Astral Alignment

Iridescent Wings

Indigo Park was quiet, and it felt odd to be alone here. Lynn finally felt a little at peace, her only company being the ever-present stars in the sky.

She inhaled in the night air and looked at the calm river beneath her feet. Catching and reflecting the soft evening light, multicolored fish swam with the rivers slow current. The Evernight was beautiful to behold. She could even feel her willpower stabilize as she breathed in the night air. Lynn thought she might as well make the most of her alone time, stood up on the waters surface, and began to stroll downstream.

Her elegant steps made small ripples on the surface as she gazed up at the many trees dotting the riverbank. It was the northern-turning season, so the leaves glittered shades of indigo and violet. Many laid resting on the pathway, while others floated carefree on the waters surface. An icy wind blew, gently dumping colorful leaves on Lynn and the river. She kept walking, brushing the leaves off of her school uniform.

Aways down, she came across a floating telescope in the river water and a slew of other plastic equipment and electronics. Littering. Of course. She sighed internally before tensing her muscles. The bobbing trash in the river began to rise slowly, water flowing away and dripping off a small platform of solid air. The still air moved across the river and flipped sideways next to a trash can, dumping the electronic debris inside.

”Wow! My control has gotten better… ” She muttered as she kept dumping trash into the far-off trash can. After clearing up all the garbage, she continued her walk to a small series of waterfalls.

Water rushed down the semi-steep slopes, landing gracefully in the river below—jagged, sharp rocks glinted in the dusklight between the waterfalls flow. Lynn took a deep breath, calmly jumped off the tallest waterfall, and landed on solid air. When she landed on the air platform, ripples undulated out over it. Lynn held her focus and jumped again, solidifying the air under her feet. A small smile graced her face as she flipped off her air platform, plummeting towards the rocks. An air platform appeared under her, inches away from the stony spikes. She slid off of it and went back to standing on the river.

Nailed it. She silently gloated as she continued her walk. Swaths of moonflies fluttered by her, dancing and twirling in mesmerizing patterns. The variety of flowers made the air smell sweeter and livelier.

Turning the first bend, she saw her—the statue of Lavendora. The 20-meter-tall figure stood made of shimmering metal; runes traced her flowing robe. Lavendora faces the horizon; determination etched on her beautiful face. Her long hair seemed to flow behind her, as did magical fluttering petals from the flower crown that had been graciously grown on her head. She clutched her Spear of the Wild in her left hand, which held a savagely barbed head spattered with fresh blood. In her right hand, she had her gift from her patron constellation.

In the legends, when Capricornus fully merged its spirit with Lavendoras, she was able to harness the power of The War Horn. During the earliest sparks of the Astral War, she and her patron had used this horn to cast waves of fear on their enemies. Its a shame. Lynn thought. All those legions she slew, yet the war never even ended. She politely gave her respects to the statue before she continued her walk downstream.

Every time she saw that statue, her mind became clouded with thoughts of the war. The High Astral War had been burning away at the planet for a long time, and Starborn and Humans were crossing each others borders in search of an escape with the war touching down in towns near the Ara Ferox. Her father, a high-ranking Stellan general, had been dispatched with his legion to fight. It was hard when he wasn around. Since the nanny who came by never stayed overnight, nighttime was incredibly lonely. She finally had enough tonight and decided to go on a walk to clear her mind. That damn statue killed her mood, though.

Rounding the second bend, she spotted a hill sloping down beside the river bank connecting to a bridge across the water. As soon as the hill was in sight, the background buzz of moonflies faded to still silence. The sweet air mixed with a smell of slightly burned plastic. The hill was sprawled with scorched flowers, lost belongings, and abandoned picnic blankets. Lynn frowned in confusion.

What the hell? She carefully stepped onto shore to scope the scene.

Now that she was closer, she could see many more things strange about the hillside. Water sprinkled the grass in fresh dew drops, yet the trees near the clearing were bone dry. Many of the left behind objects were also wet, with many also being partially damaged and singed. In particular, a cooler lay with a gaping hole burned through it. Lastly, Lynn saw several bloody articles of clothing lying scattered around the clearing, which churned her uneasiness into fear.

”What in the hell happened here? ” She whispered, more on her toes now. It had to have been some attack. Was it a wild starbeast? Or a rogue channeler? Whatever it was, she should not get involved, and she was not powerful enough to handle whatever had occurred in the clearing. The best thing to do was to go in her bag and get her emergency sigil.

Lynn internally groaned. Shit, I left my bag! She turned back to the river and saw something at the edge of the clearing. She froze one foot on the rivers water, staring at the figure in the trees. The figure stood clouded in the shade of the trees, so the only thing that she could see were piercing blue eyes staring back into hers. Fear closed around her heart, leaving room for only a single word.

