"Yan Lin was my best friend, sometimes my idol and sometimes… my greatest rival."
The story continues, after half an eternity! Yeeey!
Since I'm a fan of Yan Lin, this piece was a lot of fun to make. However it took half an eternity because the winter Yan Lin gave me some trouble. For more info, check out my post on instagram coming soon on the progress of this piece.
Please enjoy the next part of the "Frozen Hazard" story, the final adventure of CHYKN, commissioned by
Next: coming soon....
The light faded and we were back in Aressy. The transportation was difficult and it made our stomachs turn. Huffing we took a moments rest to recover our senses of direction. The plan was to get to the old couple as quickly as possible and set out to the palace by morning. We had told our parents we were away on a school field trip. That gave us a little extra time.
Lucky for us, it was still night which meant the heat had cooled down. As soon as we could, we spread our wings and headed east. Yan Lin had the hardest task. Using her powers, she made the Tarzeans float. Their uncoordinated fluttering kept her busy the entire flight.
After a meager dinner, there was the issue of sleeping. You see, the couple had a small cottage. There was hardly enough room for the five of us, not to mention the Tarzeans. God, the debate took forever! I think… it was Halinor’s idea – who else - to play a game in order to determine who could sleep inside the cottage and who outside of it. I don’t even remember the rules anymore. I was far too tired… or maybe I was agitated? I couldn’t think straight, is what I mean. All I wanted was some peace and quiet before the sun rose but Halinor insisted. Cass, Kadma, me and two of the Tarzean’s ended up inside. I tried sleeping but there was always something that kept me awake. Either it was moon light shining through the window, the sudden touch of another person’s foot, snoring… even complete quiet seemed incredibly loud, too loud to handle. After what seemed like an hour I got up quietly and stepped in front of the house. The air was fresh and new, the way spring felt like on Earth. I think I stood there for quite a while until Yan Lin appeared. She looked tired but not surprised to see me. “Can’t sleep?”, she asked. I shook my head. Yan Lin sighed and stretched her limbs: “Me neither. What’s on your mind?” I didn’t know where to start. There was still the matter of the Heart but right now I had a more pressing matter. The group was becoming instable. As if we were falling apart. No, maybe it was more like when you’re underwater. You can still see each other and hear the other one’s talking but it’s hard to understand and in most cases, the more you move, the further the other person will drift away from you unless you hold on tight to each other. Now that I think about it… maybe that isn’t the best example. Anyway, I wanted to be a friend in that moment so I asked Yan Lin to go first.
“It’s Cassidy. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. She seems… different.” We walked away from the door and sat down with our backs against the cold stone. The sky was illuminated by a million stars.
I replied: “She seemed better in Tarzea. Did she say something to you?”
“She was better, yes. She said so herself.” I could clearly see the thoughts unknotting itself in Yan Lin, so I waited patiently until she continued: “Remember when we went through that ice passage? Cassidy was scared. Then she got better and now that we’re here it’s almost as if nothing happened.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?” She sighed: “I don’t know. Maybe. It’s just… something doesn’t feel right and it’s not just her. It’s all of us. You and the Heart have some kind of issue, Halinor suddenly goes crazy,” her hands flew into the air, “even me, I feel edgy and I don’t know why.” We sat for a while in silence, each one lost in the events of the last days, weeks. Then something struck me. “Do you think it’s my fault?” Yan Lin stared at me blankly. “What?” But before I could answer, there was movement behind us and we fell silent. Halinor made her way to us, burying Yan Lin’s feet in sand as she sat next to her. She clearly avoided me, but after what had happened, I wasn’t too fond of her either.
“Hey, can’t sleep?”, Halinor asked and looked up to the sky. We followed her gaze and got lost in the view for a moment. “It’s so quiet out here. At home you’d hear a cat or the wind in the trees, people walking by or… something.” Yan Lin smiled beside me and looked down towards the horizon. “Yeah. Here it’s just our breathing.” We listened and noticed she was right. I moved my foot and the sand began to ripple under it. The sound it made suddenly seemed loud and interesting. Like something I had never heard before. “Scary” The others looked at me and we laughed. After a while the sky started to change colour so I send everyone back to sleep. We needed the rest.
