When they reached Desert Herd in the Red Rock Mountains Sunfire took Starpebble immediately to Cobrawing. The young over-stallion was resting next to his mate, Dustcloud, in front of their cave and was not very happy to see them.
“What is it, Sunfire?” he asked, resigned. Sunfire brought Starpebble forward.
“This filly, Starpebble, is from Snow Herd, but she won’t tell us why she is here.” Cobrawing turned an eye to her and stood up. He circled her.
“A weanling. Almost a year old… when did you start from Snow Herd, filly?”
“Early summer, sir.”
“You took your time about it… it’s autumn. Well, here it’s pretty much the same all the time, but other places it is autumn.” He stopped. “Why are you here?”
Starpebble’s eyes filled with tears, and she told her story in a few poignant sentences. “I want to meet the black foals, sir.”
“I’m sorry for your losses, Starpebble.” His eyes darkened. “But Ember and Spark. We lost a fine mare when they were born. Sunlight. She was my sister.”
He sighed. “So am I. But I will not, cannot murder my nephews. They are pleasant enough and bear the burden of being black foals well.”
He turned away, a green feather falling to the ground. “You wish to see them?”
Starpebble’s heart leapt. “Yes, sir.”
“Very well. Brightsky, would you take her to them? They are probably at the oasis.”
Brightsky led Starpebble into the air and flew a short distance to a large oasis. There was a group of weanlings playing in and near the water, and a short distance away were two black weanlings, playing by themselves under a palm tree.
Starpebble’s heart began to beat faster. After all this time, to finally meet them!
Brightsky called out, “Ember! Spark! You have a visitor!”
They turned and trotted toward them, dragging their oversized wings. Spark had four white socks, while Ember was completely black.
They stopped in front of Starpebble and Brightsky. “Hello,” said Ember, the older colt. Starpebble ducked her head to them.
Brightsky nickered softly. “This is Starpebble. She’s from Snow Herd and said she wanted to see you.” She watched them for a moment. “I’ll leave you three to it then.” She trotted away.
Ember and Spark led Starpebble to the edge of the water, where Starpebble stepped in with a grateful sigh, feeling the water cool her hot legs. Spark watched her in amusement. “I guess it’s pretty awful for you here, being Snow Herd and all,” he said. “We’re used to it though… and we don’t have that thick coat.”
Starpebble looked at him. “You don’t know how awful.”
Ember glanced at her pale blue wings. “At least you can fold your wings. We can only drag ours.”
Starpebble remembered the stories of Star in Crabwing’s Bay and had an idea. After all, Redfire had said, “Teach them what you know and they do not.”
She climbed out. “Here, get in the water. I can try to teach you how to fold your wings.”
Ember and Spark looked at her doubtfully. “Trust me,” Starpebble said.