Wicken Tales Chapter 10: An Owl in the Window

Tyler Golec

 

Fire on the Sand

Clank clank… clank thud… thud clank… Malick woke up cursing the wind. He paused for a moment seeing the great owl in his room’s window. He recognized the creature.

Malick opened his window and raised a finger to his lips signaling for the Owl to be quiet. It flew in silently and plucked several books from Malick’s book shelf. It placed them gently on Malick’s table and began gently turning the pages. It used it’s talons to delicately and precisely navigate.

As soon as the familiar reached a page titled Tarabel, Malick said. “I know, he’s building a following near Steilina and Cahrmarch.”

The familiar did an owl’s equivalent of a nod and closed the book. It flew over to Malick’s desk and picked up his quill. With surprisingly graceful script it told Malick of the Faery Corteal, and of Rylah and Corteal’s trip into the fae.

“Tell Rylah when she returns to head here, to a place near here specifically. The monastery is distracted but it doesn’t need a faery in it. I want to talk to Corteal.” Malick wrote down directions to a cottage about a mile east of the Monastery. He handed it to the owl.

The familiar took the note with its right talon and tucked it into a container on his left talon. It then flew out of Malick’s room. He fell heavily back into his bed but sleep was unfortunately not easy to attain again.

 

Malick waited on the front porch of an abandoned farm house. It had been a bad place to farm, too many rocks. The owner had taken what he could and moved on, and well, no one wanted the place so here it had sat for the better part of a decade. The chairs on the deck, where Malick now lounged, seemed to be maintaining just fine. That was as long as you ignored the slight mold and scent of mildew.

Malick watched the Owl land on a tree at the edge of the groove first and he waved to it. It did its Owl like nod thing again and several minutes later Malick watched Rylah, followed by the red haired Fairy they’d seen together in the Fae, walk out of the trees. Malick motioned them towards the abandoned farm house as he walked in.

“So Tarabel is fallen and Hell is trying to start a second war.” Malick said as the two entered the old house. “That’s the meat and potatoes of it, right?”

“There are a few spices to add to it but that seems to be the idea.” Rylah smirked, “Hospin told me that you already knew that Tarabel was in the Mortal.”

“His prophet tried to kill me and his forces have burnt Steilina nearly to the ground,” Malick explained. He was looking at the Faery now. “Where do you come in?”

“My name is Corteal,” The Faery said. “Rylah believes you can help us. I was pursuing Tarabel when I first encountered you in the Fae, then Rylah later in the Mortal.”

“I can tell you where he is, what was your plan once you found him?” Malick asked. “Faeries are impressive creatures, but unless you have a flock at your command this is Tarabel, not that lowly creature you butchered in the Fae.”

“You insult me yet you aren’t wrong,” Corteal said. “He is in Steilina correct?”

“Yes,” Malick answered.

 

“Malick, can you do one thing for me?” Corteal asked.

“What thing?” Malick asked. He stood up and moved to help ease the chill running along his spine. His emotions fought a silent civil war on trusting a witch and a Faery.

“Keep track of Tarabel, I may have the flock you spoke of. I will just need time,” Corteal said.

“I should be able to,” Malick said. “Understand that this relationship is uncomfortable to me, I am at risk. Tell how I can trust that you are not lying?”

Corteal smiled, “Because I’m not. Your silver bullets sting but what do you expect will happen against Tarabel? It is not an easy thing for a Faery to trust a Wicken Man either.”

Malick shrugged, “I’ll keep track of him, I’m sure the Monastery will ask the same thing of me, as they try to beg for aid from the Trinity.”

“The Trinity can’t hear you,” Corteal said.

“I believe you,” Malick said. “I will still be ordered to keep an eye on Tarabel.”

“And I will help you,” Rylah said, speaking again finally. “I’ve spent enough time in the Fae recently.”

Corteal nodded, “I should leave then, time is rather important now.” With that he left Rylah and Malick alone in the old farm house.

 

“So, we’re trusting Faeries now, or is there another angle to this game plan?” Malick asked Rylah, confident in their aloneness.

“Well he didn’t eat me so let’s give him that,” She said with a sneer. Then serious, “He also may be the only one who can help.”

“I hope your right. You should have seen what we saw, felt what we felt. Tarabel was there.”

“You should have seen what we saw in the Fae.” Rylah said.

“I’ll make a fire,” Malick said. “We’ll share stories.”

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