Wordcount: 702 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.)
Going Home Again
Those with relatives in Two Beaches were gathered together and formed into a party. Pine Reach could not support the number of people so they were trying to spread out the burden a bit. Only those wounded that were well enough to walk were included, there were no carts left and the foxhawks were too tired to carry anyone.
May went, as did Jeffery, so Baron and Swift came too. Claire still was not talking to anyone, so she stayed behind. Erwin and Winter came with them, their relatives were too far away and there was too much chaos in Pine Reach. Erwin still was not comfortable with that heavy of a crowd and there was too much suffering for Winter.
Dog and Tom had planned on staying, but with the rest of their hatching group going they were torn. Tom’s family decided it for him, sending him to stay with cousins in Two Beaches. They had their hands full tending to those who still lived in Pine Reach, Tom and Dog were too many mouths to feed.
Omen stubbornly insisted on coming with them.
The elders stubbornly insisted that he not.
After another set of fights on if the storms were attacks or just nature, they got him to stay in Pine Reach. He was too young and they had too many other problems to have to deal with him.
The future trees were muddled after the storm, chaotic branches that twisted in the winds and never showed the same futures twice. For the moment, they were blind and it disturbed Dog more than he was willing to admit.
Winter, as ever, was perfectly willing to worry for all of them.
Aaron and Lucky came with them as well, plus Flame who’d lost his rider to the storm. Minder stayed behind, too hurt to travel. A handful of other foxhawks came with them, partnered and unpartnered, they had no other place to be and followed May out of gratitude and curiosity.
A runner had been sent to Two Beaches to alter them to the incoming refugees, but had not returned. There was some concern that the town had also been hit and after a short heated discussion Jeffery and Swift went out to scout ahead.
They returned faster than they had come, Swift tumbling to a halt in front of May throwing Jeffery over his head and into Tom with an oof.
“Tansi let the geese out.” Jeffery said, as soon as he’d caught his breath. “They’re up by the grape arbor. What are we going to do?”
“They’re geese, why do we care?” asked Erwin, “They can’t possibly eat that many grapes.”
“Do geese even eat grapes?” Tom asked, confused.
“Tansi never lets the geese out, not since the court order, never.” May said. “Jeremiah said he’d shoot them right off if they got into the arbor again. You’re sure?”
“Positive,” Jeffery said, “They’ve got those weird black wings, they have to be Tansi’s.”
“I don’t get it.” Flame said, “Why do we care about geese?” The foxhawk had come up to them as the entire group had stopped, news of the geese was spreading.
“Nothing else looked wrong?” Aaron said, working his way into the group to look at Jeffery. “Everything else was normal?”
“I saw the geese and left,” he said, still winded. “If those are out and the storm signs are not up—“
“If they’ve gone to the caverns because of the storm, They will lay markers on the road.” May said, looking out towards Two Beaches. “If there are no storm markers and the geese are loose, that means something’s wrong.”
“Could not they have just gotten loose?” Tom objected, “This seems silly.”
“You did not see the pen they made Tansi build,” May said, “Those are the most mean spirited geese you have ever met. Broken little Jon’s arm, that is why they’re locked up. No way they got loose by accident.”
“Or that Jeremiah would let them on his property again after Jon.” Aaron agree grimly. “Omen was right.”
“You think the storms really were attacks?” Asked Flame skeptically.
“No,” said Aaron, “but I am pretty sure the geese mean war.”