The fading sunlight lit up the western sky. Clouds gathered on the horizon, painting the sky with a riot of orange, yellow, red and purple. The sea crashed on the rocks below, sending plumes of water into the air. Yrewen was staring at the cloud formations with an intense expression. Her grandmother had told her of the portents in clouds. The memory of that far off day haunted her.
"If you have the gift you can see the future events in the clouds. Not everyone can see them and some even see but do not pay attention." The Elder had tried to teach Yrewen how to read them, spending the few minutes at the end of the day watching the sunsets. The sun sometimes did not shine through the clouds and Grandmother would tell her to look anyway.
"Sometimes the images are subtle, sometimes they are blatant. I find the more color there is in the sunset, the more important the message. Pat attention! What do you see?" Her querulous voice ordering Yrewen to stare at the shifting clouds as they drifted on the horizon.
"I...I see clouds...they move and shift...sometimes I think I see a horse." she blinked her eyes and tried to make out anything else. "That one looks like a boot!" she turned to Grandmother with curiosity and excitement in her eyes. It was the first time she had noticed anything. She was only four years old at the time.
Grandmother sighed. "Yrewen I know you love horses. But we shall see. A boot might mean a journey. I see many things there. But the sun has left us again and it is time for you to go to bed. Give Grandma a kiss and run off to bed. Your father will tuck you in."
Yrewen was happy she had pleased Grandma and gave her a big kiss and a hug. "I always love horses! But father says I cannot have one. He says they are too much gold. Maybe I will find one!" she was so excited she ran off to find her father.
Theorden was a busy man, a leatherworker by trade. He worked hard to support his mother and daughter. Yrewen's mother had passed away with her birth and the child knew only her Grandmother and father. The shop was always busy and smelled of curing leather and sometimes mead as her father indulged his only weakness. This night, long ago in Yrewen's memory he was just starting his second cup of mead. He laughed as Yrewen came bouncing into the room.
"Time for bed, Yrewen. Go up to the loft and I will be there soon to tuck you in." he was relaxed and tired.
But Yrewen was too excited to sleep. "I saw a horse in the clouds! Papa! I am going to get a horse!! And a pair of black boots with silver spurs!" she bounced around with no thought of sleep in her head.
The man was chuckling as he watched his daughter. "The boots I can make you, but you outgrow them so fast! You shall have a new pair soon. The spurs I cannot do. That will be in the far future my dear daughter. Now off to bed to dream of horses as I know you will."
The sun finally faded and with it Yrewen's memories. That was a long time ago and she had her horse, much like the one she saw in the clouds. Grey and white with a long streaming tail and a thick neck with a mane braided with blue ribbons. Her Grandmother was long gone and her father was missing. Her journey this far had taken her to many lands, but the trail was getting cold and she had no clues left to search. The small tent set under the shelter of a pine tree on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ocean was her only home now. Myst slept on the grass near the tent. Yrewen would have to find another place soon. Her magic was not getting her any gold here in the wilderness.