A Heritage of Power 4: Jerik's Story 9.99:
Mountain Flower

by Fur and Fantasy
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Will you stop pacing?" Kiel rolled his eyes at Tessi, well past frustrated with the teenaged Cat's inability to stay still since they had gotten stuck at the base of the mountain by a storm. "It's not going to help."

"I know that, but still!" The ginger Tabby sighed, sitting down at the table they were sharing in the small inn at the base of the pass. "What if the silverfoil goes out of season, or worse, gets ruined by the storm?"

"The storm should pass in another day or two." He shrugged slightly and took a drink of hot, spiced mead. "Mountain plants are built to handle the weather, unlike us."

"Doesn't mean I have to like taking the chance," Tessi grumbled, taking a drink of the hot, catnip-laced tea she'd ordered, hoping it would help her calm down a bit.

"Don't think you're going to change her mind on this one, hon," Lina said easily, coming back to the table along with Rainbow and two trays of food for the four of them.

"Probably not," Keil chuckled. "A guy's got to try, though, or she'll be in no condition for the climb."

"So we spend another day or so here," Lina chuckled, giving her Mage a light kiss on the cheek before starting to cut the heavy bread she'd ordered for both of them to go with the stew. "Could be worse. At least it's dry here, reasonably warm too. Lot better than where Jerik is right now."

"Ug, out there without shelter is better than where he is right now." Rainbow shuddered.

"The Blight isn't that bad," Tessi half-teased him. "Especially not for someone who can fly over it."

"Just don't ever ask me to go to that horrid place." The Parrot muttered and sat down after serving her.

"I don't plan on it," Tessi reassured him, starting in on her stew. "Trust me, there are a lot better things to be doing with our time than trying to show Jerik up."

"You're assuming you could," Lina grinned. "No offense, but when it comes to hunting, he's got you beat."

"Not to mention being hunted." Rainbow clicked in amusement. "How many folks his age have survived hell hounds, a Blight mage and a skin thief?"

"Not many of any age can claim that was only the highlights." Lina added with a snicker. "At least not while they're still breathing."

"Yeah, yeah, you two're just lucky he is out in the Blight, or he'd be here with me instead of you," Tessi chuckled.

"Gods, the innkeeper never would've forgiven you," Lina grinned. "He'd have both of you pacing around like caged animals."

"That or the howls would keep everybody up all night, and all day." Keil chuckled between bites.

"That's more likely," Tessi smiled. "Those two are quite a couple, huh?"

"They're cute together," Lina smiled shyly.

"And completely, hopelessly mushy on each other too." Kiel chuckled, though he slid his hand along his Defender's leg.

"Which makes them worse than you two how?" Rainbow asked with a wink.

"They're quieter," Tessi giggled, earning a blush from Lina, though she didn't object.

"Even without the soundproof tent," Keil chuckled between bites. "Something you might want to invest in when you find a steady boyfriend."

"I'm happy enough as it is," Tessi smiled. "Besides, after I'm a mage I'll probably be getting more than enough interest," she said, making a bit of a face.

"Just don't turn everybody away because of that." Lina told her gently. "Not everyone cares about your heritage."

"Yeah, guys like Jerik and Miki may be rare, but they're out there." Rainbow added with a quick nod and ruffle of his feathers.

"Don't remind me of him," Tessi said, shaking her head. "Anyways, you guys hear anything about Remys' project lately?"

"Still working on that livestock wasting disease." Keil shrugged. "Thinks he'll have it soon, whatever he's trying to do with it."

"If it wasn't him, I'd be worried he was trying to find a way to make it nastier," Tessi chuckled.

"Nah, not him. Probably trying to figure out how it works or something," Lina said easily. "So, how are you and Quasma doing?"

"Nothing much," Tessi shrugged with a scowl.

"Okay, what happened between you two?" Lina asked with a sigh. "The past month you haven't been talking to each other."

