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Outcast (Part 10)
I opened my eyes to find myself lying on the floor in the corridor. For a moment I couldn’t remember what happened. Then it all came flooding back. The knife in Ixol’s back, the black flames.
“Where is the king?” I asked.
“Moonbeam, you must rest. You’ve passed out twice this evening. It can’t possibly be good for you.” Rider of Winds was genuinely concerned.
“I feel fine. I must speak with your grandfather.” I said.
He helped me up. “He has gone to bed. I can’t wake him.”
“What about the book? And the scroll and Moonstones?”
“Dafar has them. He took them to your bedchambers.”
I went to the door and opened it slowly. Dafar knelt on the floor, panting. He didn’t appear hurt. Singing Deer looked over my shoulder and gasped. Two of the king’s soldiers lay on the floor, unconscious, bound and gagged.
“What happened?” Singing Deer asked.
“They followed me in here and attacked me. They tried to take the book and scrolls.”
“We can’t let them go.” Rider of Winds said.
“We need to look at the book and scrolls. They must be important if the kings wants them so badly.” I said as I crossed the room the desk. I picked up one of the scrolls and unrolled it. Written on it was the Prophecy that Ixol had shown me on the journey.
‘The next Moon Holders must know this:
Golden eyes will glow.
Magic will show.
In the time of need,
This one you must heed.
A Holder of the Moon,
Her time will not be soon.
Death will be much.
The world must be as such.
To save her people,
From a great evil.
Make them learn. Make them heed this. Make them fear the peasant who is a princess.’
Rider of Winds read it over my shoulder. “We have something like this in the library.”
“Ixol showed it to me when my eyes turned this color.”
“I thought that was their natural color.”
“No. They were green before. They turned golden a few minutes before I knocked you off your horse.”
Rider of Winds grinned and rubbed the back of his head. “I hit my head pretty hard.”
“Are you all right?” I asked. For the first time I was worried about him.
“What will you do now?” Singing Deer asked.
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but the king does not have the magic to cause a knife to have the Black Fire. Someone more powerful than him is behind this, and I intend to find out who it is.”
Rider of Winds put his arm around me. “I’m coming with you. I had a dream the other night and we need an army.”
“An army? How will we scrape together an army? Everyone is scared of Moon Holders.” Dafar snorted.
“There are other Moon Holders in this World.”
“How will we reach them in time?” I asked.
“I have a surprise for you.” He took me had and pulled me out the door and down the corridor the stairs.
“Where are we going?”
“To the tower. We keep the falcons there.”
“Falcons? Is that your surprise?”
“No. But we should send those messages out as soon as possible.”
“They’re specially trained.”
We ran up the stairs. Rider of Winds stopped and put a finger to his lips. “The falcons don’t like loud noises.”
He opened the door and several screeches ensued. He walked into the middle of the room, to a large table and took out several pieces of parchment and a pen. “Start writing.”
Singing Deer and Dafar walked up and began writing. I started to walk to the table. A snow-white falcon flew down and landed on my shoulder. It looked at me with intelligent eyes as it cocked its head. Rider of Winds looked up. The falcon and I just stared at each other.
“That’s Arga. She’s the youngest of all the falcons.”
Arga flies with you.
I yelped. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Dafar asked, looking at me as if I were insane.
“She just told me she would fly with me.”
“Falcons only speak to the pure of heart.” Rider of Winds whispered reverently.
“My heart can’t possibly be pure. I’m seeking revenge. Revenge is not pure.”
“Arga seems to think not.”
“What did she mean?”
“When a falcon says they will fly with you, it means that they are putting themselves in your service.”
“That’s the last message.” Singing Deer said.
“We need to tie each one to a falcon’s leg and tell it where to go.”
“Just send them anywhere?”
They moved around the room attaching the messages to legs. As each one received instructions, it flew out the open window.
“I told them to meet us at the South Mountains.”
“The South Mountains?”
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
The South Mountains were just north of my village. Where Moondancer had taken me. “Did you send a falcon the South Mountains?”
“Yes. I have a friend who lives there. He is also a Moon Holder.”
“Come on. It’s time for your surprise.”
He nearly dragged me down the stairs and into the stable. Several horses whickered neighed. Arga’s wing feathers brushed my cheek as she tried to stay balanced. Rider of Winds led me to the largest stall at the end of the stable. There before us was a majestic black Pegasus. His wings were a light grey and his mane and tail were a brilliant white.
“He is yours.”
“Mine? I… What about my horse?”
“You can leave her here of you can let Singing Deer have her.”
“I don’t know how to ride a Pegasus.”
“It’s quite easy. You don’t even need a saddle.” He opened the door to the stall and the magnificent animal walked out. Rider of Winds mounted easily, then offered his hand.
“Trust me.” He said, his eyes pleading.
I took his hand and he helped me up. I sat in front of him and hung onto the Pegasus’ neck.
“His name is Nightflame.”
Nightflame nickered and tossed his mane as if to say I know.
Suddenly, he began galloping. We were out of the stables and he leaped over a fence, but before he landed back on the ground, the silky grey wings snapped out and beat them just two times before we were high in the air. Arga, who had long since abandoned her post on my shoulder, wheeled around us. The night air was cool, but not unpleasant. Nightflame’s wings beat at a steady pace. I looked down and saw the sharp spires of the castle glowing an eerie blue in the moonlight. Nightflame swooped towards the ground. I thought he was going to smash into it, but at the last moment he slowed and we landed back on the ground smoothly. I noticed several people running from the castle and realized that two of them were Dafar and Singing Deer. Rider of Winds jumped down.
I didn’t have any time to argue before he was running to the stables. Dafar and Singing Deer met him and they ran into the stable. A few minutes later, my horse came streaking out carrying Singing Deer. Then came Moonfire and Rider of Winds, closely followed by Dafar on a dappled grey horse. They were being chased by several of the king’s soldiers.
“Go!” Rider of Winds yelled as he approached.
Nightflame rose into the air with hardly a sound. I realized that we were on the run.
Several arrows streaked under Nightflame’s hooves. I looked down to see one arrow hit Rider of Winds in the back and he toppled off his horse. I pointed Nightflame down and he tucked his wings close to his flanks. We plummeted to the ground and I jumped off before he had come to a full stop. Singing Deer turned around and jumped down next to me. She handed me my bow and quiver. I didn’t stop to think where she had kept them. I notched an arrow into the bow and pulled back on the string. I concentrated on hovering and rose to a height of five feet. I could see the soldiers hesitate slightly at the sight of a hovering girl. I let the first arrow fly. One man fell, an arrow lodged in his throat. The next two arrows flew at the same time, but each went a separate way to hit the other two men. One was hit square in the chest and he flew backwards several feet. The other ducked and ended up have an arrow growing out of his forehead. I turned my attention to Rider of Winds. He lay where he had fallen. We couldn’t take the arrow out or he would lose too much blood and die. I sat and gently laid his head in my lap. His face was already pale.
“Is there a doctor who won’t alert the king?” I asked.
“Yes. Shall I fetch him?” Singing Deer replied.
“Yes. Hurry. We don’t have long.”
Singing Deer mounted the horse.
“We will be over there.” I pointed to a small grove. “It will provide us with shelter.”
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Singing Deer called over her shoulder as she kicked the horse into a gallop.
Dafar lifted Rider of Winds easily and carried him to the grove. I followed leading the horses. I noticed that Singing Deer had had the sense to bring bags for each of us. Mine had the book, scrolls, and Moonstone rings. I sat down beside Rider of Winds and looked up at Dafar. “It would appear, friend, that my head is not the only one wanted.”