They Come With Fire and War
A Haken's Clan fanfic
It was a day like any other, until the scouts gave warning. The humans had once again found out where the 'evil spirits' dwelled. Haken listened to the reports and made a decision. He gathered his people together and announced:
**The Glen is not a safe dwelling place anymore. We must move to another location, one I've selected beforehand, and do so with haste. Take only food and weapons, and only what you can carry. Those who are assigned to carry a cocoon will know their task. Later, we will come back for the rest of our belongings, if we can. If not, they are only things, and not as important as lives. All our losses will be avenged, but we need a safe home to plot our next move in this war.** With the sending came images: every elf was shown the route to their new home, seen both from air and from the ground. **Go now.** Was the last instruction.
The elves didn't complain, they simply started packing little bundles of food. The road to their new home was long and looked difficult, but they thought this all the better – the humans wouldn't find them so easily. There were some among them who didn't agree with Haken's way of dealing with humans, but they had long since learned the hard way not to voice their opinion.
Young Voll looked around. "Where's Winnowill?" He asked a passing female, Taiyeen. "She was here just now – where did she go?" Voll was frequently misplacing his precious charge, but this time, there was cause for concern – he had to find her at once.
Taiyeen pointed towards Voll's dwelling, a cave he'd shaped into the stone with his rockshaping magic. Voll hurried there.
Inside the cave, Winnowill was packing her toys into a little bag. Voll knew she was disobeying Haken's instructions, but decided not to argue with her about it. Nobody expected a child to carry food and weapons anyways, and if she didn't lose the bag as soon as her hands grew tired, the dolls would be a comfort to the girl. Winnowill was five turns old. Besides, Voll reasoned with himself, packing toys would keep Winnowill busy while he packed food enough to last them both on the journey. He set to work, choosing foodstuffs that travelled well.
Winnowill slung the little bag over her shoulder. "I'm ready! Let's go!" She said in a demanding tone. Winnowill grew impatient very quickly.
"Alright, let's go." Voll picked the girl up and glided out from the cave. He realized at once that he'd spent too long packing the food. The forest was on fire, and the Glen, as Haken had named this dwelling place, was nearly empty. Voll glided over to the throne and the hidden chamber of cocoons. There, he found Haken, who stood transfixed, staring at the flames, holding a cocoon Voll guessed contained Gibra. Winnowill had yet to develop her healing powers, so the sleepers awaited their healing. During Voll's life the Clan had lived in three different locations before the Glen – no matter where they hid, sooner or later the humans found them.
"Lord Haken! We must go!" Voll told him.
Haken seemed to wake from a deep trance. "Vol didn't take his mother. I cannot glide. Vol didn't take his mother." He repeated, like a child.
Young Voll had never before realized Haken couldn't glide. He knew Winnowill couldn't, but he'd always believed Haken to be capable of anything. "I cannot carry both the cocoon and the child." Voll pointed out.
"With the child, I can outrun the flames. With the cocoon, not so likely. Come, daughter." Haken took Winnowill in his arms and immediately ran off into the forest. Voll was left to pick up Gibra's cocoon. Gibra was his mother, too. He held the cocoon gently, careful not to break it, and glided up, towards safety.
It was two days later. The tribe had gathered at the new dwelling place, a clearing in the middle of a dense forest surrounded by treacherous swamps. Young Voll had made shelters out of stone for those that wanted them, and a special chamber for keeping the cocoons. Every cocoon had been brought to the new home safely, and every elf as well – save two. As Haken's Clan built their new homes, some in trees and some underground, and foraged for food, they looked in vain for any sign of their leader, and his little daughter. All agreed Voll was not to blame – the choice at the time had been sensible and made by Haken humself. Yet he blamed himself.
Vol Golden wasn't asked why he didn't take his mother's cocoon to safety – simply for the reason that the past three dances of the moons he'd been cocooned himself. Haken had forgotten this and forgotten to instruct someone else to carry Gibra.
Finally, Haken arrived to the forest clearing, holding a sleeping Winnowill in his arms. His clothes were torn and partially burned, but neither of them seemed injured at all. Winnowill had lost her bag of dolls. **To me, my Clan!** Haken sent a summons in a triumphant tone.
Voll was the first to arrive, hope giving him speed. He smiled when he saw Winnowill.
Haken's eyes met Voll's. **Who has led while I was gone?** The Lord asked in locked sending.
**No one has led. But the others have followed me.** Voll told him plainly.
**You have grown, Gibra's son…** Haken mused, but said no more on the subject. Others were beginning to arrive.
**I stand here before you thanks to one soul only!** Haken announced. Voll expected public thanks from him, instead Haken went on: **My daughter Winnowill healed me after a burning tree fell on us. She healed both of us, and has been sleeping since then.** Haken raised the body of the child high. **Rejoice, my people, on this grim day, for we have a healer again!**
And Young Voll cheered along with the others, but his heart was troubled. He hoped Winnowill wouldn't be burdened overmuch with demands at such a young age. He hoped she would be allowed to remain a child, and grow to her magic slowly. There was no older healer to instruct her, not even inside the cocoons. She'd have to learn the hard way, by trial and error. And so many needed her… but Voll would rather wait for his mother's awakening another ten years or twenty, rather than urge Winnowill to heal her right now.
He wondered if Haken would be as patient…