The next morning, before the sun peeked over the hills, Blackwing gathered the camp to bury Foxtail, which was a strange ceremony. The way they did it intrigued him.
They first piled rocks on top of him, forming a perfect grave. Then, they all gathered around and listed off Foxtails titles, who his parents were, and who he was mated to. And at the end, they all lifted their heads to the sky and, all at once they said, “Fly straight, and find your rest”.
As much as it was fascinating, it was also sorrowful. Many of the pegasi there had dull looks in their eyes. And Froststar was sobbing from the loss of her beloved mate.
It showed how much the Outcasters could take away by simply taking a life, and so easily they could do it.
Later on that day, Lakefeather and Blaze prepared to leave for River Herd. Blaze was anxious to see what it looked like, for there were more pegasi there than the small camp here in the Interior.
Lakefeather and Blaze didn’t know who would be taking them to River herd, but Blaze had a feeling they were about to find out.
As they approached Blackwing, who was standing at the cottonwood forest, Blaze saw the last stallion he wanted to see standing next to him; Stormfire.
He had on his ‘soldier’ face as he stood there, his head held high and wings tucked neatly on his back. He looked assertive standing next to his leader.
“Good morning Blackwing” Lakefeather said mobily as they stopped before him.
Blackwing bowed his head at them in response, “I’m assuming you to are ready to leave?”.
Blaze looked over at Lakefeather as she hesitated, her lips pressing together.
She nodded after a moment, “Yes, we are ready”.
Blackwing nodded before extending his wing over to Stormfire, “As you probably can guess, Stormfire will be journeying with you. He is strong and swift, and will protect you by all means”.
The hateful glare that appeared in Lakefeathers eyes told Blaze that she was not looking forward to traveling with Stormfire as much as he was. But she nodded, “I understand”.
Blackwing glanced at the three steeds before flaring his wings, “Alright. Now, you should get going. The more daylight you have the better”. He then flapped them, flying back to the meadow, Blaze and Lakefeathers gaze followed his movements.
“Well come on you two, we have to catch the sun before it catches us” Stormfire said sternly, catching their attention.
Giving one last glance at the Interior, they all entered the cottonwood forest, the shadows swallowing them whole.
The few days that passed by were absolutely miserable. Blaze’s legs hurt so bad that he thought they were going to fall off. He had never walked so much in his life, and wished he could fly.
‘Stupid fear of the ocean’ He thought angrily.
One day, Blaze fell to his haunches, out of breath, “Can we please rest!? We’ve been traveling for hours!” He complained, his wings sagging.
Stormfire, who was walking up ahead, stopped dead in his tracks. His eyes turned to Blaze and narrowed into a glare, “I’m afraid we can’t, because ‘someone’ can’t lift their wings of their back” He spat.
Lakefeather stood next to Blaze and snorted, “That’s not his fault!”.
“Yes it is!” Stormfire whinnied, “If he wasn’t such a baby and landed in the water, he could have saved us A LOT of time!”.
Rage erupted in Blaze’s chest, making him stand up, “Okay what is your problem? What the heck did I ever do to make you so angry at me?”.
Stormfire snorted, his ears pinned, “My problem is that you are an outsider! Someone that Blackwing should keep an eye on! But no he just lets you wander like a brainless horse through our camps! Learning out secrets and battle strategies!”.
“I don’t even know what they are!!!” Blaze yelled, his anger boiling, “I don’t know anything about, ANYTHING here!! I don’t know your war tactics, I don’t know your language, and I don’t know your ranks! SO WHAT DO YOU WANT?”.
The last sentence echoed throughout the forest. Silence filling the air. The birds stopped singing, and it was as if the entire forest was spooked to quietness.
Blaze stood there, his hot breath shooting out of his nostrils.
“You two stop it now!” Lakefeather said, glancing from Stormfire to Blaze, “We don’t know what is here and you idiots just told the whole land of Anok where we are!”.
Blaze flattened his ears, lowering his head. She was right, Outcasters could be here, and he just had an outburst like a foal in a very dangerous place.
But Stormfire looked unconvinced, scoffing, “There are no Outcasters here in the area, if there were we would be-“.
Out of nowhere a blinding flash of purple and green feathers landed on Stormfire, a whinny erupting from him. Blaze reared back with a yelp as more strange steeds landed around them. By their scars and sinister expressions, Blaze could already tell who they were.
“Outcasters!” Lakefeather cries, rearing back.
Two of them suddenly launched forward, their coats and wings blurred in Blaze’s eyes. Before he could react, a sharp hoof slammed into his side, knocking him to the ground. The air left his body as he slammed to the ground, causing to wheeze.
His eyes turned round with fear as he looked at the stallion looming over him, a big bay with blazing white feathers and a scar over one of his eyes. He was smiling wickedly at Blaze. He said nothing, but reared and aimed his sharp hooves at Blaze’s neck.
Blaze screamed, his voice rattling his throat.
As the stallion began to come down, a grey force tackled him. A blur of blue feathers knocking him away; Stormfire.
Blaze laid there for a moment in shock before pushing himself to his hooves, turning his head to see Stormfire fighting off the bay.
A scream suddenly filled the air, making Blaze turn his head. His eyes widened with shock as he saw two steeds going after Lakefeather. Her eyes were blazing with fury, but fear was seen in her movements.
Blaze gasped, “Leave her alone!” He roared. He flared his wings and propelled himself forward, wincing as his wing muscles burned painfully.