Ronnie was introduced to the four brothers. Zephyrus, she had met already. His face was gentle and serene and his wings were like a butterfly’s. Ronnie was reminded of her first impression of him: the perfect mate for Iris. Boreas, the wind of the North looked old beside his siblings. His hair and long beard were white, as was his clothing. Notus had blown in as a hot, stormy wind from the South, while Eurus blasted from the East with a disorderly and youthful look.
Tilly cowered at Ronnie’s feet, wanting to bolt but too afraid to do so. Ronnie bent down and whispered soothingly to him. Azulia had joined the group and agreed to sit with Tilly and quell his fears while the others quickly told the Four Winds of the plan.
“Yes, I do believe it will work. Ronnie, you are truly a powerful being,” Zephyrus exclaimed. “No one of us would have come up with such an outlandishly brilliant idea. What made you think of it?”
“Well, it came from Wollomombi. He said something about ‘whirlwinds of doubt’ and it just popped into my mind. I thought if we could somehow get all of you together, the Harpies could be trapped in your whirlwind. From there, Chiron helped to make it fall into place. So, I guess we’re ready and we just need to wait for the Harpies to make their next move, which should be soon. I don’t imagine they’ll give the Iridalites much more time to recover from their last visit.”
When Storm shrieked over the Gateway with Swift Flyer and Black Cloud close behind, they were so intent on destroying the village they failed to notice the newcomers.
“Now, my sons!” cried Eos. The Four Winds blasted toward the village creating a whirlwind in their wake. Wollomombi flew to the forest in search of Echidna, who could not be allowed to remain in Iridal. Even without the Harpies to aid her, she would probably find many ways to create trouble for the inhabitants of the land.
The creature was in the exact spot he had thought to find her. Crouching amongst the underbrush, she lay in wait near the entrance to the Labyrinth. Echidna had failed to recognize the magic that Ronnie held within. Believing there was no other way out of the labyrinth, she thought to pounce upon Ronnie when she emerged. She would have waited there forever, or at least until the Harpies needed her and called her forth. When she came to realize that she had been beaten, she would have then avenged herself upon the Iridalites. Echidna did not like to lose. Wollomombi swooped down from the sky, caught her in his grasp, and carried her – kicking and screaming – to the Gateway.
There he met with the brother winds, who had captured the Harpies in their whirling embrace. Wollomombi dropped Echidna into the midst of the twister. “Be sure that all are in place before you return here.”, he instructed. “These are vile creatures, indeed, and all worlds will be better places without them.”
The Harpies and Echidna were carried on the winds to the Island of Strophades. There each brother lent a part of himself to the cyclone that would trap the creatures forever. It reached up to the Heavens, where the Olympians would watch its borders, as would the creatures of Earth in their realm, and Hades servants in his – for the whirlwind extended itself down into that domain.
Iris had thought that Hades might be reluctant to help but when Persphone, his consort, heard of the trouble in Iridal she knew the Underworld must do its part to make the plan work and persuaded Hades to do Iris’ bidding. Persephone had close ties with Earth. She spent the cold, dark months of winter in Hades’ realm but emerged from there annually, bringing spring to the Earth. She watched over the tulips and daffodils and crocuses as they shyly peeped out from their winter slumber. The leaf buds on the trees awaited her call before bursting forth with greenery. She watched the Sun Dogs give way to Springtime Rainbows when the Earth was showered with the sweet, fragrant spring rains. Yes, Persephone had close ties to Earth.
She knew that, if rainbows became only arcs of colour with no magic, something great would be lost. Some people would never know the difference, but they are the ones who have never taken the time to truly see a rainbow, nor have they ever sought one out. Those who know rainbow magic would feel the difference and know the loss. Each rainbow would, in turn, seem a little less bright to them. As the magic leeched out of rainbows, so would the joy leech out of the hearts of those who know them. Persephone could not sit by idly so long as there was hope.
Between the realm of the Underworld and the land above, the Oceanids would stand guard. The Harpies’ storms had brought troubles to their world, too.