Wordcount: 1,186 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
Not the Plan
“Don’t tell me what I felt!” Snapped the scout, “She pushed me, I felt it. Then she did something to make him fly faster. There is no way a fledgling could out fly me!”
“You were out of formation,” the white foxhawk pointed out mildly. “Where was the rest of the patrol?”
“I thought I saw a deer.” The scout said, “I was hungry.”
“I did not realize he was missing.” The patrol leader said, taking responsibility but giving the scout a furious glare. “It would not be the first time.”
“If we were getting fed properly, it would not be an issue!” The scout snapped.
“You are asking us to believe that a teenager and a fledgling escaped using magic.” The white foxhawk noted. “Instead of using their wits against a distracted opponent who knew he’d get in trouble without a good story.”
“She pushed me.” The scout insisted.
“If she was the controller, why would she have stayed here?” The foxhawk asked. “Why not defeat us when she had the chance?”
“Because her power base is not here.” Pointed out the fleet commander as he made his way into the tent. “You could have told me about the patrol.” He pointed out mildly, “Instead of forcing me to confront an ally about why he’s hiding things from me.”
“I am not hiding anything.” The foxhawk snapped, “Except for a poor excuse for failure to uphold an assigned duty.”
“Did it even occur to you that he might be right?”
“No.” the foxhawk looked at the scout in annoyance.
“Well humor me, then.” The commander took a chair. “What do you know about golden foxhawks?”
“Golden what?” the elder asked annoyed and the random turn in the conversation.
“I have had the most interesting conversation with someone,” the commander noted. “Apparently they have been well aware that a war was coming—thanks to the birth of a very large foxhawk that is solid gold.”
“There is no such thing,” the elder sniffed. “We are not fairytales.”
“Ah, but here apparently you are.” He focused his gaze on the elder. “Here that fairytale is very, very true. Only we are a year early, by their standards. War is not supposed to come until the thing is three years old and chooses its rider. Then all hell breaks loose.”
“I suppose that is better than the fairytale where it’s born and consumes the world in flames immediately after.”
“Somewhat,” the commander agreed, “but that means these folks have spent the last two years preparing for us. Something we had not expected.”
“What makes you think any of that has anything to do with a lazy scout?” the elder foxhawk brought the conversation back on track.”
“Because the fairytale apparently likes her.” The commander looked out toward the direction of Pine Reach. “And if you are going to set the world on fire, you are going to need a channel.”
The scouts return and everyone is furious. They realize she’s the rouge sorcerer that they have been chasing and they are ready to go out after her full force. That will mean leaving the town by itself, so they cook up a ruse to get everyone hiding in the caverns again.
“Why are we going back in the caves?” Winter tried to look around, but the press of people walking down the path to the cliff caves was too thick. “Does this mean Baron got through?”
“I am assuming so,” said Flame, trying to keep all of the fledglings more or less under control. “They must be expecting the army to march down from Pine Reach.”
“But they will not,” pointed out Swift. “They don’t need Two Beaches, There is no one here worth fighting for.”
“But do they know that?” asked Flame. “Maybe they think they are cornered and an easy target.”
“Maybe they are stupid then.” Swift said, dismissively.
“Or maybe they want to be attacked.” Pointed out Lucky.
“It’s not the best place for an ambush.” Countered Dog. “They are trapped against the sea here.
“Not with all the ships,” pointed out Lucky, “if they take to the sea we will have no way of chasing them. We don’t have the boats.”
“And we are not seagulls,” muttered Dog. “Our world ends at the beach.”
“For now we will go,” said Winter, suddenly stubbornly brave. “Then we will unsurrender, just like May.”
“Let’s wait and see what happens.” Flame said, noncommittally.
The kids have a watch system in place and they can get in and out of the cavern without being seen. They have not managed to escape yet, but they can keep an eye on things.
The stormhawks bring in a heavy fog and a nasty downpour that masks their departure and keeps people in the caves. The trails out are too narrow and too slippery to navigate.
The stormhawks pushed the winds back and forth across the sea, spinning up the fronts until they had created a storm. They herded the storm to shore, then parked it over the cove, hemmed in by fronts to keep it for at least a day. They called up the fog, set the winds and waves flying and built the storm into something unpleasant to be out in.
“Will that do?” the white foxhawk looked out across the town into the pouring rain and general unpleasantness. “The ships are out to sea, they have felt out the edges where these folks travel and stuck to them. Not that there are any ships left worth scavenging.”
“They are not a sailing nation,” the fleet commander pointed out mildly. “If there was not a mountain range I think they would stay on land completely.”
“Foolish,” dismissed the white foxhawk, “foolish and naïve. They have left themselves at severe disadvantage.”
“From who?” the commander asked. “As far as we can tell no one knew they were out here.”
“Well we do now.”
“So either They will learn, or the empire will extend a little further into the horizon.” The fleet commander shrugged. “Might not be a bad thing.”
“Said by a member of a member state.” The white foxhawk sniffed. “tribute states are not quite as much fun.”
“Ah, well first the channel, then the war, eh?” The fleet commander sighed. “I will leave that to someone else. I am getting too old for government.”
“Some of us have always been too old.” The foxhawk snarked.
Dog and Winter are not willing to wait, they know May and Baron are out there somewhere and they convince the other foxhawks that they need to get someone out into the storm to see what’s going on.
There is a persistent wives tale that salt water will ruin a foxhawks ability to fly and no one is brave enough to head out. Finally Lucky steps up to the plate, the fledglings are too small to survive the winds, it has to be an adult. Lucky has flown in the hurricane before and this seems easier, if more salty.
He heads out of the cave without Aaron, who frets, and into the storm.