Alette scanned the clear blue water surrounding her as she pursed her lips. Eryx had been here the day before on his kayak. He usually went out on the lagoon every morning, he said it was perfect training for the lakes nearby. Not too shallow and not too deep. Crystal clear with no waves – the perfect conditions. But he never returned. It had been days and Alette had finally had enough of waiting.
She waded into the water, careful with every step she took. Her slender fingers traced the top of the water, gently coaxing it for information. She felt the power surge through her hand, drawing up the memories that the water held.
The lagoon swirled under her touch and liquid figures rose from the water. Alette recognised her brother, but the other person was unknown. The mystery figure seemed to yell something before pulling Eryx out of his boat and across the water.
Her concentration broke and the water fell lifelessly back into place. Something had moved in the corner of her eye. Alette waded across the bank, fear drowning her senses as she recognised her brother’s most important possession. The kayak had washed up on the banks of the lagoon, broken beyond repair. Black burn marks snaked around the base, identifying the perpetrator that attacked Eryx. A fire weaver.
But that didn’t make sense. The water weavers and fire weavers had a truce. There hadn’t been an attack in nearly 30 years. The mystery figure also pulled Eryx across the water, almost like an air weaver.
“Crap,” muttered Alette. “What the hell happened?”
“Alette?” She spun around, frowning as her mother stared her down from the trees. “What are you doing?”
“I’m looking for Eryx.”
“That is not your job. The trackers are on the mission.”
Alette sneered. “The trackers didn’t even come here. They’re useless. The water showed me that Eryx was taken – his kayak is broken. He was attacked!”
Her mother glanced at the kayak, her brows knitting together. “The water and fire weavers have a truce, Alette. We cannot break that truce because of this.”
“They already broke it attacking Eryx!”
Her mother silenced her with a single-hand movement. “That is enough, Alette. Return to the village and allow the trackers to do their work.”
Alette grumbled under her breath but didn’t protest. Her mother was an Elder, one of the most powerful weavers in the village. No one dared to disobey her, especially not her children.
Alette quietly walked back to the village. Anger seethed within her, but she refused to give up. She had to find her brother. As soon as night fell and the village went to bed, Alette made her way out of the cottage and back to the shores of the lagoon. It glistened in the moonlight, the surroundings reflecting in the mirror-like surface.
She knelt beside the water’s edge, carefully tracing her finger along the still water. She felt something within the lagoon, something was not right. Alette waded into the water and started to swim. She could feel something pulling her from the centre, something important. The water worked with her strokes, urging her forward faster and faster. It sensed her desperation. Her magic crackled on her skin, giving the water life around her body.
Once she reached the centre, she dived under. The water magic allowed her to breathe underwater as she dove deeper, determined to scour the bottom for any clues.
Her jaw almost dropped as she recognised something at the bottom. It was another kayak – it was light in colour and the mark of the air weavers was branded on the side. It was undamaged, apart from the water embracing it as a new piece of the lagoon. She gently touched the edge, shock racing through her as images echoed in her mind. She closed her eyes and focused on what was being shown to her.
Eryx appeared, unharmed. He smiled, his blue eyes twinkling as he embraced a young girl with jet-black hair. They each stood on a kayak, embracing each other perilously across the cracks.
“They suspect something,” whispered the girl. “We can’t keep meeting on the lagoon. They’re following me.”
Eryx held her tighter. “I’ll protect you, Vita.”
The girl broke the embrace. “How? What are we going to do?”
Eryx gripped her arm and turned, seeming to face Alette. “Alette will protect us. We will leave, flee the area, and she will protect us. Won’t you, Alette?”
She couldn’t respond, but Eryx smiled as if she did. “Thank you,” he said. “I will always love you, dear sister. But I need to be with Vita. I knew you would find this message. Only you could control the water to see images and sense the emotions hidden within the lagoon.”
The young girl, Vita, bowed her head. “Thank you for protecting our secret. The air weavers and water weavers have always been on rocky relations. I was due to marry an Elder’s son, but I cannot. I love Eryx, and only Eryx.”
“Maybe one day we will see you again, dear sister. For now, I love you. Goodbye.”
He crossed onto the other kayak, holding onto Vita tightly as he set fire to his kayak. Fire engulfed the wood, damaging the kayak beyond repair. There was no turning back for Eryx.
Alette’s eyes shot open, and the water propelled her to the surface. She took deep, shuddering breaths, calming her heart and mind. They’d used air weaving to send her a message. A message only she would see. As she swam to shore, Alette willed the water to bury the air kayak. Nobody could know what her brother had done. She would protect him, no matter what.