"Nothing," Tessi shrugged it off. "We've been busy."

Lina was about to say something more, but shrugged and kept eating at a subtle shake of Rainbow's head. She'd get the answer from him soon enough.

"So, what is this silverfoil for, anyway?" Keil asked as the silence got a little too heavy.

"Should be my final project, if I can do this right," Tessi explained. "I've left the blade back at the Academy, under lock and key in our quarters, but silverfoil pollen is good for weapons against were's and some demons. If we can harvest this one and get it back to the Academy, I'll have a ready source instead of having to track it down every time I try to make one." With that, she started explaining just what would be involved in their coming trip up the mountain - and back down, hopefully with the rare plant they'd come all this way to find.

"Keil? If you'd wake up about now, I'd really appreciate it," Lina called to the half-sleeping Mouse in their tent from outside. "Rather not have to fight this early in the morning."

"Wha?" He mumbled, his body already moving as his brain woke up enough for spells.

"Bear," she said simply, closer to the tent now. "Hungry one too, and I'm not sure how long breakfast will keep him."

"Right," he nodded as he got out into the snow with his staff. After a moment of focus the bear looked up, snorted and bolted away, the half-cooked joint of meat Lina had been working on still dangling from its mouth.

"Thanks," the white-furred Mouse said gratefully, reaching up to squeeze her Mage's shoulder. "Didn't feel like having to fight him just because he was hungry. Want to help me start over?"

"Sure," he caught her shoulder and pulled her into a light, lingering kiss. "Just give me a minute to get dressed."

"Mmm ... yeah, it's too cold to be out here in your nightclothes," she chuckled, quickly returning to the mountain goat they'd killed the night before to claim some more meat for breakfast while he got dressed with the speed of many mornings of quick changes.

"At least it was only a bear." He said as he came out of their tent fully dressed for the weather.

"Yeah," she chuckled. "Anything bigger's probably not going to show up this far down; they're more common up near where we're going. Which means we get to deal with the bear of an attitude Tessi's got about Quasma lately instead," she muttered, shaking her head as she skewered the meat and put it over the fire.

"We'll learn what happened." Keil soothed her with a gentle touch. "Rainbow was there, I'm sure of it."

"Yeah, he was. He just has to be away from her to say anything." Lina nodded reluctantly. "And willing to tell us about it ... I hope he is. It's not good for either of 'em to be arguing like this, I'm sure. Just glad you don't mind me meddling," she smiled.

"Like I could stop you," he chuckled and smiled indulgently at her. "He will, I'm sure."

"Who's the he you're talking about?" Rainbow asked sleepily, coming out of his tent, bundled up heavily, his feathers still fluffed out completely.

"You," Lina chuckled. "And what's up with Tessi."

"Oh, that," Rainbow sighed. "You know how Tessi and Quasma are supposed to be the ones everybody gets along with out of our group?"

"Yeah," she nodded. "They are the easy going ones."

"Well, that's only when they aren't going against each other," Rainbow said. "I don't even really know what started it, honestly. Tim and I were talking while they got going. You know how it is when your mages start talking about technical stuff," he said, glancing at Keil apologetically.

"Don't worry, he knows that there's a reason we usually stay out of the library," Lina smiled. "So, they got into an argument about something?"

"Yeah. When Tim and I got there, they were well past the arguing point and into the insult phase. Had to grab Tessi to keep her from going for Quasma after she said something about being a 'no-talent hack whose parents got her everything she has.'"

"What the Hell were they arguing about?" Lina asked, her eyes wide. "And what did Tessi say to her first?"

The Parrot ducked his head, the clearly color rising under his feathers despite it not being visible. "Umm, some stuff I'm not going to repeat about her, um, sleeping habits, and her family's job."

"Quasma was being nice then," Keil agreed with a sigh. "And they haven't been talking to each other since?"

"Tim and I are lucky there was a since, I think," Rainbow pointed out. "They were about ready to go at each other's throats. Wish I knew what it was about, so we can avoid bringing it up again."

