Starpebble rolled across the ground, mud splashing across her silver coat. She came to a stop and scrambled up, glancing widely around.
Near her was a steadily shrinking glowing circle of golden starfire, floating in the air above a bush. She charged at it, trying to get back through, but she simply bounced off, smashing into a tree and cracking her head hard against it. Blood streamed down her face.
Starpebble staggered straight and gazed dizzily through stars in her vision at the starfire as the portal shrunk and then disappeared.
She reared, then strode in a circle, frustrated, and thinking and answering her own questions. Why did Spark DO that? She shook her head, then stopped as a bolt of pain shot through it. To protect me, of course. But I wish he would let me choose if I wanted to be protected! And Ember — I was getting to him, I know it.
Snorting, she paused. Spark was so over-protective. He needed to learn she could take care of herself, and she hadn’t needed to be left safe behind in Mountain Herd while he flew back to Desert Herd.
Sighing, she looked around. She was in a jungle, trees reaching up toward the sky, a line of ants marching past on the mulchy ground. Perking her ears, she looked up toward the sky, watching the sun. It was almost noon.
She headed east, not wanting to fly, as it would attract attention from anything below.
Quinn Cloudburst dropped his head in his hands and squeezed his eyes closed. His tame wolf pup, Tiko, snuffled his leg worriedly, and he absently patted the wolf’s white head, his thoughts sad.
His Kihlara, Sera, whom he had inherited from his dead father and who had lived in the Ruk, had just died birthing two weeks before. Memories of the mare who was too delicate for the Sky Guard swept through his mind, and he took deep breaths.
Sera had been small, but after paying off his father’s debts Quinn couldn’t afford to pay for her feed and the Queen of the Fifth had offered him a deal. If he allowed them to use her as a broodmare, they would feed and take care of her.
And now, after only seven years living, she was dead.
Tiko whined, and Quinn stood up and ran his fingers through his hair. Even if Sera had died, her colt — the spitting image of the deceased mare — was still alive and needed to be cared for. Jager, the Kihlara whom Quinn had chosen to be the colt’s milk mother, had fully accepted the little colt, Ras, but Quinn still wanted to supervise.
He strode to the door and slipped out, closing the door after Tiko, who trotted at his heel, his little ears pricking in every direction, his tail wagging slowly from side to side. Quinn’s hut was south of the Kihlari stables, and as he swung away from the rainforest, he heard crashing in the underbrush and looked around warily, stepping forward slowly.
The animal that was making that noise came closer. Quinn drew his hunting knife and steadied his stance, peering into the forest.
Then he stepped back in amazement.
It was a Kihlara.
Hope you all enjoyed! PLEASE inform me of ANY MISTAKES OR INCONSISTANCIES be they a missing period or a plot hole or a weird travel time or ANYTHING! Thank you!
Cedarwing~ (over-stallion) agile light bay stallion with blue feathers, black mane and tail, thin white blaze
Sprucefeather~ (widowed mare) bay mare with green feathers, black mane and tail
Stormrain~ (yearling) dark gray filly with dark green feathers, black mane and tail
Hoperiver~ (single/widowed mare) pure white mare with sparkling blue feathers flecked with amber, silky white mane and tail
Stormsun~ (single mare) chestnut mare with turquoise feathers, curly black mane and tail fading to light brown, four white socks, blaze
Rockroot~ (medicine stallion) smoky-gray stallion with deep pink feathers, black mane and tail, white snip on nose
Mistwing~ (over-stallion) white stallion with misty blue and white feathers, silver mane and tail
Ashcloud~ (lead mare) smoky gray mare with smoky purple feathers, black mane and tail, large diamond-shaped star on forehead
Frostroot~ (medicine mare) light gray appaloosa mare with pale yellow feathers, light gray mane and tail
Echoflower~ (single/widowed mare, elder) white mare with pink feathers, white mane and tail
Rainshine~ (yearling) dark silver dapple filly with silver feathers, black mane and tail
Cobrawing~ (over-stallion) bay pinto stallion with green feathers, mixed brown-and-white mane and tail
Dustcloud~ (lead mare) palomino mare with pale green feathers, white mane and tail, wide white blaze
Sunfire~ (captain) gold dun stallion with violet feathers, gold mane and tail, thin white blaze
Starpebble~ (yearling) silver filly with pale blue feathers, white mane and tail, deep blue eyes
Ember~ (black foal, yearling) solid black colt with black feathers, black mane and tail
Spark~ (black foal, yearling) solid black colt with black feathers, black mane and tail, four white socks
Brightsky~ (mated mare) bright palomino mare with mixed blue and purple feathers, white mane and tail
Summersong~ (yearling) brownish-gold filly with pale pink feathers, light brown mane and tail
Palmroot~ (medicine mare) gold dun mare with amethyst feathers, black mane and tail, black points
Tumbleweed~ (nursing foal) buttermilk buckskin with turquoise feathers, black mane and tail, uneven blaze
Quinn Cloudburst~ age fourteen. Wavy light honey-brown hair, lightly tanned skin, dark brown eyes