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Title: Lonely No More
Wordcount: 1274
Fandom: original fiction, Daeron!book
Rating: G
Warnings: backstory stuff
Summary: Cey thought she knew everything there was to know about the mountains, but she was wrong.
Notes: Backstory! For a character that doesn't even appear... But she's important to the story, and is sort of the catalyst for everything, so. Very beta-y and I wanna develop it more, but tossing it out now anyway.



The wind was chill on the mountain despite being midsummer. Cey rubbed her arms and hopped up and down as she surveyed the large boulder in front of her. It blocked a potential path for the loggers, and more than likely was not ideal, but she couldn’t pass up the challenge.

Shrugging off her cloak, she rubbed her hands into the dirt at her feet and approached the boulder. It was pockmarked from wind and rain, and she had no trouble finding holds. The rock was icy cold beneath her fingers, but she hauled herself up quick enough.

“Oh…”

The path descended into a lush valley, the greens brilliant against the blue sky. The mountains rose around the valley like a sanctuary, and she slowly slid down the opposite side of the boulder in a daze. Vistas like this weren’t exactly uncommon, but the sense of peace that overtook her was. Something was calling her, welcoming her. She could vaguely hear someone shouting her name in the distance—someone must have seen her on the boulder and thought she fell. Cey called out a weak “I’m fine,” as she followed the path.

Something caught her eye just as she reached the cover of the trees, and she turned to find another path that snaked back up the mountain. The incline was gentle, and the going was easy, and she soon found herself overlooking the valley once more as the wind tore at her and played with her short, reddish hair. She saw her companions in the distance, surveying the boulder and the path beyond.

“Up here!” she started to say, but a shadow suddenly blocked the summer sun and she froze with her arm raised. Cey slowly lowered her arm and turned.

The bird that stood behind her was like nothing she had ever seen. Just one of its talons was half her size, and it towered over her like a sentinel. Its feathers matched the reddish clay of the mountain, but its eyes were as brilliant a green as the valley below. It stared at her, its head tilted slightly to the side.

“Hello,” she whispered. Her heart beat wildly in her chest, and every muscle in her body screamed at her to run, but she could only stand there as the creature’s eyes met hers.

But it wasn’t a creature, was it? Stories she’d heard all her life likened the god Ilvitre to a giant Roc; she’d always passed them off as just that—stories—but to see the great bird before her now… Whether it truly was a god or not, she couldn’t help but think of it as such.

It blinked once, twice, and then lowered its head to her level. She smiled nervously. “I’m Cey.”

It blinked again before pulling away, but it brushed its beak against her hair as it did so. She laughed at the playful nudge, and reached out to touch its chest before she knew what she was doing. That same peace she’d felt overlooking the valley enveloped her.

“Have you been watching me?” she asked softly. Ilvitre was warm, and she leaned against it without realizing. “Thank you.”

The great bird made no move to push her away, but Cey backed off as soon as she noticed what she was doing. The wind was bitterly cold. “Forgive me.”

If she’d offended it, the bird made no sign, and instead stared out over the valley below. She followed its gaze and smiled at the sight. “I’ve climbed these mountains since I was old enough to walk,” she said. “But it’s as beautiful now as it was then.”

The great bird trilled, the sound surprisingly soft for its size, and Cey sat down by its talons. “I love the mountains. Mother never approved, but I didn’t care. Any excuse I could find I would use to come up here.” She glanced up and Ilvitre looked down at her with its wide, green eyes. “But I never knew about this place. Was that because of you?”

It puffed out its chest and she laughed. Whether god or bird it seemed to understand her, and it was friendly enough. She leaned back against its talon, only to roll sideways as it nestled itself down beside her. Even crouched down it dwarfed her; one pinion was longer than her arm.

Cey waited until the great bird settled, and then sat down beside its chest, glad of the heat as she looked out over the valley. Birds soared in the distance like specs of dust, and the wind whistled pleasantly around them. She lost herself in the view, in the sound of the wind and the gentle motions of the great bird’s breathing.

It was so much nicer up here than her small, lonely dark home. Nothing to worry about, no haggling, no begging for scraps.

But something nagged at her, some sound trying to break through the peace she felt, and she frowned as she looked closer at the valley. “I think…someone is calling me?”

Ilvitre leaned down again and nudged her with its beak. She smiled and placed a hand atop its head, but the feeling she needed to be somewhere else only strengthened. “Forgive me,” she said again, and pulled her hand away from its warm feathers, “but I think I have to go…”

Her heart hurt suddenly, the feeling of loss stronger than anything she’d felt since her mother. Cey reached out and hugged Ilvitre’s neck, her face buried in its feathers. “I’ll come back,” she managed to speak past the tightness in her throat. “I promise.” Peace washed over her again, calming and gentle as a summer breeze, and she smiled against the great bird’s feathers.

When she moved to back away, however, it lifted a wing to block her. Ilvitre blinked at her, its eyes impossibly sad, and then brushed its wing gently against her. Cey’s eyes rolled back as she slumped to the ground, and the world went dark.

She came to on warm, soft moss, surrounded by the trees in the valley. Her companions shouted close by, and she managed a weak “Over here” as she blinked the world into focus. The summer sun bore down on her through gaps in the trees, and her cloak lay folded beside her. She picked up a corner and watched in a daze as it unfolded, pale against the vibrant green of the moss.

“Here she is!” Roal shouted and then rushed to kneel beside her. The older man held her face in her hands and checked her eyes, and patted her arms with a worried frown. “You look dazed but unhurt. What happened?”

“I…” Cey furrowed her brow in concentration, everything that happened vivid in her memory, but the words wouldn’t come. “I got a little lost,” she finally lied, and Roal grunted.

“We were worried you’d tumbled down a cliff after you slid off that boulder.” He helped her to her feet and wrapped her cloak around her shoulders. “You’ll give this old man a heart attack yet.”

Cey smiled weakly as they rejoined the rest of the crew. They made their steady way back to camp, the day too far gone for more work. Cey hesitated as they passed by where the path to Ilvitre was, but only shrubs and rocks littered the way.

“Nothing up that way,” Roal said when he noticed her looking.

“Oh. Yes, I suppose so.” She shrugged her cloak closer, suddenly chilly. “I just thought I saw something is all.”

Roal grunted again and continued on, and she gave the mountains one last look before following after.

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