”Nope! ” Lynn turned and began to sprint along the river, back towards the exit.

As she tore around the bend again, a blast of lightning struck the water where she had just been. Lynn swore under her breath and kept running. Streaks of electricity hit the river all around her as she sprinted by Lavendora.

”No, no, no! ” She panted as she ran for her life.

In desperation, Lynn raised her hand as she ran. A flimsy barrier of solid air expanded out from her hand. Bolts of lightning struck the frozen air, but it held strong as Lynn jumped up the waterfall, landing on platforms of air and hitting the river again. As her barrier cracked under the onslaught of attacks, her eyes darted to try and find the source.

Her attacker was flitting between the treetops, stopping to blast lightning and then continuing the chase. She saw what looked like a small thundercloud following her pursuer. Lynn compressed more wind into the barrier, giving it a shield-like shape. Dodging another bolt, she suddenly turned around and chucked the air shield like a frisbee.

Before the speeding figure could flit to the next tree, the wind frisbee crashed into it, knocking it out of the tree and stopping it for a moment. It suddenly flew out of the tree tops and hovered in front of her. As it came into view, Lynn looked at it in confusion and a watered-down feeling of despair.

”Its a wild starbeast…Damn it! ” She cursed as she surveyed the creature.

Floating in front of her was a nebula jellyfish. The large multicolored bell pulsed with a blue hue as a swirl of colorful, electrified tentacles hovered in the air below it. A miniature rumbling thundercloud hovered above its bulbous bell. Although it had no face, Lynn could tell it was glaring at her.

That lightning is damn annoying…And I don know how long it can keep that up. She concentrated on the wind. She imposed her will on changing the winds nature. I don have the willpower for this, but… Calm and cool to sharp and quick. I gotta end this thing fast. The air swirled around her, picking up speed. The water around her began to stir, twirling into small tornadoes. As the whirling tornadoes grew, Lynn glared back at the jellyfish.

”Cygnus, aid me! ” Lynn shouted desperately to her patron.

Then she slung the first water blade.

Whipping winds swished through a churning tornado, sending a blade of wind and water slicing towards the jellyfish. As the jellyfish dodged, another blade careened at the jellyfishs bell. The jellyfish ducked again, swimming up into the air and raining lightning down at Lynn.

”I hate jellyfish. ” She groaned.

She swept her arms to the sky, freezing the air solid in a broad dome. Her air dome blocked the damage, but Lynn almost lost control of the tornadoes. Focusing on these is hard…I need to be a bit lax on defense. She hopped back and shattered her dome, sending a trio of wind-water blades flying at the jellyfish.

The jellyfish caught a cut on the left side of its bell as it rolled in the sky. Will leaked out of the gash as the jellyfish sank lower in the sky. Without warning, several tentacles shot out, extending themselves toward Lynn. She hurriedly blasted wind under her feet to launch herself back, but a tentacle whipped out a bit too fast a stung her on the leg.

”Ah! ” She cried, recoiling from the pain.

Lynn twirled one of her hands, sending a water tornado swinging at the persistent jellyfish. The tornado shot out water blades as it approached, with the jellyfish weaving a lightning barrier to block her attacks. Lynns head started to pound with pain from extending her will so far, but she tried her best to push it aside.

Two water blades gave two more grievous gashes to the flying annoyance. More lightning rocketed towards Lynn, but her barriers blocked most of its attacks. Lynn stumbled from a rogue bolt, and the pain in her head was overbearing.

The jellyfish smashed one of her tornadoes with lightning and batted aside the other. Even though its tentacle got sliced up from hitting it, the jellyfish paid no mind. The slimy creature turned back to Lynn.

Her head spun, and she felt a blast of pain in her chest. She stumbled a bit as she tried to see what was wrong. The leg where the creature had struck her looked inflamed. Droplets of her blood trickled into the river as she felt a surge of weakness overcome her. Poison. Damn it all. She had to retreat. She had to get help.

Lynn managed to summon a final blast of air through the pulsing pain. The air rocketed her over the jellyfishs head, letting her sprawl to the shore. She scrambled down the path as another electric blast obliterated a dusklight post, showering her with sparks. Just as the jellyfish went to give chase, it felt a hand on its bell, and it froze and set its tentacles down.

Dotted with swirling nebulas and glittering stars, a man with deep black skin patted the multicolored jellyfish. ”Let her go, Natalia. Your poison will kill her before she can get any help. ” The jellyfish made a nodding motion before disappearing into a cloud of stars. The blue-eyed man watched as Lynn vanished around the corner before turning around and disappearing into the forest.

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