"At least they didn't go for spells." Lina shook her head. "It's either going to be something incredibly serious, or a nothing that got out of hand. Everybody has their issues that don't make sense."

"And a lot of Tessi's are about her parents," Rainbow nodded. "Probably has something to do with that ... or Miki, I suppose, though I thought she was mostly over that."

"Only thing I can think of there would be if Quasma claimed to have slept with him." Lina shook her head. "Guess I'll have to work on Quasma when we get back."

"And on Tessi while we're up here," Rainbow nodded. "I'm gonna head back into the tent until breakfast's ready," he said, turning to head back to sleep, or at least to stay inside his warm bed inside the weatherproof and temperature-controlled tent.

"That's going to be interesting." Keil shook his head slightly. "Just try not to get her made enough to flame you, okay?"

"You know I'm careful about things like that," she smiled, leaning over to kiss his cheek. "And you also know we'd never forgive ourselves if those two are at each other until Jerik gets back."

"I know. Only way he should get involved is if he gets back before we do and Quasma or Tim say something to him." He relaxed next to the small fire and the smell of cooking meat.

"Okay, it should just be on the next rise," Tessi said confidently. "Rainbow, can you take the rope up there for us?" She asked, untying it from the mooring they'd just used to reach the small ledge they were on. A couple days climb had brought them most of the way up the mountain, and while they weren't at the top, they were getting close to the reaches where silverfoil was supposed to grow.

"Of course," he clicked his tongue and took the rope before flying upwards, looking for a good place to secure it for the next stretch.

"We've got something that looks like the right type of plant here!" He called down as he secured the rope around a large outcropping of stone. "Right outside a cave up here."

"Let's hope it's an empty one; it'd be a good place to rest for a while," Keil mused. "After you, Tessi?"

"Sure," she nodded and started to climb up the rope while Lina anchored it on the bottom. The Mouse's heavy armor giving her by far the greatest weight and strength of the group.

A biting cold wind kicked up, making the rope sway as Tessi climbed despite the efforts on both ends.

She held tight to the rope while it swayed, waiting for the gust to pass before continuing up carefully.

"Don't think about how high up you are," she reminded herself quietly, closing her eyes to fight the temptation to look down at just how far she'd fall from here if the wind took her off the rope and out beyond the ledge.

Okay, so not thinking about it wasn't that easy, but not looking she could at least do.

What felt like nerve-wracking minutes later, she finally made it up to the next level, sighing in relief as she made it onto mostly flat rock.

"You next, Keil!" She called down, grinning as she looked and saw that the plant they were looking for was there. "And it is here!"

"Good," he called back up in relief that all this was going to be worth it.

"I've got the rope for you." Lina smiled and gave him a quick kiss before putting her weight back on the rope for him to climb.

He used a quick levitation spell, then focused on using the rope to keep from blowing away as he floated up, touching down easily.

"Show off," Tessi grumped good-naturedly. "You two help Lina, I'll start transplanting the silverfoil?"

"Of course," Keil smiled as Rainbow flew down to hold the bottom of the rope so Lina could climb up.

It took her longer; her armor did not make the climb any easier. It just served to give Tessi some more time to work in the frigid air, digging out a generous amount of native soil around the rare plant's roots. She was sufficiently absorbed in her work that she didn't notice when Lina reached the top and climbed over the edge with Keil's help.

"So is it still in season?" Lina asked with an eye over the edge to make sure Rainbow got up fine.

"Yeah, it should be," Tessi nodded, removing the plant carefully and putting it into the pot they'd brought along ... then looking up, her eyes widening as she stared up nine feet of muscle and fur.

"Oh shit!" She swore, diving to the ground just in time to avoid the yeti's broad, haymaker swipe, its claws passing just above her head.

Lina was in front of her in an instant as Rainbow's clawed hands grabbed her to pull her back towards Keil and as far from the battle as possible.

