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To Reach A Rose

By Shima


A small group of hunters worked their way back to the Great Oasis. They followed the seemingly endless cliff wall, that some place hid their home. They had been on the hunt all day and the litter they carried, behind a Runner, proudly displayed their catches.

However, not all was as cheerful as it should have been. Finally, the young huntress that traveled with them spoke up. "What is wrong with you? You all look like you've chipped your favorite blade."

Halban glanced over her way. "The Festival of the Flowers is tonight and I have nothing to give Onsha."

Shima raised an eyebrow. "She will have you and her kitlings, home safe . . . Onsha would ask for nothing more."

"Has it been so long, niece?" Zardesh replied with a laugh.

"Has what been so long?"

"Since you read that poem for Kigen or since he presented you with the purple flowers of the night blooms," Zardesh answered.

"They call it the Festival of the Flowers . . . because there is suppose to be flowers and I have found none on this hunt," Halban told her, looking disappointed.

Shima sighed and glanced over at the hunter who had yet to speak. "What about you, Trebor? Are you going to whine about flowers . . ."

"I do not whine," Trebor growled. "However, Aglo likes flowers as well."

"My Vindra also loves a gift of blooms for the festival . . . but this year has not been a great one for flowers." Zardesh spoke up.

Shima caught a flash of color, up ahead on the cliff walls. She studied it for a moment. "Would a desert rose be a suitable gesture for your mates?"

"Of course, but where . . ."

"There," Shima replied, pointing.

The others glanced to where she was indicating. Halban spotted the flowers first. "Pink . . . I have never seen that shade of desert rose before are you sure?"

"Regardless, they must be some kind of bloom," Zardesh answered with a grin. "Come, friends, we might just have something to give our mates after all."

**********

"Now what?"

Shima shrugged her shoulders. The flowers she had spotted from afar were indeed the pink petals of the desert rose. However, the bush they grew on was growing on the sheer cliff wall, almost three elves high if not more.

Trebor had tried to climb the wall of rock, but there were not enough handholds to aid him. Now the trio of males stood under the plant, trying not to look disappointed.

Shima glanced over at the meat in the litter. The kills had already been in the sun too long, she should order the others to continue without the blooms. If Seanu were close, she could aid them, however the winged-elf had opted to stay at the Holt and help with the preparations of the festival.

"Oh well, it's a waste of time to wish on should have and could have, or at least that is what Mother would say," Shima thought to herself. Instead, she began thinking of a way to reach the desired blooms. The plant grew three elves high and there were four elves in the hunting party. Shima smiled and nodding her head turned to tell the others of her idea.

**********

"Okay, Shima, your turn," Halban told her. The storyteller and Zardesh stood side by side, with Trebor standing on their shoulders. It was now Shima's turn to climb up the small pyramid of elves. She should be able to reach the rose bush from Trebor's shoulders.

Halban cupped his hands and Shima placed her foot inside. He lifted her up until she could place her other foot on Zardesh's shoulder. Trebor reached down and held her arm, to steady her. Holding onto Trebor, Shima carefully removed her foot from Halban's hands and placed it into Trebor's free hand. She was then lifted one handed until she could make it up onto Trebor's shoulders. Shima took a moment to steady herself before extending her body to its full height. Trebor wrapped his arms around her legs to brace her.

Facing the sheer cliff wall, she tilted back her head to see how close she was to her goal. "Puckernuts!" she growled.

"What???" The others cried out together.

Before answering, Shima stretched her arms out as far as she could above her head. ** The roses are out of my reach, by at least another four hands. **

** Step onto my hands, ** Trebor instructed, as he let go of her legs.

Shima glanced down. Trebor held his hands on either side of his shoulders, palms facing up. Shima carefully stepped off his shoulders and onto his hands. "Are you sure . . ."

With a yell, Trebor extended his arms, lifting Shima into the air. The roses appeared in front of her eyes. Their sweet fragrance flooded her sense of smell. She took a moment to appreciate their beauty.

A moment too long for Trebor. ** Shima, a little more speed would not be a bad thing. **

Reaching down Shima unsheathed the knife on her leg. Then quickly cut four of the largest blooms off the small bush. The tiny thorns bit into her flesh but she paid them no heed.

She slipped her knife back into its sheath. ** Done. **

Trebor dropped his arms and Shima dropped with them. As she passed in front of Trebor he caught her for a moment and then turning her around, released her to fall to the ground. Shima landed lightly and a moment later Trebor landed beside her.

The others gathered around her to see their prize.

"Only four . . ."

"My mate would have loved the whole bush . . ."

"All of that for a single bloom a piece?"

Shima cut the complaints off with a wave of her hand. "That bush could not of grown there naturally . . . I think it was placed there by one of our blood, long ago. It stays as it is, and one bloom for each is more than enough.

"Why do you need one?"

Shima gave the others their roses and tucked hers into her headband. "Because, I like flowers too." Then she swung up onto her Runner. "Come the meat will be useless, if we don't make haste." She nudged her mount into motion.

"Guess it's back to work, my friends," Halban said with a grin as he too mounted his beast. The other males just exchanged knowing glances and hurried to catch up with the retreating huntress.