It felt surreal to walk the streets she had traveled since childhood. The same kind faces, the same creeking, murming houses sang with the breeze and yet it was all different now. Winna stepped around two small children who were actively playing a game of Tip Tap. A small smile graced her face as Winna recalled the hours spent playing the simple game of trying to balance two stones on an impossibly thin twig. One player would place the rock on one side while the other tried to achieve the same goal at the exact time. Mie always seemed to win that particular game since Winna would lose patience with the flimsy stick. Now the fifteen-year-old felt as if she were the twig, trying to balance life and the expectations of her people at the same time.
"There she is, it's Winna!"
"The healer of nature...."
"Look, it's the healer!"
People stood in awe as she passed. Where there was once warm greetings, Winna was now met with revered whispers and almost frightened stares. She had become a celebrity over night and all ready news of her fame had spread through the small village like the budding color of a blossoming rose. A small flush came to her cheeks as the newly appointed healer tried to briskly walk past the prying eyes that seemed to suffocate her.
"Winna, can you really heal anything?"
"I heard she talks to wolves!"
"I always knew you would have the potiential for greatness! She is Lena's girl after all."
Winna backed up slightly only to discover herself surrounded by questions and anxious eyes. The villagers who had been with her for every moment of her life now looked to the young girl for answers to their every ailment. "I um...."
"Winna, I've had this horrible crick in my back since last harvest. What can you do about that?"
"Oh, I don't think I could...."
"What is the best thing to fix a cold, mine has been with me for a week now!"
"Um....lemon juice, I think?"
"Oh Winna, my baby is sick with some kind of flu. Please help us."
Over-whelmed by the requests of the skill she hadn't fully developed, Winna backed away slightly, unsure of how to answer. The seering eyes searched her desperately, waiting for the wisdom that would surely escape from her lip which she was now biting firmly.
"Winna! Winna dear! Could you help me for a moment?" The voice reached her ear as her turned to face Rita, the river Whisperer. The woman's silver-blonde hair tumbled down her shoulders like the cascading waters she spoke to daily as two eyes, swimming in impossible turquoise, met her dark gaze happily, "Grace the morning, Winna."
"Embrace the evening...." She replied quietly, shuffling from one foot to another as Rita took her arm gently, "I'm so glad I found you, love. I need some help with a particularly stubborn stream and my eyes are so tired from swaying it that they have lost the ability to see any type of shift in the balance. Would you lend me your fresh prespective?" The excuse sounded flimsy as it was, but Winna would never miss the opportunity to be near Rita when she Whispered to the rivers. It was something of pure beauty.
"Of course, if you think I can be of help." Winna replied allowing the willow-like woman to happily pull her away from the eyes which followed the young Whisperer where ever she went. The sound from the water was soothing as they reached a bend in the mighty Kwilin River, where just as promised, a small stream awaited them. Winna turned her head to the side, confused as to what exactly she should be looking for before Rita let out an exasperated sigh, "Good, we weren't followed."
"Followed?" Winna asked as those melodic eyes turned to meet her, "You seemed to be having some trouble back there. I understand how over-whelming it can be when you discover your affinity and how suffocating it is when others discover it with you. You looked like you needed a break." A relieved smile came to her face as Winna bowed her head in thanks. Rita shrugged, "But I wasn't lying about the fresh perspective. Sometimes all one needs to balance themselves, it to watch nature balance itself. With some help of course." She winked sweetly and pushed back her flowing white skirts in order to rest on her knees by the stream.
Winna watched amazed as the graceful woman dipped her willowy arms into the water and explained, "You see, the water here has become stagnant; there is a block preventing the current to move as it should. This is upsetting the fish, who feed the birds, who feed us. So you see, everything connects together and when one part, no matter how small is off, everything falls apart." Winna slid to the soft, warm grass to get a closer look as a curtain of blonde hair seperated her from the seemingly magical woman who closed her eyes and sang softly, "Flowing, moving, twisting still. Bubbling, singing, heed my will."
As far as Winna knew, Rita was the only Whisperer who would beeseech through song, but in her young life, she was convinced that she had never heard anything more beautiful. The melody of the words seemed to flow as gently as a sweet brook. They were meant to soothe and coax as Rita dipped her arms further into the body of water which began to run faster with the tempo of her voice. Almost as if the stream took on it's own personality, the water dipped over rocks and sticks effortlessly, creating a new path from nothing.
"Ease now, sigh now, rest now," The final chord of her song hung in the air as the stream flowed peacefully into the Kwilin River. A gentle breeze lifted the tune away as those flowing eyes met Winna happily, "You see? No matter how over-whelming a problem may seem, peace and patience will resolve it much quicker than force." Winna nodded, still transfixed in the sight she had just witnessed. Rita stood and left the young Whisperer to her thoughts which now had a stream of serenity in them that had been lost for the past few days.
This serenity however, was not something that could be expressed to everyone quite as easily as another Whisperer trained fiercely. The heat of the flame licked his arms as Kaden tried to ease the building fire before him. Lifting his hand and trying his best to beeseech the body of light before him, Kaden prayed for the strength to diminsh the fire he had created. It was one thing to produce flame, but diminishing it was another matter all together. Fire was not an animal he could commune with, it was not a mineral that could easily be molded to his liking; it was beyond life, beyond the basic principles of anything his classmates communed with. If he didn't respect it, it would burn destroy him quicker than he could imagine and all those with him.
"Please be calmed..."Kaden breathed heavily as he tried once more to lower the flames from the small brush fire he had created. But his legs shook from the effort, his arm wavered and before he realized what was happening, the ground suddenly met his exhausted body. As the darkness began to consume his vision, Kaden didn't miss the voice which curled around him like a ribbon of silk, "Hello fire Whisperer."
"Who's there?" Kaden asked without words as his mind tried to place who was speaking to him. "You know me. I am always with you. I am the one who whisperers to you." As the numbing sensation began to engulf the drifting boy, recoginition slowly came to him, "Lumin, why do you speak to me now? It is not yet harvest."
"You think I need the harvest celebration to address you? Honestly, that is embarassing. I am a spirit of nature, I can speak whenever I choose." The voice which sounded like thunder in his drifting mind echoed as Kaden punished himself for not taking hold of this opportunity, "My apologies, I'm simply surprised by your sudden apperance, great one." Lumin hesitated for a moment before pressing on, "Your body is weak, this is the perfect time to speak to you, when you will finally listen. I have a mission for you, my young fire Whisperer."
"What do you want?" Kaden asked within his mind as the voice he longed to connect with year after year made it's proposal known, "I want a little chaos."