"True," Ziiver conceded the point. "Okay then!" She hopped up, excited once more. "Scavenging it is!"
Iolar took off and headed for the doorway of the temple. “Yes, let us see what we can find. Come!”
"Yea, made they’ll trade for some fish?" She thought. There could even be some baubles left in the ruins she could trade off.
"Perhaps. Or there may be objects of value left here," Iolar said. "We have not spent time exploring what might remain here, though given the time that has passed, likely only precious metals will remain, if anything."
Ziiver sputtered to a halt. She had forgotten about that. “I…don’t know what kind of money this area uses.” She admitted quietly.
"Perhaps we might make some preparations today," Iolar suggested. "Find or produce some items of value which you might use for trade."
Ziiver whined. Now that she knew there was a town—villiage—nearby, she wouldn’t be able to get anything else done today. She protested that she could defend herself, but Iolar was having none of it. Seeing as how he was the only one who knew where the village was, she resorted to pouting.
"Of course I’m excited!” She plucked on the fringes of her blanket. “I haven’t been to a city in weeks! They have cooked food there! And beds!” Sleeping on the ground was not fun.
"Ah, yes," Iolar said, a glimmer of humor in his eye again, "I suppose that would be important to you. Though I do wonder how you plan on paying for it. Do you have the appropriate currency? This is likely a different nation from where you last were."
"Yes!" Ziiver wiggled in excitement. How she could even pay for an inn did not cross her mind. Just getting to one was exciting enough. She hadn’t been to an inn in forever!
Iolar laughed, his markings glowing the slightest bit as he did. “You certainly seem excited about this, Ziiver! However, I would suggest we spend one more day resting. We are safe here, and I… after my exertions of the last night, I am not certain I would be able to protect you were a sufficiently dangerous threat to appear.”
Though in truth… he hardly felt drained at all. But it was better to be wary.
"There’s a city?!" Ziiver sat up straight. A city! She couldn’t believe it! With people! And beds!
Iolar seemed to perk up at Ziiver’s excitement. “Not a city. Simply a small village. I do think, however, that I saw a sign like those put up at places for sleeping… inns, yes?”
She sat quietly for a while, eating her fish and looking around the room. There wasn’t much different about today, so it was difficult to image that Iolar had just stopped a huge storm somewhere. It must have been far away. Her mind wandered on what such a storm would look like, or if she could even get close enough to have seen it.
Iolar stood in silence, his gaze and thoughts distant while Ziiver ate. As she finished, he mentally pulled himself back to the present.
"I scouted a little as I returned," he said, turning his gaze back to Ziiver. "There is a small village not too far from the forest’s north edge, along the road we would travel to the Needle of the Winds."
He paused a moment. “And there were also great quantities of smoke to the north and west.”
Ziiver nodded, and took back her hand. “Would you like some fish? I know you don’t really need it, but…” Maybe the act of eating would make him feel better? That worked for some people.
Iolar chuckled softly. “No, thank you. Simply… being with a friend is sufficient,” he said quietly. “This pain will pass in time… but it is right for me to feel it now.”
Ziiver’s throat clogged up at the sight of him being so sad. She couldn’t begin to image what he was going through, even if her own hardships were laid out back to back. She scooted closer to him, and laid a hand on his feathered shoulder.
Iolar’s markings glowed slightly at Ziiver’s touch. His first instinct was to tell her there was no reason for her to be sorry, but then remembered that it was sometimes said to express sympathy.
"Thank you," he said instead.
"G’morning!" Ziiver called as Iolar settled next to her. She had been up for a few hours now, woken at the crack of dawn by a bird’s hoarse cry. It must have been Iolar, because a bird’s singing soon followed.
She tracked the pond from yesterday, and brought back a few fish to cook. There was a nice, fresh breeze blowing through the ruins today, and it felt like a sigh of relief.
"Did everything go well?"
Iolar was silent for a moment, then murmured, “I destroyed it. All trace of my City… gone, washed away by my storm. The plateau is now a broken rock in a lake, and the forests and grasslands around it a desert. Of my City, nothing remains.”
He was silent a moment, then heaved a deep sigh, the sound clashing with the lack of movement in his chest. “But it is done. The storm is ended, and the land will heal, though it will take many, many years. The ruins of my City may be gone forever, but… the sun still rises in the morning.”
He paused again, then looked straight at Ziiver, his gaze carrying the full weight of millions of years of life. “Joy, mingled with sorrow and pain. That is life, Ziiver. The secret is to remember that the joy outweighs the heartache.” He looked away. “But that does not mean it is not okay… to spend a little while mourning.”