-(Chapter 3)-(What do you want me to do? Make it rain?)-
The forest ended in a grassland, but as we followed the path it began to fade into dull brown rock and sand. " According to the prophecy, we should be crossing the Bridge of Dreams next."
Athalia nodded at me and continued prowling down the road, raising tiny clouds of dust with every step. I looked down at my robes, then cast a cleaning charm on the two of us. My robes returned to their regular deep purple, and Athalia's armor regained its shine.
Rhona was distracted uselessly cleaning the dust that we would only regain shortly, so I was the one who saw the Old Woman standing by a cart with a tired looking white horse at the side of the road. I put my arm up in Rhona's path. She walked into it, muttering her spells, then looked up questioningly at me. "Look." I said, pointing at the Old Woman. She had grey hair, an old dress, and a shawl wrapped around her shoulders. Her cart was full of pumpkins and parked on the side of the road with a wheel off in the ditch. The Old Woman grew frustrated and kicked the cart. Three pumpkins rolled off and into the ditch. "Excuse me," I called out to her, "Can we help you?"
"Oh, dear. My pumpkins are down there in the ditch, and the wheels off! Can you get them for me? It's a rather steep slope for an Old Woman to manage."
"We'd be happy to help."
"Would we?" I said sarcastically under my breath, scrambling into the ditch with Athalia to get the Old Woman's pumpkins. I tried to wrap my arms around one of the pumpkins, but I couldn't get any grip. I tried again. Same result. I glanced over at Athalia, and she was having the same problem. She caught my eye and used her twin telepathy to ask me if magic was causing the pumpkins to be un-pick-up-able. I nodded and jerked my head at the Old Woman who was now sitting on her cart, giggling at the sky.
The Old Woman abruptly stopped giggling and stared, intensely and unblinkingly, at a spot about two inches above my head.
"Riiiight, well, we were wondering if there was a trick to picking up these Pumpkins?"
"Oh, Dearie. You have to pick them up by the handle. Heh, Heh, Heh," she cackled alarmingly.
"Handle." I said to my pumpkin. "Does she mean the stem?" Rhona glared at her pumpkin, seized it by the stem and dragged it up the wall of the ditch. I gathered up the other two pumpkins and followed. Rhona went back down for the wheel as I loaded the pumpkins on to the cart. She clambered up the slope with the wheel and attached it to the cart's axle.
The Old Woman clambered onto her cart and settled into the seat. "Dearies, you've been so helpful to an Old Woman. As a thank you, I'll give you some advice for the road ahead." The Old Woman then waved her hands in front of each other in a sort of half-circle curve. She nodded to the empty space three feet to the left of us, jiggled the reins, and drove off in the direction we had come from.
We watched the Old Woman drive out of sight incredulously. "What was that gesture supposed to mean? Rainbow, Rainbow?!"
After that episode we were relieved to peacefully plod along the dusty road. We walked for several hours, before the road suddenly cut off at a sheer drop. A huge ravine intersected our path. We walked to the edge and peered at the ground far below us. The sides were far too steep to climb. I attempted to teleport us to the other side, but my magic was inaccessible.
"Magic isn't going to get us across."
"There isn't anything to build a bridge out of. We might be stuck here for a while." The sun was getting low, so we set up camp a safe distance from the edge of the drop. The night passed peacefully. We woke up refreshed and determined to tackle this new challenge. "Can I have some rope?"
"You didn't bring any?" I asked. Athalia raised her hand at me, gesturing with her fingers for me to give her some rope. I rolled my eyes and pulled some rope out of my magical storage. "I told you, you can't bring everything you need without magical storage."
"I could have fit the rope in, I just forgot it."
I raised my eyebrows at her. Athalia huffed. She tied the rope around an arrow and shot it over the ravine. Half way across, the arrow stopped in mid-air. It hovered for a moment before falling into the ravine, clacking against the rock on our side. Athalia pulled it up again and untied the arrow. The rope was put away, clearly powerful magic was blocking our way.
"That Old Woman must have given us a clue to get across…"
"But, what did her crazy hand gesture mean?"
"You said Rainbow, Rainbow when she left…"
"Well, it looked like a rainbow."
"Maybe it did. Remember the prophecy? The Bridge of Dreams? We're supposed to walk across it's mighty beams? Maybe that meant beams of light!"
"I suppose it's worth a shot. So, how do we get a rainbow?"
"We need rain."
"You're the one with magic. Make it rain."
"I can't just meddle with the forces of nature at the drop of a hat. That is so dangerous I don't even know where to begin describing how dangerous it is."
"But we need rain."
"I know! There must be another way to get it if that Old Woman got across."
Athalia began to look around. She picked up a rock and shook it. Nothing happened. She tossed the rock into the ravine. Nothing happened. I looked around too. There was nothing helpfull around.
I got frustrated and yelled into the sky "Excuse me! Can we have some rain down here please!? We really need to cross the ravine!" Rhona looked at me like I was crazy. "Please!" I yelled again.
Suddenly, a dark grey cloud began to form above the ravine. Thunder cracked and a flash of lightning lit up the sudden darkness. A deluge of rain poured out of the cloud, absolutely drenching us and the cliffs. A river formed in the bottom of the ravine. I tossed my head back and laughed. Rhona pulled her cloak tighter around her shoulders, grumbling about being wet and uncomfortable. I grabbed her arm and spun her around in a circle. She begrudgingly began to smile, and we enjoyed the rain together. A few moments later the clouds disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. The sunlight returned and the fine mist in the air glimmered, forming a magnificent rainbow over the ravine.
The rainbow bridge didn't look very solid, but magic is generally reliable, so I tested the bridge with one leg safely on solid ground. The bridge was as solid as stone though, so I began crossing. "Hurry," I called to Athalia, "We don't know how long this will last."
Athalia jogged after me. We traversed the bridge and made it to the other side with no trouble.