Author: Snow Gryphon PM
Darkear, a young gryphon, is being hunted by seemingly everybody. His blood is sacred, yet tainted. Darkear and Blackhawk need to pull their strength together if they're to overcome Darkear's inheritence...Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,246 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 02-19-07 - Published: 01-26-07 - id: 2310340
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Part One: Innocence
It was eerily silent. The chasm gaped below my feet as I walked…unable to stop or stand still. In the whisper of a wind, I heard a name echoing through every part of my mind, from the darkest corner to the most innocent meadow. A name I heard over and over. And would hear again.
The night felt like a war in itself. Whisper Forest echoed with war cries, mixed strangely within screams of pain and loss. The trees were a raging battleground, strange beasts darting between the dark canopy of forest with fierce hatred burning in their eyes and their talons and beaks mottled with blood. Above the forest, a horrific cloud of excited scavengers gathered. For the creaturez fighting, it was life or death. For the vultures above, it was a feast.
To the west of the battle, the Black Valley lay. Only a few remained, restrained either by age, kits or injuries. The rest had flew to Whisper Forest, to battle. The valley seemed peaceful, but there was an undercurrent of fear across the grassy plains. Would their loved ones survive? Some tried to sleep, but between the screams and the constant fear of the enemy breaking the boundaries of the territory it was difficult.
A young creature stirred in her nest, disturbed by the sudden movement of warmth in her nest. Her mother's wing was still over her, but something had moved. She no longer had her father's warm leg to lean against. She whimpered quietly and her eyes opened, glad to be free of the restless sleep she had forced herself into.
She rose, grey eyes searching restlessly. Those eyes burned with the deep emotion of a human, but she was far from human. She stepped out into the night and the pale moon lit her small body. Her black feathers shone in the moonlight, as did her fur. She was a gryphon kitten. She shivered in the cold, the fur on her hindquarters on end. She tucked her wings close to her body, stomach churning with unease.
He had left, she thought, talons gripping into the ground and cat-like ears lying flat on her head. No, no. He couldn't fight now. He couldn't.
She wouldn't let him.
With this thought of resolve, she sprang into life and began to run, eyes desperately seeking for the familiar figure of her father. He was too injured in the last battle. He could not possibly fight now.
Blackhawk was too young to understand the implications of the battle, but she thought it foolish. She did not see why the two flocks had to fight. It was pointless, it hurt gryphons and no matter how much Black Valley fought, or how much Whisper Forest fought, nothing ever changed.
A myriad of emotions surged through her as she saw a familiar red and orange figure in the distance, his run hindered by his distinct limp. What began as relief transformed itself quickly into a burning anger and she dashed desperately towards him.
"Father!" she cried. The other gryphon stopped and turned. She approached him breathlessly, pausing and panting. Firehawk remained silent as his daughter tried to catch her breath.
"Father," she repeated, looking up at him with an uncontrolled fury burning in her young eyes, "You promised! Father, you promised!"
Firehawk's yellow beak didn't move to speak and he simply looked down on his daughter in silence.
"You promised to us all! You told me, mother and Firedove that you would stay away! You're hurt! You…you can't! Can't…leave it to Firedove! My brother…he'll be able to handle it. Father, please!" she screamed, her voice getting gradually quieter. She wore herself out quickly and felt almost read to sob and cry at the betrayal.
"Blackhawk…you don't understand," he began but Blackhawk cut him off with another surge of anger and energy.
"I understand enough to know when my father is about to get himself killed!" she screeched. Firehawk fell silent and a strange expression took his face at the word 'killed'. The young gryphon kit fell silent, looking up at her father. She had never seen him wear an expression like that. He always looked so strong and proud and all of a sudden he looked…looked like he wanted to cry.
"Father?" she said, her voice soft all of a sudden. Firehawk look at her and sighed. The sigh was deep and shuddering, as if pained.
"Blackhawk, I have not chosen to fight. Please walk with me," he said. Blackhawk opened her beak to speak, but she didn't seem to have a voice. She followed her father, glancing worriedly at his limping leg. She heard the sounds of combat come closer and closer. She looked back at the injured gryphon. He couldn't possibly enter the battle, she thought uneasily to herself.
"While you and your mother were sleeping," Firehawk began suddenly and Blackhawk jumped a little, being too wrapped up in her own troubled thoughts. She suddenly felt very sick. Something told her she did not want to hear this story.
"I was awake, watching," he continued, "And Nightwing…he came to me with some…very bad news."
He took a deep breath and Blackhawk suddenly felt compelled to run for some reason. She didn't want to know…whatever it was. It sounded like something too terrible. She didn't want to…
"Firedove is dead," he blurted out in a hoarse, pained voice. Both gryphons stopped walking and Blackhawk stared up at her father, disbelief shining in her eyes. All time seemed to have stopped and Blackhawk urgently tried to find her voice and the right words. She opened her beak but not a word came out. Her brother couldn't be dead. No. That wasn't fair. He had always been such a good gryphon, and so strong and so…it wasn't fair!
