The morning was crisp and sunny; the two young men took a quick breakfast, packed their backpacks with the necessaries and took off in flight. For Antares flying in broad light was somehow unusual since they used mostly the night but he easily got carried away with Kian’s grace as he faced the morning wind. Soon they were flying side by side, Antares mood raised by Kian’s smile as he turned towards him from time.
For the first time in his life, the young Night Flyer had a real, close friend. He used to be some kind of a loner, unable to find amongst his peers somebody to share all the bothering questions that were haunting him for a long time. This was the reason why he passed the borders of the ForbiddenLand and worked out a place of his own there. In that remote and apparently peaceful place he could dream and think over his life’s challenges. His parents have lost their grip on him long ago; Antares was their oldest son, a strange child so they let him be himself and concentrated on the other two siblings. The youth loved them but he was driven by a sense of anxiety towards unknown horizons…almost like the silently rebellious Angel, he couldn’t fit properly in; something told him that the world is more than it meets the eyes. Now, he felt free and exhilarated, flying together with a fabulous creature that became his friend. They also shared a more subtle and personal bond through the ritual performed; each of them has given and got from the other something that changed him for good. Though Antares held some inner fears about the changes he had suffered trough this intimate sharing, he decided not to think about them until they would become clear. For now, he was enjoying the pleasure of flying…in two.
They were slowly descending, closing to the thick forest canopy when Kian turned to his companion:
-Antares, what do you know about the wild life of this continent? Are there some dangerous animals we should keep alert?
-I don’t know much about them but during the days and nights I have spent in my cavern I have heard some familiar noises. We have some big carnivores and venomous ones. There are some huge birds of prey but they don’t target us. We are more at risk on the ground. Here…only the other Night Flyers are posing a threat for us. I assume they are pretty angry that we have escaped…
They both laughed and continued the flight. They stopped only on high spots of rock, from where they could keep an eye on the surroundings. It was dawning when they noticed the flattened mountain emerging from the misty horizon; it was quite impressive. It looked like the planet itself has prepared a landing spot for her incoming visitors; Kian knew that Commander Soren pondered to land the ANTARES right there. Indeed, it was the best possible place so they had to hurry to find the remnants of the first landing before it was too late.
-We should find a place to rest and sleep; that mountain is at another day of flight distance from here-said Kian , searching the ground for a safe spot.
-Look! There is something like a small balcony of rock on the left, emerging from the greenery. It’s not much but we could sleep there I think…
-Let’s see it from closer. I cannot find something better…
They took a sharp turn down, spiraling towards that place. It was a flat promontory of barren rock, extending from the forest, high above the other trees covering a steep slope. There was enough place for the two of them to lay down and rest; the nights were warm enough, though the air was moist and the mornings were misty from the large breathing of the never ending forests. They ate and then decided to venture into the forest behind them to find out how secure this spot might have been.
The big cat-like predator hid in the foliage of the woods in expectation; his recent kills had been meager and he was frustrated and hungry. The time for hunt was not ready yet; he expected for the night to fall and then, he would come out to take by surprise the fools. Until then, he watched the narrow pathway under the tree; something was moving. Cautiously, he took a sniff from the rising scent; they were two underneath. One was a Night Flyer, the other was totally unknown to him. It was odd to see a Flying creature venture into the woods; the big cat has never hunted down one of them. They lived in different spaces. But the other creature’s scent was entirely alien and it made the hair rise in the cat’s huge back. It was something with …wings like birds, but human shape. The cat didn’t trust humans; they were trouble with their weapons that could reach far faraway. Yet hunger was hunger and these two seemed oblivious to his presence; he decided to descend silently to a lower branch, ready to jump. They were approaching…
Kian scrutinized the thick forest and made a mental note; this was dangerous vicinity. Animals could hide almost everywhere, while the two of them were unable to detect them. He decided return to the sleeping place and maybe sleep in shifts. He turned to Antares and put a hand on his shoulder when his heard the crack. In a maelstrom of leaves and a deafening roar the cat jumped from above and tried to grab the closest human. In a split second, Kian’s mind reacted to the danger and grabbing Antares he disappeared; they landed on the extent of rock, shaking from the sudden emotions. Antares was bleeding; the skin on his other shoulder was torn up by the claws. Fortunately it was only an “almost” hit. Kian quickly tended the wound before the numbing headache would hit him.
-What…what was…that? –mumbled Antares. He was shaking like a leaf.
-I assume it was a hungry cat but I hoped you could tell me-answered Kian, focusing on the wound.
-No…not that. How…we got…here? We weren’t flying…we…just landed…How?!
-Oh, that…That was the power of the Nova; you have it yourself sine we shared energies. All you have to learn is to use it properly. Now…You’ll be fine. Hand me my pack, please. It’s my turn to get sick…
Kian searched in the pack and took out a dried fruit that looked like a big, blue fig and slowly eat it; the ache in his brain was gradually subsiding as the energy of the fruit refilled the body with the energy lost in the sudden space-shift. He leaned against the wall and sighed. Antares watched him with worried eyes.
-Are you feeling better?-he whispered.
-I am, don’t worry. This is a lifesaving technique but it drains you out; get some sleep, little brother. I’ll watch over you; I’ll wake you up after a few hours and we’ll sleep in shifts…though I don’t think the cat will bother us. We left him puzzled….-Kian chuckled and that made Antares laugh.
He shut his eyes and he was gone. Kian laughed inwardly as he watched his young friend; released from all the tension, the Night Flyer slept like a child, his youthful features relaxed in a faint smile. The translucent wings were wrapped around him, preserving the body heat to escape in the cold air of the night. Kian wrapped himself up in his own wings and tried to keep his mind awaken.
What was bothering him was the fact that he couldn’t place the tragedy of the Night Flyers in his recollection of history. Where were these people kept so that nobody knew about them? What other dark happenings were tainting the memory of his race? Why were these people shunned from their society? How much did his father know about all this? Kian’s heart filled with pain and sorrow over the memory of his lost family. He shook his head and looked up in the skies. He spotted a shinier star; it was the ANTARES.
Kian focused on the starship and tried to connect with Sheera; He sent a message to her, hoping that she would be still awaken.
“ I’m safe. Don’t land yet. I still need a little time. I”ll be back to you. I love you.”
Exhausted, he dozed off and they both woke up as the sun lit up the sky. The starlit black eyes looked reproachfully into the blue-grey ones.
-You left me sleep all night…
-Don’t worry, I have fallen asleep and fortunately, we’re both alive and unharmed. Come, eat something. Today we have to reach the mountain; I have a feeling that the ANTARES is about to land there and it might burn whatever evidence could be found. It’s vital to get there in time. I just hope that they received my message last night.
They eat and the Angel changed the bandages on his friends arm; the wound was healing quickly. They took off, facing the refreshing morning winds.