Chapter 1: 1
Three things one could always count on autumn bringing with it: leaves changing colours, an increasing chill in the air and an uptick in Cersul sightings as the great horned tyto winged her silent way through the night, with her young companion Bren at her side or astride her back as she helped corral the wisps that tended to be most abundant at this time of year. With the change of the season came the thinning of the veil, and it was Cersul's eternal task to ensure that the spirits did not stray too far from side of it.
"There!" Bren cried out as three pale blue lights could be seen.
I see them, guthane, she said as she let out a high, lonely-sounding whistle. Hold on tight. They will scatter once they sense me.
Just as predicted, the wisps flew off in several directions at once, not wanting to be caught by the spirit shepherd and sent back to their side of the veil.
It was quite the wild ride; full of sharp twists and turns, but Bren's experience with such things ensured that his hold on her was sure, her icy-coloured feathers serving as his reins. Within moments, two of the wisps had been caught, and now it was a race to catch the third and final wayward spirit before it could get away and enjoy some freedom from capture.
"We're going to lose it!"
No we will not.
Another whistle, and a bright blue light appeared between Cersul's antlers. It was her own stag wisp, and she was summoning it forth to help her capture the last of the wisp trio and bring it back so it could be reunited with its companions.
Not wanting to be wrangled, it tried to dodge this way and that, but the stag wisp was too experienced in the ways of its kind, and it wasn't long before the last wisp admitted defeat and surrendered.
"There. That's the last of them."
No, Bren. Not the last. Never the last.
She was right.
Tomorrow night there would be more.
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