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Outcast (Part 12)
Evil is near! Awake, Falcon-Friend.
I opened my eyes. The voice was familiar, but I couldn’t place it. I sat up. Suddenly the Memory of last night flew back to my mind. No one that I could remember had loved me before Moonrider. We hadn’t done anything more that kiss, because neither of us wanted an unborn baby endangered by a war. At least that was my excuse. He had been raised to be a gentleman, so therefore would not make love to anyone who wasn’t his bride. I smiled at the thought of his kisses. Moonrider turned from the fire and smiled at me. It was such an intimate smile, I found myself blushing. He held up a mug.
I got up and walked over to him. He handed me the mug. I took a huge gulp of the black drink, the bitterness and heat jolting me awake. After I took a second gulp, I heard the voice again, this time so loud I yelped and dropped my mug.
EVIL IS NEAR!
I covered my ears, doubled over. I vaguely felt Moonrider’s hand on my back. I uncovered my ears but stayed bent over. There was such a searing pain inside my body, it felt as if I were on fire. I heard flapping wings and opened my eyes see Arga land in the clearing.
Evil is near! Cloud Bringer is in the camp. Falcon-Friend must leave.
Confused at these words, I opened my mouth to speak, but all that came out were gasps of pain. Then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped and I collapsed. Moonrider caught me, and held me tight.
“Are you alright, love?”
I nodded, and then frowned. “What is a Cloud Bringer?”
A shadow fell over Moonrider’s face. “Why do you ask?”
“Arga woke me up by saying that evil was near. Then she said that there was a Cloud Bringer in the camp.”
Moonrider let go of me. “Stay here.” He said before grabbing his sword and sprinting out of the clearing to the other campfire where Singing Deer and Dafar were. A few minutes he came back leading Nightflame and his own mount. “We must leave. Now.”
I mounted Nightflame. “You didn’t answer me.”
Moonrider sighed. “A Cloud Bringer is a sorcerer or sorceress. They can take many forms. Men, women, children, beasts. Even plants. They will stop at nothing to erase the race of Moon Holders.”
“Where are we going, then?”
“To the South Mountains. I doubt that the Cloud Bringer knows that we are going there.” He mounted his horse.
Dafar and Singing Deer were waiting for us on the road. In the daylight, the road and surroundings seemed friendly, but now that I knew what a Cloud Bringer was, I found myself jumping at everything. I felt a sudden breeze. I looked over to see Moonrider’s horse snap its wings open. Wings! I watched in amazement as rider and mount soared into the air. I nudged Nightflame and he snapped his wings out and leaped into the air. We caught up with Moonrider quickly. A flash of white to my left caught my eye and I looked over. Arga had caught up with me. I looked back over at Moonrider. I realized that his Pegasus was just as black as Nightflame, with the same pearl grey wings and brilliant white mane and tail. i dug my fingers into Nightflame’s wings and nudged him downward. he folded his wings slightly and we dropped quickly. Just before we hit the ground, he snapped his wings open. Instead of crashing and dying, his hooves touched the ground and he folded his wings in neatly. Moonrider landed beside us. I slid off Nightflame and stared at Moonrider and his Pegasus.
Moonrider smiled at me. “His name is Nightwing. He sired Nightflame.”
Nightflame nodded his head as if greeting Nightwing.
“I didn’t know that he was a Pegasus. You never told me.”
“There really much chance to, you know.”
I shrugged. “We left Dafar and Singing Deer behind.”
Moonrider’s smile faded. “Moonbeam, I know that you like them, but one of them might be the Cloud Bringer.”
I nodded. the thought had crossed my mind. “We can’t let them come, can we?”
“I don’t know.” Moonrider came over to me and kissed my forehead. “But if one of the is, I’m sure you can handle it.”
The Cloud Bringer comes. Falcon-Friend must leave. Arga landed on my shoulder, her talons digging painfully into my shoulder.
I looked up at the sound of approaching hoofbeats. Singing Deer and Dafar had caught up with us.
“Arag says that the Cloud Bringer is coming. It’s one of them.” I whispered to Moonrider, who tensed and held me tighter.
“Does she know which one?”
I asked the falcon, who said that, no she could not tell.
“No, she doesn’t. Moonrider, I can feel the evil.”
“I know. I can too.”
Moonrider lifted my face up to where he could see it. I don’t know what his expression was because I had my eyes closed. I could feel that searing pain again. I felt myself slowly losing consciousness. I wasn’t sure why I felt this way, and Moonrider didn’t. I slumped against his chest, feeling a rumble deep down as he said something. But I couldn’t hear what he said. Then he lifted me up and I felt the weight of my arms and legs dangling off my body, and that was the last thing if felt as I allowed the darkness to swallow me.