Blaze sat there, his eyes wide and jaw dropped. He couldn't get any words out of his mouth, as if the shock he was feeling tied a rope around his throat, keeping the words trapped inside.
How could he be in Anok? The mythical land across the Dark Water? He couldn't have flown that far in that amount of time, could he?
“W-what!?” He finally managed to shout, his voice echoing out of the grove.
The mare before him winced and flattened her ears at his loud, and sudden shout, “I….I said your-”.
“I know what you said! It's just, HOW!?” Blaze said. He was starting to shake from the shock he was feeling. He tried to calm himself, so he would stop shaking.
The Kihlari flattened her ears and sighed, shaking her head, “I don't know, Oakheart and Lakefeather said that they found you on the beach by the Dark Water, you were in the same condition you are now, except you were extremely weak...they said that the moment they landed you collapsed”.
That wasn't what Blaze was asking, and he did remember the feeling of the grass hitting his fur the moment he hit the ground.
He just wished he knew more about how he got here so fast.
Blaze's stomach suddenly rumbled like thunder, begging for more food. Blaze flattened his ears when the sound of his stomach reached his ears.
“Here, eat, you need it. I’ll leave and let you rest” the Kihlari said softly, nodding at Blaze's log full of food. She then turned and made her way to the entrance.
Blaze looked down at the log, hesitant to eat. He had lost his appetite from the sudden shock that washed over him, but he knew he had to eat.
‘If only this were herb mashed grain made by Aniya...’ Blaze thought with sadness.
He leaned forward and began munching away on the berries and grass, his appetite slowly returning. For the first few bites he had to force it down, but eventually he ate relaxingly.
He ate until the log of food was completely licked clean, and he was full. He then rested in the grass bed, letting his body regain its strength.
While he slept, he dreamt that he was back at Mavelyn…
“Faster Blaze faster!” Aniya’s voice squealed happily as Blaze tore across the sky. His feathers were gleaming in the bright sunlight and his mane was silky and smooth.
He flapped his wings harder, ascending into the clouds. He burst through the first cloud layer, scattering mist and tuffs of cloud everywhere.
His heart fluttered with joy when he heard his rider laugh behind him. He then felt her skinny arms wrap around his neck.
Blaze slowed to a stop, turning his head to her and nuzzling her head. She giggled, “Oh Blaze...It’s time to wake up”.
Blaze pulled back, cocking his head at her, “What”.
Aniya smiled, reaching forward and putting one of her hands on his head, gently stroking his muzzle, “Blaze...you need to wake up”.
“But I am awake, look where we are. We're flying high over the clouds!” Blaze said, the smile on his face fading.
“Blaze, Blaze please wake up”.
He suddenly felt something pushing at his shoulder, making him rock back and forth…
Blaze's head snapped up, his eyes peeking open. The feeling Aniya's touched vanished as if it never existed, and her sweet face disappeared and was replaced with the palomino Kihlari.
Blaze flattened his ears, saddened that being home in the beautiful sunlight was that of a dream.
“What do you want?” He asked the mare with a tired and annoyed tone. “I wanted to make sure you were ok, and check if you wanted to try standing up and grazing in the meadow with us” The Kihlari said, seeming to ignore his tone.
Blaze pressed his lips, “Maybe…”.
“Maybe to you're ok? Or to standing?”.
Blaze lifted his head to the mare, his ears flattened against his head. The mare nodded gently at him, her silky white mane flowing slightly, “Ok. I'll be right here to catch you if you fall”.
Blaze blinked a few times and looked down at his legs, slowly working one of them to an arch position in the air. It felt shaky sitting up before him, and looked like it too.
The sudden fear of falling rang at the back of his mind, the rush of the wind….followed by the sudden slam of the hard ground.
Hesitation gripped Blaze as he stared at his shaky legs.
‘I can do this, it's just...standing...I do it all the time’ Blaze thought, regaining his confidence.
He took a deep breath, and began to push his body up. His legs shook like mad as they lifted him up into the air.
It took most of his strength to get into a standing position, but he was soon up, his wings hanging down on his sides. He breathed heavily from the amount of energy he had used.
