Shadows stretch far past the walls as a new group of Vigil step out into the night from their hall, adjusting armor just before stepping forward. Those at the gate give them a slight acknowledge and soon, torches and weapons are passed and those outside venture past to get in for the night. There’s barely a sound, barely more than a nod, and soon it’s quiet again.

Obon gurgled as he kept eating his caught rabbit, trilling now and then when he shoved Gal next to him when he offered a foot or intestine. Gal would only look on, grabbing the meat without thought, then throwing it into the air for the griffon to grab and suck down in one motion. As he finished the last pieces, she pulled the legs tighter underneath her and messed with the fur around her neck, trying to keep it as tight as possible. The wind was sharp here, but granted she is sitting on top of one of the Keep’s buildings, trying to avoid the rest of the Vanguard here.

She shouldn’t. The more alone you are here, the easier it is to be taken, to disappear. Even their commander had demanded they stay together, hell he even ordered it with so much force it shook the earth. He said they knew what this was like, that they couldn’t separate.

She couldn’t believe him. He didn’t know. No one did. 

The way the place felt, the way people moved through with no expression seen, the way the shadows moved without the need of light. The way the forest sounded. It’s creaks and moans, the shuffling of creatures. The howls. It was the Brink all over again.

Verdant. Fire.  Missing. 

The ship is missing. You can’t-

Gal covered her face with her hands, aware how they still shook even from her talks with her husband. Even his words barely stilled her, and she thought it would have been enough. Anything would have been enough, but here she sits with white knuckles and shaky exhales.

This is the mark of the Dragon on her.

Snow falls slow and steady on the roof, covering the wood and covering her back and shoulders. Her breath escapes from between her fingers and she just…sits. There’s nothing else she can do here. She’s avoiding others for a reason: She can’t have them see her like this. So unsteady, so angry, so full of fear and doubt. She was supposed to be so strong, how in the world would they take her seriously if she can’t keep it together.

She wouldn’t be like this if this man would just stay still. 

Obon finally gets her out of the hole she was falling into by doing a sharp nudge again, chirping at her. He probably felt her faltering, and it’s something she admires. Gal unfolds slightly and pulls her face from the hands, reaching out to run them through his neck feathers. There’s more trilling, and the fur fluffs under her fingers as he prances in place while the tail swings about. 

“Good boy…You know me well.”

As the hands work through the feathers, the eyes move on again and she scans the horizon. She can see small marks across the ground, Vigil walking their boundaries and paths. They blend in soon, back into the snow, and new marks take the place. Creatures wander, wolves hunt, and she…She needs rest. She hasn’t slept in several days now, just before the Vanguard came in. It was so desperately needed.

She looks back to her hands again and sees a shake still linger and all she does is grimace. Rest won’t come easy if this stays, she knows this. Tossing and turning, even if she got someone in her bed with her. It was frustrating to her, but it would be more frustrating if she tried to go in and pretend to sleep. All it would do is disturb the others. 

It takes deciding, and the prancing of Obon again, for Gal to make a choice. One more fly, just for the evening. It could tire her enough to sleep soundly, and give Obon possibly another rabbit he could enjoy as he settled in the stables too. Yes, that may work. And, if any threats come by, she can alert them, hell even fight and end it quickly. Fighting, yes a great way to become exhausted.

Yes, it can work out.

Gal adjusts in her place, pulling legs and getting onto the balls of her feet. The wood creaks under her feet and guards jump to look up, one still staring as they begin to stand and prepare for the departure. Slowly, Gal gets to her feet and grabs a hold of Obon’s reigns in her hands, counting off quick before she pushes up and slides into the stirrups on the saddle. The griffon squawks but quiets soon as she pats the neck and whispered about the treats of more rabbit. He obeys, and with a few turns and prepping words, they jump and shoot upward into the air, then begin to fly on, starting their look around the hills and forests around.

The night is cold. The moon starts to disappear behind building storm clouds. Just as shadows stretch and disappear, they turn west and head in, chasing those last ones deeper into nothing. She’ll admit there wasn’t thought on it, she only listened to what came to her while in those clouds.


Author MaddAce
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