"Flame Strike." Keil almost reflexively cast the kind of spell he knew it was most vulnerable too.

Tessi clutched the plant she'd just recovered close to her, her staff near the entrance of the cave as the pillar of flame crashed down on the white-furred beast. It roared loudly, charging towards the group, but Lina charged towards it, easily ducking under its claw-swipe and driving her short sword up into its groin, red blood spraying out as she severed an artery. She looked up at a different kind of roar and her eyes went wide again.

"Avalanche!" Tessi screamed in warning at Rainbow, the only one who had a chance to escape the flow.

"Cave!" Keil yelled at Lina even as he grabbed for Tessi and rushed towards their only hope of surviving.

The white-furred Mouse grabbed Tessi's staff on reflex and rushed into the cave, Rainbow taking off into the air as the rush of snow and rocks crashed into the already-dying Yeti, burying Keil, Lina and Tessi in the cave with a deafening roar.

After long, terrifying moments in the crashing roar of crashing snow over the cave entrance a stillness settled and held with only the heavy breathing of three frightened teenagers echoing in the cave.

"Keil, Tessi?" Lina spoke up first in the absolute darkness and deathly still air. "Everyone okay?"

"God, I hope Rainbow is," Tessi murmured, her eyes wide, her pupils dilating.

"I'm sure he is," Keil said, fumbling around for the pack Lina had been wearing. "If you've still got that plant, let's get it in here where it's safe."

"Oh, right," Tessi said. "Lumos," she said, her staff glowing in Lina's hand to illuminate the cave so they could stow the slightly battered silverfoil before it was harmed any more.

"I don't suppose either of you have a spell to let us breath when the air gets really thin?" Lina looked between the two mages as she handed Tessi's staff to her after the silverfoil was safely stowed away.

"I have one in my books, but I haven't used it before," Tessi admitted. "Uhm ... think it'd be safe to try and blast our way out?"

"No." Keil shook his head sharply. "It would set off another avalanche. We'll have to melt out way out slowly enough to keep the flow stable."

"Dandy," Tessi sighed. "You want to work on that, I work on that air spell?"

"Keil, you still have that heat metal spell you were working on, right?" Lina asked.

"Yes," he nodded. "What do you have in mind?"

"Well, if I put my sword into the snow there and you cast that on it, maybe even put my armor under it, it'll melt it while you help Tessi with that air spell. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty confident Rainbow's already going for help; we just need to breath until they get here."

"I'm sure he is." Tessi nodded.

"Your sword would be best." Keil nodded and began to weave the spell.

Lina moved over to the heavy snow barrier and sank her blade into it, setting her helm nearby just to increase the effect. Besides, she didn't really need it in here.

"What's that?" A girl pointed up the mountain where the avalanche had been not long before.

"I'm not sure." Her mother admitted, though she had a good guess what the brightly colored object flying towards town had to be.

"It's that bird that came with the mage-kids." A young man said with certainty after staring for a moment. "Go alert the Mayor, Alice. They probably got caught in that fall."

The Lynx child nodded, rushing off to go fetch the Mayor, or anybody else she could find who might help with a rescue. Her father ran inside to start collecting his gear, leaving Alice's mother to meet the rapidly approaching Parrot.

Several townsfolk were already gathered with their climbing gear by the time Rainbow managed to get close enough to talk.

"The others need help. Trapped in a cave by the snow." He gasped out as the female Lynx knelt and helped the gasping bird to his feet.

"Can you lead us there?" An older Mountain Goat asked.

"Yes, sir." Rainbow nodded quickly. "Just catch my breath."

"And warm up." The woman insisted and hustled him towards her house. "It will take an hour to put a search together and days to reach them. You need to be healthy to get there. I know your kind don't take to cold as well as the others." She added gently.

"My Mage is up there," he said firmly, shaking his head. "I'll be fine."

