Where the phoenix doth flyStory by [Linderel]
In the village, one always heard stories, retellings of an old legend that nobody really knew the origins of. Children and adults alike would gather at the inn whenever there was a council meeting, and they would wait impatiently until the elders descended down the rickety stairs leading from the back room. Inevitably, they would move close to the warmth of the fireplace, and one of the little ones would cry: ”Tell us about the firebird, oh please, tell us about the firebird again!”
Knowing looks were always shared between the elders at this, and after a moment of silence, one of them would begin the tale that had been passed down for generations upon generations. And always one particular little boy would listen more closely than the rest, enraptured, eyes wide with wonder, hands gripping the edge of his seat. Then, after everyone else had left, he would sit quietly by the hearth, deep in thought, and would only move away when his older brother came to get him.
The boy grew, but his fascination for the tale never waned, and even as a young man of seventeen he would sit and stare into the fire for hours, as if it could tell him the secrets he yearned to reveal. Yet, somehow, none of the villagers ever expected him to chase after a myth.
The tall, lanky youth contemplating an assortment of items in his bedroom didn't so much as twitch as the door to the cottage was roughly slammed shut, nor did he acknowledge the familiar long strides of his older brother, even when they arrived at his back.
”Daniel! Daniel, what in the name of gods do you think you are doing?”
Merely throwing an annoyed glare over his shoulder at this interruption, the youth turned back to his haphazard packing. Spread on his cot were piles of clothes, food supplies, even weapons, all of which he was attempting to fit into a rather small bag of coarse green fabric – and failing rather miserably. He bled a strand of straw-like hair out of his eyes and sighed, frowning at the bag. An impatient noise from behind made him roll his eyes, but his answer, when it came, was a mumble directed at the sheets rather than at his brother.
The young man knew exactly how well his plans would be received.
”I'm leaving for the forest, Ian. Travelling to the deep valley, if you must know. I'm going to look for that firebird, brother, and I am going to find it, and you cannot stop me.”
His brown eyes sparked with unusual fire, narrow mouth set in a grimly decisive line. There was a stunned silence, their breathing loud in the tiny room. Finally, the other man spoke again, features in a scowl that was half worry, half anger.
”You must be out of your mind, little one. It's barely spring – there's still snow against the wall, Brende hasn't lost all its ice, and the night temperatures are rarely above freezing! How are you going to survive out there when last I checked, you couldn't even begin a decent fire!”
Cringing at the words, Daniel could hear the disapproval clear as day. If he'd had any doubt as to the reaction this announcement was going to get, they were now rather brutally laid to rest. He, however, had no intention to back off. This was something he'd dreamed about for years, and he'd be damned if he let his brother deny him.
”Don't call me that.” The mutinous grumble went unheeded, and with a resigned sigh, he picked up his bag and walked on.
No one ever found out whether he had found the mythical firebird; at first, they were too afraid of his scarred appearance to ask, and later, after he had left the village to live in the woods, it simply became part of the story that continued its passage down the years.
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