- Louis Sauvain
Thaddeus and Avolare
Asullus Anguli XVII ... Asullus’ Corner
Thaddeus and Avolare
Well, now, several o’ our Gentle Readers ha’ been pressin’ this ol’ Mule lately to know more o’ Thaddeus’ four, so-called, Feral Children—those he ha’ been identified as bein’ the father thereo’ at a time before he an’ the Lady Marsia ha’ made things all formal betwixt themselves. As those who follow these scrolls knows, the Four Feral ones comprise the Ordines in the Great Prophecy an’ are, therefore, necessary to all things workin’ out just so, don’ ye know.
Wi’ that in mind, yer old an’ faithful friend, Asullus, an’ the mighty Spritae Morphia ha’ done some research an’ come up with four tales occupyin’ the next four bits o’ our writin’s here. Hope they do go towards providin’ ye some enjoyment in yer readin’ time.
The day was sunny but with winds starting up along this section of the coastline. Random gusts blew up the cliff side, trying to remove Thaddeus’ cloak and robes--or at least twist them around so he couldn’t see where he was going. No doubt sea Nyads amusing themselves at his expense. In any case, he slowed his dapple gray stallion, Viator, to a walk and continued his survey, heading north, with the Sea on his left.
He was looking for a place. A place he had once seen in a dream, or vision, or in any case it was a long time ago. It was a place with a Tower--or might someday have a Tower. It was, he fancied, his Tower--a Tower on a coastline. Turris Septentrionum. A place of peace and safety--he would see to that--where he could raise a family. A place free from outside influences, or at least mostly free. He would know it when he saw it because he had already seen it. Now it was just a question of finding it.
He looked down at the simple map the local Quaester had caused to be made for him last week when he’d passed through Pontesport. This looked like the area, all right. In fact...
Thaddeus looked up again to see a young maiden some distance away standing on the edge of the cliff. Everything froze in time for him. A young girl in a short tunic with a long blonde braid down her back and a pack carried on her shoulders who was facing toward the Sea. The figure raised both arms as if in supplication, then dove straight off into space.
“No!” Thaddeus shouted, kicking Viator hard in the ribs. “Damn!” followed by “Go!”
In a second, the huge stallion was eating the distance between them and the cliff’s edge. Thaddeus leaned close to the horse as he had been taught. He was there in a matter of heartbeats and off his mount before it had a chance to slow down.
“Fool girl!” he swore. Probably trouble with some pimply-faced, worthless, pig-farmer’s drunkard son with whom she was taken at the moment--or, perhaps, pregnant by.
Thaddeus ran the short intervening distance, skidding to a halt to peer over the edge. Ascende should work. There she was, knifing down to the rocks below in a graceful swan’s dive. Now...
But just then, the girl’s ‘pack’ opened, billowing out into a pair of great blue-white gossamer wings. The young one pulled smoothly out of her dive at the last possible moment and began swerving and swooping in a series of intricate maneuvers--truly a dance of aerial grace.
After his heart slowed from its previous pounding, Thaddeus sat down on the cliff’s edge to watch. The girl’s elegance captivated him. After some time, the winged one’s progress brought her back up the cliff face where she saw Thaddeus watching her. She hesitated a moment, then added a swirl or two to complete her design, finally alighting several paces away from him.
Now that the girl was still, Thaddeus could appreciate her finely chiseled features and form. Her bright blue, heavily lashed eyes were a perfect match for her equally bright blue fingernails and toenails, and the paler bluish tint of her skin. She was only chest high, though, if that--a miniature woman, with extraordinary wings.
She was wary, but unafraid. “What do you here, sirrah?” she demanded in a voice particularly haughty for one so young.
“I was looking for a Tower. But I saw you dive off, and I thought...”
“That I would be dashed to pieces on the rocks below? And you came to rescue me? That is quite charming, though, of course, unnecessary. I was merely testing what My Lord Spadix calls ‘the thermals.' It is very exhilarating, though, I suppose, technically I’m a bit young and therefore forbidden. But, so be it. My name is Avolare. What is yours?”
“I am called Thaddeus.”
The girl stiffened and peered at him with more interest. Her wings begin to beat back and forth, shimmering in the sun, as she took a step nearer. “And what village or town do you hail from Master Thaddeus?”
“Well, it’s a tiny place, a bit inland from here. I doubt you’ve heard of it.”
Taking another step, the girl stared at him intently. “Nevertheless, sir, humor me. What is the name of your town?”
“Beewicke,” Thaddeus replied, “although I’ve not been back there for some time--and now I have other names that I go by, so...”
