As I was about to leave the Lands of the Rock Trolls, I heard a Call, that changed my mind about where I was to journey next, and I explained this to the Rock Troll Chief.
"Ergt, know this. I must visit the Skydragons first. How are you with that? Shall your son come with me, or meet me at the Crossroads to the Goblins Wood three days hence?"
"My feeling is that your Call to see the Skydragons is a solitary one. I can smell it in the wind. When the wind changes, Tonner will know to meet thee at the Crossroads. Blessings, my Lady, and I will send word to those who need to know. Good fortune be with you."
And, so it was that I set off - not to the West, but to the Northwest, to the Coast, from whence the Call came. I had not ridden nor flown with Ikthar for a very, very long time, but I remembered him well. I felt his energy in the Call, and something more in the undercurrent of its Sending.
I set out in the morning, and had not walked half a day, when I saw his silhouette circling high overhead. I stepped off the small trail, and headed into a nearby meadow, whose vastness was easily misperceived by those who had never entered its Place. Even Ikthar was dwarfed by its immensity. He landed nearby, and I jogged over to him. A harness and seat had been prepared for my passage and I climbed up into it. Much earlier practice made this possible. My initial attempts had even gotten the most serious of the Blue Skydragons to chuckling.
We lifted off and into the chilly air. Soon he found the updrafts that would give him the boost he needed to gain altitude. The ride was so incredible as to be beyond words, and the beauty of the Land below filled my heart with awe-struck emotion. We did not hesitate in one place very long, but cruised along quickly. Soon we were nearing the coastline and his Home. These Skydragons nested in the giant cliffs, with their own limitless source of updrafts and ocean food. Ikthar circled twice to alert those below - not only who he was (by a dip of his wing), but also that he was landing with someone. I disembarked rather ungracefully, but landing on my two feet.
The jewel-toned Skydragons who were currently here gave serious appraisal of me, before agreeing I was too small for lunch. Even though they're quite aware of my Intention and Invitation, they still liked to see how unsettled they can make a Stranger in their midst. Ikthar directed me to step over the cliff ledge, using hand and foot-holds, so appropriately melted into the stone for those like me. It was an appreciative use of their fiery talent.
"First cave to your left. Can't miss it", Ikthar called out, trying to be helpful.
I was wise enough not to look down while I climbed, although I had done that at the cliff's edge before I started down. The panorama was vast in its beauty, the ocean filling my view to the horizon. It was hundreds of yards straight down onto a narrow sandy beach and huge volcanic boulders. No; no way I was looking down again after starting. I held on for dear life with each hand and foot-hold. I did know that Ikthar would have caught me had I slipped, but that did little to lessen the panic.
Soon, however, I realized I had reach the first "Home", and brought myself round and in.
"Welcome, my Lady," I heard a Skydragon say. "It is good you have come. We have heard about (and Ikthar has witnessed) your healing abilities, and have sought your audience and advice."
I realized it was a Mother Skydragon, and replied, "I'm not sure I have any Knowing beyond 'Apprentice', my Lady Skydragon."
"Inroolia is my name, and you have my permission to use it while you are in my Home."
"I'm honored, Inroolia, and you may use mine, if you choose. Still, I do not know what you expect that I, Human, can do?"
"Ah, but you are no longer just Human. You are Elcyrr. That is what calls. That is what answers."
"What, then, Lady, can I do for you?"
"My Child is ill. There is no precedent or history or healing lore for it. There is no elixir or ointment or aid that has even comforted her. You go. Go to her. Do what you will - what you can."
"Where is she?"
"In the back of the Cavern here, where it is warm and a spring flows from between the rocks."
I centered myself, and formed a small blue glow of Light in my palm. I quietly walked into the depths of the Cavern. I knew where the Child lay, long before I reached her. The energy was making me nauseous; the odor was rank and fetid. The air was heavy with congested breath. I felt I might be too late even were I able to heal this Child-dragon. Still, I kept on. It is my nature to persevere, regardless.
Then, I was by her side. I changed the color of my Light to white to better see the Truth of the Illness. Whatever it was, it had now circulated throughout the entire system of the Child: physical, mental, and auric.
I would have to do a holistic attempt, and this Child-dragon was thrice my size. Still, I just allowed my intuitive Knowing to direct my thoughts and hands. I centered and grounded into my Deep Peace. Then, quietly, I listened. A whimpering. I drew my Light Shield outward to encompass us both. I went still and listened again. Now I could hear a thrumming, a heavy beating, as if a very deep breathing of her heart was laboring in its Flow.
I allowed my eyes to follow to where the sound was focused. And there, under a scale near the center of her chest section, I saw a red glow... not of the healthy red of fires and sunsets - no. This color held the ichorous hue of infection, and a darkness of decay spreading its spidery webbing to encircle the heart.
This was going to involve not only extraction but intense purification as well. There was no time to consider alternatives or even risks. This hidden perpetrator had almost succeeded in taking a Child's life. No cure would have worked because the foreign object would have just continued to re-infect again. And I could not even tell what the object was, so enmeshed in its cocoon of disease.
First, I radiated the powerful Peace of my Stillpoint to quiet and soothe the Child. Then, I began drawing out and draining as much of the heavy congested pain and infection surrounding the object as I could. I drew the deadly energy back along the spidery tentacles and drained it also. As I drained and drew the negative energy out, I was simultaneously setting fire to it, to release its sacred Light and burn off the dross - which fell like tinkling glass onto the cavern floor, bursting into flames like meteorites striking the Earth. I don't know how long this all took, but it seemed a very very long time.
Finally, I was able to see the object. Somehow, not only had it gotten lodged under a scale, but it also had gotten pushed into the softer muscle beneath. It was time to attempt the extraction. I checked my Light Shield to ascertain that it was still sealed tight. Nothing of the infection and heavy energy remained. So, I thrust my hand beneath the scale, grabbed the object, and quickly yanked it out. The Child cried out, and then slumped, as if in a deeply relaxed state (hopefully not dead - hopefully, hopefully). With my left hand, I then drew down the Spirit Light and washed and filled the area where the object had been, for several minutes... maybe much longer. I had to see only a white glow in that wound before I would release my Call to Spirit Light. Finally, I could hear the Child sigh, and begin to breathe naturally, as if in a light sleep. I wrapped my Spirit Shield about the Child like a blanket, and then split my own Shield separate from that, creating twin Forces. She would live. I knew it. Then, I walked out to the front of the Cavern. Inroolia had tea ready. I spoke first.
"She will recover. She will heal. I do not know more than that."
"It is enough. I am grateful for your presence and actions. I will share tea with you now. Do you know what was wrong?"
"This, my Lady." And I showed her the talon that had been embedded in her Child's chest mere inches from her heart.
"That... is not familiar. Do you recognize it?"
"No.. we will have to wait til she recovers sufficiently to explain how this came to be here - in this Time and Place."
"Yes, that is true. Can you stay a few days, yourself, to regain your own energy?"
"It would be my pleasure, my Lady."
"Ikthar is entertaining the Captain, so tomorrow we will see what else beckons in the Land."
I raised my eyebrows, but she only said, "You knew he would come, but this is your time, Lady."
And we sipped tea, while watching the sun set quietly beyond the fiery edges of the sea.