Location: The forest south-east of Mt. Oraynol.
___Roëd had just completed his third day of training with Reyg and Hiwte. He had learned to recognize much more life and spirits in the Glade of Loé than on his first day, but he still had far to come. This afternoon, however, he was taking a break from that. Dre and Ergen were taking him to one of the smaller Grey Mountains. He wasn't sure what they were going to teach him yet, but they seemed to think he'd like it. "Which mountain are we headed towards?" he asked.
___"You'll see, you'll see," was Dre's reply.
___"Yes, you'll see, Roëd," chuckled Ergen.
___"All right, I'll wait. I'm just wondering how much longer it will take to get there, have time to learn something, and get back to the tree house," Roëd said. "Or are we going back? I wouldn't mind staying the night on a mountain, but neither of you seem to have brought supplies." Dre laughed, and Roëd looked at her. "Oh, I should've known. Who needs to bring supplies, when we could just gather them from the forest around us?"
___"Exactly," Ergen said. "And in the morning, you shall practice recognizing the life around you like you normally would, except it will be unfamiliar to you. Then we shall see how well you really are doing." Walking for a few more hours, they reached the southmost mountain of the range, besides Oraynol. They had climbed halfway up its slopes when night began to fall. Turning aside from the path, they entered a hidden cave.
___"Now, Roëd, you shall begin. While Dre and I fetch supplies from the mountain and forest, you must concentrate as hard as you can on lifting yourself completely from the ground, without using your arms or legs. By the time we get back, you should be able to float about an inch above the ground, though it's perfectly alright if you don't. See you soon," Ergen said as he left the cave and headed back down the slope with Dre.
___Sitting with folded legs at the cave mouth as it got dark outside, Roëd focused his energy on hovering above the ground, and felt himself becoming lighter. While most would expect closing their eyes would help, Roëd found that having his eyes open, but relaxed, was much better. He sat there for a long time, almost falling asleep, when Dre and Ergen returned.
___"Ho, Roëd! You've done well."
___Shocked out of his calm by Dre's call, he lost concentration and landed painfully on the rock. "Ouch," he said. "How high up was I?"
___"Much higher than we'd have thought. Two and a half inches, I'd say," said Ergen. "But now for dinner." He set down a large bundle of sticks and plants, and Dre put some vegetables on a large flat rock.
___Moving the sticks into a divet in the rock, she lit them on fire, although Roëd saw no flint or match. She then put the rock with the vegetables on it over the flame. Ergen picked the vegetables up one by one, before they were too hot, and split them into small pieces with his hands. "You may catch a rabbit or bird, if you like. Or, you could just eat what we eat. Your choice," Dre said as she tended the fire.
___"Oh, it's all right," Roëd said. He had noticed that at each meal at the treehouse, there was no meat, although he felt full and content after eating. "Why do you not eat animals? I'd expect it would be because you can talk to them, but you can also talk to plants, so I don't know."
___"Well, we don't eat any part of plant or animal that would harm it, which is why you don't see any lettuce leaves or root vegetables here. We save seeds that we get from each food and plant them in the ground, and in return, the plants let us harvest their fruits. We also keep goats for cheese and butter, but we don't eat eggs," Dre said, humming as she cooked. "There, all finished. Also, we only gather fallen wood and crushed, already dead or dying plants for our fires. Here you go." She handed Roëd a rock with vegetables on it. They were quite hot, but very good.
___"Thank you, Dre. And Ergen, too. So flying is why I came here?"
___"Well, levitating is more like it. We can only fly after years of practice, and only Reyg, Hiwte, and Alcbk, he's one of the wanderers, by the way, have practiced enough," Ergen said. "Now, I think it's time for sleep. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow." Putting aside his rock-plate, Ergen lay down on the floor of the cave. "Goodnight." Yawning, he turned over and was asleep.
___"Goodnight, Roëd. I'll clean the plates," Dre said, and Roëd fell asleep to her humming.