Chapter Eight – Luminary River

A Fairy Tale by Dakota Earth Cloud Walker

“Rowan, WAKE UP!” Alwyn yelled at her sleeping brother. The water was bouncing into their boat which was turning sideways and all around as they bobbed in the roaring rapids of Luminary River.

The water churned and sprayed, engulfing their vessel with every dip of the rapid they sped through. Alwyn had long lost Deer’s antler and resorted to using a single branch of Willow to help her navigate the boat. Darach reached his large paws into the water and tried to slow the boat down as much as he could while Rowan bailed water out of the vessel just as quickly as it poured in.

They rode the rapids for nearly three days, never sleeping or stopping to eat. Any time they felt they could relax they were met with another wave of water assaulting their boat. They were tired.

It was the early morning of the fourth day that their boat capsized in the rapids, sending them each into the turbulent waters not knowing which way is up or down. The water made Rowan do somersaults until he could find his way to the bubbling surface. Each of them swam to the nearest stone or sandy beach they could find.

Alwyn crawled onto a warm slab of sandstone and surrendered to it. Every bone in her body felt bruised and battered. She could feel the grit of the sandstone beneath her fingers, while it rubbed against her bones, she realized it also felt smooth, and it held her small body perfectly as if it had been specifically formed to her shape. Rowan had also found a stone made to fit his weary body and while the river roared past them, at this moment they were safely held by the stone people.

“Rest dear one, just rest,” Stone spoke to Alwyn.

“You can talk?” Alwyn asked Stone, she suddenly felt relieved to know she wasn’t alone.

“Of course!” Stone replied to very matter of fact, as most stones do when they are responding to small humans.

“I’m sorry, I suppose I’m not very used to Stones talking the same way that humans talk.”

“Well, we can be a hard read for most people and many take us for ‘granite’ even though we have more stories to tell than even the most devout bard.” Stone explained.

Alwyn and Stone sat in silence for a few long moments while she still dealt with the tiredness of her journey through the rapids. After a while, she asked Stone “Why do you stay here? Wouldn’t you want to live in a more peaceful river where the water is still and quiet?”

Stone thought about her question thoughtfully, and with great consideration, reflected on why she hadn’t sought an easier place to be.

“I suppose I began befriending the river instead of fearing it. And I used to have edges that were sharp and little humans like you wouldn’t befriend me because I had too many peaks and points. The river smoothed out my contours and made me smooth. We flow together now, and now I’m not alone.”

Alwyn ran her hand down the smooth spine of Stone as if imagining what she had felt like before Stone had met Luminary River.

“I very much like you now,” Alwyn reassured Stone, “and I suppose the river also is teaching me that there is magic in befriending the challenges we face in life.”

“Transformation comes with a price, but also a guarantee. The price we pay is the comfort that a sublime life may afford us if we were to avoid the raging rapids, but the guarantee is that our journey through the rapids will be met with the profound realization of our strength and truth.” Stone conveyed the wisdom of all her years of collecting the stories of the river and all the beings around her.

Alwyn felt this all to be true because as she listened to Stone, she could feel the seed in her growing even bigger. It felt full, and her belly glowed a golden hue as the sun shone down on her while she rested on Stone. She felt different too, she wasn’t as scared and she didn’t feel worried. She had new wisdom inside her after having gone through Luminary River.

Rowan, while having a similar experience on his stone, waved to Alwyn from across the river. It wasn’t until that moment did, she realize they had landed on opposite sides of Luminary River.

Rowan stood on his stone. Darach circled around him then laid down on the warm stone, waiting for their next adventure.

“Rowan, the compass is spinning again. I think it’s trying to tell us where we are to go next.”

Rowan and Darach gathered their things and walked to the edge of the river. He wasn’t quite sure how to get across the river, it was too deep and fast for him to swim across. It was too wide to skip over rocks to the other side. There were no trees with branches long enough to catapult him to the other side. Knowing the predicament that his human was in, Darach crouched down and offered his back to Rowan. He climbed on top of his familiar and with the velocity of a panther, Darach leaped into the river and swam against its current to take Rowan to the other side where Alwyn and Radha waited for them.

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Chapter Nine – Dragon Falls

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