Avolare had gasped at the name of the town and cautiously approached even closer, her great wings fanning more rapidly. “And what, Thaddeus of Beewicke, is the chief product of this tiny village of yours?”
Thaddeus had the feeling something important hinged on the answer to this question but he had no idea what. He was curious as to the girl’s ignorance of Beewicke--but she was clearly Fey and perhaps her education had been different.
“Why, honey, of course.”
The girl uttered a shrill cry and leaped into the air, rushing toward him at blinding speed. Before he could begin to defend himself, she collided with him, knocking him to the ground. Phosphenes appeared in his vision as he strove mightily to suck air back into his lungs, while trying, unsuccessfully at the same time, to ward off a torrent of kisses raining all over his exposed face. His brain, whirling with the events of the past several moments, was attempting to remember her cry as she’d launched herself at him. What was it now?
Ah, oh yes—“Papa!”
The Sorcerer sat on the ground with his legs crossed and hands behind him supporting him facing the butterfly girl whose legs were drawn up with her chin resting on them and her arms wrapped around as her wings fluttered lazily back and forth. The wind, puny in comparison, held no candle to the great breezes stirred by the inundation provided by the blond girl’s speech.
“...and then, of course, Mama had to decide whether I should be raised in the human world or with the Faerrae, but there really was no choice, naturally, given my beautiful wings and all--and they are beautiful, don’t you think?--because everyone says so, even if they are larger than all the others, but then I’m larger than all of the others, too, but Mama says that’s because of you, because you’re human, though I’ve often wondered if a Sorcerer--and Mama says you’re a very powerful Sorcerer--but I tell her, of course, my Papa would be, wouldn’t he, I say to everyone--means it’s easier to have children with the Faerrae, but it’s probably different for everyone, depending, of course, on the circumstances, though sometimes I’ve seen Mama cry for you, and she always speaks well of you and I’ve heard her, a thousand times, talk about the night you rescued her from that terrible spider--like you were going to rescue me just now--I mean before you found out who I am and what I am, though My Lord Spadix is not always so pleased with me, but Mama won’t let him send me away, though sometimes I think he’d like to, because he resents me as I’m proof that he’s not so great and all-knowing as he pretends to be...”
As the Fey chattered on Thaddeus found himself lost in this tidal wave of words, but once he had sorted out their import he realized he didn’t mind at all, really--not at all. In fact it reminded him of...
Suddenly, a shadow fell over them, and Thaddeus looked up to see another great winged shape approaching.
Avolare, cut off in mid-sentence and gasped, “My Lord Spadix!”
The intruder landed a short distance away. Large and muscular, he was kingly in bearing with great brown wings and coloring. But as he drew nearer, it was clear that he lacked, perhaps, a thumb’s height on Avolare.
“What do you here, girl, and who is this stranger?” he barked at her.
“He is only a traveler passing through, My Lord Spadix. He saw me flying over the meadow and stopped to watch. I did not see him until just now. I alighted to tell him to forget this scene as if his life depended on it, or it would go ill with him.”
“Saucy girl. You are always showing off your wings--just like your Mother. Do not think for a moment I will not be telling her of this adventure of yours." The Rex Blottarum glanced briefly at the cliff’s edge. “You did not, I presume...”
“Oh, no, My Lord Spadix. You have forbidden it, and I would not disobey you.”
“It is just as well you do not. As for you, stranger, it will be best for you to forget all that you see here." The King of the Moths casually raised his arm, and a handful of fine dust flew out of it and was borne on the wind to Thaddeus. “I doubt anyone would believe you in any case. Now, Avolare, you are to come with me. Your Mother, the Queen, is worried about you, though I am not sure why she should be. Be that as it may, she sent me to find you. We must leave now if we are to back before dusk. I have, um, important business this night with my subjects. It is the Fall Carnivale, and I must be there by First Star. Come!”
With a quick glance back and a blown kiss Thaddeus was certain My Lord Spadix did not detect, Avolare leaped into the air, obediently following her stepfather. Thaddeus gazed after them until they were lost from view. After a bemused moment, Thaddeus contemptuously brushed the moth dust from his cloak. Someday, My Lord Spadix might be in for a bit of a surprise. Though whether he, Thaddeus, would be the agent to deliver it or his daughter, was a throw of the dice.
Laughing to himself, he looked around and knew without doubt that if he were going to build a Tower, he was going to build it on this very spot.
So, that be the matter o’ how Thaddeus first met his growed up older daughter, Avolare. An’ ne’er fear, there’ll be much more concernin’ this lad an’ lass in the later scrolls. Howe’er, until that time…
The Great North Tower, Northfast