After a short slumber, that felt like minutes, Kadma woke me. Daylight flooded the little cottage and we set out. What little food there was, we took for the road. Yan Lin took care of the Tarzeans again while I lead them all on towards the palace. The travel was difficult. We had to stop several times and with so many of us, most of the places I had landed on my previous travel proved to be too small. That meant we had to rest on the ground, somewhere in the shade of a tall rock if possible. We took turns sleeping, two of us holding watch, preparing some food or water. Half an hour, I let them sleep, and then we had to move on because a caravan came by or the shade grew thin. The suns were merciless, burning down on us the entire way. Especially the Tarzeans had problems with the heat. After one of them collapsed, I told them to leave their precious robes behind and travel as lightly as possible. Still, we made slow progress. As night came, we rested for an hour or two and then travelled on with more speed. With every hour, Yan Lin looked more worn out. Controlling five floating people was taking its toll. At least they were holding still now, enjoying the ride, or simply too tired to move. “Should we walk on foot?”, I asked her as dawn broke. She just shook her head, weakly. “It would take too long.”, Kadma came flying by and took hold of one of the Tarzeans. “Then let us help you!” I smiled at her thankfully and spread the word to the others. Each of us took care of one of the foreigners, lifting them, using our magic to assist Yan Lin, whatever it took to help her. I looked about myself, seeing how we worked together even under those terrible conditions… I was proud. Proud to be part of the team, my team. It didn’t last of cause. You already know that. Life changes, we changed…. Anyway, we were ambushed that day. As we were flying past a small village, ropes shot up from below. Some of us could avoid them but Yan Lin and the Tarzeans were forced to land so we others followed. A group of angry people surrounded us. They were angry and armed, shouting, cursing. They were starving or sick of the heat. They needed to place the blame, they needed to release their frustration and we were prefect for that. “You’re not from here! What do you want?” “Go back!” “I bet it’s their fault, what happened! Look at their wings! Magic!” I felt how the girls got restless, too. Halinor started snapping back at a few villagers, while I tried to control the situation. “Please! We’re here to help!” But the villagers didn’t listen. I tried the girls, I shouted to stand down but it was all for nothing. As the villagers grew bolder, we closed around the Tarzeans, forming a circle of protection. Next thing I knew, Cassidy was dragged away by a woman. She reacted on instinct, lashed out with her magic and all hell broke loose! Weapons were drawn and the girls used their magic more and more, not just to fend them off now, but to attack and they grew fiercer by the second. I had to do something! Anything! I screamed at them, pulled Kadma by the arm but it was all for nothing. I didn’t dare to call the Heart under these conditions, too afraid it might fail me again or hurt someone. I was helpless, and what was worse, I couldn’t help the others. Maybe it was all my fault. Maybe my problems with the Heart affected the group, made them weak. Maybe I was wrong to push them so hard, maybe I should’ve let them rest more often and longer. While I doubted myself, Yan Lin was the one to act. A strong wind rushed past me, throwing me and everybody else to the ground. It wasn’t violent, but enough force to bring the fight to a momentary halt. “Listen! We are the guardians of Kandrakar! We are here to help, not to fight!” She held her arms up into the sky, calling for attention. Everyone turned towards her. “These people are from Tarzea, a world once as hot as yours. If you let us, we can escort them to the royal city and start to rebuild your world from there. Please! Just let us help you!”
I envied her. In that moment, more than ever. I was the leader but she had been the one leading. She was the one to notice, something was amiss. Not me. I was too occupied with my own problems or maybe that’s just an excuse. Yan Lin was my best friend, sometimes my idol and sometimes… my greatest rival.
Everything went well after that. At least there was no fighting anymore. Yan Lin had disarmed the situation. The villagers even agreed to escort us to the palace. With a quick step, we followed the main road through the dunes. The air was still tense, especially the girls seemed upset. Kadma just stared at the horizon while her boots stomped through the rocky desert. Cassidy and Halinor stuck together which worried me for some reason. They looked dissatisfied and whispered to each other. Yan Lin kept close to the Tarzeans and the two brothers that lead us on. She was exhausted and concentrated, as if she was solving a riddle. I wasn’t any better. We were back underwater, separated. I wasn’t any better. I kept to myself until the shadow of the royal city came into view. Like a beacon it drew us closer and closer. The gate was still crowded with people but the two brothers called out our message and why we had come and for whatever reason, it worked. They let us pass, some hopeful, or reluctantly, others with a grim face, waiting for the slightest reason to start a brawl. We sighed in relief as the gates fell shut behind us and even more so once we got rid of the Tarzeans. They met with the ambassadors of Aressy for over 2 hours in which we girls were left to ourselves in one of the beautiful palace rooms. There was food and water and soft pillows to sleep and yet, none of us could relax. “There’s something wrong.”, Yan Lin finally said aloud. “There’s something wrong with this place. I can feel it and I think you do, too.” She looked at us. Kadma tilted her head back with a heavy sigh. “It’s true. I feel it, too.” Yan Lin nodded and looked at me. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s not just this place.” Cassidy snickered. I remember it distinctly, because it made my hair stand on end. “What? So now it’s our fault?” I looked at her hurt and answered: “That’s not what I meant. I just think-“ She cut me off: “Oh, really? Well maybe I don’t want to hear it! I’m tired and I’ve had enough of your brilliant ideas for a while so why don’t you just shut up.” Nobody said a word. Cassidy got up and left, Halinor looked at us, then followed her. Kadma buried her face in her hands. I’m not sure if she wasn’t crying. Too weak to comfort her, I hugged my knees and said: “She’s just tired.” The words seemed empty and unconvincing. Yan Lin glanced at me from the side. “Let’s hope so…”