Torn Shadows
Author: Specklez

Chapter 0
Prologue

"Iah." A bird of fire stepped into a shadowed cave. A phoenix. He looked around irritably, searching for the leader of the tribe of mythical birds.

"Your courage and sense of justice is strong, Thunda, but you must learn that the best bird is the wisest as well as the bravest."


Thunda shuffled nervously as he looked the iah in her eye. "Soften." She admonished the gaze and the male bird did as he was told. "Good." His leader rasped.

"Aika, do you know when we can start the mission to defeat The Masked King?" Thunda asked, using a soft but firm look as he gazed once again into the eye of Aika.

She clacked her beak with amusement. "Thunda, I remember when you were a chick. So bold and funny. I remember when you got at my lava rocks one day. It was a very nice batch. You had waited outside the meal-clearing's entrance the whole time, never budging until you could get at them. What happened to the same patient bird?" She chuckled.

Thunda fumed.

"This isn't helping!"


He drew back in terror at how rude he had just been but Aika was looking very amused. Stern, as always with naughty birds, but gently amused.



"Your patience has shrunken since I last looked at you. Tell me, why have you not seen me for the past sun-season?"
"I was busy at home, caring for others."
"What others, may I ask?"
"My mate and my two chicks."
"Talonscar is there for them."
"But what if something happens?"

Aika looked very softly onto her former apprentice. "They are not chicks anymore." She told him gently. "They'll always be my chicks." Thunda replied stubbornly. "Yes they will, but Nuka is already three sun-seasons and Serena is five sun-seasons." She replied.

Thunda shuffled his claws as he closed his amber-black eyes. "I am afraid of that. I want to spend every waking moment with my family. I took my family's lives for granted once and I will not do it again." He looked away as if hit.

Aika nodded. "Tell me, what happened those seven sun-seasons?" She asked very quietly. Thunda looked up curiously, grief clouding his eyes before speaking, "I was so careless. How could I have pushed them away like that?"

"I remember pushing my brother into a stream for the fun of it. I disliked my sister deeply, always being harsh with her after he touched my collection of feathers from every bird in the valley. My mother was my only friend, kind and understanding."

Thunda gulped as he stifled a sob. "Maybe it's time-" He ignored his iah's words and continued.

"My father had left for a mission...and never came back. I spent times ignoring them, goofing around on my own and thinking that I'd have more than plenty time to spend with them. How could I? Then... then my mother died. I was so grief-stricken I didn't see how dependent my younger siblings were on me. I pushed them away, snapped and pecked at them until-"

Aika was watching Thunda with a calm face but he could feel sympathy coming off her. "That's enough, little one." She bowed her head and Thunda was surprised at such a respectful gesture aimed at him!

Aika noticed this. "I wasn't always iah. Once I was just a bird warrior and gatherer like you. But now, I have a special message for you to carry to a very special griffin named Nisha. Find her by the Timbercreak Mountains and tell her..."

 

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