Shadowed Moon chapter 13

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 6/9/2010

 

“Where have you been all day, human? Anything useful?” Faylin’s rough voice asked as I neared the camp. I surprised myself by not jumping at his unannounced presence and turned on my heel to face him with a smirk.
            “Not anything you would care about, I’m sure.” I replied.
            “He shook his head. “Not good enough.”
            “Good enough what? My reason, my what?”
            “Calm down and don’t use the word ‘what’ so much.” He began with his signature grin. “And I meant your sarcasm. You should work on it.”
            Once again Faylin the Frustrating had left me speechless. I stood there for a minute before stepping into camp and walking over to Ditri. I proudly displayed my new outfit to him and he smiled, his eyes glowing.
            “It’s a little big.”
            “I can change that.” I replied. “I like to sew.”
            “Hmm, never knew that.”
            “You didn’t exactly ask about my hobbies.”
            He cocked his head on its long, blue and green neck. “So Lara, do you have any hobbies?” he asked playfully.
            I shook my head. “You and Faylin both.” I muttered, hiding a grin.
            Ditri laughed. “You love us and would simply die if we left you.”
            “Having nothing to do with the fact that we’re out in the wilderness, surrounded by suspicious peoples who will kill me if I start speaking to animals among them. That is if I didn’t die out here first.”
            He nodded. “Having absolutely nothing to do with that,” he agreed.
            Catalee ran up to us, her tail swishing happily. “Lord Ditri says we will, ah, get moving again soon, Lara. What, er…um… exactly is that?” Her amber eyes locked on my new riding dress.
            “It’s a dress.” She still looked puzzled, so I explained further. “Humans wear them.” This seemed to satisfy her and she trotted off, her jet black paws padding away softly.
            “Catalee!” Ditri called after her. She stopped and her pointed head turned towards us. “Go get Narris and tell her we’re leaving.” The young vixen nodded and took off again. “Hop on then, Lara.” He told me.
            “Righto.”
            He gave me a strange look. “Are you quiet feeling alright Lara?”
            “I’ll be happy when I can sleep in a real bed again.” I answered and climbed onto his back, much more gracefully than I had done before.
            Once the other three had joined us and we had all made sure that nothing was left and that the fire was doused with sand and dirt, Ditri leapt into the sky.
            The mountains appeared in the afternoon, with Ditri flying hard to make good on his promise to me; that we would get there today.
            “How soon do we land?” I called into the wind, raising my voice to what classified as a shout.
            Ditri’s reply was muffled by the roar of the air shooting around us but his statement was short and easy enough to understand. “Soon!”
            And soon it was. In no less than two hours we had reached the mountains and the days of flight had begun to wear on even Ditri’s great, leathery wings. We landed at the base of a mountain and Ditri was quiet long enough to catch his breath before explaining, “It’s easiest to go in on foot from here.”
            Faylin, surly as ever, scrambled down from Ditri’s back and stretched as was his normal routine. “Or paws, as is the majority.” He commented and I got the distinct impression that he said this just as a cause of argument.
            Narris’s eyes flashed in that strange smile of hers and she crowed. “Actually, you and Catalee have paws, Lara has feet and Ditri and I have talons. Therefore, it is a tie.”  
            Faylin growled menacingly at the hawk, and the scar over his eyes twitched as he frowned. “Always having to be politically correct.” He grumbled.
            “In reality, it was you who started correcting the rest of us.” Narris pointed out slyly, twisting her head to lay it sideways on her red feathers. “Chiefly, you corrected Lord Ditri.”
            “The Lord Ditri and I have been friends far longer than you have lived in the country of Karamin, hawk.” Faylin retorted, eager to keep the argument going. “It was Chelise before that, was it not?” he asked with a grin. I couldn’t see why it mattered one way or another but Narris’s feathers were definitely ruffled—so to speak.
            “It was Elle that was my home country, ignorant pup.” Narris shot back. “Are you really as uncivilized as all that?”
            “Oh for all the smoke in Felmath,” Ditri cut in wearily. “Would you two stop bickering?!”
            “Bickering?” Faylin protested with a grin. “I beg to differ Ditri, but we were debating.”
            “You were bickering. End of subject.”
            Faylin hid his smile as we began walking. “Yes Lord Ditri.”
            Ditri shot him a look which went ignored.
I clambered over some large boulders. “Mountains.” I muttered under my breath.
After several hours of climbing and walking through a semi-forested valley we stopped for a break at a small stream and Narris flew away to scout out a path.
“What’s that?” I asked after a moment.
“What?” Ditri and Catalee asked at the same time.
Faylin turned and stared hard at the side of the mountain. “That,”
Rocks were falling.
Rumbling was growing.
I cried out as a boulder the size of a horse landed beside me, shaking the earth and causing a huge cloud of dust to raise around us. Rocks were everywhere and I heard shouting, scraping, crying and Faylin growling. Everything was chaos.
I looked up as dirt and shale fell around me and screamed again as a wave of sliding stone headed for me.
Something struck me on the head. Something ran down my face.
The noise had been deafening but it faded slowly.
Pain flooded my head, a dull, aching throb.
I tasted blood.
Then all went dark.