“You're good doing Blaze for one that has flown for so long” The Kihlari mare said softly. Her wings were held out in case Blaze couldn't hold himself up, but he wasn't about to be caught by a mare.
When Blaze caught his breath, he looked down at his legs. He lifted one of his hooves, and took his first step. It felt like he was walking for the first time in years.
Blaze proceeded to take more steps, but his second step couldn't hold his weight and he began to fall.
Blaze suddenly felt the warmth of the mares feathers around his chest, stopping his fall. He turned his head to her, flattening his ears.
He regained his footing and stood straight again, “Thanks…” he mumbled to the mare. The mare nodded softly at him, “It's what I’m here for”.
She kept her wings around him and stood beside him, “Here, I’ll help you out to the meadow”.
“No, I can do it myself” Blaze said, spreading his wings out to gain more balance. It slightly pushed the mare away, but she still held out her wings.
One foot after the other, he proceeded to make his way to the entrance of the grove. The thick bushes and trees had blocked the light that suddenly flashed into Blaze’s eyes; the slam of a rushing wind followed and nearly knocked him over. It took every ounce of his strength to stay on his hooves, his head curled to the racing wind.
It almost was as strong as the winds in the sky when Blaze flew.
Blaze raised his head to get a better look at his surroundings, his soft white mane flapping wildly in the wind.
His ears pricked up as he saw wide, open fields covered in wavy green grass. Cottonwood trees surrounded the valley, their leaves flowing gently.
Blaze looked around at the valley, expecting to spot more colorful feathers like his own. He, didn’t see any around in the grass. He squinted his eyes, scanning the land carefully.
Suddenly, the heavy stroke of wing beats caught his attention. He looked up and saw a blur of navy blue feathers, followed by a silver coat.
The Kihlari landed before Blaze, his heavy hooves hitting the ground with a slam.
Blaze’s eyes ran up the stallion’s body, gazing at his round, thick build and long, wavy, jet black mane. When he finally saw his face, he was taken back. The entire half of his face was burned and scarred, and his eye was milky blue.
This stallion stared down at Blaze with a cocked eyebrow, “So you're the horse from the Land Walkers territory?” He said, his tone flat, and slightly hateful.
Blaze flattened his ears, “Umm...y-yes. And, you are?”.
“Stormfire, lead captain of River Herd” The stallion replied with his chest puffing out. This gave the stallion a threatening vibe about him.
Blaze didn’t really know how to react to this, “Uh….Ok” He said before he remained silent.
‘Whats a Captain? And what happened to that guy’s face?’ Blaze thought as he stared at the stallion.
“Storm! Leave him alone and quite showing off!” A familiar voice suddenly yelled out.
Blaze pricked his ears, feeling relieved and relaxed as he saw Lakefeather fly up and land next to Stormfire, who was scowling with his ears pinned, “I’m not showing off! I’m showing my authority to this outsider”.
Lakefeather snorted, her feathers rattling with fury, “He isn’t an outsider, he’s one of us. Look at him! Same feathers, same build-”.
“That tells us nothing” Stormfire said harshly, cutting Lakefeather off. His nostrils flared as he pointed his wing at Blaze, “For all we know, he could be one of the Outcasters. Sent here to spy on us and spill our secrets…”. He looked at Blaze with a milky needle eye, “We shouldn’t trust him”.
“Blackwing said that he seems like no threat. And if he was sent here, why did we find him on the beach, half dead?” Lakefeather spoke, her voice filled with intelligence, and her head held high.
Blaze glanced between the two Kihlari, feeling like he had committed some kind of crime. ‘What are Outcasters? Do they think I’m one of them? And who is Blackwing?’. Blaze was half listening to the two Kihlari argue about him until Stormfire snorted loudly, “Fine! But if we end up in a battle between them we can’t win, I will not take the blame”. The thick Kihlari then spread his large wings and turned, glaring at Blaze still.
With a mighty flap, he ascended into the windy air, leaving some of his navy blue feathers behind.
(Oh my goodness! Sorry for being inactive for so long! Chapter Five will come soon :D)