More of Joshua and Saffron (continued from the March 24 blog post).
“We need to find our people, Saffron,” said Joshua, touching Saffron on the arm. “They will be worried about us.”
Saffron shivered, though not from a chill. She was afraid of the desolation around them. She was a child of the desert, having been born among the tribe ten summer seasons ago, but she had never before been separated from the tribe. She smiled at her childhood friend and said, “At least you’re here with me, Joshua. I don’t think I could stand being alone with all this . . . emptiness.” She looked away to stare out at the scene around them. “What will we do, Joshua?”
Joshua jumped down from the rock, then turned to help her descend. “Well, I guess we’ll journey to Melancholy. Surely we’ll spot the tribe somewhere along the way. But double surely, we’ll find them at the oasis. All we have to do is keep the sight of old man Melancholy before us. He will lead us to safety.”
He took her hand and the two began to walk toward the mountain, skirting prickly pear and double-skirting treacherous cholla, which seemed to eye them as they passed, evil little cactus with evil intentions of snagging them in its thorny grasp.
They had gone one mile (which in elfin distance is quite a trek) when they saw a shadow pass them on the ground to their left, then turn ahead of them and move directly at them. Joshua looked up, grabbed Saffron and threw both of them to the left. The ground exploded exactly where they had just been and a large bird let out a screech of anger and then flapped wings heavily upward, screeching throughout the ascent.
You must understand, in the elfin world of Tempest, Joshua was considered to be tall, a tall one foot and one inch, thirteen inches tall. Or thirteen inches short, depending on your tribe’s stature status. Saffron was a willowy eleven inches from the sole of her desert boots to the top of her golden head. And both or either of them would have fit easily in a teapot, thus the expression “A tempest in a teapot.” And both or either of them would have provided a tasty treat for a bird of prey such as the frustrated one who had just now narrowly missed them.
The bird, a Harris’ Hawk with gleaming brown body and chestnut shoulders, landed nearby and scowled at Joshua and Saffron from ten feet. “Eeeeek!” he screeched. “You can’t escape, so you might as well prepare yourselves to be my lunch and dinner.” He waddled slowly toward them, his yellow legs moving him, his powerful wings extended to the sides like a vampire’s cloak.
Joshua drew from its scabbard the Crucifixion thorn he always carried with him. The thorn was four inches long, tapering to a very sharp point. He pointed the thorn-sword toward the bird, hoping he could at least make it painful enough that their imminent demise would not be easy. Joshua stared at the bird, the bird stared at Joshua, his black eyes blacker than a moonless, starless night.