"She's right," the Goat said just as firmly. "At least take the hour before we can go."

Despite an obvious reluctance, Rainbow acquiesced and stopped resisted the Lynx's guidance into the warmth inside.

"I'll get you some stew and hot cider," she told him, her mate following her in shortly.

"What are you four doing up there?" He asked Rainbow. "By the way; my name's Tenin, and that's my mate, Roberta."

"There is a plant my mage needs; a silverfoil. We found it, but a Yeti found us at the same time. The fight had just started when the snow fell. I saw them get to the cave, but I don't know how big it is or if there's something nasty in it."

The two Lynxes looked at each other, Roberta shaking her head.

"Are they the sort who'd explore after something like that, instead of trying to get out?"

"Probably not, unless they have reason to think there's another opening." He shook his head and gratefully sipped at the hot cider.

"That'd be good," the Lynx nodded. "There are rumors that the Yeti live in a valley deeper in the mountains, with caves that lead to the outside. If they went there, there'd be no saving them."

"If they aren't in the outer cave, I won't ask anyone to follow me in." Rainbow told them seriously, even as the idea of Tessi's curiosity getting the better of her made him swallow unhappily. "I have to find her."

"Are the two of you mates?" Tenin asked him gently.

"No, sir." He shook his head without a trace of the unease lying normally created and worked on getting more of the hot cider inside him. "I'm her Defender. I can't go back without her."

"You may have to, dear," Roberta warned him, setting down a bowl of hot soup. "Just keep it in mind. We'll do our best to find them."

"Better to send a message that to show up without her." He shook his head. "No Defender should outlive their mage. Not like this." He looked up at her, the soup bowl in his hands. "Thank you for your help. They probably are still alive. I saw them get to the cave. Two mages should have enough spells to survive until they get out."

"They certainly should," Tenin chuckled. "May even surprise everybody and get themselves out before we get up there."

"Everyone but them." Rainbow chuckled and went to work on the stew.

"I see something!" Tenin called back to the rest of the rescue party as they made their way up the mountain, pointing into the dark night sky as a bright flare of light rose up from the mountain. "Don't know what it is, but there's something!"

"*Rainbow?*" Tessi called in a faint whisper.

"*Help is coming.*" He responded, putting as much mental strength as he could into the reply.

"*We're already out,*" she told him. "*Keil had some spells that let us melt a hole. You see the light?*"

"*Yes. You?*"

"*I'm watching Keil make it; we thought you'd want some proof we could get out,*" Tessi said with a fond tone. "*If you have a rescue coming, don't need to bring them up here. We're all okay, and no sense putting them in danger.*"

"*All right,*" he nodded and turned to Tenin as the spell faded. "They are out and no one is hurt. Keil is creating the lights as proof."

"Your mage spoke to you with a spell?" The Lynx guessed. "Do you want us to go up yet, or are we supposed to wait here?"

"Yes, she did." Rainbow nodded. "She said they don't need help, so please go back to the village, and thank you. There is no need to risk more lives. I'm going to fly up to them."

"Be sure you come back to the village before you return to the Academy," Tenin said. "If you can, have them send one of those lights up each night on the climb; if we don't see them, we'll come back up, in case something happens that you four can't get out of on your own."

"We will, and thank you." Rainbow said sincerely. "We'll send up the flare an hour after dark. If it doesn't go up before moonset, we're in a lot of trouble. Sound good?"

"Sounds good," the Lynx nodded. "Good luck, Defender. Hope the winds aren't too high."

A Heritage of Power 4: Jerik's Story 9.99: Mountain Flower

Het Level is Low
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

22 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written April 20, 2006 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Herath, Star Wars (Furry)

Primary Races: Avian, Feline, Mice

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Violence

Pairings: Kiel/Lina

Blurb: While Jerik and Tomar are in the Blight, Tessi, Rainbow, Kiel and Lina head up into the mountains to get a rare flower for Tessi's enchantment work.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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