing this but thats looking to change pretty pron.. more..

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