"No," she said, her voice shaking, "T-there must be a mistake. He isn't dead father!" Her voice was failing her and Firehawk bent down to nuzzle her neck gently, trying to comfort his only remaining offspring. She squeezed her eyes shut as if this would lock the truth out and took a shaking step back and tears clouded her eyes to her own disgust.
She let out a pained sob as she opened her eyes and cried. The truth had hit her. Her brother was gone. Firehawk wrapped a protective wing around his daughter, looking through the trees. They weren't far from the battle now.
Blackhawk's mind reeled relentlessly. How could Firedove just…stop living? She didn't understand it. Why did he have to die? Why couldn't he come back? The tears were unrestrained now, she couldn't stop.
Suddenly, her thoughts turned to something else. She was heir to the flock now. If anything were to happen to her parents…she would be the Flockqueen. That thought scared her so much. The responsibility of the entire flock on the shoulders of a young kit who couldn't even fly yet, and only just managed to learn to talk? At that she was ready to throw herself to the god and goddess Goldlight and Silverlight then and plead for her brother's life back.
"Blackhawk…do you understand now? The Talons…they need somebody to lead them. I must fight in your brother's place," her father said quietly. A lump formed in her throat. She didn't understand it all, she shook her head and her sobbing intensified.
"No! Why do we have to fight them at all?" she cried at the top of her lungs, shocked by the sudden strength in her voice, "Why don't we…there's no need! There can't be anything behind this death! We…"
"Sssh…" Firehawk said gently and Blackhawk desperately fought back tears. She wouldn't cry again. No. She had to be brave– Firedove would have wanted her to, he would have never cried. He was…would have been too strong to cry.
"It's complicated Blackhawk. We're fighting to prevent an even bigger war…and we need the land and prey…and…you'll understand one day. You're young, but one day it will all make sense," he said softly, "And I promise I'll come back."
Blackhawk did not look him in the eyes. She did not understand the irony of it all; he had promised to not enter the battle but later her promised he would return from it. She nodded, wishing there was some alternative but it was painfully clear to her that no matter what she said or did…he would enter the battle. She couldn't help but bitterly think to herself that Goldlight and Silverlight would want peace between the flocks. The grown-up world was frightening and confusing.
"Father…I want it to be different," she said quietly. She was surprised that Firehawk even heard her tiny wish but he sighed and fondly nuzzled the small kit and unwrapped his wing from around her.
"I know, Blackhawk, we all do. I must go now. I am…sorry. Please, go home and rest," he said weakly. Blackhawk's head jerked to the side suddenly, hearing a faint, tiny whimpering from the bushes. She smelled blood. Blood…and gryphons.
"Firedove?" she whispered hopefully. It could be him. Her spirits lifted. It was possible, he may still be alive! She darted towards the source of the sound, oblivious to the demands for her to return her father kept making.
She screamed quietly as she saw where the sound had been coming from.
A dead gryphon lay on the ground. Blood surrounded her and her dead eyes stared up at the sky, her filthy coat ragged and torn apart. By her side, a tiny gryphon lay, wriggling in the grass. Despite her shivering fear, she approached. The gryphon was bald and its eyes were squeezed tightly shut. It whimpered weakly, nudging at the dead body by it. She felt utterly petrified and horrified, once again fighting back tears. She leant down and tried to pick up the newborn but since only a few months had passed since she had been like that it was too heavy.
"Father!" she screamed, suddenly getting the sense to call for his help, "Quickly! A newborn! Please!"
"What?" he responded and limped out from the bushes, following the sound of her voice. He gasped upon seeing the ghastly sight but to Blackhawk's surprise made no move to help the vulnerable kit. She turned to look at him, shocked by his indifference.
"Father! Help it," she said in a low voice. He turned his head away, staring at the ground with a sigh.
"I wish I could but…" he said, turning to walk away from the kitten.
"But? Why could there be a 'but' about this? Look at it father! It's helpless! Please!" she yelled. He turned to look at her, but at the same time avoiding having to look at the pitiful kitten.
"Blackhawk…there are many reasons. The mother could have had a disease; the kit could have it too. They could be from Whisper Forest…we must leave it."
"Father…" she began meekly, feeling sickened by her father's apathy. She couldn't possibly leave a helpless kit like that to die. She couldn't. If a Whisper Forest gryphon had left a Black Valley kit to die, Firehawk would have been disgusted. The entire flock would talk about how it would never…
She felt sick.
"Please father, help…" she continued again but Firehawk gave her a stern look and stepped towards her, still not looking at the dead gryphon or her kit.
"Blackhawk…you've had a hard night. Please…I'll take you back to the nest. You need rest. You're exhausted and emotional," he said firmly. Blackhawk felt thoroughly appalled, there was no good reason to leave a life like that out there to die.
But even as she turned back to try and help it in any way she could, Firehawk picked his daughter up in his beak and carried her away. Blackhawk stared at the helpless kit as it disappeared into the distance. The night's events were overwhelming. She closed her eyes from the rest of the world.
And the newborn cried out, with only the stars to hear it.