takiena_called: (Iselen)
[personal profile] takiena_called
They explore the world, and beyond it, as Iselen and her kindred trample the ancient hidden pathways between the worlds that they have been kept from for so long.

With them are their Riders who, in this time of (ha!) peace, are reveling in the freedom of the sky and all that it entails: chasing the clouds and overcoming them, herding the stars.

It is not a timeless experience, but even time has no hold over Owein and his band.

The Child is at ease, here, in the comfortingly familiar presence of his brother Riders (his memory had been fuzzy, at first, of the first time he rode with them—but as they retold story after story, things began to clear, until he laughingly remembered an ancient interaction down to the very words spoken and the whole band whooped with pleasure.

Of course, they do that often).

They know there is war in Fionavar, how could they not? They are creatures of war, as much as they are creatures of anything, and they have been held from it far too long. So when the calling-horn sounds, their fierce grins turn feral and they ride to battle.

The black swans of Avaia are plentiful, and the Child inexplicably knows how to fight them and rend them and laughs as their gruesome forms fall. He knows many inexplicable things, though, and is no longer surprised by it.

They ride into their phalanx, from between the stars, before the swans have time to scatter, and laugh as they find the horn-caller and raise their swords in salute. But the swans are easily killed, and the wolves, urgach, slaug, and svart alfar are fleeing as they wheel and kill overhead.

Then there is a choice.

Owein is going to veer and attack the bright lios and riders below (he knows it almost as if he can hear the king’s thoughts, though of course he cannot, and he knows also that Iselen will want to follow).

Someone has to go after the fleeing Dark, though, and some small part knows that the screams of the bright ones will not amuse him. It is less than a split second, but he turns Iselen and leads four of the kings into an airborne pursuit Maugrim’s forces, leaving the others to go with Owein.

He hates them. That is a surprise, he has not felt hate since (before)—he does not know when.

And then, the voice of the immeasurably young green goddess comes, putting her will against theirs, and the hate increases tenfold.

She will pay for interceding where she has no right, but for now they are sent back to the sky.

And the first battle the Hunt has been called to end in ages beyond memory, they have left incomplete. There are, after all, some warriors left standing.

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Finn dan Shahar

July 2009

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