(Another chapter! I was in a big hurry while writing this chapter, so my writing skills and grammar are definitely not the best, but I hope you still like it)
~ ~ The darkness of the Cave of Shadows was almost overpowering. The only source of light was the opening to the cave, about 6 winglenths away from the small group of pegasi. But, even then, the light in the cave was very dim, but Twistwing liked it that way. There was just enough light to highlight his features and cold eyes, but also enough darkness to conceal their bodies in a cloak of blackness. Ravenleaf stood facing the over-stallion with Alderflare huddled close to her hips. Twistwing didn't speak for a long time-he just stood and stared at Alderflare-his cold, dark eyes steeling into the colt's heart, as if he could read the colt's thoughts and deepest feelings.
Ravenleaf puffed out her chest gently, and moved her shoulders in front of Alderflare, blocking him from Twistwing's view. The Over-stallion's eyes shot to Ravenleaf, and they glared at each other for a long time. "Shall we begin?" Ravenleaf asked, breaking the silence with her voice. Twistwing huffed and arched his neck, "We already have. As soon as you and that colt walked into the cave, I have been studying him and deciding what to do with him. Obviously, the reason why I ordered my captains to capture him, was so he could help repopulate Snow herd. But, my captains were ignorant, and brought me a newborn dud, instead of a healthy yearling that I had asked for instead." Twistwing sneered as he spoke, his yellow teeth flashing in Alderflare's direction. Raveneaf listened to his words and wrapped her long tail around the colt, waiting for Twistwing to continue.
"As you know, this plague hasn't stopped-it's merely slowed down. Mountain herd is rumored to attack us and take our breeding and grazing grounds. I will not be made a fool of by Rockwing. Which is why I am sending a group of infected steeds into Mountain herd territory. They are leaving tomorrow. They are to spread the disease to Mountain herd-affecting as many steeds as possible-focusing mainly on the battle mares and captains. It will kill Moutain herd steeds as it is killing mine, which will back Rockwing into a corner." Twistwing said, revealing his plans to the mare and he folded his wings on his back, allowing her a minute to accept what he was saying.
Ravenleaf's heart was racing, her thoughts whizzing around inside her mind.
Twistwing wasn't focusing on stopping the plague- he was focusing on obliterating Mountain herd. His plan was to slaughter Mountain herd with the Black Tongue plague, killing the battle steeds and forcing Rockwing to stay within his own boundaries. It was a horrible and disgusting plan, but it was effective- and it reminded her of Deathsight.
"That sounds like something my former mate would think of." She said aloud, her voice more angry and challenging than she had hoped for, but to her surprise, Twistwing smiled maniacally, his eyes twisting with hatred and malice. He unfurled his wings and stepped closer to Ravenleaf, his warm breath ruffling her forelock, "Actually, I got the idea from Deathsight. He proposed that we poisoned Mountain herd with the very virus that plagued our herd. It was a brilliant idea, so I eagerly agreed. Your mate had such a way with devising plans, it made me jealous of his powerful thinking. Shame he left-we could have conquered Anok." He snorted, flicking his long tail, his eyes wide and glossy. Ravenleaf's breathing hitched, "Maybe my mate was truly evil. Only he would come up with such a strategic and vengeful idea." She thought, and felt her wingtips shuddering as she remembered her mate, and she felt Twistwing's smile widened as he realized that he strucked a nerve in the mare, upbringing old memories that should have been long forgotten.
Then, the trembling of Alderflare brought her back from her thoughts. The colt had been so still and quiet that Ravenleaf had almost forgotten that he was in the meeting with them.
Ravenleaf inhaled deeply and gently nudged Alderlfare forward. "What did you want Alderflare for? Why did you summon him along with me?" She asked, glaring at Twistwing's smug expression, but she tried to put on a respectful glance, after all, Twistwing was the over-stallion and could easily have her killed if he sensed the slightest hint of rebellion in her motives.
Twistwing glanced at Alderflare, and at the stallions look, the little colt puffed out his chest and tried to ruffle his feathers bravely, but his large wing caused it to merely come off as a pathetic shrug.
Twistwing chortled at Alderlfare, and looked away, his eyes rolling, "I wanted him to hear the words come out of my mouth for himself. As I said before, I wished for a healthy yearling from River herd, not this dud. I have no use for him. Tonight, the captains will secretly take him back to his herd." He said plainly and sheepishly, as if it was no big deal.
The brave and fearless face that Alderflare was trying to put on immidiatly evaporated as Twistwing spoke, and the brindle burst into tears and shook his head, "N-No! I don't w-want to leave!" He bleated and shoved his head into Ravenleaf's chest. Raveleaf wrapped a wing over the colt's back, and found herself biting back tears.
Ravenleaf nuzzled Alderflare soothingly and realized that she cared deeply for him. She cared for him and loved him. Alderlfare and Whisperfrost together had replaced so much of the pain and emptiness she had felt since Moonsight left. Ravenleaf had only been the colt's nurse-dam for 2 days, but she felt extremely attached to him, just as she feels attached to Whisperfrost. They were a family. They loved each other and Ravenleaf knew that she would never let anyone tear her family apart.
The small gray mare recoiled, her face a swirling world of pain and anger. She lashed her tail and pulled Alderflare closer. "Please, Twistwing. Don't take him away. I already lost my mate. I won't lose him too." She gasped, her ears drooped and eyes pleading. Never since Ravenleaf has been alive in Anok has she ever begged to Twistwing. It felt wrong and dirty, and Ravenleaf looked up at Twistwing's expression and she was horrified to see him smirking. He was enjoying their pain. He enjoyed to watch her beg and plead. He enjoyed to watch the colt cry into his nurse-dam's chest. He enjoyed to watch the sorrow etched all other their faces, and Ravenleaf felt her heart twirl with hatred for her over-stallion and her muscles tensed and ears pinned. He had power over Ravenleaf-he could control her with just a sentence, and she knew that she could do nothing about it.
Twistwing blinked, thinking silently to himself, before nodding once, "Fine. You may keep the feathered horse that you have become so attached too." He snorted, and Ravenleaf sighed in relief and Alderlfare stopped crying, but still held on closely to his new-mother.
Assuming that Twistwing was done with the meeting, Ravenleaf began to turn around, but the green winged stallion stopped her. "There is one more thing, Ravenleaf. If the convoy of infected steeds that I sent to Mountain herd doesn't disable the army, then Rockwing will surely form an attack on Snow herd. I want every abled body in this herd ready for battle. Yearlings will begin army training as soon as they turn 1. The foals will be weaned early and start flight school. Your daughter and Alderflare are among them. When you get back to the herd, you will wean both foals in 1 week, and then send them off to train with Icepebble for flight school." He stated, not missing a beat within his orders, his voice steady and booming with authority.
Ravenleaf frowned and grimaced.
Training weanlings and yearlings to fight would not win the war with Mountain herd. Twistwing stepped towards the mare, his ears pinned and muscles rolling, "Is that understood? Or do I have to say it again?" He said slowly, his gaze intense and challenging. He bared his teeth, power and intimidation radiating off of him in waves. That's the one thing Twistwing was well known for-his intimidation and his ability to bring the bravest and steadfast of warriors trembling and submit to him.
Ravenleaf nodded, "I understand, my over-stallion." She mumbled, before leaping out of the dark cave with Alderflare trailing in her wake.
(This one is looooonnnggggg but it hope it's good XD DX)