Chapter 7: A Visit
Tlali ran out the door. It was beautiful outside! The golden star that appeared on one special day now shone in the dark sky, and the trees stretched towards it.
Tlali grinned as she spotted the Kihlari barn. She quickly opened the squeaky barn door, and slipped inside, closing it behind her.
“Ay, who’s there?” said a voice. Tlali looked up and sighed in relief. It was only Ivy Kim, the head groom.
“Just me,” Tlali she said. Ivy walked out from behind a huge bale of hay, holding a pitchfork.
She shook her head, “Sure, whatever,” she curled her lip and went back to work, her long black hair swishing.
Tlali turned to the wild Kihlari. Luna was sleeping, curled up in her stall, and Winter was nickering and whinnying at Zahara, who seemed to be ignoring her. Rain stood in her stall, munching her hay, and peering at Luna.
“Hey, girl,” Tlali said, reaching out and petting Rain’s soft muzzle.
Rain dropped her hay and nuzzled Tlali, then flexed her wings. Tlali knew what this meant, Rain wanted to fly. She often did this when Tlali visited her at night, which was a lot. Tlali would open her stall door and hop on her bare back, and they would go on a wonderous flight above the village, but not tonight. Tlali had come to see Luna.
Tlali gave Rain one last pat and turned to the black filly. She quietly opened the stall door and sat next to the sleeping filly.
Stormsong opened her eyes as she felt something warm pressing on her back. She threw up her head and whinnied at the Landwalker that was petting her.
“What are you doing?” Rain hissed, “She is being kind to you!”
Stormsong got up and pressed against the back of her stall. “But she.... she....,” Stormsong glared at the girl.
Rain tossed her mane. “Tlali will hurt NO ONE. She is very gentle. You can trust her,” Rain poked her head into Stormsong’s stall and pushed Tlali towards Stormsong.
Tlali stumbled and fell over next to Stormsong’s wing, almost on top of it. Tlali smiled and cocked her head. Stormsong nickered and hid her face under her wing.
“Luna,” Tlali said, “You don’t need to be scared.” She reached out and lifted Stormsong’s large wing off her face. “I want to help you.”
Stormsong flicked her ears.
Tlali smiled at Stormsong, and gently stroke her feathers. “My clan will help you, and I will help you.” Tlali leaned in, close to Stormsong’s face, and breathed out.
Stormsong inhaled, memorizing her scent. Then, Stormsong turned away, uncomfortable in Tlali’s gaze. Tlali stood, slipped out of her stall, and closed the gate.
Tlali sighed. She realized that Luna couldn’t fly, not yet. But Tlali knew that Luna would soon grow into her large wings, but she would also need to strengthen the bones and muscles to lift them. Tlali decided that she would have to help her, because she knew the other Riders where to busy, too impatient, to do so. They already agreed to train them, but Tlali had a feeling that was going to be harder done than said.
She sighed again, grabbed Rain’s halter, and led Rain outside. Rain nickered and spread her wings. Tlali smiled, hopped on her back, and they flew off into the night.